SA GAME JAM 2016. 8th-10th July (R20,500 Prize Pool)

FREE LIVES is running a game jam! There's R20,500 worth of prizes, and a space at EGE and a trip to A MAZE Johannesburg and A MAZE exhibition space up for grabs.

Here's the Facebook event: 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 Free Lives offices in real life please leave your vote in the discussions page of the Facebook event.

The theme will be announced, and jamming commences, at 5pm on Friday the 8th of July.

Jamming ends after 48 hours at 5pm on Sunday the 10th of July, with 2 hours grace for submitting.

Optionally you can extend your jam to 5pm on Monday the 11th of July (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 AND a spot at EGE as part of the IESA stand to show their game.
- Three entrants will be exhibited at A MAZE JHB!
- An additional prize of a trip to A MAZE JHB 2016 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 2016] NameOfYourGame" in Make Games SA's “Online Competitions and Jams” category and post your progress there ( 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 2016)
- 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! (

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 8 July 2016.
- Deadline for entries is 11 July 2016, 23:59 (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.


  • This'll be the closest thing to a LD in the last few months for me... I'm *so* in :D
  • I'm super keen. Are teams allowed?
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • edited
    @mikethetike Of course team are allowed! (Sorry, I realize a lot of the phrasing speaks to "you", which usually means an individual... I'll try fix that)
    Thanked by 1mikethetike
  • Awesome !!!
    May I ask why there is an age restriction ?
  • oh oh by the way is there going to be a jam location in CT? :)
  • This is rad! :)

    Will try set up a Jam location at The DIZ in Braamfontein :)
    Thanked by 2EvanGreenwood Fengol
  • edited
    @Tuism Yes, we're hosting at the Free Lives offices. You can tick the days you want to participate in the discussions of the Facebook event (I'm actually not too sure how this works, it'd be rad if someone would test it).

    @Bensonance Yes! It'd be awesome if Joburgers could jam together as well.

    Also, if you see room for improvement, please let me know. This jam was set up somewhat in response to the discussion about what makes a good jam that happened here:

    @Kobusvdwalt9 How old are you? We could make the restriction your age. (I think we'd like a restriction, mostly because awarding money to minors I think is tricky? And also because we don't want to stop adults from (tastefully and thoughtfully) exploring adult themes should they choose)
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • @EvanGreenwood As of Monday im 19. So this doesn't affect me.
    And also because we don't want to stop adults from (tastefully and thoughtfully) exploring adult themes should they choose)
    Ah. That makes sense.
    Are there laws that prohibit awarding money to minors ? Its not like a game jam is gambling right :P
  • Nnnnng. I just realised I'm double-booked for a wedding in Durban that weekend. I'm going to try jamming on the plane, at the airport, and during the wedding ceremony.
  • @EvanGreenwood Glad the discussion went somewhere :). The student specific category seems to have got at least the Wits students excited :).

    Only other point I would mention is perhaps give a small bit of direction of what matters in the judging process? This changes between jams - is it the most experimental/most polished/most theme adhered etc.? :)
    Thanked by 1Fengol
  • Any chance Durban folk would like to all come round here for it, even if we aren't in the same team?
  • Super exciting!
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • edited
    @Bensonance I thought we would give fairly detailed judging guidelines when the theme is announced... Although do you think prior information would help inform decisions leading up to the jam?

    How about something like this (subject to feedback of course):

    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.

    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).

    Having written this, I realize the award guidelines of this jam excludes two professions that can be evaluated relatively independently, that of "Writing" and of "Technical Excellence".

    There aren't a lot of writers on the forum, though it might be nice to entice some? And there are a lot of programmers and other technical developers on the forum, and it'd be nice to praise them should they produce something exceptional? We can always not hand out the awards if their are no reasonable contenders, like IGF did with its technical excellence award recently. What do you think?

    Otherwise, how do these guidelines sound? (I'm happy to change them, I'm especially concerned about weighting them too designer-centric as I may have a bias in that direction).

    Also, it's worth noting. There will be a few judges from this community doing the judging, the precise list will be announced closer to the time.
  • Will there be theme voting?
  • Great stuff! I might get involved :)
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • Do all assets need to be created that weekend or can we use previously made assets and scripts?
  • edited
    @Mark Currently, the theme will be decided by the judges, like Global Game Jam. If the community feels that theme voting (between a couple themes) would be better then we can do voting (closer to the time). What does everyone think?

