2021 Gain Jam Postmortem

Good day everyone!

While we wait on the first round of judging to finish up I wanted to make a bit of a postmortem about this year gain jam as well as our plans for next year. While we have been quite impressed with the quality and creativity of many of this years entries I would be lying if I did not say that this years jam was a bit rough compared to our previous jams.

I hope that a small postmortem will both help us learn from our failures as well as provide some intresting insights into how we run our jams.


First, it may be best to over what our goals for the jam is. In general the Jam has 3 primary goals in order of importance are:

  1. Challenge devs to improve their skills
  2. Encourage development of rapid prototyping skills & try new concepts
  3. Try to encourage new devs to at least try their hands at game dev

Along with these primary goals we have two secondary goals as well:

  1. Provide a fun event for the community
  2. Promote the site in the wider community

In general we think we have hit these goals quite well though I know there has been some contention on if we hit these goals with this years theme with a few members in the community.

So, what went wrong?

Regardless of your stance on the theme though we can say objectively that this years jam more chaotic than usual. After taking a long hard look at it to figure out why this years jam did not work out as well I think the root of most of the issues can be traced to one thing, lack of time on our part.

Many people do not realize this, but organizing a game jam takes quite a bit of time. Between planning, budgeting, finding judges, and other prep work we usually spend between 3-4 months planning the jam. This year though we where running at least 3 weeks to a full month behind of schedule even with us rescheduling the jam.

For example, we usually meet to discuss the jam theme at least 2-3 times but this year we only got to meet once on it and did not get to spend a ton of time discussing our options due to external factors. We also did not get our ads finished and into FA until less than a week before the jam where usually we have them ready and submitted 2-3 weeks beforehand. Even when we where discussing the extension I was technically still at work that entire Friday night due to an ASAP issue at work which once again prevented us from properly discussing the issue resulting in a knee jerk reaction.

There are a few more factors than just time but no matter how I look at it our lack of time this year is by far the largest contributing factor and, if I am being honest, we should have probably considered canceling the jam this year after it became clear we where running so far behind schedule.

Why does the Jam take so much time?

I do not want to go into to much detail on this as this topic is large enough on its own topic, but in general for any event there is always a ton of background work that has to go into it. For us its things like contracts, ads, budgeting/funding, system maintenance/ops, parteon voting, theme discussion, scheduling, considering judging changes, reaching out to potential judges, answering questions, among many other things.

All of this takes a ton of time, and while I am greatly thankful for all the help @kilif and @Juxtaterrestrial give me, all of this work usually falls on me meaning much of this prep work is done by one person.

If this was a smaller jam like it was in the past with only a hand full of participants or we where just picking our favorite game of the batch I am sure it would be much simpler, but we work hard to not only try to make the Jam something worth looking forward to every year but to also encourage devs in our community to really spread their wings and grow as developers.

Why did you all not have as much time this year?

The short answer Covid. As I am sure many of you already know Weight Gaming is not our day job. Both @kilif and I work professionally as enterprise developers, and due to all the layoffs and other factors during the initial phases of the pandemic we both saw our usual work load increase significantly.

In @kilif case he works as a contractor for two large cancer research centers, and due to covid and the hospitals trying their best to keep their grants he found himself working almost near constantly on his projects.

My side is a bit more convoluted. Right before Covid hit I switched Jobs and only a few months after I joined up 50% of our work force had to be laid off. To further aggravate issues the company I worked for was acquired about a month or 2 after the initial layoffs. Between the layoffs and the acquisition our dev, it, and helpdesk department shrunk from near 35 to about 5 with 3 of those being dev and the other 2 operations/it. Due to this 5 people had to take on the workload of 35 people with dev having to take on the responsibilities of not only maintenance and new dev but also some of ops/it and all of help desk. This only got worse as time went on as we got more and more major projects with tight deadlines and the additional resources we where promised never materialized.

For me the stress of it all finally came to a head during the migration we had late July when I was rushed to the ER after loosing consciousness during the migration. The docs where worried I had a stroke as I lost peripheral vision in my right eye for almost an hour after waking back up. So far they are still not sure what happened but outside of something with my brain everything points to the stress of managing everything just finally getting to me.

So mainly due to being so overworked for both @kilif and myself we had much less time to dedicate to the site and the jam then we usually would have.

How are we going to try to fix it

While there is not much @kilif and I can do to fix the fact we still need to work while we run the site and to help its expansion; we have a few ideas that we hope will help us smooth out the jam a bit more next year, some of them already being implemented.

2 Round Judging

We have already implemented this but by splitting the judging of the games into 2 rounds it helps reduce the judging workload that both @kilif and myself would usually have to take on ourselves.

Consistent Scheduling

To ensure that our community members can plan their schedules around the jam we plan on doing our best to keep scheduling for future jams consistent. From this point on the Jam will always be held in August with us doing our best to aim for some time around mid August.

We will do our best to announce the specific dates around 3 months before the Jam and no latter than 2 months before hand. If for some reason we can not hold the jam in August, we will instead consider canceling the jam instead of rescheduling it if we feel we can not give everyone proper notice about the delay.

