Posts

Codename: "Space Robot Alchemy" 2

Wan • 3 years ago on 1st Alakajam! entry  Philosopher's Strike

We made a late start due to a busy Friday evening for all three of us, but @ihnaut, @thrainsa and I are finally on track to make our game. We'll go with a good old shoot'em up, where the hero holds the famous Philosopher's Stone, granting him the power to explode into gold pieces all enemies that get in his way.

I'll try and make the models with MagicaVoxel, and of course set the mood with good old chiptunes.

Current state: Mockup done (pictured), Gameplay roughly in place (though we're still not decided what kind of powers will be used by transmutating elements, it will depend on the time we have), Code initialized. LET'S GO

And the theme is "ALCHEMY"! 8

Wan • 3 years ago on 1st Alakajam! 

Due to a last minute change in the votes, we completely messed up our announcement video! Here's the updated version:

The jam has started! From now on, you have exactly 48 hours to make a game from scratch and submit it in the Solo & Team divisions. For Unranked entries, submissions will be left open one more day.

Happy jamming!

Bonus: Cool things to do during the jam

The day has come 1

Wan • 3 years ago on 1st Alakajam! 

We entered the final hours before the jam starts! I hope you feel ready for tackling this 48-hour-long challenge :) (72 for Unranked). Since the event has grown slightly bigger than expected, we've got demand for a couple special pages:

  • A wallpaper thread, which has been a cool Ludum Dare tradition. If you feel like making a wallpaper for the week-end, go post it there!
  • A list of livestreams & YouTubers. Let us know if you're livestreaming your work during the week-end, or if you plan to test games on video after the jam! Feel free to spread the word to streamers & channels who might be interested.

Get your workstations ready, make your introduction post, and see you tonight for launch :)

Exploring the strange world of music trackers 0

Wan • 3 years ago on 1st Alakajam! 

We're in! I will be entering with teammate @thrainsa with whom I have a long history of jamming together.

During our previous game, made for Ludum Dare 39, I have mostly removed myself from the code part to focus on art & music. This time, because I'd like to spend more time to polish & test the Alakajam! site itself, I think I'll just do music, and either don't do art or go with something super basic.

Unlike most past jams for which I used the Reason sequencer, I'd like to take a shot at trying music trackers! I'm totally not used to their workflow, but I'm really curious to try them and discover the world of chiptunes. For now I'm considering the small tracker shipped with TIC-80 (pictured), depending on how I feel I might explore bigger stuff like FamiTracker.

Bonus: Listen to @wan's previous jam tunes

F.A.Q. 0

Wan • 3 years ago 

Allowing anonymous comments

Enabling this option allows all users to post anonymous comments on your entry. Doing so gives them a free hand for posting direct, unfiltered feedback about your game, pleasant or not. If you don't feel comfortable with strong criticism, please keep this option disabled.

If you enable the option, you may change your mind later, but comments posted anonymously will of course remain anonymous.

Commenting anonymously

If the owner of an entry allowed it, you can choose to post a comment anonymously. This allows you to provide honest feedback (even unpleasant) in the safest conditions. Anonymous comments can still be identified by administrators (though only by running database queries), to moderate any form of hateful, offensive or insulting comments.

Anonymous comments do not count towards your feedback score.

Opt-outs

When entering the Solo or Team division, you can opt-out of certain rating categories. This is completely optional and depends on each game and your personal preference.

  • Graphics: Opting out can be useful if the game is text-based, or sound only, or if you feel the art is so terrible that it's not worth rating it.
  • Audio: Opting out is recommended if the game has no sound. You can also do so if the audio is so terrible you think it's not worth rating it.

People who opt out of a category still have to follow the same rules regarding third-party assets.

Rank the shortlist! And find a team 0

Wan • 3 years ago on 1st Alakajam! 

The theme submission phase is over! Thanks to all who contributed to it, with about 200 themes and 7000 votes sent throughout the week. A lot of great ideas were suggested!

After one week of voting, only 10 themes have qualified for the final phase of theme selection: the shortlist. Discover the final list and rank the theme ideas by order of preference, so we can have THE best theme for the jam! Feel free to comment to let us know your favorites :)

Preparing for the jam

  1. If you'd like to join a team or recruit people, make sure to look into our CrowdForge Jams page ;
  2. If you haven't already, introduce yourself with a blog post, letting us know your background and what you plan to use for the jam! Since the event is not too big, it will be fun to know each other a bit and follow other people's progress during the week-end ;
  3. And of course, get your tools ready for next Friday :D If you're not sure what to use yet, we have a list of resources you might be interested in.

A note to curious passer-bys 0

Wan • 3 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 • 3 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 • 3 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 • 3 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.