Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 23
About PoV (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
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.
Mike is currently working on STACHE.
Mike was a contributing author on an iPhone book nobody remembers and used to write for independent games website GameTunnel.
Still Being PoV
Awarded by dylanigan
on August 22, 2014
The "If you got another result than PoV, you are probably wrong" Award
Awarded by klianc09
on August 22, 2013
The Stroustrup Award for Writing a Web-Based Game in C++
Awarded by Jacob
on April 24, 2012
The IRC Math Teacher of the Year Award
Awarded by Henry McLaughlin
on October 29, 2011
Being POV ld20 edition
Awarded by sol_hsa
on May 5, 2011
The "Why Does PoV Get All The Cool Trophies?" Award
Awarded by Henry McLaughlin
on December 11, 2010
Back again with the 2nd bi-weekly report.
These weeks were spent fixing the server, optimizing, and continuing to make things better. Try browsing around. The website should feel faster than it ever has. I’ve only just started.
Hey folks! For those that don’t follow me on Twitter, I thought I’d put together a list of changes, improvements, and things I’ve been working on these past 2 weeks.
Click for the headlines, or read for the nitty gritty details.
Initial Cloudflare Setup – Cloudflare is popular (and free) CDN that speeds up websites by hosting static files closer to you, wherever you are in the world. It’s now installed and working. This is just one of many things that will speed up the website for everyone, especially those outside North America. We’re still bound by how fast the server can fullfill PHP requests, which is next on the list.
Enabling Cloudflare is just the first step towards speeding up the website. Right now we are not optimized at all for CDN (well, not really). It handles those several megabyte animated GIFs people have been uploading great, but we’re wasting a lot of time in PHP and SQL queries, especially on static dynamic stuff. So like I said, next will be speeding up the PHP (OpCache, APCu), and doing various optimizations and updates to better utilize the CDN.
No more www in URLs – ‘www’ is so 1994. All www.ludumdare.com URLs will now resolve to their www-less counterparts. Hello ludumdare.com/everything.
(PS: I’m saving the migration from ludumdare.com/compo/ to ludumdare.com for later. If I was to just do it, it would break a lot of the internet (links). So LD in its current form (WordPress) will continue to live in the /compo/ folder. We’ll be free once we’ve obsoleted it)
Fixes to the Donation Widget – The donation widget is some pretty old code. It’s based on an abandoned WordPress plugin named Donate Plus, that I had to ‘improve’ some years ago. In a sense, it has almost never actually worked correctly. It was supposed to talk with Paypal and sync transactions back and forth, but that stopped working after a month. Fortunately there was a way to manually add donations, which I’ve been doing ever since. No more! The plugin is now fixed. I still instinctively go to the control panel when I get donation e-mails, but now it’s just to admire that it’s done. Ahh the wonders of automation.
There were more bugs, such as only supporting dollar amounts without decimals, fixed. I’m also now saving useful information like Paypal fees and actual Paypal e-mail addresses (wow).
All that’s left is making it correctly record who (what user account on ludumdare.com) donated. This is where I left off. I had made a fix, but it apparently does not work. I’ve written a script to match e-mail addresses with user accounts, but it seems many folks have multiple e-mail addresses. I’ll eventually add a way to claim a donation.
Added “Pre-Donation Widget” contributions – There were a few-dozen contributions to Ludum Dare before I set up the widget. These contributions are now part of the database. We now have a complete record of everyone that has ever contribution to Ludum Dare by Paypal. This will be useful.
Post Previews Bug – Apparently only me and the other admins ever saw this. Anyways, post previews (drafts) now work for everyone again.
Updated Twitch Embed – Twitch finally updated their embed code from a Flash ‘object’ to an HTML ‘iframe’, and I’ve made the change. This means that Mobile and Tablet browsers can watch Live Streams from the website too!
The new embed also supports the Chromecast, which if you have one is pretty sweet.
Broadcast Tracking (and hello LDtv) – LDtv you say? Well it is 2014 (soon to be 2015), and video is kind-of a thing. I want us to better support video throughout the website, and I don’t just mean the Twitch widget. I mean all video. From lets plays on YouTube, to alternative streaming services like Hitbox. I want video to become a bigger part of LD, so much, that I’ve given this advocacy project a name: LDtv.
As for broadcast tracking, this started when I noticed something kind-of amazing the other day.
It was a Tuesday afternoon, just after Lunch, and there it was: The Twitch Widget, full of Live Streams. Again, this was a Tuesday afternoon. Aside from the October Challenge, there was no Game Jam going on. It wasn’t even a weekend! It’s a weekday, and there are 7 people streaming development to ~60 viewers!
In the grand scheme of Live Streaming, yes that’s a small number, but it tells me something: Game Dev Live Streaming is catching on. I always assumed streaming was going to be one of the ways LD would be relevant in the ‘off season’, but here it was, happening right before my eyes.
I started asking questions: How long has this been going on? Why hadn’t I noticed this? What can I do to help it thrive even more? And like most of my Twitter ramblings, I said what I had to say and moved on to the next thing.
Are we at 24 hours of constant streaming yet?
A couple days later I wrote a PHP script to start tracking this. A cron job, every 5 minutes, hit Twitch and see whose online. Left it overnight to see how that would go.
And the scary thing: Yes, some days, we are at 24 hours of streaming!
We are talking 1 person carrying the night shift, but it happened. The first night I started tracking the data, there it was. I’ve also learned Sunday nights and Holiday nights have a lull where us Canadians and Americans sleep. But when I wake up tomorrow morning, there will be streaming, and it’s great.
I’ve put together a special page where you can find additional live stream data. In a sense, this is the beginnings of the larger LDtv project. Generally, we need to start caring more about the video content people are creating, and in this case, the people putting a lot of hours in to streaming. Figuring out who those people are. I’ll have more stats, charts and things to share soon.
Hitbox.tv Live Streaming Support (LDtv page only) – It’s not yet available on the front-page Widget, but the stream tracking is also tracking Hitbox.tv streams. For those not in the know, Hitbox is a lot like Twitch, but they’re not owned by Amazon (for better or worse). A number of folks have been asking for Hitbox support, and we now have it. Coming soon to a Widget near you!
YouTube Live Streaming Support (LDtv page only) – Like Hitbox, this isn’t available on the Widget yet. Long term, I want LDtv and the Website to do something with YouTube videos, so I began doing some research in to Google’s APIs. One thing lead to another, and we now have YouTube Live Stream Support!
YouTube streaming supports both Google+ style “Hangouts On Air” and proper YouTube Live broadcasts. Curious about YouTube streaming? You may have to go to your YouTube account settings and enable it. To compare, Twitch and Hitbox work essentially the same, but YouTube has a built-in DVR. This means as a viewer, you can rewind and fast forward through a Live event, or hit the LIVE button to resume watching Live. It’s pretty cool. That said, YouTube Live is a bit like an aircraft with lots of buttons and switches. Powerful, but complicated.
Header and Sidebar Declutter – One of the ugliest parts of the website is the madness that goes on in the page header and the sidebar. I’m often asked where to find things, many are right in the sidebar or header. Obviously, what we have isn’t working, so I’m going to try to fix it. The Mailing List, IRC, and Reddit now have big icons on the sidebar. I’m told they act funny in some older browsers, so I’ll continue to tweak the code. This is just the start. I plan to continue tweaking and improving the layout as we go.
Steam Widget (Curator and Group) – Ludum Dare has a Steam presence. Originally we had a small Steam Group of 200-some members, and it was okay. But then Steam Curators happened, and with some effort, we managed to become a Top-50 curator. Unfortunately we have slipped, down to the Top-60, but that’s still good! That’s nearly 2600 people, LD’ers and Gamers, that will now hear about your Ludum Dare games as they cross over in to PC’s biggest game market. And the higher we go, the more people we can share your games with.
We also used to have a ‘Featured Post-LD Games’ list that, to be honest, in recent years was just a Steam Games list. There’s just too much volume on iOS and Android, that I had to limit it to places with less volume. That said, of the 14 Ludum Dare games on Steam, 8 have come out this year, with the another coming next month, and 1 more scheduled for 2015. Steam is growing fast too thanks to Greenlight, and Valve has now made it easy for us to collect games.
Rarely talked about, we’ve had a Ludum Dare Steam Group for years too. A good 200 people found it organically, but now seems like a good time to open the floodgates.
So I’ve combined these 3 Steam things together in to a single custom Steam-like widget. Visit the website and scroll down; It’s hard to miss. The Featured games list is now a random 3 Ludum Dare games available on Steam. Currently, the stats update ever 10 minutes (I may bump this). It still needs some work, but check it out! I’m pleased with the results.
Unfinished: Patreon and Donation Goals Widget – It figures. The important thing as I saw it going in to this Ludum Dare update plan was to highlight how much money we’ve taken in, and how I’m doing towards my goal. Some of the first code I wrote 2 nearly weeks ago was a parser for the CSV file that Patreon spits out. Alas, this got back-burnered, to hopefully pick up and finish today (Monday). Nope, but I did get close.
