Alpha Testing Ludum Dare 37

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
November 5th, 2016 5:51 am

Hi folks!

Did ya miss me? πŸ˜‰

As promised, I’m back to run December’s Ludum Dare. Lets do this!

New Website Progress

I wish I could say the new website was completely finished and perfect, but I can’t. It is further behind than I’d hoped, but there is still 5 weeks until LD, and it is awfully close; Close enough that with a good crunch and a little bit of patience, it’ll be able to run an event and finally give us some of the key features we’ve wanted for years (such as Team Support and Notifications).

So, if you’ll indulge me, I’m going to try running an event on the new site. It may not be the smoothest Ludum Dare I’ve run, but there’s nothing quite like the fire of a Ludum Dare deadline to get things finished. πŸ˜€

Now, I should probably say it wont be a judged event, but I think we’ll be better off with a screwy timetable then no judging at all. What I mean: If judging has to start a few days, or even a week after the event, that’s still better than no judging. It’s not ideal, but there’s no substitute for being able to test under real Ludum Dare conditions, even with a screwy timetable. One thing Ludum Dare is good at is making servers cry. πŸ˜‰

Worst case, we can always fall-back to running an un-judged event here on this website. But unless something knocks me out-of-commission, that shouldn’t happen.

Our next event, April 2017, is Ludum Dare’s 15th Anniversary. It’s an impossible milestone none of us expected when we started this nearly 15 years ago, but here we are. So even if this event ends up being a rough one, we’ll be in good shape to celebrate that achievement in style.

So, we cool? Don’t mind being a guinea pig? Great! Lets move on.

Alpha Testing starts next week

Here is what to expect.

a sneak peek

a sneak peek

Features of the website will be gradually introduced. To illustrate what I mean, when alpha testing begins next week, you will not be able to make posts. Generally speaking, each week has a focus: Something big, and something related to Theme Selection.

We’re keeping as is. Too many links on the internet point to URLs, and it would be uncool to break the internet.

We’ll be running the alpha test on:

This is temporary. It’s also closed at the moment (the alpha test hasn’t started). Eventually it will move to, but because of all the legacy stuff, I decided not to make more work.

So, starting this time next week we’ll be:

  • Creating Accounts
  • Taking Theme Suggestions

Perhaps one of the most surprising changes for long-time members is that everyone will be making new accounts. We will eventually migrate your data over, but not right now.

Your accounts and user names will be playing a much bigger role on the new site(s), so I need to be sure we get this right. We have nearly 120,000 users of the WordPress site. It’s nearly impossible to know how many of those are actual real users, and how many are created by scripts targetting WordPress blogs. We do know though that roughly 17,000 users have submitted games to Ludum Dare events, and if we were to start completely from scratch, it would cause trouble for some of our better known users.

So where possible, we’re reserving every username of every user that has submitted a game. That’s about 17,000 names. If that’s you, you’ll have to signup with the e-mail address you use here. If you don’t have access to that e-mail address, that’s okay. Make a temporary account for now. When we get to migrating data, there will be a process for claiming old names and data. Around that time, you will also be able to change your user name without my help. That has a consequence though: any links to your user page from outside websites will break (since the name is different).

So, pick a good name. :)

The accounts themselves have a new name: Jammer Accounts. To anyone that’s been following me, that Jammer name may sound familiar. Jammer is the umbrella name I group all my Ludum Dare and Game Jamming projects under. So when the website asks you to create a Jammer account, it’s asking you to create an account that’s shared between Ludum Dare and my other Game Jamming projects (as an example, the streaming widget is now a standalone project named Jammer TV. LDtv is something else now πŸ˜‰ ).

E-mails from Jammer will come from (probably, so whitelist that if you need to.


So again, we’ll be starting the alpha-test about this time next week. It’ll be laser focused on Creating Accounts and taking Theme Suggestions.

Thanks everyone for their patience. We’ll see you in a week!

PS: Shameless plug, but I’ll be looking for work in the new year.

