Mission Statement

8 Bits to Infinity is a community of game developers built on four pillars: Respect, Inclusion, Self-Improvement, and Experimentation.

Our mission is to improve the craft and artistry of game develpment by hosting game jams focused on honest feedback and iterative improvement.

We see aanyone who contributes to our game jams (producing a game, giving feedback, or sharing games from the event) as a member of our community, and strive to uphold each member to the standards in this mission statement.

Respect

Treat every other member as you wish to be treated. We have zero tolerance for disrespect or discouragement. Respect is simple: Be humble, considerate, helpful, and welcoming. Remember, everyone advances at their own pace with their own unique strengths and difficulties.

Inclusion

Anyone interested in game development is welcome in our community. Our jams are open to all, from a first-timer learning the ropes to a seasooned veteran with years in the industry. Our jams benefit all skill levels and, in turn, benefit from a variety of insights, perspectives, and backgrounds. Our focus is to help each other learn and grow by examining the work and not the developer.

Self-Improvement

The most important progress is personal progress. Game development is complex, and while many areas benefit from objective feedback on basic skills, creative aspects (including the end product) are subjective. Developers should only compare their work to their own past work. Each step forward is an accomplishment, regardless of how others advance.

Experimentation

Experimenting with new tools, technologies, designs, skills, and methods in game development is key to advancing skills and finding new ideas. Game development is a cross-discipline effort requiring many unrelated skills, so every experiment is an opportunity to learn. Fail faster, so you may learn faster.

Jam Rules

Entries which break these rules or have no clear relation to the Limitation will be removed without notification.

Main Rules

Accessibility

Credit

Allowed

Not Allowed

Jam FAQ

How do I submit my game?

What tools/engines can/should I use?

Use anything you like! We recommend a proper game engine to save time - something like Unity, Godot, Defold, Unreal, etc.
Not sure what to use? Ask on Discord or post in this community. We have many experienced members familiar with various tools.

Can I use a framework or library or just code in raw C/C++/JavaScript/etc. instead of using an engine?

Simple answer: yes. However, benefits to using a premade engine include: 1) it’s easier to port to multiple platforms (including web), 2) it’s less work on you, and 3) you’re less likely to trigger false positives from antivirus software, so more people will play your game.

I’m awful at music/art. How could I ever make a game?

Use premade assets! We allow this in jams as long as you credit everything you use (even if the license doesn't require it). Here are some free resources.

Music

Art

Others

Do you know other free assets we could list here? Contact Retro Indie Josh to let him know!

I don’t know how to program. Can I still make games?

Absolutely! Many systems require minimal programming. The best way to learn is to get your feet wet, and a game jam is a wonderful no-risk way to try out new tech. You can ask for suggestions in this community or on the 8 Bits to Infinity Discord.

Is the theme required?

Not technically, but it is a voting category, so you will score higher overall with a strong use of the theme.

Should I build for Windows/Mac/Linux/web/[insert system here]?

Yes! Build for as many systems as you can so more people can play your game. We recommend finding someone with the target system to test your build long before the jam ends so you can be sure it works.

I didn’t finish. Should I submit?

Yes! Game jams are about creating prototypes. A finished game takes years. You can still win with a cool idea, even if the experience is brief.

How can I get more people to play my entry?

Play games from the jam and on itch.io, leaving quality feedback. Ask the dev politely to play your game, so they know you’re looking for feedback. There’s also a new feature on itch.io that shows your entry when you comment on the game’s jam page so be sure to do so there.
You can also share your game on the #share-your-work channel of our Discord.

Can I make a multiplayer game?

Yes, but we don’t recommended it due to the extra difficulty both in development and receiving quality feedback in the jam time limit.

Can I make a 2D/2.5D/3D game?

Unless the jam limitation strictly limits this, yes.

Can I enter other jams with the same game?

Absolutely, as long as you follow all rules and time limitations for each jam. Note we lock submissions, so you won’t be able to upload new builds while this jam is being rated.

Where can I ask more questions?

Ask in the current jam's community or on the 8 Bits to Infinity Discord.

Diversifiers

Diversifiers are additional challenges you choose to inspire your team with further limitations on the jam. You are not required to use any diversifiers, but you may use any number that you like.

