LD36 Theme suggestions are now open!

Posted by (twitter: @martijnfrazer)
July 2nd, 2016 9:30 am

Ludum Dare #36 is scheduled for the last weekend of August. That means we have about 8 weeks to go, so it’s time to start deciding on a theme!

Important note: The contest is being hosted here as usual! Both theme selection and submissions will be handled here, as has been done for all previous Ludum Dares.

UPDATE AUGUST 8: This is the last week of theme suggesting! We will start the slaughter soon, so if you still want to submit some themes, now is the time!

Theme suggestions

If you have suggestions for a theme we could use, please share them with us using the form below. You can submit as many themes as you like, the more the better!

LD36 theme suggestions form


Real world gatherings

If you want to organise a real world gathering, about now would be the time to start booking things. We’ll make a list for this shortly, so you can see if there’s something being organised in your area.

[ update! ] The list is up now! You can find it here:

About how this LD is organised

In case you’re wondering, we’re using the old method (Google Form) for theme suggestions again, instead of the new “theme hub” that was used for the last two LDs. After the suggestions round, we will also use the old slaughter script and vote on the final themes using the WordPress website.

That’s because this LD isn’t being organised by PoV, who has been organising them since forever and wants to take a break so he can finish the new shiny Ludum Dare website for us. He has explained the situation in a blog post if you are interested in more details.

In response to this, sorceress organised a vote to see what the community feels we should do while PoV takes his well deserved break. You can find more info about that here:

The results showed an overwhelming majority wants to organise LD regardless, so that’s what we’re doing. We will however skip the voting/rating of entries at the end of the event this time, because PoV has raised some concerns over them. The results of the vote reflect that the community understand these concerns and is willing to forego the game rating phase after the event.

I hope this all makes sense and we can make this LD a great one!

66 Responses to “LD36 Theme suggestions are now open!”

  1. ImperialCoders says:

    i suggest “Magic” as a theme because i believe we will see something huge coming up :D!

  2. Sébastien Bernery says:

    Would it be possible to keep the actual system for voting and just disable the rating ? I mean, even if there is no note, comments are still interesting and may be a way to have people playing games of other people. By keeping the actual system, it means that the game of the people who commented many games but few comments on their own will have their game on the top list of the “to be rated” games.
    I think it could be a good way to keep the “Ludum spirit” without notation and with no cheat (because everything is public).

  3. Avant-Marde says:

    Read all the blog posts but I still feel like I can’t find the most crucial piece of information: will LD36 take place on here, as usual, with the usual submission form, the usual submission hour and so on or not? I can’t seem to find confirmation anywhere.

  4. AnaGF says:

    I’m glad we finally have a LD36. Thanks to the users that are organizing it, this way we can enjoy a jam while PoV can get a break.

  5. oxysoft says:

    If ratings aren’t enabled, I’m not going to participate in protest, breaking my 8 times streak. This is completely stupid and blown out of proportion. We’ve provided good arguments on why it should be enabled and we’re being ignored, the flawed/biased poll is the verdict and our opinions don’t matter.

    • lukethecoder64 says:

      You won’t be breaking your streak. LD without ratings isn’t LD.

    • sorceress says:

      We’ve provided good arguments on why it should be enabled and we’re being ignored.

      At this stage, arguments for/against ratings will be ignored, because we’ve already decided how we’re going forward.

      This is completely stupid and blown out of proportion.

      I expected a sizable minority would not be happy with this plan, but it was simply not possible to satify everyone’s desires here. The poll shows “LD without ratings” to be acceptable to the largest number of people. PoV strongly opposes ratings, and the majority are willing to make this sacrifice in order to keep PoV happy.

      I feel it would be unfair and disrespectful to both the community and to PoV, to have this outcome overturned.

      • pragmascript says:

        >I expected a sizable minority would not be happy with this plan, but it was simply not possible to satify everyone’s desires here.

        It’s really not possible to tell if its a minority or majority who would like ratings without having another poll now that it’s clear that LD 36 will in fact take place.

      • lukethecoder64 says:

        Pov isn’t involved with this LD. Why is his opinion so important?

        Like I said before, this rating system has served us very well over 30 times over 10+ years. There are flaws, just like any other system we could come up with.

        I have never felt that I have received a unfair rating. I HIGHLY doubt that anyone else has felt that they were cheated by the voting system.

        For the past few LDs, pov has said that the old voting system would serve us just fine “one more time”. Why has opinion suddenly changed?


