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.