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Getting creative together at Your First Game Jam

September 10, 2019 in Community | 4 min. read

Trying new tech can be more than a little intimidating, but we want to make it as fun, fast, and easy as possible for beginners to get started in Unity. That’s why we’ve created a slew of streamlined learning tools and tutorials for new users. The latest is Your First Game Jam, a live YouTube stream where we invited you to try your hand at customizing a mini karting game alongside other beginners and more seasoned users online. The idea was to encourage you to see for yourselves just how easy and exciting it can be to get started in Unity.

When you download Unity for the first time, you will find a fun, self-guided learning path where you can start learning Unity by customizing a ready-made game project right out of the box. We call these projects “Micro-Games,” and they come with Unity when you install the platform as a new user. These Micro-Game templates are designed to make it easier for beginners to get started. (If you’re not a new user but curious about the Micro-Games, you can find them in the Learn tab in the Unity Hub v2.1+.) The Micro-Games are fully customizable, and they come with several easy-to-follow tutorials (or “Mods,” as we call them) to help you get creative with your project. It’s all part of the new Getting Started with Unity Course on Unity Learn. But we wanted to find a more collaborative way to introduce you to Unity, and that’s how Your First Game Jam was born.

Micro-games are operational mini-game templates that let you edit how the game looks and plays by adding fun assets and other customizations to make it truly your own. 

The Karting Micro-Game and Mods formed the basis for Your First Game Jam, which happened live on August 27. Anyone, anywhere could watch the stream online, open the Karting Micro-Game project in Unity, and start customizing their own version as they followed along. At the end, everyone could even share their game with the world (or at least ten friends to start.) Thousands of you hopped on the stream and did just that. And I got to be one of the hosts!

I love teaching game development and Unity to beginner and intermediate users, as you can see on my YouTube channel Sykoo. I’m also an Online Evangelist at Unity, and I was thrilled to host Your First Game Jam from my Sykoo channel and welcome beginners into the fold. I was joined by my Unity colleague Elena Nizhnik, self-taught programmer Kristin Stock, who also makes cool Game Development videos on YouTube, and André Cardoso from the Mix and Jam YouTube channel, where he shows how to recreate the mechanics of your favorite games using Unity.

Usually, game jams are geared toward a more experienced crowd because the goal is often to create a project from scratch. But at its core, a game jam is where people come together to turn their ideas into reality in a fun and supportive environment – so that’s what we hoped for with Your First Game Jam. And you delivered! Everyone online truly brought the spirit of a game jam to this livestream. If you missed it, don’t worry, you can still virtually join and learn what we covered by following along with the recording.

Both during and after the game jam, many of you shared screenshots and links to your projects on Twitter with the #YourFirstGameJam hashtag. The Twitterverse is now overflowing with the colorful candy worlds you created to race through, complete with jiggly buildings, rainbow-striped racetracks, donut-shaped startline arches, giant gummy bears, and speed-driven trails to heighten the action on-screen. It’s awesome to see the variety and individuality that each of you brought (and are still bringing) to the same framework and toolset through your mods. We loved seeing your creations and were proud to discover what you could create in only 3.5 hours. 

Take a look at what some people shared – we hope it encourages you to try Unity, too.

Whether you joined during the livestream or plan to follow along later, don’t forget to upload your game online and share the link on Twitter using #YourFirstGameJam, and tag @Unity3d so we can check it out. Even if it’s still a work in progress, you can upload what you have so far to see how it looks and try playing it on the web. Then, once you’ve customized to your heart’s content, follow the upload steps again and the game’s web page will update to showcase your latest version. To see what’s possible, check out the games that Mix and Jam, Kristin and myself made during the livestream.

Remember, if you missed catching it live, no worries – you can watch the original stream on YouTube and follow along on your own time. Finally, if this sounds like your jam, stay tuned. We heard you asking for FPS, and we’d love to make it happen!

September 10, 2019 in Community | 4 min. read