Rant: Who’s Ludum Dare for?

Posted by
August 25th, 2011 4:25 pm

This will rub some people the wrong way, but sorry, I have to let it out.

I’ve been rating some entries and I’m very disappointed of probably most of them. I understand the time limit won’t allow for masterpieces, and I’m not expecting any, but come on, I mean, there should be some sort of standard.

Unfinished games and half-assed attempts, I mean, why submit those? People even cynically admitting they didn’t even try hard enough to make it better, that they gave up midways, but what the heck! They submitted it anyways!

The problem with those is that they distract from the good games from people who busted their asses off to make something decent, but now many won’t see them because they will be burnt off after checking out hundreds of unfinished entries of people who didn’t put their hearts into it.

I know this is open to novice developers and Notches alike, and I think it’s great that you have the balls to release something crappy, because sometimes people who never finish anything is because they are scared to realize they aren’t that good. But, hey, at least have a standard for yourself. If it isn’t even playable, why bother? Learn the lesson and join the next competition. You are on the right path, but it takes time to get there, keep it up, soldier.

I’ll probably rate selectively from now on, because, honestly, I can’t rate all 599 games, I’ll be lucky if I can rate half of that, but I won’t waste my time on people who didn’t finish and half-assed it but still submitted it just to have a shot in the dark.

Decency, people!! Don’t take this rant the wrong way, I’m trying to encourage some quality. We don’t expect master pieces, but we expect something finished and hopefully enjoyable. Thanks for reading. :3

63 Responses to “Rant: Who’s Ludum Dare for?”

  1. NGuillemot says:

    not everybody is working with game maker smartypants

    • nuria says:

      Use Gamemaker if you are struggling with something else. No one is forcing you to not use Gamemaker, this isn’t a coding competition.

      • sfernald says:

        how old are you nuria out of curiousity? Im going to guess about 17.

        • nuria says:

          How’s my age related to anything? That’s discrimination :(

          • sfernald says:

            Because some older with more maturity would not be so quick to dismiss “hundreds of unfinished entires”. It’s just the kind of rude thing a teenager would say.

            • nuria says:

              Maturity comes with experience, not age. Someone who was in coma for 20 years may have the age but not the experience (and hence the maturity) of someone his age.

              Assuming all 17 years old kids are immature is discrimination, sorry. Are you the one talking about maturity? With this kind of comment, seriously?

              • sfernald says:

                Haha, I guess I hit it right on the nose. Kid, I was just like you at that age. I feel like I’m arguing with myself in a time machine, Keep up the fight!

  2. digital_sorceress says:

    From my understanding, I don’t believe the purpose of LD is to produce quality games. Rather it is to inspire people simply to make games.

    To me, it is the taking part which counts. Being one of those 599 that broke the record, and made headlines. That was out collective achievement.

    In my opinion, the competition/voting aspect is just a bonus.

    • nuria says:

      I don’t think that’s the purpose either, but some people don’t even finish their games, which, again, that’s fine, but don’t submit it if that’s the case.

      Would you join a 21k race if you knew you can’t even run 5k just to be part of it? I know I wouldn’t, still some do. What’s the point? I have no idea. Join a 5k race first instead.

      • digital_sorceress says:

        The race analogy isn’t a good one. There’s only one variable in a race: distance, and runners generally aware of their own stamina.

        In game making there’s a time constraint, but there’s another (controllable) factor: scope.

        Balancing scope against time is what we have to do. We want the scope to be high enough to be challenging, but low enough to be achievable. And that’s not simple to do.

        So contestants don’t necessarily know if they’ll be able to complete until they try. :)

        • nuria says:

          A shame I can’t hearth your answer. But you nailed it pretty well.

          Still, I think I’m not getting my point across. It’s good to try and fail, I failed on the past Ludum Dare, but I didn’t submit anything as it wasn’t a finished game. I learned my lesson and tried again this time.

          I just wouldn’t dare to disrespect people by submitting something broken and say “oh ok, I’m aware it sucks and has lots of bugs but is the best I could do”. I have tried and failed in the past, but I waited to join competitions until I could actually make something I would call ‘finished’ or ‘playable’. And I think that may actually encourage people to get better.

  3. sfernald says:

    Wow, this has to be the harshest, most selfish post ive ever seen in all my years on ludumdare. I bet that 1 heart was by the author too.

