Posts

A note to curious passer-bys 0

Wan 2 years ago on 1st Kajam

In-between the main Alakajam! events, we're planning to run smaller, but regular events to help the community practice various aspects of game development. Kajams are month-long events, hosted by community members, where we focus each time on a different, specific aspect of game making!

The topic of the first Kajam will be announced at the start of the event, soon after the 1st Alakajam ends (hint below!).

Until October 13th comes by, feel free to check the detailed event rules, and follow us on Twitter or Reddit to stay tuned.

Find a team on CrowdForge! 0

Wan 2 years ago on 1st Alakajam!

Alakajam! has just been added to the CrowdForge Jams site, that lets you find teammates for upcoming events.

Find a team for Alakajam!

Theme submissions/ratings are open! 2

Wan 2 years ago on 1st Alakajam!

The 1st Alakajam! is now officially on its way! For the next two weeks, the whole baby-community that is Alakajam! will choose the theme of the first competition. If you don't have an account already, go register to start submitting and rating themes!

Theme voting process

  1. Until next Friday, you will be able to submit up to 3 theme ideas, that everyone else will rate positively or negatively.
  2. After one week, theme submissions will close, and the 10 highest scoring themes will be made public. You will be able to rate them again, by order of preference.
  3. The final winner will be announced at the start of the event.

Useful links

If you have run out of themes to rate, you can:

(*) If you read the rules in the past days, know that we have made a change: it's no longer possible to use 3rd party assets, save a few exceptions, in the Solo & Team divisions. [11/09 update: more rule precisions about 3rd party assets]

Game jam tips 0

Wan 2 years ago

****If you're new to game jams, you may be both excited and frightened at the idea of *making a whole game in a week-end*… Here's some tips to keep things under control!

Managing time and scope

Especially the first time, it's easy to get lost in the enthusiasm of game jams. Here's some general advice to maximize your chances of finishing your game:

  • Take breaks, sleep well. The biggest trap you could fall in is to spend as much time as humanly possible on your game. Except that sleep deprived people are just not as productive! Taking breaks regularly also helps keep an eye on the bigger picture.
  • Make a small game, and make it playable as fast as possible. If you're aiming for a polished game, it's best to have a playable version fast, ideally leaving the final day to smooth things out, replace placeholders, add contents, and actually test the game.
  • Cut scope when needed. Don't be afraid to cut features or even change the goal of your game as you realize things take longer than expected. Maintaining a todo-list is a good way to appreciate how much work you have left.
  • Use techs you already know. This is not mandatory, because jams are also an opportunity to discover tech. But don't expect to be as productive if you're using, say, an engine or graphics software you've never tried before.
  • Prepare your week-end. It is allowed to set up your project & tools before the jam starts. Making sure you have all your software & files ready can help you gain a few hours. Playing with the engine a little bit before the event can help you warm up as well.
  • Have fun! Even if the week-end doesn't go as expected, you will certainly learn a lot during the week-end. And if you manage to finish a game, congratulations you did it! :D

Skills

Not everyone is proficient is all aspects of game making… But if you don't have a team to complement your skills, jams are a chance to try your hand at something new! Let's just figure out some accessible options.

Being bad at graphics

You don't know how to draw? No problem.

One option is to just deal with it, and make a game that doesn't require pretty art. Games like Thomas Was Alone and 140 were successful commercial games built with basic shapes of various colors. This is what we call programmer art, and it's perfectly acceptable! West of Loathing, featuring stickmen and Dwarf Fortress with its ascii art are other examples. Of course it may not get you 10/10 ratings in Graphics, but simple graphics can still be super fun. Even in 3D.

Another popular option is to go for pixel art. It can be super fast to make, and with some effort it's easy enough to make something presentable. Realm of the Mad God is an example of successful game that has pretty simple (one could even say average) pixel art. Look through a couple tutorials to understand the basics, and don't be afraid to borrow the style or choice of colors from references.

Finally, you can just grab third-party art and submit your entry in the Unranked division.

Check the Resources page for a list of graphics software you can use.

Being bad at sound & music

I have good news: there's several, super easy ways to include sounds effects in your games. Making music is more involved, but still doable!

Regarding sounds, the Resources page has multiple tools for you to try. Your first option is to go down the sound generation route, using the super-easy bfxr software and the likes to produce cool, often-arcadey effects. You could also record sounds yourself with Audacity, assuming you have a decent microphone. Finally, you could just grab existing sounds, which is allowed even in rated competitions, as long as the assets you use have a permissive license.

