Two newsies, 1900

What is a Steampunk Game Jam?

We're bringing technology and history together to make videogames. From eccentric scientists and walking stick guns to artificial leeches and Bartitsu, the Victorian and Edwardian periods can be stranger than fiction.

Using collections and experts from The National Archives in London we will work together to build games set in or inspired by this extraordinary period.

The short version
  • 18th - 19th June 2016
  • Computer Science building, University of York
  • Bring your laptop/computer
  • Install tools beforehand if you can
  • Think age of steam
Can I really make a game in a weekend?

There's a lot of evidence that you can. Fundamentally, our panel of judges will be looking for exciting concepts that really engage with the period and the material.

Or make a start right now. The content for our three themes is now live. Invention is here, unrest is here and spectacle is here.

Form teams or work alone, start in advance or on the day. Whether you are a designer, developer, artist, writer or whatever your skills you will battle against the clock to develop your game. Our experts will support you and no coding experience is necessary.

Earl's Court Great Wheel, 1895

The Themes

Content is available in advance of the gamejam across three themes: invention, spectacle and unrest.

These are now live:
Invention is here, unrest is here and spectacle is here.

The Date

The Great Steampunk Game Jam will take place on the 18th and 19th June 2016

The full programme is now live.

Book a ticket to secure a place.

Or participate online via

That sounds bang up to the elephant. What do I need to bring?

Really just a laptop and maybe some snacks.

If you already know what skills you bring to the team, it helps to have software, such as Photoshop, Visual Studio, or Stencyl, installed in advance - you don't want to waste time downloading software at the last minute.

If you feel like you don't really know what you're doing, don't worry. We'll make sure that you can find a niche in a team and software that you can use.

Photographer, 1896

  • You can use any tools and libraries you wish.
  • You can use pre-made assets from sites such as Open Game Art as long as the license permits it (eg. public domain, Creative Commons etc.). Make sure you give proper credit so the judges know what is your work and what is the work of others.
  • All submissions must be uploaded to Game Jam's page on by the deadline.

The game belongs to your team. We claim no rights or ownership of your game. If you want to continue to work on a full version of your game The National Archives would be keen to explore further collaboration to try to make this a reality.

We do request the right to use your game for purpose of publicising the event and promoting future Game Jams. If you don't want your game to be used for publicity, we ask that you make an effort to inform the organisers.

Who is the woman on the banner?

That is Nellie Jennings, a performer at the Earls Court Exhibition in 1911. The exhibition had been newly revamped to include not only a cowgirl shooting gallery but also a Dragon Gorge, scenic railway, cinematograph and "race ho", a mechanical horseracing machine.

Useful resources

Free Interactive Fiction software
Twine (Text adventures, Cross platform)
Quest (Text adventures, PC)
Ren'py (Visual Novels, PC)

Free Game Creation software
Game Maker (2D, Cross Platform)
Unity (3D, Cross platform)
Construct 2 (2D, Cross Platform)
Stencyl (2D, Web)
GameSalad (2D, Cross Platform)

Free Art software
Gimp (2D)
Blender (3D)
Pickle (2D, Pixel Art)
Pyxel Edit (2D, Pixel Art)
Spriter (2D, Animation)

Free Sound and Music software
LMMS (Music Editor)
Musagi (Music Editor)
BFXR (Sound Effects Generator)
Audacity (Audio Editor)

For more resources, check out Pixel Prospector's comprehensive Indie Resources list.