Thoughts on the RDC Game Jam winner nomination process

Hi everyone, this year I participated in the Game Jam with two other great developers (I’ll mention them for credit if they’re fine with it, I feel I’ve talked about this to them enough already) and were able to complete a game, although we didn’t make the mark for the top 10 winner nominations. While we humbly accept the participation credit, I have some personal thoughts on the process of nominations, mostly some suggestions for future RDC GJ’s:

Only one judge to nominate each game

I don’t know if the other judges are also able to see the games after one goes around to talk to the creators, so I would need some clarification if this is the case.

I believe that having one judge to gauge the qualities of each game with the creators present is not sufficient, considering that some may be more or less biased to content such as memes. Even if they all do test the game after the walk-around, the creators are not there to talk about it - especially if they want to explain the connection to the jam’s theme, whether it not being obvious or actually having more than one meaning not noted in the game.

Non-judge nominations

It would be neat to have a crowd vote of the top games, whether this be by other RDC attendees or by online vote, then to have the judges filter the low-quality ones, decide tiebreakers, and possibly to decide their top 3 winners (additionally, to have both voter’s choice winners and judge-voted winners).

Having a chance to present our game at all

Even not as nominations, it would be nice to have the chance to briefly present our game (to a mobile streaming camera, not on-stage) to everyone live in addition to Roblox putting them all on a blog. This could be possible during the time leading up to the judges going around to see the games for nomination as a number of games were not only ready, but already polished up to 1-2 hours prior to the top 10 presentations.

More time to work than needed

Our team was one that pulled an all-nighter so we were able to complete our game as we envisioned it roughly 2-3 hours before the presentations. If Roblox decided to change the scheduling of the game jam (potentially for some of these ideas, hint hint), I don’t think it would impact development to push the time forward by an hour, most games being polished (and those with top developers basically being front-pager games) by that point.


Regardless of these thoughts, I very much enjoyed RDC this year and I’m glad to have met the friends I made, and I thank the staff for putting it all together. Even for the Game Jam, there’s always next year to have another go. I’m leaving on a flight soon so I’ll have to get back to any responses later.

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In RDC 2017 a single judge also decided whether or not my team’s project was good enough to be shown on screen, and they deemed it not worthy. It was really unfortunate because we ended up getting a ton of work done between the judges coming by (and effectively deciding ours wasn’t even good enough to be shown) and the game jam officially ending.

While I didn’t participate this year, it’s sad to hear that the judging process still has the same issues as it did two years ago.

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Although I can understand wanting more than one judge to review the game, I disagree completely with conducting the review without the team present. So much of the reviewing process comes down to the presentation, and I think that eliminating that factor in the nominee judging system would negatively impact the entire process. I think that nominating based on surface-level observations may disadvantage more teams than it potentially advantages others.

I also think the amount of time provided is perfect and I wouldn’t even mind it being extended in the future.

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Totally agree with all of the above. We also pulled an all-nighter, so it was mostly just bug fixes and cosmetics the last couple hours, and it felt like there was plenty of time to at least have 2 judges come around in person. When one of our team members checked the leaderboard data stores, the Roblox account had joined at some point. So maybe the judges (or somebody else) do look at every game afterwards, which is at least better than relying solely on a single person’s rendition and opinion of the game.

Crowd nominations would be great. Even if it was a totally separate category (like ‘community vote’ or something), it would be cool to get everyone’s opinions. For example, everyone that walked by our table said our game looked great (I’m sure that happened in other groups as well), so it would be interesting to see how an open voting system would impact top 10 standings.

At the end of the day, the Game Jam is mostly for fun. I know my group had lots of fun making our game regardless of the fact that we weren’t in the top 10 (we were gunning for it, though :laughing:) and we’ll probably continue to work on it together.

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