Ludum Dare 25 Weekend Ends. Judging begins!

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
December 17th, 2012 8:10 pm

And so ends the main Ludum Dare 25 event. 1326 games made over one weekend, and a whopping 4650 games made in 2012!

What an amazing year.

We celebrated our 10 year anniversary back in April, and created more games in just 1 year than every game console and every classic home computer (Except Commodore 64, naturally). (Thanks Jari, you’re the best! :D)

But we’re not done yet!

Over the next 3 weeks, be sure to come back to play and rate games made by your peers. To be ranked, you need ratings! And the best way to get more ratings is by playing other games. Every game you play improves your chances to be seen. For best results, you should play and rate at least 20 games, and the sooner the better.

NOTE: For Jam games, only the submitter gets to vote. Aside from sharing the account, we don’t currently have a way for the entire team to vote. Sorry.


By now, you should not be touching your game code anymore (unless you’re making a post-compo version). That said, we do allow the following:

  1. Crashes – If your game dies at an important moment, you are allowed to fix this.
  2. Typo bugs – Little oops bugs, not features. Things you may have broke last minute.

Those are the only two types fixes you are allowed to make at this point. No New Features! If you want to add things, we call that a post-compo version. It is your game, so you are free to do whatever you want with it, but for the sake of judging we ask you to preserve the version you submitted to the event.


Ports to different platforms are allowed after the deadline. You should get them in as soon as possible, and should be functionally the same as your submitted version. Porting to a mobile platform like Android may require adding on screen controls; This is allowed.

Remember: Web is the most popular platform. 2nd most popular is Windows. If you want to find Linux/other games, use the search box on the View All page.

Ludum Dare at GDC

Phil and I are regulars at Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and we like to get together with members of the community while there. Stay tuned around GDC time in March, we should have our plans more fleshed out by then. In the mean time, we have a thread going discussing GDC over here:

Upcoming Events

Coming up next month (January), and every off month, members of the community run Mini-LD challenges. Check back in a couple weeks for that.

Ludum Dare 26 will be in April 2013 (assuming we make it past December 21st ahem). Date to be announced as we get closer.

Thanks everyone, have a great holiday, and lets go rate some games!

45 Responses to “Ludum Dare 25 Weekend Ends. Judging begins!”

  1. Suese says:

    I changed a few things like how many enemies per level, how fast the enemies move, and a bunch of little number adjustments at the end of the competition. The result turns the game from boring to a lot of fun. Are you saying these fixes are allowed?

    • PoV says:

      If you consider the fixes typos then it’s okay. If you’re doing a lot of changes, you might be pushing it, but I’ll let you be the judge. The point of the typo fixes is to correct things that slipped through final testing. Things that should have worked, but after 48/72 hours you overlooked.

  2. Suese says:

    P.S. I am releasing a tool/game I made called ‘Retrocard’, it’s a web-based clone of the classic programming tool ‘Hyper-card’. Curious if it would be kosher to run a Mini-LD based on this tool/game?

  3. GameRespect says:

    does fixing a bug that prevents moving to some screens, preventingthe character from progressing the story, allowed?

  4. HeroesGrave says:

    How many ratings do you need to get ranked?

    Last LD I only got 7 and ended up with only my coolness rating. (Due to being unable to play games after the compo)

    • PoV says:

      If you rate 20 you should be fine. It is a smaller number than that, but you typically get an equal number of ratings +/- 2. If your game has poor compatibility (Linux only), that should be the only thing holding you back.

      Also right now, lots and lots of people are rating games. As we get closer to the holidays that will slow down, so playing them ASAP is recommended.

  5. PoV says:

    If you’re having troubles submitting (or made a post instead of submitting), let me know.

  6. Suese says:

    What should I do to get more ratings? I’ve run out of playable web entries on the front page, they trickle in slowly but it’s still very laborious to find working web entries. I’ve spent the greater part of my time since the competition finding and rating entries only to have a small handful (maybe 7) games that I could rate.

