Game Jam Winter Game Jam 2020: Overview

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yes a cat helps run this website

A new Game Jam approaches?!
January 10, 2020 - February 21, 2020

Check out the:
Discussion Thread
Recruitment Thread
Game Jam channel in the Relic Castle Discord!

Welcome to Relic Castle Winter Jam! My name is Andy/Niall/Cat/whatever you want to call me, and I'll be your ever gracious host! It might only be winter in the upper hemisphere but I'm American so I can name this whatever I want. 😛

For the uninformed: a game jam is an event where developers will get together and make a game. It sounds simple at first glance, but making a good game is much more difficult and time consuming than you might think. Participating in one is a great way to challenge yourself, learn new skills, and polish your overall experience as a game developer.

While we always host an annual game jam over the summer, we thought it would be fun to host one in the off-season this year to test the waters and see what happens! Users (especially in the Discord server (you should join us!)) have been begging for an event during the winter so they don't have to wait until June/July for the next game jam. Because we realize the New Year can sometimes make life busy, we've added a little something to make the game jam a little easier on you (more on that in a bit!)

The Pokémon fan game community is an amazing place, and that's all thanks to each and every one of you. Take pride in that, and your hard work! Let's make this game jam a special one!

Game Jam Details

General Details
This time around, we have a required challenge, the map challenge! While in the past it's been optional, a few members of the Relic Castle staff thought it would be a fun twist to try out this time around. We provide a map, you make a game using the map, (maybe) making your job a little bit easier? If you're using Pokémon Essentials, we've included the rxdata file so you can import the map (almost) instantly. Find out how to import maps here. I know this is different from most other jams, so I want to make this clear: making your game around this map is required to be included in this game jam!

You aren't required to make a game about Pokémon if you don't want to. You don't have to use RPG Maker XP and Pokémon Essentials, although we highly suggest you do. After all, this is a Pokémon fan game community. Don't let us stop you from creating a fun game, though.

You also aren't required to work alone. Feel free to organize a small team of friends to work on your game with you. Group entries are most definitely allowed, and encouraged. We allow a maximum of four people to work together.

As with previous years, we require that any graphics you create for your project be submitted as a Resource Pack in the Tutorials and Resources section of the site. You must also include a credits list with your submission, and include one bundled with your entry in a text file. These are a requirement. We do have some additional rules regarding resources, which you can check out in the Q&A.

By submitting your entry to us, you give us permission to promote it via social media and if it wins the Spotlight, be eligible for a brand new game badge, or be eligible for one at a later date.

The Map Challenge
Take a look at this map, created by Otter Flooflord! I really liked the map he submitted because it has so many little details that you can use as prompts for your game! I've included a few examples underneath the image.

The Map: The Cabin and the Cave

(download a .zip with everything you'll need here)

The power is in your hands as a participant of the Game Jam. Where do those roads lead to? What hides within the cave? Whose truck is that? Can you find Mew underneath it? Is the cabin abandoned? What treasure hides behind it? Is there a secret path to the river?

You're welcome to make minor changes to the map, replace the tileset to match your tileset, as long as it's still recognizable. If your game isn't set in the Pokémon universe then maybe the item ball is a treasure box! Does your game have HM's? How are you going to get past that little tree? What sort of Pokémon are hidden in the grass here? Is the route abandoned, or is it a popular place for trainers to battle and train? How does the music change when you're here?

Do your best to use the map in an interesting way; using it in a low effort/uninvolved fashion will likely not get you the badge. This is up to the judge's discretion.

  • This Game Jam has a twist. How will you include the map into your project?
  • Your entry does not have to be a Pokémon game, or made in RPG Maker XP.
  • Group entries are allowed, with a maximum of 4 participants per group.
  • Graphical resources created for your entry must be bundled into a Resource Pack and submitted through our Tutorial and Resource section for free public use.
  • You may not use any material from your past projects, aside from public resources.
  • List of credits must be included with entry post and bundled with the game in a text file. (credits.txt)
  • Submitting an entry means Relic Castle can promote it via social media and create a game badge for your entry should it win the spotlight, or be eligible for one later on if it does not win.

Spotlight Entries & Judging

Each game jam, the judges pick several entries as the "spotlight entries", which are considered the most interesting and or highest quality entries. There is no first place, second place, and so on.

To do this, the judges will take a look at every game jam entry after playing them all and have a roundtable discussion internally on their thoughts. While there is no set criteria for the judges, you can be sure that they'll take into consideration how interesting each entry is, how fun they are to play, how well they're polished,and whatnot. It should be noted that the judges will not be publicizing their thoughts on each entry unless they choose to do so.