Wrap up – I think that covers all the big things. I’ve been doing some general research on other Web APIs (Reddit (OMG EASY), Twitter, Facebook) as well as some work on the rewrite plan for next year (LD2015), mockups, and lots of note-taking.
I have a video I may do this week, this time about something I’d like to change (the hashtag). Stats always tell us that half of all participants in an Ludum Dare event haven’t done one before, so the simpler we can make it, the better. And given that we’re up to our 31st event, of 48 or 72 hours in length, #LD48 or specifically “48” is about as vague as you could get (I’m thinking: #LDJAM or #LDjam). Anyways, this is a rabbit hole, so lets save this discussion for later.
You made it to the end! I’m finished my long ramble-rant! Hooray for you!
FYI: I’ll be kicking off our ‘5 week countdown’ to Ludum Dare 31 with a bunch of stuff on October 31st. Theme Suggestions will open, but I’ve got a extra special thing for the artists. Stay tuned!
That’s it! We’re done. Until next time!
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PS: I thought about calling this the Ludum Daregest (Digest), which lead me to Ludum Daregeist, and to Ludum Der Geist, but that was too spooky.
As September comes to a close, it’s time to kick off the October Challenge 2014!
The October Challenge is a special event Ludum Dare started four years ago. The purpose: Just as Ludum Dare encourages you to make game, the October Challenge encourages you to sell a game. Or put another way:
That is your goal. That is the October Challenge.
Disregard all the usual Ludum Dare rules (no restrictions). Finish any game you previously made during a game jam, something else you’ve been working on, or heck, something entirely new. Your goal, if you choose to accept it, is to not only make something, but to finish it and do everything necessary to start earning money from it. That’s all. No specific rules or platforms. Make good on that goal or promise to start selling games.
Finish your game before November 1st, and submit it to your respected market. That is the challenge. And once you earn your $1, you’ve won! Easy as that. You’re now a pro.
I’d like to invite everyone to share resources and discuss markets, business models, advertising, and anything related to making that $1. I’ve collected a list of marketplaces, vendor services, and even some opportunities you can take advantage of over here:
If you need a place to start, you can check out this guide I wrote for our first event. Selling games isn’t just finishing it, but there is often paperwork and fees to take care of, and those take time. Do them early to make the most of your time.
Also, do share your progress on your upcoming game with us here on the site.
I’ve posted a few FAQ answers in the comments, so look below. Good luck everyone!
Opportunities and Contests
- PC, Mobile, Web – Independent Games Festival – Highly regarded Independent Games event with cash prizes, due October 22nd! ($100 Fee)
- PC, Mobile, Web – Games 4 Doge – A Game Dev contest looking to raise awareness of Doge Coin. Due October 31st.
- Mobile (Apple) – iOS App Store – iPhone, iPod touch, iPad ($99 year)
- Mobile (Android) – Android Marketplace – Android phones and tablets ($25 Fee)
- Mobile (Android) – Amazon App Store – Amazon Kindle Fire Tablets (Free?)
- Mobile (PS Vita, Other) – PlayStation Mobile – Target the PS Vita (and more) with C#
- Mobile (BlackBerry) – Appworld – PlayBook Tablet and BlackBerry 10 phones (SDK)
- Mobile (WP8) – Windows Phone 8 – Windows Phone 8 devices ($19 Fee)
- PC (Win8/WinRT) – Windows 8 – Microsoft’s Integrated Store ($49 year)
- PC (Mac) – Mac App Store – Apple’s built-in App Store ($99 year)
- PC (Linux) – Ubuntu Software Center – Selling Linux Games (Guide)
- PC (Windows, Mac, Linux) – Steam Greenlight – Community Voted PC Distro ($100 Fee)
- PC (Windows & Linux) – Desura – PC Game and Mod storefront with a Steam-like client
- PC (Windows & Mac) – GOG.com – Classic PC Gaming portal and storefront
- PC (Windows, Mac, Linux) – Itch.io – PC Game Distribution (Free)
- Web – Chrome Web Store – Sell content to Chrome browser users ($5 Fee)
- Web – Firefox Marketplace – Mozilla’s Web Store (Preview)
Portals w/ Ad share
- Web (Flash, Unity, HTML5) – Flash Game License – Put your games up for auction
- Paypal – Old Faithful
- Amazon Payments – Payments powered by Amazon
- Google Wallet – Payments powered by Google
- Google IAP – In App Payments by Google
- Stripe – Simple WebAPI for payments
- BMT Micro – Long time favorite of many PC/Shareware authors
- Sellbox – Sell directly from your Dropbox or Google Drive.
