Ludum Dare 36
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Archive for the ‘LD #08 – Swarms – 2006’ Category

I want to share something with you guys and get your feedback. Feel free to agree or disagree. But before I continue, I just want to say that I’ve participated in 8 Ludum Dares so far, and they’re what I look forward to, I love them. Ok, now I’ll give my little spiel.

After making your game in the 48/72 Hour Time Limit, we get to check out and Rate other people’s games. When rating somebody’s game, we are allowed to give them x out of 5 stars in 8 different Categories. These Categories include: Innovation, Fun, Theme, Graphics, Audio, Humor, Mood, and most importantly, Overall. I’m going to talk more about the Overall category in a minute. Let me just talk about something else first:

As many of you may have noticed, probably for a while now, your results don’t seem very honest. The results you get may seem surprising, this could be in a bad way, or in a good way. You’re either pretty disappointed, or you’re really happy. This is because you didn’t get a ton of votes (i.e.: ~20-70 votes, which is what a lot of people end up getting). Think about it, there were about 2,800 other games out there. Do you think that with 50 votes out of the 2,800 entries you’ll get a really honest evaluation? You shouldn’t, because unfortunately, that’s not the case.

If 5 people rate your game and they all give you a 5 on Fun, the average would be a 5/5. If 10 people rate your game and 8 of them give you a 5 on Fun, and the other 2 give you a 4, the average would be a 4.8/5. Now the game with an average of 5/5 is ranked higher than the game with an average of 4.8/5. But the game with an average of 4.8/5 should be ranked higher because it had similar scores, and more people played it. Now I’m pretty sure that in the end the game’s categories aren’t ranked based on just the amount of stars given but still, I just wanted to give you something to think about. The rankings aren’t all that honest. I noticed that many of the Top Ranked games only had about ~30-70 votes. You’ll see that the games that got the most votes weren’t up there in the Top 100. But they did, however, have more real honest evaluations, while the others with ~30-70 votes were just lucky enough to get a handful of good ratings which therefore gave them higher rankings. The Top 100 are great games, no doubt, but are they the best out of the 2,800? We don’t really know for sure.

Ok, now I’m going to talk about this Overall category. The site says that your game is ranked overall based on your Overall category ratings. Do you think that we should be allowed to rate the Overall category? The Overall category should be based on the other categories rounded up. The site should give us the Overall Rating, not us. Here’s just one reason why: I’ve seen many people give a game great ratings, like 4-5 stars on every category, and then they would give the Overall category a 3. Umm… What? Shouldn’t you base the Overall category on the other categories? If you gave all the other categories 5 stars, then why would you give the Overall category 4 stars? The Average Overall Rating would be a 5, so give it a 5. But since people don’t always do that, let the Robots do the math and give us the Overall Rating, not the Humans.

I’m not entirely sure how Mike (Founder of Ludum Dare; Support him on Patreon!) can make the evaluations more honest because you can’t just have 2,800 people play all 2,800 games, that’s just ridiculous. But it’s just something to think about.

Give me your thoughts in the comments please.

Thanks for listening!

“Quarter Quell” Ludum Dare Week!

Friday, May 3rd, 2013 10:13 am

I have to be honest, I mostly didn’t participate in the last LD because I wasn’t a huge fan of the theme. I know, I suck, but it’s the past now…

….. But now, to make up for my laziness, I am bringing the past back!

Starting this Friday, I’m having a Quarter Quell (#HungerGamesReference). For a week, I will make a game based on one of the 25 first topics, and it would be cool if you guys joined me in this effort! If not, it’s cool lol.

You can pick any topic (or topics) from the random list below. I went to and randomly selected 10 out of the 25 numbers:


So the topics are:

Advancing Wall of Doom
Build the level you play
Preparation — Set it up, let it go
It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this!
The Tower
Growth … <– “Grow”, also this May’s optional theme for One Game A Month

I think standard LD rules should apply, minus the week to do it. I plan to do this alone, but you can be in a team if you so desire. If you want to participate, post in the comments of this post your intent to do so… and share your finish products when you’re done!

If any of you decide to participate with me, let’s see what awesomeness we can create!

Galcon goes to Steam …

Posted by (twitter: @philhassey)
Thursday, February 11th, 2010 7:29 pm


So remember Galcon? It was a Ludum Dare entry almost 4 years ago, and yeah, I’ve re-made it about 500 times now. And this time I re-made it in HD with a swell soundtrack and other goodies, and got it on Steam. And it’s available direct for Windows / Mac OS X / Linux too!

