Game Jam Strategy

With another game jam coming up I thought I would share my strategy for finishing a game in time:

One of the many reasons people's games don't get finished. Plan out your game and have the core mechanics fully understood. It's also a good idea to think of how you want your game to look and what some problems with your idea might be.

Don't Be Too Ambitious
Another of the top reasons games don't get finished is that the projects was to ambitious for the short amount of time. To plan wisely, first evaluate your abilities to create graphics/sound fx/music/gameplay. If you are working with a team, you might be able to do more.

Manage Your Time
You are going to run out of time. That's almost a given. So manage your time wisely. I would get core mechanics down first, then some high quality graphics, then levels. Polish up your game AFTER you have a playable game. Also, I would not leave graphics or level design till the very end as your work is going to be rushed and sloppy.

Playtest your game for bugs. Better yet, get someone else to do it. They are not going to know how your game works and might find bugs (my brother found a big bug in my Alone game). If you are playtesting, don't get distracted by how fun your game is. Look for specific bugs.

Don't Forget To Rest
You are a human and need your sleep. Instead of staying up late and having sloppy work the next day, get some sleep and you'll be more productive. I also take breaks while working on my game. This helps me think about my game and solidify my ideas or come up with new ones. If you are struggling with a bug, go take a walk and get some fresh air. Then come back an you might just have a different approach.

Don't Give Up
It's extremely easy to give up during a game jam. Maybe you can't figure out a bug or you have to much left to do. Give it your best to make a playable game. It might not have all the features you want or look as great but if it works you have accomplished a big feat! Making a game in a limited amount of time is not easy.

I hope this little guide helps you on your game jamming journey.


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