The Game MUST ...
- be funny, unique, memorable, stylish, disturbing, original, emotional, bizarre, touching, outlandish, soothing, exciting!
Avoid clones at all costs. In 3 days you can't win on production value, but you can win on ideas. See Game Philosophy.
- be INTERACTIVE! No screen savers or cool graphic demos.
We're looking for something people can download and play with.
It does not have to be a traditional game.
i.e. Art games, Web toys, Simulations are all welcome, as long as they are interactive.
- incorporate the required images.
- be designed BEFORE you arrive. You won't have time at the jam,
and inspiration rarely strikes at the last minute.
- ensure the ESCape key closes/terminates the game.
Players MUST be able to exit your game without hanging.
- RESTART. Player should not have to exit the game and restart the .exe (or refresh the .swf) to play again.
Especially important for the TOJam Arcade where the desktop is unavailable.
- have instructions - either in-game or external readme.txt.
If the instructions are basic (i.e. use arrow keys), or self-explanatory, this isn't necessary.
Especially important for the organizers and TOJam Arcade.
- credit everyone that was involved in making the game - including the floaters.
Ideally, the names will be displayed in the game itself. Failing that, the names will be listed in an accompanying readme.txt.
- be small and focused. Do not be ambitious - you've only got 3 days.
Don't think WarioWare - think 1 game in WarioWare.
- use technology you're familiar with. That way you have a chance of producing something decent.
If you plan on using a new language, try to learn as much as possible before the event.
The Game SHOULD ...
- relate to the theme in some way.
- have a title screen. Unless that ruins the experience you're planning.
- have clear goals. Assuming your game has goals of course.
- be easy to figure out. People that download your game won't spend a lot of time figuring out what to do.
As long as most players can deduce what to do, we're happy.
If you game is complex, the initial levels should be a tutorial (see Bloat).
- avoid changing resolution. Small games should not need to do that, and it bothers the player.
If changing resolutions is unavoidable, the game MUST change it back when exiting.
- support both keyboard (for PC downloads) and XBOX Controllers (for public display including Arcade).
At some public displays (Toronto Comic Arts Festival, FanExpo, Nuite Blanche),
keyboards may not be an option. On the flipside, most people downloading your game will NOT have a controller.
It's important to support both.
- install as little as possible. Download games should unzip and run,
not register themselves and integrate with player's menu and windows system
(XNA games are the worst for this). Removing should be as simple as deleting the folder.
Especially important for the TOJam Arcade.
If a setup program is necessary, it should install as little as possible
(don't try to automatically install the latest DirectX and latest .Net, you'll just ruin people's machines).
- provide a download and online version (if technology allows). Unity and Flash games should provide both.
- not be unreasonably hard, and should gradually get harder.
Some previous TOJam games got hard so fast, that no human could pass Level 3.
If you're going to have multiple levels, ensure they are playable - otherwise stick to one great level.
- have music. As Guitar Hero has proven, it can also elevate a simple game into a near religious experience.
If you're not teaming up with a musician or music floater, start looking for music before the jam.
Thanks to creative commons, there are lots of options.
- provide 15 minutes of entertainment to those willing to try it.
- be playable on a Windows PC.
Makes it easy for the public to download and play your game,
and gives us flexibility (project at TOJam Arcade, possible Torontron inclusion).
- have a copyright somewhere. I'm no legal expert, but just in case your game is deemed worth stealing.
- feed the poor, heal the sick, and comfort the lonely.