MiniLD 51: Revenge of the Tool Jam

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
May 22nd, 2014 7:33 am

A long long time ago I ran a MiniLD event we’ve nicknamed the Tool Jam. My lovely minions did some digging, and weren’t able to get ahold of the original MiniLD 51 organizer, and asked that I bring back the Tool Jam. So, lets do another Tool Jam!

Tool Jam

The goal of the Tool Jam is NOT to make a game, but to make something that will make it easier for you or others to make games.

What do you make? Think about the last Ludum Dare(s) you participated in, whether you finished a game or not. What’s one thing that got in your way, and stopped you from finishing faster (or at all)? Build that.

Small libraries, standalone tools, conversion utilities, Unity assets, algorithms, whitepapers, etc. Think about your process, and what can be improved about it. This MiniLD is all about process.

A long time ago (in a galaxy far far away), DrPetter created a wonderful tool for randomly generating sound effects call sfxr. Today, it and its derivatives have become the staple of sound effect creation for Game Jams (and many Indie Games too). The original Tool Jam was inspired by this wonderful contribution DrPetter made to the community.

The Tool Jam will take place this weekend (May 24th-25th), but for the sake of poor timing we’ll run it again next weekend (May 31st-June 1st), and leave submissions open until the end of the week. Typically, MiniLD events should take place entirely in their own months, but we’re announcing this one waaay too last minute.


38 Responses to “MiniLD 51: Revenge of the Tool Jam”

  1. PoV says:

    Rather than clutter the main post with this, I want to mention that you don’t even have to share what you’ve created. As I’ve said, this MiniLD is about process, and if you decide not to share that’s totally fine. You’re encouraged to, but not required.

    That said, for the sake of the submission, you are still encouraged to write about what you’ve done. Make a blog post (either here or elsewhere) talking about what you’ve created, and link to it in your ‘web’ link on the submission form.

    • XrXr says:

      I think I will abstract out some of the seem I’ve been punching in every time when making a game into a set of libraries. These will hopefully expedite the process by a lot and let me focus more on gameplay features rather than basic engine stuff.
      – Collision and tile based level manager
      – Collision checking
      – Player object
      – Sprite loader/ manager
      – Maybe a movement based level manger

      All these stuff are of course done in Pygame. So I imagine no one will will them. But its good that I can put them out there, so I can use them if I do the 48hr compo next time.

  2. Slader16 says:

    Something that would be really useful is a program like sfxr, but for music (instead of sound fx) 😀

  3. GFM says:

    Perhaps I’ll use this as motivation to finally make the tile editor of my dreams. *-*
    I’ve already made a simple one in flash, then a better one for my LD#28 post compo entry (still in flash, but everything was hard coded)…

    Now I want to make a generic one, but with controller support… Let’s see if I’ll have the time to do that. :)

  4. Orava says:

    Aww yeah. I love me some tools. Super last minute but I’m totally going to whip up something.

  5. goerp says:

    I can’t imagine many people using it, but I was thinking about expanding my personal tool to use a commodore 64 as an live instrument.

  6. WhiteWolf93 says:

    I think I’m gonna make an Updater Maker 😛

  7. sorceress says:

    Cool theme 😛 Now to decide what thing to make.

    An editor?
    A procedural generator? Like sfxr, or something for music/sprites/mazes/maps/…
    A game engine? Like Puzzlescript, Twine, SEUCK


  8. klianc09 says:

    I would really love to participate in this one (although I somehow have no idea yet what to actually do).

    But I don’t know if I find time for this MiniLD as I *should* focus on my final exams…. 😀

  9. jedilemons says:

    OMG that is weird. I was literally thinking that this would be a good idea for a jam yesterday! COOL 😀

  10. NeiloGD says:

    Nice! I think I can get the time for this. I will ask though, is there any tool that would make jams go more smoothly for people?