    • Casino Jack says:

      Rating other games is definitely the best way. Try searching for ‘web’, ‘flash’, ‘swf’, ‘unity’ – there should be around 1-200 up by now if you’re after web games. Be sure to leave comments whenever you rate – I always try my best to rate and comment on anyone’s game when they comment on mine.

      Also, write up a post-mortem to plug your game and share some lessons. Or some other equally relevant posts, such as a list of your favourite games so far.

  7. lorancou says:

    So a bit less games than the last time. Maybe the Notch-effect tailing off :)
    I’ve added a loading progress bar to my game which takes a while to load, just to make sure people don’t run out of patience too quickly. I hope that’s OK!

    • PoV says:

      Maybe the Notch-effect tailing off

      Looks like it. Back in the old days, December was always our slowest month. But we’ve been growing so much that it all just blurred together.

  8. Suese says:

    Would love an LD25.torrent If I could get a database dump of all links titled “Windows” that would be AMAZING.

  9. dek says:

    Is it acceptable to offer both LD and post LD version as a download, clearly seperated of course, as a download?

  10. Atomic says:

    Here’s my two cents on this vote and be voted thing:

    IMHO this algorithm that bumps you up the voting “queue” proportinally to the amount of games you rate isn’t fair at all.

    After all one of the main points of LD is that it takes only a weekend!
    If you have to spend, say, 2 days rating as many games as possible the amount of time spent on the compo doubles. Not to mention many people have work and won’t be able to do this even if they want to.

    Those that take their time to finish each game and write a useful comment get “punished” because they’ll be able to rate less games and will get less ratings. I do this and I won’t change my behaviour but I’m sure many people only play each game for like one minute because this algorithm effectively rewards bad behaviour.

    But we DO need a way to make sure people rate games. IMHO it would be much more fair to eliminated from the competition those that do not rate at least 10 games *during the entire 3 weeks* – they should have plenty of time to do that even if they only rate one game every 2 days.

    Or perhaps keep the current algorithm but remove the linearity above a certain threshold. You could get a point for each rating up to 19 and then (19 + third-root(ratings – 19)). That way 20 votes => 20 points, 27 => 21, 46 => 22 and 1000 => 29. No need to use this formula but you get the idea.

    I request comments on this!

    • Puzzlem00n says:

      Yeah, I always have found that the rating for more rates is rewarding bad behavior like you said… It just doesn’t work out.

      Here’s an idea: Give everyone a certain number of games to rate, likely 10, picked completely at random, right after the competition. If they don’t rate those, they don’t place in the competition. They still keep the option to rate more games alongside them, of course.

      Granted there are flaws with that, but it’s all in good brainstorming.

      • Atomic says:

        Actually that’s a very good solution. Just have to make sure you can skip unplayable games (and that you get another random game in exchange).

        • Puzzlem00n says:

          Ah, good point, if there isn’t an exchange option, then you can’t be sure if you’ll get a game that plays on your platform (or any platform)… Hmm. I can see how that would get annoying, to have to keep pressing exchange until you get what you can play.

          I suppose that ties in with the need for marking entries by platform at submission. Then you could tell the random generator what platforms you need to get.

      • Gjarble says:

        But that still leaves the primary problem: The people who are punished most by this are those that are *unable* to play games *at all* in the 3-week period following the compo (like HeroesGrave as he/she mentioned in the comments above, and myself following LD24 – LD24 happened /right/ before school started). It still requires commitment outside the 48 hours that people may be unable to give. While I appreciate the sentiment that those who don’t give back to the community perhaps don’t deserve the recognition that the community is capable of giving, any system that punishes people for not rating enough is untenable because it makes no distinction between lazy non-contributors and genuinely busy people.

