The Game Jam Survival Guide

Posted by (twitter: @McFunkypants)
April 8th, 2012 11:06 am

Update, April 15: Awesome! I just scored a 40% off discount code for Ludum Dare participants (it won’t last forever!): “gjttsgeb” at

Update, April 12: Apple just approved the book for the iTunes iBookstore!

The Game Jam Survival GuideWOO HOO! I’m excited to announce that my new book, The Game Jam Survival Guide has just been published! This book is essentially a love letter to the Ludum Dare community.

It includes interviews and advice from LD48 superstars such as PoV (Mike Kasprzak), Fydo (Chris Hopp), Phil Hassey, Pekuja (Pekka Kujansuu), and Chevy Ray Johnston (two time winner of LD48), as well as other game jam experts such as the people who run the Global Game Jam.

I also include the infographics from the surveys we all did last Ludum Dare, and packed the book full of the Haiku poetry and funny anecdotes that you all sent to me a few months ago. Finally, I went hardcore into the ways to achieve game jam success, including tons of “what NOT to do” as well as specific advice about tools, time management, design, how to deal with the theme, how to finish on time, and more. Right now the best price is on Kindle, and it is available in hardcover paper edition as well.

I can’t wait to join everybody later this month at LD23. Good luck and KEEP IT SIMPLE! =)

The book is available in paper hardcopy, .PDF, .mobi, and .epub formats.

You can pick up a copy right now from the publisher, as well as
Amazon UK,
Safari Books,
Barnes and Noble, and
iBooks on your iPad.

Here, just for fun, is all sorts of information about what I packed into the book, copy-n-pasted from the publisher’s press kit:


Enthusiastic and light-hearted, glimpse the excitement and frantic creativity of game jams.

Motivating, encouraging and infectious, it is sure to help you reach the finish line.

Follow this handbook from brainstorming an idea, over bitter obstacles and on to the sweet finish line: a complete, playable, fun game.

Each stage of game jams is described with task lists and anecdotes relating common experiences, the trials and the tribulations of past game jam champions and losers.

Packed with interviews, tips, tricks and wise words from Ludum Dare and Global Game Jam organisers among other well-known game jammers.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Before the Jam: Prepare Yourself for Success!
Chapter 2: Hours 1-12: Your Quest Begins!
Chapter 3: Hours 13-24: Deeper into the Jungle!
Chapter 4: Hours 25-36: Breaking Through The Wall!
Chapter 5: Hours 37-48: Getting to the Finish Line!
Chapter 6: After the Jam: Fame and Fortune!
Appendix A: Game Jams
Appendix B: Game Engines
Appendix C: Helpful Tools
Appendix D: The Community

What you will learn from this book:

  • Preparing for the jam: conquer the theme, pick design aids, prototype quickly, choose the right tools for the job, and cut the right corners.
  • Bombastic brainstorming: power up your idea generator and run with a theme, gain more votes and please the masses.
  • Building a game jam entry: pick your weapons, follow your plan, cut the bells-n-whistles, scramble over “the wall”, submit a game on time, and with a little luck, attain fame and fortune.
  • Why Mike “PoV” Kasprzak (Ludum Dare administrator) thinks game jams are a good introduction to the realities of the game industry.
  • The reasons why Dr. Mike Reddy (organizer of the Global Game Jam) thinks designing on paper is essential.
  • The best ways to find creative inspiration and develop an idea to fit a theme according to Eric McQuiggan (founding member of The Dirty Rectangles) and Chevy Ray Johnston (author of the FlashPunk engine).
  • What Foaad Khosmood (director of the Global Game Jam) suggests you do to ensure you finish before the deadline.
  • The worst way to prepare according to Pekka “pekuja” Kujansuu and the best way according to Phil Hassey (Ludum Dare administrators)
  • What one piece of advice Jason P. Kaplan (founder of the Game Prototype Challenge) would give to newcomers.

I want to send a massive and grateful THANK YOU to everyone in the Ludum Dare community. This book was written for you.

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11 Responses to “The Game Jam Survival Guide”

  1. J8EH says:

    Your book is already in the iBooks store, at least it is in the UK.

  2. BretHudson says:

    Beautiful! Any chance of an Android/Google Play edition?

  3. SkullSoft says:

    Sounds cool! I wish I had money to buy it with…. :)

  4. McFunkypants says:

    Thanks everyone. The twitter contest was hilarious – I got some fantastic haikus, limmericks and jokes. I’ll post a list of the winners shortly.

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