[EVENT] Free Lives SA Game Jam 2017

edited in General
Post has been edited to include prizes! :)

Free Lives is sponsoring another SA Game Jam! We have yet to confirm the prizes, but it's likely to be similar to last year: i.e. Some cash money and a trip to AMAZE Johannesburg and expo space there up for grabs, and prizes for categories like "Student", "Hobbyst", "Diversity", "Best Narrative" and "Best Visuals" etc. FREE LIVES is running a game jam! The prizes will be announced soon.

Here's the Facebook event:www.facebook.com/events/156555761580565 Please RSVP here if you intend to enter this competition, we want to have an idea of numbers going in (the more people who enter the more prizes we can justify giving away).

The jam is open to everyone in SA, and you (and your team if you have one) can participate from anywhere, but if you want to join us at the Bandwidth Barn in real life please leave your vote in the discussions page of the Facebook event.

The theme will be announced, and jamming commences, at 6pm on Friday the 1st of September

Jamming ends after 48 hours at 6pm on Sunday the 3rd of September, with 2 hours grace for submitting.

Optionally you can extend your jam to 6pm on Monday the 4th of September(after 72 hours), so long as you stipulate this in your submission. Some games need a little extra time to cook. We will try to factor in the extra time when judging.

- Student (studying full time and have a student card)
- Hobbyist (not a student, but don't make games for a living)
- Diversity (not a straight, white male) (PM us at the time of submission if you would like to opt into this category)
- Overall (open to all)

- Student, Hobbyist and Diversity category winners will each receive R2500
- Best Art R2000
- Best Audio R2000
- Technical Excellence R2000
- Best Narrative R2000
- Overall Winner gets R5000
- Three entrants will be exhibited at A MAZE JHB!
- The overall winner will exhibit their game at Amaze 2017 and do a five minute hypertalk
- An additional prize of a trip to A MAZE JHB 2017 to be awarded at the judges' discretion (this includes a flight to JHB from anywhere in SA and an entry ticket to A MAZE, it excludes accommodation)

To enter the competition, start a thread titled “[SA Game Jam 2017] NameOfYourGame" in Make Games SA's “Online Competitions and Jams” category and post your progress there (makegamessa.com). Please don't post design ideas and ambitions, posting that won't help you achieve your goals.
As you release files, edit your first post to point to the most recent versions available.
You must include the following info:
- Jam name (SA Game Jam 2017)
- Project name
- Level of experience (Professional, Hobbyist or Student)
- 48hr entry / 72hr entry
Please ensure that you familiarise yourself with and follow the Make Games forum guidelines! (http://makegamessa.com/discussion/4108/forum-guidelines-faq)

Other people will reply to your post with their feedback and ideas. Please do your best to take any and all feedback as positively as you can and use it to make your game better.
Participating by engaging in feedback on your own and other entries will be taken into account.
Fixing / tweaking your own entry based on feedback received will also be taken into account.

The entries will be judged by a panel of judges (to be announced closer to the time), one week after the deadline.

- Competition starts on 1st of September 2017
- Deadline for entries is 4th September2017, 20:00 (UTC+2).
- You can enter as an individual or as a team.
- Use whichever language, tool or development system you are comfortable in.
- Your game must contain all files needed for it to run and should not require other bulky systems to be downloaded or installed, exceptions are browser plugins like Flash and self-contained DLLs distributed with the game.
- While any fixes post-jam will be taken into account, the version submitted at the time of the deadline will be played and judged, so make sure it is PLAYABLE WITHOUT ADDITIONAL INFORMATION NOT CONTAINED IN THE GAME.
- Competition is open to entry for South African residents over the age of 18.
- You retain all copyright to your work.
- The use of copyrighted material will not be tolerated. Do not steal!
- All risk or liability in case of copyright infringement or other legal issue resides with the entrant, Free Lives and MGSA takes no responsibility for entered games.
- The judges’ decision is final and no negotiation will be entered into.

