I have spent the last few hours tinkering trying to figure out a strategy that would let me have a more playable game without having to spend too much time. Could not think of anything. I then spent some time tweaking the existing game to see if I could find the fun. I couldn’t So I slapped a score on it, and made it restart the level when you die, and am going to “ship it”. I feel like there might be something there but I kind of hate it right now and don’t want to poke around anymore.
You can toggle formations with 1 and 2, and press the arrow keys to change the direction. Formation 2 is kind of broken and useless, and the level is easy enough I think you can “win” without pressing a key, although you won’t get the best score. My best is 22, with only a few baddies missed. Not sure if it’s possible to hit every grunt but it might be.
What went wrong :
*idea too hard to pull off in 2 days, needed more upfront design
*Spent most of yesterday playing with formations and tweaking controls without level data. How do I even know if the controls are good or not without something to test against?
*Spent too much time tweaking at the end when a bit of extra polish could hide the bad gameplay
What went right:
*Got formation and base code up quickly first night
*Not much else
For next time:
*levels first controls second
*try to find easier idea
*limit tweak time for each feature so I have more time to see how well elements fit with each other
*dont make a scrolling shooter ever again, it never works out for me
It’s not exactly fun, but that’s what the second 24 hours is for, amirite? I think my main problem is I got a bit carried away with how easy and fun it is for me as the developer to design all these crazy formations. Within the actual game, choosing from such a large selection just doesn’t work that well. I bound 4 very directional formations (basically lines facing in each cardinal direction) to wasd, with the other ones bound to the arrow keys. It’s not terrible, and I can pretty easily kill the two enemies that spawn.
I REALLY need to actually flesh out the level in some way that I can judge the controls and gameplay a bit better. But I guess this is still a pretty big milestone, so I’m happy!
Oh man, I just thought of a great variation for my idea, but I don’t think I have time to implement it. For now I think it’s best to stick to the plan. I thought of it because as part of the design, I made the game load in the formations from image files:
You can see in the top all of the image files which present the selectable unit formations. What would be cool is, if you had to create new formations during gameplay, where instead of me predefining them, the game is about finding a set of formations, or a single formation, that allows your units to beat the level. Anyway, I’ll see what happens when I add enemies.
Yep, I am following my old ways – implement just enough of a shell to provide the programmer in me lots of things to tinker with, and then delay adding the actual game by tinkering into eternity.
Finally made a google code project for it: http://code.google.com/p/mini-ld-28-unitformations/
* force self to make gameplay
* force self to make gameplay fun
The units go into formation and shoot. For now there is only the line formation, but you can toggle the direction the line faces by pressing the direction keys. The units shoot at a steady rate, but stop shooting when you change directions, so you can’t just go back and forth to quickly shoot all directions. I might add a timer to prevent you from changing to rapidly, or I might leave it. Right now with the small number of units it kind of just feels like r-type Not that that’s a bad thing but it’s not quite what I was going for.
The units only move forward when they are facing to the right, so you can stop to fight things off and then set them marching forward.
Nothing to shoot yet, but that comes next. Then I find out how tough I can make it to force you to need to change your formation.
I decided to go with a more or less linear shooter, with the variation that rather than have direct control over a single unit, you have more strategic controls over a team of units. I still like my other idea better (the god game where you try and keep two warring nations from destroying each other), but I was having some major design difficulties with making that work. When you are doing well, the game basically consists of watching not much happen, and when you are doing poorly there really isn’t the feedback to know how to do better. Going to shelve that idea and maybe work on it later!
So, how to do formations? I have some pretty good ideas of how to give enough control to the player to really be in charge of the outcome of the game without it being challenging or turning into a click fest. I’ve started coding, but making the units actually work is going to be interesting. In addition I don’t think I really have much time to actually work on it
I will consider it a success if I can get the 3 formations I have planned to even work properly, and at least have some opposition that makes the gameplay necessary. I have my doubts.
Here are the 3 formations:
Line – the standard formation. Think revolutionary war. Everyone lines up and fires at the enemy that appears in their sights. You can control the position and spread of the units. Best used in situations where the enemy is also in a line.
Circle – your units stand in a circle aiming in all directions. Most obvious use is when you are surrounded.
Concentrated – Sort of a diamond shape, with your units all aiming at the same spot. For when you really need to bring the firepower!
I’m sure I could keep going, but this is probably as far as I can get. I’ll probably have 2 types of enemies, a tough and a grunt, and they’ll basically come in waves and with very simple patterns. If that.
I have a few really cool ideas, but all are a bit experimental and not fleshed out. I kind of wanted to do something simple and well-tread, with maybe a twist, as I haven’t really been making games in a long time. But I don’t have any simple, well-tread ideas that I care to put any time into. So awkward and experimental it is, if the mini-ld 28 is to be at all.
