Looking for a way to take your game programming skills to the next level? How about creating a complete game in less than a week?

That's just what these Carnegie Mellon grad students discuss in their Gamasutra article: How to Prototype a Game in Under 7 Days. They forced themselves to live by these rules for a semester:

  1. Each game must be made in less than seven days
  2. Each game must be made by exactly one person
  3. Each game must be based around a common theme

The article lays out all of their tips and tricks for getting a game made in under a week. This is a great way to test new gameplay ideas. If it's not fun after a week, you can move on to something else next week.

They don't mention it specifically, but I would imagine having a good framework for developing games is a prerequisite. Most of their games appear to use OpenGL (GLUT) for video and BASS for audio, but SDL would probably work just as well if not better.

Once you finish reading the article, you can head over to the Experimental Gameplay Project, download a few of the games, and then sign up to participate.

I recommend Attack of the Killer Swarm, Tower of Goo Unlimited, and On a Rainy Day. These should give you a nice overview of just what is possible with only a few days development time.

Let me know if you create a game for the project. I'd love to feature it here.