Snowballs Chance – Just made it!

Posted by
December 16th, 2013 5:57 am

I was cutting it fine last night, correction early this morning (deadline was 2am UK time).

Snowballs Chance

Snowballs Chance

Link to Snowballs Chance

Quick Post Mortem…

The Good

I had great fun modelling the world, well back garden of Snowballs Chance.  Using a simple turn based game mechanic with a “grid” where the player and enemy pieces start on a point on the grid and can only move up/down/left/right a fixed distance each move.  This allowed the simple addition of a Raycast to detect if the move is blocked so I could drop scenery  anywhere on the garden and as long as it had a collider the players and enemy would not be able to move through it.

So this none grid based grid system worked!

Setting the garden under snow, priceless, no texturing, or grass decals, just a nice flat white canvas.

Changing the camera view to a diagonal orthographic angle, hat of to Blizzard it just looks way better than a square viewing angle.

The Bad

The darn theme: You Only Get One, What?

Life/World/Bullet all ideas that would be used by lots of people and quickly comes to mind.

So my original plan was you only get one Life and so as an adventurer, you can either go on the adventures and probably die or recruit adventurers and send them out to explore for you.  You would become the tavern/map keeper/ quest giver.  But that would need procedural lands to explore/caverns/jungles ect.  Too big.

What about Paradroid, one robot but you can hack into and take over other robots.  Lots of models and ship to build model and setup.

The hacking mechanic, you have to hack into enemy drones invading your spaceship, to defeat each wave.  The hacking process gets more complex with each wave, while your ships defences are crumbling around you.  Nope too abstract needs lots of setup for the player to understand what they are doing.

1HP, you only get one hit point, and it’s a family survival game (just watched a family survival movie), scale problems again. Family of gnomes, big garden in winter! TADA!

I started out with basic cones for the gnomes, getting the control interface to work and move them around.  Setting up the camera to move around the scene.   Then changing the camera after realising that the view in the editor looked way better than the square, think right angled, orthographic view I was using in game.  Unfortunately this better view worked a bit too well as it had me trying to edit the game via the game view not the Scene view.

Leaving the core combat mechanics until the second day, due to me getting carried away with modelling and setting up the UI then just side tracked on lots of fiddly bits.

To turn or not to turn, that is the question.  Got completely stumped when my enemies we’re teleporting from their start to end points, admittedly this was late on in the first day but that’s the trouble with Unity and it’s fancy physics engine and Update() per frame methods they put you into a real time mindset, way of doing things that can trip you up in a turn based game.

Lots of features didn’t make it, sound, music (although I still have not managed to learn how to make music for my games yet), see the cutting room floor for things that were on my todo list or in my head for this game.

The Ugly

I went for specular lighting with shadows, it makes my simple coloured, untextured models look good.  But probably will cause issues for people on lower end graphics cards.  Still I’m hoping that even low end modern GPU’s can easily manage this as it’s turn based.

My time management didn’t go too well, the first day was mainly setting up the control interface and dealing with a lot of quick hacks as opposed to a thought out design.  But this is Ludum Dare do you really have time to design, use fancy design patterns and make life easier for yourself.  Hell No, that would be the clever thing to do! DOH!

Lots of fiddly bit’s you remember the none grid, grid system, well Unity has this handy feature called layers and layer masks that let raycasts pass through certain layers but get stopped on others.  Now this should be simple but if you also use the Sphere collider as a radar then having the radar on it’s own layer and using the physics system to limit the things it detects is a handy tip.  Also things like 3D UI elements you want on separate layers but the players and enemies pieces ignore this layer.  Anyway as you can imagine this can get fiddly and raise some interesting bugs.

Cutting Room Floor

Pushing Snow Blocks, crushing enemies!

Not managing to get weapons into the game, a spade, axe, pickaxe, shovel, chainsaw and dynamite (have you tried fishing on a frozen pond).

A frozen Pond, could have been a lot of fun, walk onto it and slide, or fall through the ice and freeze (did I mention chainsaw and dynamite).

To allow the Mush (the gnomes pet Mushroom of course) and his clones (hey were talking garden gnomes that come alive here) to become spring loaded launch pads.  Think of the possibilities launching enemies at enemies, cloned mushrooms at enemies, gnomes at enemies, snow blocks,  snowballs (multiple) ect.  Hey if angry birds can do it why can’t I.

After naming the characters in the game I found myself thinking up dialogue for them.  I should have started typing it up and setting up speech bubbles as this would have added so much more to the game.

Irene “Bert darling did you see that?”

Bert throwing snowball at son “What dear?”

Irene “Nothing dear, just thought I saw something moving behind that bush.  Don’t throw so hard Bert you know how fragile we are in this cold”

Jake “I’m fine mum, dad can’t throw for toffee anyway.  Take that!” throws snowball at this Dad.

Then could have tied the banter into getting the player started as a tutorial.

Then some other ideas that just could not have made it into the LD version due to my limited time and current skills.

Well I hope you also had fun in the current Ludum Dare and let me know what you think about “Snowballs Chance”.


Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland




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