    I’m not even sure how to respond. First of all, you arent expected to review all entries. Secondly, the whole point of ludumdare is to learn. Making games is hard and everyone is at a different level. Some people could work all 48 hours and end up with a game that by your standards is crappy. Ludumdare is about trying, sharing and improving – thats why the source code is required for all entries. Entrants are really just competing against each other because we are all at different levels. Just finishing a game is hard work. The one certainty is that if you keep doing ludumdare you will get more and more skilled at it.

    I suggest you participate for a few years and hopefully the spirit and purpose of ludumdare be known to you.

    • nuria says:

      Harsh? Don’t know. Honest? Totally! and it’s got 3 hearths, of which only one is from me, what’s wrong with that, I wonder? I liked my post :)

      If somebody took the time to set up a rating system is because they expect us to use it. Nobody is pointing a gun to your head to rate games, but is ideal that you do.

      If you fail to make a game in the time given you still learn, my complaint is that you shouldn’t submit it as if it was a finished game.

      I know what the purpose of Ludum Dare is, and I agree with most stuff you said, but what’s wrong with asking people to have some shame, some standards, some quality, some desire to get better?

      • sfernald says:

        I dont doubt your response is honest. I’m just trying to understand your point of view.

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears this is your first entry in the contest. And you used game maker correct?

        We’ve had several discussions on here where we considered banning such tools. Cool heads prevailed and they were allowed.

        There is (perhaps an unspoken) technical component to the ratings. There are guys on here who actually try to write games in assembly. I’ll tell you many on here hold no respect for game maker and its ilk and would respect more highly a partially completed c++ entry than any completed game maker game. They actually consider game maker a joke.

        Maybe the high horse you think you are on is but a pony. I would just observe and try to learn on here for a few years if i were you. The ludum dare is the coolest site ive ever been a part of and there are a whole lot of people that pour their heart and soul into the contest and I believe if they have anything to show for their efforts, they have a right to show it.

        • nuria says:

          I didn’t use Gamemaker per se, but yes, I used a ‘game maker’. Which is allowed and anyone can use, so I fail to see the point of bringing that up. Not everyone here is a coder, neither is this a coding contest. If you are coding in assembly and you are struggling with it when you could use Gamemaker to save some time, then you are not managing your time right. And that was nothing but your choice.

          I never said I was on any high horse and I think you are just not getting it at all. I know some people pour their heart into the contest but not all do, and those who don’t are not letting us see the work of those who did, that’s my complaint.

          • sfernald says:

            I guess we have to agree to disagree. What you consider an annoyance I consider the lifeblood of the contest. Ludumdare is about the failures as much as the successes. Before having some sort of prescreening I would suggest just abandoning rating games all together (which has been discussed before and I believe that’s where the jam came from). Maybe now is the time to consider that. Next year this time the contest will probably have 1000 entries. The year after that maybe 1600. I’m not sure the contest will scale actually the way it is devised.

            The number of “weak” entries is always going to outnumber the “good” games to a high degree. When ludumdare first started, honestly, most games were crap. More like little toys and tech demos than games. These were still wonderful though. Every once in a while you might run into one where everything came together for the developer and it was amazing. You really appreciated the great games. I don’t think anything has really changed since then.

            Having ratings is probably the biggest flaw with ludumdare because it’s the one thing that always results in a lot of people getting pissed off, a contest which should only be about the joys of creation and should not be divisive. Let me ask you this, if we got rid of ratings, would your rant still be relevant?

            You asked in your title, “who’s ludumdare for?” well, it’s for everybody. And it’s not about ratings and who wins. It’s about creating things and sharing them. We have the ratings because it’s fun to do, but it’s a game too. Like keeping score while playing bridge. I would give it up in a second if devs felt they shouldn’t enter the contest for fear of shame. Leave the shame and other crappy emotions out of it.

            • nuria says:

              Well, see, that’s exactly the problem for me. Ratings. When I’m about to rate something I assume this is a competition where people are, at some extent, trying to get a good rating, hence they submit something finished.

              To me, it makes no sense to enter a competition where you can’t compete. You can enter even if you know you can’t win just as long as you are able to compete. Would be foolish for me to enter a guitar playing contest when I can’t play guitar. I can say “yes, but my goal was not to compete or win but to get rid of my stage fright”. Excuse me, but that’s not the goal of any guitar playing competition. It’s still a valid personal goal, but you are wasting everybody else’s time. Just how submitting toys, experiments or unfinished games shouldn’t be part of this competition.

