Ludum Dare 31
Theme:
Entire Game on One Screen

Judging ends in:
It’s time to Play and Rate Games!

PlayRate80Star

Archive for the ‘LD – Misc’ Category

Where to watch for the theme announcement?

Posted by
Friday, December 5th, 2014 4:19 pm

In a few hours the theme will be announced on this site. This site, however, will be clogged, and you won’t be able to get in for ten painful minutes or more.

Where else should we watch for reliable echoes of the theme announcement?

VPS Hosting

Posted by
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 4:31 pm

Anyone know of a good free VPS hosting that can serve some very basic throughput but with complete freedom?
For the purpose of the LD, so limited time free subscription works too.

And if this has been discussed before, can someone make some sort of sticky?

Obligatory obligatory “I’m In!” post.

Posted by (twitter: @JustJeviny)
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 11:44 am

Hi all.

Gonna be entering this LD, mainly because I have nothing better to do this weekend.

My loadout:

Language Java
Framework Mercury
Image Editor Adobe Photoshop
IDE Eclipse

I’ll most likely be doing the compo this time. I might be streaming it here, but I’m not entirely certain yet.

Good luck everybody!
– Jev

Let’s do this thing!

Posted by (twitter: @thghtreactr)
Sunday, November 30th, 2014 5:02 pm

Have to make up for a pitiful failure at the last LD. So in masochistic fashion I will be soloing for the 48hr Jam instead of the compo!

Engine

  • Unity 4.6 Pro OR Construct 2

Other Tools

  • Photoshop CC2014 for graphics
  • Reaper DAW for music (if there’s time)
  • Bfxr for SFX, of course
  • Audition CC2014 for mixing and mastering SFX
  • OBS to stream and capture time lapse

I think the keys to my success this time around will be more accessible because I am going solo. The past 3 LDs have been fun with the studio as a team – but frankly, it provided far too much scope creep and due to that we’ve failed to compete in the last two!

I’m planning on streaming for the duration of the event, which you can catch at http://twitch.tv/thoughtreactor. Until the time comes to jam – good luck to all my fellow game jammers!

Michael DeLally

Lead Developer @ Thought Reactor

Ludum Dare 31 Inspiration Wallpaper!

Posted by (twitter: @x01010111)
Monday, November 24th, 2014 4:52 pm

I’ve made a new wallpaper for Ludum Dare 31 – feel free to use it! I remembered my first Ludum Dare I felt like participating was like being confronted with a insurmountable mountain, and afterwards I felt like I was on top of that mountain :)

ld31

Just click through to the 1920×1080 version!

 

My first Libgdx Android Game

Posted by (twitter: @@Sabiux)
Thursday, November 13th, 2014 8:05 pm
Hey guys, I’ve just released my first Android Game called Animal Puzzle.This simple puzzle game is primarily aimed at children under four (4) years old. The goal is to entertain the children while learning to recognize the names and sounds of some animals. It is a very simple game and try to avoid frustration by providing a puzzle that is not too difficult.

I would love to hear some feedback from you guys on what you think about the game.

LD Wallpapers!

Posted by (twitter: @JustJeviny)
Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 10:03 am

Decided to make a couple too.

LudumDare16x10

Downloads:

16:10 wallpaper (1920×1200)
16:9 wallpaper (1920×1080)

16:10 alternative (1920×1200)
16:9 alternative (1920×1080)

16:10 PSD (1920×1200)
16:9 PSD (1920×1080)

Have fun with this. Let me know if you want any other resolutions.

– Jev

The Ludum Digest #3 (Oct 28th-Dec 10th)

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 3:16 am

Digest #3! Lets go!

Not as many big changes as the first few weeks (I might have taken a day off, I can’t remember, it’s all a blur). It’s mostly refinements.

What’s going on? See the Progress page.

(more…)

Changing the Hashtag (#LD48 to #LDJAM)

Posted by (twitter: @ludumdare)
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 1:28 pm

Hey folks! Mike here!

I was going to do a video for this, but it’s a lot faster for me to just write.

I’d like us to change the Hashtag (#LD48). It’s a common source of confusion for new participants (“I thought it was LD 31?”), which is about half of everyone participating in Ludum Dare events. And given all the other Ludum Dare numerics (72 hour jam, 48 hour compo, every past event), it’s helping nobody.

My proposed alternative is:

#LDJAM

When we started Ludum Dare 12 years ago, the term “Game Jam” hadn’t caught on. Instead, we took our inspirations from the Demoscene (i.e. “compo”). Nowadays though, Game Jams are what people call what we do. And even if you don’t know what a Game Jam is, you probably know the music term Jam/Jamming, or the sugary spread you put on your toast (arguably both are accurate descriptors of what we do). ;)

It’s unfortunately to change something we’ve been doing for 12 years (calling Ludum Dare LD48), but it’s a necessary step towards helping more people understand what we do.

