Game Jam Winter Game Jam 3: Overview

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Another year, another jam!

Overview Thread
Discussion Thread
Recruitment Thread
Be sure to check out the game jam channel on our Discord!

Special thanks to @Ott for creating yet another amazing logo!

Relic Castle Winter Jam #3

Welcome back to the Relic Castle Winter Game Jam! This is our third year of hosting a game jam during the winter (at least here in the northern hemisphere) and I'm proud to still be organizing! Can't wait to see what you'll make!

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.

Last year's winter jam broke forum records for amount of entries, and we're hoping to break more records this year! If you're interested in seeing what previous entrants have created, check out Fox's archive thread!

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 year's winter game jam a special one!

Game Jam Details

General Details
The past two years we've given all participants a mandatory challenge for their game, and this time will be no different. For 2020 it was the required map and for 2021 it was the required graphics. This year we've decided to focus on story. We have prepared a list of 3 Plot Points and 3 Key Characters, and we'd like to see you include at least 1 of each in your game. Hopefully this should inspire you to come up with exciting stories for your entries!

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.

After the last Winter Jam, a few new rules were introduced for Game Jam #7. We are keeping those rules for this jam as well, so here's a reminder: Number one, you are only allowed one entry per entry period. Number two, we are also only limiting members to only join one team per entry period. Finally, game threads may be posted at any time, but it can not include a game download until the entry period is up. You'll be able to submit your thread, edit and improve your thread, and speak with the judges throughout the entire entry period if you'd like! Once the entry period has finished, all entries may include game download links. If you need clarification, please message me right away.

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 Challenge
Below you can find a list of 3 Plot Points to choose from and 3 Key Characters to choose from. Each entry must incorporate at least one of the plot points into its story, as well as including at least one of the key characters as a character of significance in the game.

The Plot Points:
  • "Betrayal"
  • "Technical Difficulties"
  • "Reunion"
The Key Characters:
  • "Father Figure"
  • "Professor"
  • "Neighbor"
Do your best to include your challenge picks in interesting ways; using them 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 incorporate the plot point and character you chose?
  • Your entry does not have to be a Pokémon game, or made in RPG Maker XP.
  • You may only submit one entry. If you submit multiple entries, only your latest is eligible for judging.
  • Group entries are allowed, with a maximum of 4 participants per group.
  • You may only be part of one group entry. Playtesting is to be handled by one of your 4 participants, so playtesters cannot be a part of multiple entries.
  • 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.
  • You can only use public resources created before the entry period. The only exceptions are Essentials and PSDK. (please message me if you think you should be on this list)
  • Entries cannot have download links available in their threads until the entry period has ended.
  • 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 what not. It should be noted that the judges will not be publicizing their thoughts on each entry unless they choose to do so.

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!

The judges for this game jam are...
...and maybe more!


As per usual, we'll be handing out two special badges again this game jam! These will be exclusive to this game jam.

Winter Jam 3 Badge:
This badge is given to those who participated in Relic Castle Winter Jam 2022! Aw, a cute little Spheal!
Spotlight Winter Jam 3 Badge:
This badge is given to those who participated in Relic Castle Winter Jam 2022 and had their game featured in the Spotlight! Is that a shiny Spheal?

Submitting Your Entry

When submitting your game, please make sure that you've packaged your game correctly and optimized it by cutting our unnecessary/unused files. For more details on what you should do when packaging your game, check out the Finalizing 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 Castle Winter Jam #3 forum 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:
Plot Point: X
Key Character: X

[b]Game Title:
Game Screenshots:
Game Download:
Made Using:
Resource Pack:
[SPOILER="Plot Point and Key Character Chosen:"]
Plot Point: X
Key Character: X

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: What new rules should I be aware of?
A: One entry allowed per person. You also may not join multiple teams. You may submit your game jam thread at any point during the game jam, but they cannot include any download links until after the entry period ends (February 21st). If you need clarification, please message me right away!

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 are continuing the tradition and twist we've had in the Winter Jams. While during the game jam during June-August only has an optional theme, this game jam will have a required challenge.

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. Resources released during the entry period that were created by anyone outside your team are not to be used unless on the list of approved 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. Please see the previous two questions!

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 or helped with playtesting 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 playtesters?
A: You're more than allowed to seek feedback from outside sources (even publicly!), but your team handles your playtesting.

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: 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.

For any further questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch!
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