Game Jams

GameSalad Dressing

Every month, we thought we’d share resources and ideas from around the internet to help your students in their Game Development and Computer Science careers. Some dressing for your students’s GameSalads!


“Extra Credits” Channel on YouTube

As you near the end of your year, your students may be starting their capstone projects. If your students are on a yearly GameSalad license, they may want to continue developing their games over the summer!

After several weeks of following tutorials, your students are now facing the proverbial blank page. One place for inspiration for getting started is the Youtube channel Extra Credits.

Co-writer James Portnow was an early friend of GameSalad and we’ve been enjoying this channel for years. They cover a wide range of topics, from Game Design fundamentals, game criticism, and even deep dives into historical events!

Back in 2015, they created a series of videos on “Making your First Game”

Hopefully your students will find this helpful as they begin creating their first original games!

Game Jams!

As we enter another month of social distancing, there’s never enough ideas to keep your students engaged. Why not challenge your students to a game jam!

A game jam is an event where students are challenged to finish a complete video game experience around a theme in a very short amount of time (usually 48 or 72 hours). It’s the game version of a hackathon, if you’ve heard of those.

Since your students might not be able to fully dedicate themselves for a 48 hour period, maybe create a different timebox…

Give your students 1 week to finish a game in GameSalad.
Give them a theme:: “distancing” or “containment” or “joy” for instance. Leave the theme vague so there’s room for interpretation.
Consider giving them extra constraints or help to ensure success, such as:

  • Make a game based off the Monster Maze Unit
  • Make a game using only these 5 pieces of art and these two sounds.

And most importantly, have them share their games!

Some ideas for elements on which you can grade this project:

  • Is the product interactive? A digital game rather than a movie.
  • Does it follow the theme? It may be a tenuous link, but the link should be there.
  • Does it have a goal? Remember, there’s room for creativity, so the goal can simply be story completion or “last as long as possible”.

Final presentation:

  • Where did this idea come from?
  • How does it link to the theme?
  • What challenges did you meet that shaped changes between your initial idea and the final product?
  • How did each team member contribute?
  • What outside art and music resources were pulled in?
  • What would they do to continue developing this game if they had more time?
  • Do they see themselves continuing building this game

Completion. We don’t encourage grading on “full” completion. One of the important parts of a game jam is the room to take creative risk. This should be a criteria, but not the most important. A suggested scale:

  • No implementation. 0%
  • Partial implementation, incomplete. 80%
  • Complete per final presentation goals. 100%

To help inspire your students here is the Extra Credits team again, giving their keynote to the 2017 Global Game Jam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xfxx27HbM4

If your students enjoy the experience, encourage them to join other game jams. Here are a few:

  • Global Game Jam https://globalgamejam.org/ – January
  • Ludum Dare – https://ldjam.com/ – April and Oct every year
  • Itch.io Game Jams – https://itch.io/jams – Created by users all throughout the year.

Have a great digital May!
The GameSalad Team