Hey, everyone is doing an I’m in post, so I guess I’ll just do mine. Also, here is some tips for people who are new ludum dare, or people who are looking for tips to performing well. I am 13 years old and this is my 5th time doing ludum dare.
Please note that I got these from my personal experiences and mistakes – so learn from my mistakes 😉
1. NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER make a puzzle game. I had made this mistake twice, the 2nd time I thought I could get away with, but didn’t. If you are going to make a puzzle game, don’t make a puzzle game with buttons you have to press to open a door, or you have to destroy this wall, or other mechanics like that. Make the mechanics simple (but not overly simple) to code, yet unique and entertaining.
2. Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food. Keep a drink bottle next to you for you to take a swig from every now and then. Make sure to eat healthy and regularly, like you would on a normal day. You can’t concentrate when you’re dehydrated or hungry.
3. Try something new. Think about the games that you have made in the past (it could be for or not for Ludum Dare). Take those games, and forget about them. Try to make a game outside the sort of games you usually make, try to make a new style of game you haven’t made before. Making the same type/style of game over and over again and never trying anything new gets quite boring after a while.
4. Challenge yourself. What is ludum dare? A challenge. So when I say try something new, try not to make it overly simple. Add some unique mechanics here and there, try new things outside your comfort zone. This is part of what makes ludum dare a fun time. Try not to over complicate things though, and I’ll explain why in a bit.
5. Take breaks off of your computer every now and then. I’m not saying to spend half of the time during ludum dare outside, I’m saying to relax your brain a bit. When you’re doing ludum dare, your brain will be working pretty hard, but if you keep spending too much time on the computer, your brain could start to overload and wear out a bit, and you could start to feel stressed or confused on what you’re meant to be doing. So every 2-4 hours, spend about 10-30 minutes outside, getting some fresh air, and letting your brain and your body relax and calm down a bit. If you do that, once you return to making your game, you will feel a lot more refreshed and you will perform better than you would if you didn’t spend a bit of time outside.
6. Try to get a decent amount of sleep. I’m not saying “sleep in when you really should be coding”, I’m saying try not to go to bed too late, like 3:00am, but try to go to bed at a time around 11:00pm – 12:00am and wake up at around 6:00am – 7:00am. It might not be a huge amount of sleep, but it’s good enough to make you feel refreshed in the morning. Sleep is important so you don’t wear yourself out, and so you can perform better when you feel awake. Try having a shower and some breakfast before returning to make your game when you wake up so you can feel awake and refreshed when you start coding your game, and you will perform better on a full stomach and a refreshed body.
7. Dot not over complicate things. I said to try something new and give yourself a challenge, but do not make things too complicated to make in 48 hours. Know that your game is possible to make in the 48 or 72 hour time period that you are given. If you try to make something too big, your brain will wear out more easily and you will be rushing your game, and that’s not very fun. Trust me, ludum dare is a lot more fun if you don’t make things complicated.
8. Make your game fun to play. I remember making puzzle games for ludum dare in the past, which I had fun making, but not the most fun possible, and those games weren’t generally fun games. I remember then making a game which was fun to play, and fun was even the main focus of the game. I had a lot more fun making that one game that had fun as the main focus, than I did with the puzzle games, and it ranked better than my puzzle games did. So if you make a fun game, you will end up having a fun time making it.
9. Have fun! Ludum dare is about challenging yourself, giving it a shot and most importantly; having fun. If you are not enjoying ludum dare, then maybe ludum dare isn’t the right thing for you. Also, if you think you’re going to get bad results, who cares! Give it a shot anyway, and try to enjoy yourself.
So yeah, those are my tips for Ludum Dare. If you combine all of these, you are almost guaranteed to have a great time participating in Ludum Dare!