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Helpful tips on surviving the Manila Game Jam

Game Jams are fun but  demand a lot from a serious jammer (See What to expect at the Manila Game Jam). Fortunately, there are ways to make the experience easier, if not, a little more bearable. We have collected tips from various surviving Manila Game Jam veterans to help you outlast the next 48 hours.

  • After the theme is given, turn off your logical brain and throw around ideas about the game. Don’t think if its feasible or not, just say the ideas to your team as soon as you think of it. One of those crazy ideas might work.
  • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. You only have less than 48 hours, its only natural to make mistakes.
  • If you are stuck, stand up and walk around. The change of scenery can recharge your brain.
  • Bring your favorite drink. It could be a hot mug of chocolate, your favorite tea, or a specific brand of instant coffee.

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  • Please take a rest. This isn’t an endurance.
  • Don’t play games on your machines. It would only drain from your creativity.
  • Some people use the Pomodoro Technique to pace their creativity.
  • For programmers: save or bring your references. With a hundred people accessing the net, there’s a good possibility you won’t get through.
  • For artists: start with basic geometric shapes for the first hour. Its not important that you have the details ready, what’s important is for your team to have a feel of the game mechanics.
  • Bring a jacket. Some venues are surprisingly cold during the evening.
  • If you are staying overnight, bring pillows and a bedsheet. If you have the space, bring a bed. Don’t be like this guy who took a random box and slept in it.

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  • People in the game jam will be working on their games. Be courteous and don’t bother them. Its easy to lose concentration and hard to get back into the zone.
  • Some people work better when listening to music or a podcast.
  • Creative common audio assets are great resources to speed up development.
  • Look around for starter kits like this Global Game Jam Starter Kit.
  • Build a team with strangers at the event. Who knows? You might accidentally find new people who can help you with your dream game. Or you might like them so much, you want to assist in their dream game.

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  • By the end of the game jam, you will be extremely tired. This is normal. Plan ahead by asking a family member or a friend to pick you up at the last day.
  • Set your deadline to an hour before the official deadline. This way, you can rest and think of your game pitch for the judges. This frees you from brainstorming a pitch in a hurry.
  • Know your limits then push them at the game jam. If you haven’t made a game before, you will know your limit after the event. Aim to break that limit by next year’s game jam.

Like any kind of thing that requires survival; preparedness, patience, discipline and a clear mind will always tip the odds in your favor. So good luck and happy jamming!

Oh and also, having the Rad Resistant perk also helps. 😉