    @KleinM Regarding using assets. You're welcome to use any pre-made asset that is available to everyone (like from the asset store). You're also welcome to build on past work of your own. But we will ask you to be honest about what you've used that was pre-built, specifically for categories like "Art" and "Audio", we want to award the category prizes to outstanding work done WITHIN the jam (that was produced by you or your team). Using pre-built work assets won't be held against you, but neither should it be counted towards your achievement during the jam (or give you an unfair advantage when it comes to the judging).

  • Hey all, I'm quite keen to join - either an existing team or build a team from scratch. I can provide a portfolio of skills etc.

    Anyone need to grow their team?
  • roguecode said:
    Any chance Durban folk would like to all come round here for it, even if we aren't in the same team?
    Im from Durban and Im keen for a meetup. This is my first game jam.

  • Where are the Free Lives offices located?
    I'd love to join them there if possible.
  • edited
    If you're interested in jamming (in person) at Free Lives please sign up here:

    You can find Free Lives here:,18.4191638,18.17z

    Free Lives is located at 6A Belair Drive. If you are driving please park along Belair Drive as there is not going to be nearly enough parking inside (and it's really difficult to turn around inside once the parking is full).
    Thanked by 1Enthused_Dragon
  • @EvanGreenwood Sorry I didn't respond to your post sooner ^_^.

    Personally, I do like knowing the judging criteria for a jam before the time. This helps me get in the right mindset, as well as think of some interesting elements I want to try out. Not sure how it affects other people.

    Those judging criteria are quite lovely! I think the forum participation is going to be hard to judge though. Are you thinking that people should post builds/get feedback *during* the jam on the forum? That seems unlikely to happen. In my experience, playtests happen at jam venues only because it can be quick and convenient?

    Not having categories for Technical Excellence and Writing is unfortunate, and potentially exclusionary, but I'm not sure how easily this can be rectified. I also err generally towards being designer-centric. I think developing the mindset of technical/writing/art anything really serving the overall experience of the game is the most healthy. So perhaps the 'experience' category can be slightly expanded to refer to how the writing/technical excellence serves the game. Technical brilliance and good writing are excellent when they provide great experiences, surely? In this medium, I'm not sure how they can be judged in isolation. Hypertext fiction is an excellent example of how great writing in games can't stand on it's own always - without a good craft of hypertext fiction, the experience can fall flat on it's face. I'm not really trying to start a discussion here, just thinking out loud.

    Perhaps again, similar to 'Deliberate student categories' writing and technical need their own events? But perhaps also, Writing and Technical Excellence could be bonus categories the judges opt-into based on whether they think the game performs well in that category?

    Thanked by 1dammit
  • edited
    @Bensonance I think, for both Writing and Technical Excellence, it is possible to heavily weight those awards to how much they benefit the overall experience, so not just writing for the sake of good writing or technical achievement as a goal in of itself.

    (Much like how "Audio" And "Art" might be judged. We don't want to be awarding the "Best Audio" prize to an experience that consists of playing an MP3 in one's choice of music player)

    And, I think "Writing" could rather be named as "Narrative" if we did have the award (like how they term it for the IGF).
  • edited
    As of now 23 people have said they're in on Facebook (and there are more that are "interested" and presumably some that just haven't RSVP'd on Facebook).

    It's awesome that there's definitely going to be some games made and, by the look of the crowd, some awesome games.

    Free Lives would like to increase the prize pool, to add a couple more category prizes, but it doesn't make sense unless more people enter. Currently there a 6 prizes, and by Facebook's numbers, there's likely to be about 13 games made (which means each game might have about a 50% chance of winning something, which is already rather high).

    I guess what I'm saying is if you're planning on attending anyway, please RSVP on Facebook, and the prize pool will grow if the numbers warrant it (which benefits you especially if you're going to make a brilliant game).

    And also, obviously, the more games the better! It'd be rad if more South Africans make games and post them on these forums.
    Thanked by 2francoisvn pieter
  • Could we enter into more then one section? Like for instance my team is made up of 3 software engineering students, so we study "coding" but we don't do any game development at uni and we are self taught, so we are pretty much the same as hobbyists. So are we students, hobbyists or both?

    By "sections" I mean the 3 primary ones: student, hobbyist and diversity.
  • Must we RSVP even though we are not physically attending? (I'm jamming from PTA)
  • @KleinM Yes please! The RSVP is for the event.

