Welcome to Ludum Dare 35!

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
April 13th, 2016 6:16 pm

Hi everyone, and Welcome to Ludum Dare 35! It’s our 14th year, and there’s just one thing left to do:


Click the image above to Vote for Ludum Dare 35’s Theme! The highest rated theme will be revealed on Friday April 15th at 9:00 PM EST (6:00 PM PDT, or Saturday 01:00 UTC).

Join us on IRC (#ludumdare on irc.afternet.org) or Twitter (/ludumdare) for the Theme Announcement!

33 Real World Gatherings

At the time of this writing, I’m aware of 33 Ludum Dare related gatherings going on this weekend.


There may be more, but you’ll have to check the comments for more details.

New Server (Paris)

A few weeks back, I moved the Ludum Dare website from a server in Washington, DC to a server in Paris, France. This was mainly to save money, but along the way I was able to make some fixes. The old server cost us around $200 a month (used to be more, I negotiated less last year). The replacement costs around $27. Pretty good savings if I do say so.

The biggest improvement is that e-mail should actually work now. Setting up an e-mail server used to be a simple matter of setting MX records and running sendmail. Now it’s a lot more complicated, requiring multiple certificates, and technologies with silly acronyms like DKIM and DMARC. And don’t get me started on WordPress’s “feature” that breaks certificates. Ugh.

Suffice to say, it works now. Finally.

The site should also be faster. Gone is our ancient platter hard drive, we’re on an SSD now! That and a we actually have more cores (8 instead of 6), and nearly triple the RAM. On paper hte per-core performance should be lower (Intel Xeon vs Intel Atom), but our pages are generating anywhere from 2x-10x faster now.

That said, CloudFlare occasionally hiccups, thinking our server disappeared. But no worry. Give it a moment, and click that “Retry for Live” button, and it should fix itself.

If you run in to any oddities with the site, post them here, or contact me.

Live Streams

Some months ago, I was made aware that Twitch changed how it handled Game Development streams. Though some people still set their game to “Game Development“, most streams found on Twitch have the game set to “Creative“, with a hashtag #GameDev in the title.

For Ludum Dare, you set your game to “Ludum Dare“.

Now Twitch hasn’t told me otherwise, but I expect we’ll eventually be encouraged to switch to the “Creative” game using a hashtag (#LDJAM, #LudumDare, #LD35, etc). These are not supported by the old streaming widget.


Now I have been working on the replacement for the streaming widget. It’s not fully functional yet, but it does do almost everything the old one did. Most notably, it does handle the Game=Creative with hashtags case. Because it was so close, when I migrated the server over, I didn’t bother getting the old streaming widget working. I assumed I’d find the time to finish.

Well here we are, 2 days before Ludum Dare, and whoops it’s still not done, ha! I *should* be able to get it working in a day (i.e. Thursday), but the backup plan is to get the old widget seen above back online.

What that means: Depending on which widget you see in the top of the sidebar.

  • Old Widget (seen above, rounded retro TV shape): Set your game to “Ludum Dare” on Twitch or Hitbox, or include “Ludum Dare” in your YouTube stream title
  • New Widget (channel thumbnails): Either set your game to “Ludum Dare” on Twitch or Hitbox, or to “Creative” on Twitch with a hashtag #LDJAM in your title. There *might* also be LiveCoding.tv support, but no promises (I’ve been having issues with their API). YouTube support is unfinished

Related, Beam has been giving me some trouble lately. It looks like there may have been an API change. I haven’t had a chance to investigate.

Keynote! Hosted by DesignerNap and Catmoo

This time we have two hosts! Gary “DesignerNap/XopsX” Napper and Catherine “Catmoo” Woolley.

You might be familiar with a 2014 game they worked on Alien: Isolation, with Gary as a Lead Designer and Catherine as a Designer. I’m always thrilled to hear from fellow developers that have made their mark on the industry (Gary, Catherine), but then to find out “Oh by the way, I’ve finished 9 Ludum Dare’s, and she’s done 17!. Seventeen! 23 if you count her Global Game Jams too. Wow!

Oh, and as if that wasn’t enough, Catherine has a BAFTA.

So with that, I’m thrilled to share this latest Ludum Dare keynote. Check it out:

That’s it from me. Good luck, and have a great Ludum Dare.


61 Responses to “Welcome to Ludum Dare 35!”

  1. sorceress says:

    Yey \o/

    So who here is excited?

  2. ajayajayaj says:

    Can we see the results of the past voting rounds?

