Ludum Dare 36 Theme Voting Begins!

Posted by (twitter: @_sorceress)
August 20th, 2016 1:24 pm

It’s less than one week to go until LD36, and Theme Voting has now begun!

Tune in every day for a new round of themes. \:D/

[ Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 ]

[ Round 4 | Final Round ]

* Rounds coloured Gold are still open. If you haven’t cast a vote yet, click the link to do it. End times for each round vary, and many cross over. Rounds coloured Bronze have closed, and clicking the link will reveal the results of that round.

* If you get an error message about needing to log in to vote, and you are already logged in, then try refreshing your browser (CTRL+F5 in Firefox/IE), or in Chrome F12 then Right Click on Refresh and select “Empty Cache and Hard Reload”).

* A total of 8000 themes were suggested, and almost 500,000 votes were cast in the Theme Slaughter.

113 Responses to “Ludum Dare 36 Theme Voting Begins!”

  1. gassasin says:

    AWESOME THEMES ! Im sooo exite 😀

  2. TeamPoops says:

    woo woo woo woo

  3. c4m says:

    the first round looks really interesting!

  4. KunoNoOni says:

    I have to admit these are really good themes. Too bad there are no ratings this time around. :(

    • GAFBlizzard says:

      Make sure you read the full explanation from PoV as to what happened.

      The community majority voted to have no ratings this time around — cheating was becoming rampant and there were some serious issues because of everyone focusing so much on those. Ratings will return in December, but for now, the focus is on the original Ludum Dare heart and soul — making games.

      • KunoNoOni says:

        I’m fully aware of the reason there are no ratings, I even participated in the community vote but even with all that I’m still sad there are no ratings this time around and I’m sure a lot of folks feel the same way too. You’re right though, Ludum Dare is about making games and not about ratings. So let make some games!

  5. CyberStarLight says:

    Finally! indeed the hype is here ^^

  6. GGC_Language says:

    Cool themes! (8.5/10)

  7. McMutton says:

    Hmm didn’t like those themes at first… now I’m starting to warm up to them, while writing down my first ideas what I could do with them in case one of them wins. :)

  8. Mandaaar says:

    This is my first Ludum Dare – definitely getting excited now 😀

  9. Been says:

    It’s happening! Here’s hoping it’s one I don’t draw a complete blank on this time :)

  10. drazil100 says:

    I’m really looking forward to this. Last game I made for Ludum Dare came out awesome and I can’t wait to make another one!

  11. TheSandMan says:

    Excited to finally partake

  12. lastpotion says:

    Mama mia! The themes are so good 😀

  13. Avant-Marde says:

    Woop! Excited in particular about “unexpected combination”, because a lot of fun, creative and wildly different genre mashups as well as completely different interpretations that play on these keywords in some other way could come from that, and we’ve got a funny idea ourselves as well, so hoping for that one so far. Seems really versatile and good for a theme.

  14. G.I.Gig says:

    How is the Point calculation of the Voting?

    I would assume that a simple script calculates the votes/voters/each round, and overall best loved. (Votes/Voters) would get into the Top 20. or something like this.

    But a friend of mine said Top5 from each group.

    Other friend of mine said, this grouping is all nonsense and in the end simply the number of votes what decides…

    So Ludum Gods… Tell us the truth! Can we believe in the grouping system or it is all just a show? o.o

    • Tijn says:

      The 5 themes that scored best in each round will together form the final round. Turns out the best 20 themes across all the rounds end up in the final round.

      • sorceress says:

        It was never done that way. 😀 it’s the highest scoring 20 out of the 80. The four rounds just split the themes in managable chunks. We keep each round open for about 48 hours, to help balance share of votes. The four rounds also help to maintain a steady stream of interest throughout the week, rather than dumping everything on the community in one lump.

        It’s not a perfect system though. Even though the themes are randomly shuffled into the four rounds, voters tend to be more pessimistic about rounds 3+4, for whatever reason.

        • G.I.Gig says:

          Then why the grouping? Why limiting the time to vote for each 20. What if I was traveling and by the time I get back I can only vote for such terrible ideas as Round 3 has?

          If you make rounds, make sense.. Use an algorithm. I mean… there are some programmers around to do it… I heard… 😛

          • GAFBlizzard says:

            If you think round 3 is terrible, just remember most people apparently think nearly every theme is terrible nearly every time.

