Can a Ludum Dare game be part of a “franchise”?

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
August 11th, 2012 6:23 am

When I say “franchise”, I don’t mean a big commercial entity or anybody else’s property, what I actually mean by that question, is: “Would a Ludum Dare game that ties into a backstory or universe I have already created be considered within the rules?”

A little example to illustrate my point :

I’m currently working on a tabletop roleplaying game and a card game within a science-fiction universe I created, for the moment the working title is “Neurohack: Legacy” and “Neurohack: Mercenaries” (I found out that “Neurohack” is already something else, so I’ll change that soon, but I’m still calling it Neurohack as I play test the games with my friends).

Suppose I make a shooty game of some description for a Ludum dare competition, would giving it the Neurohack backstory and lore be considered against the rules, and if it isn’t, how do you feel about the idea?

(Note that I don’t have any specific game ideas for Neurohack yet beyond the fact that you’ll be shooting things with futuristic weapons and armor, so if I were to make a Neurohack themed LD entry, all gameplay mechanics would be built from the ground up.)

7 Responses to “Can a Ludum Dare game be part of a “franchise”?”

  1. Axelhein says:

    As long as you make all the code and assets during the compo you should be fine

  2. JH says:

    I think it is ok as long as you explain the backstory in the game and nobody is forced to play the other titles to understand what’s going on.
    But then again it is a small but unfair advantage compared to the other participants who have to come up with a full story within the time limit.
    My general suggestion for ‘Is it against the rules?’-kind of questions is: Don’t do it if you don’t have to.

  3. It does sound borderline illegitimate.

    The idea of LD is to create somethine comepletely unqiue and spontaneous within 48hrs. Going in with a massive backstory and plan kinda defeats the purpose.

  4. sorceress says:

    My interpretation the rules is like this:

    Players will judge your game as you provide it. And it should be a self contained thing in the sense that you can’t expect them to read lore documents you’ve already written, or to play previous games in the series.

    In particular, whatever lore you want to communicate must be built in to the game you make during LD weekend. And if that is text then the text should be written during the weekend rather than copy-pasted from a pre-existing document.

    In principle, I’d have nothing against you setting your game in a sci-fi universe that you’ve already invented. But what might count against you in the end is if you don’t adequately communicate the lore, then your game may be hard to understand, which may be reflected in the ratings. :)

  5. Puzzlem00n says:

    I personally don’t think it should give you too much of a problem. It isn’t really that much different from having an idea for a game mechanic and then adapting it to the theme during the compo, which many competitors do often. Like the others said, as long as you aren’t using it to promote the other games, it’s fine.

    If you’re still worried about it, you could always make it a looser spin-off. Like, set in the same universe, but without any reference to characters from the main games and only vaguely with the same backstory. For example, if your main games are about a war, the game could be about refugees a few hundred years later, exploring the different concept about a destroyed world. Just bouncing examples around, don’t actually do that. =)

  6. Gaeel says:

    I just want to point out that I don’t actually intend to do this, I was just wondering about the notion.
    I may end up doing it, but I most probably come up with something new as it is more fun.

  7. dr_soda says:

    I don’t see a problem with it, personally. It’s no different in my mind than people who have a burning gameplay idea that they really want to tackle, and who want to find a way to wrap it around the given theme.

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