Procedural Generation Jam Is Worth Watching On Nov 8th

You could make this in a weekend, probably.

I wouldn’t normally post about something like this so early, but it’s cool. If you judge game jams on their potential to create interesting works, then the Procedural Generation Jam wins by hoping to ride the wave of interest in “making stuff that makes other stuff” towards a slew of fascinating games, tools and toys.

If you judge game jams on your ability to join in with minimum effort, then the Procedural Jam wins again by also livestreaming an afternoon of talks from experts, including Hazel McKendrick of No Man’s Sky, Mark Johnson of Ultima Ratio Regum and Fernando Ramallo of Panoramical.

If you’re judging game jams based solely on their name – the only correct way to judge game jams – then Proc Gen Jam wins with a final knock-out, each word sharply launching off the tongue like a vicious magic spell.

Though technically I suppose they call it Proc Jam. Ach! There are two ways to enter:

  • Make a game with procedural generation in it.
  • Maybe a Twine adventure with randomised character personalities? Maybe an action-RPG where each player gets their own procedural theme tune? Maybe an old-fashioned world-generator for a strategy game? Create a game for #procjam using the optional theme (announced at the start of the jam) and include a procedural twist in there somewhere.

  • Make a tool that generates stuff to help game developers.
  • We already have amazing tools like sound effect generator SFXR, music generation like Abundant Music, or random sprite-grabbers like Spritely. What other tools could we make to help people generate cool things for the games they make? Maybe a corporation generator for cyberpunk cities? A tool for generating alien alphabet fonts? A library that automatically generates enemy ships for space shooters?

I’m an awful programmer with no experience, but the most fun I’ve ever had in Game Maker has been trying to procedural create things. Here is a dumb face generator I made in an afternoon:

If I can do it badly, then you can do it better. ProcJam is 50 days away and I’ll post a reminder nearer the time, but for now, mark November 8th in your calendar and keep an eye on the site for more information.

24 Comments

  1. Gap Gen says:

    That face generator is pretty great. You should replace RPS’s automatic avatar generator with it.

    • BurningPet says:

      I’ll second that.

    • Bluerps says:

      Yeah – for an “awful programmer with no experience” and an afternoon of work that is not half bad.

      (Though I don’t really know Game Maker – if it has a “generate face generator” tool somewhere, then Mr Smith’s face generator is less impressive)

    • LionsPhil says:

      I am glad to see that this is the first comment and fully endorse this proposed plan of action.

  2. MadTinkerer says:

    Hmmmm… I may finally join in a game jam with this one. Oftentimes, the problem is that I either don’t hear about it in time, or that I wasn’t paying attention and then it’s too late. But now I have a month and a half to brush up on my mad GML skillz and actually contribute to a game jam.

    • Mike says:

      Please do! We’ll be posting up some tutorials and resources on our tumblr site in the runup to the jam. You can also follow us on Twitter for more cool links – @procjam. :)

  3. Niko says:

    “A library that automatically generates enemy ships for space shooters?”
    Nooooo, I’m already kinda making a game with randomized ships. Not sure if I’ll get it done soon, but I have another idea for the jam, though.

  4. melnificent says:

    Plenty of notice, free at the right time, I’m in…. just one question
    Can I use my own game engine? Or does it have to be a main one, such as GameMaker/Unity, etc?

    • Mike says:

      Hey melnificent!

      You can use any engine you want. You can develop for any platform you want, from NES to iPhone! You can make plugins for things like Unity, or standalone tools, or games, or games within tools or tools within games. We’re really flexible – our only aim is to help people make awesome things!

      • melnificent says:

        Thanks for the reply, I’m definitely in then.

        Now I just need to figure out procedural generation.

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    clweeks says:

    Are we supposed to make things now and turn them in when the date comes? Or wait until the jam’s start date and make things then before it’s over?

    • Mike says:

      The idea is to work during the week of the jam. However some people are working on bigger games or projects and they’re going to save up a bit of procedural generation work to do on their game during the week of #procjam – that’s a cool way of getting to enter the jam but also spend time on a larger project.

  6. Chaz says:

    Procedurally generated jam, each scoop of the knife gives a different flavor. Never have a boring toast day again.

  7. Several says:

    Someone ought to say:

    “Michael Cooke? You should have said! Games by Angelina is a fun concept, and the Saturday Papers are like saliva-reactive candies, but for the brain. If you are a developer, or simply derive pleasure from pondering procedural things, hurry now and do not trip: link to gamesbyangelina.org

    Those posts are lovely ways amble deep into the much-less-trampled parts of the PCG meadow-jungle.

    • Mike says:

      I think that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about me or anything I’ve done. Thanks! ^_^

  8. DasBilligeAlien says:

    Would it be possible to make a Tabletop game?

    i am not sure if my abbilities are ecen remotly good enough.

    • Mike says:

      I replied on Twitter but just in case anyone comes here reading and wondering: we definitely do accept tabletop entries. Make a card game! Make a board game! Make a physical running-around-the-playground game! Anything :)