Anyway check it out :)


Alien Artifact Update

Posted by
Thursday, December 24th, 2009 3:22 am

ok, I’m a whole compo behind, but here’s an update for my LD15 entry (Caverns). For that compo I hacked the game out in two 4h sessions, so it was missing a couple of vital elements: sound, and the ability to shoot physhaxey bullets at the attacking circles. There’s also a little bonus tune when you finish the game (thanks to Flash Module Player). Hope you enjoy it!


Also, I should have posted this earlier but the organizers of Sense of Wonder Night (TGS) have uploaded the presentations on youtube. You can see my one on Swarm Racer (LD08) here

I plugged LD in the Q&A section, but they cut that part ):

Swarm Racer 3000 at Tokyo Game Show

Posted by (twitter: @ludumdare)
Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 3:39 pm

If you ever wondered why Ludum Dare keeps going after all these years, it’s for awesome news like this.

Ludum Dare veteran Joseph White (aka Lexaloffle, aka Lex… when I’m lazy)’s latest game Swarm Racer 3000 will be on display at this upcoming Tokyo Game Show. It’s one of several titles being featured at the indie friendly Sense of Wonder Night. You can read more about it here.

Lets look at some gameplay footage.

Pretty sweet looking ‘eh. :)

The Ludum Dare connection? For those of you that missed it, back in 2006 we had the very awesome theme Swarms. And back then, Lex produced this really great entry named Swarm Racer.


Since then he’s made it far more awesome.


And today, the all new Swarm Racer 3000 is looking pretty freaking great.

So a great big congratulations to Lex, from all of us at Ludum Dare!

– Mike Kasprzak (aka: PoV)

Saurabh Swarms

Posted by
Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 10:27 pm

This is (was) my entry to LD #08 48hr challange. I wanted to post it earlier but constraints of time and space delayed it. I wanted to update it a bit but I am posting it ‘as is’ back then. It was done during the contest.
I am glad that I took part in this contest and very glad to the experience I achieved thru it. I also liked it a lot to interact with all the contestants during the actual time and how things worked out. There was no intention to score but the only task was to be able to complete it in that duration which I did. Since it was one of my firsts I simply could not stand the stress after the compo though! I had a lot of headache’s hehe. But since then I became more strong physically. Later I did a lot of such “night stands” dusk to dawn to noon for other tasks in life.



Final Release of my LD48 Entry.


1 Use key W A S D to move around

2 Use key R to Reset the Game

3 MOUSE to Look Around

4 Esc to quit(Dont Quit!)


1 Goto the Rolling pillar to to Improve Health but be carefull, the pillar will
throw you away if you go too close to it.Just stay close to it to improve health
and dont stick to it

2 Goto the Exit Post to goto the next Level. Exit Posts change their
position every time level changes so you have to find its location.

3 When Level changes,Position of player changes

4 Stay away from swarns they eat you like crazy.

5 Dont foget to look around for the new position of exit post

6 Use Less Brightness and Contrast as possible :)

Suggestion: Tryto play upto 25 levels.The 25th level is most difficult.THe planes will lock you up you you go close to them

FeedBack Nessary!

StartTheGame by going into Folder SaurabhSwarm
and Clicking SaurabhSwarm.exe

This game was made in DXSDK 8.1, VC++6.0,Jim Adams dx libraries.

All Coding & Artwork Done by me Groundup including 3DMeshes and Textures

Art Softwares Used: Photoshop and 3DMax5.Panda .Xporter

saurabh <AT>


Best Regards

Ludum Dare regulars rock IGF Mobile

Posted by (twitter: @ludumdare)
Monday, January 26th, 2009 10:18 am

Well it looks like some of us woke up to some pretty awesome news this morning.

To start, Phil Hassey’s Ludum Dare favorite Galcon (now on iPhone) was nominated for the “Innovation in Mobile Design” award at this year’s IGF Mobile.  Go Phil!

Next, Ludum Dare regular tonic‘s companies game (Secret Exit) Zen Bound was nominated for two awards.  “Audio Achievement” and “Best iPhone Game“.  Contratz!

Finally… well… it seems I’m in the running for “Best Game” with Smiles. :)

Here’s the complete list.

