Who Dares Wins

It’s time for Ludum Dare 42, and I am in!

If you haven’t heard of Ludum Dare, and you are at all interested in computer games, you should go and check it out now. It’s ok, I’ll wait.

Jams

Game Jams are many and varied. Most have a simple set of rules, including how long you can spend writing your game, which languages and frameworks you can use, and usually a theme for the game.

Here are a few I have my eye on:

  • Ludum Dare - As I mentioned, this is a huge jam with thousands of participants. Contestants have to write a game, solo, in 48 hours, using any programming language they like.

  • PyWeek - A challenge to write a game in Python in a week. I’ve written a lot of Python, and I’ve had a go at writing games using Pyglet, although most people use pygame.

  • Lisp Game Jam - Write a game in any Lisp in 10 days. I love Lisp, but I’m not very fluent yet. There’s nothing like trying to write a game to teach yourself a programming language.

  • #1GAM - Less of a competition than a personal challenge: write one game every month for a year! I like the idea of honing my gamedev skills through repetition and the less directly competitive nature of this one.

Themes

At the time of writing this post, I’m waiting for the theme of Ludum Dare 42 to be announced. Entrants can suggest 3 themes each, and then everyone votes yes or no to each suggestion, filtering down to a final theme selection.

The theme is meant as a helpful restriction, to reduce the overwhelming possibilities of what kind of game to write.

Preparation

This is actually the first time I have entered Ludum Dare officially - previously I’ve lurked on the sidelines, trying to write games in the allotted time without actually declaring my participation. This time I’ve set aside some time to get involved and have prepared the way so that I can hit the ground running.

My preparations have included:

  • Setting up a Github repo

  • Writing a skeleton codebase, to prove that I can actually deliver something. I’m using Common Lisp and trivial-gamekit, which has enabled me to set up automatic builds of MacOS, Linux and Windows binaries, so I don’t end up with something nobody can play.

  • Learning my tools, including Sunvox for music. I found a handy tutorial series on Youtube.

  • Reading The Game Jam Survival Guide which gives advice on how to approach a game jam - rookie mistakes to avoid and tips from the old hands.

Wish me luck!

I have a feeling I’m going to need it…