    • PoV says:

      It’s been suggested that knowing the numbers is enough information to estimate the final theme (or the top 3). So at the moment no. I’m not sure how deal with this, or if we should. I will eventually add a way to see what themes advanced to the Final Round, but that data is not known until all 4 rounds have finished.

      I introduced markings on previous Ludum Dare themes in the Theme Voting (Evolution and Exploration), and the result was that those themes got super downvoted. I suspect if we were to mark the highest rated theme (or themes), something unpredictable would happen. I can’t decide if this is worth trying (top 5), a variant (#1 and #20), or not at all.

      I think ultimately I need to poll the community, get the general opinion on number of themes in the Final Round. How important unpredictability is, or even predictability (maybe the majority actually likes cheating). If 20 is still the magic number, or maybe it should be 10 (higher predictability).

      Anyway, I have enough polls going on and new things to try (Theme Fusion), so I’ll revisit this later.

      • WASD says:

        Im new here and only finished MiniLD#65 so far. But Im strictly against predictability for the final theme. I think the less you know until LD starts the more creative you will be when it comes to figure out what you want to do with that just revealed and “unpredictable” specific theme :)

        But thats just my opinion, so no offense

        greetz boys

      • sorceress says:

        For as long as I’ve been here, the winning theme has always been one of the top 5 scorers from rounds 1-4, and usually one of the top 3 scorers.

        In this light, putting 20 themes into the final round is kind of unnecessary, as half of them have no realistic chance of winning. 5 themes should be sufficient, but a couple extra would provide a buffer. (7 is sometimes quoted as being the threshold of human cognitive load, the number of things we can really process without bias or neglecting one or more)

      • howardcs says:

        I’d be happy if I could just see the votes or rank of my own suggestions after the voting is over.

  3. Mr.Chippy says:

    Aww. EAT YO PANTS isn’t in the final voting round :c

  4. SonnyBone says:

    Best keynote I’ve seen so far. And not just because I’m in it ๐Ÿ˜€
    Lots of GREAT info for everyone from all jam backgrounds!

    Great to see Catmoo dropping that veteran knowledge. I think we both started out with LD16 way back.

    Oh, and Alien Isolation blew my mind. Proud to be a participant of LD alongside those talented devs.


    3,2,1 – LET’S JAM!!!

  5. Picking a username is hard says:

    Amazing Keynote!

  6. fluidvolt says:

    What a charming keynote~

    Tons of good advice too! Can we make ‘tips while motor-cycling’ a thing from now on?

  7. invaderJim says:

    I nominate Timelapse Ketchup as the secret theme

  8. scriptorum says:

    Fantastic keynote! Great tips in there.

  9. ORECROS says:


  10. It would be nice if the Ludum Dare TV widget supported YouTube live streams as well. I never liked Twitch because it forces viewers to watch a lengthy commercial, which the streamer doesn’t receive any compensation.

  11. cyberspace009 says:

    I better warm up!

  12. batmanasb says:

    I was super hyped all week but I’m starting to get a little scared. Mentally this will be my first Ludum Dare where I actually compete and obey the theme… so all the pressure it getting to me and I’m drawing blanks looking at the themes :(

  13. General says:

    As I submitted my LD33 entry with full source code, can I use some modules from it, like sound player, screens changer for my LD35 entry?

    • squirrelbot says:

      As per the rules (http://ludumdare.com/compo/rules/), you can use any base code you like.

      • UncleChris says:

        For the jam you may use that code.

        Compo is limited in what you can “reuse”.

        Basically fonts, and only a logo/intro screen for you/your brand is allowed (e.g. โ€œby Super-Great Gamesโ€). The rest textures/photos/models must be created/crafted during the compo.

        • alyphen says:

          This counts as base code though, so can be used for the compo as well.
          The old rules used to state:
          “Base code and personal code libraries are allowed, but should be declared and shared with the community prior to beginning your entry. To do this, make a blog post.”
          The new rules state:
          “Youโ€™re free to start with any base-code you may have.”
          So by either, since this is public, it’s allowed.

  14. DesignerNap says:

    Thanks for the kind comments everyone! Had a lot of fun making the keynote and glad it is being enjoyed by so many. A few people have asked me about the music. I made it all myself (LD style) and may make it available for download if people are interested.

    Best of luck all!

  15. fullmontis says:

    Love the keynote! Thank you guys for this, very useful and fun.

    Getting really pumped to start some gamedev!

  16. SeppelSquirrel says:

    None of the good themes made it into the final round. :(

    • SkullPixel says:

      One Massive Enemy is cool. Not at all like I suggested it. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Stuntddude says:

      Specifically rooting for a couple themes, were we?

