Note: Ludum Dare is a quarterly game jam where participants from all over the world make a game from start to finish in 48 hours (competition mode) or 72 hours (jam mode). Guerric and I did the jam. The theme was ‘You Only Get One’. Entries are judged based on: innovation, fun, theme, graphics, audio, humor, mood and overall. Participants play and rate each others games. Results will be announced on January 5th, 2014.
‘Mama is Sick’ can be played HERE
My first Ludum Dare! And my second game jam ever.
This post will cover what mine and @GarrickWinter (Guerric Haché)’s game is about, a summary of the process we went about making it and the top 3 things done well and the top 3 things we could improve on.
Quick description of our game (taken from the instructions screen):
“Mama is Sick” is a resource-management, hard-times simulation game.
YOU ONLY GET ONE DOLLAR A DAY to look after your family (thanks to a generous family from overseas) while papa is away and mama is sick.
Buy food and water to make sure the food, water and health bars of you and your family don’t reach zero or death will occur.
If your education bar reaches zero, you won’t graduate high school.
You have to last 50 days until papa comes back. Will you manage to graduate? Will everyone survive?
You can work in a clothing factory to earn 50c a day, but be careful not to miss too much school. You also need to study at least three days a week or risk not being able to graduate.
On December 4th, indie game Starbound, created by Chucklefish Games, launched under Steam‘s Early Access listing for Windows, Mac and Linux gamers. It is a 2D block-based sandbox adventure game, set in an infinite universe of procedurally generated planets, creatures, and environments (its website can be found here).
Many games have preceded Starbound in these and other respects (the game is considered the spiritual successor to the highly popular Terraria, and much of the two fanbases overlap), but few indie titles have managed to accomplish everything else Starbound has. Indeed, it has arguably become one of the most successful indie games on the PC in years, thanks to an approach that has garnered the game hundreds of thousands of fans and backers. In this post, I’d like to provide an overview of the game’s (ongoing) success story.
$0 in One Year; $2,300,000 the Next
Starbound was first announced in February 2012 by Finn Brice, a UK game developer better known to fans as Tiyuri (or just Tiy). Brice was the artist behind Terraria’s sprites, and thus the only official link between the two games, though much of the design of Starbound can be read as an incremental improvement over the formula developed in Terraria. The team that worked on it eventually came to encompass around 14 developers, and so Chucklefish Games set to work.
Mini Ludum Dare 44
Ludum Dare is a fairly well-known game development competition in which the goal is for single developers to make a game in 48 hours, based on a given theme. There have been 26 Ludum Dare competitions so far, and a number of smaller events have sprung up around the main event, including both a game jam and Ludum Dare’s little cousin, Mini Ludum Dare.
A few weeks ago (from July 22 to 29), I participated in the 44th Mini Ludum Dare, and my game was one of 99 submitted to the competition. The hashtag for the competition perfectly encapsulates its theme – #7DRTS. We were to make an RTS (Real Time Strategy) game in 7 days. Because we were allowed to reuse code and assets we had the rights to, I felt I was able to participate, since I had a decent code base on hand for managing a window, user input and art assets; and because RTS games are a huge part of both, why I became a gamer in the first place, and why I want to become a game developer, I felt I had to participate. The result was Jumpstarter (submission page here), a space RTS game that I created in 7 days.
In this post, I’d like to do a postmortem of the development of Jumpstarter, by laying out three things that I could improve upon, and three things that went well.
What Went Wrong
Procedural generation is an umbrella term for various ways of using algorithms to create game content that might otherwise be hand-crafted – things like levels, music, and game content. One tool that can be useful in procedural level and art generation is the Voronoi diagram. In this post I’d like to tell you a little about the Voronoi diagram, what it can be used for, and how you might go about using Voronoi diagrams in your own code.