In this interview, we talk about their experience entering game jams along with plenty of advice on how to approach your next game jam. If you feel inspired after this to do your own game jam, be sure to check out our new Game Jam we're doing with Women in Games.
First off, both of you have been on winning teams for Into Games’ Side Quest Game Jams:
Claire who helped to make The Great McButter Escape
Akvile who helped to make Eggcellent Care
Can you tell us about your roles on these jams?
[Claire] As one of the game designers I had to brainstorm and effectively communicate potential ideas that fit the theme with my team. As the lone 2D artist I then had to make it come to life through visually engaging pixel art.
[Akvile] Eggcellent Care was made by a group of recent graduates - myself, Chloe and Beth! Chloe was our amazing programmer and put everything together in the engine, Beth created the UI, menu screen and the loving mother hen art, while I created the enemy and level background art.
What other game jams have you taken part in?
[Claire] I’ve done three so far. One week long Into Games' Side Quest jam #4 with Mediatonic to the theme of ‘One Room’, Side Quest jam #5 with Hangar13 to the theme of ‘Two Metres’ and a 48 hour long GMTK Game Jam 2020 to the theme of ‘Out of Control’.
[Akvile] WiG game jam was our first one together, the only other one being a game jam hosted by Into Games as well - The Final Side Quest with Codemasters in which we were lucky to win joint first place again, that time with a slightly bigger team!
Did you know your team members before doing these specific game jams?
[Akvile] Absolutely! We were, at that time, recent graduates of University of Northampton, all studying games related courses. Chloe in Games Development and myself and Beth - Games Art. We've worked on university projects together before.
What’s your favorite part about working on a Game Jam?
[Claire] The excitement of making something cool, being creative into the midnight hours, constructing a collective fun vision through humorous art assets and mechanics, and making each other laugh when editing story narrative.
[Akvile] Our favorite part of the game jam was probably the fact we got the chance to group up again for another project like the old times. Generally speaking though, sitting down and brainstorming! We have some wild and imaginative members on our team who love to create and push far!
Once you figure out the Game Jam theme, what’s your process for creating your game?
[Claire] We brainstorm potential ideas that fit the theme through a vocal virtual meeting to get base clear direction. We then assign job roles that everyone is comfortable with, (art/coding/narrative) and set up a further meeting date to check on progress made to the required deadline.
[Akvile] Beth had the initial idea for this game jam, after which we put our ideas together for the game mechanics. We mapped it out and drew it up quickly on paper and then wrote down all the art and programming mechanics so everyone knew what they were doing. Communication is key!
Who do you feel Game Jams are for and why do you think they should take part in them?
[Claire] I’d recommend them to anyone looking to dip their toes into what it’s like to take on one of the many roles in the games industry on a small scale in a fun and challenging environment. It is also a great way to meet new people, make friends and make something cool together.
[Akvile] Absolutely everybody! I don't believe you have to have studied game related things to try and participate in the fun! In the end it's not at all about winning, it's the time, effort and imagination that you put into it that matters most. It’s also a great way to make friends!
What’s been your favorite game jam theme so far?
[Claire] ‘Out of Control’ theme for the GMTK game jam we came up with the most out there funny ideas to begin with. We also messed with the gameplay a lot in terms of input mechanics and challenged the player in different ways, one of which was unexpectedly rotating the screen mid play!
[Akvile] While I haven't participated in many, last year's WiG theme was very fun, because the topic was very broad and possibilities were limitless, depending on the mood you decide to go for! I thought it was unique and sweet.
Do you have any advice for anyone hoping to take part in their first game jam?
[Claire] Check out the Into Games Discord and the main hub game jam community over at @itchio website, peruse and pick a jam from the list that appeals to you and join their discord channel then find a team. Don’t be scared get stuck in. Jump in and have fun! :)
[Akvile] Don't be afraid! Being alone from the start shouldn't be a reason to avoid participation because there are always teams looking for people to join them for specific roles so you will always find your place as long as you take a minute to look! Ask, involve yourself and have fun!
As a last question! Where can we find your amazing work?
[Akvile] The game for 2020 WiG game jam can be found here: https://exciting-pancake.itch.io/eggcellentcare
And my personal work here: https://t.co/Ip4zuGIbwn?amp=1