Join us on Twitter and IRC (#ludumdare on Afternet.org) for the Theme Announcement!
Thanks everyone for coming out! For the next 3 weeks, we’ll be Playing and Rating the games you created. You NEED ratings to get a score at the end. Play and Rate games to help others find your game. We’ll be announcing Ludum Dare 36’s August date alongside the results.
New Server: Welcome to the New (less expensive) Server! Find any problems? Report them here.
Mike Kasprzak, AKA "PoV" is your fearless leader. He plays this role so the others don't have to. He didn't start Ludum Dare, but has been around since the beginning. Even though it's wrong, he speaks the word "Dare" as it would be spoken in English. He does that with "Euler" too, which should make that guy pretty mad.
Mike is a game industry veteran with more than a decade of experience, and multiple console and mobile games to his name. Currently he owns and operates Sykhronics Entertainment, an Independent Game Developer based out of London, Ontario, Canada. Sykhronics is best known for the iPhone game Smiles, which was a finalist in the 2009 Independent Games Festival Mobile, was the winner of the Intel Atom Developer Challenge's "Most Elegant Design" award in 2010, and won the 2011 Developers Choice Award in Transgaming's GameTree.tv Developer Competition. Also PuffBOMB, a classic Ludum Dare entry of his that went on to be a finalist in the Slamdance Guerrilla Game Making Competition and be named a "Top Dog" on legendary gaming archive Home of the Underdogs.
There may be more, but you’ll have to check the comments for more details.
New Server (Paris)
A few weeks back, I moved the Ludum Dare website from a server in Washington, DC to a server in Paris, France. This was mainly to save money, but along the way I was able to make some fixes. The old server cost us around $200 a month (used to be more, I negotiated less last year). The replacement costs around $27. Pretty good savings if I do say so.
The biggest improvement is that e-mail should actually work now. Setting up an e-mail server used to be a simple matter of setting MX records and running sendmail. Now it’s a lot more complicated, requiring multiple certificates, and technologies with silly acronyms like DKIM and DMARC. And don’t get me started on WordPress’s “feature” that breaks certificates. Ugh.
Suffice to say, it works now. Finally.
The site should also be faster. Gone is our ancient platter hard drive, we’re on an SSD now! That and a we actually have more cores (8 instead of 6), and nearly triple the RAM. On paper hte per-core performance should be lower (Intel Xeon vs Intel Atom), but our pages are generating anywhere from 2x-10x faster now.
That said, CloudFlare occasionally hiccups, thinking our server disappeared. But no worry. Give it a moment, and click that “Retry for Live” button, and it should fix itself.
Some months ago, I was made aware that Twitch changed how it handled Game Development streams. Though some people still set their game to “Game Development“, most streams found on Twitch have the game set to “Creative“, with a hashtag #GameDev in the title.
For Ludum Dare, you set your game to “Ludum Dare“.
Now Twitch hasn’t told me otherwise, but I expect we’ll eventually be encouraged to switch to the “Creative” game using a hashtag (#LDJAM, #LudumDare, #LD35, etc). These are not supported by the old streaming widget.
Now I have been working on the replacement for the streaming widget. It’s not fully functional yet, but it does do almost everything the old one did. Most notably, it does handle the Game=Creative with hashtags case. Because it was so close, when I migrated the server over, I didn’t bother getting the old streaming widget working. I assumed I’d find the time to finish.
Well here we are, 2 days before Ludum Dare, and whoops it’s still not done, ha! I *should* be able to get it working in a day (i.e. Thursday), but the backup plan is to get the old widget seen above back online.
What that means: Depending on which widget you see in the top of the sidebar.
Old Widget (seen above, rounded retro TV shape): Set your game to “Ludum Dare” on Twitch or Hitbox, or include “Ludum Dare” in your YouTube stream title
New Widget (channel thumbnails): Either set your game to “Ludum Dare” on Twitch or Hitbox, or to “Creative” on Twitch with a hashtag #LDJAM in your title. There *might* also be LiveCoding.tv support, but no promises (I’ve been having issues with their API). YouTube support is unfinished
Related, Beam has been giving me some trouble lately. It looks like there may have been an API change. I haven’t had a chance to investigate.
