Sorceress

History of 1HGJ

Dec 9th, 2019
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  1. History of 1hGJ
  2. ===============
  3.  
  4. The Founding of 1HGJ
  5. --------------------
  6.  
  7. 1hGJ began on the evening of 14th Feb 2015, as an impromptu challenge between members of the Ludum Dare IRC community.
  8.  
  9. A discussion was happening about motivation...
  10.  
  11. Sorceress had argued that longer game jams better enable us to work on the kinds of games we want to make, but shorter jams are easier to commit to. ie, it's easier to stay motivated through a 48 hour jam (like ludum dare), than a 7 day jam (like 7dRL or 7dFPS).
  12.  
  13. Bitslap joked that a single hour should be easier still, if that argument was right. The prospect of attempting this excited both, so Sorceress and bitslap challenged one another other to make a game in just one hour, starting right away.
  14.  
  15. Three other persons (Desertrock, Voxel, Ratking) stepped forward, interested in joining this little challenge. All they were missing was a theme.
  16.  
  17. An online theme generator was loaded up by Bitslap, which output 'Telekinetic Bomberman Rush'. Bitslap didn't like the theme and the group began discussing how to select a good theme. A minute later, sorceress announced that she had already started, as the theme had been chosen, and so the first 1hGJ had begun.
  18.  
  19. After the hour, these five persons uploaded their games, and shared links. The links were then copied to a page on Bitslap's unused weekjam.com domain.
  20.  
  21. The experience was enjoyable for all, and it was fascinating to see what people could achieve in such a short amount of time, without any preparation whatsoever. There was great interest in repeating the challenge at some point, but there were no plans for when it might take place again.
  22.  
  23. Bitslap and Sorceress were the founders of the event, and have retained joint ownership of it.
  24.  
  25.  
  26. The Early Days
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  28.  
  29. After the first jam had passed, Desertrock began work on an IRC bot, which could be used for future 1hGJs. It initially enabled jammers to submit their game links, game names, and screenshot links. The bot would then produce a data dump which could be copied to weekjam.com.
  30.  
  31. Two months after the first, Sorceress proposed repeating the challenge that evening, and so the second 1hGJ went ahead with use of the bot for submissions.
  32.  
  33. The theme for the second 1hGJ was picked from a list of Ludum Dare themes. Sorceress had gathered together some high scoring themes from Ludum Dare 32, and one of these was chosen at random.
  34.  
  35. Afterwards, the question of when to hold future 1hGJs came up again. Sorceress liked the idea of it remaining an impromptu event - the flash mob of game jams - rather than something scheduled to happen at predictable times. But some people feared they would miss out that way. After some discussion, it was decided to hold future jams regularly, each week, on saturday evenings.
  36.  
  37. More functionality was added to Desertrock's bot, enabling users to submit theme suggestions, with the bot able to pick a theme randomly from the list. It also provided a timer and scheduler, enabling a jam to be automatically announced with a theme. Finally, it was integrated with twitter, to announce the jam there, and also on other irc channels.
  38.  
  39.  
  40. The Website Makeover
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  42.  
  43. Liamlime joined the 4th jam in May 2015, and eagerly volunteered to improve the appearance of the website. The website would still require the data dump being manually copied over from the irc bot, but the presentation was better at least.
  44.  
  45. Towards the end of that same month, Sorceress further modified the website, adding user accounts/logins, and a submission form so that users didn't need to use the irc bot at all for submissions. (The bot would still prove useful for time and theme announcements.) She also registered the #1hGJ IRC channel on afternet, allowing the jam to develop it's own community, separate from ludum dare.
  46.  
  47. In July, the website was also moved away from the temporary weekjam.com, to it's permanent home at onehourgamejam.com
  48.  
  49. Over the summer months, the jam would become quite popular with around 100 jammers total, and the website listed hundreds of their games.
  50.  
  51.  
  52. The Bitslap Brothers
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  54.  
  55. Also in May 2015, Bitslap along with his two brothers: Rao (rikard) and Inaco (fredrik), began livestreaming themselves playing the game submissions. This became a regular feature after the jam throughout the remainder of 2015, and it provided much entertainment for the community. Occasionally, the brothers were joined by a special guest.
  56.  
  57. There began a tradition of stumbling upon game breaking bugs in these rapidly developed (and poorly tested) games, but getting the most entertainment value out of the bugs at the same time.
  58.  
  59. The brothers famously recorded themselves playing guitar, and making a song about 1hGJ, which became the theme song for the jam, and available as an asset which jammers could use in their own games.
  60.  
  61. Bitslap also donated some graphical assets for 1hGJ use, should jammers not be able/willing to make graphics themselves in the 1 hour time frame.
  62.  
  63.  
  64. The Website Rewrite
  65. -------------------
  66.  
  67. The website had some bugs and annoyances, which were demanding attention. Furthermore, the website was never designed for long term use, and the sheer volume of images and animated gifs it had accumulated on it's front page caused computers to eat gigabytes of memory, just by visiting the site.
  68.  
  69. So in the autumn, Liamlime assumed the role of webmaster, rewriting the website code to ensure it's long term sustainability.
  70.  
  71.  
  72. The Second Year of 1hGJ
  73. -----------------------
  74.  
  75. Throughout 2016 real-life stuff meant that the bitslap brothers' livestreams didn't happen consistently. Community members would sometimes volunteer to host if one wasn't already happening. Then guests (other community members) would sometimes join the livestreams via skype. Overall, only about half of jams would be followed by a stream during this year.
  76.  
  77. Notable mentions include: Alyphen, Mikedx.
  78.  
  79. Despite this, the jam maintained it's popularity, with typically around 20 entries per event, and several hundred participants in total.
  80.  
  81.  
  82. The 100th Jam
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  84.  
  85. After two years (in early 2017), it was the 100th jam, which saw it's founders Bitslap and Sorceress returning to take part in what would be the largest jam to date with 39 game entries. The Bitslap brothers also returned for a one off special livestream.
  86.  
  87. Throughout much of 2017 and 2018, livestreams were performed by members Aurel and DanePlays.
  88.  
  89. The jam went smoothly each week, and little effort was needed to maintain the event.
  90.  
  91.  
  92. The Winter of Discontent
  93. ------------------------
  94.  
  95. Late in 2018, Sorceress discovered that she no longer had administrative access to the website. She enquired why that was removed, and requested of the webmaster to restore it. She then learned of a group of 1hgj users who called themselves a "council", who the webmaster chose to listen to instead of the event's owners. This self-appointed council decided that the irc channel was no longer official, yet their discord channel was. The self-appointed council also decided to remove administrative access to Sorceress and Bitslap. The webmaster strangely chose to go along with all of this.
  96.  
  97. This caused months of unhappiness for Sorceress, as she had never given up her ownership rights to 1hgj, yet it was as if the event had been taken from her, with administrative decisions being made by unauthorised persons behind her back. The webmaster seemed unwilling to comply with her wishes.
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