Winter Game Jam 2: Overview

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catwithnojob

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Back in Black
January 31, 2021 - March 14, 2021

Check out the:

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


Welcome back to the Relic Castle Winter Jam! I'm Cat, the ever gracious host, back again for another Winter Game Jam!

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.

With the success of last year's game jam, we decided to bring it back this year. Thanks to the pandemic and real life getting in the way, we pushed it back a couple of weeks. But we're here again! Last year's twist was a required map, I wonder what this year's challenge will be?

Repeating my sentiments from last year, 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
With the success and general warm reception the required map received last year, we've decided to have a similar challenge this year. Instead of a required map, we as staff have prepared other required graphics; sprites, tiles, icons, whatever you'd like to use them for! The staff have created different variants as well to use in your game jam entry. You are not required to use every single graphic included in the download, we'd like to see you use at least three different graphics in your entry. (Different meaning recolored items do not count towards your minimum of three graphics, you must use three completely different graphics to hit the minimum requirements)

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 Challenge
Take a look at the image below, giving you a look at what graphics we have included for you to add to your game jam entry. For the ease of the user, we have even provided two extra recolors of each item for your use! All of these graphics were edited/created by Relic Castle staff, please make sure to credit us with your entry!

The Graphics

The power is in your hands as a participant of the Game Jam. Who is this mysterious trainer? Where does the Nintendo DS go? Where do I collect the jam? What does the letter say?

You're welcome to make minor changes to the graphics, as long as each is still recognizable. You are more than welcome to use graphics in other ways than intended, i.e. use an item sprite as a tileset graphic (like on a billboard). And remember, your entry must include three out of the twelve graphics included in the download! Additionally, please include (in a spoiler tag) a "cheat sheet" of where you used each graphic to show your participation in the challenge. This can be included at the bottom of your post.

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

Summary
  • This Game Jam has a twist. How will you include the graphics into your project?
  • Your entry does not have to be a Pokémon game, nor 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)
  • You must credit "Relic Castle staff" when crediting the creator/editor of the graphics as part of the challenge.
  • 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.

This year, the judges will be me and Mashi! We hope to make you all proud.

Badges



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 2 Badge: This badge is given to those who participated in Relic Castle Winter Jam 2021!
Spotlight Winter Jam 2 Badge: This badge is given to those who participated in Relic Castle Winter Game Jam 2021 and had their game featured in the Spotlight!

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 four 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:
Team:
Notes:
Resource Pack:
Credits:
Here's where I used graphics:


Code:
[B]Game Title:
Game Screenshots:
Game Download:
Made Using:
Team:
Notes:
Resource Pack:
Credits:
Here's where I used graphics:[/B]

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&A



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 started last year. 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.

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.

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.

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

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Hi all! A general PSA:

When you are uploading your entry and creating a thread, you are confirming that your entry is marked as "Complete" just any other Progressing Project on Relic Castle. This means we will allow minor bug fixes, but adding new content or major bug fixes puts you at risk for disqualification.

Here's how:
Say you post a demo with an hour's worth of content, made by three team members. Your thread gets the attention of two posters who bugtest your game and find out nobody tested the game out, and you can't get past the opening cutscene. This conversation goes on for a few posts until you figure out the problem. You've now got two bug testers and are over your limit of four team members.

The judges are people who want to have fun and want you to have fun! We don't want to be robots who scrutinize every aspect of your game dev experience. Let's enjoy the fun and keep up the spirit of the game jam! ❤️ Please message me here or DM me on Discord if you have any questions!
 

catwithnojob

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What an amazing Game Jam! I think we ended up with 30 entries? I hope you end up enjoying at least a few of them, I'm sure there will be some secret hits! Please use the game threads to post your feedback and support for all of the developers.

To the game developers who competed, regardless if you think you succeeded, regardless if you submitted or not, regardless if you made it to the end, regardless if you earn spotlight, regardless if you were a solo dev or a team member or a team leader or bug tester, regardless if you feel you did your best the past 40-ish days, you are a winner to me! You or your team took an engine and created a game from it in a very short amount of time. Don't forget the big picture. Think of how many people are in the community vs. how many games there have game threads on Relic Castle.

Sure, there might be some bugs here and there. Sure, you might not have gotten as far as you would have liked. That's okay! The game jam is short for a reason. If we wanted the next viral Pokémon fangame we'd give you an entire year to make a game 😛

Celebrate the small stuff, please look forward to the judges' spotlight and a community spotlight poll soon! Play those games, and one more round of applause to ALL of you that participated!
 
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