        In addition, the real reason this system was implemented was because, due to the rapid expansion of LD, many games were not getting enough ratings to be fairly ranked against the competition- people not contributing enough was just pointed to as the cause. Under the system we have now, there still exists a large “long tail” of people who don’t rate much or at all. Yes, some people do so because they don’t care, but others do so because they’re busy or are unaware of the policy (as I suspect the majority are- it’s incredibly hard to raise awareness of any rule to everyone involved). At any rate, this means the large majority of ratings are given to a small minority of games- meaning the coolness system doesn’t even solve the problem it was designed to solve (unless that statistic is wrong; it’s kind of hard to tell with the limited access we users have to the ratings distribution).

        How do we fix this? I would suggest positive reinforcement of those who ARE able and willing to rate lots of games, but that just leads to the same problem Atomic described- it punishes people who take the time to think about their ratings and leave constructive comments, as well as incentivizing people to make snap judgments without playing too much of the game. It seems pretty clear to me that any attempt to incentivize people to rate more just results in punishing the busy and the thoughtful without solving the distribution-of-ratings problem. So, instead, I’m proposing a simple, small change that I think is probably our best shot of changing this situation for the better:

        Make “Least Ratings” the default browsing setting on the “Play and Rate Games” page.

        I’m no professional web designer, but it seems to me that users are far more likely to use what is most conveniently available to them. With this system, the distribution of ratings would be a bit more even- the “Most Coolness” and “Both” would still be there for people wishing to reward those that deserve it, but we wouldn’t see as many games getting 5 ratings so others can get 105. In order to be viable, a “Can’t Rate” button for skipping games would need to be added to the browsing page so people aren’t stuck with a box full of Linux exclusives or the like- though I’d recommend this be added either way (as well as listing the platforms of a game right there on the browsing page, rather than having to click down to the game’s page, so people know immediately what they can and can’t play)… or maybe a standardized way of listing platforms (you can still write the text of the link, but there’s a dropdown box where you declare whether it’s Web/Windows/OSX/Linux/iOS/Android/Other or something like that) so people can more easily eliminate the platforms they don’t have.

        • Atomic says:

          Well, I hope I’m not being unreasonable here but I can’t really think of a good reason someone wouldn’t be able to rate 10 games in 3 weeks. You’d need about half an every couple days (or 2h each weekend), which is something even businessmen can do if they really want to. It’s certainly a lot more reasonable than having to rate over 20 games in a couple days.

          On the other hand your idea got me thinking a hybrid system may be the best after all: you have to rate at least 10 games during the three weeks or your entry will be dropped AND games that already have 50 ratings will no longer show up in the “rating queue”, which will be ranked by amount of ratings or a less linear coolnest rating (like the formula I posted earlier).

          What do you guys think?

          • Puzzlem00n says:

            Ooh, now we’re getting somewhere. Although, I don’t think the “ten games or drop” thing fits anymore with this new model.

            I think a side goal of this discussion should be to make all our suggestions things that could actually be implemented with minimal work for the admins. Too many a time have these discussions been ignored due to far too massive overhauls suggested.

          • Milo says:

            I think that also doing something like using the current system, but only counting a rating without a comment as half as what a rating with a comment does. The competition isn’t the most meaningful part of the Dare, I don’t think (especially since the difference between one person giving you a 4 vs a 5 might represent more than 10 places in the rankings). I value comments highly, since they give an actual reflection of one’s game.

          • Gjarble says:

            A businessman should probably be able to do it, but I bet many college students can’t. I may be biased (my college is rather notorious for its heavy workloads), but between classes, extracurriculars, possibly internships, and most of all, homework, it seems to me that many students only have real free time on the weekends, if at all, and on those weekends, there’s way too many events or other possible time commitments to make.

            Plus, other, somewhat more contrived scenarios, like extended travel or an emergency right after LD, could prevent someone from playing entries.

        • PoV says:

          We did this and it didn’t help enough. Now people are rewarded for their efforts voting/rating games by getting more ratings and feedback, which in turn brings more ratings and feedback to everyone.

