Ludum Dare 18 Theme Voting

Posted by (twitter: @ludumdare)
August 15th, 2010 1:18 pm

Theme Voting has begun! Tune in every day this week for a new list of themes.

Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Final Round

Special thanks to SophieH, Devlin, and the rest of the Ludum Dare IRC channel for their help pruning the theme list to a manageable size.

Also, be sure to check out the *NEW* Rules and Guide page. This Ludum Dare is new and totally different than usual.

81 Responses to “Ludum Dare 18 Theme Voting”

  1. xhunterko says:

    Oh good lord please no!

    That has been so, so, so overdone like burnt spaghetti. Everyone will just make 2d run and gun shooters.

    Say NO to zombies!

  2. whatZ says:


    I voted for “Traps” even though I thought it might be a trap.

    “Bugs” would be good for me. I create those all the time.

    “Unstoppable” is interesting. I can’t get that idea out my head.

    Then I was about to vote for “Non-standard game over”, when suddenly th

  3. moltanem2000 says:

    So are these the only themes we have to choose from? seems like it isn’t that much. Unless the next rounds present different themes… Even though this is my 3rd time participating I still don’t recall how this works πŸ˜›

    Anyways, “Trap” and “Unstoppable” are my favorites at the moment.

    • PoV says:

      There are 4 completely different rounds of theme voting, one for each day (Monday to Thursday). For Friday, we take the highest rated themes from round 1-4 and pit them against each other. That list decides the final theme.

  4. GreaseMonkey says:

    To get into the patch, you must not jump over the fence; instead, you must unlock the gate with 5 different keys and 3 different spells. But to learn these spells, you must go to three different professors, who are looking for 3 particular damsels up in 3 particular towers. Each tower is guarded, and you must not climb the towers; instead, you have to go through the whole tower, defeating monsters as you go… not sure if I can keep this up.

    Counterintuitiveness sounds like fun.

  5. Codexus says:

    I hope Enemies as weapons will a chance this time. Also I voted for “Double Rainbow” for the chance to make a Rainbow Islands inspired game :)

  6. Game Engines are to programming as “Auto-tune” is to music.

    Next time, let’s try to remember real coders out there: a special category for “100% from scratch” would be ultra-awesome. And when I say from scratch, I mean starting from absolutely nothing; an empty text file. That is the true heart and soul of Ludum Dare. And the true test of a coder’s skill.

    What we need are “weight classes”, like in boxing, so that true from-scratch efforts don’t go head to head with UDK/Unity.

    This the is death of “from scratch”. The end of an era. Darn script-kiddies. Now we all have to use game engines that have ten man-years of labor inside them just to compete. I know I’ll be alone in this opinion but to me, Unity, UDK, GameMaker, etc are cheating. It totally goes against the “from scratch” (started from an empty text file) ethos that I think is the true test of a developer’s skill.

    I guess there aren’t any more elite coders out there. So sad… but I understand – there are probably only ten people in these forums who could code a game from scratch in 48hrs but there are 500 who could do so with the auto-tune that is a big budget game engine written by dozens of full time professionals over a period of years.


    An old fart who used to code 4 color games in assembly language that only needed 1k of ram. And we loved it, you whipper snappers! =)

    • Manuel777 says:

      I couldnt be more agree with you, even if im the kind of guy who preffers to use GameMaker.

      The thing is that, tools like GameMaker, Flixel, Unity, etc are pretty much standards in theese times, but its not that much of a difference.
      You can make a game with the simplest software/languaje, but if you suck at game design or you just dont know how to use that piece of software, the result is going to suck. What i mean is that, no matter what are you using to create your games, it depends on your abilityes wheter you create a good game or not. Trust me, most noobs in the GMC forums wouldnt be able to figure out how to make a simple patform engine from the scratch in 48hs.

    • Notch says:

      I agree with this fully. While I do respect tools like Unity (I’ve seen great things come from it), it feels like cheating to me. I want to compete against other people who are doing this for the same reason as me.

    • sf17k says:

      Unity, Python interpreters, C++ compilers, and hex editors are all tools.

    • ExciteMike says:

      The problem with “true test of a developer’s skill” is that there are a lot of skills involved in developing a game, and if you are always starting over coding up basic stuff from scratch, you are missing most of them.

      Speaking just for myself, I have done “from scratch” (or close enough anyway) before and I’m not really interested in testing those particular skills more. I’d much rather work on my art, design, and higher-level programming skills. And like many others, I’m more interested in seeing folks make games than I am seeing them rewrite code for rendering, collision, input, loading images, etc.

      I’ve got nothing against having a separate hardcore category, of course. I just worry that it’d only get like four games.

    • rAzzB1tcH says:

      But, the thing is, very few people do that. I mean, I can see the appeal in creating a game from scratch in 48 hours … but for most people that’s completely unrealistic. I think the setup we have right now works fine; If people want to make it from scratch, they can. If people want to design the game with a tool, that’s fine. Either way we still get some interesting games, and in the end isn’t that all that matters?