First idea – a “troop movement” game. In this game, you command a small squad of units, who are trying to achieve some objective. Your only controls are to change their formation, and choose when they halt or advance. I imagine the structure of the game to be similar to a scrolling shooter, but the gameplay is a bit simulation-ish, since you don’t actually control the units.
Example: you are in wide formation marching through a field. A few enemy units pop up but they are quickly taken down. A tank rolls across the top of the screen, taking out the top half of your units. Should have switched to a compressed formation! Your units would be sort of like health and firepower combined, and throughout the level you would have opportunities to call in various reinforcements. There will be terrain elements such as trenches or towers that have some advantage when they are used.
Second idea – war prevention god game. Two civilizations are being built in close proximity to each other. They get angry at each other at the slightest provocation. If one city makes fire before the other one, the raw meat eaters are likely to try and take out the guys with fire – with a bad outcome.As the game progresses, the cities get larger, so it takes more work to take them out, but they also get stronger weapons, making them more destructive.
You play a god who wants to try and keep both civilizations alive for a certain amount of time. You have certain powers, like raising mountains (to slow army attacks), raining down food when they are hungry so they forget about fighting, or raining down destruction to keep a potentially more bloodthirsty civilization from gaining too much of an upper hand. You have to temper your use of power though. If you rain down food on one city, they may worship you, but the other city will grow jealous, and all of a sudden the two nations are at war over you.
Hmph. The formation shooter will be easier to make, but hard to make well I think. The sim game will be hard to do everything I want to do in a short amount of time, as well as being even more experimental and difficult to determine if the gameplay even works. I am leaning toward the god game, but worried that like most of the sims I have made in the past, it will feel like you pretty much just watch stuff happen and there is not much gameplay.
Anyone have any advice?
On the technical side I’m torn between trying something new like flash, or sticking with my trusty python+pygame. Overall I expect more trouble with the game design than with any technical problems.
The only changes in this edition are to do with making the game play a little nicer with some people’s systems. If you’re computer supports 320×200 resolution in fullscreen, and is 32 bit, you should find very little difference between the previous release and this one. If however you have a 64 bit operating system, would rather run the game in a window, or can’t support small resolutions in fullscreen, you should download this 800×600 resolution version:
There are no gameplay or balance fixes, as I am saving game updates for post competition.
The biggest problem people are finding with the game is with the control. I did conciously choose to use sim-based controls rather than arcade, as I find them much more interesting. Unfortunately they seem to be harder to pick up than I realized. As for future versions, I’m not sure how much I am willing to dumb the controls down, but I’ll admit they might be a little excessive at this point. One thing I had been planning to add at some point were better ships that had more engines (perhaps a reverse thruster) or better engines (easier turning).
Personally I do find the control a little hard, but also a lot more fun than it would be if there were velocity or angular speed limits. You can’t just hold your thrusters down, because you will continually accelerate (both in turning or moving forward). Just a little bit of force is enough to get you turning. If you want to turn faster, hold it down more. If you want to turn slower, hold the opposite key slightly. I am really glad I tweaked turning before release (It was twice as fast before one of the final changes I made), but apparently I didn’t tweak it enough.
Game balance in general is pretty random I admit. I spent the majority of my time on physics, particle effects, and ai, saving the very last few hours to actually balance the game. Not only are the trade runs rife with exploits or the planet names rediculous, but the random spawns are far too random, and most enemies shoot too fast to put up with them. For the immediate future, I hope to have some variety with enemies, and keep most of the starting areas much safer. I also want the game to be less random in general, with more simulation behind the scenes. I just didn’t have time for this before. The game would be more satisfying if you could go toe to toe with some enemies more often, instead of having to constantly run away I have had a few fights that were very exciting and winnable, but they are very rare. It’s also possible to be killed 3 seconds into the game, which is just dumb.
There is also a bug with the planet police. If a pirate attacks you and manages to hit a civillian ship, the police will come out and think you are the culprit! The police were invented to protect the exploit of camping the civilian ships for all of their cargo. (If you haven’t ever won a fight, you may not know that ships drop cargo when they die) So I made the police extremely tough. As a result of the bug and the strong police, any fight near a planet will quickly result in destruction, as a stray bullet from the fight hits a civilian ship
I also received several comments to this effect: “This game is so tiny! But how does it fit the minimal theme?” This may have not been communicated adequately, but I went for minimal window size and minimal code size. I also went for a minimal space sim, and there weren’t any features that I felt I could take away. But the screen size was the main source of minimal. This fixed release kind of takes that away, but I suppose it had to be done.
