First time LD’er, generally a hobby gamedev newb, using LD to kick myself in the butt and actually make something. I’ve always wanted to make games with my kids, but our first few attempts were hampered by elevated expectations—mine more than theirs. We’ve had the most success making games in highly constrained environments, such as for the Meggy Jr handheld, which I thoroughly recommend.
So for LD29, I’m going with Python and curses. As in, terminal ASCII art. This was actually more of a practical choice than anything else: the most time I’ve had for this recently was on an airplane, and I wanted a language and library I (personally) could use without Internet resources. I’m pleased to say that on modern hardware and a local terminal window (not 300 baud), curses is blazingly fast, and I managed to cobble together a dirt-simple 2D engine with plenty of head room (dozens of objects, hundreds of FPS, with a naive drawing technique). Also, curses makes for great nostalgia-based dopamine boosts, like playing Ladder on my dad’s Kaypro.
There’ll be an optional audio layer based on PyGame, so you can play quiet with just Python, or install PyGame for sounds. One of the kids was most looking forward to doing sound effects, so expect some “pew pew swish” vocals. The other kid wanted to draw art, and now I’m wondering if I could throw together a color ASCII art editor in an evening.
I realize the tech choice limits the compo appeal (I’d do a web game if I were more familiar with a framework), but we’re going with jam rules and just planning on having a good time. If the game engine amounts to anything, I’ll post it. But if you’ve never built an engine before, I recommend it. I’m happy to finally have the opportunity to implement techniques I’ve only read about, in a small and forgiving medium.