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What is a game jam + how should you prepare

Mika Aho

Written by:
Mika Aho

Game jams bring together professionals and amateurs alike in a 48-hour hackathon, the point of which is to make a game based on a theme. Eficode has hosted game jams for three years running and 2019 is no exception. Don’t miss Mika Aho’s top tips for coming prepared to your game jam.

It’s that time of year again.

Nope, I’m not talking about Christmas - I’m obviously talking about the Global Game Jam/the Finnish Game Jam. Eficode has organized a site for Eficodeans and their close friends hosted on the Eficode premises for multiple years in a row now and 2019 is no exception.

What is a game jam?

So what is this GGJ/FGJ business all about? It’s a 48-hour hackathon in which enthusiasts (both professional and amateur alike) gather to make a game based on the given theme.

The theme changes every year and is revealed to all jammers when their respective events begin. A set of diversifiers is also provided. Their purpose is to give some extra challenge for the more experienced jammers.

Room to groove

The really fun part of the event is that the given theme is actually really simple. In 2018, it was “transmission” and the year before that it was “waves”. This might not sound very fancy, but the fun starts when people from different backgrounds and with different areas of expertise begin to think about the different possible ways of implementation. Someone who is graphically talented might have a vastly different idea than someone who is specialized in back end development.

The really interesting implementations exists somewhere in between those visions. For example, at Eficode, last years theme “transmission” was transformed into a metro simulation game, a telco simulation game, and a mind-blowing hacking game.

You can check out the 2018 games that were made at Eficode online.

Preparing for a game jam

To prepare for a game jam, make sure you have your tools of choice installed and up-to-date. You definitely don’t want to start your jam by downloading gigabytes worth of installers at the same time as all the other jammers.

It also doesn’t hurt to check up on some tutorials and refresh your skills with game engines like Unity, for example, especially if you’re jamming for the first time.

Join Eficode's next game jam!

If you would like to be a part of our next game jam, check out our open positions or befriend an Eficodean, preferably both!