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Author Topic: Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)  (Read 12537 times)

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Eremiell

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Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)
« on: January 11, 2016, 11:59:29 pm »
Hi everyone!

As it seems, the last SFML Game Jam was nearly a year ago, so I opened the topic up at IRC and was asked to bring it here.

So, ladies and gentleman (and queerfolk and strange lurking creatures and whatever you consider yourself to be), would you like to have another SFML Game Jam?

My idea would be to have it at least month (or at least say two weeks) away from both Global Game Jam and Ludum Dare, which gives us space sometime February/March or well, sometimes after.

What would you think?

I'd also like to push the rules a bit to roughly LD Jam level (unlimited team, use what you want, if you have rights to do so) to encourage people go wild and make games, but that would be up for another discussion if we agree we want to have another. We may as well split the leagues just as LD does, if there are people that wanna push and people that wanna stay. Just start meditating over it.

So right now the main question is: do you wanna have another SFML Game Jam? Secondary question is: would sometime February/March be good? (Try to propose other options if not.)

Thanks for any feedback and seeya jammin'!

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Re: Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2016, 12:26:44 am »
I will gladly support another jam. However, I really don't want to see it like the last time where only 4 games were submitted. To me planning a jam and then only having 4 games is more of a disgrace (congrats to those who did participate) than a real showcase and competition. If people are willing to support it and turn out (this is the key) then another jam is a great idea.

With regards to rule changes, I'm fine with having some changes - the website already supports jams with different time lengths (was part of what I built into the website rewrite in-case we wanted something like this). Just keep my above point in mind, if there isn't really a good turnout I'm not sure if splitting an already small pool into smaller pools would be a very good idea.

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« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 12:32:26 am by zsbzsb »
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Re: Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2016, 10:13:15 am »
However, I really don't want to see it like the last time where only 4 games were submitted.

Well, to make something decent in 3 days you have to have a lot of experience with SFML and at least some experience in gamedev, and you need to have 3 days free, because I don't work very productive after 8h in the office  :)

Nexus

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Re: Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2016, 03:28:27 pm »
Also have a look at this thread: Competition style voting

Regarding the low participation and things that went wrong, I tried to analyze the situation multiple times, these were my impressions:



In my opinion, we must do something differently than last time, in order to motivate people to participate and to give them the feeling that their projects are at least looked at. This has really been a pity in the past -- once the jam was over, 2 people checked out your game and that was it.

Another thing, even more crucial than voting, is to allow only themes that are a bit more specific and challenging. In my opinion, "Puzzle" was a really awful theme ;)

[...] Yes, there are several quite interesting themes, but also some very generic ones. It's a pity that people keep suggesting themes that are rather genres or that allow to do anything :(

[...] Same to me. I was quite disappointed that the theme was so generic and vague again. Even though I started working on something (on Sunday afternoon, I didn't have time before), the concept was too broad and ambitious to finish in such a short amount of time. Even though I would not have been able to do something big in one day anyway,  I might at least have come up with a nice prototype.

I'd really love if the theme was more concrete and specific, but of course that's democracy. The ironic part is just that people who do vote for a topic don't even participate (3 submitted games out of 13 votes). Seriously guys, if you push a certain theme then please at least try to work on it... Otherwise you're just blocking other themes where truly motivated people would contribute. ::)

[...] I'm not saying they actively sabotaged the jam, sorry if my statement sounded a bit harsh. What I wanted to say is: you can't deny that people who potentially participate are more motivated to do so if they like the theme... which in turn is likelier if their own votes carry more weight. If, among the voters, there are more people not participating than participating, then what effectively happens is that spectators dictate the ideas. This is not bad per se; there are different view on what "game jam" means. I'm just trying to give one explanation for the low participation -- which was already low last time, possibly also because of the broad theme (puzzle).

If I remember correctly, the second jam had the highest participation, and I claim that the inspiring theme (time travel) was a strong reason for it. I can say that it was for our team, and I'm pretty certain that others felt the same way. This is also supported by the great amount of creativity and variety in the submissions. I would say the 2nd game jam was a big success in that regard.

Of course, participation also has to do with users' availability, and there are only limited measures we can take to influence this part. One such measure would be what Tank said: make the jam last longer. Of course it's then not a jam in the classical sense anymore. But it's something to consider.



tl;dr:
  • Too broad themes -- too much freedom is not an advantage, otherwise we can as well do a game outside the jam
  • Theme is decided by spectators, demotivating developers with good ideas that carry no weight
  • Too few attention to the results -- other people who have a devlog in the project forum post multiple times a day, while the jam entry is forgotten almost instantly
Another thing is the occasional lack of guide or "officialness" or clear informations... for example, those 4 days extension for submission, a time frame that was 1 hour in earlier jams. But in general, it was really well organized and website suggestions were quickly implemented, thumbs up for that!
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 03:32:48 pm by Nexus »
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Eremiell

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Re: Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2016, 09:19:17 pm »
I'm now (more or less) working together with zsbzsb to make things going and any suggestions are more than welcome.