EDIT: Ah shoot! Slight delay. My bad. I let myself get too distracted by the US Election. Shooting for Monday instead of Friday. Sorry!

EDIT 2: Well shoot! Now I’m actually late. It wont be today (Monday). Timing wise it’ll still be okay (there was already an extra buffer week in the schedule). I want another day or two to fix, finish, and polish what’s there. I would like to say Wednesday, but both Tuesday and Wednesday I have obligations (meh, I’m going to cancel my Wednesday).

So off hand, that’ll mean Wednesday/Thursday I’ll be inviting folks to come test (hopefully we’ll be able to keep the data), and on Friday/Saturday I’ll invite the community at large to Create Accounts and make Theme Suggestions. That still gives us about a week to collect Theme Suggestions.

Again, sorry for the delay!

EDIT 3: Happy Monday.

Yes, I’m late, and it’s not live yet. I’m currently deploying at the moment. I hit a snag with activation e-mails last night, but I think I got it. I’d like to do another pass, make sure I’ve caught the obvious real-world account creation nuances, then have some people create accounts.

As for everybody, we should be starting on Tuesday.

EDIT 4: Okay, it’s late night Tuesday (past midnight, so Wednesday technically) and I’m ready… but it is late, so I’m going to wait until after I wake up tomorrow (noon’ish EST).

I’ll be tweeting a test URL when I’m ready, so tune in there if you want first dibs.

Again, we’re sticking with the very basics: Creating an Account, and Making Theme Suggestions. Other functionality will be coming later.

There’s a chance this early testing could get wiped, but if there are no issues, it wont. And again, if you’ve previously participated in a Ludum Dare, we’ve reserved your username (just use your original e-mail address), so there’s no rush.

That’s it for now. I’ll see you in the morning.

EDIT 5: Alpha Testing has begun.

57 Responses to “Alpha Testing Ludum Dare 37”

  1. Jezzamon says:

    Wahoo! I’m excited for the new site! And if it’s still buggy, I feel like a buggy, pulled-together-at-the-last-minute site fits the theme of Ludum Dare, really.

    Thanks for all your work Mike!! <3

  2. voxel says:

    Possibly no judging? Cue enraged screaming from the masses!

    But really, nice work PoooV, looking forward to ‘ironing out the creases’ on the new site :)

  3. Tijn says:

    Cool stuff!

    I’m a little bit confused about the judging. You both say it won’t be a judged event and that judging might begin a little late. So… does that mean there might be judging?

  4. KunoNoOni says:

    It all sounds good Mike! I can’t wait to see the new layout, and as a long time jammer (can I say that? LD37 will be my 15th time) I am totally ok with no judging, infact if you wanted to remove judging from Ludum Dare permanently I would be completely fine with that too. I’m not trying to start any riots but if you look at it logically, even if you are judged #1 in the different categories you don’t get anything special. As you say there is no prize for winning Ludum Dare. If you finished and submitted a game then you’re a winner! Heck even if you tried and failed you’re still a winner.

    Anyways like I said I’m not trying to start any flame wars or riots and I know you can opt out of judging if you want to. I just think there is too much emphasis on the judging aspect of the competition when its not about judging at all. Ludum Dare is about making games in 48 or 72 hours. Do we really need more? OK I’m going to stop now before I need a TL;DR LOL!

    Again, Mike I look forward to seeing all the hard work you’ve put into the new site I know I’m going to be very impressed!

    • Jezzamon says:

      I think getting feedback is good, and getting it in the form of numbers is a good way to compare games between different Ludum Dares. But you’re right in saying that it’s not really about winning

  5. TerraCottaFrog says:

    Based on last Ludum Dare, I think that the coolness system should be changed to work like feedback friends does.

    Have the comments and ratings be submitted as one cohesive unit, to ensure every comment gets a rating and every rating gets a comment, and make coolness based on the detail of the comments, like in feedback friends.

    Comments could still be submitted on their own, in order to mention game breaking bugs and the like without affecting the rating, but this should not give coolness.