I will be improving this game once voting is over. First I will tackle the bugs, and then I will tackle the spawn system. I plan on adding some semblance of story or an overall goal too, with trading being a means of completing that goal; and numerous interesting events and things to see throughout the system. I don’t plan on adding any form of hyperspace, and I probably wont add quests like they are usually implemented. Oh yeah, and there will be a way to save your game! I’m real sorry I didn’t have time for that one
Original source: http://pastebin.com/m3194032
It’s a minimalistic space trading game, a la elite.
EXE, source, and data: http://www.mediafire.com/?dsdbyntsxn2
Press “F” to switch to fullscreen, it’s a much better game when you do this. It’s kind of small and more confusing if you don’t. Of course, if that doesn’t work, then you’ll be stuck playing it small. Sorry for that. Controls are pretty simple: left, up right; or a,w,d for turn left, accelerate, and turn right. Z to shoot, X to dock, and tab to switch shops while docked. Since there is no deccelerator, you will have to accelerate in the opposite direction. Also, there is no friction in space, so if you accelerate too much it may become difficult to maneuver (plus you will waste fuel). The idea is to accelerate towards your target till you hit some ideal speed, and then accelerate away from your target when you are closer.
Unfortunately, I worked on the basics right until the deadline, and didn’t have much time to balance the actual universe. So many trade routes might stink, and it is probably a bit easy to die. If you upgrade your health a lot at first, then you might survive longer. I find it very fun, and hope you can too. Enjoy!
By the way, I’ll definitely be working on this more, so if you have any ideas for improvements feel free to give me a comment.
Noooo, I’ve passed 100 lines, not minimal enough!
I decided to do a space game. My criteria is the minimal amount of features to make a cool space game for me, which means decent physics, and non linearity. Beyond that I don’t know. Here’s the boring minimal starscape:
And here’s the entire game so far:
Has particles, flashy stars (I don’t care if they don’t twinkle in space, I WANT TO SEE THE TWINKLY), physics, and guns. Pretty good for 100 lines of code, but I could do better.
I have modified Devon’s clock program to update in realtime, and countdown till the end rather than increment from zero. It also shows the time on the window/startbar, and uses few cycles (in pygame1.8 at least).
It’s dumb that there is no way to preserve indentation on here :/
Oh well, enjoy the panic
Several ideas come to mind but I don’t think they will be doable in 48 hrs. I have a scientist who continually makes himself smaller, until he is the size of an electron. Ok, it’s a cool idea, but I would need a few days to gameify it I think. Is it a shooter, a puzzler? What exactly do you do in the game? How do I handle the shrink effect? Too complicated.
Next, we have the building puzzle game. There is some sort of support structure holding something up, and you have to remove pieces to some minimal limit without knocking it down. Something sort of like jenga, but without putting the pieces back. Unfortunately, this relies far too heavily on good physics balancing. Make physics important for an LD48and it will crumble like the house of cards you are modelling. That is one of my rules.
My last resort is to be boring and come up with something cool for dots to do and say, “hey look, everything is a dot, see it’s minimalistic!” I most likely will be doing something like this, unless I come up with something better or manage to work my other ideas into something manageable.
Good luck all!
In case I don’t have time to do everything else I want to, here is my “final” entry. The core gameplay is pretty good, if you have played either zuma or space invaders it will make perfect sense, as it’s basically a combination of those two games. There are a ton of things I want to add but I’m not sure time is on my side at this point.
Anyway, I like my game It was fun to make a decent, fun game, in a little less than 4 hours.
Here is the final entry, in python source:
I had a hard time coming up with an idea, so shelved it for a while, but then something came to me. Basically, I am making a zuma style game with a space invaders theme. There are some interesting twists I plan on integrating, and all in all it might turn out to be a pretty fun little arcade game. I had some fun making some decent art and getting the basic code framework set up. At this point you can win, although it’s got a long way to go. You can shoot the invaders with different colored bullets, if the colors match the invader is destroyed; otherwise the bullet bounces back. What’s missing is the invader ai, and of course, the chain reactions themselves. When an invader dies, he is going to coat nearby invaders with magnetized energy causing them to be drawn together. If the color matches on any colliding invaders, they will also explode
I actually do like my art, although it’s a bit too primary color. I’ll probably experiment with different shades of stuff, and add some more gradient to the palettes. If I finish the game first and have time left over
Uh oh, for some reason I thought the 15th was next week. Finals sure got me mixed up. I can’t believe December is half over already. Anyway, we’ll see if I can even come up with an idea for this, let alone code anything!
Ok, I should probably come up with something I can actually accomplish, versus the over ambitious ideas I usually do. Some kind of puzzle game should do it. But it has to be somewhat unique or I won’t care enough to finish.
Hmm, I’ll think about it for a few hours and see if I can come up with anything. If I have any good ideas, then I can begin mad coding time