For the Love of Making Games: Ludum Dare 32

Written by ESandra Hollman

Our studio was founded by friends who enjoy making games together. Naturally as an independent studio, we believe in supporting the shared passion of making games. A simple way we can do that is by opening our doors to provide a collaborative workspace for a game jam. And thus, we were happy to do so for Ludum Dare 32!

Game jam headquarters for the weekend.

Game jam headquarters for the weekend.

Seattle has a thriving indie community which promptly expressed interest when our Character Artist, Kieran Lampert, threw out the idea of AtomJack hosting during conversations at local meetups. Just as we anticipated, we had a great turnout. The reserved spots filled up quickly, resulting in the need for a wait list. Although space was limited, we were still able to accommodate everyone for the Show & Tell event after the jam. It was very rewarding to see everyone’s ideas come to life after all their hard work over the weekend!

The theme is announced: unconventional weapon. Let the brainstorming begin!

The theme is announced: unconventional weapon. Let the brainstorming begin!

Kieran joined a team that he found via the Seattle Games Cooperative Meetup group. Being the talented artist that he is, he created all the art and UI assets for their game, Backfire.

Kieran meets his team and they hit the ground running with design discussions.

Kieran meets his team and they hit the ground running with design discussions.

This was my second Ludum Dare and, in my opinion, another success. One of the things I love about game jams is the opportunity to set everything else aside and give yourself a small period of time devoted to exploring any ideas you have, without concern for commercial viability or conventions of normalcy. I think my team had a really interesting, unique idea, and it was a lot of fun pursuing it.
— Kieran Lampert, team member that made 'Backfire'
From concept to completion in 72 hours. Kieran's sketches and art mock-up for 'Backfire'.

From concept to completion in 72 hours. Kieran's sketches and art mock-up for 'Backfire'.

As for the others, there were a few teams and many compo participants. Here are the thoughts of some of the participants following the conclusion of LD32:

It was a great experience and exceeded my expectations! The folks who attended were very helpful, enthusiastic and highly skilled in many areas, and it was definitely an eye opener in terms of finding out what can be accomplished in a short timeframe! Particularly when leveraging the powerful advantages offered by the Unity framework.
— Michael Smith, maker of 'Aeterno: Warrior of Light'
I’ve been to several game jams, but this was my first ever Ludum Dare. Someone, somewhere, offered teams a chance to work with an Oculus Rift, and my team jumped on that opportunity. We wanted to make a highly visual, environment-focused experience that explored the topic of personal anxiety, and to that effect we made our virtual world a dark, glistening expanse with pockets of light for the player to explore. I finally learned how to implement my music tracks in FMOD using Unreal Engine 4, and personally had great fun implementing adaptive music into the scene.
— Evan Witt, team member that made 'Laughter'

(Special thanks to Oculus for providing development kits to use!)

This was my first game jam, and I can’t think of a better way it could have happened. I went looking to meet other game developers and maybe learn a little about Unity. Both missions accomplished! With so many other devs around, I could get answers for all my Unity questions immediately. I was able to get the gameplay working on Saturday, so I could spend Sunday polishing. I’ll definitely want to be back if you guys decide you want to host another jam.
— Peter Hufnagel, team member that made 'Pacifist Piper'
This was my first solo Ludum Dare and I had a total blast. My favorite part was seeing everyone else’s games at the end of the jam and hearing their trials, tribulations, and lessons learnt. A huge thank you to AtomJack and Kieran for giving us a venue in which to collaborate!
— Constance Chen, maker of 'Investigator and the Case of the Unconventional Weapon'

See the Seattle Indies website for links to the games they made with us that weekend.

Pizza! It fuels game developers. (Also coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.)

Pizza! It fuels game developers. (Also coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.)

Collaborating, learning, experimenting and having fun - that’s what it’s all about! We hope to be able to host again in the future. Until then, keep making games, indies!