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Archive for the ‘LD #23’ Category
Some individuals are getting irritated with something I’m doing, and I want to defend it briefly in a blog post.
Once upon a time, fewer than 100 games were submitted to any given Ludum Dare event. That time has been history for a while now.
The 23rd Ludum Dare saw 1,402 entries. It’s incredible that so many people were so creative in such a short amount of time, but it presents a problem: I don’t want 1,402 weekend-developed games sitting on my hard drive, and it’s a huge task to play 1,402 games.
Thankfully, some of the 1,402 games submitted (mine included) are browser games. I’ve been playing as many of those as possible. I’ve gone through dozens of them this afternoon and promoted a handful on Twitter.
However, I’m not downloading any games to run outside of my web browser. Not a single one. If a game gets a ton of buzz, I might check it out, but I wouldn’t even guarantee that.
First of all, I use a MacBook Pro. Predictably, I’m usually running OS X on it, and that discourages me from playing a lot of the games submitted to the competition. I’d actually really like to buy a dedicated Windows machine soon, because there are some well-regarded games I own on Steam that I’ve been sitting on for months.
I paid for those games and I’m not playing them. I want to play those games and I’m not playing them.
So, frankly, I’m not likely to boot into Windows to play games that I probably won’t like. I don’t mean to insult people’s efforts, but I’m honestly very unimpressed with most Ludum Dare games. But hey: it’s a lot of beginner developers and/or folks with very little time to make a game. They can’t all be zingers. I’m also unimpressed with most computer games in general, so it’s not specific to this very cool community.
In a blog entry from today, Phil Hassey (one of the organizers of LD) said:
“Lastly, if you attempt to play an entry, but can’t, please just leave a comment to the user stating that you can’t judge their entry and explain why. “I don’t have a Mac” or “I can’t install Java” or whatever are all fine reasons. It will help them know how to create an entry that even more people can play next time!”
On every game I pull up the page for and don’t download, I’ve posted the following as a comment:
“***I’m posting this on all non-browser games I bring up in an attempt to encourage folks to make browser games next time around. Do not take it personally.***
When hundreds of people make non-browser games, that means that, to play all of the entries, I would need to download hundreds of games to my computer. I typically use OS X, so Windows-only entries are particularly inconvenient.
Please consider making a browser game next time.”
I think this is reasonably polite. It’s also in harmony with the tips provided in the Ludum Dare competition rules:
“To reach more participants, web entries are best (Flash, Unity, Flixel, Flashpunk, HTML, etc). They’re quick to start playing, and cross platform.”
“Having to download Python, PyGame, MSVC runtimes, XNA Frameworks, and other addons just to play a game will frustrate some people (hence why Web is so popular now).”
I would extend this second guideline to say “Having to download anything other than a one-time plug-in (Unity3D, etc) is annoying and discourteous to potential players”.
Some people disapproving of me for “spamming” my pro-browser game message are acting like I’m attacking people for using the tools they’re comfortable with. It’s as though I’m yelling at people and saying they’re bad people for not making browser games. This isn’t the case at all. I’m kindly asking them to consider making a browser game come next Ludum Dare. I could quietly rate their games with 1s across the board to really “punish” them (as I’ve been accused of doing), but that’s completely uncalled for.
There are very few good reasons not to make a browser game. If you want to make an Android game that is really dependent on accelerometer or multitouch input, go for it (but don’t be surprised if only a handful of people play it). However, virtually every game that has been submitted to Ludum Dare probably could have been made for web browsers with no trouble at all. Your platformer doesn’t need to be Windows-only. Your shooter could have run in a browser tab.
If you don’t know how to code, there’s Stencyl, Construct 2, GameMaker, and other tools. If you do know how to code, you’re just being stubborn and user-unfriendly not to make a web game. Frameworks and libraries obviously take some time to become familiar with, but if you know object-oriented programming you aren’t going to be utterly blindsided by any of the popular solutions for browser games: Flixel, FlashPunk, Unity3D, and Processing, to name a few. I’m definitely not an expert programmer and my entry point into game programming was these kinds of tools, but the learning curve isn’t so steep that we shouldn’t encourage people to make web games.
Few if any people are going to play all 1,402 games submitted to this Ludum Dare, and we can only expect this event to grow. Perhaps the organizers should really consider making Ludum Dare 23 the last Ludum Dare competition in which non-browser games are allowed (the Jam could be anything goes). It’d potentially cut down on the entries (which has its pros and cons), but it would definitely make every single game more accessible.
Everybody needs a web browser to participate in Ludum Dare. You can’t browse the entries without one. So why wouldn’t we aim for the platform that we can count on everybody having?
Edit: Oh, and I should definitely mention that when I started posting my message on non-browser games, I didn’t realize it was influencing my Coolness rating. I didn’t start doing this to get more eyes on my own entry, and I haven’t been continuing because of it either. The fact that my comment is saved as a rating helps me see new games rather than the same ones over and over, so I’m admittedly taking advantage of that aspect of it, but I feel guilty that my Coolness may be inflated (depending on what the designers of the system would see as exploitative). Still, I’ve certainly played and rated (and given sincere feedback on) many more entries than most, so I’m definitely not spamming to game the system.
Edit 2: I was ambiguous in my last edit in saying “I haven’t been continuing because of [my Coolness rating]“. I meant to say that my Coolness rating is not the reason I’ve continued to post the message (though I have not since I’ve posted this blog, and I’m not sure if I’ll start again or not).
Edit 3: If your argument against this is to say “be quiet and don’t play some of the games”, you really need to consider what you’re saying. Why shouldn’t I want to play all entries?
Edit 4: I think the point’s been made. I’m not going to post the message on any more non-browser entries. I’m also simply not terribly motivated to browse through any more games. Posting that message became a handy “mark as read”-like function. Regardless, enough people seem really irritated that I’m not interested in causing any more unhappiness.
I’m also sure my ratings have already been skewed downwards because of this, and I don’t want to compound that. I say this not in interest of winning the competition (which I never expected to do), but because I’d rather have accurate responses to my game rather than reactions to what I still think was a pretty innocuous campaign.