Coding Blocks

We step back to reflect on what we learned from our first game jam, while Joe’s bathroom is too close and Allen taught Michael something (again).

Stop squinting to read this via your device’s podcast player. This episode’s show notes can be found at, where you can join the conversation.


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Game Jam Tips

  • Aim for the browser and to be embedded.
  • Be careful sharing your custom URL when hosting somewhere other than the game jam as it splits your traffic and likely, your feedback.
  • Time management is super important.
    • Be realistic about how much time you have.
    • You’ll be tired by the end!
  • Start with the Game Loop.
  • Try to always be playable.
    • Aim small and prioritize the “must haves”.
  • Know what you want to learn.
  • Judge your game against what you can do.
  • Beware of graphics and animations! Inspiration is fine, but it can become a sinkhole.
    • Recall from the above tips about time management and focusing on a playable game.
  • Play into the theme. Or don’t.
  • Use tools, asset stores, and libraries, such as Tiled, PyGame, Photoshop, and/or Butler, to simplify your effort and make maximum use of your time.
  • Consider teamwork.
  • Borrowing ideas is fine.
  • Keep your “elevator pitch” in mind, and evolve it.
  • Publish early and save energy for playing.
    • Save time to write up your game’s description, take video/screenshots, etc. for the submission.
  • Keep your game testable by having a dev mode and/or the ability to initialize a certain game state.
  • Think about the player over and over and over. How do you teach them the game’s mechanics, physics, when the game is over, etc.
  • And again, save time and energy for publishing your game, as well as, playing and rating other’s games.

Resources We Like

  • The Coding Blocks Game Jam 2021 submissions (

Tip of the Week

  • Sign up for a game jam! (
  • Use -A number-B number, or -C number to include context with your next grep output. (
    • -A number will print number lines after the match.
    • -B number will print number lines before the match.
    • -C number will print number lines before and after the match.
  • Add your Git commit to your Docker images as a label like: docker build --tag --label git-commit=$GIT_COMMIT .
    • Where $GIT_COMMIT might be something like:
      • GIT_COMMIT=$(git rev-parse HEAD) or GIT_COMMIT=$(git rev-parse --short HEAD) if you only want to use the abbreviated commit ID.
      • In Jenkins, you can use ${env.GIT_COMMIT} to get the current commit ID that the current build is building,
Direct download: coding-blocks-episode-151.mp3
Category:Software Development -- posted at: 8:01pm EDT