I feel like Weight Gaming should host the game jams quite a bit more often.

It’s strange. Over the course of two years, there have been a grand total of two fat fortnight game jams. Sure, one is coming soon, judging by the name change poll, but I wish that change will bring a lot more jams than just one per year.

It’s not even a question of “there’s no prize.” Game jams aren’t about winning, there aren’t prizes. The point is to come together as a community to have fun making games. This forum seems like it would have a LOT of interested participants, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the rarity of the FFGJs might discourage them from joining, or if it just happens at a bad time.

That’s why I think FFGJs should happen more often, at least once every 4 months. Even more often if there’s interest.

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Personally I think that the community here do not seem big enough for constant jams. The more often they occur the less people will want to participate in all of them. Developers may get burnt out or have other things to do. though I do agree a annual or bi annual one would be nice.

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I’m sure if the mods felt it was viable, there would be a game jam more often…

In my opinion, it probably isn’t practical. Yes, there are plenty of great ideas discussed on the forum, but a lot of the people who have these ideas can’t, for whatever reason, go any further than the idea stage, especially in the short timescale of a game jam. Furthermore, a lot of people seem to put a great deal of effort into what they create for the jam as they see it as a special occasion.

Personally, I’d rather see an infrequent game jam with plenty of good games than a frequent one with a few mostly mediocre ones.

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An annual already is there. Even if it wouldn’t be once every 4 months, at least have it biannually.

So, you suggest people spend their time at least 3 times a year without money compensation just for you to have fap material? Kinda entiteled, dont you think? I personally think one a year is more than enough and we probably should make a prize pool patreon or something like that, so anyone can give little money to the winner

I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but the big reason the game jam has been as successful as it has is that we spend well over a thousand dollars and many many hours on preparing ads, themes, any related event, etc., not to mention judging the content. Setting up the ads on different sites can take months of back and forth talking with the sites, we have to contract artists to design them or to create assets for us, there’s the more guerilla style advertising we do all leading up to it, etc.

Then there’s the prize money, which, last year, totaled around 1K, which the site does not pull in enough patreon money to do more than once a year (considering our other costs and projects the site supports). In fact, generally, @grotlover2 and myself have to pay out of pocket for these ventures, which is not something I can really afford to do through out the year (especially now). And yes, I’m going to be blunt, while there would be some devs that create games without the economic incentive, the prize is a major motivating force, even if only indirectly. That’s why, this year, we’re expanding the prize tiers so its not so concentrated into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

Then, of course, there’s the dev burnout, which is something we discussed early on. We were so excited to see the engagement from the first game jam and the traffic it drove to the site, that we would love to do them more than once a year, but its really hard on the contestants. They have 2 weeks to make a working game and are competing for a decent sum of money. Its exciting, yes, but its stressful and we saw some cracks forming last game jam that concerned us. We don’t want to wear out the community devs. We want them working on their own projects, the ones they put their real passion in, the ones that keep the community alive between these events.

Finally, there’s the massive time investment that the judges have to deal with after the fact. Last game jam, we saw a massive increase in submissions that necessitated, at least for me, well over a full 24 hours worth of judging, to say nothing of the hours of discussion I had with the other judges. Outside of this site, my free time is generally very limited, so finding a full day’s worth of hours to set aside and judge this content is not practical. Last time, I think I had to take vacation time to get it done. And this year, we’re looking to have a community judge, so even more time will be invested in this overall.

So, as someone said above, yes if we thought it was practical, we would do more of these jams. I’m going to be blunt and say that it would not be worth our time to put together a jam with no monetary prizes. The money (and energy around the event) drives development, which drives interest, which drives traffic, which drives more projects and devs joining the site. At the end of the day, these jams were all about expanding the community and giving something back to the talented developers that have decided to join and help our community grow with more content and eyes on their content. We cannot ask them to do that for free.

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Don’t jump to conclusions. The reason I brought this up was because I want to participate, but they’re so few and far between.

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That’s a lot of information I didn’t even know about. I would’ve understood the rarity of the events more if they were just called competitions (considering there’s a cash prize?). I didn’t even know much about the advertising, either.

I’d just assumed this is just a small, tightly-knit event within this forum, and that’s it. I never considered there to be money involved.

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That’s fine! A few others (including a dev here and there) have asked us to expand it, so you’re not alone. Once our revenue streams increase and the community grows a bit more, its something we want to revisit, maybe something like a couple of much smaller jams with a much smaller prize spread throughout the other parts of the year. We’d need the site to be organically growing and be more of a “household name,” so to speak, so we wouldn’t have to rely on advertising so much.

