The Pyramid: Multiplayer in a Ludum Dare

Posted by (twitter: @pighead10)
August 29th, 2016 9:52 pm

Link to game: http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-36/?action=preview&uid=8539screenshot

Success! The unrated LD provoked me into creating a more ambitious game than usual, involving multiplayer, which usually isn’t even an option due to the lack of ratings these games will get.

The final submission is more like a proof of concept. The basic idea was this: there are multiple rooms with doors connecting them. Each player is their own instance of these rooms with individual randomly generated elements. Some doors will be locked, and to open them, certain players must stand in certain rooms. To get into certain rooms, there are chains of dependencies on players: for example, for player 1 to get to room 3 he might need 2 players to stand in room 2, and player 4 might need player 1 to get to room 3 to get into his next room, and so on.

This results in teamwork being necessary to complete the game – however, only one player can actually win, and players don’t know the location of each other unless they tell them over an external chat. Players can activate traps on each other to hinder their progress or kill them off, but they must be careful, as they may need certain players alive to reach the treasure room.

It sounded like a fun game of teamwork, bluffing, and betrayal, with some game theory thrown in there. It is, for the most part, implemented successfully, albeit with a smaller variety of traps and monsters than I would have liked. However, due to the difficulties of creating an algorithm that would procedural create games with the chain of ‘door dependencies’ working correctly and giving the right dynamic for the teamwork/betray gameplay I described, the game suffers from frequent poor level generation where players win too easily, become trapped, or generally don’t have to play the game as I’d intended. Still, it’s not far off, it’s still pretty fun, and given the time constraints for the LD, I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved.

Special thanks to two of my friends who stepped in on the last day (after I’d decided to enter the Jam rather than my usual Compo entry) to create homemade sound effects and sprites. A lot of features would have been scrapped had I spent time doing this myself.

I appreciate that, given the nature of a multiplayer game, it’s unlikely to get many plays from the regular LD audience, but it would be nice if it could get a few people trying it. Instructions for setting up the server are contained in the options menu in the client download. Please find me on the irc as pighead10 or on twitter @pighead10 if you’re thinking of trying the game, especially if you have any issues setting up the server!


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