Ludum Dare 22 Theme Voting Begins!

Posted by (twitter: @ludumdare)
December 11th, 2011 12:07 pm

Theme voting begins! Tune in every day this week for a new round of themes.

[ ROUND 1 | ROUND 2 | ROUND 3 ]

Special thanks to Sos for setting up the community “hot or not” style theme pruner, and everyone that helped us get our final list.

Upcoming Game Jams and Meetups during Ludum Dare weekend

Here’s a list of real world game jams and meetups taking place over Ludum Dare weekend:

If you’re hosting a Ludum Dare related gathering, let us know! Make a post here on the site with details, and we’ll add you to the list!

Other News

54 Responses to “Ludum Dare 22 Theme Voting Begins!”

  1. Ria says:

    Might want to correct that to “Upcoming”.

    Anyway, now for the rollercoaster ride of voting!

  2. pythong says:

    uaaaaaahhh awesome awesome the time for battle is near
    the warmup was a good idea, but unfortunately i don’t have the time. had enough time though to create a mini-project and noticing that the newest flash player update for 11 screwed my debugger

    have fun everyone!

  3. I demand Fork!

    Seriously. Imagine the variety of games this would spring.

  4. Pitchfork would be awesome.

    I myself was thinking of “fork in a storyline” or “fork in a street”. <- potential

    • Mikhail Rudoy says:

      My first thought was the command fork() in c. Imagine a game in which dying results in a fork bomb 0_0

      NOTES: For those who don’t know, fork() splits a process (program) into two processes and has a different return value in each, allowing for the rest of the code to make the two resulting processes do different things. And a fork bomb is a program which forks recursively in a loop (each process forks into two and repeats) resulting in epic lag/computer crashing.

  5. harusame says:

    Dinosaurs <3

    A game with a fork ? Never :)

  6. Phen says:

    Please, vote for idea-based themes! I started doing Ludum Dare all because of the themes that inspire and challenge you to design interesting and unusual gameplay.

    Something superficial like “kittens” or “dinosaurs” really only ends up describing the art.

    • 7Soul says:

      After LD20, where the theme was basically “make a zelda clone”, i dont get my expectations too high. Schizophrenia would be a great theme though

      • Osgeld says:

        same here, I saw that and left … though I didnt think about “make a zelda clone” I thought “make anything you want and as long as it has this (dumb) phrase”

        @ Phen eh maybe not really, you could have sexy girls described as kittens or old anything as dinosaurs … just be creative

        • Phen says:

          The thing is, you could add cats or sexy girls or dinosaurs or old things in anything from a generic shmup, a generic platformer, a generic dual-stick-shooter, a generic match-3 game or a generic sokoban-like, just by changing the sprite sheet. Those themes don’t challenge you to be creative with your gameplay, at all.

          If you tried to make a match-3 or a generic shmup with “dinosaurs”, you could meet the theme simply by making each Bejeweled block look like a dinosaur, or each ship look like a dinosaur. If you tried to make a match-3 or shmup with “schizophrenia” or “ambiguity” or “shape-shifting”, to meet the theme you’d have to do something a little unusual.

          I mean, yes, I can challenge myself to be creative no matter WHAT the theme is. But for me, the point of having a theme at all is to inspire gameplay.

          • digital_sorceress says:

            “dinosaur” doesn’t stop people from being being creative with their gameplay should they want to be. The option to have or not have innovative gameplay makes the contest more diverse because it’s inclusive of classic as well as non-classic formulae.

            Innovation isn’t everyone’s cup of tea; some people prefer games with classic formulae.

            So I feel that vague themes (like LD21’s theme of Escape) are best because almost any idea can easily be bent into shape to fit it.

            • Phen says:

              I’m just disappointed when it feels like the theme is an afterthought. Like with LD20’s theme — you could make any game you want, THEN look at what the theme is, and “apply” the theme to your game in 10 minutes by adding a line of dialogue at the beginning. If the theme were “dinosaur,” sure, I’d have the option to innovate, but my innovations wouldn’t have anything to do with the theme.

              I’m looking for a game design challenge, not just a time-management challenge. I suppose when I first heard about LD, the theme was something especially artsy, and that’s what attracted me to LD in the first place. I really wanted to be given some esoteric theme, and then have the fun problem of creating a game around that, and then compare what I came up with to other interpretations.

              I suppose that might not be what Ludum Dare is about anymore. If the trend is now towards blander themes, to make things accessible to more participation, then it’s still a great, fun event, just for different reasons. I suppose I can start to look elsewhere for a event with more of what I’m looking for, instead of fruitlessly hoping that LD stays exactly what I want it to be.

              • digital_sorceress says:

                I understand what you’re saying. :)

                One of the benefits of the voting is that the theme we end up with is one that a majority are happy with. So if a majority want vague/accessible, then that is what we’ll get. If a majority want challenging/artsy then that is what we’ll get.