      • SeppelSquirrel says:

        There were like 10 themes that I would’ve devoted an entire weekend to making a game, and NONE of them made it to the final round.

        Here, let’s go through all the themes that made top 20:

        Shapeshift: Boring and time consuming.

        The light hurts you: Too straightforward a theme. You can make any “The X hurts you.” theme.

        Mutation: A slight variation of shapeshift.

        Indirect control: Aggravating to program. Motivation killer.

        You are the dungeon: MAGIC SCHOOL BUS ADVENTURE RPG :/

        Create Life: Sex. Or Spore. :/

        Death is Progress: Incredibly overdone theme in gaming recently.

        You don’t control the hero: More specific than “indirect control” and I can think of one way I’d want to do this theme, and even then, it’s meh motivation.

        Adaptation: I will accept this one if we all make adaptations of famous novels.

        Build your way out: Overdone. Very similar to a previous LD theme.

        Limited view: Far too broad a theme. Could be interpreted in a billion ways. The box is too big here.

        Microworld: Decent, but… too many ideas.

        Two Colors: I would’ve preferred Three Colors, which was in the top 80.

        One item, choose: Already done as “You only get one” in a previous LD.

        One massive enemy: There’s room to explore here. Inb4millions of Warning Forever clones.

        Companion: Generic, but doable. I voted yes for this one.

        Everything is connected: This is a staple of good literature and good game design. It’s not a theme. Everything is connected in Super Metroid whooooa etc. Not a theme.

        Three Rules: Of the remaining themes, I like this one. I’m sure it would create some good games. I voted yes.

        Everything Falls Apart: There’s a book called “Things Fall Apart” and it’s a great story. Gamewise we’d probably just get a bunch of emo and destructive games. No thanks.

        Limited resources: Oh like every game ever. Yeah. That’s not a theme.

  17. William Florencio says:

    Wonderfull keynote! I’m very excited.

  18. Aiursrage2k says:

    Okay the themes are looking pretty good I dont know why its so much better this time maybe its the new slaughter system.

  19. Arowx says:

    It’s a pity we don’t have the previous rounds scores as that normally gives you an idea of the most likely themes.

  20. xWarZonex says:

    This was a really good keynote! First one I’ve watched all the way through. Goodjob.

  21. OldPeculier says:

    Best LD keynote ever. But wait, should I take showers and wash? I don’t think that was made clear enough.

  22. Kharza says:

    Tea is great advice, just the right amount of brain juice. Box of yorkshire ready!

  23. ORECROS says:

    I’m actually pretty excited about most of the final 20. Not as excited about the fact that “Death is Progress” won over “Death is Meaningful” as I had a pretty neat idea in mind for it.

  24. Oh man. That slow panning shot over the google calendar just about made me split my sides with laughter. Great keynote guys!

  25. Skaz says:

    Bienvenue chez nous ๐Ÿ˜‰

  26. kastor says:

    OMG CAN’T WAIT… btw it would be AWESOME if the livecoding.tv support would work ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Lattyware says:

      I would highly recommend against supporting livecoding.tv – they have a history of harassment against users of their service: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10486476

      In summary, they refused to delete a user’s account, then when she complained, publicly doxed and slandered her on their site, before one of the founders had a meltdown in the HackerNews thread claiming every negative comment about the service was some kind of conspiracy.

      That’s not the kind of service you want associated with ludumdare – a community event that has a naturally inclusive set-up. I’d recommend supporting other streaming services instead.

  27. Kalkatos says:

    I have a feeling that I down voted a theme in the slaughter and upvoted it now…

  28. josemwarrior says:

    It’s nice to see such talented people participating in the Ludum Dare

  29. TeamScripta says:

    We’re in! Let’s JAM!

  30. What is this “ludum daray” they speak of?

  31. goldsheep says:

    Hey all, I spent some time looking for a free collaborative drawboard app that works decently (has pressure sensitivity and all): drawpile.net/download/

    Hope that helps teams that are working remotely, enjoy!

  32. Hyden says:

    Where do we post our finished games. The faq mentions to put them on dropbox or the drive, but where do I post the link here from the dropbox?

  33. eggy says:

    I am in for the experience. Good luck to all!
    I hope to present something this time…

    I will be using:

    – Custom Lisp game engine, OR Godot game engine
    – Procreate on iPad Pro
    – Clip Studio Pro (formerly Manga Studio)
    – Blender3D
    – Sunvox
    – OP-1 synthesizer
    – Glapse

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