As you may have seen, I recently participated in the 23rd Ludum Dare 48 hour game competition. Out of it came a game called The Spaceman. I’d like to take a moment to talk a bit about the process of making the game during the 48 hours of the competition, as well as the design process behind the decisions I made in the game.
I originally wasn’t going to enter Ludum Dare #23. Ludum Dare was a thing I had meant to do many times in the past, but had always passed, thinking to myself “oh, I’ll do the next one”. This LD was going to be no different, particularly as my weekend was already fairly busy. However, after being inspired by the venerable Chevy Ray’s keynote presentation and seeing that this was the 10th anniversary Ludum Dare, I started to consider entering. After all, if I skipped sleep, I would have a solid 24 free hours to work during the 48 hour period. Surely I could make a game within 24 hours.
I immediately began formulating ideas of the sort of game I could make in 24 hours. The idea I had was a zelda-like (of course) where you play as an Indiana Jones type character searching for an ancient treasure in a temple. Not the most original idea, especially in the indie game community, but it seemed like something I could make in 24 hours.
Of course, when the time actually came to start working on the game, I was faced with the theme “Tiny Worlds”. Well shit. No mental acrobatics I could manage would make the idea I had fit that theme. Doing a zelda-like fit, but it would have to be about something other than Jungle Harry and the Temple of Surprises.
So I had to come up with a new idea. I was still going to make a zelda-like. I knew I wanted to make something like the original Zelda where you could do things in pretty much any order and had free reign in exploring the world. “Tiny worlds” suggested the idea of making the world loop around. Go off the west side of the game world and you end up back on the east, go off the north side and you end up on the south. This could lead to some interesting navigation where you see a treasure blocked by mountains to the east, and have to travel west to get it.
The original plan was thus: 5×5 game map, 3 small dungeons, each containing a gem and a weapon. The weapons would be optional and harder to come by, but you needed all 3 gems to beat the game. Pretty standard Zelda-like, although the weapons being optional was a bit of a twist. I still wasn’t entirely satisfied with the plan, but I had to get to work.
(Continued after the break)