What i definitely DON’T like about Ludum Dare.

Posted by (twitter: @infernet89)
September 17th, 2013 2:34 pm

I really don’t like how some people judge other games. There are bascially two categories of judges i don’t like:

-The Hasty

Why wasting my time playing your game? I’ll just open the menu and see if there is music and the graphic is cool, then i give you 2/3 stars on everything so you’re average and i can quickly move to next. Eventually i write a comment by mixing up words i can find in description and/or other comments. The theme is ten seconds? That is the time i use for rate one entry.


-The Pimp

I’ve played your game, it was a platformer with strange and unrelated colored pixel that jump without following any physics rule and move very strangely with pointless thing to kill. Totally unrelated to the theme. I’ll silently give you very little star but i don’t write anything on comment so you can’t understand what’s wrong and grow up. Occasionally I’ll write “Amazing!” or “Very nice entry!”


To all Hasty voters out there: Why you do that? Just to have more coolness and subsequently more rating? Is all that matters to you? If everyone vote like you, every rate you gain using this method will be completely pointless. Nothing to learn. Take your time. Fix a minimum of Five minutes to judge a game. Even if can be finished in twelve seconds, replay it. Analyze it. Five minutes is not so much, and the developer of the game you are judging deserve some respect.

To all Pimp: You’re not a bad guy. I know, you don’t want to be rude. You understand how much effort is needed to make a game in so little time and probably you perfectly know how bad can make you feel a negative comment. But hey, we’re there to learn how to make good games. If noone tell me where i was wrong, how can i learn something? Constructive criticism is the way.


P.S. I’m not referring about any particular case happened in this edition of ludum dare, I’m sorry if someone is offended by that thought. If you disagree, you can write a comment. That’s how constructive criticism work. And I love it.

21 Responses to “What i definitely DON’T like about Ludum Dare.”

  1. Atmospherium says:

    I definitely agree with this. I WANT to know what I’m doing wrong or what I could improve upon. I tried to approach each game with the assumption that others are the same way and I tried to give honest feedback on positives and negatives of each game I rated.

    Some of my favorite games in this competition had some glaring flaws that people ran away from with little explanation, but actually had a lot to offer. Sadly, with most of those games the response has been “This was great!” or “This sucked!” with no other explanation. Some of these games have some serious potential if people take the time to provide guidance.

  2. JaJ says:

    That’s good to hear. I’m often afraid I am too critical when judging. The whole atmosphere of Ludum Dare is so positive and that’s something I love, so it’s often hard to say when some things could really be improved a lot, but I always do so when I notice something like that. I’m glad that’s appreciated.

  3. Antidote says:

    (Dan here) You have a good point there.
    This is the first time I join a Game Jam. And I felt feedback was a very important thing. But I’m not very good at putting my thoughts down into text. So I decided to record videos, showing my first impressions on the games as I played them, and when something bothered me, I would talk about it in the video and try to suggest ways around it/other things to do that could fix that.


    To me that was a great experience, I put up a form on the blog and 73 people sent their games for me to play. It took a long time and quite a bit of work, but it was awesome to see how happy it made some people to see someone else playing their game and recording it :) – One can also learn a lot from seeing someone play their game from the first time, to see what makes the person confused, what could be explained better, what they miss.

    I’ll definitely be doing that again next time. Saves me from organizing my ideas and typing down feedback, and provides way more complete feedback for people :) I highly recommend doing this.

    • infernet89 says:

      Looks like i missed it.. That’s a really great idea! Not everyone can actually talk fluent english while playing a game (me not, for example), but if you have the possibility is probably the best feedback you can have EVER. Looks like I’m going to bookmark your blog for the next time :)

    • timtipgames says:

      I can only second this. Although Daniel didn’t record playing my game (!shame on you!) I can tell from a lot of lets play videos that have been created for my last LDs game, that people often won’t do what you think they will (well at least they’ll come up with a lot of unexpected things).

      Most of that can really just be observed through watching someone playing the game. Short text comments may catch some of that only if the reviewer puts some effort into writing (that’s where I absolutely agree with OP).

      That’s also why I really like the new trend of streaming game reviews. I had some really interesting conversations with devs about their games when I did some streaming this LD.

      I have mixed feelings about the short ratings. I usually try to leave a meaningful comment that focuses on at least one point that came to my mind during gameplay. But sometimes when reading through the comments after (!) playing a game I realize that all of it has been said to an extend (be it positive or negative) and when I cannot come up with something new to say I either leave a positive comment (that’s when I leave a “well done” kind of comment) or I don’t leave one at all.

