What amazes me about Ludum Dare

Posted by
December 19th, 2014 3:24 am

LD30 was my first entry, and I had only heard about the competition a month or so prior to it. I was excited to join and became quite happy with the game I made. Somehow I thought that would be the end of it, but that’s when I discovered the whole voting system. It hadn’t even crossed my mind all of these thousands of games would need to be rated. I think the system itself is genius – the more you rate, the more you get rated. It’s the perfect incentive. So I started rating games. Every game I played was something new, something that someone put real effort into – and that alone was amazing to me. I learned so much just looking at all these different interpretations of the theme, the different ways of approaching the creation of a game. Verbalizing what in my opinion was great and what could be improved was great practice. I stumbled upon everything from absolutely wonderful, incredible games to the opposite end of the scale. This was when it hit me.

Normally on the Internet, when I see something that’s perhaps not up to par, I barely want to look at the comments. People have no inhibitions destroying whatever they get a chance to. Personally, I never think the opposite end of the scale is just crap. Someone with an idea, a person that has put real effort into something, has created something specific, and although it might not have turned out amazing, there’s still work that’s been done and an aspiration to go somewhere. Here’s what amazed me then and does this time around as well: Everyone agreed.

In Ludum Dare, it doesn’t matter what you’ve created. No one is out to destroy you. I don’t have that much time to rate and play, but throughout these two competitions I’ve rated close to 100 games, and I have not seen one single destructive comment. Everyone is constructive, and even one game in the previous competition where I felt like there was nothing I could say, I started reading the comments and found plenty of awesome suggestions, all related to the very base of computer game creation, and it inspired me to find something to add to the suggestions.

With every game I rate, and with every rating I get, I learn something. This community is impossible to beat, and I’m proud to be part of it.

(PS: *Commercial warning*: If you want to try out and rate my game for LD31, it’s available here: http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-31/?action=preview&uid=38819)

20 Responses to “What amazes me about Ludum Dare”

  1. Mechamew says:

    What an awesome post! I think you’ve done an excellent job of summing up just why Ludum Dare is such a unique and special wonder of the internet!

    • little-burrito says:

      Thank you! I’ve been praising this community and competition to everyone around me, but never to the community itself, so I figured I might as well tell it to the people who make it as cool as it is. I’m glad you think I’ve made it justice :-)

  2. Tuism says:

    The systematic creation of a support system for people needing support I think was one of the greatest things about LD :)

    That said, I find a lot of the throwaway comments pointless and clearly done with no care. I wish more people could take more care in what they write :)

    • little-burrito says:

      Indeed! And while I do agree with you on that it’s great when people take care in what they write, I think there’s also something to a comment that for example says “great graphics” or “too difficult” – even if it’s not much it says something about what the commenter thought. “Nice game” might not add a lot to the discussion, but at least it’s something, and a lot of people find it difficult to express themselves with words. But I agree with you, anyone can say more specific things than that if they really try, which would be nice :-)

      • Tuism says:

        Well even more specifically, I’m referring to the numerous obviously short comments and undoubtedly rates that are just people getting their coolness up. THAT irks me *so much*.

        • little-burrito says:

          Yeah, that’s a shame. I hope that writing as good comments as you can helps inspire people to do the same :)

        • rzuf says:

          Maybe coolness shouldn’t be awarded for rating the game, but rather for leaving a meaningful comment. In such case, the author of the game would grant a coolness point for commenter by “liking” his comment. (something like the “love” button for blog posts)
          Does that make sense? 😀

          • little-burrito says:

            How about you could give additional coolness for good comments, but apart from the coolness stays the same? I think there’s a point with you earning coolness for every rating you give.

  3. lemmily says:

    This is definitely the feelings I’ve had! This was my first time entering into a ludum dare and the feedback and support from the community surprised me! I didn’t know what to expect and I’m really glad I took part. I understand why people are like that though because every game I play I think “they made this in 48~72 hours, woah”, and you can always(usually) see something that was cool or interesting about their entry.

  4. dannyhodge says:

    I noticed the same thing, and actually had a really good comparison. This was my first LD, and I uploaded the game to Newgrounds as my link. My game was a tower defense, and although I was proud that I had finished it in a playable state, I knew it looked a little bit like arse. I had made rushed decisions as well, very limited amount of time on balance, etc.

    So, on LD, every person who commented picked out something good about the game, or told me about the fact that it kept crashing, which is a pretty fair response. And sure, people aren’t going to lie, they will tell you that a certain choice doesn’t work as you may have intended it, but that is extremely useful. I actually updated the game on a second link (will replace it after judging) based on the criticism, and it is a far better game.

    In contrast, on newgrounds the community wasn’t as forgiving. Here is one of the reviews it received:
    “It’s bad. Put some entertaining music in. Add better sound effects. Make better patterns. Make a shop. Take a better pic of the cat.(It’s good,but it’s kinda…bad). Change the background. Drop the prices.
    And you’ve got yourself a better game.”

    Now, don’t get me wrong, these are all fair points. And maybe it wasn’t a great idea for me to publish the game during judging (I think you can let people view it without it being published to the site, which i learnt afterwards). But still, LD peeps worded their responses is such a friendlier way that I can’t wait to improve on myself next time.

    So to sum up… Thanks for being awesome guys 😀

    • little-burrito says:

      That’s insane! Not surprising, but insane. I guess there’s something to knowing what everyone’s been through. It’s hard to make a game. Especially in 48 or 72 hours! I’ve been considering uploading directly to newgrounds myself, but you just talked me out of it – I’ll work on my things a bit more first :)

      Like I said, I’m glad to be part of the good guys!

      *** Edit ***
      I just want to emphasize, just like you said, that the newgrounds person is probably trying to express something helpful, just in much less constructive way.

      • Tuism says:

        Well, it’s the difference between people who do the work and people who consume. Newground is full of consumers. They don’t care if you put 48 hours without sleep into a game, they only care about the game – and that’s only fair, because they’re comparing what they see with 100000s of polished games already there.

        So yeah, don’t expect any mercy or understanding from consumers, they don’t care, nor should they, really.

  5. Instant Noodles says:

    Yes you rigth, everyone sweated his shirt for making games.
    We all know how hard and fun on the same time it is.
    that why every time i saw a small game i remember
    how it was for me and my friends, and i smille.

    Cool week-end it was.

  6. FlipskiZ says:

    I agree with you completely, this is my first LD and I am really glad to have taken a part in it. Not only did I learn a lot of new cool stuff I could do from the experience, but also learned a lot about this community, and just how extremely positive it is.
    A reason for this might be because you need to have made a game to comment(?), or at least vote. Filtering out the people that don’t know any better.

  7. Omiya Games says:

    Yup, as I’ve always said, Ludum Dare isn’t a competition; it’s a social experience. We all know what it’s like to make games under pressure, and we all relate. It’s our empathy that helps strengthen our game development skill set.

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