DEV Community

Cover image for GAME MODE 2020: Building a Game in One Month
Jason C. McDonald for MousePaw Media

Posted on • Updated on

GAME MODE 2020: Building a Game in One Month

Announcing GAME MODE 2020, from June 1st through the 28th, where we're going to attempt to build an open source game in one month. Our entire development staff is putting their usual work on hold for the month of June to work on a brand-new game: DiamondQuest!

The Game

DiamondQuest is a mining-inspired, 16-bit-style platformer where you search for buried treasure, fossils, and gemstones, using your math skills to dig. The game will use positive reinforcement to encourage players to keep playing and to challenge themselves; the relaxing, non-threatening game environment provides a new twist on math drills, without triggering math anxiety.

Perhaps most exciting is that this will be an accessibility-first game, designed to accommodate motor-impaired players who normally cannot play computer games. The keyboard-driven gameplay is designed for players who are either limited to single keyboard presses (e.g. with a head pointer) or have slower reflexes. The concept for DiamondQuest came from Lead Developer Jason C. McDonald's long-time desire to build a game for a friend from college who lived with cerebral palsy.

Tech Specs

  • Python 3.7
  • Pygame (probably)
  • Packaging: pip, PyInstaller, Snapcraft, (+whatever else!)
  • Target: Win/Mac/Linux Desktop
  • VCS: Git
  • Development Platform: Phabricator (MousePaw Media DevNet)
  • Project License
    • Code: BSD-3-Clause
    • Graphics/Music: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA (some CC BY-NC-ND)

The game will be completely free (as in free coffee). We won't be making any money from it whatsoever.

Call for Contributors

To pull this off, we need all the help we can get! We're putting out the call for contributors: developers, graphics designers, musicians, packaging gurus, math nerds (to help with the educational component), game design enthusiasts, and the like. Whether you're a novice or an expert, you'll find something to do.

NOTE: We especially need artists; we have one on our team, but having more will be a deciding factor in whether we accomplish our goal!

We'll be collaborating using Phabricator and Git, on MousePaw Media's DevNet platform. We have a robust issue tracker, code review system, automatic CI/CD pipeline, and chatroom. Instructions for getting started can be found at

As we move closer to the start of GAME MODE 2020, we'll be announcing related events, including live collaboration sessions. We'll also be publishing Development Updates here on DEV, so follow us for the latest!

So, can we do it? We're going to find out, and we would love for you to join us!

Top comments (9)

mars profile image

Wow! It's actually good to see a game being developed with PyGame. I would really love to contribute but I have to catch up to a lot of things as I stopped learning the engine (I work with Unity now) and I have a lot in my plate right now as a student. But I would try to keep myself updated with the game-making process! This looks cool!

jandedastro profile image

Can the game be shipped to android?
Is there an android version support?

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

Because of our interface design goals, and their reliance on a physical keyboard, the game would not work on mobile. I imagine it would be technically possible to port the game to Android, but we're focusing only on desktop/laptop.

jandedastro profile image

Okay. Thanks for the reply

ardunster profile image
Anna R Dunster

Are you still looking for art contributions? I don't have a lot of time for it but might be able to contribute a little bit. What kind of art style are you looking for?

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

We definitely need art! We're looking for 16-bit style art primarily, although I'm sure running it through a pixelation filter would do a similar thing for what we're specifically needing β€” which is treasures! Head over to (you'll need to log in with your GitHub and wait for approval; it shouldn't take long.) Jump into the chatroom to chat about what we need specifically. Imagination welcome!

drcat7 profile image

What was the motivation to pick Python + Pygame as the underlying engine?

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

Familiarity, primarily. If you're going to build a game in one month, it helps to pick one that the lead developer (me) is an expert in, namely Python. Much of our staff has working proficiency with the language already, too.

Second, there's a lot of precedents for Pygame in this context, so it's easier to find answers to problems we encounter. I haven't used Pygame much, but what I do know is that the tooling and documentation cover our use cases.

Third, we already know that packaging a Python + Pygame project is a well-worn path, so there's less surprises when it comes to distribution.