Game jams are a great way to get creative and have fun learning some new gamedev tricks. Happening from July 28th-31st, the dot big bang Summer Game Jam 2023 is a perfect opportunity to test your game-making skills in a chill, supportive environment, and have a new game to show for it at the end!
We caught up with Zaz Linkous to find out what the jam is all about, and how you can get involved.
Hi Zaz! Could you introduce yourself and say a little about what you do at dot big bang?
Of course! I’m Zaz, I’ve been teaching people how to code and make games for about seven years, and making games myself longer than that. Before that, I was a Spanish teacher, and currently I’m the Education Specialist at ControlZee.
You’ve some history with game jams – what do you get out of game jamming?
Yes, in fact, I found out about dot big bang from Global Game Jam 2022. The game we made was about firing little projectiles that color a black-and-white world. I think it’s a little broken right now, but it’s still up!
What makes dot big bang good for game jamming?
When people first start making games – 3D games, at least – it’s always the same thing: first, spend a day building your character controller, then another couple days to find or build a character rig that you like, and then maybe you have some time make some props to throw in the background for an environment. With dot big bang, you start out with all that, plus you already have multiplayer, so you can edit your game together with teammates, and let people enjoy it together, which gives a whole new life to even simple designs. Of course, you can still completely customize your character controller or model, like this Link I made for the Combat Jam.
The Combat Game Jam was the most recent dbb game jam, how did it go?
The Combat Game Kit was a project that took the whole let’s-start-out-with-a-player-character to the next level by giving you a system to build enemy NPCs, melee and ranged weapons, and collectible objects that you could trade for other objects, like buying a weapon or opening a chest with a key. It’s kind of a game on its own, but mostly it’s infinite possibilities for other games. So we did the Combat Jam to see how many other things people could make with it in a short period of time.
And the results were fantastic! You can play all of them by clicking here. Use the portals to play all the game jam games. There was a zombie survival game, a deer hunter game, one that was just about contemplating the nature of existence while you futilely fight goblins anyway, and another that happens on top of a moving train. It was cool to see the creativity that came from playing with the Combat Game Kit for just one week!
And the next jam is the Summer Jam. What’s the story there?
For our next jam we wanted to do something with a more open theme, to see what other kinds of games people can build. You can use all the Combat Game Kit tools, and now there are lots of other resources to help you build a game in any genre you can think of. Combat volleyball? Love to see it. An obstacle course full of NPCs with detailed backstories about how these giant floating cylinders got in the sky in the first place? I. AM. IN.
How do people enter the jam?
The Summer Jam is hosted on itch.io, and you can sign up for the jam here. That page also has a link to our YouTube channel for when we reveal the theme, and our Discord server, to get the #Jammer role and start chatting with fellow dot big bang creators.
Does the game have to be finished to count?
Nope! Some of my favorite games of all time were game jam games that got “finished” after the jam was over, like Baba Is You and Celeste. There is a pause period of five days for judging, but after that, you can continue working on your game as much as you like!
Have you any advice for first-time jammers?
For any jam, it’s a great idea to start playing with the tools ahead of time. For this jam in particular, you can use anything that is marked “shared” on dot big bang. There are thousands of 3D voxel art models, useful scripts, and entire remixable projects that you can use to save time and get your idea across to the audience.
And where can people go if they wanna enter, or find out more?
JOIN THE DOT BIG BANG SUMMER JAM HERE! Come on in, the water’s great!
If you’re interested in joining the dot big bang Summer Game Jam 2023, here are some links to check out: