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Old May 20th, 2014 (10:05 PM). Edited June 11th, 2014 by TBM_Christopher.
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    Hey guys,
    One thing I've seen in the fangame community is generally large scope for projects - it can be dismaying and frustrating when you feel like you're not making significant progress in your fangame project. This thread is based on a thought I had on a way to foster more of a sense of community here, and to offer a breath of fresh air for those who are feeling that they've lost steam on their current projects. To those ends, I started a thread as a discussion about the possibility of a Game Jam, and now I feel that I'm ready to go ahead and say that it's on!

    What's a Game Jam?
    A Game Jam, simply put, is when a group of people get together at a fixed time to create a quick-and-dirty prototype of a game. Obviously in a fangame community, this is easier said than done - everybody's got ideas for long-term projects, so how could one produce a Pokemon fangame over a weekend? The short of it is that this jam in no way intends to produce full games. We're going to focus on a specific aspect that is often common to Pokemon fangames, and put all of our efforts into that one aspect.

    Battle for the Badge!
    This game jam is going to be all about the gym milestone. Using an engine of choice, your goal is to build a gym. Catching and training Pokemon is not the concern - the focus is on the gym itself - its layout, its trainers, its puzzles, and of course, the Gym Leaders themselves.

    Judging
    And of course, what is a Pokemon gym challenge without some competition? This jam's results will be judged in the following categories:
    • Theme - How appropriate is the gym to its specified type? If it has one, how interesting is the gym's puzzle?
    • Engagement - Does the Gym actively keep the player interested, or is part of the challenge remaining interested?
    • Difficulty - While a gym challenge should be.. well, a challenge, is it winnable? Does the player feel that sweet moment of triumph upon victory?
    • Gym Leader - Who is the Leader of your gym? Is she a femme fatale from a foreign land? Is he a gruff guru rumored to tame even the fiercest of wild Pokemon? Do we get much insight from the gym trainers or the gym itself on what this Leader is like?
    Note: The focus of this Game Jam is NOT on the art presented in your entry. While fitting art will speak volumes to making your Gym come alive, it's not necessary or even evaluated for this Jam.

    The Rules
    • Participants may sign up by posting in this thread any time before Midnight (Pacific Time) on the night of Thursday, May 29th! You don't have to sign up to participate, but since the participants will receive VITAL information to their entry at that time, you may be at a disadvantage (I can't guarantee I'll be online for the entirety of the Game Jam to help participants who are getting started, but I'll do my best).
    • If you're a Judge, you cannot also be a participant in the Jam's competitive aspects. This is to prevent bias. However, if you want to make an unofficial entry which wouldn't be scored in the competition, please feel free!
    • At Midnight(Pacific Time) on the night of Thursday, May 29th, each participant will be given a random Pokemon type for their Gym. I'll try and make sure that no two participants receive the same type for as long as possible - I can't guarantee it if we get more participants than types, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
    • Participants are allowed to use any tilesets, engines, and official Pokemon that they wish. Please note that no special judgement will be based on tiles, custom or no, nor upon the functionality of the engine(if you're using your own engine, please make sure it works. Framerate and minor bugs will not affect judgement but your gym should at least be playable)
    • Participants may set the Gym Challenger's team of Pokemon to whatever they wish, so long as the Gym is winnable with that team. I guess here would be a good place to mention that there should also be a Pokemon Center or equivalent in your entry, in case players lose or need to heal their Pokemon.
    • Participants have until Midnight on the night of Sunday, June 1st to submit their final entry to be judged. At the end, I hope to set up a gallery of the gyms and their creators for posterity. Non-competitive entries will also be accepted for this space until midnight on the night of Monday, June 2nd, but no later, as I hope to finish judging by the end of that week.
    The Judges
    • Java's Missingno.
    • dragonnite
    • Umbreon
    • Kyain
    At this point, I don't think we should accept any new judges. A big thanks to our three volunteer judges!

    The Participants
    At Midnight(Pacific Time) on the night of Thursday, May 29th, each participant was given a random Pokemon type for their Gym, noted both here and via Private Message.

    Sign up by posting in the thread, and I'll add you to the list of participants. Note that you may still sign up, but I may not get back to you immediately with your given type, so you may be at a disadvantage if you're in it for the competition. If you're not interested in producing a competitive entry, feel free to sign up anyways and your entry can be placed in the gallery with the others!


