The Official Indie Speed Run 3.0 FAQ

Read this before starting. For real.

Q: Is this, like, one of those “game jam” things I’ve heard about?

A: Sort of. Most game jams are community exercises in fast game design, but that’s where many of the similarities end. First of all, most jams require you to gather with others in a public, localized space. That can be tough if you live somewhere like Hamster, Kentucky, where the indie development scene isn’t quite robust enough to let you jam without forking airfare dollars to head toward a larger urban hub. Indie Speed Run exists completely online (aside from a few optional live locations) and, as such, lets players complete from anywhere in the world.

Indie Speed Run also connects your work to some of the most interesting and important names in game development, as well as offers an assortment of prizes to the best work to come out of the jam.


Q: Why is there a $25 entry fee?

A: We’ll be frank with you. As developers, you more than anyone know that the cost of creation isn’t zero. Realistically, we’ve got to cover our hosting/tech/prize stuffs, plus, it helps us keep the “jokesters” and spammers out. It also protects our process of assigning individuals a random theme and element, without allowing endless re-registration “rerolls.” But, while we can’t realistically eliminate the $25 gate-keeper fee, we can let you play the ISR community’s games for free right here on our website.


Q: That’s great, but other game jams don’t rely on gate-keeper fees, judges, or prizes.

A: First of all, that’s not a question. Second of all, we are huge, massive, sun-sized fans of those events. In fact, if you’ve somehow found us but haven’t heard of the Global Game Jam or Ludum Dare, make sure you remedy that right away. To be clear, we are a game jam, just something a little different from what’s already been out there for developers for years and years. If pro judges and prize support doesn’t drive you to create, then hey, no bad blood. We get it–seriously. Any road leading to more games, more innovation in the industry, more creativity, and the empowerment of indie developers is a-ok by us. Period.


Q: Can I use existing engines/frameworks/typesets?

A: The short answer is yes. Now, here’s the long one. The spirit of this competition is creation, so the less you’re creating, the less value this event has. That being said, in the words of one of Indie Speed Run’s wise code monkeys, “asking a developer to jam without his or her libraries is like asking a musician to gig without his or her instrument.” So, if you have the rights or license to use them, yes, you may use existing engines, frameworks, and typesets not developed during the event window. You may not, however, directly pull any assets from a previously made game, even if that game is your own.


Q: What about existing music?

The one exception to the above rule is music. Our 48-hour time limit is hard, and it’s supposed to be, but adding composition to the list really pushes over the edge. So, if you want to make music during the event window, good for you (seriously) and let us know. We want to brag about you. Otherwise, as long as you have the rights, then music is the single exception to a specific asset that’s allowed into your final product. If you have any doubt about what’s allowed and what’s not, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Q: What formats do you accept and how do I upload my game?

A: We currently have no restrictions on what you send us, but please heed the following advice: The more accessible your final format is, the better shot you have at getting played by the community, rated, and earning People’s Choice. It also helps with ease of access for our judges. That being said, our preferred formats are Flash and HTML5 — basically anything browser-based. After that we prefer .exe files. Everything else is the Wild West. We will do our absolute best to work with you on additional formats, and if you have any specific inquires, you can hit us up directly.


Q: Can I submit games created for other game jams?

A: Yes, with some major caveats. Firstly, your game will still need to meet our guidelines, meaning date of creation, adhering to our assigned theme and element, and including the Indie Speed Run creation slide. If you just so happen to time that with another game jam simultaneously, it would be an interesting feat, and technically compliant with our rules except for one: not allowing your game to be published prior to our Free Play window. That being said, “dual game jamming” (which we define as creating one Indie Speed Run game that’s used for Indie Speed Run AND another game jam) is the single exception. If another game jam would require your game to be published ahead of our window, then as long as it meets all other ISR requirements, we will allow it. We cannot, however, speak for any other game jam and their thoughts on the matter, so please check with them before trying to create a game jamception.


Q: Can I sell my game when I’m done?

A: You can do whatever you want with it, but please check out the Rights section of our Rules first.


Q: Who Runs The Indie Speed Runs?

A: Indie Speed Run is run on by a group of humans and their pets.

  • Mike Kayatta, co-founder. You can reach out to him about sponsor opportunities, stuff, things, and whatever by emailing him directly: mike[at]indiespeedrun
  • Nick Burch, co-founder. Nick is happy to talk to you about tech, art, and facial hair: nick[at]indiespeedrun
  • Steve Coleman, computer fellow and all around good guy. Steve webs the interwebs. (Don’t get in touch with him or he’ll get distracted.)
  • Heather McLellan, live site coordinator. Heather wants to talk to you about running live locations, so make her happy by emailing her about it. Win win: heather[at]indiespeedrun

We’re also happy to be joined this year by Christer Kaitila, our Indie Speed Run 3.0 community liaison. If you find yourself liaised by him, don’t worry: He’s a professional. Christer can be found on Twitter: @McFunkypants.


Q: Does my game need to be in English?

A: No, however, much like our format guidelines, we’d ask that you remember that while our judges are from a variety of backgrounds and countries, there is one language that binds them like the One Ring: English. If you want to guarantee that they know what your character is talking about, or how to follow your tutorial, then you should consider English. Now, that being said, we firmly believe that gaming can transcend things like language, so there’s probably a great chance that your game doesn’t need words at all, and if it does, that enjoying the experience doesn’t require understanding them. The final call is yours to make.


Q: When is the absolute last Earth moment I can enter?