              Once again, I have nothing against people submitting those but just not to a competition. So yes, the scope and me being deceived by the word “compo” has a lot to do with my rant. So this isn’t a compo then? it’s more like a festival of some sort? is that so? I would look at it with different eyes if that’s the case, but I doubt that’s how everybody is seeing it.

              I agree there shouldn’t be any fear of shame, no one can tap his potential in 48 hours, but there’s a fine line between something crappy (to your own standards) and something acceptable considering the limitations. In my opinion, if you just made a moving block in a level and nothing else, you shouldn’t submit that. That’s not a game and this is a game creation competition.

              • sfernald says:

                Yeah, if I were you, I’d think of it of a festival, or a concert where you go to see a ton of different bands. Yeah, sure some of them suck, but it is all good.

    • Bleck says:

      Nine of those ten hearts are from people who clicked the number thinking it would tell them who hearted it…!

      At least one of them is. I didn’t mean to heart it, and now I want to know what nuria thinks of my game. Should I not have bothered because it only has four short levels?

      • nuria says:

        Jesus, when did I complain about games being short? That’s expected, I complain about heavily unfinished games that show little effort and are not even playable. How is acceptable to submit a heavily unfinished game to a game competition? It’s just like if I submitted a raw ball of dough to a cake contest.

  4. jovoc says:

    I think it’s actually more important to give feedback to the incomplete games, those entrants are the people that get the most value out of your feedback. Letting someone know that their core mechanic works great even though the game is half-done can be a huge help and encouragement.

    • nuria says:

      Yes! I’m actually giving good constructive advice to all entries, I’m just being harsh here on purpose, just for the sake of it, to stir some controversy :) but deep inside, there’s some truth in what I say…

  5. Shigor says:

    I wouldn’t say it as harsh as you, but in a way I agree.

  6. Andrew says:

    I see ludum dare more like an exercise in creativity than a game making contest. A hard but achievable deadline of 48 hours is there to get the creative juices going, to get you to realize your own limitations(not to bite off more than you can chew) and how you can overcome them (much like nanowrimo if anyone is familiar with it).

    For many people who may be coding their first game getting good feedback is vital. And who better to give them feedback than people who’ve been there and done that? Sure it can be repetitive to see hoards of sameish games with no win/lose conditions nor any kind of score or difficulty curve, but it helps their devs if you pick out a good thing and a bad thing from them and give some guidance. For all you know they could have worked 48 hours straight and ended up with those results.

  7. pdyxs says:

    First, I’m pretty surprised that this has 8 hearts, and I really hope it’s from people who like the comments rather than the post.

    The point about first-time people and giving them feedback on whatever work they’ve done has been treaded here, and so I’m not going to talk about it more. Suffice it to say, if someone’s put a full weekend’s work into this thing, whether they’ve come out with something or nothing, they should be allowed to put it up and get some constructive feedback.

    The other reason I think this is a load of bullcrap is that Ludum Dare is not just a time when first-timers try and make games, but a time when others will challenge themselves to try new technologies, languages and game types. For instance: last time, I tried to make an art game which had two completely different gameplay modes (which was a big mistake). This time I tried out the facebook API and tried (but failed) to learn ruby (I did PHP instead). A friend of mine does their entire coding in CSS3, and another friend made a working tension graph for a spiderweb with the limited and odd version of javascript that can be embedded into an svg image file (yes, his game is an image).

    My point is that I want to see the random crazy stuff people try in this contest, and the only way I get to see it is if they submit it. Because people challenge themselves, sometimes they don’t quite finish. It happens. Do I want to see what people have tried? Absolutely.

    • Winterblood says:

      Don’t forget the game-in-a-URL for the last mini! (I think it was by SoS)
      And the Kinect + HTML5 entry in this one – not much of a game, but an impressive technical achievement.

      My own entry is barely a tutorial level, because I chose to model, rig and animate a 3D character for it. There’s only about 15 seconds of gameplay in it, and it will be rated accordingly. I don’t expect to win many votes, but I did win a shiny nugget of confidence in my own ability to make 3D characters, which is much more useful.

  8. ExciteMike says:

    Aw, man. I was just thinking how great it was that somehow this LD didn’t get any of this elitist bullshit. To adapt line from Vonnegut: getting upset over someone submitting a game is preposterous. It’s like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.

