What counts as a game for the purposes of the month?
Many words have been wasted trying to define “game.” From our perspective, the long and short of it is “something that can be played.” Any attempt at further definition is kind of pointless. You know a game when you see it. For National Game Development Month, you can make a web game, a platformer, an RTS, a Facebook game, an ARG, whatever. If you consider it a game, it’s a game. Try to make a good one.
Can I make a board game?
Board games, card games, and other non-electronic games are fantastic ways to learn and iterate on game design. They’re harder to share with the wider world, but that shouldn’t stop you from making whatever you want to make.
Can I make a mod?
Oooh, good question. Let’s go ahead and say, “yes.” Likely nobody will be building their game completely from scratch (what, are you writing your own OpenGL drivers?), so the line is always a bit fuzzy. If you’re doing a mod, though, make an ambitious one, with a wholly self-contained experience.
What do winners get?
The pride of a job well done. Plus a game made of their own devising! That’s a pretty sweet reward in itself.
What’s a winner?
“Winners” are defined in this context as anyone who actually finishes making a game in the designated thirty days. Of course, “finished” is somewhat different for every game. A good rule of thumb is that the game should be ready for someone to play without the person who made it standing behind them.
What if I don’t finish?
That’s ok! Making games can be tough sometimes. Keep working on your game until you're tired of it, or until you think it’s done. While we want to encourage people to make and finish their games within the months, our overall goal (sneaky!) is simply to get more people making games. So be proud of getting as far as you did, and get ready for next year's NaGaDeMo!
Can professional game developers participate?
Assuming their day job is cool with it, sure! Even professional developers can benefit from the mind-clearing exercise of building something fast like this. However, if you’re a professional, consider branching out a little bit. Try a new style of game or a technology you’ve never touched before. Or you may find that your time is best spent mentoring or helping out more novice developers.
Are there themes or prompts?
While prompts are great for preventing blank page syndrome (and thus crucial in the 2-3 day context of a game jam), a month of development should not be as constrained. Consider something like random Wikipedia pages if you’re truly stuck for an idea. (This particular point is somewhat unsettled. Starting from a position of “NaNoWriMo doesn’t use prompts,” what makes them necessary for NaGaDeMo? Feedback is welcomed.)
Is this limited to the United States? Why is it “National”?
The event is not off-limits to anyone, anywhere, for any reason whatsoever. We’re using “National” to echo NaNoWriMo, which will hopefully help people understand the concept more quickly. (Of course, NaNoWriMo is also not limited to a single country. Aren’t brands weird sometimes?)
How do I sign up?
When can I start working?
This really works best if you start with a completely fresh idea on the first day. Coming in with a design already in your head can actually slow down the process, as you can be overly attached to it, or have conceived something too large. That said, people who are interested in making games in a month are likely to have ideas already kicking around in their head, so it would be silly to pretend that any idea was wholly fresh from the start. Endeavor to not start with too much baggage, though.
Can I work in a group?
Because games require such a diverse skillset, you might find that group work is a practical necessity for creating anything approaching “finished” in one month. To keep from getting too unwiedly, though, we recommend keeping groups small. Two or three people is probably ideal, and going much larger than that would probably lead to communications breakdowns at some point.
How do we verify who has completed their game?
When the end of the month rolls around, we’ll have an upload system so you can share your creation with the world. Beyond that, it’s pretty much the honor system. Say you finished a game, and we’ll believe you.
Why would I want to do this?
Because it’s fun! Haven’t you always wanted to make games?