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    HARK, A NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHETH

    Posted by (twitter: @theBumpus)
    April 7th, 2012 10:46 am

    Hiya, everybody, how’s it going? I’m not only here to issue you a friendly greeting, but also to say that I am planning to enter the Ludum Dare for my first time! I’ve watched previous events on this site before, but I’ve finally gained the courage enough to join in for my piece of the fun.

    Now, I could make this my “I’M IN!” post, but A.: I feel like putting it off until I’m sure of my tools and B.: my psyche rejects the impulse to do what everyone else has. I’ll just introduce myself a bit and see where it goes.

    Okay, so, first off, I’ve never actually made a real game before. I’ve been learning all sorts of programming languages for the past couple of years, though, just to try and meet this end. For most of that time, my tool of choice was Flash, but I never really accomplished anything with it, other than endlessly buggy collision systems. I even once put this one dumb question on stackoverflow… nevermind, let’s not talk about that. I mostly blame it all on a lack of enough time with school and everything to really get anything done.

    Well, I had been planning to use Flash in the upcoming LD23 for a while, until a couple weeks ago when I discovered LÖVE. It appeals much more to me, as Lua’s errors are far simpler to decipher, and the language is so easy for me to pick up. In short, I’ll probably end up throwing my experience to the wind and developing my entry in LÖVE.

    I also have a personal goal for myself: to make friends here. I like discussing games and concepts with others, and so I love the opportunity to do it with all of you. I’ll make my I’m in post soon. Until then!

    5 Responses to “HARK, A NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHETH”

    1. dr_soda says:

      The first step is just to resolve yourself to do it.

      Once you’re past that point, I don’t know if it matters so much what tools you use as long as you’re confident in your ability to estimate a scope for your project that you can complete. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy. Play to your strengths, whatever those may be.

      Also, my first entry was last year. I knew nothing of the compo until the day before it happened. In a way I think this helped me as I had absolutely no time to overthink anything about the compo or my game. I just went on instinct with what called out and told me wanted to happen. Also, remaining completely ignorant of possible themes did give me the benefit of not thinking too hard about a theme I *wanted* to see vs the one that actually was chosen.

      Speaking of the theme, a lot of people in the last compo were defeated before they wrote a single line because they simply couldn’t come up with a mechanic to make the theme work and gave up. Some just ignored the theme and ran with whatever they wanted to make. This is an option, but don’t expect high marks on the Theme metric if you do this.

      • Puzzlem00n says:

        Hmm. You know, I really appreciate that advice. What that really has me thinking about is what my strengths are, because I’m not sure what they may be myself. I’ll have to see if I can find that out.

        • dr_soda says:

          Well, that’s something you only discover by playing around. A lot. Eventually though, playtime ends and you have to buckle down and actually see your work to completion. That’s actually something LD is *really good* for. Nothing like a deadline to make you kick it into gear and make the tough choices.

          If you’re new to your tools you may not have the knowledge to express your idea as well using them as you might with one you’re more familiar. That said, the primary goal would be to learn the tool well enough in a trial by fire to get a good grasp of it. Scoring highly would be a stretch goal, but not one to seek out.

          As an example, I’m almost positive that I’ll get killed in the ratings for this LD because I plan to abandon frameworks and engines. It’s just me and the Android SDK. I can’t expect people to take that into account when they rate the game. All I can do is set out a challenge that I hope I can complete with at least a little bit of style.

    2. Jedi says:

      Hi there! I think LÖVE is an excellent choice for beginners or just for Ludum Dare in general. I haven’t played with it extensively but I was very impressed with how easy it made 2d game development, particularly with the reference documentation.

      To get ready for Ludum Dare, try starting like this: give yourself a six-hour deadline to make a game-like thing with LÖVE. Given your skill level, you should maybe just strive to make an application that lets you press some keys to move a white square around on a black screen.

      Next, give yourself 6 hours to make it so the application adds another square to a random location, and then moves that square to a new random location when your square touches it.

      Next, give yourself 6 hours to make some game based on the simple mechanics you’ve just learned.

      Next, you might give yourself 6 hours to replace the background and squares with bitmaps, another 6 hours to add sound effects, etc. You get the idea. :)

      • Puzzlem00n says:

        Hmm… It’s an idea, I suppose, although I’m not sure when I’ll have time for that other than the weekends that are already reserved for the Warmup and Compo. I may follow your guidelines on a smaller scale, though.

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