Let's Organize an (unofficial) Waypoint Game Jam!


#1

UPDATE: I’ve created a poll to vote for the jam name here
Feel free to add new items as long as they don’t contain the name of any Waypoint staff, aren’t already on the list (I’ll be deleting duplicates by lowest votes first), and don’t contain any obviously offensive or derogatory language (I’ll also be deleting those). Also feel free to vote for as many as you like. The software I used was the only simple solution I could find that allowed users to add names and vote for multiple choices, so let me know if you experience any trouble with it.

Hey everyone, I’ve seen enthusiasm for a Waypoint game jam in a few threads including this one about what such a jam would be named and [this other one where people are sharing cool stuff they worked on] (Share Games You Made).

I’ll say up front that I don’t have any experience organizing events like this, but I know I’d love to see something like this come together and I’m willing to put in the time to make it happen. If you feel the same, and especially if you have experience or knowledge about setting something like this up feel free to join in the discussion. Let’s use this thread to discuss ideas about how the jam should work, what we need to do to make it a success, or anything else relating to it.

Anyone interested in helping to organize things and/or help run the jam feel free to PM me and we’ll figure out a more coordinated approach for jam “admins”. For now I’ll start with a list of stuff I think we need to get done.

  • Name the jam! We should probably start with a poll that includes names suggested in the naming thread (shoutout to @SpaceCadetEve for starting the awesome name thread!) I’m not sure if there’s a good solution for polls where users can add their own suggestions too, and/or vote for multiple options, but that seems like a good way to do it?

  • Decide on the length of the jam, and the format. In the name thread @SuperBiasedMan and @Anime suggested a longer time than Ludum Dare (LD) to encourage people not to spend an unhealthy amount of time working, and I’d add that that would also help allow everyone to participate regardless of their schedule/lifestyle/time-zone

  • Figure out a theme. This is one where I like the way LD does things, since they do voting rounds that allow the community to determine what the goal is. It might also be fun to try to get some input or theme direction from the WP crew.

  • Probably write up some rules. I think with this community we don’t need to worry too much about behavior and generally treating other participants well besides maybe some tips for giving feedback and criticism, but most of that stuff would align closely to the forum guidelines. We should talk about what tools/resources you’re allowed to use though. For example, LD requires that entries to the 48 hour competition provide their source code, which also means no licensed 3rd party tools/packages that it would be illegal to source. The 3 day LD jam doesn’t have that requirement, which makes it more chill and easier for beginners, but also means we can’t share source-code for that stuff, making it harder to learn from other people’s projects. There are pros/cons to both methods. I imagine we’ll lean toward whatever keeps the jam relaxed/friendly though.

  • Lastly we should figure out if we want to try to organize/showcase entries somewhere like a website for the jam etc. I think for this first jam centralizing it in a forum thread where people can post links to Itch.io or similar hosting platforms would probably be plenty, but if this takes off maybe if there are some web devs around we can whip up something cool for next time (if things work out and we want to do another one).

That does it for my initial pitch. Let me know what you guys think, if you agree/disagree with anything or have any input at all to make things better. Also if you’ve never participated in a jam, or even never made a game before let me know what would encourage you to give it a shot.


#2

Itch.io as jam hub is a really good idea. It allows people to join the jam and link their stuff to it with the least of fuss. I’m not sure that anything beyond a forum thread and an itch.io jam is needed, what functionality would coding up a website provide that wouldn’t already happen via those two locations?

I think a community jam would be best if it allowed use of tools, because Unity is going to be where most people come into a jam like that. There aren’t that many coders who are really into writing an engine from scratch for a jam (so it limits who can join in), that’s more of the demoscene world (even if a few jams are like that).


#3

Mostly I think making a website would be a cool/fun project, but you’re totally right. It’s entirely unnecessary. I agree about the tools, I was thinking less about engines though and more about paid 3rd party plugins (i.e. asset store), since being able to play someone’s game and then download the source project to read through is a super helpful way of learning. We could always just go for the best of both worlds though and allow plugins/assets and if you choose not to use any and it isn’t illegal for you to post your source then encourage people to do so.

EDIT: I totally didn’t know about that Itch Jam feature. That’s so cool :smiley:


#4

Ye, plugins but also “I copied and changed this code I found on the internet” where I’m far from sure the person who shared it actually made sure to MIT license it (especially if it’s a fragment that came from their work or was written while on work time and so likely* not theirs to give away). I think it’s absolutely right to have a restriction that all imported work be referenced (which also helps to share resources like CC0 asset archives) just to keep track of what people are using and where the stuff they didn’t work on came from. But I think it raises the floor of who can take part if you also have to work out how to slice just your work so it can be shared as source code when some engines create quite large source blobs as you work on projects.

Sharing source is cool but I don’t think it’s core to a jam, especially as a lot of bodged code is not going to be written to be easy to read and learn from when doing a quick jam idea.

*Standard employment contract clause about all things created during salaried hours being the exclusive IP of the employer.


