January 21st, 2012 | By Sarah Bishop
If you’re reading this, you probably have a thing for indie games. And what is more “indie” than a single person designing, programming, and developing on their own? That’s a lot of work for one person. Meaning the game would probably be on the small side…perhaps 4KB? Sound a little too small? WRONG!
Java4K is a website dedicated to the independent development of games programmed in Java. However, there is a catch – the games cannot exceed 4KB in size. “Minimum games, maximum fun” as they say, something I think we here at the Indie Game Magazine can appreciate. And this slogan is fulfilled by the vast assortment of games available to play instantly and, more importantly, for free. The website is a thriving community of programmers dedicated to getting the most out of their language. They are generally a helpful bunch, and many of them have even open-sourced the code for their games to help newer programmers get on their feet. Anybody, from a young kid with a knack to a seasoned professional, can make and upload a game for people across the world to play and enjoy. Should you need help along the way, simply ask and you shall receive. There are tons of programmers itching to test their skills and knowledge on the problems you present to them. There is even an official wiki page with tips and tricks to better implement your code and keep it within that pesky 4KB limit.
But wait, there’s more! Java4K is not just a site for cool indie Java games to come together and hang out. It is also a place for them to compete! You read right – every year, there is the annual and much-anticipated Java4K competition! Developers can submit their games to be graded by a panel of experienced judges on things like originality, innovation, smoothness of control, ease of understanding, replay value and overall fun-ness. Games will also face a trial by fire of their peers, as registered users can play and vote on their favorite (or least favorite) games. And before you ask, no, there are no prizes for the winners. These people do it simply for their love of gaming and to test their skills against others. This, as you might imagine, leads to some pretty cool stuff being developed.
This competition has been going on since 2002 and has spanned across many sites and locations, changing hands a couple times in the process. The first ever competition was held on Sun Microsystem’s very own official Java forums. The Java4k version was kick-started back in 2007 and has been going strong ever since.
This year’s competition opens for submissions on December 1st, and continues through the end of February. So whether you have some mad Java skills you’d like to show off or you’re just up for a little 4K fun, head on down to www.java4k.com and join the fray!