It looks like one of the crucial troubles is low awareness about the jam in general which leads to low participation etc. No big thing was build overnight and my impression is, we should push the promotion a bit, make things clear and predictable as in there's a SFML Game Jam x times a year around this and this time, so people can expect it, note it into their (mental) diaries, prepare for them and just get used to the idea of doing the jam that time of the year. Just what LD and GGJ does. Periodicity, promotion, awareness, preparedness.

It's honestly one of those circular problems. Not many games are done in the jam because not many people care about it at the moment and not many people care about it at the moment because not many games are done. And as the games won't make themselves, it's clear it must be cut at the people awareness part.

About the theme, voting, etc. Well, this can be really hard thing to crack. At most jams I've been to, the general feeling about the final theme was "why this one, there've been much better ones on the list", but yeah, that's democracy. About more people voting than delivering, I don't think people vote just to have games served to them, but people might vote, try to develop but in the end miss the deadline or generally screw. That happens and there's probably not much that can be done about it. We can make the timeframe a bit more benevolent (say 96h, from Friday 12 AM UTC to Tuesday 12 AM UTC) so people can better plan their time and not be affected that much by their timezone, but in the end, there will always be someone, who dislikes the setting no matter how it is.

My experience about much longer jams is bad in general. Once you have plenty of time, things get postponed, motivation and drive goes away after the first few days, work, family and life gets in the way and then, the jam silently ends. Some projects are delivered, but not many people care at that moment anymore. Some longer jams even embrace the idea, putting weight on the personal achievement and skipping any kind of voting or presentation in general besides "here's the list of games made, have fun".

Themes can be redacted a bit in the current system, but some clear key would probably be good, so people don't have bad feelings about their theme put down before voting without clear reason why. To broad might be a good marker along with offensive, nonsense (asdfghjkl) and probably other flags.

Completely different question is, how large really SFML user base is and how much of us are even interested in doing game jams. Also if those numbers might get better with enough promotion, periodicity and care in general.

My feeling from countless hours of chat on IRC is, there are people, who'd like to give it a try. Some might be more experienced than others, some might fail to deliver (hack even I failed to deliver more than one time, that happens) and there are other people who might try if motivated. We should be able to build and cultivate a community around this jam, if we give it some care. And that doesn't mean one run, that means some continual work and active and positive approach from everyone from organizers to participants. Maybe this run will have a really bad theme. Maybe we will end up with very few games. The point is to still take it positively, as there were new games developed that wouldn't be otherwise, there were lessons learned, experiments tried and of course fun doing so.

The goal is to have the people come next time and bring friends.  To motivate people idling around IRC and Forum to come and try. Even if they do just another flappy bird clone, it counts. Lessons learned, fun delivered. Because if you can do something trivial this time, you should be able to do something bigger next time.

For the looked at part, we might promote the games through the jam channels (mostly twitter right now), but again that would need some clear key so no one is able to spam it and everyone has the same chance to get attention. First idea out of my mind would be have participants tweet about their game once they submit and retweet those posts based on special hashtag, one tweet tops for each project at time authors decide (by tweeting about it with the hashtag). Sure, we're nowhere near the LD size and popularity, but big things aren't built overnight.

I know the competition is large. Ludum Dare, Global Game Jam, hundreds of small jams running all the time. We also cater only a specific segment of gamedevs, the SFML users. But I still think this might be viable, if we want it viable. There are more than 10000 registered users on this Forum. SFML is mentioned around the web and compared to SDL, Allegro and other popular libraries. Of course it's not Unity (meant in user base size), but the potential is there.

It also goes hand in hand with SFML popularity itself. More people using SFML, more people potentially interested in this jam. More people interested in this jam, more people (considering) using SFML.

I'd like to give it a try. We might fail in the end, but that's true about most things worth the effort. Even if we fail, hopefully there will be some people having fun in the process.

tl;dr;

Let's try and see. There are things we can try and every problem has a solution. IMHO all we need is better awareness and will to continue even if we don't get big results instantly. After all it's about fun and trying new things.

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Re: Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2016, 02:34:18 am »
Sure let's have another one. :)

I'm fine with a "fixed" schedule which was from my understanding the original idea anyways.

I think with some promotion and clearly communicated information, things can turn out nicely. And I do believe that we can also reach some people through Twitter who usually don't lurk around much here on the forum.
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Re: Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2016, 03:04:27 am »
It would be great to see this one have more participation so your advertising ideas are really good. It's nice to see people are still interested in this; I thought it had been totally retired.

Although it's difficult to pick up the motivation since the last one, I am interested in this. It's been a while and I don't work on actual games enough. I only hope I can find some time this time too!
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Re: Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2016, 02:09:36 pm »
Since i've always been "stalking" on these game-jams , this time i'd like to participate too ^^
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Re: Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2016, 05:20:45 pm »
I would also support another game jam  ;D
It's always a good occasion to test oneself and see what one is really capable of.