- Please bring R150 for lunch/dinner for the weekend
- If you are submitting a 72 hour game, Free Lives and the Bandwidth Barn will be unable to host on Monday.


  • @DizziLimpho hey, the facebook event link is missing.
    Thanked by 1Fengol
  • Definitely in! (Don't have FB so I am RSVP'ing here) \:D/
    Thanked by 1mmillions_
  • edited
    Super looking forward to it!

    Anyone want to team up? I can offer skills in coding/dev, 3d stuff (not really too good with anim and rigging), and sound.

    Edit: RVSP'ing
  • Me and my partner in crime is super keen to do this!
  • edited
    Hey Folks!

    This is the criteria Evan has said will be used to judge the games at the Jam - it's the same as last year but we'd like to have this here so people know what to expect. Please don't hesitate to ask questions! :)

    The judging method for the art and audio categories are *relatively* easy to describe. In that the art and audio would be judged based on a combination of execution (in terms of mastery demonstrated), innovation (in terms of exploring novel techniques) and integration (in terms of consistency and supporting the other elements of the game, including supporting the theme).

    For the general categories, like "Student" or "Overall", the games that are eligible for the category will be judged on several aspects...

    Adherence and use of the theme. A game that ignores the theme completely won't be eligible no matter how awesome, while a game that embodies the theme, and/or explores it in a novel way, would increase the game's award chances.

    Novelty. If the game is entirely a clone of an existing game it will not be eligible no matter how perfect the replication. However if the game is new and interesting in some way(s) it will increase the game's award chances. I use the word "Novelty" and not "Experimental", because it is not the quality of being different that I think we should reward, but rather the quality of being interesting.

    The experience. This of course includes art and audio (if applicable), but also the technical execution (if applicable), the writing (if applicable) and the gameplay design (if applicable). I'm saying "the experience" rather than "the polish" because I think the polishing of games can always be done post-jam if the game shows potential (and, as has been mentioned, improving the game post-jam will be taken note of when judging the games). Depending on the game, a certain degree of polish can help improve the experience, but the level of polish itself will not be evaluated. The more enjoyable, memorable, or the more thought-provoking, the experience, the higher the game's award chances.

    Technical Excellence! This will go to the game that achieves a novel experience through overcoming a technical challenge. This isn't going to necessarily be rewarded to the most technically ambitious entry, but rather to the entry that produces the most novel experience reliant on achieving something technically ambitious within the constraints of a game jam.

    Best Narrative! This will go to the game that tells the most engaging narrative, the narrative that is best integrated into the gameplay, and the narrative that best supports the theme. This is not necessarily about having the best written words, all the elements of the narrative will be considered (including, where applicable, the spoken words, the descriptions of objects, actors and places, the character attributes, the cues from the environment, the interface itself, the events of the game and so on. i.e. Everything that adds to the narrative from the icon of the executable to the moment the game closes).

    Lastly, participating on the forums, and demonstrating an ability and willingness to grow as a developer (or developers) and help others do the same. This will not be weighted as strongly as the other factors, but will swing ties between equally worthy games. We're not looking for tons of vapid posts, but what we don't want to see is developers spending a weekend making a game only to drop it cold and never learn to fix any of the problems that come up through feedback (and so possibly doom the developers to repeat these missteps).
    Thanked by 1blacksheepZA
  • edited
    My friend and I are amped. Edit: RVSP'ing
  • Hey folks!

    The Facebook link works now so pretty please RSVP there, or if you are gonna RSVP here please write you names so i can keep track of numbers for catering and planning spaces etc.

