Making a game can be tough. You need art, fun mechanics, sound, and often much more to make a fun and entertaining. With all this focus on the game, optimizations often come second. Unless of course, you entered a competition where size is key.

That is exactly the problem that participants of the JS13K competition deal with. The goal of the competition is to develop an entire game that can zip down to only 13kb. In some ways, this can be a restriction, but it can also help you focus on making a great game, not just on the flashy graphics and cool sound effects.

The game I made, Anti Virus, is a fully featured game featuring auto-generated sound effects, a single 32×40 sprite sheet that makes up all the graphics, a start screen, a loading screen, and shop. All in all, it is a very minimalist game.
(Check it out here:

The goal of the game is to stop all the ‘viruses’ before they reach your file system. If they get past into your deeper filesystem then you lose. You can purchase upgrades, both permanent and temporary, to help you defend your files.

Honestly, the hardest part of making the game is making your own code to do what most game libraries make easy. From developing a particle system to collision detection, to screen resizing, it was all a challenge.

Because of my small asset sizes, it was not that hard to make sure that all the code fit into the file size limit. However, I still needed to do a little bit of slimming and trimming when I finished. All in all, It was still easier to fit in the file size than I originally thought.

Overall it was an excellent competition, as well as an excellent learning opportunity. From learning how to do things differently, to seeing how others tackled the same problems. There is something new everyone can learn.

Hope to see you at next year’s competition!
~Andrew Stavast
Firenibbler Studios