Thoughts on my Spark Forum post:
I signed up to the games jam for Women In Games to participate, but I did not want to pressure myself to finish a game. I wanted to set unrealistic targets, learn ambitiously and see how successful teams approached their games jams. While I planned not to submit a game, I found that I was still unrealistic with my aspirations for the game, which was a massive learning curve.
Joining and failing my first game jam removed my anxiety about participating. I do not thrive in overtly, competitive environments. I was terrified this game jam would be a games-making version of Fortnite, where we all try and take each other out. The opposite was true. Everyone was lovely, the games were terrific, and everyone supported each other. Another reason I wanted to reach out to anyone that might be feeling the pressure on the spark forum, game jams aren’t scary, they are fun.
After submitting my forum post, I had a long think about ideation. My cohort has a wealth of experience in rapid ideation, wireframes, storyboarding and game jams. I felt that I should keep my post to my experience as a beginner game jammer and offer a what-not-to-do post. There are people far more experienced than me to provide solid tips: But for my reflection, I have spent some time considering my prototyping and rapid ideation experience.
- I have taken part in NaNoWriMo and The Three Day Novel Contest, two examples of rapid ideation or game jams for writers
- I have also prototyped for clients, (designing WordPress portfolio sites, mood boards for clients and sketches for clients)
- As part of my studies for creative writing, I have used storyboards and prepared scripts
I realised I am underplaying my prototyping experience, although I have identified a weakness in the process all these years. I should be more formally prototyping and keeping these records for my own personal reflection.
“If you have ever participated in a jam or hackathon, what was it like? Do you have any tips for ideation? Do you have any first-hand experience using prototyping tools?” (Falmouth University 2020).
I participated in a game jam through Women In Games (which is open to everyone who supports women in games), but I did not complete my game. I felt too nervous about submitting my finished piece, which didn’t feel good enough. What I did do is have a lot of fun and learn a lot.
Another student mentions on his blog that one thing he remembers is getting tired on his first game jam – I want to second this! It was five days long (evenings), and I did get serious fatigue.
Mostly I got into a complete panic and started throwing away animations and drawings and changing my mind. I made a garden and a boy that wanders around planting seeds, and that was about it. I did not prototype or plan and went straight into photoshop and just made whatever came into my head. I then continually kept re-working it. So my tip is: don’t panic, plan a little!
I’ve talked a little now about narrative games, Dixit and non-competitive games, and that is how I feel a game jam should be approached. Collaboratively, non-competitively and there to learn and have fun with. For some game jammers, an extremely competitive environment can foster their creativity and drive, but I want to say for all the beginners like myself there are loads of non-competitive, small and fun game jams that promote learning.
There are loads of game jams for all different kinds of people. I am excited to participate in a game jam on this course and hopefully, this time submit something.
List of Figures
Figure 1. Sarah MASTERS. 2020. Assets from Women in games, game jam1.
Figure 2. Sarah MASTERS. 2020. Assets from Women in games, game jam2.
3-Day Novel Contest. Available at: https://www.3daynovel.com/ [accessed 3 October 2020].
Dixit, 2008, Marie Cardouat, Libellud.
Falmouth University. 2020. ‘Week 3: Spark Forum’. Falmouth Flex [online]. Available at: https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/872/discussion_topics/17749 [accessed 3 October 2020].
Fortnite. 2017. Epic Games, People Can Fly, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
NaNoWriMo. Available at: https://nanowrimo.org/ [accessed 3 October 2020].
Women in Games WIGJ. Available at: http://www.womeningames.org/ [accessed 3 October 2020].