I went into this LD with a very different mindset from previous ones. You see, I’ve been doing a TON of game programming lately, and I recently opened up my own studio. I’ve made and released games before, but never with a ton of polish or functionality outside of the actual game. So this time, I decided I wanted to focus much more on meta-game aspects.
One such aspect that took up A TON of time was setting up and utilizing an account with Amazon Web Services. They have a “trial” program that allows you to run a fully equipped (albeit wimpy) server on their cloud. I set up a Win2008 Server edition, and remoted in to control it. I set up the domain, and got WAMP running. Finally, I also did some PHP scripts and made sure that I had the ability to directly control the MYSQL database. With all this set up, I began work on the game.
Admittedly, my game is not an actual game, and for some reason Dropbox is having as yet unresolved issues hosting it. I made some of the usual “mistakes” such as spending too long on art and audio assets. I wrote some scripts I ended up not needing. I changed halfway through the compo from using vanilla Unity3D with an orthographic camera to using Orthello 2D, which ended up causing a lot of frustration for me. I think a major outcome of this scenario is that I’m going to learn how to model, so I don’t have to try to make unity do things it doesn’t want to anymore.
With basic functionality set up, I figured out a menu system, then quickly moved on to some scorekeeping functionality. I wanted my game to be able to utilize the server I had set up earlier, so I delved into the Unity3D docs for the WWW class. In reality, this may be one of the most powerful aspects of Unity: to be able to interact with the web with one slice of code across all major platforms. I was able to wrestle this functionality in, and was more than pleased with the outcome. I’ve never before done anything involving multiple players in one game, so this was a huge step.
On a final note, I’d like to say that even though my “game” was by any consideration horrible, on of the reasons I love this contest is that it can give me a dedicated time to experiment with new things. Don’t judge yourself on completeness, judge by how much fun you had and how much you learned, and I promise you’ll continue to enjoy Ludum Dare.