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The Game Jam Survival Guide

Book Description

Build a game in one crazy weekend and survive to tell the tale!

  • Enthusiastic and light-hearted, glimpse the excitement and frantic creativity of game jams.

  • Motivating, encouraging and infectious, it is sure to help you reach the finish line.

  • Follow this handbook from brainstorming an idea, over bitter obstacles and on to the sweet finish line: a complete, playable, fun game.

  • Each stage of game jams is described with task lists and anecdotes relating common experiences, the trials and the tribulations of past game jam champions and losers.

  • Packed with interviews, tips, tricks and wise words from Ludum Dare and Global Game Jam organisers among other well-known game jammers.

In Detail

Game jams are fun. They are a creative, exciting, social experience. The goal of a game jam is to design a video game, either alone or in teams, as fast as is humanly possible; usually in a single weekend.

The Game Jam Survival Guide, written to help you have more fun and achieve greater results at your next game jam by building a successful game without burning out, leads readers through each 12-hour phase of a 48-hour weekend game jam.

Weekend warriors: dominate your next game jam! If you follow the system shared in this book, you will be able to build an amazing game that you're proud of and will entertain players, all in just one crazy 48-hour game jam weekend … and survive to tell the tale!

Embrace the best practices and techniques of past game jam winners and avoid common pitfalls along the way to the finish line. You too can survive a 48-hour game development marathon with your mind intact and an amazing game to show off to friends and family!

With The Game Jam Survival Guide you will learn the secret techniques that master game jammers use to create winning entries. It starts by showing you great ways to brainstorm and design a game based on a theme. It then moves on to highlight the best tools and techniques to finish a game in a weekend of coding. Anecdotes and advice from past winners and losers combined with humorous words of encouragement are sure to help you on your way. The author presents a list of game jams around the world, online communities worth checking out, fantastic game engines, and art resources. Finally, learn how to monetize your game by gaining sponsorship from big gaming websites. It's the fun way to make your own video game in one weekend!

Table of Contents

  1. The Game Jam Survival Guide
    1. Table of Contents
    2. The Game Jam Survival Guide
    3. Credits
    4. About the Author
    5. About the Contributors
    6. About the Reviewer
    7. www.PacktPub.com
      1. Support files, eBooks, discount offers and more
        1. Why Subscribe?
        2. Free Access for Packt account holders
    8. Preface
      1. What is a Game Jam?
      2. The goal of this book
      3. What this book covers
      4. How to use this book
        1. Meet the two Jamming friends
      5. Reader feedback
      6. Customer support
        1. Errata
        2. Piracy
        3. Questions
      7. What the experts say: Zuraida Buter
    9. 1. Before the Jam:Prepare Yourself for Success!
      1. Finding freedom in constraints
      2. What the experts say: Eric McQuiggan
      3. Game Jam survey stats
      4. What the experts say: Jason P. Kaplan
      5. Go with what you know
      6. Preparing your base code
      7. What the experts say: Mike Kasprzak
      8. Preparing your art tools
      9. Practice makes perfect
        1. Forming a team
        2. Social networking tips
      10. Things to avoid
        1. Don't try a new language
        2. Sleep is good
        3. Real life matters
        4. Food = Brain Fuel
      11. What the experts say: Mike Hommel
      12. Maintaining relationships
      13. What the experts say: Ian Schreiber
    10. 2. Hours 1-12:Your Quest Begins!
      1. Learn from others' mistakes
        1. Don't forget the sound!
      2. Dealing with the Game Jam "theme"
      3. What the experts say: Chevy Ray Johnston
        1. An example of a winning entry
      4. Coming up with a plan
        1. Building a game by first creating concept art
        2. Using graph paper or board game pieces
        3. Don't worry about making it beautiful!
        4. Avoid the latest fad—go low-tech
      5. What the experts say: Dr. Mike Reddy
    11. 3. Hours 13-24:Deeper into the Jungle!
      1. Motivation techniques
        1. Getting over "The Wall"
        2. Share your work-in-progress
        3. Keep in touch
      2. What the experts say: Austin Breed
    12. 4. Hours 25-36:Breaking Through The Wall!
      1. Keep It Simple, Stupid!
        1. No-art (rectangles) gameplay proof-of-concept
        2. Distil to the essential features
        3. Finishing a "working" basic prototype early
        4. Occam's Razor
        5. Break the rules of computer science!
        6. Brooks' Law
      2. "War Story": Diary of a failed Game Jam
      3. Common mistakes
      4. Reducing production time
        1. Hand-crafted versus computer-generated content
        2. Iterating the prototype to find the fun
        3. FIRST make it work, THEN make it pretty
      5. What the experts say: Christopher Nilssen
    13. 5. Hours 37-48:Getting to the Finish Line!
      1. "Captain's log"—diary of a winning entry
      2. Avoiding headaches
      3. What the experts say: Pekka Kujansuu
      4. What to do when you think you might not finish
        1. Don't beat yourself up!
        2. Cut-and-run: chop out the bad parts
        3. Heinous hacks and ugly code are A-OK.
      5. Common features of winning Game Jam games
        1. Polish, polish, polish
        2. Beta testing: fixing the difficulty and controls
      6. Packaging your game
      7. Submitting your game
        1. The importance of your game's name
        2. The importance of your game's description
        3. The importance of your thumbnail icon
        4. Top 100 icons (best)
        5. Bottom 100 icons (worst)
      8. What the experts say: Foaad Khosmood
    14. 6. After the Jam:Fame and Fortune!
      1. The voting process
      2. What the experts say: Phil Hassey
      3. The next steps: post - Jam professionalism
        1. Writing a post-mortem analysis
          1. What goes into a game post-mortem?
        2. Sponsors, portals, and app stores
      4. What the experts say: Chris Hopp
      5. You made it!
    15. A. Game Jams
      1. Finding a Jam: a list of Game Jams around the world
        1. The Global Game Jam
        2. Ludum Dare
        3. The Experimental Gameplay Project
        4. The Game Prototype Challenge
        5. The Super Friendship Club
        6. Klik of the Month Klub
        7. PyWeek
        8. Reddit Game Jams
        9. Newgrounds Game Jams
        10. TIGJam
        11. Dream.Build.Play
        12. Blitzkast
    16. B. Game Engines
      1. Choosing a game engine
        1. Flixel
        2. FlashPunk
        3. Unity
        4. Ren'Py
        5. Game Maker
        6. Multimedia Fusion
        7. Corona SDK
        8. haXe + NME
        9. CryEngine
        10. XNA
        11. BlitzMax
        12. The Unreal Development Kit
        13. jMonkeyEngine
        14. Stencyl
        15. Torque
        16. Construct
        17. HTML5 game engines aplenty
    17. C. Helpful Tools
      1. Essential tools
        1. Recording time-lapse videos
        2. IRC chat clients
        3. Generating sound effects
        4. Level editors
          1. OGMO
          2. DAME
          3. GLEED
          4. MapEditor
          5. Mappy
          6. TME - Tile Map Editor
          7. TileStudio
          8. tIDE (Tilemap Integrated Development Environment)
    18. D. The Community
      1. Social networking links
        1. Google+
        2. Twitter
        3. IRC chat rooms aplenty
        4. Reddit
        5. TIGforums
        6. Other websites worth visiting
    19. Afterword
      1. A note from the author
    20. Index