    The Gallery
    I've set up a gallery of the completed entries for you to look at, which contains a download link for all three entries, as well as showing the awards each participant received.
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      #2    
    Old May 21st, 2014 (5:14 AM).
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      Sounds fun, I'll give it a go, it would be nice to start working on Gyms, and this might be a good way to get the juices pumping!
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      Old May 21st, 2014 (3:14 PM).
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      Old May 21st, 2014 (7:26 PM).
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        This is a very interesting concept. I'd be risking a disadvantage since finals are that week for me, but I think I might join in, but if it's alright, I have some questions...


        - Are we allowed to use ROM hacking for this?
        - Is there a size limitation to the gym or the game itself? i.e. Are we allowed to have a small town or something to go with it?
        - Is Fairy a possible type to get?
        - Are there any rules about what Pokémon we give the player, how tough they are, etc. I figure since capturing and training isn't the focus the player's assets will be determined by the game creator.
        - Are we working individually or are teams allowed?
        - Are we technically allowed to start work on it before the 30th?
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        Old May 21st, 2014 (7:52 PM).
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          Quote:
          Originally Posted by Ephraim225 View Post
          This is a very interesting concept. I'd be risking a disadvantage since finals are that week for me, but I think I might join in, but if it's alright, I have some questions...


          - Are we allowed to use ROM hacking for this?
          - Is there a size limitation to the gym or the game itself? i.e. Are we allowed to have a small town or something to go with it?
          - Is Fairy a possible type to get?
          - Are there any rules about what Pokémon we give the player, how tough they are, etc. I figure since capturing and training isn't the focus the player's assets will be determined by the game creator.
          - Are we working individually or are teams allowed?
          - Are we technically allowed to start work on it before the 30th?
          -All things considered, I don't think I want to blur the lines and allow romhacking in this jam. maybe in another, but not this one.
          -your only limit on size is that nothing outside of the gym experience is judged. Don't put too much thought into overall environment unless it really shapes your gym.
          -Fairy may be a possible type, possibly by popular vote before the signup deadline; I'm not sure how accomodating various engines are for it presently, but I'm personally all for it if possible.
          -No rules about what pokemon the player has, just make sure that they're reasonable for the player to have when challenging the gym.
          -I'd say work individually on this jam; while a team-based competition could be fun, it'd be hard to coordinate with so little time, and it might not be fair to compare results on the competitive front between team and solo entries.
          -I'd rather that not happen - I'm assigning the types at the start time specifically as a way to give everyone the same starting opportunity.

          Hopefully that covers your questions, and I hope you'll be able to participate!
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          Old May 21st, 2014 (8:24 PM).
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            Thanks for clarifying, I think I can live with using Essentials or something for this. I ain't the one playing it after all, and I can get used to using it this week. Sign me up!
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            Old May 22nd, 2014 (12:01 PM).
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            Sign me up for this please.
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            Old May 25th, 2014 (3:27 PM).
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              Hey guys, so one consideration I'm thinking about is making a(relatively barebones) publicly available basic gym tileset in FR/LG style(just some general floor and wall tiles for the various types, probably). Would people be interested in this as an optional resource for the jam, or would they prefer to use their own independent choice of tiles instead?
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                #9    
              Old May 25th, 2014 (5:25 PM).
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                It's alright with me, at the very least it would make a nice template for other people to draw their own tiles.
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                Old May 25th, 2014 (6:22 PM).
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                  I thought there already was one in essentials? So I'm not really sure what you're talking about.

