This Friday marks the start of Ludum Dare 45. And I already know what you’re thinking: what the fuck is Ludum Dare? Ludum? Ludum…Ludum…..Lu dum dum. DA DA DA DA DA DUM. LA LUM DUM DUM. DA DA DA DA DUM. THREE SIX NINE. DAMN YOU FINE. GET LOW GET LOW GET LOW.
Hahaha ok jokes aside, Ludum Dare is one of the biggest game jam competitions in the world. So what is a game jam? A game jam is a game development competition where participants have a limited time window to create a game from scratch based on a decided theme. Themes can range from mechanical (one/two button controls, entire game on one screen, enemies as weapons), to theoretical (“you are the monster”, “your life is currency”, “the more you have the, worse it gets”). The theme is announced at the start of the competition. The time window varies for each competition, but for Ludum Dare, creators have either 48 or 72 hours to complete and submit their entry, depending on which category they choose to participate in. The judging is done solely by participants that submit a game. Winners are announced shortly after the competition, but there are no prizes. The goal of the competition is to motivate developers to create games that they can then polish after the game jam and turn into a profitable title.
Ludum Dare holds two game jams per year; one in April, and one in October. In April, over 7500 game developers signed up and over 2500 submitted entries. While many of the participants aren’t very well known, Markus Persson, the creator of Minecraft, has participated multiple times. Some of the participants post time-lapses of their game over the 48/72 hr period, while others stream live on Twitch as they crunch through the game. As someone who loves seeing the process behind game development, I will be tuning in sometime this weekend for sure. You can check out past Ludum Dare entries on their site here, and you can read more about the rules of the competition here. Tune in this weekend!
One last thing for those who are currently developing games or are interested in getting into game development. Humble Bundle just launched a Linux & Unix ebook bundle on their site. For only $15, you get 14 ebooks from O’Reilly that cover basically everything you could need to write a game in that system. That’s a fucking steal guys. Even if you already run your games on Linux, I highly recommend you get these books just for reference material alone. I have a bookshelf at my day job that I use every week when I need a refresher on different formulas for designing components, and I wouldn’t be able to do my job effectively without it. Some popular games that use Linux & Unix include Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, Portal, and Left 4 Dead.
You can purchase the Linux & Unix ebook bundle here. Also, don’t forget that with Humble Bundle, you can choose where your money goes! Send it to the publishing company, to Humble Bundle, or to charity!