It still amazes me what someone can accomplish in 48 hours, especially when it comes to making video games. There is so much that goes into make a game – artwork, sounds, game design, programming, etc – that I am surprised what comes out of Ludum Dare is even playable. Nonetheless, most of the games I’ve looked at so far are awesome! I’m going to try and not touch any more though until the ratings open up. Anyway, this is supposed to be a post mortem.
When I was first presented with the theme, I immediately thought of rouge-likes. Mostly because in such games, you are always put in situations where your two options are fight or flee (escape). Not to mention, once you get to the bottom you have to escape all the way back to the surface with your prize. This how the ascending from the depths mechanic came about.
Of course Minecraft and Terarria had some influence here, but just because I wanted some sort of destructible terrain. There really isn’t any sandbox elements present unless you like channeling water and lava away from you. Either way, going in this direction allowed me to explore tile maps in Flashpunk/AS3. I have used them before in a couple of my past games, but not to this extent. Prior to Caved In, I only used tile maps for platformers or any games with some sort of pre-defined level. In this case, I am procedurally generating entire levels that the player can interact with – every single block is manipulable.
In my first LD game, Voyage of Discovery, every tile was an individual entity which caused some pretty bad frame rate issues but since it was turn-based, it wasn’t too much of a problem. Obviously the same technique wouldn’t have done too well in Caved In as there are 875 blocks per level, but the tile map technique does wonders! Yet, as expected, the code is VERY messy since I was sprinting through the whole thing. I always want to add more than what I can comfortably do in 48 hours.
The rest of the game was the usual, nothing new. I will be revisiting this someday as I want to make a graphical, simplistic, and user friendly game similar to dwarf fortress. Until then…