Some Tips For You Gnarly Ludum Darers

Posted by
July 27th, 2017 7:40 pm

Before I begin, I just want to say that I LOVE Ludum Dare! I have done 11 LDs, but I will not be participating this weekend due to other plans.

This will be my 8th time sharing these tips, but each LD I revise them and (try to) add a couple of new things to the list. These tips are just from my experience, so feel free to disagree.


On the day of the event, (in no particular order) get lots of sleep and take a shower. I recommend showering right before the time hits because personally I don’t like wasting my time showering during a game jam. I know it sounds kind of funny, but you want as much time as possible to work on your game. Also, sleep is really important too because you’re not going to get a lot of sleep during the weekend. Personally, I like sleeping 4-5 hours on both dev days, giving me a total of 8-10 hours of sleep during the weekend.

Sleeping and Eating

Buy some snacks, like right now! Buy super unhealthy snacks!– Although if you can prepare healthy meals before the event, you should probably do so. I wouldn’t go cooking a full-blown meal during the jam if I were you, but I’m not you so you can do whatever you’d like. You’d be surprised how long you can last without food, but regardless you should eat. Stay up as long as possible. If you have difficulty staying up, have others around to talk to, drink caffeinated beverages, and don’t get too comfortable where you’re sitting because you don’t want to fall asleep. Most people say to cook healthy meals but since I’m more of a Hardcore All I Care About is This Game I’m Going to Make kind of Ludum Darer, I don’t care about what I eat, if I eat at all, because I’m stuck in the LD Zone.

Making Your Game

If you don’t finish making a game, DON’T WORRY because you’re not alone!

GAMEPLAY is important! Yes, pretty Graphics are nice, good Music is even nicer, but you need Gameplay. Graphics, Music, and other things definitely improve your game, but you only have 48-72 hours to create something. Shoot for the gameplay. The first thing you should do with your game is to create the core mechanics. Make all the Graphics rectangles, and forget about the Sound for now. You don’t even need to turn in your entry with fancy menus. Sure, on the last day you can change the graphics, but earlier on just focus on the Gameplay.

Now this is just my opinion, you can do whatever you want. And if you’re going to make a narrative game or a game that’s just about the visuals, then just ignore what I just said about the Gameplay being the key. I’m just a Gameplay kind of guy.

THEME is important. THEME is not important. It all depends on who you are. If you can think of an idea for a game revolving around the theme in a few hours, awesome, but if you can’t, I would just start making a game that I have been wanting to make and then incorporate the theme down the road; or sometimes I just wouldn’t incorporate the theme at all. After the Compo/Jam is over, you receive ratings on multiple categories, and there is only one Theme Category so if you didn’t care about the theme, no big deal. (If you don’t incorporate the theme into your game, I recommend opting out of the Theme Category.)

Once again, do whatever you want; this is just my recommendation. Some people like to take their time to come up with an idea for a game, and that’s okay, I just recommend getting that out of the way fast. I just see LD as a great opportunity to make prototypes really fast.

Post Compo/Jam

If you haven’t completely finished your game (which is probably the case), try to finish/polish it even though your entry is already in. When you’re done with that, add the link to the Post Compo/Jam version of your game next to the 48/72 hr version so that people can play both of them. It’ll make you proud and make you feel better about yourself. And if you really like how your game is looking, continue development and try putting it on Steam, because why not?!

RATE GAMES! Rate as many games as you possibly can, and give everyone a comment! Comments help because some people will look at their comments and click on your name to see your game (also it’s just a really nice thing to leave a comment). If you don’t rate any games then just about no one will see your game, so…




Be on the lookout for Mike’s Dare to Play post where Streamers and YouTubers leave links for you to submit your game to them. Look at this page everyday and keep an eye out for google doc links and email addresses! And don’t be afraid to hop in on a Twitch Stream. You can watch people play Ludum Dare entries and you could leave a link to yours in the chat. Watching somebody play your game is a really fun experience!


What I do

I usually work on the core mechanics for the game first, and then make some music for it so it plays better. I personally think the graphics should go last.

That is just about all I have to say. And once again, these are just my recommendations, so feel free to do whatever you want!

Good Luck to Everyone Participating in LD 39! c:

2 Responses to “Some Tips For You Gnarly Ludum Darers”

  1. Kokonaught says:

    Definitely sleep during jams, at least 3 or 4 hours per night.

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