A game jam is a lot like a hackathon for games. People develop games using any tools that they have, then submit them by a due date. As with hackathons, people are free to use any resources that are available to them to develop their game: their game engine of choice, their digital art program of choice, youtube coding tutorials, books on art, anything. You can even use human resources—you can team up with others to make your game better.
Most game jams, as does MelonJam, also have a theme. Some jams prefer or require that you stick to the theme; others don’t, and only intend for the theme to be a tool to kickstart your brainstorming. To make the jam more challenging and to enforce creativity via restriction, MelonJam requires that you connect your game to the theme in some way.
Anyone who does not have much experience in game jams or game-making can participate in the Novice category; it is not limited to age or grade, and we welcome everyone to participate. We encourage participants who are more skilled to participate in the Advanced category, as a team may be disqualified if their Novice submission is unreasonably skilled, and the Advanced category also often has less competition.
If you or your team includes one or more people who are skilled in game-making (i.e. has made in a game in the genre you are submitting or has participated in many game jams), you must participate in the Advanced category.
Yes; to be eligible for a prize, your game must have some aspect that fits the theme in some way. This is because we want to make the jam more challenging as well as enforce creativity through restriction.
Yes; we do not intend to restrict anyone from participating in MelonJam. While we do target pre-collegiate students in particular, we believe that there is much to gain from having people from all sorts of backgrounds share their games and ideas with others.
That said, we sometimes have a few prizes that strictly benefit high schoolers, but if you win them, you can choose to pass them on.
Yes, you may work in teams of up to 4 people. However, if even one member is experienced in game-making, the entire team must enter in the Advanced category.