    Why NOT submit unplayable, bad, or unfinished games? This site ain’t pretending to be the Louvre. It IS trying to be a very inclusive event encouraging people to work on, finish, and share their games! If you have trouble dealing with unfinished, unplayable or bad games, then maybe a 48-hour game development website is not where you want to spend your time.
    TL;DR: You are welcome to make games and share them with us! So are the people you rant against!

    • nuria says:

      I’m not upset, mister. I’m a bit annoyed. I know there are some good games in there, I have played some, but others are not even trying that hard. And yes, submit them, but to the jam! There’s a jam category that allows teamwork and has more “relaxed” rules. Why not submit unfinished stuff there?

      If I knew beforehand I was about to check a bunch of unfinished games, I would do so in the right frame of mind, but when I go to check out the entries for a game competition I assume we are talking about finished games, and when I see otherwise I get a bit frustrated.

  9. thristhart says:

    I’m going to be honest, this was written in an utterly unnecessarily insulting manner – your basic point was “You shouldn’t submit an unfinished game” but you said it in such a derogatory way that it’s shocking that 12 people (at the time of this writing) have hearted this post.

  10. AClockWorkLemon says:

    Man, people, stop taking the shit out of this guy. He is voicing his opinion. That’s all. And i gotta say, i kind of agree with him.

    Ludum Dare is an amazing competition, inspiring many new, all the way through to professional, programmers to get in there and spend 48 hours working on a game. It’s the perfect chance to test out your skills, and come up with some new ideas for future games.

    Submissions are a great way to get opinions on your game/idea. It’s great that so many people wanted to participate. That said, some (not all, not even 50%. I’d say about 10-15%) seem to have had no effort put into them at all. Note: SEEM. These are the ones that irritate me. some of them have interesting concepts, but have had very little development, so they are little more than a framework.

    It’s these games that should not be submitted for the official marking system. I personally find them very hard to mark, as i’m not sure what i should be marking them on. should i be marking them on what is there, what could be there, or the idea behind it? If i were to take the obvious option, i’d be scoring them all 1-2s, which i dislike doing, as i feel it’s detrimental to the developer who made it.

    Now, none of this is to say that these games don’t deserve to be in Ludum Dare, sor an i saying the developer’s didn’t put hours of work into it, even if it may seem they didn’t. I’m just saying that the submissions system s the best place for them. I think for these, the best solution place for them is a link in a blog post, where other devs can still see and comment on them, without cluttering up the submissions system.

    If you read this, then thank you. Please keep in mind that this is a personal opinon, so let’s not start a flame war.

    TL;DR: Stop being lazy and read the post :3

    • shockedfrog says:

      Thank you for writing this, saves me some effort. :)

    • Milo says:

      But then again, if a developer does that rather than submitting it, they’re basically saying to the world, “This game is terrible,” which doesn’t exactly encourage people to try it and give you feedback (and certainly, no one will find it if all you do is put it in a blog; there’d have to be a system for it). Really, I think we, as a community, just have to play through games that aren’t so good, and to, when we inevitably give a game 1 & 2 stars, remember to give positive feedback, tips and encouragement to participate in the next LD.

      • nuria says:

        I don’t see anything wrong with being honest with yourself and not submit anything if it’s terrible. In fact, it makes sense.

        I didn’t submit my game to the main event because it wasn’t finished, I held it for the 72 hour jam deadline. In the past event I didn’t submit anything because I thought it was gonna be bad and unfinished. Sometimes you gotta admit you didn’t finish, swallow it, learn, and try again on the next compo.

        I agree about the feedback part!

      • AClockWorkLemon says:

        I don’t see it as saying “this is terrible” (because it may well be the best basic concept i’ve ever played), but rather saying “I didn’t finish this, but i’d appreciate it if you could tell me what you thought”

        And i realize about the scoring, and that’s what i strive to do, but it makes me feel bad xD. Maybe i’m just too much of a nice guy :)

  11. Sos says:

    Ludum Dare has a long tradition of shitgames, and I would not imagine not having these.

    Simple story: I’m making an LD game and BAH! I need to go somewhere or do something or my concept fell down or I was bugfighting too long or something. I realise I have just few hours to make this crap into a game so…… If it’s bad, why bother, make it SERIOUSLY BAD, it’s one way or another.

    Everyone, please submit all kind of crap, thank you.

