What is a game jam?
Game jams are competitions held twice each semester by Wolverine Soft where participants work together in teams to try and create the best game as voted by their peers. During an event, teams will work for several days straight over a weekend to build their games from scratch, culminating in a showcase at the end where teams get the chance to present their work and have others play their game.

While similar to hackathons, game jams have the added aspect of incorporating creative work from visual and audio disciplines in addition to programming. Another draw is that with game jams, rather than having just an application at the end, your team will have a real, (hopefully) fun game that you can play together and show to your friends. To explore the kinds of games created at Wolverine Soft game jams, check out the Games tab.


Why should I participate?
Designing and building your own game from the ground up is an exhilarating experience, and for many is a reward in of itself. Game jams are also a great place to flaunt your creativity, as well as be inspired by that of others. As a participant you have the ability to contribute in whatever capacity, whether as an artist, programmer, musician, or a combination of these. And what you do doesn't have to reflect what your major is--game jams are a fantastic place to try something new!

The intense, two-day work period is also a great environment to quickly boost your game development skills. If you come as a beginner, even with no experience, competing in a game jam will give you lots of opportunities to work on things hands-on, allowing you to become visibly more skilled by the end of just one weekend. If you come with experience, game jams are fun places to put your skills to the test and push the limits of your creativity. And if you are in to game development but never seem to have time to make your own game, game jams are great ways to work for a set time in a productive environment and actually get work done. Of course, game jams are places where everyone can learn no matter their skill level, from the tutorial sessions we host to advice and tips from other participants.

How can I participate?
Wolverine Soft game jams are free events, and it doesn't cost anything to register and compete. A pizza dinner is always held on the Saturday night of the jam, but outside of that only snacks will be provided. Participants are not required nor expected to stay at the event site for the entire duration of the event, though any work done for the jam is required to be done on-site. To participate, individuals on the WSoft mailing list should RSVP using the link provided near the game jam date. In-person registration is also available starting at 5pm on the day of the jam. To find out when the next game jams are, check out the WSoft calendar in the Home tab. We hope to see you at a game jam soon!

A picture of the 2018 Global Game Jam The Wolverine Soft 2018 Global Game Jam

FAQs
How big (or small) can my team be?
Teams can be as small as one person, or as large as one desires--there is no official limit. However, we recommend a team size of four as this allows for high-caliber work to be done through individual specialization while ensuring that teams remain focused and each member is able to make meaningful contributions.

What if I don't have a team?
That's totally fine! Brainstorming sessions are held at the beginning of each game jam where individuals are able to meet others, exchange ideas, and find a group that they would like to work with. In addition the deadline for team registration is not until several hours into the competition, so for a period of time participants are able to move between teams if needed.

What can I make my game about?
Participants are encouraged to exercise their creativity in coming up with art, songs, and mechanics for their game, though an overarching theme is announced at each game jam, and games will be partially judged against how well they incorporated the theme.

Can I use tool/asset XYZ in my game?
Wolverine Soft game jams allow the use of any art, music, or game assets available for free in the public domain to all participants. Use of any proprietary assets for which one does not have a legal copyright may be grounds for disqualification. Use of paid assets from the Unity Asset store, for example, is also forbidden. However, paid software used for the creation of assets, such as Photoshop or Logic, is permitted, as well as the use of personal hardware such as recording devices or VR headsets. Such hardware and software may also be available to students through UM computers and facilities for those who do not have access to these tools on their own.

Are there prizes?
Yes! Individuals from the top 5 placing teams will be eligible to receive a prize, usually in the form of a choice of a Steam code to redeem for a video game. Other game jams that WSoft occasionally participates in, such as the Global Game Jam, may have additional prizes for winners of the larger competition.

What if I'd like to participate, but can't stay the entire time?
You can still participate! Attendance is not required for the entire jam, and participants can arrive late, leave early, or step out for a few hours without penalty or disqualification. Just be aware that any planned departures should be communicated with your team, and that if no one on your team is present at the end of the game jam then your game will not be eligible for judging.

What if have more questions?
If you have further questions, please reach out to us at wsoft.officer.active@umich.edu.