Code Jam

The Heartland Gaming Expo (HGE) Cod Jam is an event that challenges game developers to build a game with in a time constraint and meets a specific theme. 

Our 168-Hour Code Jam gives entrants a full week to work on their game project, at their own pace and in the comfort of their own space. 


Code Jam Submission Overview

All teams (of up to four individuals) must pre-register for the Code Jam.
Each team will receive an email the day before the week leading up to the expo containing this year's code jam theme and requirements.

  • All teams must pre-register for this event by March 31st.
  • All entries must be a fully functional game
  • All game components (programming, art, music, etc..) must be developed within the 168-hours (one week) leading up to the expo.
    • Note that entrants are allowed to use external , publicly available , libraries (For example Java libraries or free assets from the Unity Asset store)
  • Games may be built in any language and using any engine
  • The game must meet the theme requirements or may be disqualified at the discretion of the judges.
  • All team members must take time to bath before attending this event *lol* 😉

2018 Code JAM Theme


To those brave souls who have accepted our quest for the CODE JAM, the time has come to embark upon an epic adventure. Speaking of adventure, it was in 1976 when Will Crowther developed the original Adventure game, a text based game that would become one of video gaming's most influential titles.

Adventure games are defined as games where the player (protagonist) takes a role in an interactive story driven by exploration and puzzle-solving.

Over the years the genre of adventure games has grown to include classics such as The Secret of Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, and The Legend of Zelda.

For this year’s code jam you will be creating an adventure based dungeon crawler.

  • The game must be story driven. The player is the protagonist of the story, what is their motivation? Why are they on this adventure? What circumstances have sent them on this journey?
  • The game must have objectives/goals. The player must progress in their journey.
  • The game must have an element of exploration.
  • The game must have puzzles to solve.
  • The game must have a dragon … why? Because dragons are cool 😎

The game came be developed in any language using any engine. It can be a simple text game, a 2D platformer, 3D, role play, or even a fully immersive VR experience.

Below you will find the general rules for the competition. Please be sure to read through them thoroughly before setting out on your quest.

With that, I shall bid you adieu and may the stars of fate guide you upon your journey.


All entrants must bring maximum of one functional set-up of their Code Jam game. Entrants must bring their own equipment and provide a game demo for judges and expo attendees during the event.
See full competition rules and regulations for details about set-up and equipment. 

Game Presentation

All entrants shall provide a game presentation to the judges the day of the event. The presentation should include the following information

  • Implantation of Theme - overview of how the code jam's theme has been applied to the game
  • Game Features - unique selling point or features
  • Gameplay Overview - demonstrate the a little bit of the game for the judges
  • Constraints - Describe limitations due to the time constraints, and methods used to speed up development
  • Project Summary - Provide a summary and introduce your team and their roles


Below are the judging criteria for the Game Showcase

  1. Creativity - Did the game meet the theme requirements
  2. Game Mechanics - Is the game functional, does the structure / game boundaries make sense
  3. Gameplay - Is the game fun to play? Is there an invitation to the player (reason to play)
  4. Technology - Does the game make use of interesting or advance techniques, technology, engine or language
  5. Art Style - Is the art style consistent and appealing?
  6. Completion - how ambitious was this project ? How much of the original game idea was implemented within the time constraints of the competition
  7. Game Presentation - Quality of the game presentation, how well the entrants were able to present their game and respond to judges questions.
  8. Other - If present judges may take note of in additional feature such as audio and musical score.



All entrants must accept and acknowledge the competition rules and requirements upon registering for this competition.