There’s no better way to finish the year than with a game jam, more specifically, the Ludum Dare Game Jam. As recent graduates of the Game Design program at VFS, Patrick Palulis and myself, Erich Kohlweg, along with current Programming student, Hugo Moraleida did just that. We created Baulders, a 3D top down local multiplayer pinball game for the 72 hour jam.

For those who are unfamiliar with Ludum Dare, it is an online community best know for “Ludum Dare”, the Accelerated Game Development Event of the same name (also called a “Game Jam”). During a Ludum Dare, developers from around the world spend a weekend creating games based on a theme suggested by the community. Ludum Dare events take place every April, August, and December.

Starting with the theme, “Entire Game on One Screen”, we three students created the concept during a quick brainstorming session. This allowed us to get right into making the game. Hugo took on the role of programming, Patrick did the audio, UI, and particles while I worked on environment art.

Over the 72 hours, we found it wasn’t a typical jam. Everyone left at reasonable hours, got enough sleep, and some of us were even able to spend time with friends. We had a complete build a few hours before the deadline, so there wasn’t any last minute panicking. Overall, it was an amazing experience getting to work with talented people whom we didn’t get a chance to work with during the school year.

Once the games are submitted and uploaded, participants are suggested to play and rate games for aprox. 20 days. Games are rated on several categories, Innovation, Fun, Theme, Graphics, Audio, Humor, Mood, and Overall. Right away we received some feedback from people loving the audio, all mouth crafted from Patrick. After the initial reception, we didn’t pay much attention to Baulders until December 29th when the results were posted.

We were blown away by how well we scored in many categories. The best scores would be 1st for humor, 5th for audio, and 14th overall. I still can”t believe we did that well, considering it was mine and Patrick’s first Ludum Dare Jam. All scores aside, we’re all thankful for what Game Design/Programming taught us and helped bring this team together to create a fun game we’re all proud of. Moving onto the new year, I’m excited to participate in future jams.


You can try the game HERE

Erich Kohlweg and Patrick Palulis are recent graduates of the VFS Game Design program, and Hugo Maraleida will graduate in February from the Programming for Games, Web & Mobile program.