        • sorceress says:

          Pov isn’t involved with this LD. Why is his opinion so important?

          If you have read PoV’s blog posts, you will see that he talks about “needing to do server work”, if ratings are enabled. He has not granted anyone else server access, so we cannot do this server work ourselves. That is why his opinion in this matter is so important.

          For the past few LDs, pov has said that the old voting system would serve us just fine “one more time”. Why has opinion suddenly changed?

          I don’t know, because this question has never been adequately answered. I don’t know what this server work involves, or why it is necessary. I would have liked ratings too.

          • marfis says:

            I would really prefer the competition to have some kind of voting system. I strongly believe it is major factor in why many games are played at all. Can’t we have a temporary alternative voitng system, one which is simpler and easier to maintain just for this one event. It could potentially be outside of this website, some poll or form or such; just so there is some kind of feedback.

            I have been lurking for a while and wanted to participate in August for the first time and a lack of any kind of voting or (semi-)official feedback seems to be major downside.

            • sorceress says:

              We have many ingenious people in Ludum Dare, and I would be surprised if somebody didn’t build an alternate voting system :)

              People already do scrape game data from the LD website, to create these wonderful mosaics, amongst other things.

              The only potential problem would be user authentication, so an external voting system would likely be open to the public. There would be nothing to stop people adding links into their game pages, pointing to their entry in this external voting system. There are many possibilities.

              I agree with what you say, that the existence of ratings has a major effect on volume of feedback received. Note that this website will still allow feedback (comments) on each game page, despite no ratings.

              • marfis says:

                If comments are active, what about integrating votes into the comments? Just define a standard way to vote with a fixed syntax. The votes could then be automatically collected and calculated. This process could then be reproducable by any participant if he so wishes.

                The votes could look like this: [Graphics: 4][Fun: 3][Overall: 3]

                This would encourage people to comment and give reason for their vote. This also solves the authentification problem on the surface (you at least need an account to comment), which is good enough for a temporary solution. But this forces every vote te be public which changes the voting behaviour and this might be problem.

                Never the less, I think a centrally endorsed voting scheme like this should be in place. Define categories, vote ranges, and calculation rules (e.g. average plus a “3”-vote weighed four times). I fear otherwise nothing substential will happen.

              • JoseArias says:

                I think that the rating system is a good tool to increase the feedback received, but I think that an alternate voting system is a mistake.

                We are not using the rating system because some POV´s concerns but we are thinking about using an alternate system less secure… I think that alternate systems should be “forbidden”

          • lukethecoder64 says:

            Okay, that makes much more sense. To put it simply, POV has to do work for ratings and he doesn’t want to do it or let anyone else do it.

            Then again, isn’t it due to Pov’s actions that we are still using this old voting system?


      • Will Edwards says:

        Yeah PoV is holding us hostage again. Its a shame he can’t have let us have ratings and *not* do any of this server-side ‘stop-the-cheaters’ stuff, and we’ll all see at the end of it just how hurt everyone feels by the cheaters?

    • I’ve been in 10 Ludum Dares in a row now (every one since LD26). I saw how broken the rating system was after my first time, so I’ve never paid much attention to the ratings. For instance, a group of friends who are all doing LD together are undoubtedly going to give each other higher ratings than they would give a complete stranger. Plus, people tend to find their favorite dev and just post “yep 5 stars again” without any reasoning which makes me wonder if they are actually playing the games. I was in favor of removing the dev names from the submissions when rating them, but to be completely fair everyone should be given a set of random entries to judge from the system. I doubt that will ever happen, but I guess it really doesn’t matter since Ludum Dare has never been about prizes anyway.

      • Mister_Melon says:

        Definitely would prefer a system like the one you describe, makes for way better judging and if the game dev’s name is hidden from the entry when you’re rating, it really helps with bias. +1

      • Stuntddude says:

        While I highly disagree with getting rid of the coolness system as it sounds like you’re suggesting, and I think you’re significantly overstating the effect of people voting for developers they like (just look at how lukewarm the ratings were for Minicraft even though it was made by Notch himself), I do think making games appear anonymously until the rating phase is over would be a good change. The creator should still be able to comment on their own entry and be identifiable as the OP, though.

