August LD – You Decide!

Posted by (twitter: @_sorceress)
June 9th, 2016 3:18 pm

Greetings Ludum Darers,

PoV has said that if I want to take charge on this, then I should start a thread. So here we are…

I have prepared a voting form for people to give feedback on four options relating to whether we should host an LD in August or not.

I urge you all to first of all read the recent blog post by PoV, which should be stickied at the top of the front page. In this post, PoV has highlighted his reasons for wanting to cancel the LD in August.

Some people in the community believe it should go ahead regardless, in one form or another. Whatever the outcome, PoV has made it clear that he will not be hosting any event in August, so that task would become the responsibility of trusted others.

I’m in favour of polling the community, and seeing what you all think. Please try to understand the problems PoV has highlighted. Take time to weigh up the pros and cons of running an LD event anyway. Please try to take all things into consideration when voting.

The provisional date we have for an August LD is the weekend of August 26th-29th. But note that we have not yet decided if the game jam will go ahead at all. The purpose of the poll is gather community feedback, and help us decide what to do next.

The poll was closed Tuesday 14th June, at 20:00UTC.

Over 600 votes have been received.

Conclusions:

  • Overall, the community very much wants the August LD to go ahead, and to happen on this website, in one form or another.
  • The community understand PoV’s concerns and is willing to forego the game rating phase after the event.
  • The community is opposed to hosting the August LD elsewhere.
  • The community is strongly opposed to cancelling August LD completely.

The next step:
The next step is decide how we are going to make LD36 happen. Several of us have the website permissions to run a game jam, but there are things which we cannot do without some minimal cooperation by PoV. For example, we cannot make theme announcement using the @ludumdare twitter account, nor do we have access to the new theme hub. Rest assured that I’ll do the best I can despite these challenges. :)


73 Responses to “August LD – You Decide!”

  1. Wan says:

    To me it’s pretty important to keep LD going for a simple reason: it’s the perfect opportunity to move some responsibility off PoV’s shoulders.

    For quite some time now it has been hard for him to keep up both running the event AND leading the projects for LD’s future AND being sustainable. I’m not sure why it hasn’t been done earlier, but a website this size definitely needs to be backed by an organized team, with shared responsibilities and people to back things up in case someone is not available.

    In other words: let’s bump the Bus Factor above 1 😛

  2. zatyka says:

    It would be helpful if we knew how PoV not participating impacts a LD event. I assume he does some behind-the-scenes work to combat the voting abuse. If so, is someone else willing and able to take that role?

    If you and the other admins are able to assume PoV’s responsibilities, I think a normal LD would be best. Yeah, the results may reflect some voting abuse, but if there is no voting, people will be far less inclined to play and comment on each other’s games. To me, reading player comments is far more valuable than my score/ranking.

  3. micahcowan says:

    I agree with @zatyka. Don’t really mind if there’s no voting, but I don’t think that just because there’s some abuse, we should throw it out completely until we have some solutions. Not having LD at all is definitely a “throwing out the baby with the bathwater” solution.

    It might be time, if @PoV is agreeable, to move LD to an explicitly community-based effort, rather than having a single person who feels the overwhelming weight of responsibility on their shoulders.

  4. Tijn says:

    Thanks for setting up this poll, sorceress!

    I personally much prefer voting-with-some-faults than no voting at all. I feel the voting is a big part of what LD is.

  5. Jordan says:

    Voting is what makes it Ludum Dare rather than a normal game jam. We’ve always done it this way in the past, so why not just one or two more times before the new website?

    • Brice says:

      Agreed 100% that we need voting. Voting and ranking is how you get clear feedback from your fellow game developers. It’s massively important to improve one’s craft. Without voting and seeing who truly created something exceptional and how that compares to your own ranking, LD is just yet another game jam IMO.

      I’ll share a story that illustrates this: my first ever Ludum Dare I was disappointed that I ranked lower than games I (personally) thought were worse than mine. However I realized that these games had much better presentation and graphics than me, and that really boosted their overall rating. I learned a deep lesson that I personally OVERVALUE design and UNDERVALUE graphics, and if I was going to improve as a game dev I needed to change. As a result all my future games have had more polish put into the graphics, and they are much better received as a result. I credit voting and ranking with this lesson that will last a lifetime.

      People can cheat and game it, but it’s still the best tool out there for just plain getting better and getting feedback.

  6. djfariel says:

    I strongly believe that holding this event is important to the Ludum Dare community as a whole. We cannot fracture this community, and by not having the event we would be doing just that.