    PS I love you all :*

  12. Milo says:

    I haven’t really noticed too many games that aren’t fun to play (maybe the games that are on the Web or OS X are better than Windows/Linux games ;P), at least, for a little while. What I like to see in a game is that it has an original concept and that it has at least 1 level (or game mode or whatever unit works) that utilizes it, and I think that most games meet that standard. I do have to admit that a *few* too many people put the word “Escape” in their title…

    Certainly, the games have entertained me enough so that I keep rating games instead of doing work on my *real* projects.

  13. Codexus says:

    Nobody expects you to rate 599 games or even half of that. If you have the time to give feedback to games that aren’t so great that’s awesome but you don’t have to. If you only play the 10 most popular ones or if you are busy and don’t have the time to play any game at all, so be it. There should be enough participants that everyone gets some feedback anyway.

    The point is making a game in 48 (or 72) hours and it doesn’t matter if it’s crappy or not. Anybody who manages to get something done at all should be proud of having done that and have the right to submit the result. Those people are all awesome and don’t deserve to be insulted like this.

  14. LegacyCrono says:

    I’ll add fuel to the fire and say I agree in parts. If your game is “unfinished” – that is, it doesn’t work, can’t be played to the end and/or has no functional gameplay – I don’t see why you’re submitting to the compo. It would be better placed on the Jam (and you’ll have more 24 hours to work on it!)

    I like to rate games. I WANT to rate games. But then I’ll usually run into entries that simply makes no sense to be on the competition. I do understand the desire of being on the compo, but come on – if your game is a static image (and yes, we had some like this – specially on LD20), why are you submitting there?

    People’s excuse on LD20 was that they wanted to rate games. Jam participants can rate as well, and their entries can also be rated now. There’s so many hidden gems on the competition that I couldn’t find because those were obfuscated by the overwhelming volume of entries. =/

    • Surrealix says:

      I think you may have hit one of the reasons for the rushed games, and I’ve not seen come up earlier in this thread. People want to rate games. And with such an amazing deluge of public interest this time, I’m sure there must have been a few people who pushed out a picture/flash/java game in half an hour just so they could be in the rating system.

      One point I think has been overlooked from the original post is the comment that “people gave up mid-way but submitted it anyway”. I really agree with this. I’m more than happy to rate the crappiest, most pointless game – if the author put a lot of effort into it. Maybe they’re not very good at programming, maybe it’s their first time, maybe their new engine didn’t work. But if the put the time in, I can offer feedback.

      If someone spent a few hours and didn’t put any effort into the game, why should I put effort into downloading it (and some obscure dlls, and some propriety engine, etc), playing it, rating it, and writing a comment?. I could be offering advice and encouragement to authors who really need it. The message I took away from the original post isn’t “don’t submit crappy games” but “don’t submit if you put no effort into it”.

  15. dogbomb says:

    Q. Who’s Ludum Dare for?

    A. “Ultimately, our goal with Ludum Dare is to encourage people to sit down and make something.”

    And that’s it. Make something. Ultimately it’s for yourself, and if you want to say to the world “Hey! I tried to do this… and it failed, but have a look anyway” – that’s up to you. If people choose not to look… that’s up to them.

    Personally, I see Ludum Dare as a very upwards looking community. People are more than willing to go out of their way to be supportive to a struggling dev, offer advice, share code, give hugs… and that will only encourage someone to push themselves (or shorten their expectations) for the next time they sit down and “make something”.

  16. digital_sorceress says:

    I like dogbomb’s description of this being “An upward looking community” :)

    In response to sfernald: I’ve organised a series of game making competitions myself in the past. And we had some disagreements on whether game making tools should be permitted.

    There were two sides to the discussion:

    The people in the Red Corner believed that “It’s the end product that matters.” And compared making a game with assembler, to building a house with old fashioned tools and materials.

    The people in the Blue corner believed that “It’s developer skill that matters most”. These people argued that when a person uses game making tools, at an extreme it could amount to pressing a couple of buttons in a wizard and sitting back. And should that deserve credit, even if the game produced by the wizard is lots of fun?

    The languages and tools available to us fit along a spectrum between these two extremes, Some help you more than others, so there can’t be a black & white answer.

    How we resolved this disagreement was like this :- “You only get credit for the things you make yourself.”

    So if you have designed some cool algorithms in assembler, then that is what you’ll be judged upon. Likewise, if your effort amounted to pressing a few buttons in a wizard, then that is what you’ll be judged upon.

