Find a Team and Make a Game at the STL Scatterjam November 4-6
October 25th, 2016
Do you want to make a game? The STL Game Dev Co-op is putting on the third annual STL Scatterjam, so it’s time to round up a team, fire up your computers, and clear up your calendars for the first weekend of November.
So, what’s a Scatterjam?
A Scatterjam is an (approximately) 48 hour game-developing event for experts, newbies, and everyone in between. If you’ve ever participated in a game jam before, you’ll recognize most of the rules. Everyone will meet up on Friday, November 4 at The Saint Louis Zoo’s Anheuser-Busch Theater. That’s in the Living World building, at the north entrance.
Doors will open at 5:30 PM and you can sit, chat with your team, and listen to some rad video game covers by the local musicians of Fat Bard until 6:00 when the event begins. A keynote speech will reveal the theme of the jam, and that’s when the rules change. Because once your team has the theme, it’s time to scatter.
What do you mean “scatter”?
To paraphrase late 90s alternative rock band Semisonic, you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay at the St. Louis Zoo. All Scatterjam development takes place off-site. Go to a team member’s house, a cafe, a park, or anywhere else you have permission to occupy and make a game! The teams will then reconvene on Sunday, November 6 to show off your work and probably make post-jam drinking plans (if you’re under 21, those plans will be to drink apple juice).
What kind of game can I make?
You can make a video game, a board game, a card game, a sport, an e-sport, or anything else you might want to call a game. Though making an e-sport is probably ill-advised because you only have 48 hours. The only rules are that you follow the theme and have fun.
Where can I learn more?
At this point, all this is just paraphrasing from our excellent overview of the event at http://www.stlscatterjam.com/, where you can also register for the event.
What should I do to prepare?
As tempting as it might be to get a head start on your game, you shouldn’t do that. Part of the fun of a game jam is putting together a game in only 48 hours! But there are some steps you can take to get ready.
1. Make a team
Unlike a traditional game jam, teams are encouraged to form up prior to the kick-off of the event. Because we can’t stick around at the St. Louis Zoo (the animals need to sleep) you won’t have much time for team formation after the theme is revealed. If you need help finding a team, there are plenty of ways you can find folks to work with.
If you’re a member of the STL Game Dev Co-op, head on over to our #scatterjam slack channel. Tweet with the hashtag #scatterjam and it will show up on the website. Or, if you prefer to network in person, the Co-op is holding an event on November 2 at Asynchrony (900 Spruce St #700). There, Nate Haskins of BunnyGun games will go over Unity3d FREE assets, templates, and resources you can use to make your games. Afterward, there will be time reserved for team formation and recruitment. Need a programmer, artist, musician, or whatever else to work with? This event is for you!
Once your team is together, go over to the website at http://www.stlscatterjam.com/ and register!
2. Get some space
Teams can come back to the Zoo on Saturday if they want, but only during normal hours and there won’t be any room set aside for the jammers, so you’ll be trying to work in the middle of the weekend zoo crowd. Find somewhere else you and your team can work. A house, a dorm, wherever you feel comfortable and you have permission to work. It’s a good idea to decide where you will be jamming before the event, so you’re not scrambling to find a work space.
3. Pick your tools
If you’re making a video game, you’ll probably want to pick your engine and any other tools you plan on using so everyone can have them installed. If you haven’t done a jam before, you might not know there are plenty of great, free resources out there for jamming! And once you’ve picked your tools, it can’t hurt to check out some tutorials if you’re new to them.
Unity 3d (Standard version, and check out the event on November 2 for more info)
Unreal Engine 4 (free until you start selling and making $$$)
Gamemaker Studio (Basic version)
HaxeFlixel (2d games)
Ren’py (Visual novels)
Twine (Interactive fiction)
Free Image Editors
Free Sound Editors
And one last time for the end of the article, go to http://www.stlscatterjam.com/ and get yourself signed up with your team!