Ludum Dare 30 – Entering and Tips Request

Posted by
August 7th, 2014 2:12 pm

Hey guys! I’m participating in the Ludum Dare 30 at only 12 years old! I’ve wanted a career in game developing/programming since I was little and got into games, and Ludum Dare is a great way to push my limits, and challenge those skills! I have a bit more than a years experience in programming with java (being my most strong, first and favourite language), and around five to one month(s) some other languages I know well.

However, I did participate in Ludum Dare 29 (also creating a warmup game), but I didn’t finish, because I was stressing, I didn’t know what I was doing, and I was stuck on this problem for three hours, which wouldn’t even let me properly run my game. I tried everything I could, but I didn’t fix it, so I gave up. So, I was wondering if you guys, (being the ones that are most likely older than me, and more experienced with ludum dare) could give me some tips on how to make my Ludum Dare a little easier for me. 😀

The sort of (let’s call it) technique I was using for my game, wasn’t very efficient, and, let’s say replacing certain blocks with another, took quite a while to figure out. I have since found a new technique (from youtube programmer ‘RealTutsGML’, thank you :) ), that is faster, more efficient, and just plain better. 😀

Especially as Ludum Dare is coming up, I like to make a lot of warmup games in my spare time (not just for the LD warmup), to get myself ready, like I did  before Ludum Dare 29. I sometimes even put a time limit in which I can make my game in (usually 2-5 hours).


For Ludum Dare 30, I will be using:

IDE: Eclipse

Language: Java

Graphics: GIMP

Sounds: sfxr

Music: GarageBand (if I get around to it)


Unlike some people, I am not in Ludum Dare to win and get all the fame, I am in Ludum Dare to push my limits, put my programming skills to use, and of course, have fun. Good luck to everyone else who is participating in Ludum Dare! 😀


If you want to watch me make a game for the upcoming Ludum Dare, you can watch me at


14 Responses to “Ludum Dare 30 – Entering and Tips Request”

  1. imef says:

    Happy to see younger generations getting in the contest.
    Most tips I give are the typical ones you’ll see everywhere.

    1) Don’t aim to make something too big.
    The compo is 48h and the jam is 72h. The time given is largely enough to make a small game. If you have a look at the games made in the previous years, you’ll notice that most have a very short story or no story at all. What you must focus on is FINISHING THE GAME.

    2) Don’t spend too much time on detail.
    Like I said, 48h or 72h is plenty but it does not mean you can waste time. That I can tell from experience. In one of my failed Ludum Dares, I tried to polish graphics a bit too much. In the end, The graphics were done but I had no time left to make the game to use them.

    3) Don’t make it too complex.
    I do not put your skills into question but I know what kind of stuff I made after a year or two. Try focusing on an easy game mechanic. If you manage to make that, go a bit further. I’m saying that because in my first Ludum Dare, I planned on making overly complex Artificial intelligence. Originally, I had planned on making it for the compo. Having planned on making something too complex, I ended up having to release my game for the Jam.

    4) And most of all… HAVE FUN!
    Aside from making the game, LD is a wonderful experience if you interact with the community. Every Ludum Dare, I spend quite a lot of time looking at the blog and commenting too. Not only does it give me ideas, I also think it’s just fun to see what people do. After the compo/jam, I try to play as many games as possible. Every time, thousands of games are made and many are great!

    That’s all I can think of for now.
    If there is anything you need during the jam, just ask on the blog. We will be happy to help.

    Anyway! Good luck and happy Ludum Daring!

  2. TobiasW says:

    Hey! Here are some tips collected from my postmortems. None of those will help you with technical problems though, but maybe something useful is in there for you.

    1) Don’t like the theme? Neither do I most of the time. Deal with it! You can still make a fun game. It’s not like you have to design your whole game around it. Sure, that would be cool – but having a game that will get 1/5 in the Theme rating is still better than having no game at all because you gave up before you even started.

    2) Keep calm and carry on: Never give up while there is still time! Maybe the game isn’t great now and you don’t have any idea how to improve it, but if you carry on, inspiration will hit.

    3) A to-do list helps to keep you on track. It also helps with the design. And tells you were you stand progress-wise. Write one before you start developing.

