I took part in Ludum Dare 21 last weekend.
I didn’t get anything submitted in time due to reasons I’ve already gibbered about over on their blog: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/2011/08/23/thieving-fingers-post-mortem/ but it was a good experience nevertheless.
It showed that my engine is in need of a lot of work, and that my highly prized *cough* resource manager that I had spammed about last time was as much use as a heap of molten slag. It’s far too basic. Now, that’s basic in the sense that it does very little to protect yourself from grabbing a chainsaw, and attempting to use it to trim your nails. It’s powerful, yes, but you’re likely going to lose a finger or two. And for heaven’s sake, don’t sneeze!
So yes, engine needs more work, I think… the resource manager is probably fine as it is, it just needs some layering on top of it to make it less dangerous to use. I also need a hashed string implementation, rather than relying on unsigned ints everywhere, which become a total pain to manage.
However, 599 other people managed to submit something! That’s quite an achievement - and while I’m still slightly bitter about my laptop, in that I could’ve been number 600, I’m somewhat glad I didn’t get anything submitted in time, as there’d be no way I’d have much of a chance of rating much of that at all! And that would be bad to all the work people have put into them.
Doing games in 48-72 hours isn’t easy, but it’s really rewarding - you get so much freedom to do whatever you want that you just can’t get in a work environment. Ironically, it’s a good stress reliever for me, as after pounding at system bugs and platform issues for however long I have been, to be able to take a step back and chuck something together in a random weekend “FOR TEH LAWLS” is rather nice. And while I technically could do that every weekend, since when have I ever been that organized? ;)
Anyway, hopefully they do the same October challenge as they did last year, as I’d be keen to enter that - well as the next Ludum Dare around December-time.
Perhaps I’ll even have an engine that isn’t full of bugs for once!