See, this is why I love Ludum Dare. I’ve worked on sooo many dungeon crawlers before, but I’ve never quite gotten around to finishing any of them. This time, the theme seemed to fit the gameplay, so I went for it. Here’s the end result:
Prelude of the Chambered
I recorded the entire process at one screenshot every other second, and streamed it all live. I didn’t do as much talking as I hoped I would. It’s very difficult to stay interesting when concentrating..
The first several hours were spent making the game renderer from scratch. I chose a low resolution screen with simple four bit images that can be tinted to any color, which sets the graphical tone in a nice way while still letting me draw art fast. Levels are designed as images with each color representing a different block, and the alpha channel containing the “id” information. For example, a pressure plate with id (alpha) 200 will open all doors with id (alpha) 200. I can override this default trigger behavior in the code to do more advanced pressure plate logic.
One major inspiration for this game was Link’s Awakening, which I’m currently replaying again on my 3DS, so the game world is based on a central hub with a few different dungeons you need to complete in order. In each dungeon, you find a unique item that lets you access the next dungeon, and a boss monster that drops a key. Once you have four keys, you can open the final door and win the game.
The game play ended up being slightly more action oriented than I originally thought, but that is probably a good thing. Except for a few places where you can get yourself stuck, I think it actually plays fairly well. I tried to design the levels so that there were very few wasted blocks to make the game feel tight and complex. There are two hidden trinkets per level. and usually two hidden powerups as well. All-in-all, there are six levels in the game, and even something that actually feels like a boss fight.
In the last couple of hours, I added stuff like sound (SFXR, woo) and title screens, while trying to play test the game as much as I could. I got in bed at about 5 am or so, feeling exhausted and happy.