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First Ludum Dare Tips

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!


Lights Out Post-LD Build – Progress!

The post-Ludum Dare build of Lights Out is almost done and will definitely be released this month! So far I’ve added 2 road blocks (1 being a small puzzle), doubled the size of the map, changed the placement of Bedelia (you’ll have to find her all over again as her room has drastically moved!), made it darker, added more talking sprites, and more. I’m pretty happy with this build, and I hope you guys will like it too. It hopefully won’t be my only Halloween game this year!


Lights Out Post-LD Update Announced

Yep, fully announcing that I’ve started on a post-Ludum Dare build of Lights Out for the horror game jam held by a few acquaintances, Pixel Horror Jam 2. I’m still not sure how much I’ll add (I’ve been told I have to double the content, though that doesn’t necessarily mean story-wise), but I have planned to at least double the mansion, add more tiles, add at least one puzzle, add more interactions, add a sprite for Hiram’s head (which I already sketched, but never had time to finish), and make the game harder (making it darker to see). I’ve been working on it for the past few days- in order to make sure I don’t get burnt out and am able to add a lot more content to it, I’m going to pace myself (as the jam doesn’t end for another 3 months).


I did this stained glass piece originally during LD (I mean, of course I did) but never got to use it, but now I’m able to.


Lights Out (LD39) Updates

Here’s a small post-Ludum Dare devlog. Lights Out is now on 3 different sites, for all your browser-playing needs!


I’ve received a few comments saying that the lights didn’t seem necessary and that there should be some more foreshadowing/buildup to the story, so I’ll most likely make a post-LD build of the game with darker rooms and more interaction and story.
Still, I’ve received a lot of great feedback on this game, and I’m very happy that people like it! This has basically solidified that I want to do RPG Maker games for most of my future LD entries, as they’re a great way to blend game play with visual novel story telling.


Ludum Dare #39 Day 4 – End

Ludum Dare #39 is finally over, and boy, did it feel like forever! And yet, the time flew by whenever I was working on my game :”D Anyway, here’s some looks at the game and what it’s about.

Lights Out is my attempt at a short and sweet RPG horror-style game, centered around the player controlling Rebecca, a young 11 year old girl who has her friends over for a sleepover when the power is knocked out and she finds that her house is now crawling with fairies. She tries to find them, only realizing that the back-up generator only has enough power to turn on the lights in one room at a time.

The (albeit short) story revolves around an elder fairy who is attempting to escape death by the hands of a dullahan, a headless fairy grim reaper of sorts. However, the other fairies kidnap Francie, one of Rebecca’s friends, and swaps her out for the elder fairy, who is now a changeling- a fairy who is swapped out for a human in order for the fairies to keep the human child as their own, or in this case, to let the elder fairy die in peace at the hands of humans to take care of them. I really love folklore and such, so this was my attempt at bringing some of that folklore I’ve learned into a game while also making is accessible to readers who, say, don’t know Irish folklore.

I do believe this is my 2nd best Ludum Dare entry yet- Nightowl will probably always hold a special place in my heart because it was made based off my own emotions that I felt after graduating high school, but I think this one deserves 2nd not only because of all the work I put into it (Steam says I’ve had RPGM MV open for about 30+ hours this entire LD) but also because I feel its story is short, simple, but round and complete. I liked writing Hiram, I hope he didn’t come off as too much of a jokester!