A Newbie’s Take on Game Jam

Final sprite sheet
Proof. Well, this was because I brought bagels on Sunday but I’ll take it.
  • Unreal Engine: It’s free and very powerful. It also comes with the blueprint system, which allows you to program without code. So many systems are directly built in the engine but that also means that it can be overwhelming to start without prior knowledge but there are many resources on the internet. I hear UE isn’t the best for 2D projects, haven’t really tried myself. Their market has a lot of free and purchasable assets, plugins etc.
  • Construct: A great 2D engine that has a limited free version, but the premium version is going to be unlocked for everyone during LD! Construct is fully visually programmed but it allows you to write your own code too. It is quite easy to get into! They also have assets in their shop.
  • Unity: I haven’t used it myself (yet) but if I can’t not include Unity. It’s free, works well with 2D, 3D, mobile etc alike, many resources on the internet. I believe it also has a visual programming system.
  • Notepad++: Best simple text editor. I mean, you should have this on your PC regardless.
  • Inkarnate: Inkarnate is a map editing tool that has a decent free version. I’m not sure if using Inkarnate maps directly is allowed or in the spirit of jam, but it’s a good tool to be aware of.
Testing tiles on discord
  • Spriters Resource: SR has sprites/sheets from countless games. You shouldn’t use these directly but they can be good references to help you build your own stuff and also references for any derivations you want to make. In my case, it helped me to understand body ratios for pixel art.
  • Discord: Discord is a great communication tool for any team or community. I suggest creating a server and a few channels such as graphics, code etc so everyone can easily keep track of different aspects of the game. I found a very different use for Discord in GGJ20: I tested my tileset by adding them as emojis.
  • GoogleDocs & Drive: I know, google and evil and stuff but google docs are incredibly convenient and are free to use. Everything from checking numbers on a spreadsheet to writing content in a structured manner to preparing a presentation for any reason can be done on google docs and more importantly, collaboratively in real-time.
  • Paint.Net: Since Adobe products are costly, everyone has a favourite alternative. Mine is Paint.net. It has basic functions that paint lacks, such as layering, working with transparency and can be customized a lot through plugins.
  • Netlify: Netlify uses a specific technology that is “serverless” which allows a drag-and-drop deployment of web apps (supports git deployments too, of course) but is also limited in certain ways. I’m not an expert on the matter but I believe due to lack of traditional server talk, PHP etc can’t be used directly. They do have their own ways of implementing certain functionality but it might get too complicated. Still, if you are making something like a single-player game on Construct, Netlify might make it extremely easy to test things out.



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Ekrem Atamer

Ekrem Atamer

Gamer, gaming industry wanderer, development and design enthusiast. Current WIP: TBD