          We have so many games, so many participants, that we can’t expect anybody to play and rate everything anymore. The best solution is to increase ratings and feedback, ’cause with enough data we can reach a reasonable equilibrium.

          • Gjarble says:

            Alright, if you already know it doesn’t work, fair enough. Considering there are problems with both the positive and negative reinforcement models, I suppose the current system offers one of the better possible balances between the two (and I really should keep in perspective, as other people pointed out, that the competitive aspect is not the most important part of LD- it’s good that the most important part, the actual game-making, still only requires a 48h commitment). I know figuring out a way for multiple members of a jam team to vote is somewhere on your agenda, and I think it’s a good idea; considering the growth of the jam lately, they seem like a major untapped resource with regards to getting enough ratings/feedback.

      • PoV says:

        It already works this way. That’s what the “Play and Rate” link takes you to, you page of your specific random games. And once you get your list down, it grows.

    • PoV says:

      Without getting in to algorithm deals, it does balance games with no votes versus games with many votes and many ratings. That said, games with few ratings are also often because they are un-runnable or un-interesting. If you are serious about your game, most people can find a few hours to play a couple dozen games. You make the time. Remember, these aren’t 100 hour long gaming epics, these are games made in just 48/72 hours. The content is rarely more than a few minutes each, and you’re unlikely going to be “addicted” to everything you play.

      • Atomic says:

        Not wanting to be an asshole but maybe you guys should indeed make the algorithm public. Security by obscurity is always a bad idea…

        I do agree most people can find time to play a couple dozen games but it’s not reasonable that they have to do it a few days right after the compo. It creates a very unhealthy race that culminates with:
        a) rushed unhelpful ratings
        b) some people with 200 ratings, most with 10-30 and some with less than 10 (those are usually their own fault, as you said)

        To prove my point there were more than 5 games with coolness over 100 (and a sizable amount of ratings) yesterday morning. Do you seriously think one day is time enough to evaluate 100 games?
        Just looked at the queue page and I think the number shrinked so I’m assuming you guys banned some of them.

        • Atomic says:

          Oh, just to make it clear this isn’t about me at all. I rated 26 games already (and will rate some more) and got far more comments than I expected anyways. I’m just posting because this feels wrong.

  11. Puzzlem00n says:

    On to the question. My game here works completely fine on my computer, but when running it on a far slower one, it’s completely messed up and utterly unplayable. Unfortunately, to make it run as it does on mine, I’ll have to make a lot more internal changes than my nagging conscience is comfortable with. Nothing will be changed externally, though.

    So is it fine if I do this? I’m pretty sure the answer will be yes, but regardless, is everyone here okay with it?

  12. mohammad says:

    I’m uber-duber sorry I couldn’t be in this one, I had too much meat to chop to get it done! I’ll promise I won’t skip the next ludum, regardless! I promise to get Bells out, then learn some Unity for 3-D game and web development! I will also study and finish up on JavaScript and HTML5 and get a website going! I now have a new computer that has no more parental controls and with a 2 week break, I’ll be on this thing forever! Happy holidays! Because Santa gave me what I want for Christmas, and that was FREEDOM!!!

  13. Suese says:

    @PoV Spammers keep spamming the blog. :( :( Email marketing and Dieting tips with comments turned off? suspiciously linking to spam web sites.

  14. blob says:

    @PoV It was mentionned in another post: some people dont realize the 48hours compo should not use external musics / graphics. Instead of making the compo more flexible which would be a very bad thing for creativity IMO, I thought a very simple system would be to ask two questions on the web page when you submit your game:

    Did you create the all the art for the game ? *yes *no
    Did you create the all the audio for the game ? *yes *no
    The game wont have a voting category for the categories where you voted *No.
    I’m not sure if it would be easy to implement but it would allow for an easy honesty system. People who want to create everything would not be penalized this way and it will feel more fair.

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