  6. ontherun says:

    Thanks, you guys! I’m looking forward to this LD! :)

  7. Mister_Melon says:

    LD without the ratings just isn’t the same. I will of course keep taking part as I find LD to be a highlight of my year in terms of entertainment but the ratings is sort of 50% of the fun factor. I LOVE giving people feedback on their games and writing a few paragraphs of a comment on telling them where they flourished and what they can improve and I also love reading the comments on my games and using these to improve my skills. Some people aren’t as enthusiastic as I am when it comes to rating and without coolness or some sort of gain from rating I think that we’re going to have a lot of unrated games. I also like connecting with twitch streamers and watching their reactions to my game live and I believe a lot of streamers look forward to playing and rating games each time LD comes around.

    In conclusion: I understand POV’s concerns BUT rating is just too big a part of LD, keep the rating and we won’t care if some cheaters try to ruin it all. The merits of rating stem far beyond how high your game has placed and we will deal with the consequences of not fixing the system in order to prevent abuses. Just one man’s opinion, would appreciate to hear other members of the community’s thoughts on this.


  8. Mister_Melon says:

    Oh and I’m guessing there will be a keynote as usual?

  9. Pickens Inc. says:

    So I don’t mean to sound coarse, but what is the incentive for anybody to play my game, and how it gain visibility? Thanks.

    Man, I’m really selfishly irked about this whole thing. Last couple of LDs I’ve been unable to focus my attention on due to College work, now my exams are over and I was looking forward to a nice big LD weekend. Next LD I’ll be too busy with Uni, so this really was going to be my big break :(

  10. CyberStarLight says:

    Is there a way to see all the suggested themes before the actual theme voting? just curious.

    Anyway, I added these:
    Post Apocalyptic
    Grand/Minuscule Scale
    You make the rules
    Unexpected Combination
    Mythical Creatures
    No way to win/lose
    Random Generation
    Cute & Fluffy
    Fairy tales
    Intricate Complexity
    Asymmetric Gameplay
    Bugs & Glitches

    I’m already getting exited ^^

    • Will Edwards says:

      I like Post Apocalyptic, Unexpected Combination, Mythical Creatures, Fairy tales and Intricate Complexity :) Themes that are very open to interpretation and not about gameplay, which is my kind of thing.

      On the other hand, I think Asymmetric Gameplay is the kind of theme that could win :)

      I suggested Magic, Changing and a few more I was very pleased with at the time but can no longer remember…

    • Wan says:

      If you’re curious, some suggestion lists for past events are open-sourced here: https://github.com/povrazor/ludumdare-2008/tree/master/theme/Results

      The current list is not available yet, but fun fact: someone’s been stuffing the ballots with kitten! And another one even more dedicated to his work wants the theme to be about PoV :)

  11. Omiya Games says:

    Welp, time to get busy preparing for our real-world meeting at Tech Valley Game Space, Troy, NY.

  12. QuexD says:

    As a thank you we should push for something POV related to be the theme. It might work.

    • eric777 says:

      I agree. I voted for one theme: “PoV’s Grand Vacation” (in case anyone else wants to pile on). I forget who originally suggested this in an older thread. The idea resonated with me quickly, although @Wan I swear I only added this one time. Perhaps more of us were similarly fond of the idea.

      There’s a palpable air of frustration with PoV from a group of people who also feel some ownership of LD, perhaps warranted (I don’t know the history). Many of us who only know PoV as “that guy who does LD” REALLY like him, and would never pay him backhanded compliments. The idea of LD 36 producing 2000 small tributes of thanks to PoV really resonates with me as a great way for the community to encourage him in a tangible way without creating conflict with his detractors.

  13. coasterspaul says:

    I’d like to see themes here be more… thematic, I guess.
    End of an Era
    Last Stand
    Ludum Dare

  14. bvanschooten says:

    The feedback system is what makes LD so interesting to me, because the level of feedback that LD offers is hard to get elsewhere. So there are cheaters, but other systems are generally worse in my experience (much less feedback and possibly more cheaters). LD has been running for years but this never seemed to be a problem, so what’s changed? Could it be that complainers are gaining importance? Could this be a sign of LD becoming more serious/competitive/commercial?

    There has been a lot of discussion and a voting process, but for my own understanding of the issue, I miss answers to some fundamental questions.

    How many complaints were made over subsequent LDs?

    What % of the raters are cheaters?

    What actual problems does it solve to make such a hurried decision to forego the rating system? Saying that running it one more time with ratings “could” damage LD’s reputation is rather vague. Creating a lot of commotion and foregoing the rating system, even for once, “could” also damage it.