            If I recall correctly, one of the last few LD’s had 0 themes with more than 50% upvotes. Everyone hated EVERYTHING.

            • G.I.Gig says:

              Haters Gonna Hate… 😉

              You are right… but If I would be away Juggling as I planned… (Damn weather)… I would be back only for the last day of voting… and In my own preference I got some which I actually like from the first two rounds. Not like the 3rd… So yeah I can just be a hater and down vote everything afterwards… and in the end its just a single vote…

              But I think if we already make Round 1-4. Would be neat to use it up to make a bit better statistics. Probably even generating the Rounds based on the vote statistics of the Slaughter…

              I am not sure if it would be better or solve anything in the end… but it would give the illusion 😉

              • GAFBlizzard says:

                I guess the fairest solution would be putting all 4 rounds up at the same time.

                Maybe people are pessimistic about round 3 and 4 because they subconsciously start getting ideas about themes from rounds 1 and 2.

              • G.I.Gig says:

                Yeah that could work out too… Or I think a good solution would be if the 80 alltogeather would be up for 5 days… and from 24 hours… every 6 hours the worst 5 would fall out…

                Voters can see if their favorite topic have fallen out of grace, and able to change their votes of the rest accordingly… So by the last 20 or 10 only the topics would remain which the most can accept…

        • Tijn says:


          Haha, wow. I don’t know why I thought that. I guess I made it up.

  15. Avant-Marde says:

    Duplicates I’ve noticed so far:

    different perspectives / perspectives
    treasure hunt / hidden treasure

    Borderline case:

    rebirth / regeneration

    • sorceress says:

      perspectives slipped through :)
      but the other pairs we felt were different enough concepts to allow them.
      eg, treasure hunt is more like a journey, possibly guided by clues, maps or riddles. we can also interpret hunting in the survival sense.
      in contrast, hidden treasure has more emphasis on seclusion or stealth, with treasure being more easily read as metaphor for value or affection. perhaps we are the treasure?

  16. Resolute says:

    Super excited for this. :)

  17. KJB of IBwWG says:

    Is the mailing list not being used this time?

  18. McFunkypants says:

    THE THEMES ARE REALLY GOOD THIS TIME! Wow I upvoted so many super inspiring themes that I’d be so happy to play with.

  19. TeamFireman says:

    Round 3 sux XD
    I gave only 2 upvotes lol
    Round 2 is the most interesting until now, round 1 is nice but not extraordinarily nice

  20. kamenomagic says:


  21. darthbox1 says:

    All aboard the hype train choo choo!

  22. g_o says:

    Wtf this is very fishy…
    How come only two got a poaitive rating in round 1?

    • GAFBlizzard says:

      LD themes usually have tons of downvotes. Most people like only a few themes, and downvote everything else.

      I think there was a recent LD where EVERY FINAL ROUND THEME was downvoted to have a negative rating. The chosen theme was just the least hated.

      • g_o says:

        It’s not so true – I’m talking about how one got like an obvious win while all the others got negative values. What you said applies to the 2nd round. In the first round the difference is unreasonably large

        • G.I.Gig says:

          I guess round one had 3 topic what made people thinkin… Thats all. And anyway the first topic is the best… only 420 stoned Ludumer voted it down XD

  23. ajayajayaj says:

    Round 4 is 404 not found!

  24. DragonZBW (SparkLight Games) says:

    :/ I don’t want to do ancient technologies! Here’s hoping that some better themes get some love

    • GAFBlizzard says:

      So few themes usually get upvotes, it might win easily.

      Or, those who dislike it might backlash so hard that it will lose.

      Just think about this — no matter what gets chosen, SOMEONE feels the same as you and doesn’t want to do it. :(

      • DragonZBW (SparkLight Games) says:

        I know 😐

        I’m gonna participate whether that’s the theme that gets picked or not, so there’s no use complaining. In any case, good luck to everyone’s themes and I can’t wait until this weekend!

    • Avant-Marde says:

      Yeah, way too restrictive a theme IMO. Seems a lot of people had very specific ideas in mind when they saw that and didn’t vote in order to enable more variation, but to enable their own idea. :c

  25. RYPTAR says:

    Round 5 is gonna be crazy. Stoked to see what survives!

  26. Vylunce says:

    So excited!

