I have no real experience in game development, except the Android game Penta, whatsoever, still I happily participated in the Ludum Dare 31 game compo. The challenge is to make a game on a given topic within 48 hours for any platform. You have to work alone, which means you have to do your own graphics, sound and programming - and the code has to be open source.
Unfortunately, there was no meet-up in Berlin where people meet to help and push each other. So, me and brother, who also participated, started a hackathon at his place. I started with C++ and the Irrlicht engine, my brother employed Unity.
The Process and The Game
After some hours, I realized that my choice of tools would not be appropriate for rapid prototyping a game. It took too long to get familiar with the engine, and the publishing / packaging for multiple platforms would be tough. I lost motivation and started from beginning.
I used PixiJS, a WebGL/Canvas game engine for JS. The API is easy to understand, and the code and play feedback-loop is instant. After I got myself familiar with JS, I started to work on the game mechanics, did some concepts and ended up with fairly simple game: ldreceive31. I knew Ludum Dare since years ago, but I was really suprised how many people participated. There were 1365 games submitted in the compo. Check out this amazing statistics page of all events.
Why it is Awesome
The compo combines creativity, problem solving and getting shit done. Even though, you sit at home with your brother or alone - you are a part of the global Ludum Dare community. People who are passionate about games, and everything that forms a game: Audio-visual art, innovative or classic game mechanics, stories or a deeper message. The community collaborates on the blog and keep the others informed about the process, uses Twitch streams to show the development or the rating of games. You will find mind-blowing game concepts in the submissions.
Stop Planning, Take Action
I would recommend it to everyone that had the dream of writing a video game. To everyone who wants to use the power of interaction to express something. Further, to everyone who wants to challenge themselves in code, graphics, sound or music. Let us use the limitations of 48 hours to get creative.