    Then, you have all the benefits of a comment based system while still having the payoff at the end of a final score.

    I think this would be very beneficial to the event, and would offer a good compromise for people who take issue with the rating system versus those who feel it is essential.

    Sorry for that maybe presumptuous really long post everybody, and thanks for PoV for all the work he has put into Ludum Dare over the years.

    TL;DR – I think comments and ratings should be required together to gain coolness, and that coolness should work like in feedback friends, in order to ensure constructive criticism while still giving a numerical score at the end.

  6. ratking says:

    Would have been nice if you kept October Challenge stickified, to honor those who submitted, you know.

  7. Wan says:

    I’m… a bit confused.

    On one hand I’m glad you’re making this post, layout out a plan for LD37.

    On the other hand… I’m really sad to see you continue to push on your own, with zero help from other coders or graphic designers, and no discussion with anyone in the community despite the numerous offers made following the LD36 debate. For a project this size, it’s just unrealistic, and my feeling is it translates into crazy pressure upon your shoulders, and in turn to your motivation going up and down in cycles (I might be wrong, but that’s what I understand from lurking your Git history).

    We’ve all already argued a lot about all this, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated. If you just let the community host the event on WordPress until the new website was ready, then ran a MiniLD or two before launching a main event on it, everything would go *just smoothly*. But I know at this point a mere comment won’t change your mind, so I’ll turn off my complaints for now πŸ˜›

    If there’s anything I can do to help, like run the Feedback Friends again as a replacement for ratings, feel free to ask :)

    All the best for the upcoming crunch!

  8. Nnnnneeeedddd says:

    I look forward to seeing the new site, thanks Mike ;).

  9. laaph says:

    Yes PoV we did miss you! Glad to have you back!

    If there is to be no judging I’d suggest look at the “feedback friends” thing that was done. For me, written feedback is much more useful to me than a number. Ideas and suggestions and things that. Even getting a comment that says “the art sucks” says more than getting an art score of 1.4.

    I’m not in the position to hire anyone but if I hear anything I’ll pass a recommendation on.

  10. HolyBlackCat says:

    Woo, PoV is back!

  11. rjhelms says:

    Oh hell yes. Great to hear things are on track and I can’t wait to scope out the new site.

    Thanks for all you do for this community, Mike.

  12. squigglez says:

    Sounds good

  13. AmandaShebang says:

    Thank you so much for all the hard work, damn. Super stoked to see the new site!

  14. Pickens Inc. says:

    Pencil me down as hyped. Something minor, though, I made this account over three years ago back when I had no real name to call myself and was still in my “Lol xD random” phase, so chose the name “Pickens” because it was like a pear and a chicken.

    Will we be able to migrate our data WITHOUT retaining our name? I don’t want my links to break after, haha.

  15. hugeturnip says:

    I’m not sure about the accounts bit, can someone help? I have an account on the website (obviously) but I’ve never submitted a game before. I really want to participate in the next Ludum Dare though. What do I do? Do I have to make another account?

  16. eric777 says:

    Great to hear from you, PoV. Can’t wait for LD 37. I’ll be braced for tons-o-bugs, and I’m excited to see the new system in action.

    Appreciate you big time!

  17. patvanmackelberg says:

    This may be coming out of nowhere – but I thought of a method to make voting for games fair — and it may have already been tossed like salad. Make it manditory to add a “password” to the games and have that password entered when voting. Something simple and quickly and easily visible. And maybe an option to say you couldn’t find it when voting. That way the people who vote for 500 games and couldn’t find 500 passwords that should have been visible – are dog nutsacks.

    • ajayajayaj says:

      It would be annoying though if you had a level based game and the password was placed after you beat every level. Sometimes it gets excessive. But I do think this is a good idea, maybe for next time. I don’t think there is enough time for this LD since the website is still in alpha.

    • Igor KinGamer says:

      I vote for voting for votes.

      I mean, people vote (something like “like”) on other people’s comments, saying a comment was good. This gives some kind of reputation, so the votes of people who make good, meaningful comments receive more weight when calculating the final scores.

