So Head South is now free to roam the infinite wastes of the internet.
If you haven’t played it, it’s available at http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-22/?action=preview&uid=7835 . If you vote after playing, please be kind; this was my very first Ludum Dare entry.
What did I love?
Making the art
I’m not normally one for 3D modelling, but I managed to whip up 16 separate models in under 48 hours. That’s got to be some kind of record.
I deliberately kept everything low-poly, and not just because it’s ‘fashionable’ to be lo-fi in the indie games scene. I did it because I spent a lot of time playing on my PS1, and as soon as I finished making the first little village huts I realised that was the art style it was reminding me of. Set all textures to ‘point’ filtering, optimise those models and relish the pixels.
The music actually only took me about an hour to do, but it’s something I always enjoy if I’m in the right mood. I opened up a synthesiser, tested a few notes and then hit record. Aside from a couple of test tracks, whatever came out of me at that point was what you can hear in the game.
Okay, so it’s nothing impressive at all and the bulk of the gameplay mechanics (looking/moving) were pre-written Standard Assets that come with Unity. I still wrote 10 scripts of my own, and I think I did pretty well to cram all the functionality I needed into them without them becoming unwieldy. Commenting was, sadly, not done. No doubt I’ll regret that at some point in the future, but I like to live in the moment.
What would I do differently?
More of a game
There are plenty of things to be proud of in the final release, but I have that nagging feeling that it will turn off a majority of people simply because there isn’t really a win/lose condition. It’s more of an interactive story; you can choose who to approach, and you can choose how to interpret that person’s situation. That being said, if even one person plays Head South and genuinely feels something then I’ll have done my job.
Probably the most fun I had in the development process was after I was done creating a landscape. I got to play God for a little while and create people with stories. There was a lot of passion that went into creating things like the little lost submariner, and I wish there was the time to do more. More to explore and see, and more to think about.
This is linked to the above point, really. I fluctuated between different terrain sizes, but I think I should have stuck with the larger ones. They take longer to traverse, but they have so much more scope for interesting things to be going on.
I’m sure there are plenty more things that will come to mind. Probably while I’m trying to go to sleep. If I think of any other major points of evaluation I’ll stick ‘em up in another post, but otherwise I’ll wait until the votes are counted and evaluate based on what people said. I can’t wait.