Ludum Dare 23 Post-Mortem

I'm about a month overdue in writing this entry, but better late than never. Back in April, I participated in the 23rd Ludum Dare by creating a game in 48h by myself. You can play my finished product: Tiny World Defense. Results of the competition were released last week, and I was really proud. I managed to get #176 in the "Fun" category, and #244 overall. For a field of over 1000 games, that's pretty good. If you're looking for some really fun games, check out the top 50, and top 25 per category. They're pretty awesome. Remember, each one was completed in 48h.

Overall, it was a great experience. I got to challenge myself to finish something that I never had before, and I learned a lot along the way. It's a lot of fun to watch the #ludumdare IRC channel during the compo, and the community is fun, even though I didn't participate much.

Without further adieu, what went well:

  1. The Keynote. Ludum Dare had an awesome, interactive keynote this year. Go check it out.

  2. Working at KwartzLab. Having other people around who were working at the same time as me was extremely helpful. It was really encouraging, and provided a means to talk to people about successes/problems. For an extrovert like me that's necessary.

  3. Choosing Flixel. It's a very good framework, and helped me out a lot. Probably won't use it next time, but that's no fault of its own.

  4. Tools. mtPaint and bfxr made graphics and sound FX really easy. Aww yeah.

  5. Participating in Warmup Weekend. This was probably the most critical factor for my success. The fact that I had already done something with my language and framework allowed me to get to work quickly when I finally started working.

  6. Getting food delivered. Meant that we didn't have to get up in order to eat. Very important for continuous work. Pepi's Pizza is the bomb.

  7. Going out for food. Spending all your time in one place, even if it is as awesome as KwartzLab, sucks. Going for a walk is important.

  8. My heating regime. KwartzLab is cold in the spring and fall because of stingy heating from the landlord. I got myself a heated shrug for my legs, and a lizard heat lamp for my hands. Vital to my success in that environment.

  9. Sponsors. CCJ Clearline and TribeHR each bought us some food. That was awesome.

  10. Support from my wife. She recognised that this was important to me and let me do it. Without that, it never would have happened. Thanks, hon.

Things that could have been better:

  1. Better planning of snacks. I bought some at a Shoppers Drug Mart on day 2, but the whole situation was meh. Need to plan that better for next time.

  2. More sponsors! Food costs about $50/person for the weekend. I'm going to try to get that all raised so that it's all covered next time.

  3. Go deeper with the framework. There's a lot of tools out there for making certain types of games in certain frameworks. Working with those to lessen my personal workload would be a good way to improve.

  4. More testers, more often. One of the things that didn't quite work out with my game was the balance of the powerups. Had I taken more time to get that balance right earlier and had people test, I think I could have had a better game at the end.

  5. Participate in the community more. That would have been one way to get testers. Also to get help.

  6. Theme. Tiny World? Really? What's up with that? Bah.

As I said above, overall it was really awesome and one of the most fun things I've done in my life. Now I need to get ready for the next one in August!