Coming in December: Ludum Dare 48-Hour Game Programming Contest

The 16th bi-annual Ludum Dare (a.k.a. LD48) game programming contest is coming up in December. This is a really fun, very informal, online event that is free to enter. Anyone interested in video game programming should have a look. Their web site can explain the event better than I, so have a look.

Essentially, contestants submit ‘themes’, and are able to vote on these themes. At the moment the contest begins, the winning theme is announced and the contestants work to build a game that incorporates this theme. Before the 48-hour deadline, entries must be submitted and posted online (you will need a web hosting account, FTP site, etc.) and contestants have two weeks (I believe) in which to cast their vote for winning entries (there are categories). Typically, contestants are working solo – this often leads to some pretty funny graphics and sound effects. =)

As far as I know, the contest is open to submissions programmed in any language, designed to run on any platform. People are all across the board with their entries; coding games in assembly to run on Nintendo emulators, using Python/Pygame, using OpenGL, SDL. There are some guidelines about which libraries are and would be considered off-limits. Also, any game content (graphics, sounds, etc.) must be created during the time of the contest.

I threw down the gauntlet in LD48 #14 last year, and can say that I had a blast. People stay very active on the contest’s IRC channel during the event, and the forum is also very active with lots of crazy sleep deprived and/or caffeine fueled postings during the event. Another popular activity is the recording of timelapse videos, showing the contestants screen and/or torso via webcam. Here is a link to my timelapse video on YouTube.

While the majority of the 100+ game entries in LD48 #14 were for Windows, there were several Linux games. My entry was a Linux game using C/C++ and OpenGL for graphics. I think that this event is a great opportunity to express the open-source mentality in a fun, creative, and challenging way. I hope some of the readers here will consider giving this a shot, or at least passing this on to some friends. Game on!