May 1, 2021

Ludum Dare 48: My first challenge to a game jam.

On April 24 - 27, 2021, Ludum Dare 48 - An event to create a game in 72 hours - was held.

I was invited by my friend Thomas Olsson to participate in my first game jam as an pixel artist. I would like to share my overall impressions.

I think it would be helpful for artists who are interested in game jam but have never participated in it before.

DAY 0: Concerns before starting

I had a big concern. Above all, the other members were too gorgeous.

I want you to imagine yourself in my position. I think it’s understandable that I feel pressured. Anyway, I was worried about disappointing the other members. On top of that, I’m not a very fast artist, so it was a big challenge for me (and probably a lot of other jam participants) to see how much work I could get done in the 72-hour time limit.

DAY 1:

At 10:00 a.m. (JST, three of the four members of our team live in Japan), the theme was announced.
“Deeper and deepr”

A discussion immediately ensued. While listening to the discussion (unfortunately, I don’t speak English), some sketches were drawn:

(wow, such an artistic sketches!)

Now that we have some idea of the direction we want to go, start creating assets.

Here’s the final result of day 1.

By the way, I thought game jams were supposed to be about working through the day with energy drinks in hand, but our team (or at least I) had time to get some sleep. There was a bit of a “crunch” on the last day, though: ……

DAY 2:

On the morning of the second day, I drew a sketch – concept art – based on the discussions and suggestions of the other members.

Considering the fact that this was to be used for the title screen and the result screen, I really wish I could have drawn it a little better. However, with a 72-hour time limit, there’s no end to what I could have done to make it more polished. This is the cruel reality of jam.

The direction of the color palette was decided to some extent. However, it seems that I took too long to make a decision on the overall color tone, which worried the other members.

If you’re going to participate in a game jam as a pixel artist, you might want to prepare a palette beforehand (preferably more than one, so that you can work with any theme).

I’ve been quietly working on my assets. In the beginning, I used to put them up like this (who doesn’t like beautiful things?).

Gradually, pressed for time, I began to just draw, cut out, and throw them into a shared folder.

I had trouble with dropbox sharing failing on the way. Lesson learned: Make sure and test your file sharing method beforehand.

DAY 3:

Last day.
When I woke up in the morning, I realized that my passion and energy were quite low. Well, unfortunately, I’m not a hardworking person to begin with. To be honest, I’m probably one of the laziest people on earth. Even so, I still have a lot of work left to do. I continued to work…….

The work situation on this day was quite chaotic, so I can’t really explain it in order. I’ll upload an image of my notepad for reference.

At around 11:00 p.m., I finished the “almost final” build with the level design and assets in place. I played it. It looked pretty much the same as the release version, but I noticed that the screen when clearing the game was a very boring one. In the end, I stayed up until around 2 a.m. drawing the ending. I heard this scream, “You’ve done enough, hurry up and upload the pics!” So I threw the picture away in the middle stage and went to sleep.


Regardless of the outcome, the experience of creating a game in 72 hours is its own kind of reward. I learned a lot, and felt a lot. The biggest reward of all was realizing how much I was missing out on because I’d been working on video game development and pixel art “alone” for so long. In the end, whether you are blessed with a great team …… may be the most important thing.

As for my evaluation of my work, I’m not at all happy with my art. It’s very ordinary and lacks originality. This should not be used as an excuse for the 72 hour time limit. I need a lot more study and effort.

Anyway, thanks for reading, the 72 hour challenge was very thrilling. It’s an event well worth the challenge.

-Posted by Kiyomasa