    Ludum Dare has grown immensely over the last few years. It’s become an important time for a lot of people. Some gather friends, others rent venues. Some stream their development online and pull in thousands of views. Some use it to grow, for education, and others use it to try new things. Whatever the purpose, there are thousands of people that participate and look forward to this event, and it still continues to grow.

    Not holding a Ludum Dare will damage that. Possibly irreparably. Worst case scenario, the community fractures in to smaller groups – some poorly managed, doomed to fade in to oblivion. Some not so poorly managed, that may succeed for a while, but ultimately compete with each other and detract from the experience at large.

    I don’t even want to chance that.

    We have a community with over a thousand submissions per event. At least half of these people are programmers, and I know at least some of them can develop in a web environment. We have the skills, and the knowledge. Now, we have the opportunity. We need to band together and help Ludum Dare to continue on. All we need is a leader.

    I’m hoping that leader continues to be PoV, if he’s willing. PoV, I know you’re stressed. I know you need a break. But I beg of you, sieze this opportunity for community outreach. Let us help you. Show us where you want to go. Light the canyon so we can build your bridge.

    Let Ludum Dare carry on, with a new site, with a dedicated support team, with one rough event to get through… let Ludum Dare carry on, no matter what.

  7. madmarcel says:

    I think a hosted-elsewhere option is a good solution.

    For hosting elsewhere:

    Both

    itch.io and gamejolt (http://itch.io and http://gamejolt.com)

    offer robust solutions for hosting gamejams, with ratings, filtering, etc all provided.
    Most LD participants already host their games elsewhere, so it wouldn’t be much of a change.

    I think it would be trivial to host a Ludum Dare using those sites. The only thing you’d loose is the ability to rate a single game on more than one property, but maybe something could be organized to accommodate for that.

  8. KhaoTom says:

    Waiting another 3 months is not going to be the doom of LD. Having a special edition MiniLD sounds just fine. The theme can be “PoV’s Vacation” and we’ll all make games as a thank you gift for Mike in which we spin tall tales about his time off.

    • eric777 says:

      I LOVE THIS!!!!! The theme of August LD should absolutely be PoV’s Vacation!!!! Genius.

      (but I do think it should be a full LD36 or full minus voting, and the sooner the uncertainty is put to rest the better imo.)

    • aeveis says:

      I like this idea. This feels the most community driven and the least overhead driven (as logistically there are problems with judging here or elsewhere).

  9. scorched says:

    So Mike wants to see, if community is strong enough to self-maintain an event! Let’s do it and prove we can!
    Either 1 or 2 option would do!

  10. Pickens Inc. says:

    Ah, you did make a post! Thank you for doing so. If there’s anything a scrub with time can do to help, let me know. LD shouldn’t break it’s streak, even if it means hosting it elsewhere.

    As an aside, even after the PoV’s post, I still don’t understand why a community-run LD WITH ratings is something PoV is so opposed to. Sure, there are bad apples, but you’re spending time chilling and fixing it, and I think we can bear it if it means not missing the LD!

  11. eric777 says:

    I would support option 1 or 2.

    Option 3 is not something I could support. My opposition to just dropping a whole LD is about it creating inconsistency and uncertainty about the future of LD. Having a re-implemented LD hosted elsewhere for just one event has some of the same drawbacks, unless it were intended to live on past that which runs into feeling disloyal to PoV for me (maybe that’s misplaced, dunno – I’m just putting myself in PoV’s shoes: I’m tired, I’m frustrated with the shortcomings of the current system, I’m wishing I could take one event off to focus on LD future, and having someone else re-do the event significantly in the name of ‘helping out one time’ feels bad, regardless of how pure the intention is).

    Option 4 is something I can’t support either.

    I have an overdeveloped sense of loyalty. I tend to be slow to pick those I am loyal to, and then once I feel they’ve earned it, I’m fierce and probably overprotective. I feel protective of PoV, and want to see him succeed.

  12. dollarone says:

    I think option #2 is the best. Ideally I’d like voting, but I see Mike’s point about LD’s reputation. I’d much rather have a LD hosted on the usual site with the usual setup – without voting – especially if it’s just this one time – than host it elsewhere or not at all.

    In a perfect world we would have voting, but I think we should take Mike’s advice and wait for the new site before we add voting to avoid damaging LD’s reputation.

  13. eric777 says:

    @sorceress: Maybe go all-in on option #1 (host LD with voting for August with current system), but channel all of the option #3 energy into developing anti-cheat procedures on the voting data. I saw some really good ideas in the PoV thread from oxysoft and rnlf and others (personally partial to the voting key obtained in-game – BOOM!).

    Basically instead of forgoing the voting, perhaps treat August as an experiment for new voting rules and/or algorithms to catch cheaters. If all or part of a better solution is achieved, I bet that’d live on and be hugely helpful in PoV’s efforts to tackle the new LD site.

  14. laaph says:

    How is “no voting but LD will go on” different than “no LD but a mini-LD will occur”? A miniLD is nearly a LD with voting and more lax rules, no?

    Also, I might propose that we vote and we give feedback, but the results aren’t made known publicly. I’m not in Ludum Dare to get first place, I enjoy this game jam because unlike almost all other game jams and hackathons (including Global Game Jam), I know that after I make a game, roughly 20 of you crazy people will actually try to play it and give feedback. And that is a huge part of the awesomeness for me.

    Anyway, I know how I’m voting!

    • ajayajayaj says:

      The problem is people won’t have an incentive to vote and might not.

      • laaph says:

        The incentive is the same as before – if you want the feedback, you have to rate and score 20 games. The only difference is that the feedback wouldn’t be public, and “winners” wouldn’t be declared. If you don’t care about the feedback and just want to go for ratings, you can skip the process, and if you do want feedback, you’ll give everyone else feedback too.

        If we lost half the rating population, it would be okay.

  15. I’m all for any of the first three options. If I can be of any assistance, please let me know. My Twitter @GaTechGrad is probably the best way to reach me as I don’t always check this site or replies. I don’t consider myself to be a WordPress expert, but I have been recently making some simple WordPress customizations to my site.
    As someone mentioned earlier, I think the community just needs to be able identify the tacit knowledge relating to what is actually required to run a Ludum Dare event. I know there are hundreds of game jams on Itch.io and GameJolt that people throw up on a whim. Ludum Dare adds a level of complexity by having theme voting and selection, along with having game voting cast in multiple categories. I’m not sure if Itch.io or GameJolt handle those cases, or if they can handle the server load of 2000+ entries being submitted in a single weekend.
    Honestly, I’ve always thought the ratings were sort of pointless anyway, since everyone is graded by different set of voters, which is why I haven’t even looked at my results since LD27. I just like making a game in a weekend that other people will play, and checking out the games that are made by my friends who are on here.

  16. Geckoo1337 says:

    I respect the main idea which has been explained by PoV – even if I would like an LudumDare session for August. I propose to migrate the next LD on Itch.io – there is a possibility to create some event. However I wish you the best. Thank PoV for what you did and what you do for us ++

  17. maartene says:

    Ludum Dares are really important to me. With my limited time budget these three weekends are probably the only three games i finish in a year.

    I updated the “no rating” option.

    Even though I would love to believe that it is possible to run a rated event I don’t believe it’s possible anymore on the current site (not with respecting PoV’s time out anyway) and I seriously doubt the feasibility of moving to a different site on such short notice. No ratings thus seems to be the best short term solution: we will have theme selection/slaughter, a fixed weekend, “I’m in!” posts, gifts, time pressure and playing games. All stuff a mini-LD has less of, although that is of course still an option.

  18. Catwheel says:

    I just want a good reason to make a game with the community that’s here. Whatever the case, thank you Mike for what you’ve done for us.

  19. McMutton says:

    For me the rating option is very important… actually I even would like to see it in the MiniLDs…. but I don’t really care about the Top 100-Lists.
    The ratings are an additionaly feedback what people liked about your games and I really wouldn’t like to miss any source of feedback. But if people try to cheat wouldn’t it be enough if there isn’t any “winner”/”Top 100 Games” List? Without that, what’s the point of cheating? …are there really people who manipulate the system, only to get more feedback?

  20. CoderJoe says:

    I’m think I’m just echoing everyone else here. I think a LD with ratings is important. If some people cheat and bypass the voting system that’s their problem. Since there is no prize the ratings aren’t super important. Rather they give us feedback and support. If we have to do a LD without voting though I guess that’s okay; the fun and experiences it provides is still worth it.

  21. rnlf says:

    Hey guys, if you want a rated LD, which you should, please don’t vote option 2 or 3 up. Even if you fear that we will not have an LD at all then, I think it is safe to assume that the first 3 options will get by far the most votes, but upvoting option 1 AND another one will reduce the chances for a rated LD.