    To make it easier to judge each entry, contestants were required to submit a readme briefly listing the work they did, so that their work could be recognised.

    • Winterblood says:

      I like that idea. We kind of have an informal version; the postmortem posts…but I guess it’s still a bit subjective. There are devs on here who think nothing of knocking up a simple 3D engine in a day, but spend hours labouring over a couple of crude sprites. And there are dev who can create jaw-dropping art but struggle to script a transition from one still to another.

      To use myself as an example – I spent most of my weekend on a 3D character, because I’ve never done it. Another entrant built and animated two 3D characters with more anims AND a couple of levels in the same time, because they are already skilled at that task. Most voters will not know our relative skill levels, so the games will inevitably be judged on the end product.

      TBH, since there are no prizes, I don’t see it as a big deal who wins. It’s the experience of taking part that everyone likes.

      • digital_sorceress says:

        Yes, so under my system if a person is a good artist, but a poor programmer, they could help themselves by using a ready made game engine. But then they should only be judged on the things they made themselves, which predominantly will be their art. They can’t take credit for the engine.

        I can’t see how anyone could argue against that.

  17. ointment says:

    Yeah, I also consider Ludum Dare to have a lot to do with personal milestones. It was ignorant for the OP to say that Assembly coders are wasting time when they could be using Game Maker instead. If someone wants to test their skills under pressure, Ludum Dare is a good time to prove what you can do.

    Meanwhile the community is important as well, and I like to play others’ games. I do agree there were some entries that felt like the author didn’t try hard enough, as well as some obvious “joke” games. I’m a bit on the fence about this.

  18. SLiV says:

    Although I like the fact that LD has such an optimistic community, I’m agreeing with the core parts of nuria’s argument.

    Of course we should help out struggling devs and of course people should be encouraged to participate.

    But this is not about the struggling devs. This is about the devs that did *not* put their hart into their games, but still submitted it to the Compo. Why are we supposed to make an effort into rating these games, if the developpers didn’t even put effort into making them?

    So I agree with LegacyCrono. If you haven’t put as much effort in the game as some others, then take an extra 24 hours and submit it to the Jam.

  19. digital_sorceress says:

    One option is to have tags for each entry. There could be tick boxes like “faulty”, “game maker”, “assembler”, “joke game”. etc.

    Any community member can edit the tags for any game at any time. So people who are fussy about games being finished or who hate game maker, could do a tag search to help them avoid those games they have personal grievances with.

  20. ointment says:

    To word it better: I respect it when someone has put 2 days’ worth of effort into their game, even if they end up failing. That’s okay, that’s what Ludum Dare is about.

    But it’s disappointing to see several entries with authors who don’t give a damn. “Hey guys, I did this in 4 hours and I don’t even like it myself”. And I believe this blog post is about those entries.

    • SusanTheCat says:

      I agree with ointment and that is how I read the original post.

      Consider the following two descriptions of the same game:

      “I made this game and it is really buggy and there are only 2 levels and there is no ending.”

      “I was learning to make 3d models and ended up only having time for 2 levels. I think the game play is good and would like to extend it.”

      The second description lets me know that they would like feedback about the 3d model and the game play. The first really doesn’t make me want to play it at all.

      I am getting tired of reading entry after entry that sound like the first description.


      • Codexus says:

        The first description is honest. The second one just adds some excuses and the claim that the gameplay is good sounds like boasting.

        Well that’s how I see it anyway. I think this is an area where I have seen lots of cultural differences. Some cultures value humility, others value self-confidence more.

        • sfernald says:

          I don’t have a problem with either entry. When people write these things, they are usually exhausted. I know I am. They honestly probably can’t even judge their game properly because they are too close to it that moment.

          Let me give an example. Hempuli who I believe has won this contest before and often makes fantastic games, wrote in his entry that his game was terrible and that this was his worst game and it was unfinished. Yet the reality is it is probably better than most games on here. I would have hate for him to have pulled it because he felt pressure not to submit an unfinished game. Many are perfectionists on here and sometimes one guys failure is still pretty amazing. Let’s just get them all up there so at least they have a chance of being seen by someone who might appreciate them.

    • digital_sorceress says:

      If you’ll allow me to dissect your critique…

      (1) “Hey guys, I did this in 4 hours”

      The competition doesn’t demand that a person does 48 hours of work on their entry; 48h is only the deadline. There is no time threshold below which a project is unworthy for entry.