      • Stuntddude says:

        I like this idea, but it could also make it a bit easier to “cheat” the coolness system, if two people agree to upvote all of each other’s comments. Then again, I suppose that’s not any easier than leaving short meaningless comments on a bunch of entries you didn’t even play, which is possible in the current system (but would be discouraged in a system that weights lengthier comments).

  18. jonnopon3000 says:

    Caught the news late, but I’m glad to hear some progress is going on! I might not be the most well-known Jammer out there – mostly because my entries are usually way too rough and ambitious, written in a language + framework I am unfamiliar with, or more recently written in my underdeveloped and underloved WebGL engine – but I’ve been here since Ludum Dare 21 and I’m planning on sticking around pretty much permanently.

    Very excited to see the new site and help out with testing, and of course looking forward to another not-so-fruitful Dare next month!

  19. johnasebok says:

    Great news about the site! On another note…. in your post you state…

    “We’ll be running the alpha test on:

    How many people clicked that link before reading the next line of “This is temporary. It’s also closed at the moment”


    /me raises his hand as doing it.

  20. oxysoft says:

    I’ve said it before but I’m saying it again just to make sure it’s on the list of ideas for the new website:

    A way to “follow” certain users and their entry. Often, I take little breaks in-between coding sessions and just scroll down the front page where people are posting pictures of their progress and I’d like if you could just hit a “follow entry” button on any post showing something you’re interested in playing once it’s done. Once the jam is over, you could see the list of all the games you were following and an option to follow these users for future jams as well. It’d be a great way to fuel the community some more, which has always been a focus on the Ludum Dare I think

  21. Aster0id2000 says:

    Can’t wait to participate in Ludum dare 37!!!

  22. Wumbo says:

    Yay! PoV is back! Also, has it started yet? It seems to have been over a week since the post but alpha testing appears to still be “starting soon”…

    We understand that you have a life and bills to pay, if that’s what you are working on. I just didn’t want to be late to the party!

  23. coasterspaul says:

    I really hope it won’t be delayed much longer. There’s not much time.

  24. Avant-Marde says:

    Nice! Good to see you back! Looking forward to this a lot. c:

    If possible, if there’s a transfer to be done, I’d prefer not to have any entries from before LD30 to be transferred, since I no longer have contact with the people involved in previous entries. If that’s possible to set up, that’d be great!

    When does registration start? This post seemed to indicate that it should be up by now already, but it doesn’t seem to be.

  25. Avant-Marde says:

    The “team support” mentioned in OP, BTW… What does that imply?

    That several people in a team can have individual accounts but be associated with a team somehow, unlike now, where only one account can be associated with an entry?

    What about people who usually work in teams, but shift around the members of that theme from time to time depending on who’s available?

    Does a separate team have to be created for each combination of people, or do people who didn’t actually parttake in a particular LD get associated with a game they didn’t work on just because they’re associated with the same team, or what?

    Would be really great to get all the details on this since I almost never do LD alone.

  26. Rad4th says:

    What do we need to do to register for this LD? I participated in the last one successfully, but with the new website and all, I’m not sure what to do.

    • TerraCottaFrog says:

      According to POV, it seems like you just need to sign up with your original email address to claim your old username. Data will be migrated over time.

    • LeReveur says:

      Get the e-mail address that you entered here, go to then click on Create Account up-right corner, enter the same e-mail address, you should get an e-mail with an activation link. When done, you’ll have a form to fill in with a jammer account name and a password.

  27. 16-Bit Socks says:

    Am I crazy or did it originally say Dec. 3 for LD37? Dang, I hope I have enough time to change my requested days off.

  28. ajayajayaj says:

    The 3rd is not a Friday so it couldn’t be.

  29. LeftRight92 says:

    Regarding creating new accounts and reserved usernames etc etc…
    Do I put my name in so that it’s identical to my WP LD username or….?

  30. eric777 says:

    Just created a new account on the new site, using the email address attached to this account. It let me claim my existing name, looked slick, all is well!

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