Wild Cards

To help simplify initial judging as well as trying to keep the jam approachable while challenging devs to improve we will be introducing a wild card system. Instead of one theme, there where will be one general theme that is meant to be very open ended and simple, and then optional “cards” which will have challenges that devs can try to tackle for bonus points. This is similar to some Jams like the godot wild jam.

We are still working out the details, but we really like this idea as we can allow patreons to fully choose the theme and we can choose more technical challenges to help push devs.


I would like to thank you all for bearing with me through this massive post. I hope this provided some insight into our jams and explains some of the issues we hit this year.

We thank you all for your patience and support this year! I am sorry that the quality of the jam this year was not quite up to our usual standards, and I hope the changes we have planned for next year will help improve the quality of our Jam.


I do really like the idea of wild cards. the game I tried to make for this years theme I couldn’t motivate myself to finish since I had very little interest in playing the game I was making, the wild cards would probably make that less likely to happen.
it is also an opportunity for people to style on everyone else by taking all the wild cards :​P

how many do you think a jam will have and how many bonus points would they give?

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the wild cards is what the Godot Wild Jam uses, they can be very fun to add to a game jam.

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Just for clarity, here’s the current Godot Jam wildcards:

They’re like mini challenges, at least in how they implemented them.

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I’m glad you guys are here, and that you take this stuff seriously enough to even do these Postmortems when issues occur, @grotlover2 . I’m honestly surprised to see this much maturity in handling these kinds of issues, especially given the abundance of drama that is common in other communities like ours. Some would just let the issue be forgotten or even blame others. That you take ownership of the issue shows that you take transparency and accountability seriously, and I’m so very glad for it.

That being said, I believe it is time for change. Things cannot go on like this indefinitely. The workload problem is a serious one, and above all, we cannot let it reach the point of compromising the staff’s health. (This is also a good to remind that often forgotten fact that mental health is indeed, also health)

Have you considered making a call to arms? Put more people on the organization and help to share the load? Or make a donation drive campaign to help with the site.

I am also a dev and was also hit hard by Covid. For the last year or so I’ve been constantly short on money, and even shorter on time, so I understand how hard it is to give either, especially to what is mostly a weird kink website. At the same time, I’ve dedicated half of my life to game development, and throughout the years I derived great joy in seeing people discover the amazing empowerment of forging games out of their diligence and dreams(whether wet or dry haha). I believe this is the time to put my time/money where my mouth is, and stop watching from the sidelines.

So I ask whoever is reading this long-ass rant to also lend their hands as well, however they can, and I plead with the staff to please consider sustainable ways to let us help, so that we can share the burden as well.

This is our community as much as yours, and we must all work to keep it a good environment for everyone, including staff.

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You are doing your part in explaining the reasons why things are going the way they are on this site as long as you apologize and explain the reasons you’ve got nothing to worry about but in this case it was very complicated and especially for the stress in your job and passing out I’m sure everyone here will understand but I hope you don’t have to get stressed out to that level anytime soon. It’s one thing to be stressed but passing out because of it is a whole other level. But in my opinion your being too harsh on yourself the situation you explained with your job was out of your control

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I think this is a through analysis of the Jam, though I have to wonder if there are considerations to extending the time frame. I remember there being a lot of confusion when the poll when up for the one to two week extension, though I’m not sure if having a longer time frame would solve those issues. And I believe having a theme less mechanically inclined would solve the issue more so than added wild cards.

I know it’s hard for me to truly grasp the amount of effort that goes into a jam on top of running the site on top of real life stuff, but it’s been a pleasure to participate, and I’m glad the Jam happened.

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Sorry for being so behind here but finally got some time to respond to some of these posts.

Not sure yet, but likely 3 which we feel gives good variety. As for bonus points its to early to tell.

We have a bit but its kind of hard to justify.

Donation drives are nice, but we really need stable and consistent income as opposed to bursts of it which is why we more or less rely on ads and the generous support we get on patreon though we should probably push the fact we have a parteon a bit more lol.

As for spreading out tasks we are trying to do that a bit as we can. A huge help would be delegating some of the axillary tasks off my plate like taxes, accounting, setting up contracts, graphic design, ect. The main issue is many of these are quite in-depth tasks that require quite a bit of work done consistently so we do not really want to ask for volunteers for many of these tasks if we can not give them at least some compensation for their time and work on them.

There are a few tasks we are considering/or have decided on delegating such as filing taxes and possibly looking for some one to take on community management for me.

I can understand your reasoning there, though the issue is making the theme less mechanically inclined comprises goals 1 and 2 a bit ( Challenge devs to improve their skills & 1. Encourage development of rapid prototyping skills & try new concepts) which is the balancing act we are dealing with right now. Wild cards though allow us to allow for less mechanically inclined/more general themes while still satisfying goals 1 and 2 by having the cards be more mechanically inclined instead of the theme allowing devs to kind of set their difficulty level.

As for the extension, that was only going to be a one time deal and was really just done based on some bad information since we did not have the time to look into it as well as we should have.