Showing posts with label Competitions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Competitions. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

97 Klotho

I finished up a recent game design with some testing over the holidays. I got it worked up for The Game Crafter's Roll-And-Write contest. Not sure I'll do well there - I think people were looking for simpler games - but I really enjoy it. My son said it was his favorite of the ones I've made.

97 Klotho website

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ludum Dare #41: Mortal Keybat


I didn't post about this back when I wrote it, but I did an entry for Ludum Dare #41. The theme was "Combine Two Incompatible Genres," so I did a Karate Champ style fighting game with a typing tutor. I did pretty well in some categories of the judging, and it was a fun time.

The game page is here, with a link to the playable game.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Results over Four Ludum Dare competitions

I just got the ratings for my Ludum Dare competition game, Domain, written from scratch in 48 hours last month. They were good - this is the second-best finish for me in the ratings, I think. I was curious how I compared, so I did some graphs with my four entries over the past few years. The competition is rated in eight categories, with "Overall" being the most important. My four games were as follows:
Here are the results for those four games, first by percentile (vs. other games in the competition), then by overall rating (1-5 stars). In each graph, the categories are sorted by my average performance for all four games.

Apparently, Audio and Graphics are my weakest categories, which isn't that surprising. Theme and Innovation seem to be my strong suits. Teeming (blue line, my first entry) was clearly my worst showing in nearly all categories, and Evo (red line) my best (by percentiles), but Domain (purple line, most recent entry) actually was rated higher in terms of stars. I wonder if the judging has gotten easier over time? Or the games better? Hard to say. Anyway, I seem to be improving as I do these, which is cool. I'm hardly going to sprout an artistic sense in my late 40's, but it's fun to do these, and I still get some props for innovative, so that's OK by me. 

Ludum Dare 37 - Domain

I competed in Ludum Dare #37 in December, where you create a game from scratch in 48 hours. This was a rough one - it came right at the end of the semester, which is tricky, and it was also happening right after my wife had surgery, so I was focused on her needs first. The theme was one I'd voted against - "One Room." Many creators just ignored the theme, or made whatever game they wanted as long as it nominally fit in one space. Only a few really integrated it. That made for a lot of similar games, all limited in scope. So, not the greatest competition topic, I think.

I had a hard time figuring out a concept, but I ended up making a game which was a tank game, but in a weird world where you're trapped in a room and just shoot the walls, not at other tanks. I thought it came out OK, although I didn't have much time for polish. I did it using Unity, which I've been experimenting with for a few years, as opposed to CraftyJS, which I used for my previous three games. I turned it in a few hours early, actually, so it's not as polished as I could have gotten if I'd ignored the rest of my life, but that wasn't in the cards.

The game, called Domain, is playable on the web here. Let me know what you think. I did OK on the ratings - made the top 100 games, sitting at about the 90th percentile of the 901 games submitted for the single-author competition. My competition page (with rankings) is here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ludum Dare 26 Results

Here are my results from the Ludum Dare competition this time around.  Not as good as the last time, but better than my first entry.  My audio didn't work on Firefox for the first period of the judging, so that may have hurt me a little bit (probably not much, since Chrome is more common for LD users and only about half the ratings came in while it was broken).

Some of the games in this competition were really great, and it seemed like fewer of them were terrible than in earlier sessions.  The theme was a challenge; obviously, if you're going for minimalism, it's hard to shine in some areas (particularly sound and graphics, but also depth and complexity of gameplay).  Art's not what I'm good at anyway (see above), so Minimalism should maybe have helped me out :-).

Ludum Dare 26 entry

Here's my entry from Ludum Dare 26.  The theme was Minimalism.  I went with a game set in a Piet Mondrian painting that only has one control.  The Ludum Dare page is here.  A direct link is here.  I was pretty happy with it; I spent a little too much time on the dialogue opening (also minimalist, I thought).  I got some really nice comments, too.  Let me know what you think!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Transatlantic Yoggity

Yoggity is off on its way to Bochum, Germany for the Hippodice competition.  The game cost me $20; shipping was $30, and the entry fee was 10 Euros ($15 after Paypal fees).  Entering these contests isn't cheap, even though it sort of seems like it is when you get started. Of course, the Hippodice fee is very reasonable for the hassle they go through hosting the contest, and the rest is just my costs.