    So please vote option 1 and none of the others 😉

  22. Tselmek says:

    A LD without the ratings is not that big of an issue in my opinion, all the community love and the awesome comments are always really satisfying to receive. But having a score to wait for might be a pretty effective motivation, I easily go for the procrastination route if I don’t get some motivational boost, I’m kinda like a dog too lazy to do a trick if there’s no food reward afterwards. It’s also a nice way to share your jam experience, throwing a “Hey, guess how good I did in the last LD?” among your friends and getting them interested into what you did gets you some extra motivation to keep doing the gamedevey goodness.

    In the end, it’s not much about “To ratings or not to ratings” but rather if the jam should happen or not. I think the jam should happen anyway, be it an unofficial 35.5 edition. My selfish side would never want to miss this amazing gamedev meeting but I’m assuming I’m not the only one in that boat, moreover August is a time of holiday so most of the participants have (more) free time on their hands so that wouldn’t be a missed opportunity.

    I’m hugely thankful to PoV for pulling out what he’s been doing, I’ll never mention enough how big of an impact Ludum Dare had and still has on my passion for gamedev. I’m not the most qualified but I’m happy to provide any help I can to make sure the stone keeps rolling. SHOW MUST GO ON PEOPLE, SHOW MUST GO ON!

    • Tselmek says:

      ps. Sorry for adding my brick to the wall of text. Have a good one!

    • rnlf says:

      “LD without the ratings is not that big of an issue in my opinion, all the community love and the awesome comments are always really satisfying to receive”. Do you think you will receive even 1/10 of the comments that you get when ratings is enabled?

      Take a look at any other jam without rating. How many people do ACTUALLY play games made for them?

      If there is no rating and especially nothing like the coolness system of LD, then people make their games, post them and come back again for the next jam.

      RATING == COMMENTS.

      • Tselmek says:

        It is another inconvinience about not having ratings enabled that I didn’t mention in my comment but I entirely agree that without ratings, that motivational spark is absent and not much would happen.

        What I meant was that if you were to take out the ratings from your past LD experience, you wouldn’t care much because the comments and the love are pretty important to our indie eyes. But in fact, ratings act like a kind of catalyzer with these things, so not enabling ratings sure would have a huge impact on the amount of comments received.

  23. mildmojo says:

    So leaf went ahead and set up “itch dare”:

    https://itch.io/jam/itch-dare

    This has my vote. Let LD lie low this time around, we can all don disguises and have a LD masquerade over at itch.io, then come back home for Christmas in the new digs. Thanks for everything, Mike. We’ll see you again soon.

  24. pythong says:

    I’m for a “Let PoV have a vacation” – LD 😉 [starring PoV or a chicken in each game ^^]
    I wouldn’t call this an ‘official’ LD, but even if it had the same character as a MiniLD, that would be sufficient for me. I also noticed for a few LDs already that the voting system can be easily rigged, but personally, I guess I’m still one of the ‘old’ dogs who don’t really care about winning or losing, but care more about making games.
    On another note: Yes, the voting system is not perfect, Yes it should be changed (again unfortunately*sigh*). Maybe a system where user votes (or even users) can be more easily invalidated when others are noticing a cheating pattern

  25. locher2015 says:

    how about voting on a mini ld I’d like it if that was a option thanks!

    • Tijn says:

      LD without rating is basically what a miniLD is, except for the theme voting.

      • sorceress says:

        LD without ratings:
        – there would still be theme voting
        – compo+jam rules would still apply
        – there would hopefully still be a keynote video, if we can find a person to do it.
        – the theme announcement is like the sound of a starting pistol to a group of trained athletes.
        – still expect 1000+ entries

        miniLD:
        – the host selects a theme
        – relaxed rules, as people can make whatever they want, including modifying one of their old games.
        – there’s no definite start+stop time, and submissions are open for a week or more.
        – it’s called MiniLD XX, not Ludum Dare XX, which feels less important.
        – typically about 100 entries. I would expect more this time though.

        • mantis says:

          I would reckon that people wouldn’t participate as gladly in the non-voting LD, for the very same reason I wouldn’t participate: it’s nice to create something, but LD is a competition. In the LD I’m driven to create better game than any game I’ve created so far. Rating other people’s work is also exciting – you get to give back to the community that helped you create your game, and you get to see some awesome gems.

          Without voting how would the community share the true gems? In my best run, I took couple days off work and I’ve rated from early morning till late night. I’ve manged to rate 10% of the submitted games – around 300. It was absolutely awesome. I’ve encountered many awesome entries, but even with that huge number of games played, I didn’t get to play all the finalists. No voting means that I would most likely never see those games.

          This is why I think we should go with voting and to the cheaters I say, in immortal words of Conan the Barbarian: TO HELL WITH YOU!

  26. Frenchie says:

    If we host the jam somewhere else I’m in favor of doing it over at GameJolt. If you were to get in touch with them now I’m sure they could do some work to make the jam specialized for LD

  27. oxysoft says:

    Wait so he supports a standard dare without votes but is against one with votes simply because there was a case of someone cheating and a few people angry about the coolness system? (rightfully so) The voting system may be kind of shit but it’s still way better than nothing, just what the fuck kind of logic is at play?

  28. Arowx says:

    Can I suggest a theme rainbow lattice sunstone!

  29. lukethecoder64 says:

    When will the results of this poll be shared?

  30. Will Edwards says:

    PoV, you should abandon the rewrite. You should spend less time on LD. LD can grow, but only if you let it do it organically. It doesn’t need to grow in the technical directions you have been pushing, and the wider LD community will be indifferent and apathetic of your hard work.

    Yes WP sucks. Yes people cheat. Yes others (incl. me) spam people promoting their game. Yes admin is a hassle.

    No, none of this needs to change. The change – which can happen just as well with the current WP as with a new one – is that we need to become more community-spirited. The site will be stickier and make people rate more games if it incorporates geolocation, for example. Or simply make it easier to find web-playable (non-Unity) games etc.

    The bus-factor of this contest is approaching one, and its really your doing PoV. Give away more responsibility to others. If you build an alternative LD, the crowd won’t follow you. The mob is fickle.

  31. Llucile says:

    Why does it look like anyway itch.io is organising a “Itch Dare” regardless of our voting ?

    Multiple “Dare” would be bad. But I also agree with everyone who previously said it shouldn’t be hosted by any specific tierce platform. :-/

    • narve says:

      They said that they wouldn’t do it if LD36 happens. They haven’t said anything since the poll results were released.

      • Llucile says:

        Well they didn’t say anything about not organising this jam on the main page. They even went ahead and wrote “ludum dare won’t be happening in August”. :-/

        “Why

        itch dare is not ludum dare, we’re just helping out since Ludum Dare in August is not happening.

        As you may have noticed, this jams matches Ludum Dare’s structure exactly! Ludum Dare won’t be happening this August: http://ludumdare.com/compo/2016/06/08/well-this-is…”

        I think this is at least confusing :(

  32. TerraCottaFrog says:

    So, is the final decision to have a normal ludum dare?

  33. ajayajayaj says:

    I think we should redo the poll with just Ld without votes and Normal LD. LD without votes might have won because people were scared of there being no LD.

  34. Cheshyr says:

    While the conclusion section is concise, the fact that ‘No Ratings’ outscored ‘Normal LD’ by almost 10% suggests the community *does* feel PoV’s concerns are sufficient. It’s not like votes are mutually exclusive.

  35. Brice says:

    Wow, I’m quite surprised people aren’t as interested in the ratings. That’s very disappointing. I love getting ratings so I can improve and learn from those who rated better than me in specific categories.

    Oh well, it’s just a single competition I suppose. :-)

  36. CyberStarLight says:

    sorceress , thank you very much for doing this poll and letting us voice our preferences and opinions!

  37. Shackhal says:

    I understand PoV’s point of view, but the idea of cancel this August LD could damage LD’s reputation. So even if August LD won’t have ratings, I feel it must continue for respect to the tradition and for been an important event to the game developers on a global scale.

    Also, this could be a great opportunity to express the importance of LD to us and as a “thank you” to PoV. And this could be the last time using this site, considering that (on December LD i hope) it will exist a new functional website.

    So I propose to include a theme around “LD”, apart of the community-chosen theme. You, Sorceress, and a few people can choose the exact words of that additional theme.

    About the theme announcement, you could use the other methods (IRC, webpage, mailing list, etc).

    Thanks for your efforts to keep LD running.

  38. maartene says:

    I’m a bit confused: will the August LD be with or without ratings?

    Both are fine with me as long as we can guarantee PoV his time off.

  39. Will Edwards says:

    Sorceress, thank you for saving our Ludum Dare! I see the countdown says 8 weeks now :)

  40. Mukabak Orazbek says:

    Good luck guys!

  41. lenon_kramer says:

    There will be a LD in august, then?? I’m surely in! It will be my first.

  42. Oller125 says:

    I’m in!

  43. ShadowManes says:

    I’m in! and a little excited to participate in one of these

  44. MatousFiala says:

    We’re In :)

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