8 Bits - Use limitations from a specific 8-bit console, such as the NES, Sega Master System, or Game Boy

Anti Chromatic - Use shades of a single hue for all artwork

Bichromatic - Use only two colors

By the Hand - Use only hand-drawn art

Color Blind Friendly - Use options, modes, or a general design that accommodates color blindness

Cooperative Competition - Opposing sides work together toward a shared goal

Defiance - Go out of your way to avoid using the theme, or do something opposite from it

Do Your Part - Contribute at least one asset from the game to Open Game Art

Educational - Players learn a real-world skill or concept

Everything is Tiny - Limit sprites and tiles to 8x8 pixels

Hearing is Believing - Make the game playable without visuals

Hidden Secrets - Include secret items, rooms, or features (include a spoiler document for people who can’t find them)

In a Song - The game is as long as a single backing music track

Infinity - The game never ends

Mobile - Build a version for mobile (you still need a Windows/web version)

Music Generation - There’s no preconstructed music track; instead, sound effects from gameplay become music

My Own Noise - Record all sound effects yourself

Old Music - Use your own take on public domain music from 30+ years ago

One Button - When two buttons are too many.

Quick Run - A casual run of the game takes no more than 5 minutes

Retro Palette - Limit palette to limitations of a retro console (like “8 Bits” but the only limitation is palette)

Shapely - All visuals are basic shapes in solid colors

Symmetry - All visuals are symmetric

Theme Party - Use a theme from a past 8 Bits to Infinity jams in addition to the main theme

Toolmaker - Build and release an editor or other game-related tool along with the game

Transcend Language - The game has no text (other than title and credits)

Two Button - Use only two buttons for input

Who Needs Pixels - Use a ridiculously low resolution for the game (16x16 or below)

Rating Guide

Everyone who contributes to one of our game jams is able to judge games on the following five criteria, rating from one to five stars. You are welcome to judge these criteria as you wish, but the following extensive guide allows for more consistent ratings.

Categories

General

Remember that a three-star rating is average. Prefer rating 2, 3, or 4 stars unless the game is notably awful (1 star) or excellent (5 stars) in the category.

If a category does not apply to the game, use the closest analogue in the game's environment. For instance, Graphics/Animation in a text-only game could be interpreted as imagery, style, tone, etc. If you are still unsure, rate a 3 (average) in the category.

Each category below includes a list describing what each number of stars should represent. The following applies to all categories:

  1. Minimal or zero effort.
  2. Less than average effort, lacking skill or knowledge
  3. About average for a game jam game; nothing special
  4. Clear extra effort; higher quality than normal
  5. Essentially flawless with significant effort shown

Fun / Design

Enjoyment of the game. Are the mechanics interesting? Do you want to play more?

  1. Clear rehash of a known idea, or difficult to stomach one playthrough
  2. One time was enough, or a well-known mechanic with few changes
  3. Nothing special, a standard twist on an existing mechanic or multiple combined mechanics
  4. More fun than average, with some effort shown to create a new idea, even if derivative
  5. So fun you had to force yourself to stop, with a super-clever twist or unusual design

Technical Implementation

Polish and complexity. Does the game push technical boundaries or have special tech to stand out? Are there few, if any, bugs and typos?

  1. Several problematic bugs and technical issues
  2. A few bugs, but few of them cause major problems
  3. Average technical implementation. Nothing special, but most things work
  4. Some stand-out technical pieces such as database access or an unusual input
  5. Impressive technical implementation such as networking or Twitch integration

Music / Sound

Audio presentation. How well does the music/sound fit the game?

If the game is primarily narrative text with no audio, replace this with tone and language. Does the text flow smoothly? Is dialogue so realistic you can hear it?

  1. No audio, or very poor implementation
  2. Music or sounds missing, or they're inappropriate or jarring
  3. Enough music and sounds to get by, but average quality
  4. Either music or sounds are stand-out quality and fit the game well
  5. Dynamic, appropriate, high-quality audio with music and all necessary sounds

Graphics / Animation

Visual presentation. How clean/consistent does it look? Are animations fluid? Is there clear understanding of color, contrast, and other visual skills? Do the graphics contribute to the game's playability?

If the game is primarily narrative text with no graphics, replace this with imagery. Are the characters, situations, and setting vivid?

  1. Poor composition and minimal or no animation
  2. Missing animations but visually okay, or animated but visually subpar
  3. Graphics fit the game with some animations at average quality
  4. Several animations or demonstration of higher art skills
  5. Brilliant use of color, shape, and animation, well-fit to the game

Theme / Limitation

Implementation of jam theme and limitation. Is the theme prevalent? How unusual is the interpretation? How strictly does the game follow the requirement? Out-of-the-box thinking on the theme (not taking it literally) should score more points.

Remember that the limitation is required to qualify for the jam, so if you believe a game does nothing to meet the limitation, please report it instead of rating.

  1. Limitation is there, but theme isn't
  2. Theme and limitation are there, but you have to stretch your imagination to see one or the other (or both)
  3. Theme and limitation integrated with the game story or mechanics
  4. Theme and limitation integrated with game story and mechanics, or used in a clever way
  5. Theme and limitation integrated with both game story and mechanics, and used in a clever way