You might be familiar with a 2014 game they worked on Alien: Isolation, with Gary as a Lead Designer and Catherine as a Designer. I’m always thrilled to hear from fellow developers that have made their mark on the industry (Gary, Catherine), but then to find out “Oh by the way, I’ve finished 9 Ludum Dare’s, and she’s done 17!“. Seventeen! 23 if you count her Global Game Jams too. Wow!
Oh, and as if that wasn’t enough, Catherine has a BAFTA.
So with that, I’m thrilled to share this latest Ludum Dare keynote. Check it out:
That’s it from me. Good luck, and have a great Ludum Dare.
I’m doing a survey to help better categorize the skills that go in to making a game. If you’d like to help, fill out the survey 1 or more times with each of the skills you think you bring to the games you create, or the teams you’re part of.
What distinct categories are needed to fairly summarize a person’s skillset or experience
How diverse those categories are
Ultimately game creators are multifaceted. Of course labelling anyone is a delicate topic, so care must be taken. No definition is truly fluid enough, and some will always refuse it. But for everyone that’s willing, categories can be extremely helpful especially for things like team-building. It’s just not realistic to expect any Sound Designer to be a Tools Programmer.
Theme Voting for Ludum Dare 35 has kicked off! Tune in each day for a new round. Rounds don’t begin closing until Tuesday, so if you’ve miss a round, click a tab and check! You may still be able to vote!
Final Round Theme Voting kicks off Wednesday, roughly 48 hours before Ludum Dare starts.
Ludum Dare themes get criticized for a variety of reasons. One of those criticisms is that themes are too similar. A fix I’m considering is introducing a new Round to help identify which themes people feel are too similar. This may not be necessary, so before I do anything, I thought I’d check and see what you all think about our theme lists.
You can share your thoughts publicly in the comments, or privately using the survey.
How it works is simple. We give you a random theme from the remaining 4200 suggestions, and you tell us whether it’s a good theme or not with a click. You can use whatever criteria you like to decide, but do consider that a few thousand game developers need to make original games based off the theme. And some themes have happened before.
By mid-week we do a purge, removing the lowest rated themes from the list. As a result, the quality of themes you receive should get better as the week goes on. We still need your help to separate the good from the bad though!
EDIT: Tuesday’s Purge! After over 420,000 votes, roughly 850 of the lowest rated themes have been removed from the randomization.
EDIT 2: Friday Purge! After over 650,000 votes, we gut a whopping 2500 more themes, bringing our active total to about 800. FWIW, there are roughly 35 votes between the lowest and highest rated themes of those that remain. We’re taking the top 80, so every vote still makes a difference.
If you’ve already voted on thousands, there’s a very good chance you’ll only see themes you’ve already voted for. Any votes you make herein will probably overwrite an old vote, so you wont see your total go up anymore.
As some of you know, I wont be in San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference this year. My biggest regret, especially after last year, is that there wont be a Ludum Dare GDC Party. That was such an amazing evening, the absolute highlight of GDC for me (and I’m told many of you as well). GitHub were amazingly gracious hosts, going all-out to welcome us. I can’t thank them enough.
It was such an amazing night, we started talking about next years party AT THE PARTY! But once I was sure I wasn’t going to be in San Francisco, we agreed it just didn’t feel right hosting a Ludum Dare party.
That said, I’d like to invite you all to attend GitHub’s GDC Party on GDC Tuesday.
Officially this is GitHub’s Party. Unofficially, if we get enough of you there, it’s a Ludum Dare party.
And because it’s hilarious, we’re going to try to have me there virtually, piloting GitHub’s Telepresense Robot. If you see “an iPad on wheels” all by itself, feel free to come over and say hello. I’ll be enjoying my own alcoholic beverages, and I’ll be happy to chat until we’re all exhausted, or the batteries run out. 😀
And just to confirm, yes this replaces the Tad’s meetup we were originally going to hold.
Yes, this thread is for next year. If you want to talk about this year, go here.
Okay! So I actually wont be around for GDC 2016, but I’ve been promising folks that I would return for 2017.
