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Ludum Dare 30 – Connected Worlds

If you haven’t heard of Ludum Dare, go check out their site here. The short version of what they do is that they provide a theme and you have 48 hours to make a game based on that theme. You have the make the game FROM SCRATCH. Sounds hard, right? It is. You’re right. I just finished. It was very hard. But, I finished! And the game works, so that’s awesome! It was my first time, and you can check out what I made over on this page. Or a direct link to my game, if you’d rather.

It’s basically a programming challenge, but it works a lot of other game dev muscles, too. I had to create my own sound effects, all my own art, and hook all of it together to try and make an interesting game. The theme this time was Connected Worlds. There were a lot of really great ideas that sprang to my mind, but since this is a game that has to be created in 48 hours, almost all of them would be out of reach. I thought about different ways to connect the game world to the real world, or maybe other game worlds. But since I don’t have any experience with networking mechanics, I decided on a simple space shooter. Since I’m most comfortable in Unity, I used their 2D settings and went to town.

The (very short) backstory is that you are trying to drum up some resistance against the oppressive Unificators, who are in control of the planetary system. There are rebel factions on each planet, but they are under-supplied. You must travel the system, destroy enemy ships, and bring their cargo to the rebels. But, in 5 minutes, the Unificator fleet will arrive and you’ll have to do battle. Alone, the odds are hopeless. But with your own fleet, you stand a very good chance of freeing the system from their oppressive rulers.

The mechanics are simple enough. There are planets scattered around, and each has one particular type of good that it wants most. Of course, the rebels are happy to get anything they can get, but you get a bonus for bringing them what they’re asking for. You have to use your tractor beam to haul the crates around – but you can’t shoot while you’re hauling. Tricky. Just go slow and be careful and you’ll get there.

My favorite part of the game is the final showdown between the rebels and the Unificators. For each planet you made happy, you get 3-4 ships that surround you like a shield. They also fire whenever you fire. So if you did well with the supply run, you have a big ball of spaceships that fly around and cause tons of damage.

The sound effects were fun to do. I used a program called Audacity. I busted out my old microphone (it’s the size of a softball) and made some stupid noises with my mouth. But the more I played, the less it sounded like I made those noises and they were actually the sound of whatever they were supposed to be. Strange how that works.

All the art was done by me. I’m really, REALLY bad at art. But I found a style and I stuck to it. I used a simple program called paint.net to do everything. I have a tiny little Banboo Wacom tablet and I just used that. First I sketched it out, then I drew an outline over that. But instead of getting rid of the sketch lines, I decided I liked them so I kept them in. It was actually kinda fun. However, this is the absolute limit of my drawing skills. And most of what I was doing I learned from going to that thing at Disneyland where they walk you through drawing characters. Turns out, that was super useful. Thanks, Disneyland!

All-in-all, this is one of the hardest mental exercises I’ve ever done. It’s a sprint for 48 to the finish line, when (hopefully) everything comes together at the last second and you have something you can submit. I think I would probably do it again, but maybe next year or something. I’m pretty wiped out.

Weekend Stats:

  • Art Assets Created: 63
  • Audio Files Recorded: 11
  • C# scripts written: 19
  • Lines of code:
  • Mountain Dews Consumed: 5
  • Cups of Coffee Drained: 6
  • Pork Chops Eaten: 2
  • Ounces of Water Downed: 264
  • Hours of Sleep: 12
  • Fantasy Football Drafts: 1
  • Most Listened-to Song: Word Crimes by Weird Al
  • Most Listened-to Album: History Repeating: Blue by The Megas
  • Tweets: 17
  • Whiteboards Used: 2
  • Times Leaving The House: 0

Applications Used:

  • Unity3D
  • Visual Studio 2013
  • OneNote
  • Paint.net
  • Audacity
  • Chrome
  • Spotify (to help me focus)

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