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Phil Hassey - game dev blog
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Ludum Dare Website Post-Mortem

I’ve been a bit quiet the last couple weeks .. after my spree of “python->c” converter posts I got pretty busy working on the Ludum Dare 10 website.  Ludum Dare is a 48 hour game development competition.

I used WordPress as the basis for this project and I think it was a pretty good choice.  Generally anything I needed to do, there was a hook in the API to let me do it.  I was able to keep all my compo code (theme voting, trophies, rating of entries,  tag clouds, screenshot grids, security tweaks) all within a module I wrote without having to modify any of the core WordPress files 🙂

There were around 150 signups on the site and 50 people completed entries.  The theme was “Chain Reaction” which won even in the first round of voting .. and still won after the 2nd and 3rd rounds.  I spent most of the competition sitting around on IRC doing nothing and occasionally working on my game.

The one notable glitch in the compo was the announcement of the theme ceremony.  I switched the voting to closed so we could see the results and it showed several themes with almost nobody voting for them.  Turns out those were two themes which I initially had in the final round but removed (because they didn’t make the cut).  The results of a few people voting was stored in the database so they still showed up.  Anyway, that was easily fixed.

At the end of the compo it took me an hour or so to get the entry rating system set up.  I also added the ability to leave a comment along with your rating to encourage more people to leave comments.  (They could use the WordPress blog commenting system, but that would take a few extra clicks and thinking.)  This way seems much nicer.

I think the funnest feature I added to the site was the Trophy feature.  This feature lets users award each-other 64×64 pixel trophies at any time.  It’s a nice community feature because it lets people recognize cool things that people did out-side of the pre-set rating categories in the contest.  (For example, one entrant recorded a tuba solo for their game.  Although the compo has a sound category, several people felt that the tuba playing merited special tuba trophies.)

I don’t know if I’ll be running the Ludum Dare competition again or not, but I’m sure I’ll be hosting some others now that I’ve got this swell compo system written 🙂

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