Ludum Dare 41 post mortem
May 21, 2018
About a month ago, I participated for the first time with the Ludum Dare game jam. Here is what i learned from it.
For those of you who do not know what Ludum Dare is, it is an online event where people all over the world try to create a video game in one weekend. The event takes place every four months and has been recurring since 2002.
I did some other game jams before, but never joined a Ludum Dare event. I knew about it, but somehow it never fit my schedule. But about a month ago, i found out there was one happening and i had a some time during the weekend and thought why not. That was like sunday afternoon. So lesson one is: write the date on your calendar.
Luckily for me there are two different competitions: the 'compo' and the 'jam'. The compo is 48 hours and the jam is 72 hours ending on monday evening. So i joined the jam and i still had a sunday afternoon, a sunday evening and a monday evening to throw some brew together.
If you are now wondering what that brew was and want to play it, you can check out the entry here.
Building a very simple game, was doable in this short time. The rush you get from it, can really make you concentrate and focus. I mainly focused on just making it playable. Polishing the game was not a priority and i just wanted to make a short fun game loop. This approach made it possible to finish the game in time.
But the games that did well in the competition did have good polish, while also being super playable. So lesson two: make it playable and fun, but don't forget to make it good looking.
So after a weekend of development, the jam is not over, because then a voting period starts. Everyone plays the games that others have made and gives feedback. If you don't give feedback yourself, your game will do very poorly, because it will be pushed back in the list of games and no one will find your game. So another tip is: start early giving feedback.
If you leave a comment on a game, there is a big chance the developer of that game will click through on your nickname to try to find out what kind of game you made. So make sure to post a link to your game on your profile.
Another thing i found out after a couple of days doing votes and feedback, was that it was easier to browse the games on the portal site itch.io. They have a list with games that are tagged for the jam and you can see in the list view if the game can be played on your platform (win,mac,linux or html5). I use a mac and a lot of games are made exclusively for Windows, so this made it easier to find playable game. Tips #5 and #6 are: post your game on itch.io and build for as much platforms as you can.
When the voting was almost over, i was still missing the required 20 votes that would unlock my score in the end. So i went on twitter and with the help of some good hash tag tweets, i managed to get my last votes from the community. It also sparked some converstion with other gamedevs. So the last lesson is: get on twitter and use them hash tags.
Those were the lessons i learned. In the end i received a lot of feedback, that i can now use as a roadmap to make the game into something i hope to post here in the games section someday. And i really hope the next Ludum Dare will fit my schedule.
Looking forward to it!
Source code: https://github.com/Quinten/soccer-slasher
Play in your browser: https://quinten.github.io/soccer-slasher/