IGF Mobile Best Game:

  • Cubic Republic (IKS Mobile) – Flash Lite
  • Smiles (Sykhronics Entertainment) – iPhone/iPod touch
  • Fieldrunners (Subatomic Studios) – iPhone/iPod touch
  • Edge (Mobigame) – iPhone/iPod touch
  • Wardive (And-or) – Nintendo DS
Innovation in Mobile Game Design:

  • Wardive (And-or) – Nintendo DS
  • Galcon (Hassey Enterprises) – iPhone/iPod touch
  • Eliss (Steph Thirion) – iPhone/iPod touch
Achievement in Art:

Technical Achievement:

Audio Achievement:

  • Radio Flare (Studio Radiolaris) – iPhone/iPod touch
  • Zen Bound (Secret Exit) – iPhone/iPod touch
  • Edge (Mobigame) – iPhone/iPod touch
Best iPhone Game — Presented by ngmoco:

  • Edge (Mobigame) – iPhone/iPod touch
  • Dizzy Bee (Igloo Games) – iPhone/iPod touch
  • Fieldrunners (Subatomic Studios) – iPhone/iPod touch
  • Zen Bound (Secret Exit) – iPhone/iPod touch
  • Frenzic (The Iconfactory) – iPhone/iPod touch

Congratulations to all the finalists (which is a little strange to say being one of them).  We’ll keep you posted.

Stay tuned for MiniLD next week.

– Mike Kasprzak (PoV)

Magnificent Gunbright

Posted by
Sunday, March 23rd, 2008 11:36 am

Magnificent Gunbright

Man, this was a while back. Magnificent Gunbright is a totally sweet faux-Japanese abstract minimalist shoot-em-up (complete with terrible Engrish) where your ammunition is also your armour. Your blobs swarm around you, you can fire them at your opponent, and you can also collect blobs that rain constantly from the sky.

At the time, I thought that having graphics consisting only of black and white circles was strong graphic design, but the game is completely unparseable from a screenshot and it’s not much better in motion. The sound effects are awesome, though, and no one can tell me different. Bloop-bloop-shinngg!

The game itself? It’s pretty okay. It’s mostly a matter of always moving, and getting lots of shots off at the computer when he’s fishing for ammo. I liked that if you got far enough in, eventually the computer would start with a huge swarm and you’d start with nothing — when you’re on defense, the game is pretty enjoyable. It’s just that when you’re on the offense, there’s no interesting strategy; you either hit your opponent or you don’t.

The best feedback I received was from my friend Patrick Alexander, who draws funny pictures for some gaming website or other, who summed it up thusly: “It’s like Ikaruga, only… only not as good. By quite a lot.” If Magnificent Gunbright had a box, this quote would be on it.

Before MG, I’d tried Ludum Dare once before — LD4, apparently, when the theme was Infection. My entry was to be a puzzle game called Hachoo!, where you were a bacterium who could only move by causing the host you were currently infecting to sneeze on another person. Unfortunately, I made one really stupid mistake which caused me to not finish — I used unfamiliar tools. I was a cocky C programmer at the time, and I worked mainly in embedded systems. When I played with writing games, I used SDL.  So of course the natural choice was C++ on Windows using Allegro. I chose Windows for obvious reasons, C++ because I thought the STL would save me time, and Allegro because I’d remembered being annoyed at the lack of batteries included with SDL in comparison when I was 16. Well, I had major issues with the MingW debugger, the STL doesn’t save you time when you’re unused to fighting with obtuse template-based compiler errors, and it turned out that what was simple and elegant when I was a dumbass teenager rubbed the more experienced me the wrong way. (Not to mention that I made a bunch of stupid rookie mistakes because I forgot key things about the API.)

So for Magnificent Gunbright, I decided to learn from my mistakes, stop worrying about stray pointers and just use Pygame. It worked great! I highly recommend it.  The only downside was that when there are a large number of blobs on the screen, there’s some significant flickery slowdown; I say it’s just an unintentional homage to the NES.

You can download Magnificent Gunbright from my website. It’s built for Windows, but it’ll run on Linux, assuming you have pygame, because all the source code is included.

Flowers n Bees

Posted by
Sunday, December 9th, 2007 1:34 pm

Flowers n Bees was made for the 8th Ludum Dare 48 hour programming competition. This was my first attempt to create a game in 48h, so it was quite a challenge to come up with something playable at all. The goal of the game is to gather honey for the winter. However, you cannot collect honey on your own. Instead you have a swarm of bees at your command that can do the gathering for you. Flowers n Bees was programmed in Python using PyGame, PyOpenGL and PGU.

