LibreJam - FSF* should host a Libre Game development tournament!

Jacob Hrbek kreyren at
Tue Jan 4 08:43:03 UTC 2022

 >  A libre game jam related to LibrePlanet would probably need to be 
before the conference to not distract from the talks. -- Michael McMahon

I like the idea of it being part of the conference to increase the 
participation from a new generation.

 > Game jam games are not expected to result in complete games, package 
their software in repositories, continue development after the jam, or 
become AAA games.  To demand or expect these things from a ga... -- 
Michael McMahon

I do agree that this is how game jams usually works, but i think that we 
should adjust the rules there to address the issue with discoverability 
and development sustainability while handling the issue with rushed code 
and lack of licensing and documentation.

On 1/3/22 17:39, Michael McMahon wrote:
> Hi!
> These game jam threads are an interesting read, but there are some
> misunderstandings about what the purpose of a game jam is in this thread
> and the other thread Global Game Jam.  This is long, but I hope it is
> informative.
> If anyone with experience running a game jam wants to host a game jam in
> connection with LibrePlanet conference, reach out to the FSF Campaigns
> team at campaigns at to get this idea rolling. The small FSF staff
> typically all has roles to play during the conference so this task would
> need to come from volunteers if you are serious about making it happen.
> None of the FSF staff have experience running a game jam that I am aware
> of.  A libre game jam related to LibrePlanet would probably need to be
> before the conference to not distract from the talks.  The games could
> be presented during the Lightning Talks portion of the conference.
> A jam is usually a very short period of time where various groups of
> people with different skill sets compete to make something surrounding a
> theme or set of restrictions.  The theme and restrictions are mechanisms
> to mitigate groups from using the jam to release or popularize something
> that they have been secretly working on for months.  The purpose of a
> jam is education, socialization, and friendly competition while gaining
> functional experience through creating something in an area that they
> are interested in.  There are many different types of jams.  Ones that
> are related to these threads are game jams and game art jams [1]. A game
> jam usually results in several people hacking on a concept and pulling
> all-nighters to deliver a somewhat functional concept of a game.  A game
> jam team might be composed of programmers, writers, and artists.  A game
> art jam is where teams of artists create art assets that can be used by
> other games.
> Game jam games are not expected to result in complete games, package
> their software in repositories, continue development after the jam, or
> become AAA games.  To demand or expect these things from a game jam is
> an unreasonable expectation.  A successful Libre Game Jam should only be
> expected to produce game concepts released under a free software
> compatible license using free culture assets where the majority of
> participants learn something through the process.  Anything else would
> be going above and beyond what is typically expected from a jam.
> There are a great deal of free software games that have come out of
> various game jams over the years since the trend began.  Even game jams
> that are not explicitly focused around free software have developed many
> free software games.  If you can find the code and the licensing is
> correct or correctable, anyone can pick up where they left off.  Keep in
> mind that fixing a licensing issue becomes increasingly difficult as
> time passes as getting in contact with a dissolved team or minors is
> difficult.
> In order for amateur programmers or hobbyists to make a game technical
> demonstration in 48 hours or one week, the code is often similar to
> spaghetti.  The short time frame requires taking shortcuts and hacks to
> make something fast [2].  To continue development on a game jam game,
> the first step would probably require refactoring the code which takes
> development time.  The code is usually is found in an archive file
> released by the game jam organizers so continued development would need
> to move to a software forge as well.
> Packaging software for various distributions is a different set of
> skills than would normally be expected from a group of game development
> volunteers with no sleep.  Organizers of a such an event could plan to
> take these additional steps with the games or mentor the winners through
> the process.  If the licensing checks out, there is nothing stopping
> anyone from packaging and maintaining the games in their distribution of
> choice.  Someone could start the first Game Package Jam where groups
> compete to see who can upstream the most libre games to the Debian
> repositories based around a certain theme.
> Other creative game jam concepts with a focused scope:
> Libre Game License Jam where groups reach out to Game Jam repositories
> to fix or start licensing issues and pull requests.
> Libre Game Fork Jam where groups fork libre game jam games and make
> improvements, retheme, or change to a completely different game.
> Libre Game Doc Jam where groups find libre game jam games without
> documentation and write instructions about how to compile, play, or
> modify the game.  Many game jam games do not have any documentation as
> the groups would typically include the what, why, and how through a
> presentation while showing the game to judges. These ceremonies are
> typically done in person and not published so the documentation is lost.
> Libre Game Mod Jam where groups mod games with extension capabilities
> such as Minetest.
> Libre Level Jam where groups make level packs for libre games.
> Disclaimer: I have never participated in a game jam, but I have searched
> through many hundreds of game jam games to find materials for teaching
> programming to children.
> [1]
> [2] Fast, Good, or Cheap: Pick Two.
> Best,
> Michael McMahon | Web Developer, Free Software Foundation
> GPG Key: 4337 2794 C8AD D5CA 8FCF  FA6C D037 59DA B600 E3C0
> US government employee? Use CFC charity code 63210 to support us through the
> Combined Federal Campaign.
-- Jacob Hrbek

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