The theme for LD 9 was “Build the level you play”. The premise is that you’re some god or something whose sole purpose in life is to control the path of some space fish, guiding them through gates that changes their colour, and get at least some set number of fish to go through the spectrum in each level. You control their path by creating planets, of course. Planets attract fish using the laws of gravity.
This is actually the first game where I’ve used OpenGL, apart from some small fiddling. (This also made it easy to make the game window freely resizable with hardware scaling, and I made sure the window always keeps the correct aspect ratio by inserting black borders where appropriate. Incorrect aspect ratios are always annoying.)
That aside, this one didn’t go very well. I spent a lot of time just fiddling around with insignificant things and not getting any parts of the game done, and about midway through I changed the aesthetics from creepy-ish paper-cut-outs floating around — something which at least looked somewhat interesting — to badly drawn space fish, and also inverted the planets, for reasons which completely escapes me. I had also coded up an in-game level editor that I used to create the included levels, but this was disabled for the compo release. For a compo where the theme was “build the level you play”. WTF?! Why did I do this? I have no idea.
The gameplay itself also had its issues. I think I made the gravity a bit too “realistic”, since inserting a planet subtly effects everything — so it doesn’t really matter if you’ve fine-tuned your existing planets to perfection if you have to insert a new planet or even move an existing one, the new gravity will upset the fish and you’ll have to fine-tune again. So, while the gameplay can be fun-ish for a little while, the constant required adjustments can quickly get annoying.
After the compo I played around with visualization of gravity by using a GLSL shader, which made the game somewhat more interesting (not to mention extremely colourful). Another thing I tried, both during the compo and after, was making the planets be effected by gravity, so they’d float around too (until they collided and launched themselves at light speed off the screen), and also make the fish generate gravity, attracting other fish and planets. Somewhat fun to watch and play with, specially with gravity visualization enabled, but the game was pretty much impossible then, heh =)
Download [ Windows/source code ]