    What solutions will be offered in the future that can solve this problem?

    • sorceress says:

      How many complaints were made over subsequent LDs?

      I have no idea. PoV is the only person in the know, who can answer this.

      What % of the raters are cheaters?

      Same answer

      What actual problems does it solve to make such a hurried decision to forego the rating system?

      The status of August LD had been uncertain for over one month. The decision to host an LD or not had to be hurried, as August was drawing nearer. Hopefully that explains the hurried part.

      With the poll, the decision to forego ratings was ultimately a community decision. PoV had expressed some concerns, and the community responded to that. Given the unknown answers to your first two questions, it must be that the community trusts PoV’s claims, that the rating system has serious enough problems that it should not be used.

      – It respects the community vote.
      – It appeases PoV’s concerns.
      – It allows PoV to focus on building the new website, not having to tend to August LD.
      – It stops people cheating the rating system.
      – It is arguably better than having no August LD, which is what would have happened otherwise.

      – Having no ratings will upset a good number of people, who have come to expect them.
      – Games may struggle to get as many plays and as much feedback as normal, because the incentives to play are weakened.
      – It may be harder finding the “gems” among the games made in August, because without ratings there will be no top 100.
      – There may not be as many people taking part this time, if some feel disillusioned with the current plans.

      • ajayajayaj says:

        Thanks for replying! I just wish that we could have ratings and just ignore the cheaters, because this would appease everyone, allow people to have an excuse to ignore it if they don’t want one and let PoV focus on the new website since no reviewing would be needed.

        But, I still am very happy that we are having an LD anyways, thanks!

  15. AnaGF says:

    I don’t think jams are about ratings. It is about having fun, having a videogame’s idea prototyped on a short time, working with other developers (friends or not) and learning from it. Participating just because you want to have a good score is useless, really, I can’t imagine someone passing 72 hours working non-stop just because of some numbers. I think ratings are not that important.

    On the other side, now that there are no ratings, games will receive less opinions because jammers won’t feel as incentivated as before and the feedback that the rating system itself gave to the devs will be lost. I don’t care about cheaters, most jammers won’t do either, since we don’t care about wins or loses.

    My opinion in all: I understand others concerns because we will have less feedback, less plays and less entries, that’s for sure. But I don’t care about having a LD with 2500 entries or 200 or 20. I don’t care neither if we have less plays and opinions, because the feedback that matters is the real one left by those who are really interested on it. I will participate, I will have fun and I will try to play all the games I can and leave feedback for them.

    • ajayajayaj says:

      I am worried that I won’t get that much feedback.

    • Stuntddude says:

      “I don’t care about having a LD with 2500 entries or 200 or 20” – Except that if LD were not the juggernaut that it is, you would likely not be participating. There are plenty of other game jams out there, and if LD weren’t the big one that everyone knows and respects, plenty of people wanting their game jam fix (almost certainly including you) would just go participate in some other jam instead. You have to realize that the size and notoriety of Ludum Dare has real, tangible value that contributes to its success, and you have bought into that whether you were aware of it or not.

      • sorceress says:

        Speaking as a user, not an administrator:

        I’m unsure what is cause and what is effect here. Do people enjoy taking part because LD is big? Or is LD big because so many people enjoy taking part?

        I remember when I first joined LD there were about 600 entries, and the event which followed that had 800. These events felt just about the right size for me, and the size did feel epic. But once we started getting 2000+ entries, it was no longer possible to know everyone who took part. The posts appearing on the front page were almost all names I didn’t recognise, and could not remember from one hour to the next. It felt like people were getting lost in the crowd, and LD started to feel impersonal. It has grown and been reshaped a little by it’s size.

        I’ve stayed this long because I love the community, more than other gamedev communities. It radiates a cheerful enthusiasm, and there is a healthy respect and admiration for the creativity and talents which we are collectively endowed with.

  16. JoseArias says:

    I know that it is difficult to use the rating system because POV is using it to test the new web but this is my idea…

    We still have rating system, but just overall. This means that people will play and comment games because there is still a rating system… but the results are not showed. We don´t know the rating.

    So, why are we voting? Because someone (Sorceress) will have the results and he will say “ok, this is the list of interesting games this LD”. Without the classification. We don´t know which one won, which one is the “best”… but we still have the list of “incredible games made but this amazing people”. And most important. People will play and rate games because they know that it means soimething.

