Hello! I hope you had a great Ludum Dare.
Results will be live shortly.
2014 was a crazy year that saw over 8000 games created during Ludum Dare and MiniLD events. We set a new record in December with over 2600 games, and December is historically our smallest main event.
In 2015, will the scouter say Ludum Dare is over 9000? Stay tuned!
Here’s what’s coming up:
April 2015: Ludum Dare 32, April 17th to 20th
Our first big event of Year 13 will take place in April. Follow us on Twitter or Sign Up for the Mailing List to stay informed.
March 2015: Game Developers Conference
I’ll be in San Francisco for GDC in March, and like usual, we’ll be having a little get-together. I’ll have more details on the gathering as we get closer to GDC, so stay tuned (it might be cooler than usual). Again, Twitter or the Mailing List to stay informed.
Project LD2015: a new Ludum Dare website (WordPress free!)
In January I start on something I’ve nicknamed “LD2015″, or the New Website project. It’s the long overdue rewrite (from scratch) of the Ludum Dare website.
As I’ve previously mentioned, we’ve been using WordPress to run Ludum Dare for about 7 years now. All-in-all it’s actually not a bad piece of software. Despite not really being designed for it, it’s actually capable of running a website with 46,000 users. You have to massage it, tweak it, hack it a bit, but it does work. But a lot of our custom code was designed for event with hundreds of submissions, not thousands. Like the classic problem of fitting a square peg in to a round hole, we’ve been chiselling away at that hole for years to make the peg fit, and it’s not pretty.
Over the past few months, I’ve become quite familiar with inner workings of WordPress and our custom code, making tweaks and adding features for Ludum Dare 31. My plan is to build something new, from the ground up, that solves as many of the current website problems as I can, as well as migrate as much of the data over that makes sense.
Back in August of 2014, during Ludum Dare 30, I started collecting feedback from you. This resulted in something I call the Feedback Mega Thread. Over 400 posts from you and me, trying to catalogue the little things, places that we can do better.
Some highlights include:
- Finding and browsing games needs to be better
- Too many posts to follow
- I want to reply to players
- Bad formatting of posts
- Mobile website
- How do I find Linux games, Unity games, HTML5 games, etc
- How do I find Multiplayer games (online and local)
- The need to moderate new users (me)
- The dynamic (transforming) nature of the website during events (me)
- I want to help
All of these, and many more. We’re a community that embraces a wide variety of media and social networking in addition to our games. I want to see Reviews and Lets Plays from all our favourite YouTubers, Streamers, and Indie Game outlets better integrated in to the site. I want to be able to tell you exactly how many games are made in Twine or Unity. There is metadata, tweets, blog and Facebook posts from all over the internet that we could fetch ourselves and do something with. I want to enable you and all your crazy ideas. The stats and other fun things you want to do. And if you make something that improves Ludum Dare for everyone, I want to make it part of the website.
Of course we can’t expect to do everything in just a few months, so I’ll be starting with the essentials. What we need to migrate the old data over, and to get us on the road to a new, better Ludum Dare.
Goal: New Website online for Ludum Dare 33 in August (not April).
I’ll get in to the details later, but for now I will say that the new website will be:
I’ll be acting as project lead, and doing the core development. You’ll eventually be able to fork the code, make changes/add things, and push them at me. I’ll be making an effort to document instructions for setting up your own mini Ludum Dare instance for testing. I’ll have a design goals/document up soon, as well as a discussion list/forum (something), so if anyone wants to help me, you’ll know what’s going on.
For January, it looks like we raised about $2500 between Patreon (~$937 TBD) and Paypal ($1601). That’s pretty close to my ambitious goal of $3000 a month, certainly enough for me to commit to another month.
If anyone wants to sneak a few more dollars in before January 1st, please do.
$1000 of that is thanks to Phil Hassey, my co-runner of Ludum Dare for many years, and author of most of Ludum Dare’s custom code. I really owe Phil a lot. Thanks to him, we returned to LudumDare.com, and set things up so we could continue running events for many years. As an event, Ludum Dare spend several of its early years floating, sleeping on the couch of friends like Mike Hommel, before we got serious and went home. I knew nothing of web development at the time. I got to focus on organizing and MC’ing events, and when there were problems Phil could fix things. Phil eventually got busy with his Galcon series of strategy games, but the foundation was set. I was able to take over and run with it for many years. Without that groundwork that Phil laid, Ludum Dare wouldn’t be what it is today. And as if I didn’t already owe him, I *REALLY* owe him now.
That said, the ~$900 a month that the Patreon pulls in isn’t enough to cover my monthly bills, but it’s still pretty amazing. You rarely seen Patreons over a hundred dollars, and I’m truly humbled that so many of you believe in what I’m doing to contribute so much. And all of you that contribute via Paypal, I really appreciate you too!
Thank you all so very much!
Now, if you don’t mind, to help me pay my bills, I’d like to do this before starting on LD2015:
Literally, just a few hours ago today, my puzzle game Smiles HD was Greenlit on Steam. It’s not a Ludum Dare game, but I’m hoping the trickle income it earns will help support me working on Ludum Dare these next few months. I’m not expecting much, but if it can make me a few hundred more a month, that’d be a plus. Every bit helps.
I had initially planned to start working by Monday January the 5th, but I might need another week or two to get this released first.
If you want to stay informed on Project LD2015, sign up for the mailing list, or follow me on Twitter. I’ll be sending a note out to the list when LD2015 finally kicks off.
After all, I still have to explain what I’m doing.
Thanks everyone! We’ll see you again in April 2015!