When the Ludum Dare theme was announced it was late night Friday here, and my initial idea for it was a Game of Thrones spoof called “Family Ties” where you controlled one character of the House Righteous (Stark) at a time and the character’s lifespan was 10 seconds. In those 10 seconds you could marry the character to produce offspring/forge alliances or use her in battle, where she would improve army morale and thus lead to easier victories (or die within even less than 10 seconds). I wrote the game design on four pages, with another element added in the early hours of Saturday to the design: a real-time strategy game where your moved your characters and troops to conquer the whole of Lefteros (Westeros). I went to sleep and when I woke up on Saturday, I decided to do the strategy part first, beginning with the battle map. Here’s the final version:
The map’s basis was a map of the United Kingdom, taken from the internet, from which Ireland was first moved to the right and then Great Britain was split in half, vertically, and the left part was flipped upside down. The map countours were then traced and the map was split into regions. Each region was saved as a separate image file in a grey tone. The game was done in XNA, which allowed quick coloring of each region to represent its ownership by the different factions.
The region capitals were loaded from an xml file and are represented by the black dots with yellow/red outer rings. The capitals were used to avoid a more complicated detection of the region the player mouse clicked. When the player moves troops to one region to the other the move is instantaneous, making the game very fast. The enemy AI is extremely simple and thus a bit dumb: each faction, in random intervals, invades a neighbouring region if that region has less troops than the friendly region or if it’s already at war.
By the end of Saturday I had a working prototype. I found it interesting enough to drop the whole family management part and instead on Sunday I concentrated on polishing what I had, adding extra visual information of each region, a map ownership caption, and improving the AI by moving troops between friendly regions to avoid them not being used. Thus what was initially planned as a dinasty simulator called “Family Ties” ended up as a fast paced real-time strategy game called “Twitchy Thrones”.
In the late hours of Sunday I made the intro screen and the game music, which was recorded in about 15 minutes with my gaming headgear by mouthing over the Game of Thrones intro song.
Hope you enjoyed it!