Announcing October Challenge 2011

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
September 28th, 2011 9:01 pm

October is upon us, and it’s time to kick off the October Challenge 2011!

The October Challenge is a special Ludum Dare event I started last year. More and more people are making games today thanks to Game Jams and events like Ludum Dare. As a result, more and more people have declared “I want to start selling games too”. Well, it’s time to stop talking and start doing. Put simply:

Finish a game β€” Take it to market β€” Earn $1

That is your goal. That is the October Challenge.

Disregard all the usual Ludum Dare rules (no restrictions). Finish any game you previously made during a game jam, something else you’ve been working on, or heck, something entirely new. But we know you can make a game. Your goal, if you choose to accept it, is to not only make something, but to finish it and earn money from it. That’s all. No specific rules or platforms. Make good on that goal or promise to start selling games.

Finish your game before November 1st, and submit it to your respected market. That is the challenge. And once you earn your $1, you’ve done it! Easy as that. You’re now a pro.

I’d like to invite everyone to share resources and discuss markets and business models. I’ll help collect your links over the next couple days for others to find. If you need a place to start, you can check out this guide I wrote for last years event.

Also, do share your progress on your upcoming game with us here on the site. I’ll be opening a submission form soon to collect a list of completed games as they happen.

Keynote Invitation

What’s a Ludum Dare event these days without a keynote? Here’s me saying the same thing, in video, with strange editing and ambiance! Give it to your friends who HATE to read.

That’s all from me. No more waiting. Time to get started. Go go go!


96 Responses to “Announcing October Challenge 2011”

  1. LoneStranger says:

    I’m in. Post with my details to follow within a few days.

  2. Shelby says:

    Neat challenge, I’m in.

  3. beastlyCo says:

    I love it! This is the kick in the butt I’ve been needing. I’ll definitely be entering.

  4. laremere says:

    I’m highly interested. My number 1 request for resource: Either pointing to or giving a guide to how to make a LLC and not get your ass sued. I’ve been interested in making a game for awhile, but I’ve always been weary of the actual business side of things as there are plenty of tutorials on how to make a game, but barely anything on the steps you take to properly do the finance part of it.

    • jonbro says:

      I think that the LLC thing is probably not too much of a worry, unless you think you might get sued for your game. Reporting your income to the IRS is not that hard either. At least with iOS, apple provides you with earning statements that you can use for reporting income. I bet that kongregate does this as well.

      If you do want to set up an LLC, talk to an accountant and a business lawyer, it is really helpful.

      • laremere says:

        Well, in that case, a general guide to handling the finance side of things.

        • drakfyre says:

          First off, I am not a lawyer. But this is from my experience as a dev.

          If you are in America, the finance thing is pretty simple. If you don’t have a company, you will be going into business as yourself. Most states do not have any requirements to have a business license so long as your business name is your own name, at least legally (Otherwise you MAY need a DBA (Doing Business As) but I’ve never personally known anyone who was busted for not having one, it’s pretty lax.)

          The only thing you have to worry about are taxes. As you will be a sole proprietor (Going into business as yourself) this is handled on your personal return. Just add up all the money you make on your project, add it to whatever W2’s and other employee/contract money you made, and subtract out any expenses. Be sure to expense any advertising, and the cost of the platform membership (IE, 100 bucks a year for Apple, 25 dollar one time for Android, etc).

          If you are in a situation where you get a legal letter for some reason or another, and you can’t afford a lawyer (If you can, always get one, even just for advice), bend to the will of the letter, even if it’s really dumb. I used to be a lot more… idealistic about the legal systems but I now know well that you WILL be at a disadvantage if you have less money than the person(s) coming after you, even if you are well within your rights.

          One final note: as long as you make your own game and don’t steal assets or names you probably won’t get any letters anyway. Just thought I’d put the information here for your convenience.

          • drakfyre says:

            Gah, I did it again. I should have said United States. Trying to get out of the habit of being a dirty yank who thinks that the US counts as ALL of AMERICA. My apologies for my egocentric nationalism.