  27. SetTheBet says:

    Wow, I gotta admit. It seems like I’m voting very differently from many others (approx as many +1 as -1 ). Are people getting stuck to one game idea already and neglecting all the other topics?

    • EdwardStarlight says:

      I think so. Just look how negative the results are. Its like they toggle + for one theme and then go negative for everything else.

    • suimisu says:

      If you calculate the averages, you get close to this voting split (per round): 6.7 (+) | 4.6 (0) | 8.7 (-)
      So that’s probably not so far off from your voting behaviour. I think it’s just that people still have a slight slaughter mentality in their minds.

    • wilsk says:

      When I vote I’m thinking about whether the theme will allow a variety of different games so playing them is interesting. If I don’t think it will, the theme gets a -1. For the rest a “meh” reaction means 0 and a “ooo I know I could do this…” gets a +1. So there are probably more -1s than anything else as a reflection of my level of creativity, but once the theme is finalised I’ll happily to get on with whatever theme was chosen!

  28. Jajo says:

    Did I miss something? Oh, yes. Well, better late than never.

  29. GAFBlizzard says:

    This is how I know I’m old: I thought “Going Deeper won? But we just had Ben Eath The Surf Ace!”

    It turns out it was 2 years ago. Still, I suppose 2 years is short in Ludum Dare time.

  30. teriosxpl says:

    My first ludum dare and i am excited.I dont even know how to make games.

  31. Tharky says:

    So much negative votes… What’s with the negativity guys? I mean some of them are not even bad, they are great themes for games actually…

  32. sethalbertus says:

    I didnt like going deeper xD I dunno what i’d do for that :/ But its always a learning experience! 😛

  33. legendpaul says:

    How many themes from each round make it to the final?

  34. platypus says:

    I’ve been in tons of jams, and organized a few. The problem with Ludum Dare themes many times is that they are either too specific, or too broad.

    Specific ones, like “platformer”, “shoot the target”, “procedurally generated” or even “shoot the target” are bad ones, especially if they have a distinct verb in them. Each of these already define the type of game you’re going to be making, unless you figure out something wonky or make some pun out of it. However, people tend to vote for these, if they have an idea for that specific game type.

    The too broad ones are more abstract, but don’t really feed the imagination. You are left with an abundance of choices, as if you had no theme at all. The restriction of a theme is what feeds the creativity in jams. Examples of these are: “random”, “you’re it”, “everything in between”, “once upon a time”. Basically if almost any idea you come up with fits the theme, the theme is bad.

    I try to vote based on that. I might like some themes and have the best ever concepts ready for them, but I down-vote them anyway, because they are too distinct and most of the games would be saturated. I could also dislike a them, but up-vote it anyway, because I believe it could spur a lot of cool things. My personal preference shouldn’t be a factor in that. That could just mean, that I don’t like space, or fiddle around with resource management etc.

    That’s just me though. People tend to vote for what they personally would prefer, and that’s ok. That just means, that sometimes we end up with themes, that make some people super happy, and others quit on day 0.

    • bgkillertavu says:

      Always the fucking same themes… -_-

      • platypus says:

        I agree. And it doesn’t really matter, if the theme hasn’t been covered already. Maybe this time it will. What bothers me, is that there are several themes, that have already been in LD. Recurring themes or variations of them are in every voting. “Enemies as Weapons”, “Isolation”, “parallel/connected/different worlds” etc.

        Here are the themes of LDs gone past:

    • Llucile says:

      I can’t not agree on this. As I said, I do not chose on the basis on “what am I going to create with this theme” but “what am I going to play with this theme”. Ludum Dare is as much as making a game as playing the games the other made. I don’t want to have to browse through a clone army of the same game.

    • Narkhos says:

      I like your idea of classifying themes by their level of abstraction.
      What about classifying themes into 3 categories ?

      – Mechanics: Theme that give a constraint about the mechanics of the game (It’s Not a Glitch it’s a Feature, Don’t Kill Anything,Planetary Colonization…)
      – Story: Themes that tell a tale (Trapped, Rebirth, Space Stations…)
      – Concept: An abstract concept (Curiosity, Absorption, Betrayal…)

      Some of the themes could for sure enter in all categories. And that’s probably the best ones.
      For me, a good theme must have many ways to show up in the final work.

