Ludum Dare 31
Nearing the annual holidays with all its glory and family necessities one other thing was also coming up, LUDUM DAAARE! Which was the third time for me participating during this time of the year. And a lot has happened. Both with me and my game designing skills.
I remember staring the very first Ludum Dare with the then relatively unknown Siewart van Wingerden. Who is now my partner in crime with the company we both founded Random Abductions. Still making games with game maker like I used to do in high school. Just like myself, my tools have grown up with me. Traversing to the 3D dimension with Unity3D. Not my first 3D game, but just the second were I am lead designer. I feel kind of funny writing this, is that nostalgia? Frankly I do not know. But I hope the future brings much more games to make.
Now, on to the game! The theme this time was game on one screen. A very interesting and excellent theme for a short event like this and absolutely something to start with if you are new to game design. It pressures you to keep it small and not too ambitious.
The NUMBER ONE mistake first time game designers make. And also one of the CORE reasons I have seen people quit game making altogether. The game is about a knight who needs to rush trough a dungeon as quickly as possible while defeating all the bandies and staying alive for the next round. When all 4 rooms plus the shop have changed again. An endless adventure with jaw dropping difficulty raping up quickly.
Me and my friend Nathan Middelham (3D Modeler & Sound Designer) were inspired by the Half-Minute Hero game by Playism (2009). For those who don’t know, it is a very interesting take on the RPG genre where you have to slay enemies and defeat the evil baddie in 30 seconds. We both liked the idea of a quick to play, hard to master kind of role playing game. Which fit the theme of game on one screen very well.
After a short brainstorm session on how we were able to put a whole RPG on just one window without panning or zooming (self set restriction), we came to the following idea. Create 5 chambers, connected in succession, where you face different enemy configurations and one boss, to then do it all over again. Your score would then be based on the amount of loops made trough the 5 rooms. Before dying. Increasing difficulty with each loop.
The fifth room would contain a shop where you would be able to buy lives, extra damage, more speed, etc. From the money you got from defeating enemies. Which could also drop XP based on the speed you went trough the room. Only when defeating all the enemies in a room, you would be able to continue into the next. Rewarding you for efficient killing of the enemies.
The biggest problem was balancing the difficulty. The curve was way to quick for the player to get used to the game. Also, one of the enemies was way to hard to kill and in combination with other enemies way to deadly. Most deaths were caused by this enemy. Also, the boss was, in comparison. way to easy to defeat and caused an abundance of money early on. Resulting in the game not being very fun to play for longer periods of play.
Most of the problems were caused by want to make the game 3D. If I could do the jam over again I would have more strongly opted for a 2D game. But due to the team composition this was not possible. This would have costed less time and would have left more time for polishing.
What did went well was the design process. I liked that we started of brainstorming and drawing concept art (which can be seen below) for the enemies. We quickly had a feel for the game and achieved the look (as far as we could in a game jam) we wanted. Although maybe spending to much time on things that didn’t took as many pixels as we presumed. *hem* main character *hem*