Is this your first Ludum Dare this weekend? Don’t fret! Here are some tips on how to survive your first LDJAM!What is Ludum Dare? It’s a tri-annual event that runs for 48-72 hours where you make a game in the time limit!
So, this is your first Ludum Dare. You’re thinking, “I want to become a better game dev”, or, “I want to challenge myself”, or, “I hate myself so let’s do this!”. But how do you get started once the theme drops? Here are a few tips on how to survive Ludum Dare from me, someone who’s entered it 10 times before successfully.
- Don’t spend too much time on one thing. If you spend all your time on the art, guess what? You have a nice portfolio of art assets now, but no running game. Spread out your time evenly among what is needed. If you need to, make a plan of what you’ll try to accomplish every day.
- Make a list of everything you need. This is more of a general game dev piece of advice, but it works just as well here. Games require a lot of different things, and if you’re like me, you just can’t do everything by yourself, no matter how hard you try. I can’t do music, so it’s almost always one of the things I forget about since I’m not making it. An easy way to avoid it being 5 minutes before the deadline and you realizing you forgot music or such is to make a list of everything you need to accomplish. This will also help you see if you’ll be able to finish in time and if you need to cut parts out.
- Have a playable build by mid-Sunday. If you’re entering the jam (where you have 72 hours), you need to have something playable by Sunday night at the latest. If you don’t and you still have other assets to finish, you most likely won’t be able to finish in time. Even if you have a couple assets to finish on Monday (as I usually do), if you have part of the game put together you should be relatively safe.
- Stick around for game rating! It can be easy to say “I’m tired and don’t even want to look at my game” after that Monday, but you need to rate at least a few games! Rating games is how your own game gets rated- the karma system works based on how many games you rate. The more you rate, the more ratings you’ll receive. The “minimum” amount of ratings you’re supposed to give (and receive) is 20, but sometimes people aren’t able to / won’t (I got sick twice in the 3-week span 2 Ludum Dare’s ago, and I wasn’t able to vote on any games).
These are just a few tips for first time and seasoned game jammers- if you found these helpful or already do some of these, let me know!