Jamming Along to Game Jams: An ILU Game Jam Post-Mortem

Abstract:

When it comes to mastering the art of game creation and production, nothing beats hands-on experience. And nothing simulates the pressures and challenges of real world game development quite like a game jam! In this talk, you will receive an introduction to game jams, learn what I learned over the course of one such jam, see what my team could (and could not) accomplish over the course of one, and benefit directly from the lessons I only learned in hindsight.

The jam was International Love Ultimatum Jam 2: Romantic Boogaloo (https://itch.io/jam/ilujam2), a challenge to create an entire romantically-themed video game within a month. Starting in the June of 2016, my team of artists, writers, and musical talent created the first demo of Anthrotari — a coming of age visual novel about growing up as a queer furry on the 90’s Internet — from scratch. The game touches on themes of loneliness and the online diaspora, examines identity from a variety of angles, and features an entirely queer cast. Work on the game continues and we look forward to releasing the complete game in 2017.

In this talk, you will learn how I assembled the team before and during the jam. You will receive an introduction to the tools and techniques employed in the game’s creation, including Slack, Ren’Py, and the Pomodoro Technique. We will go over the strategies and tactics used to bring the work together, keep the labor sustainable, and avoid burnout. We will cover budgeting and costs. And, in closing, I will offer recommendations on how to proceed after the end of the jam.

I look forward to sharing the thrilling experience of game jams with you!

 

Bio:

J. C. Holder is the creator and producer of Anthrotari, a coming of age visual novel about growing up as a queer furry on the 90s Internet (http://anthrotari.com). A software developer by trade, they also write fiction on the side, including the sci-fi novel Planet Oz (http://planetoz.net). An avid gamer, they have contributed to Beautiful Senshi Hearts, the mahou shoujo (magic girl) tabletop roleplaying game, as well (http://bsh.moe). You can find them on Twitter (@thirdtruck) or Mastodon (@jaycie) promoting creators, arguing for equality, and sharing photos of their massive plushie family.