For Ludum Dare 36 I created a game called ‘Circle of Fire’. The theme of this jam was to create a game with ancient technology. As I did not have a lot of time this weekend, I decided to not make something with ancient technology, but to feature the oldest technology I could think off and make that the main game mechanic.
The oldest technology, of course, is fire. I thought of a game in which you need to control a fire in the early stages of civilization. The goal of the game was to make sure that the fire would stay within the fire pit and prevent the fire from ruining the village huts.
You control the fire by moving water filled canisters which spawn on the docks to the heated tiles on the floor. The temperature can be seen by how red the tiles are, the redder the tile, the more heat is concentrated on that tile. The hotter the tile, the easier the grass catches fire. Sand paths don’t’ catch fire, but transfers heat much easier. If one of your huts is still standing after the level timer finishes, you have completed the level.
The game can be played and downloaded here.
The mechanic of the spreading fire was the hardest to get right. The amount of heat transference and the time it would take for grass to light on fire took the most time to balance. In the end, it spreads nicely. However, due to this taking so much time, the mechanic of taking heat away is not very well executed. Right now the only tactics the game requires is to walk as fast as possible between the docks. The game would be much more fun if the player had to choose between multiple ways of cooling down or redirecting the fire. For example, wood could have been added to redirect fire somewhere away from the huts.
The game would be much more fun if the player had to choose between multiple ways of cooling down or redirecting the fire. For example, wood could have been added to redirect fire somewhere away from the huts. Another idea was to let the player dig holes in the ground, to stop the heat from spreading and could have been used to dig canals of water. Another idea was to give the players just one bucket and let them choose for themselves where to get the water from. Now there is a time where the player is just waiting for the buckets of water to respawn, which is not all too compelling.
The decision to use text files as levels did make it much easier to quickly design them instead of using Unity’s own scene manager. Levels could easily be changed during gameplay and copy-pasted into new files. I have used this technique a lot in the projects hereafter.
The game got four comments from players on the Ludum Dare website which were mostly positive. Two remarks were made, one on the lack of strategy as addressed in the last section and one on the lack of sound-effects. Both are very valid and would add a lot to the fun-factor of the game. The visuals were liked a lot.