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The game ratings phase is on! 0

Wan 1 year ago on 5th Alakajam!

With the unranked jam now over, now is the time to play and rate each other's games (if you haven't started already :P)

How it works…

For the next two weeks, all entrants will be able to give ratings on other games. Take some time to play & rate games, and even better write some feedback about it! Constructive feedback is one of the best ways to learn and improve your game design skills, so please dish it out in buckets. While people who didn't enter the event cannot rate games, they can still post reviews.

By rating & commenting (even on Unranked entries), you will gain Karma that will make your game more visible to others. A high Karma gives you more chances to get ratings yourself and reach the minimum of 10 to be classified. Otherwise, you will not get a final ranking!

On March 10th, at 7pm the final results will be released and the winners crowned :)

Go go go! Play and rate games!

The ranked competition is over! 1

Wan 1 year ago on 5th Alakajam!

Congratulations everyone for joining the jam :) You just made a game in 48 hours, which is an impressive achievement in itself!

And if any one is left unsatisfied, or even could not finish their game, I'm sure the exercise still helped you improve your skills, meet some people, or just have a fun week-end so there's always something positive to take away from it B-)

  • Unranked submissions are still open: while those won't be officially ranked, they can expect as many people to play & comment on them. So, if you haven't finished your game in time, it's actually not too late to complete something! Game submissions will completely close Monday at 10pm UTC.
  • The rating phase of the ranked jam is open: For the next two weeks, you are invited to rate and comment on other games. We will post more details about this voting phase tomorrow evening, but you can already go play & review games right now!

Welcome to the 5th Alakajam! 9

Wan 1 year ago on 5th Alakajam!

The new Alakajam! is finally approaching and will start on February 22nd!

The goal of the event is simple: make a game, from scratch, in just a weekend. You can do this on your own, or in a team, you can be a seasoned pro or a total beginner. If you opt-in to the competition, you will be ranked against every other contestant!

Full schedule

Dates Phase Description
Feb. 8 Theme submission & voting You can submit theme ideas for the jam and vote for all other submissions.
Feb. 15 Theme shortlist Only the best 10 themes are kept. Rank them by order of preference in this final phase of theme voting.
Feb. 22
6:30pm UTC
Countdown stream DanaePlays and Aurel300 host an official stream on Twitch to launch the event!
Feb. 22
7pm UTC
 THE JAM!!!  Until Sunday 7pm UTC, make a game solo or as a team, and simply submit it before the deadline!
Feb. 25 Unranked jam If you want to go for a relaxed weekend - or need more time - you can create a game in the 72 hours of the unranked jam.
March 10 Results After two weeks during which all entrants are invited to play, rate and comment on other peoples games… The results are released and the winners crowned!

Rules

There are three 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, want to work on an existing project of theirs, or simply did not finish their game in time.

See the full rules for the Alakajam.

How to enter

All you need to do is:

  1. Create an account on this website
  2. Publish your game before the deadline

A lot of participants also post an "I am in" blog post presenting themselves or their team before the event. Describe what tools and frameworks and engines you will use to create your awesome game! Which themes do you like? Let us and the community know!

If you can, feel free to spread the word about the jam - the more we are, the merrier! glhf ;)

Submit your game! 3

Wan 1 year ago on 3rd AKJ Tournament

In March will be held the 3rd AKJ Tournament, where the community is invited like last time to play & compete on existing jam games! The event will be run right after the end of the 5th Alakajam, around March 10th.

If you want to submit your own game to the event, follow this link :)

Ratings mode & bonus days for submissions 0

Wan 1 year ago on 6th Kajam

The 6th Kajam now has ratings open! You are free to play, review and rate these hyper-casual games according to how addictive you feel they are. Also, most of you are already aware but due to popular demand, there is a last minute change to allow 4 more days for submitting late entries. Here's the final schedule:

  • Submissions close: Thursday 31st January, 7pm UTC
  • Ratings close/Results out: Tuesday 5th February, 7pm UTC

We're not extending the ratings phase until the end of the week because… Guess what? It will be time for the 5th Alakajam already, with theme submissions opening on the following Friday :D

Congrats to everyone who already entered the jam, and good luck to those still polishing their work!

Rocket Jumper: random level generation? 4

Wan 1 year ago on 6th Kajam entry Rocket Jumper

I've been making good progress with my jumping game, with the core mechanic now mostly done (…although physics were harder than expected to set up).

The next steps will be to draw final art… and more importantly, balance the difficulty. That difficulty part is quite tricky, as a good level design should be able to avoid "impossible situations" where deaths are forced. How could we do that yet keep the game hard, and even make it get harder with time? I see two main approaches:

  1. Keep the levels procedurally generated, and do some clever coding to make level generation harder & harder without being unfair ;
  2. Use pre-made "level chunks" of various difficulties, that would be playtested by hand.

