Our First Game Jam: A RetrospectiveBy Zachary Flower
Fresh off the heels of the first annual MUD Coders Guild Game Jam and nobody lost an eye! Since this was not only the first TMCG game jam, but also my own personal first game jam, I thought it important to write up what we did right, what we did wrong, and what we could have done better.
Let’s start with The Good. Despite my inexperience, the TMCG game jam wasn’t a total disaster! There were a few things that went incredibly well—although, full disclosure, they had almost nothing to do with me.
The MUD Coders Guild is one of the most engaging and welcoming communities I have ever had the good fortune to be apart of. I want to take a second and thank every single member—both new and old—for their support and encouragement as we continue to grow.
Despite my own personal failings (see: The Bad ), the submissions we received were some of the most impressive MUDs I have ever seen. The level of creativity and skill that each submission exhibited was beyond my wildest expectations for the jam. I can’t wait to see what we receive next year!
When it comes down to it, The Bad falls right on my head. There is a lot that I could have done better, but thankfully they are mistakes that I can learn from for next time.
Rules & Regulations
If I’m being perfectly honest, I went a little overboard with the rules. While the intent was to be organized, they ended up establishing some unrealistic limits: namely a minimum vote threshold. Because only one game actually hit_the 10-vote limit, I’ve dropped that requirement, but in the future I think we will put a little more thought into the consequences of each rule, and throw out ones we don’t absolutely _need.
Marketing & Outreach
I suck at marketing. Who’da thunk, right? While there’s not much I can do to improve my marketing skills—once an engineer, always an engineer—for next year’s jam I intend to spend a little more time up-front planning a marketing and outreach strategy to increase submissions, voters, and maybe drum up some sponsorships.
Running an online community is an incredibly busy job, and apparently adding a game jam onto that workload doesn’t make anything easier. Right in line with Marketing & Outreach , I plan to spend more time planning up front to make sure next year’s jam goes off without a hitch.
And finally… The Ugly. Thankfully, there’s really only one thing in this category that was less a mistake, and more a “lesson learned” for next time.
Itch.io is an awesome platform, and an incredibly popular one for running game jams. Unfortunately, Itch.io is not designed for the type of game MUDs are. Because Itch.io expects a downloadable or HTML-based game, this required participants to get creative in the way they crafted their submissions; which sucked.
Next year, I plan to come up with a more MUD-friendly submission system for our game jam, whether it is a different platform, or a completely custom solution. If you have any ideas, please let me know!
While there were a few lessons learned, ultimately I would say that our first attempt at running a game jam was a success! We have year-ish until the next one, so I for one plan on taking that time to better plan for it. It was a fun experience, and one I intend to repeat!