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Star Trucker – post mortem

Posted by (twitter: @joaoguerra)
Sunday, August 31st, 2014 12:47 pm

This was the first Ludum Dare I participated and I wasn’t even supposed to do so. I wanted to. I thought about it. But didn’t try to organize anything with anyone that would complement my skills before the weekend.

I basically got inspired by a friend of mine who is learning how to code and that was going to participate by herself, and I started thinking on what I could do with little time (I had a busy weekend) and very little art (my artistic skills are severly challenged).

So I came up with Star Trucker:

planets! galaxies! relevant title screen image.

 

It’s kind of a slow paced minimalistic resource balancing simulator that you’ll fail at (get those genre defining buzzwords in).

Although it starts very slowly and admitedly potentially boring, it ramps up difficulty quite nicely to a point where everything gets a bit hectic. Succeeding at keeping that hecticness steady until the player eventually drops the ball due to having to juggle a bunch of planets and transports at the same time. There’s no winning condition.

 

here, have a screenshot.

 

I’m quite happy with how it turned out. It’s definitely a higher quality product that I usually manage at game jams and I think that that had all to do with the limitations I knew I had going in (lack of time and lack of art). This forced me to come up with a very basic concept whose mechanics were as simple as they could be. Thanks to that, I managed to get the core game loop working in a handful of hours which allowed me to take some time to draw the planets, pay attention to player feedback and deliver those tiny bits of polish that make a huge difference. There’s some balancing and tweaking to be done, for sure, but the more I worked on it, the more I felt that this was a concept with room to grow.

Inevitably, I started thinking on how this could be developed further and I started outlining a couple of new features that could add depth to the game. I was keen on doing more with this concept and the next couple of days gave me the motivation I needed. I don’t know if people are just being really nice, but everyone’s feedback has been incredibly positive and the ideas that have been thrown at me have been helping me a lot in shaping the direction of where I’m going to try to take the game.

Thanks to everyone that has tried the game and that has been giving me invaluable feedback and ideas. Please keep them coming. :)

 

The vision for Star Trucker is lining up to be something that is right up my alley and I’m quite keen to see how far the mechanics can be pushed and how much depth can be added to it. I’m confident that I can make something good out of this.

I’ll be updating my blog (half-done games) with progress on the game. If you’re interested, follow it or my twitter feed. :)

Thank you for reading.

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