Regardless, I'm happy to do it; Hippodice gives useful feedback, which I haven't found to be the case for many of the contests I've entered, and I really like the way they have the contest set up.  Looking over Yoggity again, I was very grateful for Jason Greeno's terrific artwork - I think the game is great, too, but his art and design really makes it much more fun.

Probably won't hear anything until next year - but I'm glad to have the opportunity.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Yoggity makes the cut at Hippodice 2012-13!

I just found out yesterday that the folks at Hippodice have requested Yoggity for their second round.  That means I have to get a physical copy to Germany, which is a challenge, but it should be fun to see what they say.  They got 150+ entries; I'm not sure how many made this cut, but I assume it's no more than 50 or so, maybe 20-30, because they have to play them all.  Pretty neat.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hippodice entered!

I've entered two games in the Hippodice competition this fall - Horde and Yoggity.  We'll see how I do - I've made the second round once but never their top 10.  I gather it's very competitive.

A user named Yort over at BGDF looked at my stuff and commented that it might be more polished than they were looking for.  I got that impression when they looked at Diggity a couple years ago - one of the reviewers said, essentially, "why are we looking at this?  we're only supposed to look at prototypes."  Of course, it was a game prototype at the time, just printed up nicely via TheGameCrafter, and well within the Hippodice rules which indicate less than 100 total copies.

We'll see how I do - these competitions are always a little unpredictable, but I really respect Hippodice for its organization and standards.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ludum Dare 24 results

Voting results are in from the 24th Ludum Dare competition.  The theme was Evolution, and I made a puzzle game in which little critters gain traits.  I've got it hosted here at; the competition page with all the comments and feedack is here at LudumDare.

How did I do?  Pretty well, I think; much better than last time.  Here are the numeric ratings and rankings:

The #44 overall is really neat; there were 1006 entries, and I have a lot of top 100 or top 50 ratings in various categories.  I'm not sure why I'm so much worse with the theme, since I actually thought my adherence to the theme was better this time than last, where it was my highest ranking (#71).

Anyway, a good experience, and very encouraging results.  I think I'll try to develop the game further and get it up on Kongregate or somewhere.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Ludum Dare 24

I took part in the 24th Ludum Dare competition last weekend and produced a computer game in 48 hours (well, more like 15 hours - I had to sleep, eat, celebrate my birthday, and perform in two improv comedy shows at the Idiot Box).  The theme (revealed Friday night at 9pm) was Evolution.

I've now rated around 40 of the other games, and there's a huge variety of ideas, themes, game styles, and choices, and also skill levels at putting games together.  I've gotten some nice comments from mine; like a lot of my stuff, art isn't the strong part (especially with only 48 hours to work), but the gameplay is pretty fun.  Give it a try if you like; it's at:

The Ludum Dare page for my game is here.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

BGDF Contest for August - Grow Up!

I'm waiting for the results of this month's BGDF Game Design Showdown, with the theme of Grow Up!  I haven't entered much in recent months; the restrictions and themes haven't really fit my interests for a while, and I've been working on my novel and other projects.  But this month, the restriction was to include a theme of growth over time and to include game pieces which grew in function as the game progressed, which was interesting to me.

These restrictions were actually pretty tough for me, and although I think I met the requirements in a technical sense, I didn't do so in a particularly inspired way. Reading through the entries, I see that other folks had some trouble with this too.  I'll be curious to see how it comes out.