  11. WhiteWolf93 says:

    There’s only 1 entry right now, I hope more people submit something too. I’m almost done with my entry, but i need to upload it with a youtube tutorial haha! It’s an easy patcher maker for any kind of game and customizable, to track updates, it would be great for postcompo versions, team work and postupdates

  12. Filth and Money says:

    Hmm, frankly, I feel like my main problem with LD is not knowing the tools that I already have very well. I just started being able to get anything done in Unity. The last decent game I made was in Stencyl, but the workflow in that program is so unintuitive to me.

    On the other hand, the main thing that gets me stuck is being able to come up with and focus on an idea. I’m *terrible* at that. I did well (for me) last year for the minimalism thing, largely because I felt a lot less constricted by “big” ideas.

    I *have* had an idea for kind of a todo list/brainstorming/notes app for a while now… hmmm hmmm hmmmm….

    Anyone have any responses to any of my thoughts?

    • klianc09 says:

      Yes, it’s true that there are already a ton of tools available, and it is already a challenge to master those.
      So I think, if you want to create an useful tool, it needs to be easy to use but still be customizable at heart (see sfxr).

      As with a todo list/brainstorming/notes app I’m not sure if *I* would need one, because I think a pen and paper is still the best brainstorming tool.

  13. sorceress says:

    If you compare the results from LD29, see that on average the Compo entries get higher scores in Innovation. While the Jam entries get higher scores in Graphics and Audio, and slightly higher scores in Mood. In all other categories (Overall, Fun, Humor, Theme) they are even.

    We might conclude from this that only Graphics and Audio (and Mood) benefit from having extra people on the team.

    Another way of approaching this MiniLD is to think of a Tool as being a team member, that does work for you. It probably won’t help you do better Overall, nor make your game more Fun or Humorous. But it might help you get better results in Graphics and Audio.

  14. Domantas says:

    We can use these tools/code/content/stuff in normal LD, right?

  15. StrykerKKD says:

    It seems like my HTML5 game framework will have a major release in June 1st. 😀

  16. FacticiusVir says:

    If I’m doing it this weekend, when does it have to be submitted by?

  17. mons657 says:

    I think I’ll make a tool to generate sprite sheets for games.

  18. jsmars says:

    Lovely idea! I would definitely make a submission if I didn’t have tons of RL stuff to do atm. Maybe shouldn’t have had the date at such short notice :) I look forward to many cool tool submissions tho! :)

  19. jsmars says:

    Here are some ideas someone could do!
    – Control scheme image helper tool! Simple graphic interface for generating image of different controllers/keyboards with assigned keys etc. with lots of options and custom images etc. Could be really useful!
    – Brainstorm Generator! – Add the theme, it googles/wikipedias random stuff connected to that, throw in some accepted genres, styles, color schemes etc and it gives suggestions.. could be good to spark ideas! ie. Dark Platformer with Elements of Inverse Quantum Physics with Glowing Bunnies

    • vilya says:

      Regarding the brainstorm generator, have you seen the Videogame Name Generator?

      It’s not exactly the same thing, sure, but it’s good fun and occasionally it’s even turns out to be useful too (…but mostly not).

      • jsmars says:

        That was cool! the names may be quite good for inspiration. I actually started on a name generator before because I’m so bad at titles.. but many good names are one word, that generator just makes multiword names. Mine did a little of both, but still not a very good job at it 😛

  20. Optimus6128 says:

    For me, the only thing that stopped me from finishing a ludum dare was procrastination. Maybe I should resurrect my tool Procrastinooze!

  21. jitendragarg says:

    So, I forgot to check the blog last week, and missed out on this. Considering this is happening for next weekend too, I will definitely take part in it. I guess, it is a good time to prepare a basic 2d platformer asset. I can surely do with a base level with controls and animations set up.

  22. Tosic says:

    Wait, can someone please tell me when submissions are closing, tomorow or in a week?

  23. Jacksendary says:

    I think we need much more of these sorts of jams, or a whole section dedicated to tools that is legal to use for ludum dare made by the “fans”… I sadly didn’t get to participate in this tool jam but I’d gladly take requests and make tools or extensions that others may find useful 😀

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