libGDX Jam is on! – Theme Voting Round #1

Together with our corporate overlords RoboVM, and indie darlings Robotality we are happy to announce the first ever:


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Theme Voting

A few weeks ago we released the human #libGDXJam theme generator to the public. What followed was a chaotic period of theme generation, pixel-arting, (mostly) civil discussions and co-op gaming, all within a single Google spreadsheet!

The result of the human theme generator are 184 more or less viable themes. Time for you folks to boil it down to a mere 5 themes! Pick your most beloved 5 themes until the 11th of December here:

>> To the Theme Voting! <<

The final 5 will be up for another voting round from the 16th to 18th of December, the day the jam starts.

The Jam

The jam will be held from December 18th to January 18th. Here are the rules:

The 10 Rules of Jamming

  1. You must use libGDX to create a game that fits the theme
  2. You may work alone or in a team. Only one submission per person/team is allowed
  3. You may use pre-existing code, e.g. libraries like Ashley, or your own code libraries
  4. You may use pre-existing art, e.g. assets from OpenGameArt, or your own art
  5. You may use external tools like Tiled or Overlap2D
  6. You must not re-skin an already existing game or prototype!
  7. You must submit your game before the end of the 18th of January via the jam’s site on (to be made public :))
  8. You must publish the source of your game, e.g. to GitHub
  9. You must submit your game to the libGDX Jam page before the end of day January 18th, UTC-12!
  10. If you want to win one of the sponsored prizes, you must tweet about your game and document its development, using the hashtag “#libGDXJam” and the handles “@robovm” and “@robotality”

Let me expand on rules 10. First of all, you can participate in the jam without following these rules! In that case, you will not qualify for the prizes though.

Documenting your progress is a great way of sharing your experience, and an invaluable tool for others to learn. Making a bit of noise on Twitter is also a great way to give back to our sponsors. Chaining those 2 things together via rule 9 is my evil overlord plan to make everyone happy.

Here are a few examples of tweets:

Progress screenshot of my #libGDXJam entry <url> @robovm @robotality

New dev log entry for my #libGDXJam game <url> @robovm @robotality

For the dev logs, we want quality first and foremost! Progress screenshots, descriptions of problems you ran into and their solutions, streaming and so on is what we want to see! Just mindless spamming will not get you anywhere.

Prizes & Judging

We are happy to have RoboVM and Robotality as sponors for the following prizes:

  1. Grand Prize: Mac Mini, sponsored by RoboVM
  2. Silver: iPad, sponsored by RoboVM
  3. Bronze: iPod Touch, sponsored by RoboVM
  4. For 20 random submissions: Steam keys for Halfway, sponsored by Robotality
  5. For another 5 random submissions: libGDX Jam t-shirt, by yours truely 🙂

To qualify for any of the prizes, you’ll need to follow rule 10 as outlined above. Judging works as follows:

  • The community can vote on from the 19th of January to the 2nd of February
  • The Grand Prize will be awarded to the entry with the highest community votes on This way the highest quality entry will win!
  • The Silver and Bronze prizes will be awarded to the entries with the best mixture of dev logs and tweets and community votes. Our sponsors and the libGDX core team will pick these entries. This should motivate people to make some noise on the web and document their progress for the greater good of the community!
  • The random awards guarantee that everyone has a chance to win a prize!
  • The winners will be announced on the 3rd of February!


Theme Voting round 1 Nov. 22nd – Dec. 11th
Final Theme Voting Dec. 11th – Dec. 18th
Jam Dec. 18th – Jan. 18th
Judging Jan 19th – Feb. 2nd

Stay tuned for more info and the official reveal of our jam page!

28 thoughts on “libGDX Jam is on! – Theme Voting Round #1

  1. Love the idea, but I won’t participate if I have to release source code. My game engine is for my eyes only.
    Why is this a mandatory requirement?

  2. opensource is a heaven for the “publisher” that grabs the source, hires an artist to re-skin and publishes on mobile platform

  3. The alternative is to have the sponsors vote, in which case other folks will cry 🙂

    I don’t think it will become a marketing contest. There won’t be thousands of entries, so every entry will get it’s fair share of the spotlight.

  4. Ludum Dare has the same requirement, and nothing like what you said ever happened. How will this be different?

  5. I’m not willing to release 3+ years of work on my game engine, and I don’t think people would look at all that code and just learn from it. That’s the kind of thing you just take and copy and use for yourself.

