My game for this 30th Ludum Dare is IN BETWEEN. It’s a kind of 3D abstract puzzle game where you play a World Synchronizer whose role is to bring back a scattered world together.
Before you read the following lines you should maybe try the game, if you did not already, to avoid spoilers :).
When you start the game you can see a world below you more or less red, a world above you, more or less green and the world on which you stand that kind of seems blue. Basically, your goal is to find a way to make these three worlds come back into one. To do that you have three basic actions: prepping monoliths, vertical sync and rotational sync.
Prepping monoliths is the act of bringing a monolith in another world. When you penetrate a monolith you prep it for the top world (greenish) but when you penetrate it a second time you prepare it for the bottom world (reddish). Now you need to bring each monolith to one of the worlds to sync, that’s where vertical synchronization comes into play. By using the left mouse click and the right mouse click you bring, respectively, the top and the bottom world towards the intermediate world on which you stand. You can do both at the same time. When a monolith touches one of the worlds to sync and it has the right color (green for top world and red for bottom world) then it’s transferred into that world and stays in it. Some of you may have encountered instability, this happens when a world is bearing way more monoliths than the other. To avoid that you just have to balance the number of monoliths between the two worlds to sync.
Now, to finalize the process of syncing worlds you need to use rotational sync. This allows you to rotate the top world (by pressing Q) and the bottom world (by pressing E). The idea is to match monoliths of the top and bottom worlds together so they can be reunited in the world you’re in. By using rotational sync you can align those monoliths which allows you then to use vertical sync to have them reunited. Once every monolith has been reunited you should get this screen:
I like to use the Ludum Dare event to create things that I wouldn’t otherwise. That’s why, I often go for weird experiences (or failed ones :)).
As such, I didn’t plan everything in advance, the game kind of built itself. It’s really not the best way to achieve a lot of work but I find it to be perfect when you’re trying to get something a bit more experimental. I like to start on a rough idea and let it be my guide. At first, I just wanted a first person game in which the player can bring a top and bottom world together. That’s what drove me all along: being in between two worlds, almost like in a limbo or in a temporarily stable dimension from where it’s possible to access other scattered worlds. Then, came the idea of the monoliths lost, like the player, in this intermediate world. And after that, I was to let the player sync these worlds back of course. But as many of you noticed, it’s pretty shallow as a gameplay mechanic and I agree. I know I could have done better, I believe I lacked courage to just rethink my ideas and try to come up with something better.
I spent almost all my time coding, testing features and new controls schemes. It didn’t let me enough time to work on building 3D models. Though, the game looks pretty much like what I had in mind. The only thing I regret is that I wanted the monoliths to be a bit more expressive through more complex geometric shapes.
It was my 5th Ludum Dare and the 4th accompanied by friends doing the LD too. It’s a really great way to get motivated. We bought fine foods and drinks, we settled around the living room table, plugged in a sound system and shared music and panic attacks. It was perfect. We are based in France so that the theme was announced at 3 am. We waited until the theme was announced and spent an hour or so thinking about the game we were gonna make. As far as I’m concern I waited to get a rough idea of the game I wanted and went to bed. The rest of the weekend went pretty smoothly as usual, we got around 6 hours of sleep on Saturday night and ate mainly healthy food. But, yeah, we also drank lots of beers. It helps for concentration ;).
See you in four months