Camp Starvation – Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @0010_games)
August 26th, 2015 10:35 pm

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So now that it’s been a couple of days since we submitted our game, Camp Starvation, I thought it would be nice to write a small post mortem.

The Game

Those of you who’ve played our other Ludum Dare games probably know by now that we enjoy making games that focuses on ethical dilemmas. We wanted to do that this time as well, and “You are the monster” might seem like a good theme for that.

That wasn’t necessarily the case for us though. Ethical dilemmas works when neither of the options in the dilemma are morally “good”. Claiming that the player is a monster typically means that either 1. The player knows that what they are doing is wrong, or 2. The player thinks what she/he does is right, only to have a plot twist thrown at them telling them otherwise.

Because everyone knows of the theme, option number 2 sort of loses it’s prowess, as the twist will be spottable miles ahead. However, actively doing what is “wrong” (as suggested by option number 1) sort of works against the ideas of ethical dilemmas.

In order to solve this, we wanted to make a game where the player had do horrible things, in order to save another. At the same time however, we wanted to make sure that it was the player’s OWN choice that made her/him do the horrible thing, rather than forcing the player to do something because the game told her/him to.

What we ended up with was a survival game where you play a (self appointed) chief of a small group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world. The player needs to ensure his/her own survival whilst also making sure the rest of the survivors are happy and fed, something that’s not all that easy when starvation and paranoia runs amok.

You can try the game here: http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=36138

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What went right

– So far, due to the ethical dilemmas in the game, people seem to truly feel like monsters after playing the it.
– People really enjoy the music and the atmosphere. Both are very important in games handling serious themes, so it’s nice knowing that people like them in our game.
– Randomised stats on the survivors affecting their usefulness causes players to act through survival of the fittest, sacrificing (and in some cases, executing) weak survivors.
– People seem to grasp how the game is played pretty easily, even though the tutorial is pretty much shit.

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Whant went wrong

– The tutorial is pretty much shit. People seem to understand the game well enough anyways, though.
– Each day passes to fast at the moment, making it so that the player has a hard time grasping the perks of the various survivors.
– There’s a bunch of good old fashioned bugs in the game that have affected some players experience. It’s something we’ll definitely fix if we do a post-compo version.


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