I’m just ironing out the final details.
Tentatively, it’ll be GDC Monday at 7 PM at a REALLY COOL NEW VENUE! Backup plan is Tuesday at ‘the usual’, but things are looking good for Monday.
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.
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
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
I’m just ironing out the final details.
Tentatively, it’ll be GDC Monday at 7 PM at a REALLY COOL NEW VENUE! Backup plan is Tuesday at ‘the usual’, but things are looking good for Monday.
It has been a month since I’ve said anything, and I owe you guys an update.
Me, I’m still finishing up my Steam port of Smiles HD. Like we always do, I under-estimated the amount of work necessary to finish the port. This was a C++ game I wrote back in 2008, over 6 years ago. I haven’t seriously touched the code for about 3 years, and the bit-rot is real.
Since then, SDL2 was released, and pretty much all fixed-function GPUs have gone extinct. I’ve been using shaders and SDL2 so long now, I don’t want to go back. This meant making the game work with my current code-base, and unfortunately finishing parts of the code-base as it hasn’t shipped a game yet.
The game is working again, but it still needs a lot of TLC. That and I’m going to have to rework/redo the high scores and achievements to be Steam friendly. I’m hoping this only take 2 more weeks… but yeah. This game, the Patreon, and the donations are my only income right now, so it kind-of has to be done ASAP.
I had planned to start on the new Ludum Dare website on Monday February 2nd, but I’m just not ready yet.
On March 1st I’ll be travelling and spending the week in San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference. When I get back, we start the countdown to Ludum Dare 32.
It’s also tax time soon, so I’m going to lose a few days to that.
Long story short, development on the new site is going to be spotty these next couple months. I should find some time before Ludum Dare 32 in April, and hopefully even before GDC. But for sure, the new site will not be ready for April. The goal is still August’s Ludum Dare, but we’ll see once I get in the thick of it (this year for sure).
Thanks for your patience.
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:
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.
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:
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.
After all, I still have to explain what I’m doing. 😀
Thanks everyone! We’ll see you again in April 2015!
Hey folks! I’m happy to announce that we have some improvements in the Submission Form. If you’ve already submitted your game, I encourage you click the little Edit link above, and make sure everything is set the way you like.
Over the next few days, I’ll be making improvements across the voting and game browsing. For now, I just had to make sure we had the data to do it.
Submission Hour for the Compo begins shortly. Stay tuned. Done. If you’re having problem submitting, let me know.
Right now, all of you are in the heat of Ludum Dare. I know it’s a bit of an LD tradition to be outraged by the theme, but I want to take a moment to see if we can understand why you dislike the theme. Is there a rule, something we or other jams imply that cripple you? Is it inconceivable to just pick your favourite instead? To perhaps just use the theme as a ‘feature creep’ or ‘scope’ limiter, and do whatever you want?
I’m curious. Lets get all psychoanalysis on this. Maybe there’s something obvious we’ve been missing. Share your thoughts, rage, or love for it in the comments.
Hello everyone! It’s time to kick off the final countdown to Ludum Dare 31 (Europe pun).
Final Round Theme Voting has begun. The highest rated themes from Rounds 1-4 will now fight in an intense 2 day voting battle, and the winner will be our Ludum Dare 31 Theme.
I hope you like the site changes. Some layout tweaks here and there, improvements, and A LOT of optimization. We’re still bound by a lot of old WordPress code, code I’m hoping replace next year (well, if I can afford to anyway). Making a new website is going to take time though, and we need something to hold us over (i.e. this). You can read a bit about my plans here, as well as what I’ve been up to the past couple months.
I’ll have more to talk about in a few weeks, but for now let’s have a Ludum Dare!
I’m really excited to share this. A friend of the band reached out to me, and this is the result.
If you’re jamming, be sure to check out the assets page. A lot of great stuff in the comments.
We’ve got a HUGE library of Wallpapers for you this time, including several wallpapers of graffiti by Robert del Naja himself. Check them out!
Plenty of Ludum Deals to check out. For those waiting for them, we now have Unity Pro trial codes for grabs. About a thousand or so. Good until January 4th. Let me know if we run out.
