How Do You Rate?

Posted by (twitter: @DarkAcreJack)
April 30th, 2013 2:03 pm

Cross-posted from the Dark Acre blog
How Do You Rate?

The only thing more important than finishing & shipping—yes, those are one thing—a Ludum Dare 48 compo entry is then rating the hard work of all the other clinically insane brave competitors. Well aside from eating, drinking, & sleeping but that should go without saying. Shouldn’t it?

In the earlier days of LD48 this was a relatively easy task to accomplish, even for the competitor with a day job. A couple hundred entries could be leisurely played over the course of the allotted two weeks.

Then somewhere along the line LD48 became more mainstream—this said without a hint of hip irony, I mean come on, it’s the truth—attracting larger numbers of participants each time.

The most recent event saw some 2,347 (supposedly) playable video & analog games submitted for peer evaluation.

Competitors are given 3 full weeks to play then rate each entry, & leave a comment if they’re feeling egotistical/snarky/fancy. I tend to leave a lot of fancy, ego-driven snark. It shows I care.

So 3 weeks. That’s 30,240 minutes. Assuming you do nothing but play & rate entries that allows just under 12 minutes for each one.

The key question then becomes how much time should you allot for playing vs. offering stars & design advice? It takes me about 8 minutes to complete my own entry, & I know exactly how to complete it. I imagine it could take some folks upwards of 30 minutes to finish. If their goal is to be completely, magnanimously fair with the ratings process they wouldn’t even have time to finish & would be forced to offer a rating based on an experience not wholly experienced! Not that there’s anything wrong with that, game journalists & forum commenters do it all the time but that’s beside the point.

A person is then forced to make certain compromises if they want to go sifting through the entries for the gems. There are gems in there, trust me, but unless you just want to sit back & wait for others to find them, not bother rating—which ends up reflecting poorly on your own entry—, & shun the process entirely you need some form of filter.

This was my 8th Ludum Dare 48 in a row. I’ve gone from rating all of them to not giving a damn & then realizing I have to give a damn if I’m to get rated myself, so I’ve run the gamut.

I’ve crafted a handy spreadsheet of my evaluation process, suitable for framing.

It’s a “do unto others” sort of framework, & I’m horribly selfishly biased because I’m capable of producing web builds. But I’ve stomped my way down that route only because I kinda wanna get as many people as possible to play my game. If I was only in it to show off I’d just pull a SOS.

Rate early, rate often. Rate with purpose.


It’s only time that you’re wasting. Too bad it’s the only thing that you’ve really got.

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9 Responses to “How Do You Rate?”

  1. Gremlin says:

    Yeah, at this point it’s pretty much impossible to play all of the games in time…but there are two thousand other people who are supposed to be playing and rating, so fortunately you don’t have to.

    I try to give every game the time I think it deserves. Which may not be enough to finish it, but it always enough to give it a fair chance.

    Though I have to say, it seems like this time around a lot more games are finishable.

  2. Gremlin says:

    Also, while I’m thinking of it, I really liked Prisma.

  3. Shigor says:

    Gremlin: yeah. Average quality is mostly the same, but even the “bad” entries are much better then it used to be. Found just few which were quite bad… either I’m lucky, or the low end quality moved up.

    I’ve rated about 50 now… I’ll probably rate a few more, but i no longer feel compelled to rate as much I can… 2400 games? no way I’m gonna get up to ten percent total even I played all the time…

  4. Spiridios says:

    There’s no way most of us can rate all the games. I’d rather give the games that I do come across a good, useful review rather than just trying to play as many games as possible. Unless there really isn’t anything to say, I try to leave a comment with feedback because that’s what I like to get. I don’t care that not everyone can play my game, I care that the people who do play it get a good experience and help me learn something by providing constructive feedback.

  5. Ragzouken says:

    I try to play the games of everyone who has taken the time to comment on mine, and also the games posted by communities I am part of (love2d, tigsource, etc). I also look at blogs like freeindiegam.es to see if anything really cool has been found. Watching people stream as they play games is really fun – I experience a lot more LD games than I’d care to download/rate, which is great.

    Do you really not vote if you didn’t find a game enjoyable?

  6. Not voting on stuff I don’t enjoy isn’t really my thing, if I’ve evaluated it then like or loathe I’m going to rate. I always leave a comment if I have something constructive or some praise, so that is pretty much every time.

    as for how to find games, I think default view or least ratings is good. so many people are new every LD and everyone deserves to have their game played and have some feedback and/or praise.

  7. stevejohnson says:

    I think of myself as a semi-random agent in terms of game discovery. I think people’s personal “top K” lists will be really enjoyable to parse through after voting, but until then, I think it’s better to pick things out at random and give them a complete review.

  8. qwetro says:

    My strategy is quite simple, pick games randomly and play them with full attention, rate finally.
    BTW, I love your sign. “It’s only time that you’re wasting. Too bad it’s the only thing that you’ve really got.”

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