    • Incorporating a company will not stop you from getting sued. I’d wager to say that it increases your chances since you look like a bigger target. That said, once you start making good money it is a good idea, and protects your personal assets but there is no such thing as patent troll repellent. =)

  5. danlthemanl says:

    I’m in! I need to finish a game :O

  6. Well, Kongregate-revenue is relatively easy to come by. Does that count?

  7. cornedor says:

    Nice :) i’m in. Will create a total new game. need to hurry then…

  8. jonbro says:

    I think I can do one. Don’t know if I am going to work on one of my existing LD games, or something fully new though. Also, I have already taken games to market during the duration of the LD, and made money off of them, so I may just add some subgames in them, with a little tweaking.

  9. spliter says:

    I’m REALLY tempted to do this even though I know for I will fail for sure (fail both in making a game and making money from it if I do finish one). The temptation is strong….
    Ah screw this.

    I’M IN!

  10. wbobeirne says:

    Well, I’ve been looking for an excuse to take my XNA knowledge and make a WP7 game, does anyone know how complex that transition is? Are there any special WP7 specific things I need to implement aside from touch controls?

    • PoV says:

      I’m not an expert here, but I hired someone with regular XNA experience to help port my game to WP7 last year. The only differences that jump out were the touch, and that the WP7 devices don’t support shaders. There’s some pre-made rendering/shading types included in XNA, the names escape me right now, but those work fine. You just can’t customize. Also, WP7 devices are dramatically slower than XNA XBLIG. You may have some optimizations ahead of you to get a decent framerate.

  11. Gameolith says:

    If you make a Linux version of your game and distribute it with us, we’ll give you 90% of each sale until December 2011. We’re looking to donate around 3% from each sale to Ludum Dare too, so all that’s left are payment processor fees. Drop us an e-mail at and be sure to mention the October Challenge!

  12. ZenithSal says:

    I’m so in
    Challenge accepted

  13. Patacorow says:


  14. IDEA: we set up a “buy my game” collective where we each agree to buy each other’s games for $1 so everyone can earn at least a few bucks!

  15. Folis says:

    Well, I can always try, right? So let’s see.. tomorrow. planning stuff. Too tired. Off to bed.

  16. Felipe Budinich says:

    I’m in! ( In fact I quited my job a few hours earlier X-D so this is going to be a real challenge for me)

  17. cornedor says:

    Do you need to earn 1$ before or after 1 october?

  18. poe says:

    Does this contest still have the rule of working solo?

  19. I’ll be putting a new canvas game up on the chrome web store. I haven’t seen any games where you have to travel across earth taking over cities and stuff like that in different ways.

  20. constantsun says:

    I’m in! I have had a game sitting on the self for several years that could be finished in a month. Let’s do this.

  21. Olofson says:

    I’m totally in! Perfect timing.

    Kobo II started out in last year’s October Challenge, as the first thing that crossed my mind, sort of – then I had to deal with some other stuff, dropped out, decided to go for Kobo II as my first commercial release, and then I’veΒ been… fixing cars, doing contracts and all sorts of irrelevant nonsense like that…! >:-/

    But even so, now I have a proper framework with OpenGL, physics, AI, GUI toolkit, a new sound engine and whatnot, made some fixes and improvement to my scripting engine etc – so if I can’t even wrap up a playable alpha that will land a few pre-purchases, I’m probably in the wrong business altogether. πŸ˜€

  22. Shackelford says:

    I’m in as well! This may be the motivation to actually finish a game for once.

  23. 7heSama says:


  24. jed.tiotuico says:

    I’m a php developer and I am always curious how it was like to write a game and make money out of it. This is a perfect excuse for me to finally do it. So, I’m in :)

  25. Jarin Udom says:

    I am so in on this. Just need to renew my iOS developer license :)

  26. refreshcreations says:

    Gives me damn good reason to get my butt in gear with unity further. well, that and android development. I’m in with this!

  27. WilliamSSS says:

    What happens if we make more than 1$?

  28. Fenyx says:

    Let’s DOOOO THIS!!!

    I will have to ask someone else to compile the game, though, unless someone’s willing to give me a GM8.1 Pro… Ah, well…

    I should be able to finish the game in a month, though…

  29. KodeSource says:

    I’m sooo in!
    I started my game last year and considered entering the last October challenge.
    I’ve procrastinated too much and now it’s a year later!
    I’ve been tweaking it here and there and adding small features, but now it’s time to finish this game!

