Stellarlink Corp. Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @aplayware)
September 6th, 2014 12:17 pm

Here is the post mortem for the Stellarlink Corp., built as a jam entry for this 30th Ludum Dare (and my 8th edition).

StellarLink gif

 

Theme

As always, theme is announced Friday 22:00 here in Brazil, and right after it the overall idea came clear to my mind. I’m somewhat cautious about using themes literally (there would be room for much more creativity) but working alone with limited time, you simply can’t have the best of everything in your entry – a legacy knowledge from previous Ludum Dares.

Initially this game should be in 3D space but after a second thought I saw some problems with this approach. Mainly with player interaction and the strategies to fix/improve it would lead development beyond jam deadline, so fixed camera was chosen leaving the game environment in X/Z plane.StellarLinkCorp1

Stellarlink Corp. idea is that player controls a company that provide data links between cities at planets. These planets orbits a star and have their own rotation movement with random settings every game (angle, velocity).

There would be upgrades to apply on city transmitters, links and satellites to buy.

 

Environment

Heavy work started at Friday night and by Saturday dawn I had a functional environment with cosmos background, proper planetary movement and a cool random perlin surface generator. This last one took me like 40 minutes and I really liked the results. Morale was high so I went to bed.

StellarlinkPlanets

 

Saturday – Gameplay gameplay gameplay

Cities and their attached transmitters were created and fixed at their planetary sites (thanks Blender).StellarlinkCity_

First gameplay tests proved that this game could be fun but it also made clear that (then again) it would be a hard game with an unusual player interaction where one must split attention between precise aim and overall surveillance about planets motions to spot possible link paths. As the player progress, the links requests start to come in row and more often, turning the link delivery business into a chaotic experience for the unprepared. It was time to upgrades.

 

 

 

Saturday night – Upgrades

I had enough time to code every single planned upgrade and they really do a lot of difference in gameplay. The last one coded/modeled, Satellites, were one of the top reasons that convinced me, back in Friday planning, that the whole idea had potential. And I really loved how they fitted to game;

I spent some more time on balancing and tweaking values and prices, adjusting satellites control/function and by Sunday dawn Stellarlink Corp. was a complete game.

Sunday – round the edges

Some work on UI, some more balance/tweaks, intro and game over sequences, bug fixes. Then, for the first time in all Ludum Dares that I took part, I had a clear chance to submit a game in the 48 hours compo, except by 2 little details: 1) The game would go with no sound/music and 2) that would forbid me to use the only previous made asset in game : The blue cosmos background. So, I decided to stick with JAM 72 hours and start to add sounds.

Monday – real life work then sounds/music

As JAM rules allows, sounds from several sources were used, with some remix at the amazing Wavosaur.

Then I got my old keyboard from under the bed and started the music creation at Monday 20:00 in FL Studio 11. I had some problems trying to make a seamless loop to fit nicely in gameplay but at Monday 21:30 time was up and I had to upload as is.

 

As always it was amazing to take part of Ludum Dare. This one was a breeze, no rush, no stress, things worked as planned and I’m liking players feedback.

Thank you, see you in LD#31.


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