    • I think that’s neat, but outside the scope of what LudumDare is about. It’s not a 4k intro compo, like at some demoscene assembly. It’s about making games, instead of testing coding skill.

      I haven’t touched raw APIs in a while, and I like it. (Even something like OpenGL, which isn’t exactly a very bare-metal sort of thing but fundamental modern API, I still prefer through a semi-virtualized layer in order to ease things like extensions and cross-platform.)

      My days of writing hand-assembly blitters and direct-interface sound drivers are long over and I am glad for it.

      I guess, in the end, you can go make your own Bare Metal Totally From Scratch, Okay Here’s a Frame Buffer and Audio Buffer, Go Crazy 48 Hour hardware compo if you want. But perhaps pick a shorter name… :)

    • Osgeld says:

      ok how from scratch do we want to go?

      I have a M68000 laying around and I know how to use it, as a electronics designer I can make “a game” using TTL logic chips and a clock source, I can make some of those chips out of transistors and diodes, and I have the information (but not the tools) to make those semiconductor parts my self

      use an OS?

      my deal is dont start on this “from scratch” stuff unless your ready to really do it, no os, no assembler, no language but a chip and some toggle switches, cause those things have had decades of man hours put in to them just so you can fire up a editor and use a pre-defined language

      its about having fun, its not a pissing contest to see “how low you can go”

    • 31eee384 says:

      Looks like you like to poke, so I’ll poke back. No hard feelings. :)

      I think your idea of “from scratch” is a bit baseless, to say the least. In other words, I don’t think you’re qualified to be arguing this issue, because as you put it, you can apply this “from scratch” label to nearly ANYTHING.

      No doubt what you made last miniLD was impressive, but think about what you did–you coded a game in quite a few VERY cross-platform languages (html5, Javascript, Flash for sound on older browsers) and relied on the browsers to display it correctly. That’s just about as high-level and not “from scratch” as you can go. Source:

      Posting your complaint as both a comment AND a blog post doesn’t make me any happier about your intentions, either. I don’t know of a way to delete comments after they’re posted, but for something so frankly war-igniting I think you could have at least mentioned that you accidentally posted it as a comment before realizing you wanted to make it a blog post. (Or vice versa.)

      Sorry for being so bold–school just started and I’m obviously very stressed at the moment. Wanted to blow off some steam, and your comment has been pricking my mind ever since I first read it. You are a very nice guy, and you’re being flamed a lot. But you pressed the issue so flagrantly and eagerly (“Is ‘from-scratch’ dead?”) I can’t help to think that you at least sorta deserve it.

      I’d be interested in hearing what you think about this issue, but even if you have nothing to say I have nothing against you. You have done amazing work, I’ve never been paid for a programming job in my life, and I respect you. I just couldn’t resist the flamebait.

      • I completely agree with you 31eee384! HTML5 is as far away from “scratch” as you can go, I mean it is like version one thousand of a billion dollars worth of programming.

        And zero hard feelings – I DID ask for this. I found the debate extremely interesting and not once did anyone flame me unreasonably, people were amazingly polite, thoughtful and open minded! I was totally surprised to see that more people agreed with me than disagreed. I think “weight classes” will be implemented in future compos.

        We had a wonderful and lively debate in another two or three different threads and it has been long since resolved. The problem with wordpress is you can’t find my scattered responses to these comments where I long ago let go of the idea of “from scratch” and we all agreed that it is impossible to decide where to draw the line, barring poking 1s and 0s into ram and writing our own operating systems.

        The conclusion from the debate, for me, was to withdraw from the compo entirely and simply join the jam so that I didn’t have to hold myself to my own standards or worry about “winning” or “rules”. Heck, I am personally a “fuck the rules” kinda guy anyway.

        I’ve decided to go the exact opposite way from scratch and use a pre-existing game engine that I’ve used many times before. It already has everything from online high scores to physx to 3d graphics to streaming mp3s and flv video on a texture.

        Why the hell I thought “from scratch” was cool I dunno. Nobody wants to do it. Nobody can define it.

        I am an “engine programmer” more than I am a “game designer” I guess. I am a holdover from an era long past – I’m a guy from the original warez BBS “demoscene”, in the ancient times of pre-internet 4k demos written in assembly language, etc. Yep, I’m old.

        Today, game design is more of an artistic pursuit rather than a programming challenge. Sorta like how a techno musician who can’t play a Bach concerto or read sheet music is still undoubtedly a musician, times have changed.

        So I’ve changed my tune: fuck “from scratch”, I’m going to break the rules entirely and just make a game for the fun of it without any regard to what others are doing. I’m going to use code I wrote two, three years ago. I’m going to use closed source middleware, expensive tools, textures I downloaded, and gameplay code that was coded in 2009, in other words I’m going to cheat my ass off.

        The goal for this weekend: HAVE FUN, make a game in 48 hours, and who the hell cares how you did it.

        • bentosmile says:

          Uh, if you feel so strongly that lots of the other participants are cheating, perhaps this isn’t the competition for you. Not to sound rude, but if you’re feeling strongly enough to go out of your way to make other people feel like crap, maybe this is just unproductive for you.