      A problem I actually see is that some games are handled with care and although they aren’t all that great get comments like “awesome game” which in turn tempts people to start having big plans with these games. I’ve seen a few people thinking about, or actually starting, a kickstarter campaign for games that are merely prototypes of a not working concept partly because of all the “awesome game” impressions they get from the not so honest game reviews. Don’t get me wrong, one can only learn from post compo versions. But some people do seem to have issues to understand that the ludum dare cuddling atmosphere has no relation to real world scenarios. Makes me sad to see people spend so much time and energy on something that isn’t going to work.

      • Antidote says:

        Lol, I wanted to try your game on Android, since you had an android version available, and damn it feels so good to play with the touch controls xD It’s really polished and well executed, awesome game to play on a tablet :3

        But it’s kinda hard for me to record myself playing tablet games xD next time I’ll do it!

    • Atmospherium says:

      I have to agree, Antidote, the livestream reviews of my game were the most beneficial for me in every way. I got to hear the reviewers thoughts, I got to see firsthand the issues with my controls, and I got to ask questions and have them answered. The 5 (or so) livestream reviews of my game that I found gave me more insight and useful feedback than the rest of the comments combined.

      I’m definitely planning on getting my computer set up to livestream for the next Ludum Dare, and I plan on giving feedback in this way in the future.

  4. mortus says:

    Oh, I can tell you what kind of judges I don’t like: people who look at the game, see that it’s great and goes like “wow, great game, let me give it 5 stars in every category!”.

    And don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely not about envy, I’m not fanatic about getting to the first place in a compo where the result is meaningless compared to the process. Actually, I was hating that kind of judgment even before I participated in LD48 first time. Because I go to the results page and I expect to find some cool games in each category there, some innovative and some with great sound etc. But instead I can find at least 5 same games in every category’s top ten! And sometimes they are really good games in every aspects, but most of the times they get good rating in one particular category only because of overall coolness of the game.

    I personally try to give games ratings they deserve in each category, it’s not unusual that I give game 5 overall or 5 graphics and 1 fun or vice-versa. And I encourage everyone else to do so.

    P.S. Another thing I learned to hate about half an hour ago is obvious cheating and rule-breaking, especially in the top 10 (and that looks more like a case of envy), but that’s a different story.

    • Care to give an example of what you hate in the top ten ?!? :)

      • mortus says:

        I didn’t say I hate something in top 10, all games that made it to the top 10 are great! I just hate the fact of entries that break rules being in the top 10. And again, NOT because it makes me look worse, just because it could lead to a situation where everyone will cheat and no one will care.

        And no, I’m not in pointing business. I already feel miserable enough for not suppressing myself from leaving whiny comment in game entry-post.

    • GaTechGrad says:

      I was actually going to suggest the 5 stars in every category judges as well. I was going to call it the “straight ticket”.

  5. Jimanzium says:

    I think one of the reasons for some of this is if you make a negative comment you don’t know if they’re going to give you a really crappy rating.

  6. ashdnazg says:

    The hasty type might be a bigger problem in web entries.

    The audience you get by being easier to reach is almost by definition those that aren’t willing to “waste their time” on downloading (and unpacking!) a non-web game. Expecting them to seriously test and rate your game is almost naive…

    No moral here, I’m all for accessible games, but apparently it can be a two-edged sword.

  7. RHY3756547 says:

    I don’t think anyone does this. I mean sure, a few people gave up after dying a few times on the first level of my game because it was so hard, but that’s just because the difficulty was way above their capacity and they felt they couldn’t get further without stressing so much that it would ruin the fun.

    I’ve seen a few people accuse their voters of “not playing the game” because they leave a vague comment, but that’s most likely because they’re not good at writing criticism.

    I played all my games to the end, or as far as was possible. (eg the ninja game i got stuck on one level and couldn’t find a pattern to complete it for about 10 minutes, but I had played enough to know that it’s a really fun and imaginative game.)

    Besides, the competition is made for fun, you shouldn’t get bitter about your or anyone else’s results because the whole point of it it *making the game and playing other people’s*, that’s the attraction and where you’re meant to have fun. Some games will be higher or lower than you expect because it’s your opinion and because the people rating where different people from who rated the other games, so they may like/dislike different elements.

    It’s really a mixed bag rating system and the only way to perfectly distribute the votes to get a true average is to get everyone to play every game, but that is simply not possible.

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