Unlike a traditional Ludum Dare event, you can disregard the rules. The focus this October is to get a new game for sale somewhere. That can be something you’re already working on, something new, or something you want to finish.
To learn more about how this started, see the original post.
The rest of this post is a short guide on what you should be doing to make the most of your time.
Step 1. Pick a platform, do your paperwork
If you haven’t already, you should decide on a platform, and sign up for a developer program. To complete your registration, this will usually include filling out paperwork (such as a W-8BEN if outside the US or W-9BEN if inside) or signing contracts and mailing them. Mailing and getting papers approved can be a little slow, so do this ASAP.
I don’t have a good reference for filling out these forms, but will note the W-8BEN is only 1 page, and Apple’s iOS developer program had an excellent guide for the paperwork. I’ve been filling out these forms and sending them to nearly every distributor, all practically the same as the initial Apple ones (one platform required you to omit a section, but I forget which).
If like me you’re outside the US, you’ll likely need an EIN. You can fill out a form (to reference), and call the IRS (during normal business hours) and have one assigned to you within minutes.
Getting paid usually requires either a bank account (direct deposit) or a Paypal account. If you don’t have either, you should set one up. Bank choice wise, you should open an account at an institution with a SWIFT code. In the US that’s Bank of America, in Canada that’s CIBC (there may be more, but those are what people usually suggest).
Signing a contract is usually a matter of filling in your name at the beginning (unless automated or provided to you), and signing+dating a signature section of the last page. Using a blue ink pen is preferred, since it’s clearly not a photocopy (versus a black pen). Initialing each page of a contract is also a good idea.
Contractual agreements often require 2 copies of a contract. You sign both, and send them to the other party. They in turn sign both, keep one, and send you one back. That way, both of you have signed copies of the contract.
Step 2. Make your game!
Time is short, get to work!
We don’t have any content or marketplace restrictions, but keep in mind the goal here is to sell at least 1 copy (or make money from the game in some other way).
If you’ve never finished a game before, there is an excellent article by Derek Yu here. More resources can be found at the bottom of this post.
Step 2b. Blog about it
Either here or on your own site. During a Ludum Dare Event, the ludumdare.com/compo site acts as a progress feed. To see what others are up to, you merely have to visit the site and watch. This is one of the most interesting parts of the event that most people miss out on; The real live production of hundreds of games all in one place. When the weekend ends, you’ve missed it.
For the October Challenge, we’re inviting everyone participating to share their progress here on the /compo blog. Simply sign up, make a post, and hit publish. Feel free to upload images to the blog using the “picture frame” icon above the text box. Once you upload an image, if you didn’t use it right away (or use the wrong formatting), it can be found in the gallery tab (picture frame icon again).
If you’d like to re-post your blog-posts from your own blog that’s fine, but please watch your formatting! Large images on the blog are 550 pixels wide, and you will break the layout with a wider image than that. If you upload your images here, be sure to select the “Large” size. Also, the paragraph tag gives unusual spacing results, so that’s not recommended.
Step 3. Submit it!
Draft up your description text, prepare some screenshots, then go submit it.
Though it isn’t required, I strongly suggest you make a gameplay video or trailer and get it on Youtube. We’re expecting a lot of games, and don’t expect everyone to buy/play everyone elses games, so a quick video would be a great way for us to admire and appreciate your work.
Step 4. Submit it here too!
Once you’ve sent it off, submit it to us.
We’re using our standard Ludum Dare submission system to create a master list of all our October participants. To be included, simply create an account and visit that page. The link fields can be edited, so update them to something appropriate. Suggestions include: Website Link, iTunes Link, Youtube Video Link, Postmortem Link, etc. Also, the first screenshot will be used to show your game on the list, so an attractive screenshot is recommended. For an example of what the final list will look like, look here.
We ask that you wait until after you’ve submitted your game to whatever service/marketplace your game is for before you submit here.
Be sure to let us know how long you worked on it; Whether this is new for the October Challenge, or has been in development for months now.
Each account is only capable of creating 1 game. If you’re making multiple games this month, we’d prefer you share your most interesting one with us.
Step 5. Sell a copy/License it/Make some revenue
Getting approvals or licensed takes time, so we’re not requiring you to have made a sale by the 31st. If you can get your game out and your first copy sold before then, then that is awesome!
The goal of the challenge is to get more people to release something and be fully capable of earning money from it.
Like Ludum Dare, there are no prizes. “The prize is your product” as we always say.
Or if you think about it another way, if you happen to make the “sell 1 copy” quota, that’s a pretty cool prize too. Breaking the “0 sales” barrier is a big step forward for a game. From that point on, you now have a product to experiment with; To learn the ropes of running a small business, marketing, promotion, etc. The whole “give them a fish or teach them how to fish” axiom, but we’re not so much “teaching” as “telling” you to fish.
Your website is ugly and difficult to use
We make games, not pretty websites. And this October, we’ll be busy making games. If you’d like to bug us to make it look better, please wait until after we finish. Thanks!
Light Reading and Resources
- Derek Yu on Finishing a game
- Andy Moore on Steambirds Licensing (Flash)
- Pixel Prospector’s
- MANY game market resources at IndieVision.org