Now for music, if you don't have any experience but still want to start making music, you can look around the Resources page and give a try to software like Bosca Ceoil. If this is new for you, it will definitely take some time to get comfortable with the tool and not cringe at your music too much, but it's not that hard to get something acceptable for a jam game.

Alternately, you can just grab existing music submit your entry in the Unranked division. Or, you now, not have music, maybe even no sound at all, which is also acceptable.

Being bad at code

Without knowledge of code, there's still plenty of options nowadays for making games! An option is to use genre-specific engines (e.g. for text adventures or RPGs) which are just point-and-click interfaces that let you build your game. More recently, great general purpose engines that still don't require code have started appearing, letting you build any type of (usually 2D) game.

Check the Resources page for a wide range of engines to try, and find the one that suits you best. Discovering an engine during a jam can be frustrating, so it is probably best to at least do some tutorials before the event starts.

"I'm bad, I'm bad, really really bad" *

If you're just new to all aspects of game development, you still have no excuses! Engines like Twine (text adventures) and Scratch (2D) are literally accessible for everyone. You can even enter without making the art or sounds yourself, by choosing the Unranked division.

Depending on what you want to learn, the suggestions above are still valid for advice on each aspect of game making.

Resources 0

Wan 2 years ago

This page compiles a list of free resources for making games, especially for beginners. If you have suggestions to add please let us know!

Graphics software

Name Description
Gimp Popular general purpose software for drawing and manipulating images. Open Source.
Inkscape Popular vector graphics software. Open Source.
Blender Popular 3D modeling & animation software. Open Source.
Paint.NET Intuitive image editing, like Paint but enhanced with layers, transparency, etc. (Windows only).
MagicaVoxel Voxel editor, which is a cool way to make original assets, either in 2D or 3D.
Piskel Editor for animated sprites, has an online version. Ad-supported.
GraphicsGale Old-school looking but powerful sprite editor, supports animations.

Audio software

Name Description
sfxr Excellent and accessible tool for creating sounds effects. Online variants have been made since: bfxr (Flash) and jfxr (JavaScript).
Chiptone Visual, powerful, online sound generator.
Audacity Simple and popular audio recording, mixing & conversion software. Perfect for turning WAVs into lighter formats.
Beepbox The easiest music making tool you could find. Online and Open Source.
Bosca Ceoil Easy music editor, great for beginners. Misses an undo button. Open Source.
TIC-80 While a full-featured fantasy console, you could just use its accessible music tracker. Open Source.
Audiotool Online, knobs-and-cables music editor. Exporting requires a free account.
LMMS Full featured, cross-platform music creation software inspired by FL Studio. Open Source.

Game engines/frameworks

Name Description
Unity Popular and feature-rich engine, both for 3D and 2D games. Requires programming in either JS or C#. Free version has few limitations and plenty to work with.
Godot Engine Powerful engine for 3D and 2D games. Uses a Python-like language. Open Source.
GDevelop 2D game engine letting you write logic without knowledge of coding. Open Source.
Stencyl 2D game engine that uses visual blocks instead of code. Free version lets you publish for the web.
Scratch Very accessible, and even kid-friendly engine for creating visual stories, animations and games.
Löve2D Popular 2D game framework built to be easy to use. Uses the accessible Lua language. Open source.
TIC-80 Fantasy console, similar to the popular but paid Pico-8. Customizable palette. Open Source.
PhaserJS JavaScript framework to make 2D games for the browser. Open source.
Twine Engine for writing interactive stories with no code at all. Open Source.
RPGBoss RPG Maker clone, for creating RPGs without code. Open source.

Free assets

Name Description
Open Game Art The main reference for finding graphics & audio to reuse with permissive licenses.
Free Music Archive A large database of permissive music (mostly Creative Commons), featuring a wide range of styles.
FreeSound A huge database of sound effects.

Miscellaneous

Name Description
TilEd Powerful editor for 2D maps (platformers, RPGs, etc.), which can then be exported in either its own TFX format or simple JSON. Open Source.
Open Broadcaster Software Lets you record your desktop to either videos or streaming platforms.
ScreenToGif Powerful tool for recording short sequences from your screen, editing them and exporting them as gifs (Windows only).

Kajam rules 0

Wan 2 years ago

Kajam are month-long competitions in which people make a video game from scratch, focusing each time on a different, specific aspect of game making. They are perfect to learn, experiment and improve your gamedev skills.

