Discussion: Ending MiniLD’s and the October Challenge

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
April 8th, 2014 3:50 pm

So I’ve been thinking recently that it might be time to streamline Ludum Dare. Specifically, that means ending the MiniLD and October Challenge events. Main events are still the same, nothing changes, but the focus of the site switches to main events and the community, instead of also running a Jam every single month.

Reason being, as you all know, there really are a lot of Game Jams today. One Game a Month and itch.io are both very regular and very popular, and fill the niche that the MiniLD’s once filled (i.e. the excuse to make something every month). I’d like to think there’s something else we could be doing for the sake of the community given our size and popularity (suggestions welcome).

The October Challenge is kind-of the oddball. It’s something I started a few years ago to help fellow devs looking to make a business of games. No doubt it has helped some developers reach their goal of selling games, but it’s not something I find I have the time for anymore. I think it’s time for me to let it go. I’d be happy to help someone take over and spin-off the event.

That said, I’d love to hear some suggestions for things we could do instead of running more jams to help the community. I’m a big Twitter user myself, and big fan of the whole video and Live-Streaming boom going on in games today. Perhaps there are other things we should be making more of an effort to do.

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

EDIT: Thanks everyone for your comments. I’ve posted some follow up thoughts here.

22 Responses to “Discussion: Ending MiniLD’s and the October Challenge”

  1. NeiloGD says:

    Streamlining does seem like a good idea to me. Whilst I like the concept of MiniLDs, the number of game jams around these days seems pretty excessive compared to when I first heard of jams many many years back and they seemed few and far. I agree that 1GAM pretty much fills the MiniLD niche. Sometimes I do with Ludum Dare was more regular (maybe 4 times a year), but the 3 is actually very achievable in terms of planning to make sure I can dedicate the time to it, I’m sure many others will agree also.

    Something to improve Ludum Dare as a whole, as minor and off the topic of “community” a little – improve the searching capabilities so people can more easily filter games by platform. Not really a big suggestion, but it seems to be a common complaint every LD.

  2. IAmSpencer says:

    Maybe only do a miniLD the month before the main LD.
    Because, for me, I use miniLD to see how prepared I am for the bigger jam, so I would suggest keeping the miniLD, even if it’s only a couple times a year.

  3. Tim Bumpus says:

    It’s because I finally signed up to host one next year, isn’t it? 😛

    Of course, while the above alone makes me biased towards keeping them, I still think we should keep them. The Mini-LDs give people in the community a huge platform to host any kind of game jam they want on, and that’s awesome. And the October Challenge definitely deserves to stick around (although I’m all for it spinning off into its own site). It’s a unique event that’s pretty much unparalleled.

    If you want to streamline Ludum Dare, there are a lot of things that I think rank above getting rid of extra jams. Namely, making this website more navigable and improving that pesky rating system that no one can agree on how to fix.

    Can I just float an idea that I’ve had for a while that I doubt anyone will like? Giving this site more of a social-network vibe. There’s this open source platform called Elgg that could work for it. It’d be more community-like, you know?

    Also, seriously, make the Twitch app on the sidebar randomize the channel order instead of putting the highest-viewed on top. Locking streams with no viewers to forever have no viewers makes about as much sense as it does for the App Store.

  4. mrexcessive says:

    I would be sad to see the MiniLDs go…. Time commitments elsewhere often conflict for weekends, so LDs themselves are often missed. It’s good to have a regular event each month.

  5. Michcioperz says:

    I refuse to accept the loss of such a great thing MiniLDs are. One of my (and my friends’) best games was made for a MiniLD and I will not change my mind.

  6. IAmSpencer says:

    also, you should add a hitbox.tv streaming section on here, I’m starting to enjoy hitbox more than twitch

  7. sorceress says:

    there really are a lot of Game Jams today. One Game a Month and itch.io are both very regular and very popular, and fill the niche that the MiniLD’s once filled.

    Let the numbers speak! — 101 people submitted a game for the most recent MiniLD. That’s more than ever before for a miniLD. And the trend over the past 2 years is that this figure is rising.

    What can we read from this? That interest in miniLDs is both strong AND growing. If you have the communities interests at heart, then this should be the central issue. This is NOT the time to pull the plug.

  8. Christina Nordlander says:

    If removing the MiniLDs is what you admins want to do, then you should do it. I enjoy the MiniLDs, but I’m not running this site.

    Glad to hear that the warmups are staying, though.

  9. goerp says:

    It is not my place to tell you what to do, but I would be sad to see the MiniLD’s go.

    I like the loose time commitment and the broad array of themes (the mini LD themes are I think more varied and quite different from the Big LD themes (democracy? boo!)).

    I like that I don’t have to watch the interweb for competitions. Ludum Dare with the big and mini compos is the one stop shop for game compos for me.

    Actually, thinking about it: the games made for the Big Compo are getting more and more professional. The miniLD for me still has the spirit of ‘wahey, I made a game!’.
    Being an amateur gamemaker that’s a big plus.

    1GAM is just not a substitute for me. It’s very different.
    Somehow experience points are not a big motivator for me.

    BUT: if it IS the end of the miniLD’s I do want to thank all the people who made it possible. You guys have been great!

    • Christina Nordlander says:

      “BUT: if it IS the end of the miniLD’s I do want to thank all the people who made it possible. You guys have been great!”

      This, right there.

    • Tim Bumpus says:

      “Actually, thinking about it: the games made for the Big Compo are getting more and more professional. The miniLD for me still has the spirit of ‘wahey, I made a game!’.”

      This, also right there.

  10. dylanigan says:

    What? Cancel the MiniLDs and October Challenge??!! The MiniLDs are awesome! Ludum dare wouldn’t be the same without the miniLDs and the October challenge? Ludum dare isn’t streamlined, that’s what makes it so much more fun then the other game jams!

  11. PoV says:

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I’m thinking that the MiniLD’s still have a place here. There are some changes to be made (after all we’ve run 50 of them now), but nothing that actually hurts them.

    One thing, my big peeve: I don’t want to see voting in them anymore. We have the main events for that. Having MiniLD game voting just complicates things. Our results system is not as robust as you may think, and requires a very delicate touch. 😉

    Also, I’d like the organizers to make an effort to keep them contained in their respected months. I don’t mind late submissions (probably a good idea in general), but when we start the PR push for main events, I really don’t want to confuse people with announcements/submissions/etc for events that have already passed.

    I still don’t know what the best week to schedule a follow up MiniLD is (i.e. events that follow main events), but I have been thinking that the weekend that follows the results of a main event are pretty good. People are psyched up and excited about their results, and some of them might be in the mood for another Jam the upcoming weekend. I’m not a fan of MiniLD’s that happen on the final voting weekends, or during voting.

    I’ll think about this more, ask some more questions, and probably put together a MiniLD Runners Guide sometime this summer.

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