This was my third time around with Ludum Dare – after having watched notch create Prelude of the Chambered and minicraft, I (and likely a lot of others here) were inspired to join in on the fun. I really couldn’t have enjoyed these past LDs more.
So this time, with the added knowledge of the mistakes I made in LD24/23, I took the task head on and dedicated a full weekend to completing my game. Soon enough, ‘The Quest for Unobtanium’ was born.
I started off with a completely ambitious idea in my head – a mixture of an RTS with a mining component. I soon realised how insane I was by even contemplating that, so I scrapped the RTS and went with a fairly generic mining game.
What went well:
- Polish. After realising the importance of polish in my past LDs, I started adding particles, smooth animations, paint upgrades and all the cool little things which make a game feel complete. The comments I’ve gotten since (“Surprisingly complete”, “Really polished”) show this.
- Scope. I knew exactly what I wanted to make from early on, and I somehow managed to time it very well. I got all of the features in that I wanted, even though I cut it fine at the end with 20 mins to spare.
- Art. The art was simple enough for me to make it quickly while being attractive at the same time. Nothing too complicated, I was able to make art when I needed to implement it in the game.
- I was prepared. The day before the compo, I did a bit of a warm up as well as checking my workspace/framework and making sure everything was intact. I hadn’t actually done any major game dev for about 18 months prior to this LD (!), but I was able to pick it up very quickly.
- It’s fun! The game is reasonably satisfying to play, and the progression feels good. Once you reach each rock ‘barrier’ and you see the valuable rocks behind it, you feel motivated to continue. This managed to keep people entertained for >20mins, which I was surprised at.
Not so well:
- I waited way too long to implement the core gameplay. The compo finished at 1pm for me, and I started getting all the different rocks added only at about 11pm the night before. That meant that I only had the next morning to balance the gameplay, which was fairly difficult. This also meant that..
- The game was fairly slow paced. This is the only real complaint I’ve gotten, and I’m lucky that the core mechanic was enjoyable enough to keep people interested. Dialogs weren’t skippable, the trips took too long to go to the surface, and you had to make several trips early on to make any real progression.
I feel like I’ve done really well overall – I was actually a lot more productive this time around, writing >3000 lines of code in the 48H. Complaints were minimal, and the gameplay was attractive. Check out my creation timelapse below: