Here are some tips for getting the most out of Ludum Dare and the website.
Create an Account
Unlike other competitions, you aren’t required to pre-register to join in. You can decide to spontaneously join whenever you feel like it. However the website does require you to make an account to do anything (submit an entry, reply to comments, etc). You can sign up here.
Set an Avatar
Ludum Dare, like many sites on the internet, use Gravatars for avatars. So long as you use the same e-mail address on both sites, the avatar will show up. If it doesn’t show up right away, try restarting your browser or clearing your cache.
Write a biography
Got a reason to brag? Edit your biography and tell everyone about it. You can do this via the profile page inside wordpress.
Then any time someone clicks on your name, they can learn more about you. Try it, click on me for an example.
Add yourself to the World Map
Ludum Dare is as international as you can get, and it’s interesting to see where people are from. So to get an idea where everyone is, we have a map.
Set up your base code
Once you’ve decided what you’ll be using to make a game, get a simple test program up and running. Create a window/surface, print some text to the screen (“Hello World!”), load a sprite and draw it, load a sound effect and play it. You only have 48 hours, and you don’t know what the theme will be, so be ready for anything.
Once you have that, post it on the site, and talk about what you’ve done. Take the opportunity to introduce yourself too. Ludum Dare is a diverse community of game makers that are always interested in new and interesting ways of making the most of the 48.
Prepare/test your content creation tools
Fire up your software suite, your Photoshop or whatever you use, and make something. Then bring it in to your test app/base code. Verify that the process actually works, and take note of any places you stumbled. See if there’s anything you can do to speed up that process. Writing or downloading a tool, or whatever you need to do. Remember time is short, so you want to spend as much time as possible working on your game, not fighting with exporter bugs.
Arrange file hosting
The Ludum Dare website links to external downloads. Before the competition starts, you should figure out where you plan to host yours.
Images and screenshots are hosted on the Ludum Dare website (details here). You *can* host them elsewhere, but using the built-in WordPress uploader keeps everything nice and responsive.
If you simply can-not host your files, contact me (PoV) in IRC.
Deskphoto, Foodphoto, Motivation
In addition to simply blogging about progress, we encourage you to do more than that. Here’s some common tags for various other activities the community does before and during LD.
deskphoto – Show us your workspace! Your desk, your bookshelves, your fridge, …
foodphoto – Show us your culinary skills, or interesting local cuisine.
motivation – An LD tradition is to create motivational posters. Try Automotivator.
Be sure to tag your posts, so we can use those links to browse them.
Timelapse video is another thing members of the community sometimes do (examples here). Using various capture software, grab a screenshot of the desktop (or webcam) every minute or so. Then compile them all together in to a video, and upload to youtube. For tools and details how to do this, check out the Log Tools page on the wiki.