Mini LD13: It’s Educational

Posted by
October 2nd, 2009 10:49 am


200 years ago Charles Darwin was born, 150 years ago he published “The Origin of Species”.

400 years ago Galileo was the first to gaze into the heavens with a telescope.

To help commemorate these important birthdays for Science, your task will be to write a game that’s not only fun, but also educational. Bonus points for teaching us about astronomy or biology (or astrobiology :) ).

Collaboration with non-programmer scientist friends is allowed and encouraged.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there is no fixed deadline this time; post a message just before you start and then post your game at the latest 48 hours after your announcement post. However since much of the fun of Ludum Dare is hacking along side others, I propose next weekend (9-12 October) as the preferred period.

Finally, since one of the really cool things with the real LDs that we (or I at least) miss during the minis is feedback, as compo host I’ll commit to reviewing all the games posted. (Unless there are a bazillion entries in which case I’ll review the first 20 or so.)

Unfortunately I lost my home internet connection so I’m not online as much as I’d like, but feel free to contact me either in a comment or by email (nils dot fagerburg at gmail) if you need any clarification.

Happy hacking!

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36 Responses to “Mini LD13: It’s Educational”

  1. Almost says:

    Educational things usually have very specific audiences. Trying to teach something that everybody knows is useless, while trying to teach something more complex without being sure that everybody knows the stuff that builds up to it is similarly useless as they may not have a clue what I’m talking about..
    That said, I’d like to try to make a game on this theme, but I’m not sure where to start

  2. John Evans says:

    Dwarf Fortress taught me which minerals are ores of metals.

  3. JMickle says:

    ok i’ve got a really good idea for this i’ll be entering.

    So if i understand this right i just have to post my game here under 48 hours after THIS post? (i am starting now i don’t think i’m available over the 9-12 oct :/ )

    • Almost says:

      You should make a post about your game to A) make it more obvious that it’s finished and B) give a place for people to comment.
      As a note: I am unable to hold up, left, and spacebar at the same time because keyboards are kind of lame. (Optionally) Using Z for fire would avoid this, as it registers fine at the same time as any combination of arrow keys.

  4. Radix says:

    As usual when a theme is something I’m actually interested in, my mind’s a blank.

  5. axcho says:

    Cool, I’m really interested in making educational games, so maybe this would be a great way for me to get started with Ludum Dare. :)

    I worked on Foldit a while back, and I’d thought it would be cool to make a 2D version in Flash, but there’s no way I could make that in 48 hours. I’ll think of something else… a game about ecology? evolution? genetics? chemistry?

  6. HybridMind says:

    Cool theme! I think I’m free too for Oct 9th – 12th so score! :) It is always more fun hacking in simultaneity with others…

  7. dertom says:

    I’m in as well! Actually I don’t have a clue what to do! (But that won’t prevent me from doing something :) )

  8. axcho says:

    Hmm, I have a question. Is it allowed to use existing open source code libraries for physics, such as Box2DFlash? What about using an existing physics engine that I wrote myself?

    I know that games have been released for previous competitions using the Flixel engine, which I’ll probably end up using as well. But I’m not sure about physics.

  9. demonpants says:

    This is a very cool idea. I’ve had an idea for an educational game for a while. But you could definitely argue that your zombie-shooting game is educational because it teaches you that you need to shoot zombies in their heads to kill them, etc. Just like John Evans said with Dwarf Fortress.

    Anyway, I’ll avoid taking the easy way out and probably go with my original idea, which would either be sort of like Oregon Trail (teaching about wilderness survival) or would teach some other occupational skills, like how to do CPR or cut someone open with a scalpel.

    The problem with all of these is that it takes a lot of research!

  10. dertom says:

    Hmm,… what’s about contents? Is there (like usual) a restriction to do them also on your own, or can we take let’s say something like textures out of the net?

    • Almost says:

      I think in the main ludum dare competitions all content should be made by you, but for the more casual mini ludum dares downloading music/textures whatever is probably acceptable..

      • dertom says:

        Actually I have no idea what to do on friday! Educational….lol! Not a single clue! Ok still some time! Until then…cu

      • HybridMind says:

        The normal LD rules can be modified by the host of the mini-LD. It is best to check with them on what (if any) rules they may be relaxing or re-specifying.

        • dertom says:

          Well, actually that was what I’m trying to do! Don’t know an other way to contact the host! As long as there comes no “official” statement of nilsf I will use the normal LD-rules! Problem for me is, if I want to make something educational I need minimum a texture (e.g. worldmap) to be educational…. 😀 Ach,…I will see! I think I will start tomorrow!

    • nilsf says:

      Reuse of content (and code for that matter) is discouraged but allowed.

  11. Spydog says:

    I think I might enter this but I won’t be starting until tommorow (the “preferred period”). I’ll post another comment when/if I actually begin working on a game.

    Also, I signed up for an account and want to know how long it normally takes to process the email and send me back a password. The “check your email now” message was apparently rather misleading, as about 20 minutes have elapsed since I entered the account info (name/email) and I have yet to recieve anything. I’m just making sure of this so that I don’t rush in and make a game and then discover that I can’t enter it because I can’t log in. Can somebody help me with this? Thanks!

  12. Almost says:

    I’m going to try to make something this weekend, starting right about now. I also feel like trying to learn flash in a short time; this’ll be the first game I’ve made with it, hopefully things work out..

  13. axcho says:

    Almost, good luck with starting Flash! I don’t know which route you’re going with it, but I actually just wrote up a quick guide on where to start if you want to learn Flash game programming with only free tools. I’d recommend FlashDevelop and the Flixel engine, which is what I’ve been using lately.

    You can find the guide on my blog here, with links to the most helpful tutorials:

    Good luck! 😀

    • Almost says:

      Thanks :)
      I currently am using FlashDevelop and the Flex SDK. I downloaded flixel too, but have mostly just used it as example code for how to do stuff so far.
      I’ll check out some of the tutorials that you linked to on your blog.

  14. dertom says:

    Ok…I will start now! I think it is really a challange to build the bridge between education and fun / game. For me it was (beside coding) most of the time two contrary tthings…. :D.

    I’m going to use jMonkeyEngine and blender

    Good luck everyone, ToM

  15. Almost says:

    Any more entries almost done? I thought I saw a bunch more “I’m in” comments than I now see entries..

  16. dertom says:

    Hehe,…well! Actually I have to admit that I failed (in the sense of ld). First problem for me was the theme. I wasn’t quite sure how to do the eductional in the game. I wanted to build up a story that let you learn during the game all the planets of the universe. Problem was that it was to ambitous and I wanted to write reusable code which slowed down the things also. To make a long story short I wasn’t able to finish in 48h…(as always! really have to rethink by strategy(again)) Nevertheless I’m on a good way and try to finish my “game”. Don’t want to provide something unread just to show I made something…
    (For those who want to see some screenshot:

    Byebye and good luck to the other ones.


  17. axcho says:

    I didn’t try making a game last weekend, but I still might try making one next weekend! I’ve been thinking about how I might make a protein-folding game in 48 hours… :)

  18. Superfeeder says:

    The entries discussed so far seem to be concerned mostly with the sciences. I’m going to try to make a game within the realm of the humanities this weekend. See you guys Sunday :)

  19. Serilyn says:

    I’m going to try making a game that teaches about genetics this weekend, starting now!

  20. ramkin says:

    Is the compo still on? 😛

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