Divisions

Anyone can enter in any of the following divisions:

  • Solo, in which you make a whole game alone ;
  • Team, in which any number of persons can gather to make a game ;
  • Unranked, for those not interested in the competitive aspect of the event.

Everyone has around three weeks to submit their games.

Rankings

After the jam, Solo and Team divisions will be ranked separately through community voting: any person who entered the event will be able to play, rate and comment other people's games for one week, until the final results are released. On each game you play, you will get to rate a single aspect of game development, which is different every time!

Unranked games won't get ratings but can expect as much plays & feedback as the others.

What is allowed/not allowed?

Solo/Team divisions

Unless a particular Kajam states otherwise, the following rules apply:

  • Tools: All software is allowed without restriction. It is recommended though that your game engine supports targetting either HTML5, Windows or Linux, to make sure most contestants can play it.
  • Code reuse: You are allowed to use/reuse any outside library or personal code made prior to the event, or code bits found from sources like StackOverflow or blogs. You can also prepare your project by initializing the sources in advance. However, you cannot work on a game you started before the event.
  • Audio/Graphical asset reuse: You are free to reuse any assets as long as you respect their licenses.
  • Post-jam changes: During the game rating phase, you are not allowed to add any features, assets or contents to your game. While you're supposed to have properly tested your game, stuff happens, so we do allow to:
    • Package or improve the packaging of your game ;
    • Port your game to other platforms ;
    • Fix bugs ;
    • Fix balance issues or annoyances but only if they're so terrible that people can't properly finish your game.

Unranked division

Since there is no ratings involved, the rules are much more relaxed. The only rules are:

  • You cannot work on a game you started before the event.
  • Make sure to respect the licenses of the assets you grab.

For best feedback, it is advised to let people know what you did/did not make during the jam.

In case of doubts…

In those cases where you really want to do something, but it's unclear whether you can, or not doing it just seems unfair, do it, and mention what you did in your game description. After all, this is a completely informal competition, there's no prizes involved, we're just here to make games and have fun!

Alakajam! competition rules 0

Wan 2 years ago

The Alakajam! competitions let people make a video game from scratch in a week-end, then play and rate each other! All games are made around a theme chosen by the community.

Divisions

Anyone can enter in any of the following divisions:

  • Solo, in which you make a whole game alone in 48 hours ;
  • Team, in which any number of persons can gather to make a game in 48 hours ;
  • Unranked, a more open division which grants about 72 hours to finish the game. Useful for those not interested in the competitive aspect of the event, or feel like the rules are too restrictve for them, or simply did not finish their game in time.

The jam always starts on a Friday, 7pm UTC.

Rankings

After the jam, Solo and Team divisions will be ranked separately through community voting: any person who entered the event will be able to play, rate and comment other people's games for two weeks, until the final results are released. On each game you play, you will get to rate six aspects of game making:

Rating category Description
Overall How much you liked the game in general.
Graphics Your appreciation of all the visual aspects of the game. This can be opted-out if you want to (e.g. text-based game).
Audio Your appreciation of all the sound-related aspects of the game. This can be opted-out if you want to (e.g. silent game).
Gameplay Your appreciation of the gameplay, contents & balancing.
Originality How original you found the game, its art and sound.
Theme How well and how interestingly the game fit to the theme.

Unranked games won't get ratings but can expect as much plays & feedback as the others.

Submitting games

In order to join the event, all you need is to have an account and create your entry page when your game is done. Go to the Games tab of the event, and look for the Create entry button to get started. After creating your entry, you will be able to edit it, even after the end of the event.

Important: You must submit your game before the end of the jam! We leave an extra hour after the 48 hour deadline for everyone to submit their Solo/Team games, but after that the options lock down, and only the Unranked division remains available. Creating entries is completely disabled when the Unranked jam ends.

Note: Sharing the sources is not mandatory but appreciated.

What is allowed?

Solo/Team divisions

  • Tools: All software is allowed without restriction. It is recommended though that your game engine supports targetting either HTML5, Windows or Linux, to make sure most contestants can play it.
  • Code reuse: You are allowed to use/reuse any outside library or personal code made prior to the event, or code bits found from sources like StackOverflow or blogs. You can also prepare your project by initializing the sources in advance. However, you cannot work on a game you started before the event.
  • Graphical asset reuse: You must make all your graphical assets during the event. Creative use of existing assets ("derivative work") is acceptable, as long as you list the original assets in your entry page, for the raters to appreciate. You are also allowed to use:
    • Third-party fonts and brushes ;
    • Procedurally generated assets ;
    • Your engine's default appearance for UI elements ;
    • Pre-made game author & engine splash screens.
  • Audio asset reuse: You must make all your audio assets during the event. However, you are allowed to use:
    • Any existing sounds for SFX or as short samples for music, including drums and other sampled instruments ;
    • Assets created from sound generation or speech synthesis tools.
  • Post-jam changes: From the minute the jam ends, you are not allowed to add any features, assets or contents to your game. While you're supposed to have properly tested your game, stuff happens, so we do allow to:
    • Package or improve the packaging of your game ;
    • Port your game to other platforms ;
    • Fix bugs ;
    • Fix balance issues or annoyances but only if they're so terrible that people can't properly finish your game.

