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Survive A Game Jam, 8 tips

A game arcade room

1. Make the Jam Easy

Estimate Time

  • Do you have enough time for the jam?
  • Do you have enough time to build the game you have in your head?

Join a Team!

  • People you know is best
  • People you don't know can be fun
  • Requires more communication and planning
  • You can do many tasks in parallel

Go Solo!

  • Can you do art, sound music and programming?
  • Saves time on communication and management
  • You might not have time to make all the things

A gun with a scope

2. Limit Scope


  • As little as possible


  • One or two.


  • The best AI is none


  • one button game
  • point and click
  • use standard controls


  • Limit colors
  • Make shapes more uniform
  • have one style


  • Have a few sounds to cover what you need.
  • keep it short and simple


  • make a few good simple loops


  • Don't get clever.
  • Keep it small and short.
  • The best code is no code

A man reading a book

3. Do what you know


  • Don't build things you have to do a lot of research for
  • Build things you know in a new way


  • Use tools you have used before
  • Use tools you are good at

No Google

  • Don't do things you have to Google a lot for.
  • Google is for ideas and light debugging

4. Use a GDD

Themes and Limitations

Theme: Water.
Limitation: No text in the game

Main Mechanics/ Game Type

Mechanic: swim and collect dirty socks
Type: Point and Click


A friends swimming pool.

To Do List

  • main title screen
  • timer
  • point and click work
  • art
  • sfx
  • music etc

A track with the finish line

5. Start with the end in mind

Win Cases

  • What are they?
  • How many?
  • Why?

Lose Cases

  • What are they?
  • How many?
  • Are they interesting??
  • How does the game handle losing?

Main Game

  • Make sure players can quit the game
  • Make sure players can access settings

Main Menu

  • Start
  • How to Play
  • Credits
  • Quit
  • Please Rate our Game

6. Be Lean

  • Set up your game's web page first
  • Publish the simplest version of your game
  • Iterate to the next working build and publish.

7. Self Management

  • Sleep
  • Eat
  • Take Breaks
  • If you need help, ask

the world cup trophy

8. Win the Jam

  • Browser Playable
  • Good Banner Image
  • Don't skip the music!
  • Consistent art style
  • Test your builds!
  • Make it Juicy
  • Ask for a rating!

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