The video sums up the plan. If you want to contribute, hit one of the links below.
If you want to help by doing work, join the mailing list. I’ll let you know when we’re ready.
Honestly, I have no idea how realistic this is, but here we are anyway. You don’t see Patreons as high as $3000 (you rarely see $200), but you guys asked for it, so here we are giving it a try!
* * *
Lets talk specifics.
Hey, do you Steam? You should follow us on Steam. We now maintain a curated list of games that started in Ludum Dare that made their way to Steam. Follow us! Help us share Ludum Dare games with the world.
OMG! Thank you everyone! In this video I address concerns (Watch Part 1 here).
The whole idea of working-your-butt-off for no prize is bizarre, yet here we are, thousands of developers strong.
I have to tell myself that what I’m doing is OK. The money I’m asking for is about giving me the time to give Ludum Dare the attention it needs right now. Long term though, I don’t want us in an endless loop, like those PBS telethons I’d watch every year when I was a kid.
To everyone asking me to shut up and take their money, that’s coming. If you can’t wait, the donations page works (if you’re logged in), but much of what’s written on that page is out of date. I haven’t had the chance to update it yet.
In probably my next video, I’ll have more to say on this. After that, I want to talk about my thoughts on the short and long term goals. Obviously, I want to fix some things for December’s LD, but some of the things will require a much bigger effort.
* * *
Also, share your thoughts on LD, the event, and the community in the Mega Thread.
Well, when you’re as big as Ludum Dare, eventually you have to act like it. Lets chat.
I hope what I’m saying in the video makes sense. We’re NEVER going to charge for Ludum Dare, but we have real manpower costs: mine. I’ve been here, running the show for 6 years now, supporting it for all 12, and I still want to do it!
As it grows, it gets more and more demanding. Honestly, I can’t ignore it anymore (I’ve tried). Everyone on IRC knows how I never visit anymore. I’ve had to balance my time doing my work and running Ludum Dare. I love doing it, but we’re at this point now. We either do something bad, or we do something awesome. I prefer awesome.
Again, all I’m asking today is for permission. Permission to evolve it in to something that lets me get paid, which keeps me away from contract work, which lets me do things to improve Ludum Dare in the time I couldn’t before. How we make money is a discussion for another day. Crowdfunding, Kickstarters, Patreons, Sponsors, heck even the wild idea of making it a proper charitable organization. We’ll look into opening this worm can, but not today.
Today is about admitting we have a problem. And that it’s probably time to take the next step.
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Also! Share your thoughts on Ludum Dare, the website, the community in THE MEGA THREAD. All your thoughts, criticisms, and especially the things you love. It’s been an incredible resource for me. Everything, the good, the bad, is so encouraging. Thanks again!
Hey folks! I’ve started taking notes and collecting thoughts on a Ludum Dare website rewrite. What would help is knowing what people are thinking as they use this current website. While you’re participating this weekend, I ask that you come here and leave a comment sharing what you’re thinking. Things you don’t like about the website/event, things that seem wrong, and things you do like about it. No matter how small, the irks and pains, unnecessary things, and even those little moments that make you smile. I have my assumptions, but you telling will be best. Thanks!
EDIT: Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of comments! Don’t even worry about reading them. Repeating what’s been said just reinforces the importance of something.
As the summer winds down, it’s time for more Ludum Dare!
Final Round Theme Voting has begun! The highest rated themes from Rounds 1-4 have been collected here for the Final Grand Theme Battl-stravaganza! What theme will be victorious? You decide!
This is the one that counts!
Are you itching for some Dare? Yeah! Are you ready though? Nope!?! Then between now and the start, you’re encouraged to test your tools. We call it Warmup Weekend (but we don’t mind when you submit, be it today or next week). Make some art, import it, and draw it on screen. Make some sounds, import them, and play them on cue. If you’re using a new development tool, figure out the development cycle. Learn how to make a release too!
Bullet point summary:
- No rules or limits. This is practice.
- Learn your development tools! Write some code, run it.
- Make some art, get it on screen, make it move.
- Print some text to the screen. Print some text to a log (if applicable).
- Make some sound, get it in game, make it play.
- If you’re motivated enough, make your experiments in to a game!
- Make something that should take “hours”, not 2 days.
- Then package it up, put it online.
- No time or day limit. But if you have no other plans this weekend, why not?
If you like what you’ve done, feel free to share it.
Lets try something new!
Share any freely available assets you make available in the comments. Art, Sound, Music, etc. Remember that the Compo is a solo competition, so assets found here are ONLY FOR THE JAM!