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.