When we reach the end of a Ludum Dare event and evaluate each others’ games, we grade each game with a series of categories: Overall, Fun, Coolness, Graphics, Audio, Theme, Innovation, Humor, and Mood. When the results are announced, the top 100 games in each category are displayed, and of course it is every competitor’s dream to land in at least one of those top-100 lists.
The Overall category holds pride-of-place. Arguably, the winner of the Overall category is the winner of the event. It’s satisfying to do well in the other categories, but until you’re ranked #1 Overall, there is still room for growth in your Ludum Dare performance.
Which brings me to this question: Have you ever wondered which other categories make the biggest difference in how you rank overall? For example, do people who do well Overall also tend to do especially well in Graphics, or Theme, or Innovation? Coolness is a measure of how much you played other peoples’ games; does a great Coolness ranking help you achieve a good Overall ranking? If you want to succeed Overall, does it pay to focus on Fun, or Graphics, or Audio, or Mood?
If you’re anything like me, you’re just itching to know.
And now you can.
For the last several Ludum Dare events I’ve analyzed the relationships between category rankings by looking at the scores of the top 100 Compo entries. In each event I’ve analyzed the correlation between how games did in each of the nine categories. What I’ve found is that there are strong correlations, and they’re not necessarily what you would expect.
Take a look at this.
What you see here is a chart of how well each category did relative to the Overall category in each of the last eleven LD events. The blue line represents Fun, for example. This shows that more than any other category, Fun correlates strongly with Overall. If you do well in Fun, you tend to do well overall; if you do poorly in Fun, you tend to do poorly overall.