Ludum Dare, and the Rush to Make Something Awesome

December 12, 2013

Ludum Dare is a triannual game jam in which participants are required to develop a game in 48 hours, based on a given theme. As I write this, the voting for the theme is nearing completion. Prospective themes are submitted by participants in the weeks leading up to the game jam. Over a period of about a week before the beginning of Ludum dare, participants vote on themes until one is crowned the winner. The catch is, the final theme is not known to the participants until the game jam begins.

Limitations around theme choice and time are what makes Ludum Dare so interesting. Once it starts, it’s a mad rush to the finish. You immediately begin brainstorming, and implementing your ideas as soon as possible. This is almost the antithesis of how I normally like to approach software development. All planning and preparation is thrown out the window, and the act of creation is all that matters. Sloppy code, and half-baked art and sound assets are a give in. It’s actually quite liberating, and that’s what makes it fun.

This weekend I’ll be creating a game with my friend Matt. I’ll be programming up a storm, while Matt focuses on art and sound. We’ve participated in Game Jams before, but this will be our first Ludum Dare. There are some interesting themes in the running, and I think we could make something cool with pretty much any of them.

As of right now, our toolkit this time around will consist of the following

  • Unity as the game engine.
  • Bfxr for sound.
  • Pickle for sprite creation.
  • Copious amounts of pizza, doritos, and energy drinks.

If you’d like to follow our progress check my Twitter feed over the weekend. I’m also planning to write a postmortem after the game jam concludes.

Good or bad, I can’t wait to see the results of our work this weekend. There’s no better feeling than when people play your game, especially when they have fun with it.