    4) Focus on what you do best. For me that’s gameplay, and that’s why my game isn’t as pretty to look at as other games, but it’s a lot of fun.
    Add sound effects and music. Even if you’re not good at it, I guarantee that your game will feel FAR better with them, and with good tools, it won’t take you long to make and insert it either. (In case of doubt, just add an option to turn off the music.)

    5) Sleep. Yeah, 48 hours isn’t much time, but if you’re fresh you work better. And who knows what kind of ideas you get when you’ll get your subconscious some time to rest?

    6) If a level has the right difficulty for you, it’ll be too hard for everybody else.

    7) Even if you think the goal is clear, it might be not. So – better make it clearer.

    8) Put instructions in the first level. Some players don’t read the instructions before starting the game – but once they are confused inside the game, make it as easy as possible to re-read them.

    9) Homemade sound effects can be quite entertaining. Any game needs sound effects, and since I’m no good at making them digitally, I tried to use my mouth for most in SnakeFormer. Turns out that’s a lot of fun to listen to, and I actually had a few people praise my sound design, especially the eating- and the end-of-level-sounds.

    Best of luck! 😀

    PS: For the full postmortems:

    • NuclearChocolate says:

      Thank you for your time and tips! 😀 I have to agree, I wasn’t the best in terms of keeping calm and being dedicated. last ludum dare.

  3. dalbinblue says:

    Here’s a few things I’ve learned over the times I’ve competed:

    – Keep your scope in check. Specifically, design a game you could make in 1/4 the competition time. Programmers tend to underestimate time. If you do get the game done early, you’ll have plenty of time to polish the game and add more levels or better graphics and sound.

    – Get someone to test your work in progress games. I email my brother copy of the in progress game about 4 or 5 times during the competition to get feedback and potential bugs. If you don’t have a relative or friend that can do this, try IRC, there are a lot of helpful people that will test.

    – Get regular sleep. Seriously. You work faster when well rested than you would with the extra time of an all-nighter.

    – Take regular backups of your game. If you are familiar with source control, use that as it will allow you to rewind your code back to a working state if you get stuck with a game breaking bug. If not, at least zip up the code every few hours.

    – Solve a problem once. What I mean here is that if you had a problem in a previous LD competition, solve it now and put it into your base code. LD is not about how fast you can rebuild the same logic over and over again, it’s about building a game, so if you were stuck on a problem in LD29, solve the problem now, put it in your base code, and use that code going forward. In my first competition I spent most of my time fixing weird collision bugs, so I wrote a better collision detection algorithm before the next competition. I then tackled, controller support, animation, loading levels from a tile based level editor, etc. so at this point I can jump in and worry about the logic specific to my game.

    – Take time to do things that aren’t part of the competition. Spending time away from the game will give you time to think about it long enough to get some fresh ideas.

    – And absolutely make sure you are having fun.

  4. Lucariatias says:

    A Java-specific tip, it might be worth using IntelliJ, the autocomplete is a LOT better than Eclipse and Live Templates can speed you up immensely if you can use them. (you could even set one up for a basic game loop, if you wanted to)

    That said, if you don’t set aside a week or so using it to learn it’s differences from Eclipse, you may end up learning an IDE instead of making a game, so if you do decide to use it, make sure to learn it before you start.

  5. LTyrosine says:

    Some lessons that I learned

    -> Have a list of tasks from start (build it Friday after theme). Too many items = too many ideas for 48/72 hours. Follow work from 1st to last. Control your emotions, have a rational evaluation of ideas to keep things in the possible realm.

    -> Manage to finish by Saturday night something fully playable. All gameplay should be done by that time, leaving Sunday to round corners and add details, sounds, music.

    -> Start with placeholders. A cube, a square can give you the feel of how your game goes before you waste graphics (and precious time) in a dropped feature.

    -> Never give up. Always submit your work no matter what.

    -> Don’t aim for doing well on results. Fun should be your guide. The best result will be to learn what you CAN do in 48/72 hours.

  6. TobiasW says:

    By the way, I just remembered this here – thought you might like it. You’re not alone being still young and LDing :)

  7. MafiaPuff says:

    Cool. I’m twelve too!

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