But yeah, that’s why I wanted to go into all of those details because people are always surprised how much work goes into these (mostly all on grotlover2). Hopefully, one day, it’ll be more practical to do them more often.

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You… know you can just make a game, right? You dont need to wait for game jam

That is true, but with a game jam, a hard time limit is a very good motivator. It also keeps expectations and ambitions low, and you get to see all the cool stuff other jammers have made.

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Its also immensly reduce quality of the games, as they very rushed in development. And i think having goal set in stone then developing the game (or anything for that matter) is half of succes, so if you cant realisticly plan out your game - game jam wont help you much

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@kilif is completely correct. While it may seem simple on the surface we actually do a lot when setting up these game jams. Due to all the advertising, community out reach, planning, budgeting, ect it actually takes 3-4 months of prep for each 2 week jam. For example the next Jam is scheduled for August and we began preliminary planning back in late March early April with everything starting to swing into full gear this month.

Also, there is the financial burden to consider as we do end up spending over $1000USD each jam on prizes and advertising (though some of this we cover right out of our pocket). Due to our current expenses it can take us at least 3-5 months to raise the necessary funds through our Patreon; not to mention we do fund projects from time to time so dedicating more of our limited income towards game jams means less funding for other projects.

Finally, we do worry about developer burn out. Jams can be quite fun but also very stressful. We fear that if we hold them too often people will get burnt out and stop participating due to the stress.

There have been some other users and devs who have also requested that we hold Jams more often and we do consider it every year, but we just dont feel we have the resources to make it practical atm.

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At the price of sounding cynical,

Game jams aren’t about winning, there aren’t prizes. The point is to come together as a community to have fun making games.

I agree with you but i know some may not, the financial incentive is one of the reasons why we get so many games during the jams, it’s a motivating factor to get something out the door which (Due to the rule about not asking about updates, agree with it or not) is not seen outside of these game jams. And at the current size and amount of money in the site’s patreon, it’s not viable to do that every single year, and without it, we would probably not see as big and as good of a field as we do during the other game jams.

As Kilif et al pointed out:

  1. The people wanting more contests generally aren’t the people that pay for them (or otherwise contribute labour to their organisation)
  2. Having contests all the time may result in burnout for repeat contestants
  3. There are a lot of other things the cost of extra contests could be used to invest in for greater return (forum improvements, game hosting, stopping the site from being reliant on owners to keep the lights on)

If anything were to be changed in future contents, I would say using it to encourage networking among the community and less common genres. There always seems to be people here that have a limited set of skills but don’t know/aren’t comfortable with anyone enough to collab on a project. Similarly, the gravitation towards specific engines makes it harder for people to stand out and having an incentive to make something different would be nice.

But both of those things are about quality of contests, not quantity. For a community this size, I don’t see more than 2 as viable. It’d be nice to have one for summer and another for winter so that devs are less likely to miss out if they can’t make jam times fit with their schedule - but not if it’s at the expense of the people keeping the lights on in a way they’re uncomfortable with.

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Like I already stated once, game jams usually don’t have prizes. Contests do. I’d say the name is a little bit misleading at the moment, though I hope the upcoming name change will remedy this.

To be fair Game Jams are a contests. They have declared winners and rankings and many give the prize of bragging rights. Just because they do not give out cash prizes does not mean they are not contests.

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I agree, the fat game jams are a great way to get projects going!

Yep I agree, and I also feel game jams puts into perspective just how many game creators are out there dedicated to this site and also gives newer creators more exposure and criticism to improve their game.
On a site note, I really hope that some of the winners of the last game jam expand on their prototype. Culinary Combat has so much potential tbh.

I’ve never been able to take part in a game jam due to the timing. It always seems to fall when I’m away from my dev environment, or otherwise busy, so in that respect it would be good to make it bi-annual. However, this summer may well end up being different!

If there were to be a second contest, then I’d personally look for something with a longer time frame, maybe a few months from the theme announcement to the submissions. A two week jam obviously focuses involvement and effort and that’s the joy of all these kinds of hackathon derived competitions, but at the heart it encourages a “hacky” development - and untidy, messy code is off-putting if you want to continue work after the contest ends. Potentially a longer contest could allow a more structured approach and more games continuing to be developed after the contest (which likely would be appreciated). Though I also suspect it may just lead to all the work being done in the last two weeks! Maybe something worth trying at least once.

The other change I’d make is to create a team-building subcategory under the game jam boards now, so that any dev teams can be formed before the jam starts.

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