This weekend I took part in Ludum Dare 30. Ludum Dare is a game jam that takes place over a weekend, either 48 or 72 hours, depending on how you want to participate. You can develop a game alone or in a group, choose to compete or not. Really it’s just a good excuse for game developers, and aspiring game developers, to take a break from whatever they are currently working on and intensely focus on creating something brand new for one weekend. It’s the game developer equivalent of dealing with writers block.
I have worked in teams for the last few global game jams, and I thought it would be an interesting challenge to attempt Ludum Dare alone. Fairly early on I knew that I probably wouldn’t submit a game for the community judged competition. I was there for the exercise of breaking down a game design problem in rapid fashion, just to see what I could come up with. If the plan had been to build a full game, get it working and submitting it (my typical plan for Global Gamejam) then I failed. But failing is okay. In fact failing is great. Game jams force you to fail early and often. Get used to it, and get over it. I like to scour my game jam submissions for any successful ideas that can be hammered into potentially marketable projects. Since that is my real goal, this Ludum Dare was actually incredibly successful.
The competition deadline was 7:00pm on sunday. As you would suspect, I came up with a unifying theme, streamlined game mechanic, and the base parts for what could become a commercial product, at around 9:30pm on sunday. I gave it a night to simmer. If it still seemed like a good idea in the morning, I figured I would be stupid not to pursue it. So, now I have a few pages of notes for two games that I want to work on, and still finish the art for Adventure Caddie. Schools coming, so I will be “full time” soon, or as I think I will call it “The Owen works by himself on existing game projects Jam”.