    Thanks! :)
  • Awesome, just RSVP'd. Looking forward to the Jam as this will be my first. Wish I could be at the venue but its a bit hard to get my PC all the way down to CT, haha. Ill physically attend the next Jo'burg one though.
  • Hey guys, I am in contact with the Goethe Institue who is likely to provide a venue for Joburg (it's near Rosebank). It's a super rad venue :) I'll make a new thread about it and talk about organisation.
  • NOTE

    I've just updated the prize list - we can now announce that the winning game will be exhibited at Amaze 2017 AND will get to do a five minute hyper talk :D
    Thanked by 1dammit
  • Okay, we've secured the Goethe Institute as a venue, here's a thread for it, if you'd like to attend a physical jam in Joburg (ALWAYS ALWAYS better to jam and hang with peeps!), please come holler in the thread :)

  • Hey hey. I would love to join someone's team as an artist. Wink wink nudge nudge etc. If you'd like to see more art, go look here: http://www.wesselmatthews.com/ I'm in Cape Town, and hope to still be at the time of the jam.

    Please don't make me go into this alone. ^_^
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • I'm definitely in! I am extremely new at game making and this is going to be the big challenge that I'll build up for :) I won't physically attend this one but will go for it from the confines of this lovely office chair I'm sitting on. Can't wait for the challenge!

    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • @Wes_Matthews You're too talented to go it alone (unless you wanted to), or worse, not make a game at all!
    Thanked by 1konman
  • I've never done a game jam before since I've always just been working on my own game engine (I'm such a stuck record).

    But I wonder if it's worth it to learn Unreal Engine while making a game at the same time in 1 weekend. I wonder if that's even possible.

    Also, how does it work with the posting? I assume we wait for a theme and then make a forum post after. Now I'm sort of thinking out loud.

    Sorry for the stupid questions! :P
  • @AntiVoid Using a game jam to learn a tool is something I've done many times in the past (like learning to do network programming in a jam). I struggled to complete anything with almost all those jams, but it's always been worthwhile!

    Yeah, wait for the theme, and make a post when you've got something to show. Even a blank Unreal project in your case would be an exciting start (and we could see you take that blank project and build something).
    Thanked by 1AntiVoid
  • Hi, If anyone needs a code monkey, I'm keen to join too. I have dabbled in Unity/C#. I have no experience with game maker or unreal yet though, but willing to try...
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • My friends and I are excited on jamming, huzzah!

    just would like to know a couple things regarding physical jamming..
    -at what times is the Cape Town venue accessible
    -if there'll be overnight jamming
    -what does the physical location feature?

    - Also, how does one enter as a student?

    Tried asking on facebook, but I suppose this is where the action happens anyway.

    Really looking forward to the jam, and thanks for bringing the community closer together.
  • Heya megaguy 32,

    1.) The venue will be accessible from 5pm on the Friday until around 10pm on the Sunday. There'll be security guards at the venue that'll open the space in the morning on Saturday and Sunday (from any time)
    2.) There will be overnight Jamming , I'm just confirming with the venue that people can sleepover.
    3.) The Bandwidth Barn will have desks, chairs, power, internet, a kitchen that sort of thing ( is there anything in particular that you'll need?)

    And when you enter your game at the end you can specify that your team is made up of students (and any other category that you'd like to be considered for). :)
    Thanked by 1Wes_Matthews
  • Hai, keen to pop in. I'm a music composer and don't have a team and I rsvpd yes on facebook - but I won't need catering, in fact I may not even take part I'm just popping in. Maybe someone wants music, maybe they don't. Either way have fun everybody. (ps it's Maike Watson and this username is the worst! If only I could change it!)
  • Cool, I got my partner(s?), even though they're not in Cape Town I'll be at the barn this weekend. My big ol' PC rig is welcome, right? And safe?
  • Thanks for the info DizziLimpho. Nothing specific required.
  • Do I have to RSVP if I don't intend to physically attend the Jam?
  • Hi guys, I'm keen to enter. Do I need to facebook rsvp if I am doing it remotely?
    Looking forward to it! Thanks :)
  • edited
    Here I was planning to catch up on sleep this weekend! I'll check the theme tonight, consult my wife, sleep on it and then decide in the morning. If I do partake I'll be jamming remotely...

