Global Game Jam Jar 2019 - Licence, Tips & Resources

Ggj gm blog

Posted by Ross Manthorp on 22 January 2019

The 11th annual Global Game Jam (GGJ 2019) will take place between January 25th-27th 2019. We will be offering a free temporary GameMaker Studio 2 Desktop licence to all during the jam. We’ve set up the following blog to provide you with all the tools and resources you need to take part in a Jam using GameMaker. Including questions and answers from our CTO, Russell Kay.

GameMaker licence

We’ve prepared the licence URL for the GGJ2019 temporary Desktop licences. Participants will need to create their own YoYo Account and then click the following URL to activate the licence:


This licence is valid from now until the end of Jan 2019 and we are offering 20% off a permanent Desktop licence to all those who use the jam licence and upgrade while it’s live!



These videos and articles will get you started using GameMaker and introduce you to many key game development topics:


Our community have developed many helpful scripts and resources on our Marketplace that could save you a great deal of time rewriting common functionality. Many game jams have rules on what sort of additional assets you can use and what counts as starting from “scratch”. Be sure to check ahead of time!

Ask an expert!

We have Russell Kay on hand to answer questions people have in advance of GGJ. We’ll pick the best ones and answer them here! Use the following link to ask Russell short questions about using GameMaker and game jams: Ask an Expert!


What preparation do you recommend?
Get to know your tools and be confident in using them, try out new ideas, practice by recreating classic games, challenge yourself and practice before jumping into the jam.

I want to make my game look good, what shortcuts are there?
Get to know simple concepts for adding a bit of life to a game using trig function (sin, cos, tan), lerp and slerp for tweening, these can help with making something pleasing to look at and can give you the confidence to tackle the really difficult things.

Did you come up with Lemmings in a game jam?
25 years ago game jams were not really a thing but we did play with ideas and concepts during lunch times and out of hours.

I’ve not done a jam before, should I start with drag and drop?
It’s a really good place for beginners who are new to coding.

How do modern game jams compare to old school development?
The tools are a lot better and it is much easier to get things done quickly.

Should I use YYC or VM for my game jam game?
Personally, I would just use the VM and get a fast turnaround on development.

Light or dark theme for the GMS2 IDE?
I always use the dark theme myself.

What are some seemingly advanced concepts that you would recommend learning for better game development?
Good knowledge of geometry and trigonometry is good to have and helps when adding life to your game - helping with AI, Cameras and general behaviours.

Do YoYo Games do any game jams internally?
We try to have a game jam each month, it is not always possible but we like to get everyone using GameMaker.

From our community



  • Don't worry too much about organizing code or keeping it clean -- game jams are all about quick and dirty results.
  • Make a game plan. Free mind mapping resources such as and can greatly speed up your development time.
  • To be able to code faster and in a more organized manner, you can write down a basic outline of whatever system you're gonna code before you start coding, including all the variables, conditions, etc. you're gonna use. This will make it easier to visualize your system and make any improvements if necessary. It will also make the coding process much easier.
  • It's a jam game. You don't have to code the best systems. Just use whatever gets the job done quicker. With GameMaker, that's even easier to achieve since it has a lot of built-in functionality that can make it quicker to build certain systems. You can also copy the code from your previous projects if that is something that the particular jam allows.
  • Learn to use ternary operators! also, learn to use data structures! Use global maps and macros as an easy way to keep your metadata in one place, you may need it for the complex loading stuff.
  • Draw simple graphics with the built-in sprite editor and watch video tutorials from Shaun Spalding, HeartBeast and FriendlyCosmonaut to quickly find solutions for your game coding issues. GMS2 is really fast in prototyping game ideas and mechanics!
  • Minimize your scope. Try to get a minimal viable product built as fast as possible. Iterate on existing mechanics. Don't scrap what you've already coded. Playtest your jam game. If possible, have it playtested by someone nearby so you can watch how they approach your game.
  • Take your time, don't overdo it and make sure to eat well, shower and rest. It's not about crunching for an entire weekend, it's about having fun and learning stuff!
  • Keep the scope of your game SMALL - think small and allow yourself time for polish. You can always add more into a fully-functioning and polished game if you find you have time left over, but a half-done game is always half-done...
  • Make sure your GameMaker is up to date. Fresh restart of the computer system before Jam.
  • KEEP. IT. SIMPLE. 48 hours is not a lot of time. Get the main mechanic working first so you can build around it. Better to have a released unpolished product than to have a polished unfinished product.

YoYo Games team

We will be getting a small team together at YoYo Games and heading along to our local GGJ site at Abertay University:

Be sure to keep us updated with your GameMaker jam games @YoYoGames or using the #GameMaker and #GGJ19 hashtag!

We’re really looking forward to it!!

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