                Also, the community might like to have theme variety, where contests will flip-flop between vague and challenging themes. It’s less interesting to have the same experience twice in a row, right?

                But a rapidly growing community (as LD is at present) may be less likely to flip-flop, because new contestants don’t have anything to flip against.

              • Matt Rix says:

                Hey Phen, sounds like you might be interested in the Game Prototype Challenge:

                It’s a once-per-month (ish) challenge, with two fairly abstract themes each time.

              • I’m with the artsy-fartsy-crowd. With an interesting and unique theme (say “sollipsism”) you will get a wiiiide range of games, while simple themes often produce similar results (“escape” got us dozens of “runner”-games, for example).

                But while this goal might be “favourable”, it can backfire. During one of the last mini-LDs, when the theme was “Horror”, I had to pull out because I felt I couldn’t stay true to the theme. I guess it is safe to say then, that when the theme is too brainy, many people will either ignore it or not participate at all.

                A true dilemma indeed.

  7. TheLolrus says:

    omg dinosaurs.

  8. Patacorow says:

    Vote kittens and I’ll peel your skin.

  9. Shelby Smith says:

    Kittens and Dinosaurs are dum themes, just saying.

  10. ASTERISCUS says:

    In just under the wire. I’m a rank amateur when it comes to programming and I’ve never released a game (or anything else, actually) in my mere months of wrestling with Python, but I have concepts for video games I’m dying to play practically spilling out of my ears, and I’ve resolved to turn myself into a Real Programmerβ„’ to get some of them out. Ludum Dare’s pressure cooker sounds like a great way to force myself into learning a bunch of the 2D development groundwork I’ve been dawdling over (assuming it doesn’t give me a heart attack); it’s not realistic to assume I’ll have anything playable to show you guys at the end of the competition, but without aspiration there can be no achievement.

    I know Flash is the preferred platform around here, but as much as I’m an Anything Guy I’m a Python Guy, and I have high hopes for the various game frameworks I’ve been experimenting with. Here’s a rundown of what I expect to be working in:

    Language: Python
    Game Framework: Pyglet/Cocos2D/Pygame?
    Fast Sprites: Rabbyt
    2D Physics: Pymunk
    Raster Art: GIMP
    Vector Art: Inkscape
    Sound FX: Audacity/SFXR
    Music: LMMS/???

    Who knows what will actually happen – no plan survives contact with the enemy even when you know what you’re doing, and I absolutely do not. You all seem cheerful and full of encouragement, though, so I’ll do my best to make my first ever video game for you. Best of luck to everyone participating – show my why the indie game development scene is the most exciting artistic frontier going!

    • ASTERISCUS says:

      Wait, this is the theme chatter thread? Where’s the “I’m in and I already posted to the I’m in video thread” thread? I’m new to this whole WordPress thing, too. :\

      Actually on topic: Fork is the only theme I’m seen that instantly made me think of a dozen cool concepts. I should probably think entirely inside the box considering my skill level, though.

  11. TehWut says:

    Let’s all be reasonable here. No zombies or kittens….
    there are some good choices which would tit well together. Alone, claustrophobia, and tunnels!! also a schizophrenic or insanity game would be interesting as well. The battle is nigh! we ride at dawn brotheren!

  12. tnelsond says:

    Just as long it’s not Evolution, I already made one of those for pyweek.

  13. DragonSix says:

    I would really love to see a theme like Schizophrenia come up.

  14. gebirgsbaerbel says:

    I have a problem accessing the second voting round. It keeps telling me that I need to log in. However I am logged in and I can access my votes for round1. Anyone experiencing the same problem?

  15. 7Soul says:

    Round 3 had some pretty good themes, only voted 2 down

  16. ericdpitts says:

    lol zombie santa picture πŸ˜›

    Agreed though, +1 to a lot more themes this round.

  17. ASTERISCUS says:

    Well done, people! I’m a little sad “fork” and “schizophrenia” got downvoted, but otherwise that’s a fine looking ranking. I’m a huge procedural generation fan, so despite not having a clue where to start coding such things I’d still be stoked if “randomly generated” won out overall. Keep the interesting and rational votes coming!

    • 7Soul says:

      I am pretty happy about the results so far
      inb4theme is stupid in the end

    • gakon says:

      I would also be stoked if Randomly-generated won, because I’m one of the two people who suggested it πŸ˜€

    • ASTERISCUS says:

      Being part of what would surely be the first 1000+ game LD would be fantastic, but I think the massive jump in entrants this year will work against the overall completion rate. I can’t be the only out-of-my-depth game development newb in the maybe 500 or so first timers, and while I’m prepared to call myself the least likely to finish something playable I’d still be shocked to see 90% of entrants finish. Maybe round one had fewer voters with all the last minute entries and we’ll see 1300+ votes on later rounds – I don’t see anything less than that cracking 1000 by the deadline.

