Universe Connector Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @SixtenKastalje)
September 2nd, 2014 2:10 pm

— I know this post is looong, but I would be so happy if you would read it and maybe comment your thoughts :)

So I finished my game very tight to the deadline, but I finished it! YAY

About the game

So you are an (evil) empire that wants to take over the universe. You start by choosing your own name such as “Ludum Dare Galaxy Empire”, “Das Dritte Reich”, “Little Tim’s Multi-World Domination”, “DPRK” or something else creative for you to come up with. (HAS TO BE EVIL) To connect worlds to your empire, make a spaceship by resources and start connecting!

–> Play Universe Connector here <–

Bad beginning

First of all I started making the game too late. I stayed up all night and waited for the theme to be announced at 3:00 (danish time) and went to sleep after that. I woke up at about 13:00 and was kind of too lazy to get up and start Ludum Dare’ing. So I got some food and started making a game. I thought I would use Unity, but I just wasted my first hours to find out my idea was too hard to make (I have only made one game in Unity before…) So… I ended up using Game Maker: Studio like last time, and I had to come up with a new idea…

The thumbnail for my game

The thumbnail for my game

The progress

Time passed and I finally had an idea but it was kind of unclear, so I started by making the graphics. I worked and worked and checked twitter and facebook and worked and checked youtube and worked and got distracted again and worked and so on. When it was around 4:00 and I decided to get some sleep my game wasn’t even near a game yet. Half time; not at all half done. The next day I was a bit more concentrated, but my idea wasn’t clear enough yet. I made some sketches on paper to get a better overview of what my game was about. I worked a lot without being sure what the game would turn in to. But around 6 hours before deadline I thought my idea was done enough, and I just had to finish the game too.

The original idea:

At that point my idea was something like: You have a planet. The population grows and there is a maximum number of people the Earth has room for, so you have to get the population over to other planets. To get to different planets you need spaceships, you make by resources. The Earth also has an amount of resourses that grows. There are different planets, that have different: number of spaceships needed to connect, speed of getting resources and max capacity of people. So you had to populate all the planets without getting overpopulated and getting a lot of resources.

But… All I had done at that time was: The system for getting resources and population, displaying everything over the planet, and upgrading and buying stuff. Now I just needed to make the player able to connect to the other planets by using the spaceships… And long story short: I used some hours to figure out how to “copy” the system to more planets and ended up not getting it to work. So it was 2-3 hours before deadline I only had one working planet, and no connection-stuff.

The final one:

So… I changed the idea totally, so you just connected to other worlds with spaceships, and it just said “connected”, instead of the idea of every planet having different population, stuff to upgrade, buttons etc. And by doing that the “population” thing would make no sense, so I removed that too.

So the deadline came closer and I worked as fast as I could. I remembered there was also the “submission hour” and quick made some music, and finished the game itself in the last 10 minutes of the submission hour (Yes, it was technically over deadline, but fuck it…). I uploaded it, and did the porting after the deadline. SLEEP. The next day I made the thumbnail and uploaded the source.

Conclusion

The game:

I feel okay about the final result, but the game turned out to be a bit boring… Overall this was probably the worst – out of 2 LD compos, and 4 total game jams I participated in – game I’ve made. But again, it’s okay; A nice little game.

Looking forward to see the results!

What I’ll do better next:

Next time I will work more focused instead of the on/off-work as I did this time. Get up. Food. Jam.

I will learn Unity more, and test some ideas before the compo starts AKA do the warm-up weekend, so I’m ready to make a game.

Timelapse / follow

Soming soon – follow me on Twitter and YouTube to keep updated.

I made it with ChronoLapse, nice software!

How to know you have played my game too long (will not happen, you'll quit) also, Israel took over the universe :(

How to know you have played my game too long (will not happen, you’ll quit) also, Israel took over the universe :(

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2 Responses to “Universe Connector Post-Mortem”

  1. Greg Klein says:

    The thing I enjoyed the most about participating for the first time this year was how much I learned. I learned what I should focus on and what can be ignored. I knew this to some degree from jams in the past, but it’s definitely harder to keep everything under control when you’re working alone! I’m trying to learn Unity as well but I’m a pretty lousy programmer.

  2. Interesting post mortem! It seems like you know what you did wrong and right though – the best games in the compo are made by those who work hard but still get enough sleep!

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