    My biggest concern is that if people don´t vote, we will not receive feedback and something that I always say when I recommend LD is that people is always helping and even if you don´t make a “good” game, you receive a lot of feedback that makes you improve a lot.

  17. Aurel Bílý says:

    I guess the terrible decisions made a long time ago have finally come back to haunt us …

    Nobody seems to have answered Pickens Inc.’s comment, so here’s a similar question: How will people discover games by other people? Having no ratings system is … not fine, but I’m sure we can manage just this once. What of the coolness system? The people who spammed a generic comment to every single game pretty much broke that system, but it was a nice goal for the rest of us. Rate at least 20 games, or make 100 / 200 a challenge. We got rewarded with that little bit of visibility somewhere … Will we have to rely on blog posts and comments, rate for rate, etc.?

  18. Donni11 says:

    Kittens !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This time it has to happen !!!

  19. geekguy100 says:

    Does anyone know if there will be a jam and a compo or is it only a compo this year? Thanks!

  20. jsmars says:

    Great to hear that the event is going to run! Kudos to you! PoV deserves a break!

    To be honest though, there needs to be a voting system for the event to function. Better to run the broken system which still has worked well enough for the past events, than to run no system at all. A big part of LD is getting other people to play your game, and without the voting incentive, I think most games will go unplayed, except maybe the most popular ones.

    Several thousand people spend around 35 hours on their entry, someone could spend a few hours to implement a quick fix solution for now? If not I suggest still just running the old system until the new one is fixed.

    Here is my on how to quick-fix the voting:
    1. Everything runs as normal.
    2. Add a 10 minute cooldown on casting a vote.
    3. For the end results calculations, only votes from users who have had entries with the required amount of votes (20?) for the end results are included in the calculation.

    * A bonus would be that you can only vote on games which you have clicked on a link of, and maybe, voting on that game expires after 3 hours.
    * Another bonus would be to add a “report possible bogus entry” voting button to entries, which does not invalidate an entry, it will still get rated, but if it gets enough reports, the users votes won’t be counted for the final results. This should be used for games which seem like games that could be put together in 10 minutes as a “cheat” account. Nobody will know if their vote counts or not. (This button could also be placed without any functionality whatsoever, just having it there will make cheaters think it’s not worth cheating, if nobody knows if it works or not)

    Sure people could still cheat, but this will make it a much bigger hassle so most people would probably not spend time doing it.

    As many programmers that are connected to LD, adding this as a temporary solution, or something even simpler, shouldn’t be too much work yeah?

    • Tijn says:

      As many programmers that are connected to LD, adding this as a temporary solution, or something even simpler, shouldn’t be too much work yeah?

      The thing is, only PoV has server access, which means we cannot implement any real changes to the website.

      • jsmars says:

        Oh, would it be unlikely that he would grant access to someone trusted with hosting this event, especially since the website will be rebuilt later anyhow?

        • Tijn says:

          Several people have asked for access on multiple occasions, but sadly to no avail.

          Since we haven’t managed to get server access and the preparations for the event have already started, we’re not counting on being able to do any more than what the standard WordPress backend allows. This combined with PoV’s advise not to hold a rated event has lead tot the conclusion of not having any voting this time.

          • jsmars says:

            I understand, then I guess we are out of luck as far as quick fixes go if he doesn’t do it himself or change his mind about access real soon.

            Still though, I have a hard time seeing that the event will function properly without any kind of a rating system as most games won’t get played, thus no comments and less plays.. Since it has worked at least fairly well in the past, I’d personally rather have it as it has been in the past LD’s even if it’s flawed than no rating system at all. For those that would rather have no rating system they could just disregard the results and join anyhow.

            Also, it could be noted in the event that this type of calculation to detect cheater accounts (minus the cooldown part) will be done afterwards, and if it was announced that this will be done at a later date, maybe it would decrease people trying to cheat as it would mean their entries would be invalidated later on, then if PoV would allow (or do himself) it’s a fairly easy query to change and recalculate the results later.

            And although it’s not really worth the effort, It would be interesting to see a re-calculation of previous results using a method similar to my suggestion above and see which games were cheaters. I’m sure all non-cheaters would appreciate a bump in results :)

  21. geekguy100 says:

    Anyone know if voting will occur for this ludum dare?

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    He tells young readers how the barques in ancient times have been developed into the modern ships and yachts.http://mydirectdownloadsoftwarefast.us Make your photos and music move together in harmony like magic.

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