I’ve done several Ludum Dares in the past, and the one thing that I’d recommend to anyone is to always remember, you’re doing this for fun.
- If something comes along that sounds more fun, or is more important, go do it.
- Take breaks. Go on a walk. Get away from the computer. Draw inspiration from the world, or let your subconscious tackle a tough problem while you enjoy yourself.
- Don’t get stuck. Use a tool like Stutter to force yourself to bounce from art to programming to design to playtesting. (Yes, this is a shameless plug.)
- Sleep (or, at the very least, powernap). A tired developer is a sub-optimal developer. Four hours of peak development is worth much more than 16 hours of mediocre development.
- Eat. Food is fuel, and fuel, like sleep, is required to perform at peak.
- If you want to dominate your Ludum Dare (or appear to), don’t learn your tools while you work. Decide upon your arsenal now, and learn as much as you can about them.
- Revision control is your best friend. Commit early, commit often. If you’re doing it right, you’ll be committing way more than you think you need to, and this is good. Reverting fifteen minutes worth of bug code is better than spending another fifteen debugging. (Don’t forget to master revision control before the compo!)
- Submit your shit. Does your game crash? Submit it. Does your game suck? Submit it. Is your game so awful it’s embarrassing? Submit it! Once you’ve submitted it, realize you’ve completed a Ludum Dare, how awesome that is, how many people wish they were you, how attractive you are, and how much better you’ll do next time!
- Have fun. Have I mentioned that you’re doing this for kicks? If you’re stressed, worried, bored, upset, or tired, you’re doing a bad games make job. Have fun, goddamnit.