    I know you’re all about open source software with libGDX and everything, but it sort of feels like an ideology that’s being pushed on us. I don’t want to run the risk of making a super awesome game and having it stolen, reskinned, and put on the app store.
    If I write all code for the jam from scratch (no engine, no prior code), it feels like an arbitrary limitation on how good my game can be. So there’s an inherent bias in this jam (and LD) towards people who are willing to open source and give away everything.

    I’d be willing to compromise by releasing only gameplay code, and I’m sure a lot of other people would too. The article you offered suggests this as a viable alternative, and wouldn’t it make a lot of sense? The thing you want people to learn from is the gameplay code, not all the engine infrastructure. How exactly does that make the learning experience not great?

  6. I can understand the concern. It’s one month of work being “reused”, not just two days. That’s no longer just a hacked together prototype, but a finished and polished (albeit probably small) game, so it might actually be worth it to publishers.

  7. If you want to participate, you don’t need to use your secret game engine. You can just use vanilla Libgdx and open source third party tools.

    The point is to make something different that will help you practice, gain a new skill, network with other developers, give you an idea for a future project etc…

    No one is going to make a production ready game in 4 weeks, at least not me with a full-time job. Take it as a 48h jam without all the stress.

    Of course this is a voluntary thing, so people can do as they please. You can still participate with your closed source engine although not opting to the prizes.

  8. Thanks. I don’t mean to sound like an ass or anything, it’s just an issue I’m passionate about.
    I also want to mention while we’re here I’m really thankful for all your work on libGDX. It’s an amazing library.

  9. With softened rules some people (like me, haha) might publish game play code that is completely useless because 95% of the game is hidden in closed libraries – which are too ugly to open anyway. 🙂 I am not sure what is the best solution here. But with a jam like that having fun is the most important thing – and maybe making a game from scratch will be more fun than reusing old libraries again? And it might be a good opportunity to open some of the libraries to the world and polish them.

    On the other hand – I am certain there will be a flood of reskinned clones on Google Play after this is over.

  10. Can’t you just publish the source with a commercially restrictive license? Publishing the source doesn’t mean you have to BSD license the source. At least that’s what I thought since the idea of the publishing the source was education/examples not creating something for direct reuse.

  11. I don’t agree with softening the rules on this. It is not fair to the people that are new to libgdx (and maybe game programming itself) to have to compete for prizes with someone that has spent weeks, months, or even years creating a game engine of some kind. It is supposed to be a game you create in 4 weeks with libgdx and other open source tools (i.e. available to every body). The source code release requirement will discourage someone using a game engine they already have a huge amount of time invested in, which kind of violates the spirit of the jam.

  12. I was referring to those kind of people who just take sources, re-skin and publish on the appstore as their own

  13. Heh, why would you want to use your own engine for a jam? the entire meaning of a jam is to start from scratch, i think you don’t really know what jams are

  14. Starting from scratch only means redoing work and re-solving problems you’ve already solved. Why would you want to waste jam time doing that? It’s better to be able to focus on new problems and new challenges related to the game itself.

  15. If the point is to make something different, then why waste time re-solving problems that I’ve already solved in my engine in order to make the game? That’s basically the opposite of making something different. It’s better to spend more time on the game itself rather than the technical details.
    Experiment with a new style of gameplay, rather than waste time rewriting boilerplate code to make the game function.

    I’ll still definitely participate regardless of how the rules turn out, it’s nice that it’s voluntary.

  16. I’d rather focus on new problems posed by the game itself, rather than waste time writing every little thing from scratch, and re-solving problems I’ve already solved just to make a working game.

    I’ll probably participate regardless of how the rules turn out. Maybe there should just be two categories of entries, like Ludum Dare? That’s one way to appease everyone.

  17. It seems like people are pretty divisive on this- why not make it like Ludum Dare, where there are two categories for entries? One with source, one without.
    I’ll probably participate regardless of the ruling on this, but it’d seem like a bum deal if I couldn’t get judged just because I don’t want to release source.

  18. I love the idea, i will participate, i’ll show you my code and my libs. no need for softend rules. Your work is the foundation of our productivity and I think it’s very unpolite to complain about an open-source mindset when benefit from it.

  19. Starting from scratch doesn’t necessarily mean resolving problems if the game you want to create for the Jam differs greatly from the existing one which uses your engine. A new game will always present new challenges unique to that style of game. You should take this as an opportunity to broaden your scope.

  20. If i have a game using the android canvas, can i re-create the game with the libgdx platform for the jam?

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