A game jam is a lot like a hackathon for games. People develop games using any tools that they have, then submit them by a due date. As with hackathons, people are free to use any resources that are available to them to develop their game: their game engine of choice, their digital art program of choice, youtube coding tutorials, books on art, anything. You can even use human resources—you can team up with others to make your game better.
Most game jams, as does Melon Jam, also have a theme. Some jams prefer or require that you stick to the theme; others don’t, and only intend for the theme to be a tool to kickstart your brainstorming. To make the jam more challenging and to enforce creativity via restriction, MelonJam requires that you connect your game to the theme in some way.
At present, the pandemic has forced most schools to make use of distance learning; even before that, schools have been utilizing technology to aid students in education. We are therefore relatively confident that you are affiliated in some way with a learning management system. In the sign up form, we will request some of the information associated with that account—only as much as is appropriate to confirm your identity, and no more. Once you sign up, we will use the information given to us to determine whether you are a high school student or younger. If you cannot do so, you still have the chance to compete for the advanced prize.
Yes; to be eligible for a prize, your game must have some aspect that fits the theme in some way. This is because we want to make the jam more challenging as well as enforce creativity through restriction.
Yes; we do not intend to restrict anyone from participating in MelonJam. While we do target pre-collegiate students in particular, we believe that there is much to gain from having people from all sorts of backgrounds share their games and ideas with others.
That said, you must be able to guarantee that you are a high school student or under to be eligible for the novice prize. If you cannot, you still have the chance to win the advanced prize.
Yes, you may. However, if a member of your team cannot confirm that they are a high school student or younger, then your entire team will be ineligible for the novice prize. This is to prevent piggybacking, where one experienced team member takes care of the work for others.