One thing I noticed that seems to discourage a lot of people in some other game jams was the like of free time, I mean when they're not done other the weekend for example,that really make it harder and restrain people ( as a students in an intense pathway, time for investment in other matters really is hard :( )

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Re: Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2016, 02:34:31 pm »
I would also like to give it a go and test my knowledge that I've accumulated over the past year in a game Jam.  I think the big problem for me would be the time frame the game Jam would take place because I work full time and also go to school full time. Crossing my fingers for a weekend Jam.
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Tank

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Re: Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2016, 03:45:33 pm »
Jams on weekends are completely incompatible to people who have a family. What's wrong with a longer duration, e.g. 1, or even better, 2 full weeks?
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Eremiell

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Re: Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2016, 08:53:31 pm »
Tank: As I've mentioned before, I have quite bad experience with that. The motivation fades away the longer the time goes. But it's definitely up for discussion. I'm not strictly against and zsbzsb is probably neither.

Everyone:

So, as there seems to be some interest, let's discuss the rules.

Let's start where the previous jam stopped: http://en.sfml-dev.org/forums/index.php?topic=12738.0.

Some things, that are completely missing out of the rules:

  • Theme Drafting: most of it is already implemented, so mostly just describe it and include it in the rules. My impression is it should work similarly to how LD draft works. Current implementation does two things differently: there's no theme slaughter (probably not looking at 30k suggestions though) and everyone has a limited amount of votes each round (I'd get rid of this, as people need to think more about the themes if they should vote all of them yes or no, maybe is just weak opinion and probably lack of thinking about it).
  • Voting & Categories: unfortunately as I'm writing this, zsbzsb is not available, but my understanding is, there should be voting system very similar to the LD one. Some categories like music and visuals and gameplay and theme and whatsoever. Categories are probably also up for discussion, though if we aren't coming with anything special, the usual ones should apply just fine.
  • Re-uploads: fixing small issues in the game and any issues with the packaging should be allowed even after deadline, just as porting is. I hope people can be reasonable about what constitutes a small issue.
  • Theme: should not be offensive, vague, non-sensual (asdfghjkl), same or too similar to one already done (just by SFML Game Jam, or should we drop also past LD and GGJ themes?), something else it shouldn't be?

What I'd change:

  • Team size: any. If you can build and manage a 10 person team, here you go. I'd like to encourage creativity here. Let people group however they seem fit.
  • Preexisting Resources: Once again, free creativity. I'd say what other jams do, use whatever you legally can, but all resources (including source code) should be released under free/open licenses (are we going to say which? or make a list of acceptable ones? or are we just trusting people to be reasonable? should we allow preexisting assets with different licenses if used legally? Up for some discussion here apparently.)
  • Duration: I'd say 96 hours, from Friday midnight UTC till Tuesday midnight UTC, so everyone's weekend is covered. But I'm not strictly against longer duration. I'd keep the 1 hour warm-up brainstorming (we can probably have 12 hours or even a day, if we're going for some longer format). Also see the next item.
  • Delivery: probably depends a bit on duration as well. If we're doing a 72 hours, something like 2-3 hours after might be reasonable, if 2 weeks, well 2 days seems reasonable now for all the packaging stuff to be done proper, because why not. 2 weeks is enough time to do a lot of stuff and 2 days doesn't make that much a difference anyway. I'd allow to submit even some longer time after that, so people who miss deadline can still apply and show in the gallery, but I'd disallow such projects to score on the jam results. They can be still voted for and probably have some category of their own, which might or might not include the regular deadline check-ins.

Did I miss anything? Well, there are some points up for discussion. Cast your opinions and feel free to open topics I didn't touch here. In the end, results will probably come from zsbzsb's benevolent dictatorship, probably with my small help, unless I'll be fed to sharks and replaced by mini-zsbzsb or something.

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Re: Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2016, 10:11:45 pm »
Quote
should be released under free/open licenses (are we going to say which? or make a list of acceptable ones
Shouldn't any open-source license be OK?

Eremiell

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Re: Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2016, 12:10:12 am »
Quote
Shouldn't any open-source license be OK?
Maybe, depends on what we want and need. This question somewhat reaches above the jam itself.

If we wanna bunch of games, that can be played and form a showcase, we don't really need to care about license.

If we wanna the code to be showcased as well, we need some open-source license. Any is OK. Even just putting the code up somewhere without any license is OK.

If we wanna the code or its snippets to be reusable and serve as possible example base, to be linked as reply for questions without any troubles for the receiver, we need a license, that allows it. That among other means a permissive, not a copyleft license. Like zlib, MIT, BSD or CC0 (PD) for code, CC-BY or CC0 (PD) for the assets. Otherwise the resources cannot be fully utilized, even if the original creator doesn't really care. You'd have to get an explicit permission by them.

So the quite important part of this question is, what we wanna achieve. I believe and I'm not alone, that more extensive publicly available codebase would be really useful. For it to be further available to be used as showcase, examples and fe. distilled into tutorials, best practices and samples, it needs to be as permissive as possible.

Of course, we can just believe everyone has that in mind and chooses the most permissive license possible depending on the resources they use. Or we can make some rules.

Consider it an idea, a line of thinking as of now. Inputs are welcome.

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Re: Wanna another? (early 2016 edition)
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2016, 07:36:24 pm »
I'm with Tank, one single weekend is pretty much impossible for me (and I've tried twice now)
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