Game Design Game Development Geek / Technical

LD50: Didn’t Make the Compo Deadline, Switching to Jam/Extra? #LDJam #LD50

So a lot got done in the final 12 hours of Ludum Dare 50 before the compo deadline.

Just not enough of it.

Disaster City already had the super secret anti-meteor R&D base (modeled off of the NASA Langley Research Center) and some skyscraper buildings. There was a river nearby that I intended to cause floods.

I set about creating the core game loop. Each turn would occur in phases.

There would be an report phase, in which you learn about any new disasters as well as how the previous day went. Then there would be a player command phase, in which you can decide to do various repairs or investments. Then the day would resolve based on what you did and what was going on.

Getting these turn phases in meant I could quickly put together an ending in which the inevitable meteor hits and you lose the game.

Then I created the ability to invest in R&D to prevent it.

Once I did so, I could make a happy ending, in which you successfully divert the meteor.

Then, the real game development needed to happen to make it interesting. Basically, I wanted a lot of disasters to befall the well-named city that you needed to spend your time and resources on instead of spamming the Invest button.

And since I didn’t have much time, I changed priorities to get the monster attack in sooner because I really wanted to take advantage of the drawing I had made earlier haphazardly and because I thought it would be more interesting than a flood or fire.

LD50: A disaster alert

LD50: A disaster warning

LD50: Changed scale of game

LD50: Monster attack

Unfortunately, getting the monster to appear, attack a building a bit, and disappear took a very long time. There were weird bugs, like when the monster teleported back into the water and kept coming at the same building turn after turn but never did anything. It was weird, and there was one defect I couldn’t figure out but somehow seemed to have resolved, and as I didn’t have a lot of time, I had to just hope I truly fixed it.

I changed the scale of the game up since I obviously wasn’t going to get to implement other features of the city that I wanted, like parks that could be destroyed (people leave when there isn’t greenery nearby), fire departments to handle fires, roads that could get destroyed and need repairing, etc. Luckily, I learned from a previous project to create my art at 1024×1024, then scale it down, which made it easier to scale up without it looking wrong. The game and the monster looks slightly more interesting without all of the blank space.

As for meals, I ate a quick lunch of a hamburger with a veggie patty and some condiments, plus some veggie straws, and later as there were only a few hours left in the compo my wife brought me the pasta and salad dinner she made to my office on a tray.

LD50: Veggie patty burger and veggie straws

LD50: Pasta and salad and a jealous Gizmo

Anyway, right around the deadline, I finally got buildings to get destroyed when attacked enough, and the population loss (uh, the people had to move because their home was destroyed, obviously) reduces your income, which means it is harder to win.

Except not yet, because all you need to do is spam that invest button still, and you can still win by ignoring the destruction.

You have no other meaningful actions yet, so the main dynamic of figuring out your immediate and long-term priorities isn’t in.

About half of my task list got done yesterday, so that’s a big accomplishment on its own. I went from having a title screen and some paper prototypes and notes to having a playable experiment to build upon.

I only blocked off this past weekend to work on it, though. I took today off from the day job to recover from LD, and there is a lot of catching up to do from the weekend in terms of the rest of my life and obligations.

The LD 50 Jam deadline is in 9 hours, and practically speaking I won’t be able to dedicate the entirety to game development.

But what can I do with a few more hours?

I have a monster that successfully attacks buildings. My intention was to have only one monster, as a monster attack was but one disaster possibility out of many, but I could easily make more instead of trying to make random fires or cause flooding.

So maybe there is a meteor coming, and you have to deal with multiple simultaneous monster attacks? Eh.

Giving you the ability to repair buildings that are damaged is my first priority.

Then I can balance the numbers and see if it might be enough to feel like a compelling game.

Then I’ll worry about multiplying monsters.

Oh, I guess I decided I was going to continue working on this game today after all.