Well, I gave it a brief go this weekend for LD15
(Theme: Caverns). For me, it takes place over Friday night, all Saturday, and most of Sunday. I spent Friday night at the airport and out to dinner, Saturday afternoon giving blood and out to lunch, and most of the rest of the time playing WoW and watching TV/movies.
That's not to say I did nothing! In fact, prior to leaving on Friday, I whipped up a Keynote Address for LD15! The first in history (which I was forced to do by the evils of peer pressure). Enjoy:
Hopefully that really gives you a good idea of the great history behind Ludum Dare. The more key figures behind the contest also really beefed up the entry and voting systems, and even redid the look of the site. Everything has reached a level of class so vast that it cannot be comprehended by ordinary peasants.
As for actually doing an entry, I DID in fact work on one! I probably spent about two hours of total time working on it, but I wasn't really doing an entry exactly. I was messing around with and trying to learn to use the Unity system. It's amazing
. You make an animated 3D model in Max and you can literally just drag & drop it into Unity and it works. I'm really blown away by what it can do, and not so blown away with the tutorial options available. There's really nothing about starting from scratch, just ton after ton of tutorials about "so your game is done, but you want to add lightmaps?" or "you want to implement [some complex shader trick] in your game?" NO, I just want to start up a basic game! So there's a curve to it. I actually had to dig into the reference manual just to see how to get input. Anyway, this was as far as I got, but I feel like I learned a lot at least:
You can move him forward and back with the left and right arrow keys, but can't move any other direction or jump, and the camera doesn't follow him. Also his pupils are inverted, which is an interesting issue (I think the normals are backwards for some reason, they weren't in Max). But he animates! Anyway, I will probably buy Unity. It's really incredible, and I could see making a game with it rather easily. But first I have a website and another game to finish.