Ludum Dare 36
The Theme is:
Ancient Technology

LD36 has ended!
Well done to everyone who took part.
1912 Amazing Games!

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.

Mike's funny story is that he "won a car" in a compo. He's been a full time independent game developer for too long.

Company: Sykhronics Entertainment
Twitter: mikekasprzak
Blog: TooNormal

Mike's Notable Compo Entries
LD12 - towlr [towlr.com]
72H2 - Zooble [Link]
LD03 - PuffBOMB [puffbomb.com]
LD02 - Sheep Strike
LD01 - Trout!
LD00 - Fun Game (not actually fun)

Entries

PoV's Trophies

The "I just need to test awards" award
Awarded by pta2002
on April 18, 2016
Badass Admin Award
Awarded by kaype
on December 6, 2015
Help Running and paying for the LD Site Award
Awarded by Donni11
on June 17, 2015
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

PoV's Archive

Problems? Post here!

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 1:04 am

Hi. I’m still away, but I’ve been getting a number of people contacting me that weren’t able to submit, or had issues submitting, so I’m going to send them here. Please leave a comment here if you had issues submitting.

If it’s an account/activation issue, I’ll take care of those. You can contact me directly.

EDIT: Feedback Friends bugs over here: https://github.com/…/feedback-friends/issues

What is going on? (Summary)

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 1:17 pm

Hi.

This is a summary of what’s going on. Long story short, some people are not happy with me.

For those that weren’t around a few weeks ago, among other things I was called out for not giving a date for the next Ludum Dare event. For the above reason, this is something I’ve been struggling to write, but after being called out I had to quickly throw together a response.

http://ludumdare.com/compo/2016/06/08/well-this-is-awkward-2/

Long story short, I am not running an August event. After running 3 events per year for the past 8 years, I need a break. I’m just asking for one though. There are big problems, and I want to focus on getting the new website running as soon as possible to address them, without the obligation of having to run a summer event. As I see it, Ludum Dare 36 is in December.

I detailed my reasons in the post above, along with my serious concerns about running events on the current website. I recommended that we don’t run a judged event on the current website. The community is free to do what they want, but I specifically asked not to be involved. As a compromise I recommended running un-judged events like the MiniLDs (or LD.5 events we’d previously run), because they don’t require much attention on my part. Also itch.io offered to host an event in my absence. This is fine (and the least effort on my part), but long term there are concerns worth considering.

Again, I just want to reiterate that I am not involved with the August event.

For details on what is happening in August, visit the main website.

http://ludumdare.com/compo/

On the Itch

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Friday, June 10th, 2016 6:29 pm

Let’s talk about itch.io.

Like I said in my post, I wont be running a Ludum Dare event in August. The community is free to do whatever it wants in my absence. Itch.io has offered to help out which is great. Much appreciated!

But long term, there are some serious consequences that need to be considered and understood.

I’ve been chatting with Leaf of itch.io on and off for the past few weeks, but not necessarily about the things you may be thinking.

Ludum Dare is kind-of a big deal. By existing and doing what we do, we benefit the greater gaming community. Much of the growth in games created the past several years can be attributed to what we do. In my other post I talked about our impact, our reach, and how much what we do matters to the industry.

We are a thing.

Itch.io is amazing. It grew out of a need of the Ludum Dare community (game hosting), and became this fantastic new way that indie games are shared and distributed. It somehow achieved what Manifesto Games, Desura, Midnight City, and so many others attempted-to but failed to do: create a stable indie games marketplace.

Itch is a thing.

And as members of the community, the itch.io team is super aggressive, adding features to make it easier for everyone that participates in Ludum Dare. They’ve done so many great things, and it makes total sense that we should be working with them. We should do it more. That kind of relationship is rare.

But it needs to be understood that itch.io is a business.

https://itch.io/docs/general/team

I trust these guys, but even with the best intentions, itch.io has grown to the point where it now competes directly with Newgrounds, Game Jolt, and Kongregate. All of these sites host games and run contests. Game Jolt has been especially aggressive lately trying to catch up to itch.io by adding jam hosting and their own download client. This is not a joke. This is serious stuff.

If Ludum Dare permanently moved to itch.io, it would be damaging.

After submitting to itch.io, there’s little incentive to upload to the other sites. Itch.io is already one of the most popular places to run game jams. But if itch.io also ran Ludum Dare, the largest online game jam in the world, that could be trouble.

We make a impact. A real impact.

There’s a reason Newgrounds and Game Jolt go out of their way to add and highlight the #LudumDare or #LDJAM or #LD35 tags. We had a good relationship with Kongregate as well, until a falling-out several years back. Some of you may not know the story, but Kongregate ran a contest alongside LD, inviting people to submit their Ludum Dare games. They offered cash prizes, which in turn caused a lot of social media outrage, unfortunately souring things between us. Other than one of the winners that reached out after getting a job there, I haven’t heard from them since. I still have a lot of respect for Kongregate. They’re just one of the few people that have seen our bad side, something I unfortunately have to work hard to protect others from.

