What Game Jam 2021 Taught Me

I am not a programmer but I am only a designer who got a chance to participate in such a great game jam community.

I never thought that I would participate in a game jam last weekend. I was uncertain that I had the skill to contribute to the team. I always asked myself, “am I sure to do this?” I don’t even know how to code using Unity and draw the 3D or 2D model. I only have one thing on my mind, “be brave” to start a new project that I haven’t done before.

It started with the Discord group back in 2020. I saw there was a game jam registration, and I signed up for that. I randomly chose the team from a university in the SF area.

I joined the team from the Bay area

Then, I was invited to join the game jam community on Discord. I kept asking questions in the Discord channel about what I should prepare before the event. The good thing was that they welcomed a beginner like me. I was relieved to get support from them.

And the game jam started… We iterated the idea within two until three hours, and we finalized our idea by making a script of the scene. Our game will be more simple and 2D design. The topic is more about finding meaning in our life.

The game needed to be done within 48 hours but it didn’t have to be perfect. Wow! I felt this would be like a hackathon. I was wrong! It was the really chill competition I have ever done. I met great teammates who were willing to help each other out. I told them that I didn’t have experience in creating a game. However, they told me, “You will be fine. You will learn a lot from this project.

Then, I decided to create UI stuff, starting from the flow of the game, the video trailer, and designing some characters. I had a chance to get to know the team better by sharing our video games experience. Also, I understood more new terms in game design, such as collider or level design.

Our game cover that I designed it.

On the final day of the game jam, our team representative gave a presentation to all other groups, and I was glad that somebody asked if our game will be up on Steam, which is the platform for playing, discussing, and creating games. This platform is really famous among gamers.

Even though we didn’t get a chance to implement my UI design part, but I was happy that the team was so supportive of continuing working on the game in the following weekends, which makes me want to learn more about how to develop the game into the coding system and contribute to making more UI better.

Last but not least, here are the key takeaways that I learned from my first game jam:

  • Think small to create a meaningful game within a short period of time. The first ideation wasn’t really great because we had a big picture of what the game should look like (we kept adding more ideas), but the idea wasn’t easy to be implemented within 48 hours.
  • Communication is key. I practiced agile development on my team. That’s what makes us become a stronger team. I always kept updating of what I have done.
  • Support is NECESSARY. Have you ever heard two is better than one? That’s what I feel about this team. Everyone contributed and was willing to accept any feedback.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. I used to hate coding because of the coding bugs. However, I got inspired by them that bugs are not something to hate. Finding the solution is the best way to figure out everything.

If anyone wants to play our game, feel free to check out this link or check our livestream presentation. You can also view our video trailer below.

Aqua Hero Game Trailer — Design by me and sound credit by Tsuyushigure

If you have any feedback to make this game better, please kindly send it to my email at beatrix.intan@gmail.com or comment below. We will welcome any feedback.

Thank you for reading my story!

“Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”

— Patrick Lencioni

❤️I am a UX designer/Writer, Tech Writer, and Content Creator. I am also a student focusing on the Business and Design field.