      I made a global ranking for the first two rounds :

      Concept : -2446
      Mecanics : -3234
      Story : -3601

      For the moment, It seems that “Concept” themes are the least hated lol

      • platypus says:

        Concept themes are restrictive, but also inspiring. That’s the right combination that a theme should have. Mechanical ones are the most restrictive, as they already tell you what kind of a game you should make.
        Story themes kind of do that too, but the mechanical side is open to your interpretation.

        I’d like to see a division of all of these in the voting. So instead of choosing the best 20 to the final round, we could have the best 1/3 of Concept, 1/3 of Mechanics and 1/3 of Story. Then let the chips fall where they may.

        • Narkhos says:

          Yes, I think Concept themes are the best. A good mechanics constraint can be fun from time to time but it must be well chosen.
          I’d like to see this kind of classification for the rounds as well :) .

          My bad for the stats, I forgot to take the number of theme for each category into account.
          Here is the correct stats for the first 3 rounds :

          Mechanics : -316
          Story : -345
          Concept : -652

          • So the concept themes (the best ones by your theory, which I agree) are the most hated?

            Interesting what this say about game developers. Heh.

            • platypus says:

              To me it says that the roots of gaming are still held tightly by most developers. The idea that games are first and foremost mechanical fun, and gameplay comes always first. Disregarding what everyone thinks, concept themes are the most suitable for everybody.

            • Narkhos says:

              You got the point !
              The “Concept” category is probably the hardest because you have to imagine the best story and mechanics all by yourself.
              I suppose there is developers of all skill levels. It’s easier to begin with a Mechanics theme.
              I have done a lot of personnal projects (sokoban like, reversi like, and so on…) and I’m now trying not being a copycat anymore. But it’s a long way to go.
              So I can understand why people want to work on Story or Mechanics themes that remind us some blockbuster games.

              • The most liked up to now, Ancient Technology, you put in which category?

                Cause for me this is a good example of Concept theme: it doesn’t hinder the mechanics nor the story in any way, at the same time giving a fertile field to bring things up from it. It is my favorite of the would-be finalists.

                I’m thinking on playing with some AI to make a Stone Age strategy-puzzle. Something on the lines of making the village discover farming through “speaking” words next to them.

                Yeah, I got hyped by this one, but some others are good themes, also. Magic Gone Wrong is another concept I loved. There is so much field to work with that.

              • Narkhos says:

                I’m agree. “Ancient Technology” can enter in the Concept category. It can be used at different levels of the project to brainstorm new ideas. It’s not too specific. It’s not just : “code your game for an old computer” or “the game take place in a steam punk world”.

      • cdrch says:

        I like the idea of classifying themes that way (though I don’t think Ludum Dare should classify themes officially). However, I don’t think those classifications are quite right; it seems like almost every theme could fit under Mechanics and Story, and possibly Concept as well.

        For example, “It’s Not a Glitch it’s a Feature” is easily put under both Story and Mechanics, and could be considered a Concept if you take it to refer to any undocumented feature or problem that is disguised as or serves as a benefit.

        Same goes for Curiosity, Absorption, Betrayal, Rebirth, Trapped, and others.

        • Narkhos says:

          You’re right, it’s not the ultimate solution, it’s only the first sketch of an idea.
          As I said, a good theme can fit in all off them. It’s more like levels :
          Level 1 : Mechanics
          Level 2 : Story
          Level 3 : Concept
          If you can view the “Concept” level in a theme, then the other levels will probably be in it too.

  35. That “Round 4 ends soon” is getting in me nerves… I’ve been pressing F5 every now and then since I woke up.

  36. DragonZBW (SparkLight Games) says:

    At this point, I’m liking where this is going. The majority of the Final Round themes seem pretty interesting

  37. RYPTAR says:


    Final round results get announced and then it’s go time? And til what time do we have to submit?

    This is my first dare, thanks for the help!

  38. Amine Tcherak says:

    Good chance for all let the best win!

  39. MikeLorenz says:

    After much thought, I’ve decided that I don’t want to turn my weekend upside-down & go through the significant effort of a 48-hour game marathon just so I can submit all my source code and have no ratings. It’s just not worth it to me. So until the next one that does have ratings, I’ll just continue to develop games at my own pace, in my own dark corner of the universe. :) Good luck to all who do participate though!

  40. HearPcGaming says:

    Some much hyyypeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. inkajoo says:

    big “meh” from sourpuss mountain

  42. pinkku says:

    Let’s go fun this weekend!

  43. GGC_Language says:


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