A: Indie Speed Run is an international competition, so we work off of the latest possible time zone in the world for all deadlines. In order to have a full 48-hours, the last possible moment you can enter the event (as in start your 48 hour timer) is 11:59 PM , October 31st, GMT-11. Wondering when that is for you? Well, you’re lazy. It’s called Google. … … Oh, we can’t stay mad at you! Here’s a link.


Q: Can I enter more than once?

A: Absolutely! You can enter by yourself once, twice, thrice or quatrice(??) with the same team, or a different team. It’s totally up to you. As long as each individual entry is created in its assigned 48 hours with the assigned variables, then go for it! Each game will be judged independently so you’re actually upping your shot at a win.


Q: If I’m a one-man or one-woman team, how can I hope to compete against teams of four?

A: Come on guy or gal, have a little faith in yourself. Of course you can. How do we know? We know because we play through every single entry before looking at who worked on it, and the truth is that we’re often wrong about what was made by an individual and what was made by a full team. Remember, not every game needs to be full 3D with glorious artwork, an epic score, and whatever else it is that’s got you chewing your fingernails. Yes, teams with higher numbers often have more options, but knowing yourself, your skills, your workflow, and the ability to make snap decisions without conferring can be a massive advantage when there’s not much time. There’s an upside and a downside to both (and feel free to play both ways if you don’t believe us). If you need further proof just check out Dawnseed by the one-person-army of Team Hippomancer. Not only was it selected by Notch as his favorite in 2012, but is also–get this–TWO GAMES. So yeah, it’s possible.


Q: I heard there was a security thing last time. Was there a security thing last time?

A: There was a security thing last time. Somewhere between ISR 2.0 and 3.0, ISR profile passwords were hacked. No information was accessed beyond those passwords (we did not and do not store things like your financial details). We took this matter incredibly seriously, found the hole, hired a new web developer, and plugged it.


Q: Oh no! I just _________! (couldn’t finish in 48-hours, uploaded the wrong file, need one quick hotfix, found a wombat)

A: When you’re working with such a tight deadline, problems are bound to arrise, and we’re simply not equipped to handle their individual complexities with the broad brush stroke of an FAQ. Still, we’ll try.

couldn’t finish in 48 hours! It happens. You have a few options here. If your game is close, it’s possible that we can/will still host your work even if it’s not eligible for judging. Please contact us with your specific situation. Also, feel free to compete again.

uploaded the wrong file! Whoops! We seriously advise that you allot the time to test the actual file you are planning on sending. On the off chance that there was a freak accident, do not hesitate. Contact us ASAP.

need one quick hotfix! There are hotfixes, and there are hotfixes. Normally, we will not allow any changes to the final product uploaded with the 48-hour window, but you may always feel free to get ahold of us and give us your specific situation. The sooner you get in touch with us, the more likely it is we’d be able to help.

found a wombat! Have you learned nothing? CONTACT US! No really, we want pictures. Wombats are cool.


Q: How good do I really have to be to have a shot at winning this thing?

A: One of our favorite things about the 48-hour format is that it acts as somewhat of a great equalizer. You’ve only got up to four people, and you’ve only got up to two days to put everything together. This strips away the advantages of giant teams and huge budgets. If you’re good or, more specifically, creative, then we promise, cross our hearts and hope to die, stick a needle in our eye, that you have a fanatic shot at winning. And even though we’re sure that you (yes you, the one reading this right now) is going to walk away with our grand prize, we’re also allowing for a few different winners so that teams can be recognized for their individual strengths.

Anyway, not winning at Indie Speed Run is somewhat of a paradox. It’s just not possible, and if you try to force the issue, the universe might actually collapse on itself. See, as hippie-dippie as this may sound, we firmly believe that creating a product–any product–is a victory. So many times do we refuse to make the time to just sit down, focus, and create, regardless of how talented we are. More than anything, Indie Speed Run is an excuse to circumvent that issue. No matter what happens with your final entry, you are completely, enviously awesome for making it, and we promise to award you with at least five high fives the next time we see you. Still, if you really want to know, you can always follow …

The Road to Victory! (to be read in a cheesy, 1940s-style radio announcer voice)

A treatise of rules, rubrics, and riches.

(and a wafer-thin analogy about birds)

There is great inherent reward in creating something. By simply participating in Indie Speed Run, you’ve already contributed to the gaming industry, injecting your personal blend of creative genius right into its carotid artery. Still, sometimes its nice to be rewarded for your efforts when those efforts are especially nice.

Imagine your game like a World War II carrier pigeon.



You, and possibly some friends, raised him from an indistinctive egg into the creative, well-built, browser-based bird that he is today. Everyone wants to play with him. You should be proud.

Go ahead. Take a minute. Be proud. We’ll wait.

But, your carrier pigeon, like all carrier pigeons, was born with a job to do! Get your message across the globe, while a bunch of other pigeons attempt to do the same. Also, uh, someone is offering in $5000.00 in cash rewards for best carrier pigeon. (Hey, we told you this analogy was thin.) So how do you get your bird through enemy lines and cash in on the grand prize? Well, there are a few steps.


1) When the CREATION period of Indie Speed Run ends, FREE PLAY begins. During this time, the entire community will be able to play your game, and you’ll be able to play other entries. Meanwhile, at Indie Speed Run’s super secret underwater base that no one knows where it is and could totally be anywhere, our team of genius-level video game scientists will play through every working entry, and sort them into even groups.

2) Each group is then delivered to one of our amazing judges who will choose their personal favorite to put forward as a finalist.

3) Finally, those finalists will be delivered to community to decide our final winner. (Final.)





Didn’t see the answer you were looking for? Dude(tte), please, contact us right now! We’ll do our best to get back with you pronto, and if it’s super important, we’ll add it to this list so that others can benefit from your insightful curiosity.


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