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JS13K games, open source, and getting involved

Michelle Mannering
Developer Relations | Hackathon Queen | Community Manager
・3 min read

Last week, we had the pleasure of speaking to Andrzej Mazur from JS13K Games. Andrzej joined us on the GitHub Twitch Channel to talk about what JS13K is and how to get involved.

JS13K Games is a game jam competition with a twist. You - or your team - must create a game. Any game! But you must create the game in JavaScript/HTML5 AND it has to be less than 13 kilobytes. Yep, you heard me, less than 13 kilobytes. Considering nearly all games are in the gigabytes these days with some taking up over 100GB, 13KB seems insane.

Andrzej however says it's not insane. It's all about size management. Even with less than 13KB, a lot of the games submitted are very sophisticated. There are 3D games, shooters, puzzles, racing games, and more. Really the sky is the limit in terms of what you create. Well, in this case, 13KB is the limit. But you get the picture.

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Small scale games

The key to small scale games is design and compression. There's lots of ways to save space in files. Images for example take up a lot of room. Even the header image at the top of this article is more than 13KB. So you need to think of ways to make sounds and images as small amounts of data.

You'd think with such a constraint on the size of games, not many people would participate in JS13Kgames. But it's the complete opposite. Andrzej says hundreds of games are submitted each year for the competition. There's also lots of great prizes up for grabs.

Probably the best part of the competition however is completing your game and getting real feedback. The panel of judges are made up of game enthusiasts, developers, and people from the gaming industry. They provide real feedback to help game developers better their skills and get involved in game development as a career. If that's what you want of course.

As for other involvement, ANYONE can play the games. All submissions are available on GitHub for people to play. Many of the games have a license, making a good majority of the games open source.

For example, check out last year's winners xx142-b2.exe. Navigate your way around various maps and solve the puzzle. It's colourful and fun and even has cool sounds.

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Getting involved

There's lots of ways to be involved in JS13Kgames. The most obvious one is participating. The competition is open now and runs until 13th September. Grab a team or go at it alone... however it is dangerous to go alone, so you might want to take a piece of heart.

If you don't want to build an entire game, maybe you want to contribute to the platforms and libraries game devs are using. Check out the resources page on JS13Kgames to see all the cool boiler plates and game engines you can use. Every year, Andrzej says there's a spike in open source contributions to these repos. If you're wanting to get into open source, this is a great way to get started.

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GA is just one of the many open source tools available for use in games

GitHub Open Source Friday

If you missed this Open Source Friday stream, check out the VOD on our Twitch channel or keep an eye on our YouTube page. There's lots of exciting things happening on both platforms and we're keen to bring you more great content. We'll be back next week for more Open Source Friday, 2pm AEST, or 9.30am PT. Follow our Twitch channel and enable notifications to join us live and chat with us. See you there!

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Michelle Mannering Author

Full recording available here: youtube.com/watch?v=ADFnjMgXhtI&fe...