Walter Mays

My Third Failed Game Jam

I’ve been playing with game development for several years now. I’ve researched engines and frameworks, looked into drawing, level design, and music programs, and thrown around ideas. I even started programming a few of them. Guess how many I’ve finished.

I’m not the only one with this problem. Most “game developers” never really get much farther than a working prototype of a few of their core mechanics. While that can be fun — if you call fiddling with weights until the movement doesn’t seem to floaty or heavy “fun” — it’s not as fulfilling as (I imagine) completing a game would be.

“I know,” I thought, “I’ll join a game jam! That’ll give me enough motivation.” Alas, it was not to be. Until college, I never really had the time to put in an entire weekend for a game jam – not when I had to get to school by 7am the following Monday. And Ludum Dare, one of the most popular game jams, never fell during the summer.

Even so, I tried to join two while still in high school. Both times I took a look at the theme, thought and occasionally typed for an hour, and gave up. I blamed this on not having the right software, the right graphics, the right engine — but really I knew that I needed to grit my teeth and just do it.

So when I came across a game jam for the month of January, I thought “perfect. I’ll be able to start on this at the end of winter break, so I’ll have the motivation to keep going during the school year.” I put my name on the mailing list and sat back contentedly.

Except none of that ever happened. I still haven’t started, and I’ve all but forgotten that I entered in the first place. I don’t intend on entering a submission.

That said, I still want this to happen. I still want to be able to say “yes, I made a game.” I don’t care how small it is, I just want to make it, complete it, and share it.

So for all of those who know a) me and b) a bit of programming, let me know if you’re interested in a collaboration at some time when schedules aren’t hell. And for every other game programmer looking for inspiration to finally get themselves over the hump: me too.