Game Jam 2015 FAQs

+ What is a game jam?

From Wikipedia: “A game jam is a gathering of game developers for the purpose of planning, designing, and creating games within a short span of time. Game developers are generally made up of programmers, game designers, artists, and others in game development-related fields.”

+ How old do I have to be to participate?

You must be 14 years of age or older. At least 1 member of your team must be 19 years of age or older. 

+ Can I reapply if I participated in the ROM Game Jam last year?

Yes! We would love to have you back!

+ Is there reliable wifi at the ROM?

Yes!

+ Do I need to have made a game before?

Game jams can be a great way to learn how to make games. With limited capacity for the ROM Game Jam, however, we recommend participants have previous experience.

+ Are students allowed to participate?

Students are absolutely welcome to participate, especially those with experience in making games.

+ Do I participate alone or as a team?

Participants work in a team (maximum four members total) or solo.

+ Do I have to create my team ahead of time?

Yes, we are asking that teams (maximum four members total) should be created ahead of time. At least one member must be 18 years of age or older. 

+ Are there floaters?

No. Participants must be in a team (maximum four members total) or be able to work solo.

+ When does registration open, when will it close, and when will we find out if we've been accepted to participate in the Jam?

Registration will open on August 14, and close September 6, 2015. You'll hear back from us within a week or two (max) of registration closing, so make sure you sign up with an email address you check frequently! Criteria for how we will choose teams will be posted before registration opens.

+ What are the hours of ROM Game Jam?

The ROM Game Jam starts on Friday, October 2nd at 3pm and ends on Sunday, October 4th at 5:00 PM. ROM Game Jam daily hours are as follows:

Friday: 3pm to Midnight
Saturday: 9am to … all night long! 
Sunday: 9am to 5:00pm

+ Can I stay overnight at the ROM?

This year we will host our jammers all night long Saturday Oct 3rd. 

+ Where is the ROM Game Jam being held?

The ROM Game Jam is being held inside the Royal Ontario Museum at 100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON in the Rolofr Beny Gallery (at the top of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal!) 

+ How do I get to the ROM Game Jam?

The Royal Ontario Museum is at 100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON, conveniently located at the Museum station of the Yonge-University-Spadina line. See a map and more detailed directions.

+ Is there a theme to ROM Game Jam?

Yes! The theme for the 2015 ROM Game Jam is:

Space Rocks! (That’s right - space games.)
The ROM's Earth and Space collection includes meteorites, 4 billion year old Earth rocks and even pieces of the moon and Mars. How would you animate this collection through a video game? Join is for Game Jam 2015 and let your creativity shine! 

+ Can our games be based on any subject within the ROM?

One of the challenges for the ROM Game Jam is to get ROM visitors to experience more of the museum by animating its exhibitions. For this project, the ROM will have chosen some exhibitions to act as the inspiration for games. We'll be posting a collection of resources that will help inspire your imagination shortly.  Or follow @ROMEarthSci

+ Do our games need to be educational?

No, not strictly—although we’d argue that players learn in games even if they’re not intended to be educational.

+ Do we need to finish the game?

We strongly encourage a working prototype of your game by the end of the jam weekend, and the best games will be chosen by committee to be shown during two playtest sessions 1 month and 3 months following the Jam

+ What equipment/resources will be provided?

The ROM will be providing the space, electrical and internet for the jam itself but participants will be required to bring their own equipment: that includes any computers, tablets, extra monitors, etc.

+ What platform should we build our games for?

A game should be user-accessible and made easily playable either online or on mobile/tablet devices. Or see what gamers created in previous ROM Game Jams, visit the ROM Arcade!

Selected games can be featured in an arcade at ROM events throughout the year. ROM assets that are available to showcase games include: PC laptops, iPads, Google Cardboard, and a multi-touchscreen game table (TBC, please email gamejam@rom.on.ca if you want to develop for the game table).

+ Can we use any technology/tool, or are we limited?

The world is your oyster! But please remember, the game jam is three days and you’re working towards a playable prototype, so keep the scope of your game in mind when you’re deciding what technology and tools to use.

+ Who owns the IP behind the game?

You do, but the ROM will ask you to sign a contract that asks you to work with us if you wish to publish your game.

+ Can I attend the event just to hang out?

Due to space constraints allotted for the jam, there’s no capacity for people who will not be participating. However, you are welcome to visit the ROM during visiting hours – we will have some of the games from previous years’ jams set up for visitors to play and we will arrange for a “tour” or two of the jam space to give visitors an idea of how a video game comes together. More details to come!

There will of course be other opportunities for you to see games that are created during this year’s jam.  Completed games will be play-tested at various ROM events between November 2015 and March 2016.  Confirmed dates will be posted here later – please check back!  

+ Can I work on a game I have already started working on?

Sure, if there’s an organic way to incorporate the themes and challenges from the ROM Game Jam!

+ Do our games have to be children friendly?

Well, they can’t be children unfriendly!

+ What exhibitions and galleries can my game be inspired by?

With this year’s theme of “Space Rocks!’, you’ll be drawing inspiration from the Teck Suite of Galleries: Earth’s Treasures, which includes our gem vault, the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, and the Barrick Gold Corporation Gallery; as well as our blockbuster exhibition Pompeii: In the Shadow of the Volcano.        

+ Do all of my team members have to be on-site?

Yes. One of the best parts about a game jam—and arguably central to the jamming experience!—is being able to collaborate in-person with your teammates as well as with your fellow jammers. That experience just isn’t the same if you’re working with someone remotely. If you are signing up with a team for the jam, please make sure that all members will be available during the jam weekend. Plus, you'll get to meet ROM experts, explore our galleries and more!

+ Will my game be shown at the ROM?

Completed games, at the discretion of the ROM, will be play-tested at various ROM events between November 2015 and March 2016.  Confirmed dates will be posted here later – please check back!

Further questions can be directed to GameJam@rom.on.ca