GameJams too short


TL;DR: Please give the community monthly challenges to work on games, gameJam’s have been amazing in getting people to release that first game, but now we also need a time-frame to collaborate on the deeper questions of game development.

So I tried to participate in a couple gameJams here over the past month, but being a solo developer it has just been too much stress to do it all alone and I buckled under the pressure, previously I have found myself spitting and swearing from the tight deadline of a gameJam. Similarly weekends are the only time I really know I can go out and see my friends, probably the best way to let off stress I have.

As an alternative, or perhaps more specifically a parallel to gameJams, I’d like to see something of a monthly challenge; honestly, I’ve done 5 or 6 game jams by now and I get it, lots of people didn’t “get it” that you need to get in the habit of making fast prototypes if you want to make good games, but I shouldn’t be pushing myself to the point where I am frothing at the mouth over something that barely reaches the boundaries of innovation.

The very designs of games themselves have “bugs”, for example; FPS games are often fun only for the very best players, so maybe some sort of AI involvement might allow the not-so-good players to shoot and kill something for fun, similarly RTS games have not evolved very much since the first Company of Heroes which suffers from issues with the player having a base that can be exploited, then there are the issues with the siege combat in total war games that have never been fully resolved. We simply need a much larger time frame, which includes rest and reflection upon the game design if we are going to solve these issues.

I think gameJams have been revolutionary in the way that they have resolved issues in the way people approach rapid game development, but so often I see repeats of the same ideas, basic FPS or TPS games, physics based games where you pick up stuff and put it in boxes, tower defence games and simple point and click / adventure games. I’m not saying gameJams are bad, it’s just that a gameJam does not allow the time to pause and think for a few days on how to approach a fundamental problem that may be encountered in so many game design genres.

Monthly challenges are not the only thing that could be done to improve this situation, I have noticed that the Twitch stream does not have the time to delve into WIP projects as Dana and Chance did in the earlier days; now it’s mostly commercial stuff because people are releasing things, that’s all good but the smaller projects still need some lime-light. I spoke about this a year ago when I suggested that the UE4 forums have a showcase ( ).

A monthly challenge would give developers the change to submit multiple versions of their games into the thread and get feedback, which could ultimately lead to improvements in the art and science of game development as a whole. If you took a time machine back to the year 2005, the difference between concept art and 3d modeling then and now has been a total revolution, with what was exceptional then, being the norm now.

Finally I want to say that we Unreal Engine users are a unique breed, we by large come from a AAA FPS background we didn’t get into game design in the hopes that we could create some “little-old-me” platformer game with retro graphics, we got into game dev because we wanted to improve the most badass 3D AAA titles, as Unreal Tournament was/is, and as a consequence we don’t gel with the larger indie communities like LudumDare or the Unity/GameMaker communities.

Btw, last two game jam was too close one to another

Hey Daz! Thanks for the feedback here, let me see how we can address some of it :slight_smile:

This is something we’ve talked about and have a few things in the works on already. Stay tuned for more info, and know that we’re looking into how we can do more focused, longer term challenges for the community.

At the heart of our game jams is the celebration of both creativity and fun, and we hope they are a creative outlet for those developers that participate each month. I’m unsure if game jam projects will be able to solve the design issues mentioned here as they intrinsically focus on quick prototypes and exploring design. We’ll chat though and see if theres a solution to the the request :slight_smile:

We still do Community Spotlight each week on Twitch (outside of the game jam weeks) on the great projects we find from here on the forums, twitter, or other areas that developers grab our attention. What would you like to see more of? Also, we do have a long-running thread of these projects here! It might not be in the most obvious of spaces though, so we’ll see about improving it. Alexander and I were just discussing this earlier.

Keep an eye out on the events section of the forums and our blog for any new announcements we will have on the subject in the future

Hey there CriErr

Due to E3, the June jam was a week later than normal, throwing our entire rhythm off… Going forward, they should always kick off on the second Thursday of the month, giving ample time in between and avoiding any holiday closures at the end of the year :slight_smile:

Let me know if you have any questions, and thanks again for the feedback!