Getting in a jam:
Iv'e been fascinated with game jams since I first came across them a couple of years ago. Being a learner in game development I was hesitant to join in knowing full well that I would never be able to create a game in a time limited way, but as time has gone by my confidence in coding has gotten much better and so has my understanding of game jams. Anyone can host a game jam. Each one has their differences depending on that hosts preferences. Some are difficult and for the more hardened coder, and there are some that are for the more novice coders with not such a tightened limitation. In the beginning I thought game jams were something that you would participate in when you are a reasonable good coder, but now with so many variations in game jams that are tailored for novice, intermediate & professional coders and encourage beginners also, so there is no reason really for me not to participate in one. Perhaps one that better 'suits my needs' and has a reasonable time frame in which I think I could actually start and finish a project.
I've been looking at game jams in the wrong way since I started my journey in game development. Up until now I have been working on my own projects and using those to learn about the functions I intend to use. But like all my projects I have worked on, I have taken far to much time to program them. The longer I spend on just one project, then it takes me longer to learn the next function I want to learn, and thus, I could be looking at years before I finish anything. This is where game jams can help me. Having to complete a game/project within a 'reasonable' time frame forces me to not spend to long on a game, and permits me to experiment with an idea, without the pressure of it being a polished, finished product. Because game jams can cater for beginners and the like, I can choose that particular jam for my needs.
Game jams have the added bonus of the feedback received from other developers/players, which for a game to develop and grow could be instrumental to its progress should you want your game to move on from just being a game jam entry. There are a lot of games that have done really well and have gone on to be really successful indie titles, which all started from just an idea from a game jam. My game Monstropolis was nothing more than concept drawn up for a Ludum Dare game jam, Now it's my 'fulltime' project.
I no longer think i'm not good enough to take part in game jams, or think of them in a negative way. There is so many positives that can be taken from participating in one. They are there to encourage creativity and inspire creativity. So expect me to take part in a lot more of them, and you never know, I may enter one of the big ones!