Flowers n Bees Gameplay

LD8: Attack of the Fireflies

Posted by (twitter: @kamjau)
Wednesday, December 5th, 2007 8:08 am

This was my second Ludum Dare entry, for LD#8. Theme was swarms. This time you’re playing the Master of Fireflies, out for revenge against some mushroom-dwelling things who didn’t invite you to some insignificant party last week. So you send your swarm of fireflies after them to torch their mushroom homes. That’ll teach ’em! The mushroom-dwelling things doesn’t take kindly to this though, and starts spraying water around, which unfortunately kills your swarm and stops the mushroom fires. The battle is on!


This was the first time I made something with a swarm-like behaviour, which was nice. The game turned out ok, though not really finished — those mushroom-dwelling things only ever face right, for example, and the levels weren’t supposed to be that flat. There should have been platforms and stuff. Still, there’s a win condition and level progression and such, so that’s something at least. Anyway, it’s kinda fun-ish for a little while, torching mushrooms while those poor guys losing their homes at your hand try to kill off your swarm, but it gets boring and repetitive after a while.

Oh well, I had fun making it, and learned some new things in the process, so I choose to consider it a success regardless =)

Download: [ Source code ]

7th Swarming of the Machines

Posted by
Monday, December 3rd, 2007 8:12 am

Ah, great compo this was. Tons of sweet games. Unfortunately that also meant fierce competition, and I only managed to snag a best position of 3rd in Fun (which is unusual for me, as I normally do better in the technical categories).

Base idea for the game was to have the level be “swarming”, for an unexpected approach. I figured there could be loose platforms drifting around in space and you’d try to jump around between them, doing… stuff. The gameplay part of it was sketchy at best.

I suppose the better part of the first day was spent getting the platform movement and interaction working, and then I think much of the second day I just sat and tweaked it, fixing bugs. The gameplay elements and final graphics/audio were added in the last two or three hours.

Windows download: 128 kB zip (exe, data, source)

Linux port: 16 kB tar/gz (needs above file for data)

Arcade build a’la Lerc.

Zoo Master

Posted by (twitter: @rtsoft)
Sunday, December 2nd, 2007 5:20 pm

Zoo Master Screenshot

I happen to be at the Zoo when I got emailed the compo theme (thanks Pov) so I snapped a bunch of pics hoping I could shoe-horn them into the game, which I did.

This is kind of a WarioWare like ‘stroke’ based mini-game. You stroke your mouse (this is just sounding dirty) to knock flies off annoyed animals in a smooth motion – very, very quickly.

I played the guitar bits.

Download game and source

Ultra Fleet

Posted by
Sunday, December 2nd, 2007 6:48 am

Ultra Fleet was my entry to the LD8 Swarms compo. For a bit of background information on it, please read about The Hat Swarm Attack on Dance Islands.

Set in space, you controlled a fleet of virus ships that could convert enemy ships. Fleets of enemy ships kept on attacking, and you needed to keep your fleet alive so you could go on fighting, gaining points while doing so.


The game was, if anything, more pretty than fun, but it really was playable once you got into it. Although you probably got bored within an hour or so. Don’t know how it placed, but it received OK scoring, and also got praise such as ‘The game I’m supposed to be reviewing is more like a screensaver’, ‘I liked Hat Swarm better, though’, ‘Without a doubt, Hat Swarm is WAY better’, ‘I honestly would have given the hat swarm a higher score though.’ But seriously, some people (including me!) actually seemed to like it.

You can get the Ultra Fleet compo version. It requires OpenGL and is for Windows, but I’ve been able to compile it for Linux, although I have no idea where that port went, but it should be pretty easy if you want to try yourself.

The Hat Swarm Attack on Dance Islands

Posted by
Sunday, December 2nd, 2007 6:20 am

The Hat Swarm Attack on Dance Islands is a game made within 14h for the LD8 Swarms compo. However, it was never really entered into the compo, because I felt it wasn’t quite enough, but also couldn’t figure out how to make something more of it. In the end, I abandoned it, and instead used it as a base for Ultra Fleet, which I did enter. This might not have been the best of decisions, but no matter.

You navigated your hat swarm around islands to destroy dancers that tried to defend the islands, while at the same time trying to avoid the deadly dances that was danced at you.