I made a prototype of my game and tried it out with friends and family; seems to work pretty well, and I was able to tweak and balance it some after testing.  I was inspired enough by this to go ask on DeviantArt for somebody to make some art up for the game.  After re-theming the game towards space/sci fi, I offered up $100 for images for the various buildings and cards I need.  I've got some leads; I hope they pan out.  I hope to work it up on in not too long, and if more testing is promising, maybe I'll enter it in Hippodice this fall.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Looking like an interesting roundup at the monthly Game Design Showdown at the Board Game Designer's Forum.  People took the "spring" thing in a lot of different ways, mostly literal (a spring-loaded piece of equipment).  We'll see how I do on Sunday...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ludum Dare results

So, here are my results from the judging for the Ludum Dare competition for my game, Teeming.
The rankings (at left) I think are out of 1,111, so I was top half in all categories, top 1/3 in many of them.  

#71 Theme 3.82
#220 Innovation  3.38
#265 Overall 3.25
#325 Fun 3.00
#394 Graphics 2.95
#410 Mood 2.71
#453 Humor 2.18
#455  Audio 2.43
Coolness 100%

The worst one for me was Audio, and that makes sense - the game has only simple sound effects and no music track. Mood is supposed to be how immersive your game was, but I'm not sure people all used the same standards there. Likewise for Humor, which is hard to gauge.  I'm happy to be up there in the Overall and Innovation categories, and apparently I hit the theme (Tiny World) pretty well.  Graphics will likely always be a problem for me, lacking as I am as an artist.

The last item, Coolness, refers to how many games I rated - I rated (or tried to rate) over 100 games, so I get that one by default (or by dint of hard ratings work). A rank list another guy made shows that I did the 104th most ratings (the average participant made 35 or so).

I'll need to look at the rankings in more detail if they publish more of them.  I don't know how they handle it, but if it's just raw numbers, I'd guess that there are some games near the top of these categories that have relatively few rankings.  Maybe that's not an issue with so many people rating so many games, but you never know.  It would be cool to do a graph of rank vs. ratings received, although there are other factors in play determining how many ratings you get on your game (e.g. you get rated more often if you rate more yourself).

A fun experience; I'm happy with how I did, but I think I could do better. I'll definitely try again next time.

Two cool things

Two things coming up in the next 6 hours -
  1. The judging for the 23rd Ludum Dare competition will close. Mine (Teeming) was one of 1402 entries (1,111 in the solo 48-hour competition) with the theme of Tiny World (I went with microorganisms in a petri dish). I've never done this before, so I don't know exactly what to expect, but I did judge 102 other entries over the past 3 weeks, so I've probably seen a representative sample. I hope I make the top 50%, but we'll see. There are some really good ones out there. There were a couple that I saw that were obviously way better than mine, but they were in the Jam segment (72 hours, multiple people designing, relaxed rules on preexisting content)
  2. My entry for the BGDF monthly Game Design Showdown should go live. This month had a couple of cool restrictions - one was that you had to use asking permission (from Mother May I - Mother's Day plus May), and the other was that you had to use springs in some way. We'll see how many entries there are and how I do - I feel pretty good about my entry this month, but that has historically not been any kind of indicator as to how I do (maybe even negatively correlated).
Game on...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Teeming - Ludum Dare Entry

I figured I'd try my hand at the Ludum Dare game competition, which I learned about earlier this year. The goal is to produce an entire game from scratch, in 48 hours, solo. I think I did pretty well for a first try; give it a try if you'd like.  The theme for this time was "Tiny World," which led me to make a game about life in a petri dish.  It's been interesting looking at the other entries (all 1111 of them) and seeing what people did.  Huge variety in interpretations, game formats, and programming ability.

Thanks to my Mom for putting up with me coding for most of a weekend while I visit her in New Mexico. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oceans Elevens

I'm guest-hosting the monthly Game Design Showdown over at Board Game Designers Forum. I required an ocean theme ('cause I'm a marine geologist) and a voting mechanic ('cause it's November). Eight good entries already, and there might be more before the day is through. I miss not entering, but it's fun seeing what people come up with. I was a little worried that I wouldn't attract any entries, but that's not been the case.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Warped pictures

I took some pictures of one of my current projects, Warped, which I entered in TheGameCrafter's vehicle design contest and which I've now sent off to Hippodice's design contest.  I'll see what Hippodice says - I should know within a month or so if it makes it to the playtest round. 