    (marked myself as Interested on FB)

    Edit: Since it's only Thursday today and not Friday yet, I'll check the theme tomorrow night...
  • Just a quick question: Will the theme be put up on the forums at 6pm? I only get home from work at 6pm and so I won't be able to make it to the venue in time for the announcement :(
  • edited
    If you're attending remotely you won't need to RSVP. It's for calculating physical space that we really need to know the numbers.

    The BandWidth Barn in Cape Town has most of the things you'll need, like chairs, tables, electricity, internet and a coffee machine. But it is probably worthwhile to bring your own extension cord, as we'll be plugging in more computers than The Bandwidth Barn usually accommodate.

    There is security there (in the form of actual security guards and security cameras), so the Cape Town venue will be safe to leave things at (so long as you trust your fellow jammers).

    We're going to try announce the theme at 5pm tomorrow (Friday), but we're still working on the announcement video.
    Thanked by 1blacksheepZA
  • edited
    Ok my weekend is starting to look a bit to hectic too make any definite plans. And I don't have a laptop so coming to the venue with a desktop pc is probably a huge mission. So I'll do it remotely if I do.

    But my question is must you make the forum post of your project asap or can you work on it and if it's good, then create the post at the end of the JAM? Sorry if that's a stupid question :P
  • I hope you guys have enough time to comment on every submission this year, maybe get some more judges to make that possible. I can't join this year as my life is pretty turbulent ATM, will be nice to see all the games that get made though.

    Have fun.
  • edited
    @Antivoid You don't have to make a post as soon as you've settled on an idea, and so long as you've made a post before the deadline you will be entered.

    But we will be considering it best form to make a couple posts as you develop your game (when you have significant progress to show). And especially if you are developing it remotely it can help a lot to get some feedback before you're finished. But the only post that is actually required is the submission post.
  • @EvanGreenwood What are the rules for the jam regarding the use of free/purchased assets from the Unity Asset Store/3rd party sites?
    Can we use them if the licence allows?
  • edited
    @Thelangfordian You're welcome to use bought assets, but if you use a lot of assets please mention which ones. For example if most of the art assets in the game are bought assets, then obviously we wouldn't want to consider the game for the art prize. Same goes for audio and technical programming ect.

    I'm also not saying we'll hold it against the game if it uses bought assets, just that we'd want to award the prizes based on what has been made by the team (particularly for the art, audio and technical prizes).
  • Technologies like ARKIT? iOS 11 is not out but will be in 2 weeks?
  • edited
    Technologies like ARKIT? iOS 11 is not out but will be in 2 weeks?
    I think you just answered your own question... :P

    If the judges can't play your game, then they can't award you a prize. (Of course, if you don't care about that, then use whatever you want I guess!)
  • You know, this is the third time in a row that my whole team after weeks of lead up end up deserting me on the day for a jam. This time no giving up - Solo for the win!
  • I would love to hear how the jamming is going at the live venues. Are you people getting any sleep? :D
  • edited
    @konman: sleep is for the meek ;) Nah, just kidding ofc. I don't know about tonight, but last night it seemed like almost everyone at the CT venue got a decent amount of sleep, which is ace!

    48 or definitely 72 hours is way too long to function without enough sleep. It feels like you can push through and make a special exception, but like most crunch-related activities, you're kidding yourself. I know this from a lot of personal experience. My best jams (the ones where I've not only enjoyed myself the most, but also produced the best games) have been those where the game comes second to my health. There's a strong temptation to just crunch a bit, but you're making an "in-the-moment" choice there, which doesn't even last as long as 48 hours. IOW, if you want to continue working because you're enjoying it, sure go ahead, but don't expect to be more efficient :)


    Healthy jamming folks! :D
  • Thanks so much to freelives for hosting the jam again this year - It was a great experience and for a change I think it was an awesome theme, and people really seemed to run with it.

    I feel humbled and intimidated by all the awesome submissions this year - good luck to everyone for the judging!
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