Ludum Dare 33 was a little rough for me, as I had to stop my game early for illness. However, I did a fair amount of streaming and played some great games! Here were my favorites, followed by a postmortem for my own entry at the end. Continue reading My Favorites + Sick Sick Solitaire Post-mortem
Last weekend I participated in (and assisted in the wrangling of) a small experimental game jam focused on games for classroom learning. I’ve always recognized educational games from afar as something challenging and impressive, but this was my first time dabbling in it myself, with 0 experience making an educational game. I learned SO much about educational game design and the shortcomings of my own design intuition in this context, even from one small weekend prototype. It was incredibly valuable!
“How was Train Jam?”
People have been asking me this all weekend, of course, and it’s been a little bit difficult to answer. I usually opt for “it was an adventure,” which seems to perplex people, especially after the stall. I answer that way thinking about my ETC fundamentals “adventure module” from back in grad school, and the perspective that an adventure doesn’t necessarily mean an entirely positive experience, and that there can be some danger involved in addition to fun and insight.
Well, I could try to answer briefly: It was wonderful and terrible.
When I told Adriel I wanted to write about my experience, she said “Yes. The good and the bad.” So, I suppose, let me explain from the beginning.
2014 has been the year of many game jams (for me, relatively), and one consistent trend has been that each jam gets more and more chill than the last. LD31 is probably the most low-key, easy-going jam I’ve done to date. All the same, I’m quite pleased with our game, One Does Not Simply Walk Into More Doors.
Looking back on why this jam felt so relaxed, I think most of it came down to experience and attitude and how that shaped our process. Also, figuring out a jam workflow between two designers who have different game-making tool preferences ended up being really efficient…
This was my third Ludum Dare, and although I did Afterlife Dance Party within 48 hours and mostly solo, I decided on the last day to switch to the jam so I could have someone help me with music (John Fio to the rescue!) Now, goals and lessons learned and stuff…
I’ve been playing lots of Ludum Dare games! If you’d like to play the game I made with Will, you can do so here. Meanwhile, here are a few of my favorites so far, so be sure to play them! The theme for what wins my heart seems to be very mechanics-focused in most cases, but that’s not surprising.
This past weekend I partook in my second Ludum Dare, and my first one as part of a jam team. I had great fun working with my good friend, Will White. It’s been ages since we collaborated on anything, so it was a blast to meld creative minds once again (fun fact, Will was one of my team members on my very first game jam ever).
So I participated in Procedural Death Jam this year. Having never made a procedural game before I figured it would be a good opportunity. It was pretty fun and I was happy with my results, you can play Prop Hell here if you want to give it a try!
I wanted to go through some of my favorite entries from the Jam in no particular order. My criteria for a favorite was a game that I kept playing to the end or over and over because I found it really compelling, versus an entry I just played until I “got it.” Do note: there were many PDJ entries that I couldn’t run due to corrupted zips or executables that just wouldn’t work, but I tried my best to play as many as possible.
I’m not sure if I’ll reach my goal of playing at least 100 games from Ludum Dare 27, but I’m getting pretty close. All the same, I figured it would be a good time to give a shout out to some of my favorite games that I’ve come across so far. Here they are!
I thought this game pulled off the whole “simultaneous actions performed asynchronously” mechanic in a brilliant way. I had seen several other games that played around with a similar thing, but Keg Quest framed it in a way that was easy to work out the puzzle through trial and error and then easily reset everything to “perform” correctly once you had mentally solved the puzzle.
This was a great moody piece. The mechanic is simple enough to be represented without UI, so they were able to focus on the beautiful art and use that to convey all the critical game information. I think the storytelling moments in this game are absolutely fantastic, especially (SPOILERS) the moment at the end when you start encountering dead mites near the surface. If you had just reached the top without them it would have been kind of frustrating, but that tiny detail gave juuuust enough of a foreshadowing moment that reaching the surface nailed that sense of despair.
ONEMOC: 1 MINUTE OF COLORS (48 hour comp)
I thought the mechanic in this one was very clever (and very simple). It wasn’t quite like anything I’d encountered before, though something about the “walking” feeling from square to square reminded me a little bit of InnerCube. The interface for how the desired color changed over time merged with a timer bar was really nice.
This was like a fast-form adventure game. I enjoyed it because it had nice puzzle and story elements without all the extra fuss you have to deal with in a standard adventure game (I’m not normally a fan of point-and-click adventures). Like, there is still trial and error with things, but the framing around 10 seconds really makes it efficient and fun. Plus it’s a nice, touching story.
So, there you have it, my favorite 4 of LD27. Even still, I’ve played a ton of other games that have done impressive work, so fantastic job, everybody!
Lastly, if you want to check out my own 48 hour compo entry, 10 Second Dragon Feeder, you can view it here: