What’s going on?

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
November 25th, 2014 11:47 am

Hi! This is Mike (PoV).

Late September, I pledged to spend the rest of the year working on the Ludum Dare website. Fixing, upgrading, and basically doing what I can to make the event better. The website had been long neglected, going years without software updates and even basic server maintenance. I really didn’t have the time to spend on it, so I would do the absolute minimum just to keep it going. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to cut-it anymore.

I’d like to continue working on it Full Time, but I can’t afford to do it without help. The community asked me to start a Patreon, which I did, in addition to taking Paypal donations. I need about $3000 a month to cover my costs, and though the Patreon has done well, we’re not quite there yet (currently sitting at about $790). We’ll look in to some of the other options next year (sponsorship), and whether people even want me to continue working on Ludum Dare.

Next year, 2015, I’d like to spend the year building us a brand new website. We’re currently still using WordPress, the same WordPress install from 7 years ago (with updates here and there). It’s a bit of a mess, and not designed for a community of 40,000 members. Given how much things have changed (from a hundred to many thousands participants), we’re long overdue for something new.

Ludum Dare has actually been an open source project on Google Code for nearly 7 years. We’ve had a lot of offers to help out (and requests to move it to GitHub), so this is something I’d like us to do. But given that we haven’t had a single contribution in 7 years, it’s going to take a serious effort to make it easy for people to contribute. And even if we do run it as an open source project, someone still has to run the project, and do the core work. I’m hoping people are fine with that being me. Don’t worry, I’ll let you guys fist-fight over how the website looks. :)

You can check out a timeline so far here: http://ludumdare.com/compo/progress/

If you’d like to help out by doing work, join the Mailing List. I’ll let you know when we’re ready.

If you’d like to contribute, you can do so monthly via Patreon, or once via Paypal.

Thanks everyone! Have a great Ludum Dare!

20 Responses to “What’s going on?”

  1. deathray says:

    PEOPLE – PLEASE DONATE! I’m a little disappointed there aren’t more donations coming in, because it certainly won’t be possible to completely overhaul the site without a lot more resources. Ultimately it’s up to the community… if no one contributes to the source and not enough donations come in, then apparently people are okay with having sponsors, adverts, or keeping the site just the way it is.

    Also I think making it easy for the community to make changes to the code/styling is essential if Ludum Dare is to stay independent. I started the Cutis open-source project as a way to offload some of the restyling effort to the community. This allows you to say: “Don’t like the style? Make your own!”

    As you mentioned, the whole LD site should probably be on GitHub, and even then there will certainly be a need for you to run the project. I know you have Ludum Dare’s best interests at heart so you’ll continue to be a great custodian and community leader.

    Two ideas:

    1- I’d love to see a list of ranked development priorities on the progress page (and linked from the patreon page) rather than at the end of the digest page. That would make it easier for patrons – and potential patrons – to more easily see what’s next to be worked on, and see where their favorite new feature falls among all the competing priorities. Maybe at a certain donation level ($5?), a patron can up-vote their favorite feature up the list. Personally I’d like to put ‘Prevent spam’, ‘Fix some of the HTML’, and ‘Donation drive’ higher on the list.

    2- Add a Donation Drive to the top banner of Ludum Dare — similar to how Wikipedia has done it. Personally I think it’s okay to say to users “Do you want nice things? Want to keep away ads? That takes some $. If everyone pledges $2 now, this banner will be gone”.

    • Doctor Broccoli says:

      Adding a ‘please donate’-banner to the top might be a bit overkill (not that there’s any shame in doing so). I think that cleaning up some of the sidebar-stuff might help a bit. Move some of the “what is the ludum dare?”-stuff to the header and move the donation info so that it’s above the twitter-widget (or AT LEAST above the steam widget) and that might draw enough attention to it.

      Of course, I think people will donate quite a bit more during the jam itself, so I guess we’ll have to see whether there will be any drastic change in donation-behavior on the 5th before any drastic changes are made to the site.

      • deathray says:

        Yeah, I have high hopes that once the jam is in effect, the donations will increase.

        I agree with your suggestions for re-organizing some of the links. Ultimately I think the main nav and sidebar would really benefit from a top-tasks analysis (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_W5aj3P7lo).

        • WiErD0 says:

          Yeah, I agree with you that more donations will come once the competition starts, mainly because the issue will start to be noticed more. For me at least, I only really think about Ludum Dare the few days before and during the competition. I rarely even come the the site off season for reasons other than to vote or to check when the next competition is.

  2. johnfn says:

    re: Github, if you did manage to migrate to Github and had some sane directions for how to get a local version up and running, I’d definitely give a good shot at attempting to contribute. The main reason I haven’t contributed yet are: I didn’t know LD was open source, I don’t understand Google Code at all, and I have no clue how to get a local version of the site running. There really needs to be a README for the site.

    The amount of contributions you get is a function of how easy it is to make one, after all.

  3. Gemberkoekje says:

    Maybe you could consider adding little rewards for donations. e.g. for 1 euro, you get a special donated! star in front of your name. For 10 euros, you get a small chance of winning a game each month. For 100 euros, you get a Ludum Dare special edition DVD sent to you, with all the top games up till now.

    These are just ideas from the top of my head, but for people who do want to support the site, but don’t really want to do it entirely for no gain, it might be interesting.

    • PoV says:

      I do want to credit folks that have donated on the site. I’m half-way there (I have a record of all contributions), but not done the part where I figure out who they belong to.

  4. taviandir says:

    If you github this site, I’d love to help – altho I am not very good with php and wp. Would prefer if the whole shebang was redone in ASP MVC, Django, Flask, or something like that ^___^;

  5. Phyllostachys says:

    Count me as another vote for Github, since I’d like to (try to) contribute and also don’t understand how Google Code works.

  6. Marcos Rodrigues says:

    I want to keep an eye on the new website and contribute as I can. I am an experienced web developer, and even though I can’t really help on the back-end (my focus is Ruby on Rails), I’ll do what I can on the front-end! I too vote for Github as the official repository!

  7. m0rph3v5 says:

    it would be cool if mike would actually accept help from the outside instead of trying to do everything himself and make a living out of it. Once you have something solid there’s no need to be ‘working’ on it indefinitely.

  8. StudiousGames says:

    Hey guys, we just entered our game. But can I remove a screenshot? I wish to update it with a new one but I can’t remove it or replace it…

  9. bobthebobby2 says:

    I think there should be some rewards, i already have donated because i love this site. but i like the idea that one of the guys above said put a star next to your name

  10. MinerCraftGuy says:

    And where’s the link to the Google Code page for those people that want to have a look at the sourcecode so they can submit patches ?

    “Google Code will be turning read-only on August 25th”, so I hope someone already exported the code to Github

  11. grieloliveira says:

    It’s my first time here, so.. How do I participate? 😀

  12. vrexp says:

    how do we register

  13. Cloudeyes says:

    hello ,
    we already uploaded the game . but we did not have time to implement the sounds effect that we already made for the game, is implementing it now and updating the game considered bug fixing or not ?

  14. Kevin XD says:

    Seven weeks to hardcore Ludum Dare…. aaaah, I ate waiting…

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