It looks cool, although I don't think I'd ever actually play it on a table with holes in it - too many pieces to fall through.  Pretty neat how much stuff you can get for under $20 - that's a lot of parts.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Design Contests

The contest I entered Warped! in is over, with results here.

Short analysis - I didn't place in the top five, which is all the results they gave.  I was sad, because the game is a lot of fun, is complex, and seems well-balanced, and some of the other entries that placed don't seem like they would be.

Long analysis - I found myself wondering, as I often do upon hearing contest results, why my game didn't do better. I've entered a number of game design competitions, and of these, Hippodice and the Rio Grande competition last fall were the only ones I've gotten feedback from.  Occasionally I get some feedback from the monthly BGDF design showdowns (though not from people who've actually played the game, since the entry is just an 800-word description/rules document with a couple small pictures).

The feedback from Hippodice was very brief, although I was very grateful that they took the time to send it (I'll need to post that here sometime to show what they do).  The feedback from the Rio Grande competition made it clear that the judges had left out a key component (trading) to the game they were playing (Yoggity), a component that changes the game from mostly luck-based to very strategic.

So, what did I learn from this competition?  Hard to say, with no feedback other than not making it.  If I've followed the progress of judging correctly, the final five were the only ones actually created and played by the judges.  The rest (including mine) I assume were judged based on rules, artwork, and presentation.  The standards and system they used for judging the final version wasn't in the original announcement of the contest, so there'd have been no way to tweak the game toward the judging.

I guess what I'm getting at is some advice to myself: don't enter the contests to get feedback about your games.  The only feedback you're likely to get is very simple - you won, or you lost, or maybe, if you're lucky, some placement information.  Who wins and loses depends on how good your game is, certainly, but it also depends on what standards they're using (which you don't always know), how the judges interpret those standards (which you can't know), and a host of other idiosyncratic factors, like whether the judges' taste matches your theme or your art or your complexity level, whether they've just played a bunch of games like yours - all stuff you can't know and can't control.

So, if you're not entering to get feedback (a lesson I need to learn), then why enter?  The only valid reasons I can see are:
  1. A reason to design a game, and a deadline to design it by
  2. The thrill of the competition
  3. A chance to gain free exposure for your game (very unlikely unless you win a prestigious contest)
  4. A prize (seldom offered, but cool when it is)
#1 - a reason to design - is a good benefit for me - I like working on games, and having the restrictions and deadlines for competitions helps me focus.  

I get a lot of #2, the excitement, also, although when the judging is seemingly more random (or maybe just more hidden) that tends to dampen the thrill.  In many of these contests, too, it's very difficult to know what your competitor's games are like, which makes it difficult to evaluate the results - you don't know whether to feel righteously thrashed by superior design or bitter and unappreciated.  That's one of the great things about the BGDF showdowns - you get to see everybody's whole entry, and they're short enough that you can read and understand them all.

#3 (exposure) and #4 (a prize) I haven't won enough to see.  The BGDF showdowns, of which I've won a few, offer no prize and nearly no exposure.  The bigger ones would certainly do more, sometimes even the holy grail of publication, but I've only entered a few of those.

So, I think I have to content myself with practice designing and the excitement of competition, and let the rest of it go.  Obviously, as I've seen, even in a competition, people aren't going to have a chance to get to know your game well, and may not even play it, so it's not really much of a measure of how "good" it is.  But good rules and good graphical presentation are key, because that's something that even the most rushed judges are going to take a look at.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Warped in published form...

Got my copy of Warped from, and it looks great, my crummy laptop camera notwithstanding.  Still waiting on the results of their Vehicle Game Design Contest - they've announced results for the artwork and creativity categories there, neither of which I expected my game to win, but we're still waiting on the final winner.

The game plays well; I've played five games now, tweaking various rules, and it's a lot of fun.  It bogs down a teeny bit with four (you have to wait more for your turn), and there's a lot of stuff to remember as you plot out your moves, but I don't think it's too complex. Definitely a game in the more advanced European style.