      A contestant can’t be expected to neglect other commitments, or cut into their sleeping time. 4 hours may be all they are able to fit in amongst their other commitments.

      Time spent on a project is really a private issue, and the competition shouldn’t be interested in that — only in what is submitted.

      (2) “I don’t even like it myself”

      It’s quite possible that a person doesn’t like the game they’ve made. This is the nature of art.

      In the words of Ira Glass:
      “all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. […] And your taste is why your work disappoints you.”

      I think what’s important (perhaps all that’s important) is that a person is both enthusiastic about the competition, and cares about what they’re entering.

      • sfernald says:

        Yeah, i agree. I’m glad this topic came up in the end. It’s really provoked a great discussion. This will be the thread people will point to whenever this comes up again.

  21. If you want a more intimate game jam, there are lots of smaller alternatives where there are only ten or twenty games made that weekend. For example, the “Game Prototype Challenge”. Even medium sized game jams like the “Experimental Gameplay Project” with perhaps 25 games per month is a better choice if 600 games is too much. Then there’s 7drl and omg and pygame etc. Ludum Dare is only one game jam of MANY that exist.

    • KevinWorkman says:

      I googled these and they seem really interesting, do you have any others I could check out? I know I could google “game programming competition” or something to that effect, but I’d love to learn more about these kinds of things from a fellow LD-er, as this is my first Ludum Dare and I loved it.

      • jonbro says:

        there is also the glorious trainwrecks, which is a two hour game jam… that one I am amazed if I finish anything at all for it… I have only done it twice, and both times with tools that I have never used before. I find it incredibly fun to do, and the community is a bucket of fun. So keep out if you are a jerk 😛

        There is also the newer superfriendshipclub, which is running a jam every other month. They don’t give a dang how long you take on it… I have yet to enter though, maybe next time around.

  22. Jedi says:

    I basically agree with all points defending the failures.

    I’m really surprised that what I consider to be the best reason to post your failures hasn’t been commented on more: I can learn from them. If you are just focusing on the playability of the end product and not trying to learn from mistakes as well as successes, you’re doing it wrong (and that’s the polite wording).

    I can certainly understand the argument where an unfinished game should be put into the jam, that’s what I did but if the developer is too busy Monday or is just plain burnt-out from a 48-hour event, I can understand why they wouldn’t wait.

    Besides, If you don’t think it means at least a little something to say, “I PARTICIPATED in LD48,” you’re kidding yourself. The work is public for all to see and it takes a lot more bravery to post something awful than something great.

    I think the idea that people are submitting total crap for the sole purpose of rating games is probably true to some degree but I think the OP overestimates how often this is happening. I suspect the OP hasn’t had much experience making games and underestimates how hard even the basics are outside the cushy environment of a proprietary game maker. I’ve rated ~60 games so far and only with one did I suspect that it was a “bogus” entry.

    Yeah, I guess that’s 10% but here’s the thing: why get your panties all in a twist over it? If you’re thinking hard about rating an entry where the entrant didn’t think at all, you’re dumb. 1star1star1star1star1star1star Save. Next.

    In the time that it took any of us to read and post to this thread, we could have rated all the super-shit entries and be done with it.

    For that matter, why are you so concerned with the rating aspect anyway? You do know it’s not LITERALLY “coolness,” right? More of it probably WON’T get you laid…

  23. jonbro says:

    I probably shouldn’t be contributing to an already overlong thread where all the points have already been made, but I would like to point out that this compo is probably starting to reach its breaking limit. I don’t enter even expecting to have my project rated, I do it for my own personal development. I have bashed out games for this compo in 13 hours that I thought were great, and I have pushed against the limit of the 48 (5 hours of sleep, etc) to make things that were fundamentally broken and not at all fun to play. This is a learning experience man, not about the points that you get.

    I have also played a great many broken games that are f-ing amazing in there own special way. There are some things that I have played that don’t even have the full game loop that are great, and should be here. Some of my favs from the past have been totally unwinnable, and had features that were partially implemented and didn’t work. Just because a game doesn’t conform doesn’t mean it should be out. Shitting on non conformist art is no fun man. As soon as we start putting parameters around what can be entered, we start heading towards a place where there is a jury to get in. That is not the kind of compo that gets 599 entries though.

    The more the merrier, I say. Broken games, images, etc, etc!!!

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