I started a project ages ago, a game that was to be a shooter intended to help students learn phonics. The ship shoots sound bullets; all the enemies have letters on their ships and are only vulnerable to the sounds those letters make. Some ships are therefore only vulnerable to one sound, while a C ship, for example, is vulnerable to two.
I can’t remember why I stopped working on it. Judging by the last time I accessed the project, it might have had to do with Ultra Hat Dimension and our decision to polish and ship the prototype we made for Ludum Dare. Regardless, it’s been a good long time. Although I opted to continue using the Godot Engine to make it, I decided to start again from the ground up.
It only took me an afternoon to get back to pretty much where I was before. That could say something about how well I relearn long-disused scripting languages. Alternately, it could say something about how much I learned in the process of getting to where I was in the first place. Or both.
It’s a fascinating read, whether or not you like to write. But while I was reading it, my mind drifted a bit. I’ve been thinking a lot about writing styles recently anyway, thanks to the author’s commentary at the end of the Ender’s Game audiobook. This article just built on that for me.
Six years later edit (April 21, 2019): Links to the bundle have been removed. They now lead to a page that seems dangerous. Additionally, I’m no longer convinced bundles are a good thing. That’s another story, though.
There are so many game bundles on the internet (thank you, Humble Bundle, for making this a trend) that The Open Bundle is easy to overlook. Its name is simple but not descriptive, and to be honest it doesn’t actually include any games. Instead, it has art, music, and code for making games. What really makes it special, though, is that it’s a grand experiment in leveraging crowdfunding to make releasing things under Creative Commons licensing viable for artists.
I originally posted this on April 9, 2013 on my blog on Gamasutra. Cross-posting here, as I should have done before.
I first learned of Ludum Dare last August. I wasn’t in time to participate, but I was able to play a wide variety of interesting games. That got me fired up — I definitely wanted to participate in December’s 48-hour compo (hereafter LD48). I hadn’t programmed in years, really, but I was signed up for an Intro to Computer Science MOOC and was pretty sure I would be capable of pumping out something come December.
Participating in Ludum Dare #25
When December and its LD48 came around, I was not at all confident in my abilities. I had successfully brushed up on basic computer science concepts and learned some new things, but the MOOC had been taught in Python instead of the C/C++ I originally learned in. I could do some things with Python, like perform computations and output things to IDLE, but I had no clue how to do things like play sound and draw graphics. To make things worse, I live in Japan, which meant that the event would be starting at noon on Saturday for me. In order to be functional for work on Monday, I needed to get to bed around midnight on Sunday, leaving me with only 36 hours to make my game. In short, my limitations were many.
Six years later edit (April 20, 2019): You can no longer download Poke from itch.io. Sorry folks
Item one: there is now a Mac OSX build for Poke, the game I mentioned in my last post.
It can be downloaded from item two, which is my profile up at itch.io. Itch.io is a web site made by another Ludum Dare person. It’s designed to just be a place where indie game developers can host their game files. The site supports pay what you want models, with the minimum price being set by the developer and $0.00 being a viable minimum price. It’s a neat site.
Ender’s Game Trailer
Then there is item three, the first trailer for the Ender’s Game movie adaptation.
One of the things in my mess of being busy in the past couple of months was Ludum Dare, a game jam which is held every four months.
A game jam is a challenge in which game developers must create a video game from scratch — concept, design, coding, everything — within a certain time limit and possibly with other restrictions.
So here are more details about Ludum Dare, specifically. In the month leading up to the game jam, interested participants may submit ideas for themes. These are voted on by the community up until the last minute before the jam starts. Participants then have 48 hours to make a video game, alone, that matches the theme. There are then three weeks of voting by the people who made the games, and at the end the games are ranked. Your prize is that you get a game and hopefully learn something.
The most recent Ludum Dare was held the weekend of December 14th and the theme was You Are the Villain.