Grassroots Gamedev

OK, so you’ve decided you wanted to add “make some videogames” to your organization’s communications toolbox.

Sweet.

Tomorrow we’ll dig into some tools to make it happen, but first I want to talk about structuring your grassroots game development program.

The quickest option is to run an in-house “game jam.” A game jam is an event in which participants start and finish a whole game within a set amount of time. Jams can last as short as one hour or as long as one month! They also revolve around a theme - which in your case will be something related to your mission.

You’ll know what’s best for your organization time-wise, but one to four half-days if you’re working with internal team members is probably a good starting place.

Beforehand, the organizer should familiarize themselves with the tool you’ll be using (which we’ll go over tomorrow) and try to get people hyped up :-) Announce the theme to get creative juices flowing! And try to get participants to download and play around with the tools themselves, too, so they can be familiar once the jam starts.

At a jam, participants can work in teams or solo if they’re up for it, and you want to encourage communication and collaboration as much as possible. Focus on forward momentum - nothing’s going to be perfect or 100% polished in this short of time, so just keep spirits up and moving and enjoy the ride! Try not to think too hard :-)

At the end of the jam, give everyone time to show off their work with each other. Be super encouraging during show-and-tell, and celebrate everyone! I’ve done tons of jams where my “finished” game was very very broken, and there’s no shame in that!

For publicity, tweet and post on groups’ progress throughout, and then you can create a free account on www.itch.io to host the finished games for the world to play!

Sound fun? Hit me up with questions, and I’ll point you in the right direction.

All this talk about jams now has me itching to do one myself this weekend… ;-)

Cheers,

Sam