      Even so, 800+ games in a weekend will be a little staggering. Is there some kind of Iron Gamer award for playing all of them? πŸ˜€

      • Randomasta says:

        I can’t see myself playing even 10% of the entries, should there really be 1000+ games. I’m afraid that there will be overlooked gems

      • ASTERISCUS says:

        I understand your argument, I just disagree with your conclusion. I would be extremely interested to see a graph of participants and/or voters from all previous years, because I strongly suspect this sudden near-doubling of participation means what once looked like a linear progression is really a logarithmic one. If all the previous LDs have seen increases of 10-20% from the preceding competition, we’re very probably at a tipping point, with the quality of individual participants falling as the overall numbers swell. Personally, I have no damned business entering a contest like this as I’ve never released any kind of software and have no direct experience with game programming, but because there’s no entry fee and the only real pressure is the weight of my own expectations I figured it was a good way to turn my lackadaisical documentation reading into a week-long cram session with a clearly defined goal. I have an infinitesimal chance of figuring all this stuff out in time to release a playable game by the deadline, and if I’m here there may well be more like me. ~90% success is the mark of a contest filled with only the most dedicated and experienced, and I think Ludum Dare is attracting more and more casual newbies; that’s actually a good thing for the contest itself and for indie game development in general, but it’s a very bad thing for expectations of 90% of entrants meeting the challenge.

        In other words, expect something like a 75% completion rate for this one. I’d be shocked by anything above 80%. I’d love to be wrong about it, but I don’t think I am.

  18. Tulrath says:

    If the theme ends up being randomly-generated, then that raises all kinds of questions. Is pseudo-random, like the “random number generators” in our von Neumann machines OK? Or would we need a Brownian Motion generator? Does procedural generation using a deterministic hashing algorithm count if the seed is unknown?

    There will be Kittens.

    • ASTERISCUS says:

      I’m certainly no expert, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that very few participants have lava lamps plugged into their computers. The impression I get from LD is that the theme is open to wide interpretation anyway, so as long as a game makes it obvious that dice are being rolled somehow it shouldn’t matter if those dice are slightly weighted due to their being digital. My guess is we’ll ultimately wind up with a Kittens-caliber theme and your concerns will be the least of our troubles. πŸ˜€

  19. finalsin says:

    Oof, ‘Forgotten Places’ is a hot one. I like that.

  20. ericdpitts says:

    Sacrifice would be a magnificent theme.

  21. ASTERISCUS says:

    A serious question: Are the possible themes in the “final round” a collection of the top-rated themes from the previous four, or is the fifth round just like the previous four and the winning theme the one that receives the most upvotes overall? People seem to think that later voting rounds involve many more votes than the earlier rounds, which seems plausible seeing as how people are still showing up with “I’m in” posts despite the first round already being closed. If there’s no final showdown vote, the winning theme is almost certain to be from a later round – how would that be fair to the excellent themes present in the early rounds?

    • ASTERISCUS says:

      Thank goodness. Nothing else would make sense.

      Second, slightly less serious question: Why are people using the #LD48 hashtag if this is Ludum Dare 22? You’d think programmers would know how to count. πŸ˜€

      • digital_sorceress says:

        LD48 is the tag for all LD contests. The 48 is the hours we have to make a game.

        • ASTERISCUS says:

          Ooo, okay. But am I the only one who thinks that’s kinda silly? #LD22 and #makeagamein48hours seem like far better options for descriptive hashtags, but then again I never did understand you Twitterers. πŸ˜€

          • digital_sorceress says:

            When I joined here, it took me a while to remember which LD we were upto. When I saw LD48 I kept thinking we were upto the 48th contest.

            I don’t use twitter either. πŸ˜›

          • Codexus says:

            It’s not a question of twitter. LD48 has been the usual abbreviation long before twitter even existed, for the “Ludum Dare 48-Hour Game Programming Competition” as it was known then. Ludum Dare was just the name of the website which was originally created more as a kind of personal/community site about gamedev.

    • PoV says:

      Top ~20 from the previous 4 rounds.

  22. Jiggawatt says:

    See, guys, you didn’t take my advice at all. Territory isn’t in the top 5 of round 1, and antihero isn’t in the top 5 of round 2.

    You will leave a written report of these anomalies on my desk tomorrow.

  23. hamster_mk_4 says:

    I really like the theme “Defeat.” So many games are about wining and dominating that defeat is almost an after taught in game design. Yet some of the most moving game experiences are about fighting a loosing battle. Missile Command, Silent Hunter, and Halo Reach are not games about winning but being defeated.

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