Lets talk about 2017.
Something that comes up every time: “We should run a jam at GDC”.
If it’s worth doing, we would have to start planning well in advance. And since people are thinking about GDC right now (the one in a few weeks), this seems a good time to collect thoughts and feedback on it.
If you’re interested in participating in a Jam in San Francisco, do leave a comment. I need to know there is an interest!
Do you like:
Replacing a GDC day (GDC Friday) with a Game Jam
Flying in early for a Jam before GDC (Weekend)
Flying out later, for a Jam immediately following GDC (Weekend)
As for organizing it, here are some other considerations:
I wont be at the Game Developers Conference this year, but some of you may still want to meet-up. Here’s a thread to say you’re going, and if someone is feeling leader’ly, to discuss organizing a meetup.
EDIT: Meetup at Tad’s on GDC Tuesday, just like old times. See below.
As many of you know, Ludum Dare is an international event. About half of us are in the US and Canada (mostly US), but the other half is elsewhere in the world. Everything we do is online, and no matter where you are in the world, what we do happens simultaneously for everyone.
I live in Canada (London Ontario), so when I’m scheduling Ludum Dare, I do have a bias for my continent (North America). As I see it, Ludum Dare events start on Friday’s at 9 PM Eastern Time, but what that also means is they start on Friday at 6 PM Pacific Time. The reason for this time is that a majority of people in North America are out of school or out of work between the hours of 5 PM and 6 PM. Again, for me it’s 9 PM in the evening, and by the time I get things wrapped, I can often get to sleep by midnight (which I imagine is normal for most people).
Unfortunately for our friends in Europe (the largest part of that other half of participants), this means Ludum Dare starts anywhere +/- 2 AM (02:00). For some it’s 1 AM, but for others it’s as bad as 4 AM or 5 AM. Beyond a certain point you may as well just wake up early, but unfortunately our friends in Europe are right in that worst case spot.
This is something I haven’t been able to come up with a good solution to.
Global Game Jam works around this by giving organizers the theme ahead of time. This works as GGJ is about being there in person, and you’re mainly being social with those physically around you.
We can’t do that.
Most people that do Ludum Dare do it from home. It would be unfair to give themes to Gatherings and not everyone in the same timezone. We’re also extremely internet social (#LDJAM), with a huge presence on Twitter. And as we get more of the new website online, we’ll be doing even more and more social things.
I get many requests from hosts of gatherings to get the theme early, but I can’t think of a way to share the theme early in a fair way.
So that’s my dilemma.
If we start sooner, people on the west coast of are still at work and school. If we give the theme early to some people, it isn’t fair for others. I don’t like the idea of segregating parts of the community (i.e. different submission times for different timezones).
The strictness of the time limit, 48 and 72 hours, is important to a lot of people. The fact that we have a solo-only event is important to a lot of people. The fact that one of our events requires source code is important to a lot of people.
I have a few too many constraints to deal with, to make it perfect for everyone.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.
If you haven’t been around these past few weeks, you’ll notice something different when you click above. Some weeks ago, we kicked off part of the new Ludum Dare website, and we’ve been testing it along the way. Blogging and Submissions for Ludum Dare 34 will continue to use the WordPress powered Ludum Dare website (you are here now). However, the entire Theme Selection process was handled by the new website.
There were some hiccups and experiments along the way, but I hope those of you that got to use it liked what you saw. If you run in to any issues with the theme selection site, leave a comment below, or feel free to get in touch.
A huge thanks to my Beta Testers. I think we were able to get most of the quirks out with your reports.
We usually start the Theme Voting on the weekend, but due to reasons, I wasn’t able to get this kicked off at the usual time. My apologies.
As of now we’re kicking off a new round of Voting roughly every 12 hours. Each round lasts a just over 24 hours. Be sure to click the tabs to visit prior rounds and get your votes in before they close!!
EDIT: As an experiment, Theme Voting Result details are NOT shown. They ARE still sorted by their scores, but you no longer know by how much (or how little) a Theme has an advantage. This also means you don’t know exactly what themes will be in the Final Round.