#5

Good point. Also since this is the first time the simpler the better probably. Get a theme, set a time and post to Itch.io when you’re done.


#6

One thing I’ve seen other jams do that I think is a good idea is that when submitting you need to have at least 3 screenshots and a short video to show gameplay. That way people know what your game is about and realistically no one is going to have time to play every game so having a video of what the gameplay is like can help people find which ones they want to try.

As far as themes go there’s the tried and true “Use a title of a podcast episode” as the title of your game. Would love to see someone make a “Don’t Kinkshame Grandma” game. However it would be a shame to not include the writing side of the site.


#7

I’d love to help in some way! I think I posted in both of the threads linked in the OP. I agree that itch would be a great jam hub, it’s pretty perfectly geared toward this sort of thing. Since it’s a bit of a decentralized jam, I vote for longer rather than shorter- maybe a week or two instead of a single weekend. Maybe a whole month? Idk. But I love the idea regardless!


#8

Haha the podcast name Idea is pretty good, I wouldn’t have thought of that. I’m not too worried about requiring people to submit videos or anything, that stuff definitely helps get your game attention but if people don’t want to do that I think it’s not a big deal.

@videodante glad to hear it! I guess we should probably set up some kind of survey/poll somewhere to ask people what they think about the jam. I’ve seen people use SurveyMonkey for similar stuff before maybe I’ll look into that.


#9

Screenshots are easy @Wazanator but video of certain types of games isn’t necessarily good or interesting. Twine games for example don’t make for good footage. Plus it may be a bit much to ask people to pull that together with the game.

And others have used the podcast name for a game, especially Wizard Jam. Which may be a good model to base the Waypoint Jam after. So we could do threads for people looking for more to work on their game, and a separate thread for those looking to join a team.

Does this forum software allow us to conduct polls?


#10

It allows for polls.

Also, there are a lot of really simple tools now to make those good good short gameplay examples in .gifs depending on depth. (Usually enough to give someone a rough idea of what the game plays like.)

My personal go-to is GifCam, by BahraniApps. It sits above other windows, you can adjust framerate, and edit the gifs down for size, crop them, add text/etc. http://blog.bahraniapps.com/gifcam/ It can be a little awkward at times, as often you can still click on it, and lose the window focus, or accidentally move the frame. It’s very fast and easy to use though once you get used to it, and highly flexible. Great for cutting down pre-existing video to be tweet-ready .gif files though. (So you can share basic gameplay to show perspective, etc.)

It can also be used in-editor for WIP stuff, which can be fun to share mid-jam. (Like some super early concept stuff you enjoyed.)

Perhaps all a bit off-topic, but thought I’d throw the suggestion out there after the critique of video, and how it isn’t always great. Short animated .gifs can often help give a potential player a REALLY good sense of how a game controls, or moves, far better than a screenshot.

I always hated seeing super amazing looking screenshots of the Dawn of War series, and finding out they were RTS games, which at the time I wasn’t a huge fan of. (Which may speak more to screenshots from deceptive angles for promotional purposes?))


#11

As @Onarru started this thread, and suggested we could do a poll for a name we either need to do that now or not at all. We shouldn’t focus too much on what is ultimately a trivial matter. It’s the sort of thing that kills momentum and becomes the death of projects - killed by committee. So it should just be picked and we can move on to jammin’.

As for length, I suggest 2 to 4 weeks, with a couple of days at the end for reviews given the diversity of the Waypointers and the time everyone has. I know personally a short jam is out as even with 2 weeks for Wizard Jam I’m struggling for the time to work. But you can blame that on the baby.

As far as tools/resources, I don’t see a reason to restrict it to anything similar to the way the CGA Jam and 1-Bit Clicker Jam do. Not that they were super restrictive. But I expect this will be the first time some people ever make a game or even consider it, so allowing everything from Twine to Puzzlescript to Phase.js to Unity makes sense.

At the same time, maybe some coordination with @austin_walker @Danika @danielle and co. could be cool with the hopes that they can spin it into something to help promote the site and community.


#12

Here’s my proposal:

Name Suggestion: Jammin in July

Start/End Date: 7/1 - 7/31, the first is on a Saturday and the 31st is on a Monday. That way it starts on a weekend as well as what is a long weekend for most people in the U.S. and ends the day after a weekend so for people who get confused by time zones they should have plenty of time to submit.

If we start on July 1st as well that should give us plenty of time to better organize everything and provide people who want to work with others the time needed to assemble a crew.

Rules/Restrictions:

  • Title must be a podcast episode title, there’s 70+ and they all have great names!

  • Submission must either be a standalone game or a mod to an existing game.

    That way if you are maybe not comfortable making a game but have an idea for how you could turn something like “A Lil’ Murder Never Hurt Nobody” into a side quest for Fallout 4 you could.

  • Each submission should include a credit.txt in the downloadable that lists credits and URL’s, don’t be an art thief!