This doesn’t solve the confusion between the Jam and Compo, but I think it’s still a better problem to have than having no idea what we do.

PLUS: ldj.am was available. Should make a good URL shortener. :D

Share your thoughts in the comments.

The Future of Ludum Dare (Part 3) – The Beginning

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Friday, September 26th, 2014 2:32 pm

The long awaited conclusion, or rather, the beginning. (Part 1, Part 2)

The video sums up the plan. If you want to contribute, hit one of the links below.

BeAPatronBeAPaypal

BeASpacer

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.

(more…)

Ludum Dare Steam Curator

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 12:56 pm

LDSteam
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. :)

Ludum Dare #30 – Lessons Learned

Posted by (twitter: @NuclearNapalm)
Thursday, September 11th, 2014 12:40 pm

ORIGINAL BLOG-POST

Ludum Dare Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

Ludum Dare #30 is getting closer to finish line. I think it’s time to look back and try to analyze overall approach: what mistakes were made, what lessons I learned and how it can be improved for the next competitions. There are not only lessons learned, but also tip’n’tricks that can be useful for newcomers and for veterans of LD and game-jams. This post is about the competition itself. If you’re interested in my project in details you can check “The Beginning – Postmortem”. This material based on my Ludum Dare experience, but is relevant for almost any game-jam. It’s gonna be wall of text, so be patient and let’s start…

Theme announcement

Ludum Dare has voting system for pick a theme for upcoming competition. Voting contains several rounds. Final round contains 20 finalists and starts 2 days before the theme announcement and the official start of competition. One of these finalists becomes an official theme of the competition. So, you have 2 days to think about all of these 20 themes. It’s pretty enough to plot at least 2-3 possible variations of gameplay and setting for each theme. This approach will save you a couple hours during the competition timeframe. So, don’t waste your time, start thinking about theme as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to check  Ludum Dare forum and Twitter (#LD48 hashtag) during these 2 days before competition and try to figure out what themes have higher chances to win the vote. So you can spend a bit  more time on these themes.


Promo materials

Always keep in mind that within competition timeframe you must prepare promo materials to attract people’s attention. According to my experience you need at least 2-3 hours to make some basic promo assets like screenshots, description, etc.

Catchy cover image & screenshots

When other participants open the “Play+Rate” page they see 18 thumbnails. You must do everything to force them to click on YOUR thumbnail. Some people just put some screenshot of their game as a thumbnail. The problem is that when you scale down 1280×720 to 120×75 the image becomes a mess, especially UI elements. Players can check hi-res screenshots later on your page if they want, but first of all it’s better to show them something that will grab their attention even with 120×75 size. Compare these 2 thumbnails: left one is a screenshot, right one is a cover image.

Screenshot Cover image

Which one looks more interesting and appealing? I hope you’ve got the message. So, spend at least 20-30 minutes to craft cover image from scratch. You can use your game assets of course, but make it clear and readable. Make it interesting, so player will be hooked with this image.

Speaking about screenshots it worth to mention that main point of screenshots is to show players VALUE and OPPORTUNITY. You should tell a player something like “If you will play this game you will visit at least 3 different locations, fight against 4 enemies using 5 types of weapons!”. Show the best things that you have in your game (if it doesn’t contain spoilers). Don’t show the same content on several screenshots. It’s better to show less, than show the same content again and again. It’s just boring and a player will think that you don’t have a lot of content.

Intriguing name & description

It’s obvious, but the title of your game should be unique. Never name your game as game-jam’s theme. Never EVER! As the thumbnail, the title is the first thing that player will see. Some participants trying to explain gameplay in title of their game… Don’t do it. It’s boring. Make it interesting, force player to think “Why it’s called like this? What is behind of this name?”.

Description… Let’s be honest, we don’t like reading. When we come to game-jam page we don’t want to read, we want PLAY GAMES! Immediately! But if at some point I decided to read the description, I don’t want to read that this is your first entry, that you failed miserably, that you didn’t find proper application of theme, etc. Do you think it’s really going to help you earn higher rating? I don’t think so… Don’t complain, don’t excuse. I don’t want to read about you, I want to read about your game. Tell me the story! A brief introduction of the game. A couple sentences. Also there can be some important information e.g. critical bugs and how to avoid them or ask player turn on the sound if it affects user experience.

Some people include controls explanation in description. It’s not so bad, but my opinion is that it’s much better to explain controls inside the game, not outside (we don’t want to read, we want to play, remember?). Make some simple tutorial in the beginning or at least “How to play” screen INSIDE the game.

