Ad Lib Game Development Society

who / what / why / where / how

Who we are

The Ad Lib Game Development Society (ALGDS) is an fledgeling organization of intrepid game developers who attempt to challenge, amuse, and better ourselves through the frequent practice of spontaneous, rapid game design and development.

The society itself comprises different local area chapters, called Lodges, each of which adheres to the principles and patterns of the whole while maintaining its own diversity in terms of specific practices.

What we do

The particulars vary from session to session and Lodge to Lodge. The basic gist is the same, however:

A group of Lodge members gathers at some predetermined time and place, usually with computers in tow. After everyone gets set up, the group comes up with a basic game idea. This process is usually limited to a fixed amount of time. The group then sets out to create said game as fast as possible. This can involve code, sound, art, map design, game design, even limited tools development, depending on the makeup of the participants. It requires a fair amount of expertise on the part of each individual, a lot of caffeine, and a huge effort towards teamwork, coordination, and communication.

After a predetermined amount of time has passed (8 hours, 24 hours, even 48 hours) and a large amount of Chinese food has been consumed, game production finally comes to a stop and the group steps back to see what it is they've created -- or failed to create, in some cases.

Some games get finished in time, some don't. Some unfinished games get picked up again at a later date. Often a session postmortem is held afterward (in person or via email) to discuss what worked and what didn't.

Ultimately, more important than whether or not the project was successfully completed is that each participant gained something from the experience, improved his or her craft, and had fun in the process.

Why we do it

So what's the point? Why are we participating in this nonsense?

We believe that, as game developers, there are many ways of improving our craft. Reading books, attending seminars, enrolling in university programs, enlisting the help of a mentor -- all of these are worthwhile and can contribute to the breadth and depth of one's game development skillset. In the end, however, there's just no substitute for experience.

As most game industry veterans know, experience is a precious and valuable commodity. Unfortunately, many modern game projects have development cycles between 1 and 4 years (or longer!). Thus, opportunities for hindsight and growth are few and far between. Mistakes are often forgotten by the time postmortems come around at the end of the project. Developers become burned out or jaded. Thus, the benefit of experience, though valuable, comes at a high cost.

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward."
-Vernon Law

Enter rapid game development.

The benefits are numerous:


A Lodge is simply a group of developers in the same area who choose to get together and start practicing rapid, ad lib game development. Although participation in an individual Lodges is typically by invitation only, everyone is welcome and encouraged to create your own Lodge and start putting ad lib game development into practice in your area.

The following is the list of known active ALGDS Lodges:

Although other Lodges are currently rumored to be in the process of forming up, a new Lodge must conduct at least two sessions before it will be listed on the ALGDS page.

How to Participate


Go and do likewise.

Get some folks together. Make some fun stuff. Start an ALGDS Lodge. Tell us about it.

We'll even give you a free subdomain (like

Feel free to download the Zero Lodge Game Engine which is somewhat ghetto, but it gets the job done (and it's free). Or, go to the downloads page and grab the source code from a previous game submission.

How to Create a Lodge

The following are the ALGDS guidelines for the creation of a new Lodge. Note that none of these rules is by any means set in stone. However, each guideline attempts to help serve the greater good, whether by creating an increased sense of community or by encouraging the correct spirit of participation.

General Advice

Lodge members are invited to do whatever they like as far as their specific approach. Nevertheless, the following is a somewhat random list of pointers we've picked up through trial and error.

Go and do likewise.

Questions? Feel free to send email to questions 'at'