Hot on the heels of the Game Prototype Challenge v5 is the 20th installment of the older and way more intense Ludum Dare, starting on April 29th! Ludum Dare is a 2-day solo game design competition. Each Ludum Dare competition (“compo”) is based on a theme — themes are suggested by the LD community, and in the days before the competition begins, they vote in rounds to determine what that challenge’s theme will be. So there’s a competition for the theme of the competition.
At the start, the theme is announced and all participants have just 48 hours to build a complete game from scratch: everything must be original and made within the 48 hours, including audio and graphics! (If you’re like me and have little-to-no knowledge of sound design, fear not! Tomas “DrPetter” Pettersson created SFXR, a super-easy lo-fi sound effect generator, specifically to aid Ludum Dare competitors!)
After the competition, the games are rated by the participants themselves, and are ranked on a number of criteria : innovation, fun, theme, graphics, audio, humor, overall, and community.
If you don’t feel up to the “Dare”, then there are other ways to participate. Recently it’s been expanded to include a three-day “Jam”, which is non-competitive, and with relaxed rules: you don’t have to work solo and not all the content has to be original and made within the 72-hour period. Jam games just don’t get rated like the competition entries do. Jam participants can still rate the competition games, though, so they are still a part of the Ludum Dare process! There are also more-informal MiniLD competitions, run by Ludum Dare veterans.
Why do we like Ludum Dare? Well, it’s one of the only sites that shares a word root (ludus) with us, so there’s that. But really, competitions like Ludum Dare and #GPC are amazing to watch, and even more exciting to attempt. You’ll learn a lot when the pressure’s on!