Game jams, motivation, and 12 games in 12 months

Ludum Dare #25 is quickly approaching, so this is a good time for this post. I love making games. Yes, you may have figured that out by now, but I’ve said it anyway. Creating whole worlds, creating stories, or even just coming up with a neat mechanic for an arcadey game is one of my favorite things to do. However, sometimes things just don’t work how I’d like them to, or I need to build a menu or other user-interface (not my favorite part of making games).

During such times, it’s too easy for me to procrastinate and ignore my projects. I might start playing a game instead of making one. I’ve asked myself why this is many times, but I still often fall into this habit of, well, laziness.

This is especially true of larger projects. When the ‘end’ of a project is so far away, it can really kill motivation. That’s why I like game jams so much. A game jam is the entire development cycle of a game, condensed into a short period of time. This keeps motivation high, as the finish line is never more than 24 hours, 48 hours, or maybe a week away.

So why not just have a ‘game jam’ every day? Surely that psychological trick will improve motivation, right? Not exactly true. For me, a large part of the fun of a game jam is working at the same time as other jammers. The tension, the competition, and the closeness of the experience is a HUGE motivation boost. I know that it’s not just me working, not just me solving problems and fixing bugs, but tens, hundreds, perhaps thousands of other people as well!

This is one reason I’ve joined McFunkyPants12 games in 12 months challenge. One game every month for a year. On the long side for a jam, but shorter than most game development cycles. And the best part: lots of people are doing this! Hopefully this will help me keep motivation during larger projects, and keep me productive for a year!

If you aren’t participating already, join in! Seriously, it’ll be fun, I promise.


About jacobwgames

I make and play games.
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2 Responses to Game jams, motivation, and 12 games in 12 months

  1. What a great post! I agree with you about how game jams add time pressure and these constraints as a means to foster creativity and quick thinking. In the same way that a blank canvas or distant finish line can be crippling, limitations help us reach completion sooner (and often times our games are all the better for it!)

    So happy you’re joining the challenge. We all need to help keep each other mtivated by encouraging, providing feedback, and spreading the enthusiasm. Good luck and have fun!

    Kind regards,
    Christer Kaitila

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