Web version

I saw a lot of entries that contain Win/Linux/Mac builds, but not Web (sometimes even mobile only). I understand that not all frameworks allow you to build for web, but try to use those that can. It will significantly increase amount of people that will play and rate your game. The explanation is simple – the less steps player must perform to start playing the better.

Win/Linux/Mac:

  1. Download archive
  2. Unarchive
  3. Launch the game

Sometimes it requires do install the game, so one more step. Mobile version requires at least one more step – copy to device.

Web:

  1. Click link to start playing

Feel the difference…

Another advantage is that web build is platform independent. Win, Linux and Mac users can play the same game in their web-browser. So, if you want increase your audience, provide web version of your game.

Walkthrough video

Walkthrough video is not necessary, but nice to have feature. It can be helpful if your game is appeared to be hardcore and difficult to beat. In my case problem was even worse because I had a story-based game and the best part of the game is ending. Since game appeared to be really hard, not so many players were able to finish it. It means that they wouldn’t see the ending and wouldn’t figure out what this game is about. Is this case walkthrough video really helps. Players can check all the levels and features of the game and also watch the ending.


Post-compo activity

If you think that you finished since you’d made awesome game, prepared cool promo materials, record walkthrough video and submitted everything to competition website…. then you’re sooo wrong. It’s just a beginning. What’s the point to make a game if nobody plays it? Now it’s time for players acquisition. The more players will play your game, the more rating and feedbacks you’ll receive.

When I entered this competition I didn’t have a lot of friends who could participate and rate my game. I didn’t have any community ready to support my game neither. But… 2 weeks after deadline “most coolness” list looked like this:

Most coolness list

You can see my entry “The Beginning” at #1 position (top-left corner). Entry has 200 ratings at that moment, most other entries have less than 100 ratings. Now I tell you how I did it. There is no rocket-science, just simple tools that everyone can use. Here we go!

Play, Rate, COMMENT!

At the competition page you can find this sign:

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want to place in the final results, you NEED votes. The easiest way to get votes is by rating other games. Judging lasts for 3 weeks following the end of Ludum Dare. For best effect, rate 20 games as soon as possible. Rating more games is encouraged.

If you want significantly increase visibility of your entry, you must rate about 100 entries. But there is another very important thing – when you rate an entry ALWAYS LEAVE A COMMENT! Even if you have nothing to say. Just throw the line like “Nice entry! Good job!”. People love comments, they’re waiting for comments. If they see your comment they will gladly play, rate and comment your entry. It’s like to say “Thank you for you comment, here is mine”. So, I repeat, when you play other entries always leave a comment. Always.

Another important thing you should keep in mind – first 2 days after deadline are the most important for self-promotion! There is a highest activity during these days. People still engaged, they visit competition website often to check if everything alright, if there some problems with their entry, etc. If you can reach coolness=100 (amount of entries you’ve rated) during first 2 days – excellent!

If you can afford to play and rate entries all 3 weeks – do it. Activity is pretty low after 1st week, but you can still earn some ratings. At the moment when this post has been written I had coolness=342.

Twitter

Don’t wait untill players come to you, go to players and give them your game! People want to play games. You can use Twitter to find this kind of people. Check #LD48 hashtag regularly. You also can find #LD40 feed on main compo page. I’m pretty sure you will see something like this:

Don’t be shy. They want to play your game. Just give it to them. Don’t forget to thank the person which responded and played your game. This is also a good way to grow your Twitter community.

Reddit

Another good source of traffic for your game is Reddit. There is special Ludum Dare subreddit where you can post all stuff related to your entry – link to competition page, walkthrough video, postmortem, etc. You can also find some people who will play and stream your game on YouTube or Twitch.

Twitch & YouTube

Don’t forget about streamers! Some of them have YouTube channels, some of them prefer Twitch. Guys from Button Masher Bros have awesome YouTube series about Ludum Dare. You can send them your game through Twitter, Reddit and YouTube.

You can find a list of active Twitch streamers on competition’s main page. I had a pleasure to watch how Crefossus, AtomicVikings and Wertle played my game.

The best thing about streams is that you can see how players actually play your game. It’s much better and much useful than just text comments. On Twitch you can communicate with them live – answer some questions, help them to solve puzzles and just have a fun :)


Conclusion

Ok, I think it’s enough for my “Ultimate manual – how to participate in game-jams”. Hope you found it interesting and useful. If you like this article, please share it using buttons below. If you have your own “Secret Weapon” and ready to share it – welcome to comments! Good luck with upcoming game-jams!

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