*NEW* We’ve also got a whole bunch of Unreal Engine 4 codes, good for 90 days of Unreal Engine access! More details on the Ludum Deals page.
Time to continue with the festivities. Let’s get you hyped up with some videos!
We’ve got a great keynote lined up for you, an Animated Keynote at that! Check it out:
Big thanks to Yotam for pulling this together.
Okay, I just had to share this too. Joe Williamson (JoeCreates) put together this wonderfully catchy Ludum Dare song, backed by footage from Ludum Dare games.
Just watch it, you’ll understand:
That’s it for now. Ladies and Gentlemen, here comes The Dare!
Share any assets you make freely available in the comments. Art, Sound, Music, etc.
Remember: If you use 3rd party Audio or Graphics, or assets you’ve made prior to the event, you’re asked to opt-out of the respective categories (i.e. Audio, Graphics). That way, it’s more fair to people creating original assets during the event. You can opt-out by clicking the “opt-opt” checkboxes when you submit your game. *NEW*
Don’t Forget: The “Compo” is a from-scratch event. Assets found here are JAM ONLY!
Oh, and I’ve got a BIG surprise for you.
Robert del Naja of the band MASSIVE ATTACK has generously contributed an entire CD of unreleased music for you to use in your Jam games.
10 Tracks, with full stems for the musically inclined. Perfect for remixing, mastering, and butchering to your hearts content (real-time mixing in game anyone?). If that’s not your deal, I’ve provided a RAW mixdown of each track (NOTE: I AM NOT A PRO), 10 WAV files ready to be encoded in your favourite compressed format (OGG, MP3, AAC, FLAC?).
The music is provided under the terms of the Creative Commons ‘NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International‘ license. That means you’re free to do whatever, as long as give credit, and what you make is free (i.e. non commercial).
A huge huge thank you to Robert del Naja and Andrew Melchior for making this possible.
Robert del Naja has also kindly provided some photographs of his graffiti work. I’ve prepared some 1920×1200 wallpapers of them here:
Hi! This is Mike (PoV).
Late September, I pledged to spend the rest of the year working on the Ludum Dare website. Fixing, upgrading, and basically doing what I can to make the event better. The website had been long neglected, going years without software updates and even basic server maintenance. I really didn’t have the time to spend on it, so I would do the absolute minimum just to keep it going. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to cut-it anymore.
I’d like to continue working on it Full Time, but I can’t afford to do it without help. The community asked me to start a Patreon, which I did, in addition to taking Paypal donations. I need about $3000 a month to cover my costs, and though the Patreon has done well, we’re not quite there yet (currently sitting at about $790). We’ll look in to some of the other options next year (sponsorship), and whether people even want me to continue working on Ludum Dare.
Next year, 2015, I’d like to spend the year building us a brand new website. We’re currently still using WordPress, the same WordPress install from 7 years ago (with updates here and there). It’s a bit of a mess, and not designed for a community of 40,000 members. Given how much things have changed (from a hundred to many thousands participants), we’re long overdue for something new.
Ludum Dare has actually been an open source project on Google Code for nearly 7 years. We’ve had a lot of offers to help out (and requests to move it to GitHub), so this is something I’d like us to do. But given that we haven’t had a single contribution in 7 years, it’s going to take a serious effort to make it easy for people to contribute. And even if we do run it as an open source project, someone still has to run the project, and do the core work. I’m hoping people are fine with that being me. Don’t worry, I’ll let you guys fist-fight over how the website looks.
You can check out a timeline so far here: http://ludumdare.com/compo/progress/
If you’d like to help out by doing work, join the Mailing List. I’ll let you know when we’re ready.
Thanks everyone! Have a great Ludum Dare!
Total Recall anyone?
Deals! Here is this LD’s list of offers, bargains and other things.
If you’d like to submit your own deal, you can post details and a link in the comments below, or send me an e-mail. Keep in mind I don’t have a lot of time, but if you need a confirmation or just to ping me once it’s posted, go ahead and mail me. When I have a chance I’ll add it to the list.
Also it MUST be relevant to what we do here (i.e. make games).
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!
* * *
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!