Solution 2 would be too time consuming & unexciting, not mentioning I'd need to playtest again from scratch if I decide to tweak physics constants… So yeah I'll stick with fully procedural levels. To quickly get something I can ship, I've wanted to avoid being too concerned about imperfect levels: a trick was to introduce an "oxygen management" mechanic. The way it helps with level design is that it lets players do (limited) air jumps, which means that even if there's a huge hole in the level it still leaves a chance to survive.

Now, for the ideal solution…

The main idea I've had for "100% solvable" level generation is to place an AI player below the screen, before rockets are even spawned, that "plays" exactly like the player would. It would randomly decide to swap sides & jump, the trick being that the AI also decides when it lands: When reaching one of the 3 "rocket lanes", he'd be able to trigger rocket generation. A rocket would then magically appear right where the AI is, so we're 100% sure that the game is playable :)

We could then adjust the difficulty in various ways:

  • Especially in early phases of the game, filling voids with some additional rockets would help make things easy and the "AI path" not too obvious
  • The AI could play with increasingly tight timing
  • The rockets could be made shorter, or positioned so that there's little margin for error

I'm not sure how widespread this technique of using an AI is, but it may be fun to try. To be continued…

Hyper-casual is the new casual! 2

Wan 1 year ago on 6th Kajam

UPDATE: Due to popular demand, submissions will remain open until the end of the month! That means 4 bonus days. We'll still open game ratings on January 27th. See you then :)

The theme of the January 2019 Kajam is Hyper-casual gaming. As usual, you'll have about one month to make a game exploring the topic, with submissions due for Sunday 27th! Will follow a week of ratings on how addictive your game is, with the results out on Sunday 3rd February.

About "hyper-casual" games

I discovered this new term pretty recently, thanks to Bitslap sharing an interesting article about the trend. We're interested here in a particular niche inside the world of mobile gaming. It's been years now since casual games have taken over the world of app stores, from match threes to strategy games to puzzles. But now, the idea behind "hyper"-casual is that there's a growing number of successful apps that are actually very small games, focused on a single simple mechanic.

The obvious examples would be Flappy Bird of course, or 2048. Both were made in 3 days or less. An older one would be Doodle Jump. There's been a lot of games like this now that have been successful, even commercially successful, while at the same time seeming like they did not take that much time to develop. Studios like Ketchapp have outright specialized in such games ; their recent success Stack is a good exemple.

Tips

It seems like the overall hyper-casual recipe is as follows:

  1. Rely on a very simple but fun mechanic
  2. Make it require lots of practice to master (either by getting timing and precision right, or by perfecting strategic decisions)
  3. Make the game infinite, having the player aim for a high score
  4. Balance the difficulty right (to avoid boring or frustrating the player)

While I can't promise you this will make your game a success, it's certainly a type of games worth exploring. For me it will be a nice change to finetune a simple gameplay rather than cramming as much features & contents I can in a limited time :)

Bonus: One Hour Game Jam meetup!

Because those games are super easy to prototype, let's try something special and join the One Hour Game Jam to get our games started! OHGJ is a weekly event, and completely informal (no prizes nor enforcing any rules, ie. it's ok to submit late, reuse existing art etc.) so it's perfect to get your Kajam entry started.

I'm proposing either of the next two events for us to gather and give a try at a hyper-casual game!

  • Saturday 5th January, 8pm UTC
  • Saturday 12th January, 8pm UTC

See you there maybe! And even if you don't, have fun making a minimal but addictive game!

My attempt at single-button gameplay 4

Wan 1 year ago on 6th Kajam

I have tried to think about any simple but fun and mobile-friendly mechanic I could find, and here's the result:

Story: It won't be told explicitly (except maybe through the game name), but I always need a story to get me engaged in my projects. Here, humanity is escaping Earth due to an imminent disaster. Thousands of rockets are launching into space, except you have been forgotten behind :D You had the brilliant idea to just hop on a launching rocket, so now let's just try to stay alive…

Gameplay: It's simply about staying on screen for as long as you can, by jumping between rockets that scroll at different speeds. Maybe you just you can't stick to the rockets correctly and are constantly sliding along them, forcing you to jump to something else before you fall off. Anyway the controls are just:

  1. Hold touch for the right time to jump on a neighbor rocket
  2. Tap to switch sides of the rocket you're on
  3. Use 1 & 2 to stay alive as long as you can

I aim to build this both for PC and Android. And will probably prototype this during a One Hour Game Jam.

The next Kajam starts on January 1st 0

Wan 1 year ago on 6th Kajam

Hello there! I'm looking forward to be the host for the first event of 2019. See you on January 1st for the announcement of the topic of the month. I've already chosen it, and the picture below is a little teaser :) Follow us on Twitter to stay updated! Have a nice holidays and see you then.

Kajams are month-long gamedev events in which people focus on a specific aspect of game making. From Storytelling to Artificial intelligence to Retro gaming, each Kajam is a new excuse to practice game development skills and have fun! Detailed rules here.

Feedback Fortnight is back! 0

Wan 1 year ago on Feedback Fortnight 2018

For december, we are reviving the Feedback Fortnight concept that was introduced last year as the launch event of Alakajam.

More details to be announced soon…