All third-party assets listed above are allowed as long as you have the license to use them. Check the licensing terms and in doubt, consult the author.

Unranked division

Since there is no ratings involved, the rules are much more relaxed. While the ranked divisions are only made for video games, card & board games are allowed here. The only rules are:

  • You cannot work on a game you started before the event. You can however use any assets you made beforehand.
  • All third-party assets are allowed as long as you have the license to use them.

Note: For best feedback, it is advised to let people know what you did/did not make during the jam.

In case of doubts…

Obviously, those rules don't cover every scenario (for instance you may realize the music volume is super low, or in-game instructions are wrong, etc.).

…So in those cases where you want to do something but it's unclear if you can, or not doing it seems unfair, do it, and mention what you did in your game description. After all, this is a completely informal competition, there's no prizes involved, we're just here to make games and have fun!

Welcome to the 1st Alakajam! 2

Wan 2 years ago on 1st Alakajam!

From September 22th to 24th, a competition we be held to make you complete a game, from scratch, in just 48 hours! Want to know how things will be run? Keep reading.

Schedule

  • Sep. 8th - Sep. 22th: Theme selection phase. You will get to suggest ideas for what the theme of the week-end will be. Then you will be able to vote on all the other ideas.
  • Sep. 22th - Sep. 24th: The actual competition! As the theme is announced at 7pm UTC, you have 48 hours to finish your game, either solo or as a team, to be part of the official competition.
  • Sep. 22th - Sep. 25th: The unranked jam! If you needed more time to finish your entry, or just want to have people play your game without the competitive aspect, this is your chance. All entrants have an extra day to complete and submit an out-of-competition entry.
  • Sep. 24th - Oct. 8th: Game testing & voting phase. For two weeks, all entrants will be invited to rate and post comments to other people's games.
  • Oct. 8th: The results are released!

Rules

The detailed rules are available under the Help tab:

Alakajam! competition rules

How to enter

If you're interested in joining the 1st Alakajam!, either in the competition or just for having players & feedback, all you need is to create an account here, so you can start voting on themes when the time comes. And of course for submitting your entry during the jam :)

By then, you can also publish a blog post presenting yourself and your plans for the event. Will you join solo? With friends? With what techs? Let us know!

To stay tuned, you can of course follow the event either on Twitter or Reddit.

Feedback Fortnight rules 0

Wan 2 years ago

Before the event

Until the event starts, all you can do is create blog posts. Feel free to introduce yourself or the game you plan to make/submit.

Submitting a game

Once the event starts, you can submit any game you worked on this year. You can use this event as a game jam, making and submitting a game especially for it, though there is no particular "theme" to follow.

It's okay if the game is unfinished, closed-source, made as a team, we don't mind either if the game was started before 2017. The only requirements are that the game must be yours.

Exchanging feedback

Any comment you post on another entry will count towards increasing your Feedback Score. That score is used to determine in which order games are listed on the event. You will get notifications if someone wrote a comment on your entry or answered your comments using @-based mentions.

After the event

Newcomers will no longer be able to submit games, but you can still exchange feedback after the event ends.
There will be no judging or ranking or the game, but instead as a reward, videos will be made of all the entries and posted on YouTube.

Welcome to Alakajam! 0

Wan 2 years ago

Alakajam! is a brand new gamedev community created by Ludum Dare veterans. We're currently hard at work towards hosting a first competition, that will take place for 48 hours during the 22-24 September week-end. It will be organized not unlike Ludum Dare or itch.io jams:

  • A theme selection phase will be held a couple weeks before the event starts
  • When the theme is announced, you will have from Friday 8pm GMT to Sunday 8pm GMT to make a game, either solo or as a team
  • Community ratings & feedback will then take place for a couple weeks, until the final rankings are released :)

Stay tuned for more announcements around the event, either on Twitter or Reddit!