  • Must be submitted to itch.io

  • Submit as many times as you want, if you got time to do two games or more go for it!

  • For those looking for an added challenge use a Waypoint article title or description for an additional theming challenge.

    E.g. Pair “Jim Belushi’s BattleTech” with "The game started life as ‘The Godfather in Space.’ "


Thoughts?

I would also maybe throw in that it would super cool if we could get a topic tag called “jam” for better filtering and for those who want to post progress of their submission.

@OneGameDad is right, I hadn’t really considered Twine or Text Adventure Games at the time I mentioned video. It would probably be better to just suggest putting screenshots, gifs, etc on your itch.io page as a way to get people interested in playing your game

Wizard Jam has a Shared Assets thread and that seems like a good idea. However whoever creates the thread should try to stay on top of it as far as updating the OP with content people post so things can be found easily.

Speaking of Wizard Jam some of the best games to come out of it have featured the Thumbs cast, however moderators have made a point that they do not want real people being treated like fictional characters. Do we need to have a rule that specifies that a submission can not contain Waypoint staff?


#13

I would say that the particularly fun part of Wizard Jam this way is having fun shared goofs and inside jokes rather than always being personal to the actual people. Having Crowbar and Sickle appear would be a fun joke that is somewhat divorced from the actual people.

Definitely though, getting the specific feelings of the waypoint staff on this would be the best way to clear it up.

Another thing I’d suggest from Wizard Jam is shouting out the discord as a place that newbies can use for help with programming problems they run into. The Idle Thumbs slack has a good buzz of different experience levels helping each other with problems as well as resources. It’s a lot harder to post in a forum asking for help, compared to dropping into an active chat.


#14

I really, really like the idea of using titles of Waypoint Radio episode titles for games. There are a lot of winners for fantastic concepts, such as:

  • Space Justice Warriors
  • Project D.A.N.I.E.L.L.E.
  • The 0451 Doctrine
  • #DeathSquad

And those are just some from the first page of the Libsyn. It’s also good that they create a basis you need to use for your game, a sort of guidance, without hampering creativity or actively preventing any kind of game over another.


#15

I’m down with @Wazanator’s pitch. That gives us about 20 days to get the ball rolling on making people aware of the jam and gives us time to poll for a name and get it out there. The only caveat I’d add is we should add that people can also credit their sources either on the Itch.io page or in the game itself, since I’m sure not all software is going to produce a download “bundle” and those options might be easier for people.

I went ahead and created a poll that includes all the suggestions from the naming thread, except those that included someone’s name. I think we should avoid including names in the jam title because we don’t explicitly have that person’s endorsement and naming the jam for a specific person makes it less of a Waypoint jam and more of an Austin Walker jam etc.

Feel free to add new items as long as they follow the rule above, aren’t already on the list (I’ll be deleting duplicates by lowest votes first), and don’t contain any obviously offensive or derogatory language (I’ll also be deleting those). Also feel free to vote for as many as you like. The software I used was the only simple solution I could find that allowed users to add names and vote for multiple choices, so let me know if you experience any trouble with it.

Poll Link: http://www.rkursem.com/poll/view.php?id=826af2fd1f154ef85

I’ll post that link in the naming thread too, and add an update to the OP in this thread. I think creating a new thread for the poll is unnecessary. I’m thinking we tally the votes after a week so that I can create the Itch.io Jam with plenty of time to set it up.


#16

It’s June 14th now. Maybe we should set a deadline for making these decisions so we can get this game jam rolling. I propose all decisions made by June 21. So one more week. Then we have nine days to spread the word.


#17

Works for me. I also put a deadline on the poll for the 18th. Oh, I spoke with the mods to make sure we’re all in the clear and they did request that we not include “Waypoint” in the title to avoid sounding official, so I’ll pull the poll entries that include that (of which I think there are only 2) and update the poll rules.


#18

I am up for this! I have no game making skills bar some recent messing about in Twine (making a half-dozen failed RPG Maker 2000 prototypes and Earthbound ROM hacks when I was fourteen absolutely do not count) so hope you’re all looking forward to a text adventure called “Have You Seen Palmer Luckey? Call This Number!”


#19

So the name will be decided on based on the poll, courtesy of @Onarru. But what about additional rules, other than game title is an episode title? Or mutators aka diversifiers? What about rules for the Waypoint Cinematic Universe (trademark pending jam name), such as when and how characters, stories, etc. can be shared?

Not that we should be bogged down in rules, but sometimes constraints can help people’s imaginations flourish.


#20

As far as rules for the theme go I think podcast title is constraining enough without adding complexity. Hopefully we can do more of these in the future, and try out different jam rules/models, but for the first one I’d keep it simple. As far as using Waypoint characters stories etc. I’m not exactly sure where to start. It would be a shame to have to prohibit all of that, but that seems extreme. Does anyone have experience participating in the Giant Bomb game jam? Maybe we could use similar rules. In any case I’ll probably seek some staff feedback on that stuff when they’re back from E3.