    Is there an area I can post my progress to?
    Like a separate blog page for my game? Or just use these comments?
    Can I add screen shots?

    I’d just like to write blog updates mainly to keep me on target, and feel more committed.

    • PoV says:

      The Ludum Dare website is a shared blog. Feel free to make posts here whenever you have something to share. Part of the entertainment of Ludum Dare events is watching the feed of progress as it happens.

  30. Blodyavenger says:

    Hell yeah I’m in! πŸ˜€

  31. SeanAtr0n says:

    I’m in! (also, first post!)

    I’ve been developing for iOS for a few months but have yet to publish anything. Think I’ll try using iAd and/or in-app purchases.

  32. Tulrath says:

    BRAINS! [I’m in, this is going to be awesome!]

    BRAINS! [Haven’t decided yet whether I’ll try to sell a beta for Zombie City Planner or Stranded Again…]

  33. JoeManaco says:

    Do we need to create the game in 48 hours, or can we spend as much time as we want on it (as long as we earned the dollar within octobre)?

    • Fenyx says:

      spend as much as you want, as long as you earn a dollar before november begins

      • PoV says:

        Technically you don’t even have to earn that $1 by November 1st. You just need to be in a position to do so (i.e. submitted to your respected market, put it up for action on FGL, etc). The challenge is about (finally) overcoming those hurdles between you and making money.

  34. miha says:

    Currently it’s 739 hours left, there is a counter on the top of page.

  35. Sayajin says:

    There’s one year ago I was very impressed by the challenge in 2010, I said I was in. But it’s seems to be that in my head it was the procrastination challenge . . . So that’s time no pain, no gain, let’s just do it. I’ll finished my shoot’em up on iOS.

    Thank’s for getting our butt out πŸ˜‰

  36. ThatSnail says:

    Ahahah I love it. I’m in for sure.

  37. QuantumMonkey says:

    No restrictions – We can work in a team?
    And can we just put our game on a site with a PayPal buy button and spam the link everywhere, hoping for a buy? πŸ˜›

  38. Nemo says:

    Very nice idea! I’m in!

    However I would like to have some more info on what paper work needs to be done concerning revenues. Does anyone have some guide and/or site explaining the essential points ? Like what papers to fill for what country, and for what platform (if any, but I haven’t decided yet), etc.


    • PoV says:

      Depends on your market. Getting paid via Paypal or Google Checkout are some of the easiest. You simply have to enter your banking information on the site and you’re ready to go. Otherwise, you’re sending bank information to whomever pays you, and possibly some tax forms. Apple for example will require that you get a tax number from the IRS. Fortunately, that’s quick phone call (took me no more than 15 minutes). After that, it’s just shipping some tax exemption paperwork to Cupertino. A W-8BEN or W-9BEN (?), and perhaps a Japan one. Most of this stuff is just 1 page, and is certainly daunting at first, but everyone asks for the same thing. Just print up some extras, and sign+date ’em when you need another.

  39. AstralCalculus says:

    I’m in. I’ll be working on a turn-based strategy game with Akolad.

  40. gamaral says:

    Mmm I’ve been working on a game for Linux, would setting up a donate and/or buy button once it’s published count?

  41. _Dark says:

    Hmm so you make money off a game you make, then upload it here for free? Don’t you think if someone bought the game then saw it here would be pissed? Or maybe you just upload the link for October challenges, I don’t really know. Just a thought~

  42. Kevin Wells says:

    I’ve got a game that is nearing completion (finally), and I’ve been thinking about this. I am hereby officially in! Today I finally filed articles of organization for an LLC, I’m getting an EIN tomorrow, and of course I’m working hard on finishing the game!

  43. Sayajin says:

    Does the game need to be available on the market (ex : App Store) by the 1st november or the game is finished and submitted (ex : to Apple) for validation ?

  44. constantsun says:

    Done! (Well except that dollar thing)

    Currently accepting bitcoins or paypal for payment for upgraded accounts. Lets see if one rolls in today!

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