This was my first Ludum Dare and I must say it was an awesome experience. I’ve learned a lot and I’m also pretty amazed by how much I got done in those two days. So here’s the post mortem for my entry.
What went right
Since this was my first LD I didn’t really know what to expect or how much I would be able to get done. So I was amazed that I actually got the core gameplay working given the fact I went for simulation game. I was also surprised at my own coding. Usually I tell people I’m not a very good coder but looking back all I did was coding 😀
So I’m pretty happy how the game plays. Its fun to watch the citizens walk around and do their thing. The initial brainstorming and mind mapping helped me a lot as well in filtering out game ideas. The minimalistic graphic style turned out well but this may also be due to my previous games and experience with it. Ultimately it allowed my spent as much time coding as possible.
What went wrong
The core game concept was to force the player to suppress their citizens in order to win the game. So even the player has good intentions he will be looked as an evil king in the eyes of his citizens. The problem with this concept is that it was difficult to generate enough feedback to the player so he would understand it. I also stumbled upon how to communicate to the player that he has to force his people back to work in order to win the game. The intro story of the immediate great drought tries to provide some motivation and context but I’m not sure of people even did read all that. I tried to display angry citizens by placing a dark cloud above their heads but something else like them rallying and demonstrating in front of the castle probably would’ve been better.
Another thing was that depending on the camera zoom some things got lost and they player didn’t get what was going on or why things happened a certain way. This brings me to the next issue. The user interface which displays necessary game information but in a unappealing and cryptic way. For example its very easy to lose track of the food count.
I didn’t have time to create a tutorial or some introduction to the gameplay mechanics. I also didn’t have time to properly playtest the game in the end and there are some severe balancing issues.
Feedback is king! Because if the player doesn’t get whats going on the game isn’t going to be much fun, unless of course thats to point of the game. This is a kind of obvious thing but it gets lost so easily in between all those awesome features inside your head. I’ll definitely spend more time on communicating things better to the player in my next Ludum Dare. I’ll also try to do a simpler game so I’ll actually have enough time for that as well. I’m definitely looking forward to it.
If you want to play the game then follow this link.