Summertime.

A time of blazing hot sun, ocean hazards at otherwise friendly beaches, long holidays (for those still fortunate – or unfortunate – enough to be in school), and for those of us in the industry, often frantic #gamedev (because fall deadlines are coming up, and the lead time to get a title out in time for Black Friday is no as small as most people think).

For those of you not crunching away on a game, but who want to be, read on, for we at AFKer have some recommendations for you!

If you’re never made a game before and are curious about how its done, try out “My First Game Jam,” an online jam for people of all skill levels to learn something new. Sign Up for the Jam here, and if you have questions, be sure to check their Discord Channel. The Jam has been underway for about half a week, but there’s still plenty of time to submit – the deadline isn’t until August 4th 2017 at 9:00 PM Pacific.

But perhaps you’re not a beginner.

Maybe you’re an indie dev or an advanced student looking for a jam with a bit more direction, something different from what you usually do. In that case, perhaps the #ShortAndSweet Jam is right for you. From the description, this jam is focused on “making some cute custom graphics and using those to make a short and sweet game!” Yes, the graphics must be made by you – but you can have begun working on them, as well as your game, before the jam begins on August 1! Deadline to submit is August 14, plenty of time for something short and sweet.

If you’re curious about why you should bother with cute, well, check out this excellent talk from 2017 Game Developers Conference. Like many others, it is available for free on the GDC Vault.

In the event that cute isn’t quite right for you, and you’re more into retro games, the #LOWREZJAM may be more to your tastes. Running August 1st – August 17th, the goal of this particular jam is to create a game with a resolution of 64 x 64 pixels or less! As with the other jams on this page, there are no restrictions on what programming language or tools you us, or really any restrictions at all except for the 64 x 64 limitation.

Yes, the game can be scaled up to fit in a bigger window, but the view in game must remain 64×64! You might wonder how this is even possible, or what kind of game you could fit into such a small frame. If so, check out the 387 submissions from last year for a bit of inspiration. Or if you don’t have time to go through so many, how about just the two below:

Last year’s highest rated game: Umbri by Cronus

Norman’s Sky by nothke

For this jam, you don’t necessarily have to make your own assets – but please be sure you have the right to use whatever you put into our game, and credit your sources. And well, in response to three (very) frequently asked questions, here’s what the FAQ has to say!

My game is for mobile, can I include controls outside the 64×64 limit? YES! As long as they are just controls.

My game is for web, can I add border art outside the 64×64 limit? YES! As long as it’s part of the page and not rendered by the game.

Can I use screen effects like CRT or scanlines that may exceed the actual 64×64 limit? YES! But, make sure it’s optional and that the game itself is 64×64 before effects.

Hopefully something in this month’s Game Jam Spotlight has been to your taste! If not, we encourage you to check out Gamejolt, itch.io, or Ludum Dare, where you can find jams for all different skill levels, themes, and more!

Have fun, happy Jamming, and if you see something you think we should feature, let us know!