And also, I need to mention that Tom Fulp of Newgrounds has been one of Ludum Dare’s biggest contributors over the years. I believe this was back in 2012, the same year we first broke 1000 games. At the time I was panicked. Our old host was kicking us off. I’d never run a server that cost more than $10 a month, and certainly not one that cost over $100 a month. My games business has never really done well, despite the things I can brag about (winning cash, trips, hardware, and even a car). So spending over 10x more a month on keeping “the hobby” afloat was something I just wasn’t comfortable with yet. It was necessary, but this was new territory for me.

I don’t believe we were ever month-to-month with donations covering our hosting cost, but you could count how many months we could sustain it. Later in 2012, I received a few large donations. The big one was crazy, a total across two donations of $7k from an anonymous (?) donor, but the 2nd largest was $300 from Tom. I was super humbled by this. It still took time for me to accept the idea spending over $100 a month on hosting, but the generous donations by Tom and the anonymous donor really helped me get comfortable with where I had to be. And finally after several years of spending over $200 a month on hosting, I’ve learned and done enough that our hosting costs are now under $100 a month. That and we even run multiple servers now (the old and the new).

So take that as you will. Personally, I feel an obligation not to side entirely with one company in the game hosting space. Competition is good. It’s healthy. It keeps things interesting, and everyone moving forward. It means I have to do more, but like I’ve been saying, I’m cool with that. I just need time on my side. 😉

It’s important to have choice.

That’s not to say we can’t have preferences. Everybody has preferences. Many of you prefer GitHub to BitBucket or Assembla. Many of you prefer Twitch to Hitbox, YouTube, or Beam. But the more we go out of our way to provide options, to provide choice, the better it is for everyone.

Anybody that wants to work with us should be able to work with us. Not everybody has the drive or resources to do it, but for those that do, interesting new things get done. And while I don’t necessarily have time to work with everyone, I’m happy open source is a part of Ludum Dare. It means I can focus on the things that make the biggest impact, do the hard work, and then members of the community or 3rd parties can do what I can’t.

Ludum Dare is not an island. Live streaming, source code hosting, game hosting, these are things that others do really well. What we do is Jams. Today it’s running our jams, but tomorrow it could be your jam. We’re seen as a hub of game jamming and game jams on the internet. Members of our community even run their own extra mini events beyond our extra mini events. The jammer identity is strong here. And to me, that is what Ludum Dare is, and should be focused on. If you want to run you own game jam today, use itch.io. They’ve got the custom game jam thing figured out, and it works great. But we also do game jams. That is our forte. And some day, we’ll let you run them too. Like I said, competition is good. :)

Anyway, that about sums up what I want to say. I think Ludum Dare benefits the community best if it stays its own thing.

Well, this is awkward

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Wednesday, June 8th, 2016 8:44 am

My sincere apologies for being quiet as of late. This post is a bit rushed, but I hope it addresses the concerns.

First off, I took some time off after Ludum Dare 35. I’d been stressing myself out trying to find the right way to say what I need to say. I’ve been chatting with a number of people behind the scenes, getting lots of feedback, and it’s been really good. I was originally going to make this post several times, most recently on June 1st, but when you’re saying something important you always seem to learn something equally as important at the last minute. 😉

It’s getting more and more difficult to figure out how to make everyone happy while doing what I think needs to be done. To continue to grow and improve Ludum Dare for everyone today, and for tomorrow.

I gather I haven’t done the best job communicating the significance of Ludum Dare. If you looked at the website we run, your first impression would not be that we’re big, successful, or even good at what we do. But you might be surprised to hear how things actually are:

(more…)

Dare to Play LD35 (Streamers, YouTubers, over here!)

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Sunday, April 17th, 2016 9:57 am

Here’s a thread for the Live Streamers, YouTubers, and any non-participant looking for games to play.

For everyone else, voting will open soon. We have a system for you, so stay tuned. :)

DON’T POST YOUR GAMES IN THIS THREAD (add them to lists)

Post a link to your Channel, Show, or Publication in the comments below, along with a link to where people can suggest games to you (off-site or in a separate thread please).

If you have a schedule planned, please share it, so people can know when to tune in.

PLEASE DON’T SPAM THEM! Self promotion is encouraged, but these folks are going to get a lot of submissions. Be respectable.

DON’T POST YOUR GAMES IN THIS THREAD (add them to lists)

ProTip: Streaming Ludum Dare is not only for MAKING Ludum Dare games, but also for PLAYING Ludum Dare games! Give it a try! Many people would LOVE to watch their game get played.

