I’m supposed to be working, but Sol_HSA’s thread got pretty big pretty fast. This is probably a good time to get an official word out there, to avoid future uncertainty, and to catch up those that missed it.
We had a pretty intense discussion some months back about how we were going to manage Ludum Dare’s growth. Ludum Dare today is a far bigger than any of us imagined it would become, and it wants to keep getting bigger and bigger.
On the one side, it wants to be more and more inclusive. We’ve relaxed the rules to include pretty-much every piece of gaming making middleware available today (even Unreal 3, our old example of what’s “not allowed”). The previous problem of enabling anyone to create sound effects quickly was practically solved by the introduction of sfxr. Aside from allowing outside content, the only thing we haven’t given the thumbs up to was teams (well, other than a slight rules page oversight this compo).
On the other side, we have what’s probably best described as classic Ludum Dare. A strict set of rules, everything from scratch, full source, the cliche “real men write their own compilers with soldiering irons” angle (not to disrespect the ladies, but we are the pig-headed kings of extremes ;)).
Unfortunately it’s not a simple matter of taking one side and growing that way. Or maybe it is, but that’d be like shooting ourselves in the foot. As things become more open, rules start to fade, keeping things fair becomes more and more difficult. We also have our legacy to consider, and we know from experience rules and restrictions keep things focused and produce results. After all, we are the 48 hour competition.
So what’s our solution?
The new Ludum Dare we hope to create in the coming months is something I like to call “The Ludum Dare Competition and Jam“. As expected we’re combining the two camps, but the tricky part was coming up with what we think is the best way to do that.
The Ludum Dare Competition is the same Ludum Dare you all know and love. It’s a competition. We tighten up the rules a bit, specifically, changing them in to eligibility requirements. Solo, include source, all content created in 48 hours, etc. Not much different than what you’re used to, but the emphasis here will be keeping things fair and realistic.
The Ludum Dare (Online) Jam is the new open Ludum Dare. Bring in a friend, keep your source to yourself, take an extra day (but just 1). Ludum Dare is a serious game making event, synonymous with the idea of prototyping a game in a weekend. We exist to be your reason to create something. And if you participated, we want everyone to know. Unlike the competition, there is no voting in the Jam.
So like always, you tune in Friday night for the theme (timezone respected), and you make a game. If you end up breaking the rules (competition eligibility), oh well, you can still submit it for the Jam. If you’re running late but still wanted to make something, again, you can still submit it to the Jam. Or if you regularly work with a friend or team, make it a Ludum Dare weekend! Crunch a playable prototype during the weekend, share it with us via the Jam, and submit it to the App Store a week later.
You could even take steps to create separate Competition and Jam versions of your game. For example, someone that’s both a coder and an artist could submit an eligible version of their game without sound and music, and a Jam version with help from their sound designer friend.
In a nutshell, that’s what we’re thinking the new Ludum Dare should be. Share your thoughts in the comments.