                  Also, a question I have is are you going to try and keep the pokemon solely official?
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                  Old May 25th, 2014 (8:28 PM).
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                    While there is one in Essentials already, it's got a lot of stuff more catered towards the 8 Kanto gyms(which is fine and dandy if you got a type to which the decorations are suited, but for instance Koga's gym decoration theme of ninja and invisible walls may not be as strongly suited for a Poison gym as Brock's gym for ground or rock types, with boulders and sand for decorations)

                    And yes, I would say to keep it official - while there are a lot of creative Fakemon, I wouldn't want people trying to devise fakemon for their gym, and the only way to guarantee that it doesn't happen is to not use any,
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                      #12    
                    Old May 26th, 2014 (12:00 PM).
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                      Fair enough (on both accounts)
                      I'd say it would be useful to have a base resource for different gyms to go off of, but I don't know where you'd get one. It would be nice to have, but don't kill yourself trying to make one.
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                      Old May 26th, 2014 (1:18 PM).
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                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Saving Raven View Post
                        Fair enough (on both accounts)
                        I'd say it would be useful to have a base resource for different gyms to go off of, but I don't know where you'd get one. It would be nice to have, but don't kill yourself trying to make one.
                        I was thinking that by offering a more barebones tileset with walls and flooring in colors appropriate to each type of gym, and possibly some generic decorations, that participants who wanted the resource could then add their own tiles in - after all, it's really not about art quality and more about the gym experience. it's pretty doable, especially in a clean style like Fr/Lg, without becoming a huge stress point, and it's a great boon if even one person feels they could use it.
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                        Old May 27th, 2014 (8:33 AM).
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                          Old May 27th, 2014 (9:15 AM).
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                            That'd be great! Glad to have you!
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                            Old May 27th, 2014 (2:23 PM).
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                              This is a really neat idea. I think we should have jams like these on regular occasions, for example once every 1-2 months (depending on the amount of people participating). They can also let people create various aspects of their games or a nice short side project.

                              I'd love to participate, yet I don't have much time available this weekend (and my tendency for scope creep doesn't help with this). I'll have to look into it. Otherwise I'd love to be one of the judges if you'll have me. I think giving extensive (constructive) feedback allows people to learn from this as well.

                              (time zone for me is +9 hours, or maybe 10 XD, not sure)
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                              Old May 27th, 2014 (2:56 PM).
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                                Quote:
                                Originally Posted by Badhaas View Post
                                This is a really neat idea. I think we should have jams like these on regular occasions, for example once every 1-2 months (depending on the amount of people participating). They can also let people create various aspects of their games or a nice short side project.

                                I'd love to participate, yet I don't have much time available this weekend (and my tendency for scope creep doesn't help with this). I'll have to look into it. Otherwise I'd love to be one of the judges if you'll have me. I think giving extensive (constructive) feedback allows people to learn from this as well.

                                (time zone for me is +9 hours, or maybe 10 XD, not sure)
                                Doing a regular game jam would be awesome, but I'm not sure I'd want to commit to organizing the entire jam on a regular basis. If someone else were willing to host, I'd be more than happy to offer myself in a supporting capacity instead, though!

                                If you're willing to be a judge, I'd be more than glad to have you as a third judge! We aren't really on a hard deadline for judging, and I'll just announce the users' types myself (since that's not really a 3-person job), so it should be flexible enough to work with your schedule!

                                As an announcement, though, I think 3 judges is plenty, so I won't be accepting any more. Be ready, guys, we're approaching the last day to sign up on-time for a competitive entry!
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                                Old May 28th, 2014 (8:55 AM).
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                                  It turns out I do have some time available this weekend. If you'd prefer to have me as a judge I'll create an entry just for fun (without partaking in the competition of course). Otherwise I'd also love to participate and leave the judging to you guys. Please let me know.

                                  Concerning the regular jams, I'd suggest to switch between a few hosts or have a few people oversee it. Another idea would be to let the winner host the next jam. Though all of this could best be discussed in a separate threat to refrain from going off topic here.
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                                  Old May 28th, 2014 (10:48 AM).
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                                    Quote:
                                    Originally Posted by Badhaas View Post
                                    It turns out I do have some time available this weekend. If you'd prefer to have me as a judge I'll create an entry just for fun (without partaking in the competition of course). Otherwise I'd also love to participate and leave the judging to you guys. Please let me know.

                                    Concerning the regular jams, I'd suggest to switch between a few hosts or have a few people oversee it. Another idea would be to let the winner host the next jam. Though all of this could best be discussed in a separate threat to refrain from going off topic here.
                                    No problem at all; I'm just glad to have interest in the jam! I'll just move you on over to the participants section and note that we'd still accept a new judge.

