Game Jams: A Really Good Start

If you’re at all interested in the wonderful world of Game Design, you’ve probably already started doing some research on how to use the most popular game engines such...

If you’re at all interested in the wonderful world of Game Design, you’ve probably already started doing some research on how to use the most popular game engines such as Unity and Unreal. You’ve probably picked up a programming language, or started teaching yourself how to do game models. It’s no surprise that in a world with one of the most interesting creative mediums in the entire world, there are people who want to be part of the creation of those very games.

stip2If designing or developing video games feels like something you truly want to do with your life, there’s something you should consider making a habit of. Game Jams. Game Jams are among the most valuable ways to learn the development tools necessary to make a game from start to finish. Essentially, these events take solo developers as well as teams, and pits them against each other in competitions that can last up to a full week. During this competition, the participants must design and develop a full game from start to finish, using only the tools at your disposal, the assigned theme, and no pre-made assets. It’s a challenge, but it’s some of the greatest learning a developer can have.

You learn how to make a game with a good scope, never pushing yourself beyond what you don’t truly believe you’re capable of. If you know you have 48 hours to make a game, you should design something that takes 48 hours to make. It sounds like common sense, but it’s surprisingly hard to get a grasp on one’s own workflow. Game Jams provide a fantastic opportunity to come into knowing that.

The collaborative piece is obviously crucial as well. Knowing your team, and understanding each person’s talent and pace is key in a development setting.

To conclude, Game Jams are a great and valuable experience for any aspiring developer. If you find the opportunity to participate in one, you’ll learn quite a bit about how to make games in teams.

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Mustapha is a young yet spirited university student majoring in Game Art and Development. While he's but a senior in college, he has an extensive history with the art of gaming journalism. Managing his own game review blog for several years, as well as attending events such as Boston FIG and PAX East has given him extensive experience in covering game news. His knowledge of game design also serves as a tool to develop finite understanding of what makes games work.
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