About Attrition (twitter: @attrition0)
After an okay finish in the previous LD (Theme was Tiny World), I’m really looking forward to this! Hopefully I can use my time better now with the practice garnered from the previous event.
I expect to use the same toolkit as last time:
- Unity 3D
And whatever else I need at the time.
Good luck to all participants, and lets keep the overdosing on caffeine to a minimum!
And so here we are. This was my first LD so I wasn’t sure how my game would turn out. My game entry page is here. Let’s take a look at the results!
Overall, not bad! My game wasn’t finished, so I was expecting an overall score between 1-2 (after all, there isn’t much you can do, and the pacing is way off). I’ll break down my thoughts by-category.
Innovation (#84, 3.77)
I’m really happy with this number. To be honest, I wasn’t necessarily aiming for anything particularly innovative. My design goal was to just have something interesting and that I could knock out in the time allotment. I did, however, intentionally avoid common genres.
Graphics (#265, 3.25)
I was expecting a decent graphics score as my game was in 3d yet didn’t rely on complex shapes (which I would utterly fail at designing). I stuck to simple shapes, colours, and lighting. I actually believe my lack of detail helped me here. However there were some things I never got to do: ship engine light, trails showing their path (think Homeworld/EVE) and simple planet textures. Worked out pretty well considering, I think.
More UI would have been very helpful.
Mood (#279, 2.96)
I’m actually surprised this was about a 3. I suppose the very, very cold darkness of the space and the death of Earth could be considered moody; In reality I just didn’t have time to add a background.
Theme (#336, 3.21)
Not bad. I was aiming for the ecological aspect of Tiny-World, in that the Earth is simply not large enough for all of us. I didn’t get any negative feedback on this point and I believe most people did agree with my take.
Fun (#390, 2.90)
Surprising, there’s no audio feedback on any of your actions, and very little visual. When I released the game I felt there was very little ‘game’ here, let alone fun. The comments I received after submitting my game really raised my spirits though, and definitely have motivated me.
Humour (#539, 2.00)
There is no humour in my game, unless someone considers the demise of the human species hilarious I suspect there is mostly a large number of N/A votes here.
Audio (#742, 1.30)
There is no audio! Nothing! I don’t deserve the 1 or 2 votes here. I suspect I got some votes as no audio is better than terrible audio.
Overall (#571, 2.75)
Not bad for a prototype I say. I was hoping to be in the top 50% and I beat that by a little margin.
Now let’s see if I can get something cranked out for MiniLD #34!
This will be a pretty light post mortem, as I only released what amounts to a prototype. I had only some of Friday night and some of Saturday to work on the game, so I focused entirely on just getting something playable out, sans audio and niceties.
My entry page is here.
Because my game itself is pretty short and doesn’t have much in the way of mechanics, I’ll begin instead with a description of my process, how I managed to get “at least something” out in about 7-8 hours work.
0 Hour: Tiny Worlds
This wasn’t my favourite option on the list. I had mentally examined the theme choices and mapped out some game ideas before the reveal, but I didn’t have anything solid for Tiny Worlds. My first thoughts involved ants, maybe an ant tower defense. I figured the first few ideas I came up with would be the most common so I tossed them.
Working on the angle that planets themselves would be tiny, my first real concept was a simple RTS, where you controller a massive planet harvester. It would slowly eat planets but have no defense of its own, instead building defense ships. As you eat planets with the ship, you gain score. You build defense ships to make it easier to survive planetary defenses, but use resources to make them, lowering your score. Strategy being to limit the defenses you have to just what is needed to keep a higher score, managing the risk vs score.
I still think this is pretty interesting, really. But knowing I probably wouldn’t have a lot of time on the weekend, I tossed it for something simpler.
Earth Is Dying!
Keeping the focus on planets and resources that must be balanced, I changed my focus to a simulation. Still real time, but requiring no fancy pathing or a large number of mechanics. Now you are in our solar system, and Earth is quickly running out of resources due to a massively growing population. You must evacuate as many citizens to neighbouring planets as you can before Earth is completely dead and everyone along with it. Oh, and you have, like, 3 minutes.
What Went Right
- Got my concept down in about an hour and a half
- I finished my basic game prototype (but really only that)
- The time I did have was spent pretty effectively
- Tooling: Unity is fantastic for fast iteration.
- Almost no artwork: Almost everything was just a sphere or cylinder in Unity, with a set colour. Only the Rocketship was modeled. I’d never used Sketchup before so it took me about an hour to get even that simple model together
- Actual gameplay seems like it could be interesting, if expanded
- Mercenary approach to design: Include only the very, very basic necessities, expand only when it’s clear it’s needed
- I actually released something, and seeing peoples comments is extremely rewarding, even though I’ve only a few ratings yet
- Scale of the solar system mostly maintained, visually interesting, simple and smooth controls
What Went Wrong
- Did not have the whole weekend to work. This cut out the graphic polish and audio features entirely
- Balancing is hard. I had a number of variables to tweak to keep the gameplay pace and difficulty, I’m sure it could be better
- Not much in the way of a GUI
- Needed more mechanics to be truly interesting
On Sunday I finally uploaded my windows build and my source. I can build my game for OSX (or Flash, but Unity builds require no dependencies anyway), though I only link a windows copy. My source is also available, just under 400 lines of C#.
Overall, a very fun experience. I’m really looking forward to the next Ludum Dare now! I may take a look at the MiniLD’s in the meantime.
With some miserable weekend weather coming, it looks like I’ll have time to concentrate on this pretty well.
The plan for now:
- Unity as game engine
- Bfxr for sound effects
- Pixelformer or Paint.net for 2d art or Sketchup for 3d art
- Audacity if I needed
As for Unity, I will try out flash export, but will likely end up instead providing a standalone build for Windows and Mac. I’ve had issues with their flash export before.
Best of luck to everyone!