While it has been a few months since badges have been updated, I'm hoping to bring them back in the future. That's a story for another day, but like game jams in the past, developers that receive a spotlight will get an exclusive badge, a game badge for their entry, and will be featured on Relic Castle. We hope this encourages you to make the best possible entry!

I'm not the only judge! More judges will be announced as we get closer to the end of February. 😉


As per usual, we'll be handing out two special badges again this game jam!

Winter Jam Badge: This badge is given to those who participated in Relic Castle Winter Jam 2020!
Spotlight Winter Jam Badge: This badge is given to those who participated in Relic Castle Winter Game Jam 2020 and had their game featured in the Spotlight!

A third, exclusive badge may appear for the entry we feel best incorporated the map into their entry!

Submitting Your Entry

When submitting your game, please make sure that you've packaged your game correctly and optimized it by cutting out unnecessary/unused files. For more details on what you should do when packaging your game, check out the Releasing Your Game tutorial on the Essentials wiki.

When the time comes to actually submit your game, take at least six screenshots, put your resources that you've used in a .zip file and upload your game and resource pack to Mediafire or MEGA.

Then post a thread in the Relic Game Winter Jam forum section that has the following details listed below, and your resource pack. (See section below for submitting your resource pack.) Feel free to spruce your thread up, it doesn't have to be barebones. Threads will be moved to Progressing Projects (and possibly the Project Showcase) when the game jam concludes.

Game Title:
Game Screenshots:
Game Download:
Made Using:
Resource Pack:

[b]Game Title:
Game Screenshots:
Game Download:
Made Using:
Resource Pack:

Submitting Your Resource Pack

While you submit your entry, you should have also assembled a resource pack. You must submit your resource pack through the Tutorials and Resources section, in the Game Jam Packs category. You can do so here.

When filling out the details for your resource pack, be sure to mention the entry name in the tag line and description, and link to your entry thread in the resource description. You should also provide a list of credits if people use your resource pack.

Giving your resource an icon is also ideal, but not mandatory.


Q: Why is the game jam going on for so long?
A: We've found that a longer game jam yields better results overall. If the game jam was only one or two weeks, you can expect to see much smaller entries by the end. A shorter duration could also conflict with someone's schedule and they could miss it entirely.

Q: Why is the theme mandatory this year?
A: We realize that many users don't have as much freetime during this time as they do during the summer. Relic Castle staff wanted to come up with a twist that would both make it stand out from our other events as well as trim down time spent on developing so you can finish your game in time! And who doesn't love a little chaos?

Q: Why do I have to include my resources?
A: We want to encourage people to use public resources, showing that you can make a really cool game with them. You're free to make resources for your project, but you have to release them as you submit your game. This is a great way to kill two birds with one stone and get some more resources out there. This also discourages people from using private resources from an existing project.

Q: Can I use resources I've released prior to the game jam for my entry?
A: Of course. You're free to use any publicly available resources.

Q: Can I use things from some of my past projects?
A: No, not unless you released it as a resource prior to the game jam.

Q: Can I release the things from past projects that I want to use as a resource and use them for my entry?
A: No, not while the game jam is underway. You're free to use resources that get uploaded during the game jam, but things uploaded by yourself would be seen as trying to circumvent this rule. We'll be keeping an eye on what resources end up in which game.

Q: I can only have three other people working with me on my entry, but what counts as working with me?
A: Anyone who has created resources for your entry is counted as working with you. Existing public resources don't count towards this.

Q: Am I allowed to seek feedback for my entry? What about play testers?
A: You're more than allowed to seek feedback from outside sources (even publicly!), but your team should be handling your play testing ideally.

Q: Are ROM hacks permitted?
A: Of course! They must be provided in a patch, though. No ROMs may be uploaded!

Q: Why aren't you judging all the entries on a set criteria?
A: While competitive game jams are fun, it's very difficult to grade them all on an even scale without more restrictions. We have chosen not to judge them this way and instead choose some of the best entries for the Spotlight. It is also very time consuming to do so, and we want to get the Spotlights wrapped up as soon as possible.

Q: Where have badges gone?
A: I'm fairly new to the scene, but my understanding is less and less users were requesting game-related badges until the badge activity slowed to only event badges. When events slowed with staff's inactivity they stopped as well. Maybe in the future badges will return!

Q: Can judges enter the game jam?
A: Yes, they can. Any projects they've contributed to will be ineligible to win a judge chosen spotlight, however. They are still eligible for a community chosen spotlight.

If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out!
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