Rapid Ideation, Game Jams and Time Management

To find out more about what exactly is rapid ideation and what role it will play in my reflective practice, I watched Giovanni Rubino’s video lecture on the subject (Rubino, G., 2021).

Rubino defines Rapid Ideation as ‘creating something with specific time constraints, often based on a theme, in a low stake situation‘. I can immediately relate to this as I have done similar sort of projects before, such as Inktober which is where I had to create a finished piece of artwork every single day for the month of October. This sort of challenge fits this definition as it involves creating a piece of work within the space of one day, according to a certain theme, which in this case would have been a prompt word. This situation is low stake, which means that there is room for risk and failure as the project was very open ended.

Rubino then lists several events which facilitate Rapid ideation in that they are characterised by the conception and production of projects within a short time frame.

Many of the events that he listed were game jams and are as follows:

  • Global Game Jam: This one has just passed and I was unable to participate because of another commitment that I could not back out of. But all is not lost, there will be more…
  • Ludum Dare: Possible the original game jam? This one is happening between 24th and 26th April. Like GGJ, this requires participants to make a game in 72 hours based around a theme. I would be keen to participate in this one and work with others to get this done.
  • Pirate Jam: In theory, this looks awesome. Travelling on a pirate ship in Thailand and making a game over a course of a few days, while doing other activities too sounds great. I would like to do something like this as I am very keen on travelling and of course I would like to gain experience making games in groups. But unfortunately this does not look likely to go ahead because of Covid.
  • Slow Game Jam: Rubino introduced this one in the video, but it is unclear whether this is still running. Nonetheless, it does have an interesting premise which is the slow development of games in line with a cultural movement that is known as the slow movement, which was developed to counteract our overly rushed society and the need for instant gratification (Dunn, C., 2014). The Slow Game Jam intends to apply this to the production of games with a view to moving away from superficial gameplay and towards a more rewarding experience.

Of these four, I will most likely take part in Ludum Dare as its the only one that is definitely running. I would really like this to be a collaborative social effort as it will make this a more rewarding experience but this may be restricted due to Covid restrictions.

I am also keeping an eye on the Jam page of itch.io in order to track any upcoming game jams that may take place in the coming weeks/months. They are as follows:

  • Wowie Jam: A game jam by Gamedev Youtuber Jonas Tyroller who I follow. Seems to be focused on creating games with intentional bugs and actually making bugs/glitches add to the gaming experience. This could be fun and a good way to learn and accommodate learning as there is less pressure.
  • Brackey Jam: Another gamedev YouTuber who has recently retired his YouTube channel but has still kept his Discord community running. I have followed this guy’s channel for some time and I have even followed a few of his tutorials so I would be interested to see what this has to offer. The theme of the jam is yet to be announced.
  • Retro Jam: It does what is says on the tin. The premise here is to take a game that already exists and to make it in the style of a retro game. This ties in well to the idea of remediation from last week and also reverse engineering for this week.

Going back to Rubino’s lecture, he then moved on to describing different types of prototype. Within software, the term ‘prototype’ is defined as a working piece of software that resembles the final product and showcases some of the features of the final product. An example of this would be my Pong/Breakout game in its current form. If you look at my post from yesterday, you will see that it does not look pretty and a lot of features are missing such as power-ups, scorekeeping and AI, but the main mechanics are there.

Rubino describes some of the common types of prototype:

  • Wireframe design: This is essentially a diagram showing the interactions that the user makes and what changes they will have in a product, namely a piece of software. This is most common in UI/UX design
  • Paper prototype: This involves creating paper representations of a product. I assume this would be most useful for designing tangible objects as opposed to software
  • Video clipomatic: This involves creating a piece of animation of putting stock video clips together to resemble how a product will look. This sounds almost like an ‘animatic’, but for software. I can imagine this being used to work out how games would work. Video clipomatics actually remind me of an animated piece of art I made, which was a game menu screen for a fictitious game called Buckrider, which in turn was based on a Dutch folklore tale. Click here or the image below to view this.
  • Vertical slice: Essentially a small portion of the software which is developed to the standard of a final product. An example of a vertical slice in gaming would be a piece of demo software which depicts one level of a game, which is developed to a standard as though it is part of a final product.

I mentioned the slow movement earlier on and as it happens, Rubino elaborated on this further in the contexts of our course. I have felt overwhelmed in the 3 short weeks I have been doing this degree, primarily as its been 8 years since I was last in academia. I was reassured to hear that the tutors are encouraging the slow movement philosophy as they recognise students have other commitments and want to ensure that our well being is still protected.

Applying the slow movement approach in our university studies would mean designating a limited amount of time on a regular basis for working and rapid ideation. There is no pressure or no expectations regarding scope of a project as long as I get something done, I must also keep my expectations and plans flexible, while maintaining a healthy work balance.

I have already been guilty of working to hard and too long on this course. I had already put tons of needless stress and pressure on myself when trying to get work done and I became very intensive when carrying out research and putting my work together. Over the past week, I was spending 16 hours a day on my computer doing both professional work and university work and as a consequence of that, I have had to take a day off sick because of neck and back injuries from prolonged computer use.

I do take exercise and I go for runs three times a week. However, even this was not enough to counter the effects of excessive computer time.

From this, I have learnt that I need to ensure I take care of myself and designate both a minimum and maximum number of hours a day to university study. As an autistic person, I can find these things in combination very difficult. Having said that, I have becomes fairly good at managing my time during my day job and when it comes to 17:30, I know to put my work down. I need to apply this same approach to university study.

I have spoken about this with my study mentor and we have come up with a plan to designate a maximum and minimum time frame each day for study. I will not specify an exact time of the day to study; I will keep this loose in order to minimise pressure and accommodate everything else that happens in my day. However, I have now decided to cap my studying at a maximum of 2 hours per day. If I reach two hours of study, I will just carry over any outstanding work to the next day.

Regarding my Pong/Breakout game, this originated as work for the week 2’s assignment. However, it has now evolved from that and has become an ongoing project. I have already created a body of work that shows my idea generation for this as well as a mind map that functions as a GDD, which I am hoping should be admissible. However, for the game itself, I am going to treat this more as a personal research project in order to develop my skills. I will still continue to document its progress here though and categorise it as being part of the Development Practice unit as the learning and development process will still go towards the final mark.

So far, I have been tagging all my posts according to the week/sprint/topic that they cover, but I have decided to create a brand new tag called Development Practice: Personal Study which is for posts which do not necessarily meet the criteria of any given week/sprint, but cover any activities I do or projects I come up with, which go towards my personal development. All posts that I do about my Pong/Breakout game and any other similar projects will now have this assigned.


Dunn, C., 2014. Why the ‘Slow’ Movement Is Gaining Momentum. [online] Thriveglobal.com. Available at: <https://thriveglobal.com/stories/why-the-slow-movement-is-gaining-momentum/> [Accessed 9 February 2021].

Rubino, G., 2021. Rapid Ideation. Available at: <https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/911/pages/week-3-what-is-rapid-ideation?module_item_id=49152> [Accessed 9 February 2021].

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