          I’m not sure that using an engine is the same as the things you listed. You use software to make art, right? Or procedurally generate it somehow or something? Well, that’s pretty time saving compared to those of us who are ‘real’ artists. Unless you get some oil paints and canvas (and I mean, you HAVE to stretch it and prime it yourself – none of that premade junk) aren’t you ‘cheating’ by saving time using a computer. πŸ˜›

          • You’ve completely misinterpreted my comments, I’m on your side.

            • What I mean is, I completely 100% agree with your second paragraph. This debate is so over, we’ve had it out in a bazillion threads and the consensus is that it is impossible to know where to draw the line. There is no cheating, this compo is just for fun, and I want nothing more than to spread the love. *I* am a cheater I really regret posting that comment but you can’t edit them, I’m amazed at the hate it obviously came too close to the truth and made some people highly defensive. Let’s all try to douse the flames and send a little more love and respect out there. I’m not against anyone here. I am as guilty of using massive tools as anyone, and I have the utmost of respect for you no matter what you use to make a game.

    • KavuDX says:

      Sorry man, hard-core coders just like you just made the living out of programs that make soft-core coders or no-code-at-all people be able to enter the software development world.

      These events should be about spreading the game-dev spirit to the most people possible, not just to close-minded assembly coders who can show their manliness by reinventing the wheel each 6 months…

      This would be like working at a software development house and complaining that the newcomers are using C++ and C#, and that everyone should stick to using C just like you, because it’s “more hard-core”.

      If you were really concerned about the actual contents of your game, you should use these “cheating” enviroments and create a game far better than any newcomer, this way you would prove yourself by designing mastery, not by writing dijkstra implementation for the Nth time…

  7. Round 2 of Voting and already I know the theme I want.


  8. wonderwhy-er says:

    @OriginalBigDan Hehe I do like this theme too πŸ˜€ Could be fun to see hundreds of games on that theme :)
    But realistically speaking it is little bit too niche for everyone to like i guess. We can still hope though πŸ˜‰

  9. razzberries says:

    “Secrets” is a pretty good idea, to be honest. There’s lots of room for creativity. Probably my favorite so far.

  10. PoV says:

    Results for Round 1 are now available.

  11. razzberries says:

    Wow, evolution got pretty high. Awesome πŸ˜€

  12. Manuel777 says:

    Oh my goodness, dystopia wuold make the best LD ever πŸ˜€

  13. xhunterko says:

    No, no it wouldn’t.

  14. ansel says:

    I voted in favor of dystopia… but I can never pick a favorite theme. almost all of them are equally inspiring.

  15. PoV says:

    Results for Round 2 are now available.

  16. Cooshinator says:


  17. PoV says:

    Round 3 results now available.

  18. wyverex says:

    I am going to try this, though I have things planned for Saturday and Sunday :(

  19. Sos says:

    Can I pick the final one?

  20. Fiona says:

    Someone explain “pop-cop”, please.

  21. EmptyFlash says:

    Everyone, quickly, stop liking the ones I don’t like. πŸ˜›

  22. xhunterko says:

    ‘Rain’ sounds like an interesting idea. Would’ve liked to have seen it at the top. Still, it looks like that ‘enemies as weapons’ and ‘evolution’ are still top contenders. I’ve got ideas for both at least. Anyone love shmups?

  23. Manuel777 says:

    R.I.P. Dystopia :(

    aaaanyway, my last fighters on this battle are “Enemies as weapons” and “Mirror”, lets see how far do they get πŸ˜‰

  24. lexaloffle says:

    Evolution, people. Evolution.

  25. Squarefish says:

    Hello Ludum Dare. I’m no regular here, but saw a few of my friends enter last compo.

    So I’m entering! Fun fun fun.

    I’m planning on not sleeping the whole weekend.

    “Mirror” sounds pretty fantastic as a theme and gameplay idea!

  26. Doches says:

    Wasn’t ‘Cooperation’ the theme of this past Global Game Jam?

  27. SonnyBone says:

    I weep for WONDER.

  28. MrDude says:

    Cyberspace… No… No…

    My game will still be set inside of a computer! Both in medium and in setting!

  29. C’mon, ‘Lame Castle’! I can already envision a haunted fortress with missing handrails, sub-par wiring, and a retinue of phantoms, succubi, headless knights and the like flatly refusing to work until the safety problems are fixed and OSHA has been called…

    Time management/paperwork shuffling game, maybe?

  30. TrogFishaz says:

    God no, please not claustrophobia.

  31. Thomas Larsen says:

    A couple of hours ago I voted down “Panic” and “Evolution”, but, after spending some time planning game ideas, I changed my mind. I see a lot of potential in both ideas…

  32. KavuDX says:

    Oh god, I can’t vote -1 to anything…
    Every one of them seems like a very nice theme, we could even do a ALL THEMES GAME GO GO GO and I would still be happy…

    Well, anything will be better than Islame!

  33. edwardoka says:

    Whither thou, Twilight Fandom?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

[cache: storing page]