    There is a separate poll for the In-Real-Life event.
  • edited
    @StormGameDev I don't think which category you're in needs to be strict, but when it comes to the judging we're only going to consider you for "Student" OR "Hobbyist", not both, even if you could technically fit into either.

    If you are all students you can definitely enter the "Student" category. Though if you consider yourself "Hobbyist" you're welcome to enter into that.

    It's completely up to you, the reason for the "Student" and "Hobbyist" categories is so that developers who haven't had the opportunity to spend a lot of time developing games don't have to compete with developers who make games full time.
  • Is there going to be a "most penises" award?
  • @Fengol ...if there was say, a reward of that nature, would you attempt to earn it?
    Thanked by 1atomicdomb
  • Yes, yes I would. I plan to go all out for this comp
    Thanked by 1atomicdomb
  • Fengol said:
    Is there going to be a "most penises" award?
    @Fengol ...if there was say, a reward of that nature, would you attempt to earn it?
    Fengol said:
    Yes, yes I would. I plan to go all out for this comp
    Omg XD
    Thanked by 2Fengol Psyinx
  • This is great! Was a little sad to see the next LD not happening, this makes an awesome replacement!
    Thanked by 2dammit EvanGreenwood
  • Thanks for getting back to my question :) The 8th can't come soon enough :D
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • edited
    The Facebook event is up to 47 participants, with a further 65 people interested.

    Since there are likely more people entering, Free Lives has added to the prize pool!

    There are now prizes for:

    Technical Excellence! R2000 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! R2000 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).

    And the Student, Hobbyist and Diversity prizes have been bumped up to R2500.

    Also, A MAZE festival has said that the "best 3 games can be showcased at A MAZE. / Johannesburg".

    The prize pool is now R20,500... Which is the highest ever prize pool for a South African game jam (as far as I am aware?)
  • does it matter what kind of student we are, say for instance a masters of chemical engineering student (full time with a student card) ? would that count
    or are you looking for undergrad and/or computer/game related students for the student category?
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • edited
    @skinklizzard It doesn't matter what kind of student you are, though you'd also be welcome to enter under "Hobbyist" if you don't feel "Student" describes you and you don't want to be lumped with the professional developers (assuming you don't develop games professionally).
  • edited
    I'm worried that so many people are entering. It means there's more competition and I'm going to have to up my game :P
  • Since I don't technically develop games at RE, do I then enter into hobbyist? Or does being employed full time into the game dev scene mean i'm officially pro? :P
  • edited
    @dammit I think if you're adding value to games professionally, but not doing the actual building of the games (as in not building the content/systems nor being involved with the design process) then it'd be fine to enter as "Hobbyist". (As you wouldn't be getting most of the advantages that being a professional develop gives one in a game jam)
  • edited
    @Fengol We're(me and the team) noobs when it comes to game dev, either way experience will be fun and we will learn a lot :D
    Thanked by 2EvanGreenwood Fengol
  • I'm joining you at the Free Lives office for the weekend.
    Must I contribute towards anything, like food, or do we just just bring our own stuff?
    Other than my desktop must I bring anything else, cables, etc?
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • @Enthused_Dragon , Awesome! Have you signed up on the discussion page of the Facebook event?

    There will be coffee and lunch and dinner provided, and I think cereal for breakfast, so long as you are at the venue an hour before the meal we'll get food to you. If you want other snacks or beverages just bring them.

    It's always a good idea to bring a multiplug adapter, and headphones, and a notebook and pen (to brainstorm with) and a flash-disk in case you need to copy stuff onto one.

    Thanked by 1Enthused_Dragon
  • @EvanGreenwood, I signed up using the poll in the discussion in FB yea.

    I'm super excited!
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • Hey all!

    Finally confirmed a Johannesburg venue for this!

    The Digital Innovation Zone (DIZ), 111 Smit Street, Braamfontein

    Good internet, coffee shop downstairs and lots of good food nearby! PM if you want to attend. My number is 083 397 8725 for if you need to get in.

    We'll use the venue from 5PM Friday to Sunday 5PM/ whenever we go home :).
  • Yo peeps! Damn keen to be involved with this but between some commitments I can't reschedule and having my audio gear all in my studio I probably won't be able to be at the venue for very long...if at all ;( ;/ ... but if anyone wants music of SFX (preferably music as I do that better but I can do SFX too) then hit me up... if you didn't know it's

    Also Tim Harbour on FB and @jumpshipmusic on Twitter!
  • Dunno if I just can't read, but around what time does the theme get announced?
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