Ludum Dare 31
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Then vs Now

Posted by (twitter: @RecursiveFrog)
May 14th, 2012 12:04 am

–A comparison–

A few days ago, I posted the simple question : “How did you do this time?”

Feelings about what we think of our own work aside, we now have the results of the voting to show us how others received our efforts. For my own part, I think the ratings I got for both of these are pretty fair, but with a few surprises. eg: I was sure Innovation would be even higher than it already is in BP, and I felt like I was very much on theme, though not to the level of a game like Fracuum.

The first thing to remember here is that LD23’s contestant base was massive compared to LD22. The rankings don’t map exactly between the two, and when you’re this far from the top 5 (or even top 25) it’s better to consider what percentile you fall into.

The reason I didn’t answer my own question directly in that previous post is because I really don’t know the answer. I generally had more fun making HUGMONSTER and I think it shows in the high Humor and Fun ratings it received, compared to the fun rating of Burning Platform. At the same time, I feel like Burning Platform was much more of an accomplishment regardless of the relative ratings. For example, no part of the actual construction of HUGMONSTER scored higher than 3.02. By contrast, Burning Platform blows it away in Innovation (and really I don’t know how HUGMONSTER got an innovation score above 2.5 in the first place), and the strong soundtrack in Burning Platform gave it a nice boost in general.

I guess the meat of the matter really is the “Overall” rating here. In both cases, it falls onto the happier side of the top 50 percentile of entries. It would seem that the community gave a higher score to BP than to HUGMONSTER and I suppose I can understand why even in light of its gameplay flaws, which had a serious impact on the Fun score. The interesting part of this to me is that HUGMONSTER had its own share of gameplay quirks, but they seemed to just add to the charm.

I suppose my ambivalence about seeing Burning Platform as having a higher Overall score than HUGMONSTER is because of that glaring “Fun” deficit. If I’d just tuned up some of the loose ends more tightly in Burning Platform I feel that both Fun and Overall could have been sitting right at the 3.0 line.

But enough about me

How do you feel about your two games, side by side? Do you agree or disagree with the ratings? Do you think the crowd got it right, or can you not believe that they liked that other game better than the one you like better?


9 Responses to “Then vs Now”

  1. SonnyBone says:

    Up until now, my highest rated game was for the first Ludum Dare… a game that didn’t have any audio at all… and no real ending. No enemies… and not really anything unique going on at all.

    With LD22, I was expecting much better results, but I guess my game just sorta missed the mark.

    I did NOT expect to get such high marks in LD23 based on my performance in LD22, but I’m very pleased that it was so well received. The comments really seemed to reflect my exact feelings on my own game, which was great. It shows that I’m connecting more with players rather than myself as a designer because I can more easily predict how people will react to certain aspects of the game.

    Ludum Dare is proving to be invaluable to me as a game designer.

    I love the Ludum Dare.

    It’s SO BAD.

    • dr_soda says:

      Firstly, congratulations on your outcome this time. Yours was the first game I gave 5-star audio if I remember correctly. It was truly inspired.

      Second, do you find that you’re perhaps building games less for yourself and more for what you believe will be highly rated? You mention “It shows that I’m connecting more with players rather than myself as a designer because I can more easily predict how people will react to certain aspects of the game.” Is there an element in there of compromising your own vision in favor of what will be popular? Or has your own vision been shifted and re-shaped such that you don’t even consciously notice the difference?

  2. SonnyBone says:

    I said THE first Ludum Dare… I meant MY first Ludum Dare. Whoops. This was my 5th one. Or 6th. I can’t remember.

  3. caranha says:

    I think it is kinda hard to compare rankings, given the difference between the number of people in the competition. Let’s quickly analyze the scores:

    * Overall: 2.95 -> 2.81 — I think it falls over p0.05, probably not a significant difference. I expected to rank lower this time.
    * Graphics: 2.73 -> 2.64 — I’m a bit surprised, since the previous game was very incomplete graphically compared to the current one. Maybe the previous one was overvoted, since 2.6 seems like a fair score.
    * Audio: 2.31 -> 2.94 — One of my goals was to work on music support, I’m happy that the scores show this.
    * Innovation: 2.8 -> 2.89 — I’m not sure what is innovative about my new game. I wish people commented on this.
    * Theme: 2.25 –> 3.41 — I took a more traditional approach to the theme, and it showed. I’m still mad at the “alone is SADNESS” mob from LD 22 :-P
    * Fun: 2.78 -> 2.36 — as expected. actually, I expected this score to be even lower. I seriously dropped the ball on gameplay this time around.
    * Mood –> 1.97 –> 2.60 — I’m not really sure how to interpret the “mood” score, and I think most people interpret mood in a different way. So I can’t make much of this score.
    * Humor –> 2.10 –> 2,49 — I did not aim any of the games to be humorous, but added a few chuckle-worthy elements in each. I’m happy to see them recognized.

    In the end, other than innovation, I’m not terribly surprised by the results. Thanks for making me think about them though, Dr_soda! By the way, I would LOVE to know the standard deviation/skew for each of the above grades.

    • dr_soda says:

      It is rather difficult indeed to compare rankings. There’s also the question of how many people voted on your two games, as that could also have an influence. I am certain more people left ratings for HUGMONSTER even if it had fewer “votes cast” because about 1/3 of my comments on this entry were along the lines of “I don’t have a smartphone”.

      Regarding your game, I gave you highish innovation simply because I could see the scope you were aiming for. Most LD entrants make a smaller game (and for good reason) or one that really just expresses itself to its fullest extent as-is. Yours has a lot of work yet not done to really become what it wants to be, and I was rating based on that “wants to be” part.

  4. Toast says:

    It’ll be good when Ludum Dare finally gets a stable number of entries, and your scores for each Ludum Dare are more comparable.

  5. digital_sorceress says:

    Comparing my scores between LD22 and L23, almost all showed marginal improvement, except for Fun, which was marginally lower this time. So I am fairly consistent.

    The only one that surprises me is graphics at 3.93 — meaning that some people have rated it 3 or lower, which I don’t understand, as I feel I’ve done superbly there. But then again, almost everybody gets 2.x or 3.x scores and very VERY few get 4.x scores (like only the top 10 people in each category), so it can only be that lot of people are quite harsh when rating.

    Looking at percentiles, I’m just about in the top 5%, as I was last time, which is not so bad I suppose.

    • dr_soda says:

      On graphics, I believe there’s a bias in the community in favor of pixel art. Maybe that’s not too surprising given the demographic. I think they’re possibly a bit harsher on 3D games in the graphics department due to this skew. Personally I thought your game had excellent graphics, just as your last one did.

      Also yes, ratings here are very harsh it seems. I also suspect that there are at least a few people who 1-star any game that isn’t a web game, or who 1-star games they can’t play even though they are directed not to do so.

      • caranha says:

        Harsh can have many meanings though. For me “2” is average, “3” is nice effort, “4” is remarkable and “5” is “deserves to be top 10.

        So I rated a lot of games 2 stars when the relevant attribute was OK, but had nothing special about it.

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