NOTE: If your comment is awaiting moderation, feel free to poke Mike on Twitter.

NOTE: This thread is NOT for development streams.

Welcome to Ludum Dare 35!

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Wednesday, April 13th, 2016 6:16 pm

Hi everyone, and Welcome to Ludum Dare 35! It’s our 14th year, and there’s just one thing left to do:

CLICK ME!

Click the image above to Vote for Ludum Dare 35’s Theme! The highest rated theme will be revealed on Friday April 15th at 9:00 PM EST (6:00 PM PDT, or Saturday 01:00 UTC).

Join us on IRC (#ludumdare on irc.afternet.org) or Twitter (/ludumdare) for the Theme Announcement!

33 Real World Gatherings

At the time of this writing, I’m aware of 33 Ludum Dare related gatherings going on this weekend.

http://ludumdare.com/…/real-world-gatherings-for-ludum-dare-35/

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.

If you run in to any oddities with the site, post them here, or contact me.

Live Streams

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.

oldstream

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.

Keynote! Hosted by DesignerNap and Catmoo

This time we have two hosts! Gary “DesignerNap/XopsX” Napper and Catherine “Catmoo” Woolley.

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.

Survey: What are your Skills?

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Tuesday, April 12th, 2016 8:21 pm

Hey folks!

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.

Survey: http://goo.gl/forms/HB8th4UVwC

I’m trying to figure out a few things from this.

  • 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.

Thanks!

Theme Voting has started! New Round each day!

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Saturday, April 9th, 2016 6:04 pm

Themervotro

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.

Survey: Are Ludum Dare themes too similar?

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.

Theme Slaughter Round is on!

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Sunday, April 3rd, 2016 7:32 pm

nokittens

Our 3 weeks of Theme Suggestions have ended! With over 5000 suggestions, about 4200 with duplicates removed, we need your help to find the Top 80 themes for the next round!

Enter, the Theme Slaughter.

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!

That’s all for now. Go slaughter some themes!

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.

Moving Servers (Status: Done. Bonjour! Welcome to the Legacy Server)

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Friday, March 18th, 2016 11:30 am

Hello! We are moving the main server this weekend have moved! If anything seems weird, let me know in the comments, or contact me. Thanks!

(more…)

“Unofficial” Ludum Dare GDC Party 2016 @ GitHub

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Monday, March 7th, 2016 10:11 pm

Hey folks!

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.

Details

From GitHub’s blog: https://github.com/blog/2117-gdc-party-2016

(more…)

GDC 2017 Discussion (yes, next year). TL;DR: Running a Jam at GDC

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Friday, February 19th, 2016 5:41 pm

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:

(more…)

Ludum Dare GDC Meetup 2016? Discuss! :)

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Friday, February 19th, 2016 3:37 pm

Hi folks!

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.

Tough Decisions (Future Ludum Dare stuff)

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Monday, January 4th, 2016 9:22 pm

Hi folks.

So, I’m in a bit of a difficult spot. If you’re in a hurry, find the TL;DR at the bottom of each section.

Yes Ludum Dare will continue (Ludum Dare 35 is coming April 15th-18th), I’m just having a hard time figuring out how I can afford to keep doing it, and that’s both in a money and time sense.

(more…)

Dare to Play (Streamers, YouTubers, over here!)

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Sunday, December 13th, 2015 8:10 pm

Here’s a thread for the Live Streamers, YouTubers, and any non-participant looking for games to play.

For everyone else, voting will open soon, so stay tuned for that. :)

DON’T POST YOUR GAMES IN THIS THREAD (add them to lists)

Post a link to your Channel, Show, or Publication in the comments below, along with a link to where people can suggest games to you (off-site or in a separate thread please).

If you have a schedule planned, please share it, so people can know when to tune in.

PLEASE DON’T SPAM THEM! Self promotion is encouraged, but these folks are going to get a lot of submissions. Be respectable.

DON’T POST YOUR GAMES IN THIS THREAD (add them to lists)

ProTip: Streaming Ludum Dare is not only for MAKING Ludum Dare games, but also for PLAYING Ludum Dare games! Give it a try! Many people would LOVE to watch their game get played.

NOTE: If your comment is awaiting moderation, feel free to poke Mike on Twitter.

NOTE: This thread is NOT for development streams.

Survey: What did you think of Theme Selection website?

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Friday, December 11th, 2015 10:08 pm

Hey folks!

We did it! We picked a theme (2 themes!?!) for Ludum Dare 34 using the new Theme Selection website.

Here’s a survey:

http://goo.gl/forms/qc3khrwDsb

Let me know how you think this went.

Thanks for your feedback.

[cache: storing page]