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Ludum Dare 24
Every 4 months, or so, the folks over at ludum dare (LD) hold a couple of contests, one for individuals and one for teams. The contest is all about creating a game in 48 (solo) or 72 (team) hours.
There is no prize for this contest, other than bragging rights and a prototype. Really the contest isn't about winning so much as it is about setting some time aside to do realize an idea or concept. But damnit, I want to get into the top 100 one of these times!
This contest is important to me because it gets my mind off of normal work and let's me focus on an idea for more than an hour or two at a time. A nice clear goal is handy too: get a game done in 48 hours, or else! This is fantastic motivation, especially since there are a thousand other people doing the same thing as you, at the same time.
So far, I've entered two of the competitions -- the LD48 #22 and LD48 #23 -- and loved nearly every minute of both.
Even if my next game still turns out to be complete shit, I'm excited!
If you don't have any plans, give it a shot, what's the harm?