I was hoping that “Enemies as Weapons” would be the theme. I normally do not think about game ideas or concepts before the compo starts, but this time, I couldn’t help but think about how I would approach this one.
In Super Mario Bros, it’s common to use Koopa shells to take out enemies, so I tried to think about how the hero could somehow change the state of a foe to make it harmful to its allies. Could you pick them up, which causes them to lash out? Could you simply hit one, which makes it do something to protect itself instinctively, but its defensive weapons happen to be harmful to enemies as well?
But then I thought: what if I allowed the player to generate enemies for an AI hero? Imagine having a bird’s eye view of a world, and you can see the hero approaching your domain, but you can select an appropriate type of enemy, create it, and send it to meet the hero. At first it might be easy, but the hero has multiple lives, so you’d have to send more and varied enemies to stop him/her.
I liked the idea of generating enemies to go after an AI hero. I’ve never had very interesting AI in my previous games, but I’ve recently been reading “AI for Game Developers” and was getting a bit inspired. Ludum Dare is usually a chance for me to learn something new, so maybe this time around I’ll be learning how to implement some AI capable of avoiding obstacles, evading other entities, and figuring out how to get through the world.
Or, I should realize I only have 48 hours to implement the entire game and I might not want to spend too much time figuring out something as huge as advanced artificial intelligence. Simple AI is sometimes good enough.