Beyond Game Jams?
- Beyond Game Jams?
- I don't think I've felt positive about a jam theme for a long time. At best they are neutral. I don't need a theme to come up with an idea. I already have ideas for games I'd like to make!
- Meanwhile, time limits in game jams force me to take shortcuts and break my design. They cause me to sabotage my own project. This reduces any feeling of achievement. But at the same time, a time limit provide a constant time pressure, keeping me dedicated and focused. A time limit helps me get things done. You could say I have a love-hate relationship with time limits :)
- Rules in game jams forbid me from using stuff I've already made. Sometimes I'm not in the mood for writing music, but I am in the mood to write code. Isn't it better to work in harmony with the tides of our own creativity? It's bad to force things out all in one go, when we're not in the mood for one or more of those things.
- I have mixed feelings about ratings in game jams too. The prospect of winning or scoring high is attractive, and it is nice to have feedback and comments on our work. Game jams do provide a guarantee that my game will get looked at and played by a few dozen people. It's nice to see that my game made someone happy.
- However, I feel that ratings distort my objectives. The games that do well in game jams are not necessarily games I like, nor are they games I would want to make. So I feel myself pulled in two directions: i) pulled towards my satisfying my own tastes; and ii) pulled away from my own tastes, towards making a game that would rate well.
- I don't think that tug of war resolves in a good place, as it pulls me into some awkward middle ground where I end up making something that's above average, yet unremarkable, both to the community and to myself.
- Game jams have given me a lot of positives though. I love being part of the community. I enjoy the "taking part", and being part of this phenomenon. Game jams have encouraged me to make things, even if they're not great things. They have given me a glimpse of what I could achieve in gamedev if I dedicated time and energy for weeks instead of hours.
- But I don't dedicate that time and energy. I think it's no coincidence that since I have been doing game jams, I have stopped making games outside of game jams. Outside of game jams, I fear that my work would go unseen, that nobody would notice or care much about it. There's something of a vicious circle to that -- as if game jams are a bad solution to the problem of wanting to show the world what we made, and getting kind words in return.
- So where does this lead me? I don't yet know what the solution is. Am I done with game jams? Or do I need some kind of perpetual game jam that never ends? Maybe a place where we can maintain dev logs, and post links to builds, with some 'feedback friends' comment system bolted on, to guarantee feedback?
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