Six key takeaways from developing a small game in a short time-span

What do you get out of a game jam?

Though already extremely popular, game jams are becoming increasingly more so in Finland. Statistics from the last Global Game Jam showed that over 700 Finnish developers took part in this year’s event, the highest number yet. Participation has been on a sharp rise since 2010, when 98 pople from Finland took part.

Speaking at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki today, University of Tampere assistant professor Annakaisa Kultima.discussed the top reasons why all developers should take part in a game jam.

1. Networking and recruiting
Firstly, she said it’s a great way to network with other creatives, and also provides a great place for recruiting staff for a new project, or finding someone to start a game with after the event.

2. Teamwork skills
Another benefit is that it can help develop your teamwork skills, as you’ll often be "jumping into the deep end" with complete strangers a lot of the time.

3. Timeboxing
Kultima said a game jam can create a better understanding of the game development process. Developers will learn how long it can take to create assets, and how long it takes to make a game.

4. New ideas
One of the biggest benefits from a game jam, Kultima said, is having the freedom to think outside the box and create games, prototypes and features you may not be able to create in your daily work. While these may not turn into fully-fledged games, the ideas generated here can give you partial ideas that can then be implemented or improved upon in your later work.

5. Portfolio
The process of creating games in a small time period can add to your portfolio, which is obviously a great way to show an employer you have actually worked on a project from start to end, and can work in a team.

6. Rediscover your passion
Kultima said a game jam can make developers passionate about games again, if they had felt jaded, as it offers the opportunity to freely explore strange new areas of game design.

Kultima added there are many things pople can do to support game jams in their country or home town. She said this could be in the form of becoming a sponsor for such an event, sponsoring staff to go to game jams, volunteering as an organiser or simply participating in such an event.

"There’s simply no excuse for you not to be taking part in game jams," she said.

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