                                    The winner hosting the jam would probably open up a can of worms in that it's an added responsibility for the winner, which isn't a fun prize. I did start up a thread as a discussion about the jams a while back, which I believe is still considered a live thread presently. However, that may be a "cross that bridge when we come to it" situation, as presently I'm more concerned with making this jam as fun as possible rather than the logistics of future jams.
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                                    Old May 29th, 2014 (4:08 AM).
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                                    I'd like to participate judging.
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                                    Old May 29th, 2014 (12:54 PM).
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                                      Quote:
                                      Originally Posted by hansiec View Post
                                      I'd like to participate judging.
                                      Sounds great! Welcome aboard!
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                                      Old May 29th, 2014 (1:26 PM).
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                                      I'd like to participate in judging, I don't plan on entering.
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                                      Old May 29th, 2014 (1:39 PM).
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                                        Quote:
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                                        I'd like to participate in judging, I don't plan on entering.
                                        Alright, though at this point I'm going to say that with 4 judges, I won't be accepting any new ones.
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                                          #24    
                                        Old May 29th, 2014 (9:25 PM). Edited May 29th, 2014 by TBM_Christopher.
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                                          A quick update for those of you still on the fence about participating in the game jam: Early registration has now ended. However, you can register at any point during the game jam and I'll give you a randomized type for your entry as soon as I see your post.

                                          Also, if you still want to turn in an entry but can't make the midnight on Sunday deadline, feel free to turn in a non-competitive entry by midnight on Monday. All entries are going to be placed into a gallery for everyone to enjoy at the end, competitive or not.


                                          And it is happening now!

                                          First of all, thanks so much to our early sign-up participants for expressing their interest in this game jam! I'm sure that I speak for myself and the other three judges when I say that we're really excited to see what each of you comes up with for your respective gyms. With some luck, I plan to be checking in frequently tomorrow and Sunday to make sure that everyone's on-track with their respective games, as well as assigning types to any last-minute entries.

                                          The types assigned to each of you is as follows:
                                          • Saving Raven - Dark Type
                                          • Whitney's Shaymin - Psychic Type
                                          • Ephraim225 - Normal Type
                                          • Nathan - Dragon Type
                                          • Badhaas - Fighting Type
                                          Remember, I need your submissions by this time on Sunday night in order to judge them competitively. If that deadline doesn't work for you, feel free to submit as late as midnight on Monday night, but be warned: often in a game jam, it's not worth it to opt for the extra time. Use whatever hosting you're comfortable with, just make sure that the other judges and I can get to it without having to register an account somewhere other than Pokecommunity!

                                          If any of you find this helpful, here are a few quick tips that I've found helpful in game jams:
                                          • Plan a little bit before jumping into your editor cold - the gym map, the power level of a player at this stage of their Pokemon adventure, or the overall theme of the gym. RPG Maker in particular is a bit of a slow tool, and it's easier to manipulate ideas on paper than when you've built a map in your engine.
                                          • If you get stuck in the design process, try thinking about it from a different angle. Where is the Gym? What sort of building is it? Did the Leader inherit the gym, or build it themselves? Is it outdoors? Indoors? What sort of environment would they train their Pokemon in?
                                          • Bend and BREAK your resources - if you've got an idea for a gym with multiple levels on the same screen(Crasher Wake or Byron's gyms for instance), then make some elevated tiles in paint and do it! If you want to use windows to represent magical mirrors that do something when interacted with, do it! We can use our imagination, and crude placeholder graphics are fine if you can get your idea across.
                                          • If your choices are between refining what you have and expanding into new territory, try to refine what you have. A game jam is a severely limited timeframe, and while a longer experience can be fun, the goal is something relatively short and sweet, considering it's only one gym.
                                          • The above said, don't focus solely on presentation. Make the gameplay and player experience the best it can be without stressing over art assets. We can use our imagination if the Scientist dude is supposed to represent a secret agent type character.
                                          • Above all else, have fun with this. While there is pressure with the deadline, it's no big deal if you decide at the end that you don't want to ever mess with this gym again. This isn't meant to stress anyone out.
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                                          Old May 30th, 2014 (9:44 AM).
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                                          Hey, one of the judges here. I'd just like to say good luck to everyone and Java's Missingno. has some good tips. :)

                                          I look forward to seeing everyone's submissions!
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