The Hat Swarm Attack on Dance Islands prime features was an intro, an island generator (that I later used as a base for rather prettier islands), the famous Hoids algorithm that simulates hats in groups flocking behaviour (later adopted for the fleets in Ultra Fleet), stick figures, and a lot of dancing. Strangely, it was also my very first LD game (together with Ultra Fleet) that didn’t use tiles.

There’s no dedicated distribution for The Hat Swarm Attack on Dance Islands, but you can get it as the bonus in the Ultra Fleet compo version. It’s for Windows, but if you’re a bit clever, you can probably compile it for Linux. It requires OpenGL with 512×512 sized textures support.

Teeny Tiny Ninja

Posted by
Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 7:59 pm

I was quite pleased with how this one worked out, The game only has three levels and I was quite worried that the last level might be impossible. As time was running out on the clock I was trying to figure out if it could be done, I finally got a single ninja home and went “that’s it! ship it!”.

playing post compo I actually managed to figure out how to get all of the ninja home on that level by using a few tricks.

Teeny Tiny Ninja

I also liked the look of Teeny Tiny Ninja. I got the stars idea from a previous Bluescrn entry. Adding a bunch of stars does indeed liven up the look of things. Also The ninja home came out surprisingly well for programmer art. I thought the sound worked well too, but the scores the game got suggested I was in the minority. when a ninja goes ‘Hut!’ every time he jumps it’s cool, but people found it less so when there were a couple of hundred Ninja doing it, serves themselves right for picking swarms as the theme I say.

The game used a homebrew physics engine made during the 48 hours. this worked quite nicely, Ninja were all implemented as tiny triangles

Ninja Triangles

See. There was no Line to object collision detection so it was possible for Ninja to get stuck on corners by impailing themselves on a point and having their triangle points go either side. There were alsdo a few other little quirks that caused th ninja to get stuck. The solution worked brilliantly. I checked to see if a ninja hadn’t moved for a while and if so just added a huge random vector to its movement. A lot of people took this to be an intentional behaviour because it looked very ninja like. sometimes a ninja would jump to a wall or point and stick there for a bit then jump away again.

Once again the controls were a bit unintuitive. But I thought the use of a mousewheel worked well.

Download the game

A Perfect Swarm

Posted by (twitter: @TenjouUtena)
Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 5:04 pm

Ludum Dare 8 was my second ‘short term’ game programming contest, and my first solo. The theme was ‘swarms.’ I was bound and determined to do an RTS game this time, since my partners in team compos always want to do something actiony. I think I actually wanted robots or magnets or something like that.

I thought it would be nifty if instead of directly building units, you had to attract units with various buildings. So you start with a base and 1 swarm. There are resource buildings (Apple, Flower, and Metal) that you can hover over that will give you various resources. You also have a base. You can build either Apple or Nectar huts in your base. These increase your attraction rates for food or nectar. (It was originally going to be food and sex, if you read the code. I guess bees have sex with flowers or something.) Once bugs are attracted to your base, you can add them to existing swarms, or break them off into new swarms. You can also build Radar to increase your attraction range, or buildings to increase the power or speed of your bugs.

Initially this was going to be swarm vs. swarm warfare, but I ran out of time pretty quickly. (I’ll go into my mistakes below.) So instead the computer just sent a specified number of waves with a specified strength at you at regular periods, and you needed to have swarms built up and ready to fight when they came.

Obviously one of my largest problems was art. As you can tell from my screenshot, It’s ugly. Really really ugly. All the art in the game was ‘placeholder’ art that I was going to go back and fix. That never happened. Secondly, I panicked at about 30 hours. I barely had an engine, and the deadline was closing in. I actually ‘gave up.’ I came back to it, and finished up later. Thirdly I didn’t have a good plan. I know I wanted an RTS, but I didn’t have a good execution plan. I also bit off WAY more then I could chew back then.

My tips for beginners are:

  1. Make a plan – Seriously, take that first hour, and may out some code to get rid of the urge. THen take the next hour or two, and make a task list. What code does your idea need? Divide it up into tasks. As you go along, check things off that you’ve put in.
  2. Take breaks – This is always a newbie mistake too, but, make sure you take regular breaks. 48 hours, even with a couple of sleep periods, is plenty of time to get something done.
  3. Start Small – It’s much easier to add to a simple game then it is to try and cram in everything a more complex game needs.

A Perfect Swarm

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