Ludum Dare 37 — December 9th-11th, 2016 — Theme: One Room

Well, Mike ran in to problems getting working properly with about 12 hours left in the Compo, so this is the backup plan.

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Party Co. Inc.

by fabbyrob - Jam Entry

You think you're a bomb party thrower? Prove it! Use your wits to optimize the timing of events at parties to keep guests happy and calling their friends!

Warning: the dance floor is a problem, at some point it will become a hell they cannot escape. I'll probably fix this sometime after LD is over.

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Dec 15, 2016 @ 12:19am

Interesting concept! It was hard to know that placing the card "worked" as well as what exactly it was effecting (not easy to see the immediate results). Given the timeframe I think you did an excellent job and have potential for a great game

HuvaaKoodia says ...
Dec 17, 2016 @ 3:49pm

I find this quite a problematic entry. You see, it doesn't work as an simulation, because it is so simple and transparent, and it doesn't work as an game as there is no decision making.

I'll stick to game design from now on, and not simulation design, as that is what most people taking part in LD care about and it is also simpler.

Games need decision making. Decision making requires multiple balanced actions, which change the state of the game, for the player to choose from and challenge, i.e winning cannot be trivial.

The problem here is that some of the actions are objectively good (more food, more drink, boost happiness gained from dancing, etc) and the rest of the actions are not that useful (change music, change music volume.) These are called neutral actions from now on.

Objectively good actions are of course always a good choice, so there's no decision making there, and the neutral actions simply alter the state of the game in a way which doesn't affect your chances of winning. For instance changing the music track doesn't help, because at any point in time the musical tastes of all the partygoers are pretty much evenly numbered.

The deck mechanic is another problem. The good cards get used immediately so after a while all your five hand cards are neutral. The only way to get more good cards is to get rid of the neutral ones. It becomes nothing but a spam fest.

The effects of all the actions are also very indirect and as such feel impactless, even when they do have an effect in the end.

The last problem is the real-time nature of the game and the GUI. To gather data about the partygoers you need to click on each and every one of them and memorize their stats. Do this for 15+ people and the party has already moved on with new people in the mix. In other words it is impossible to get up to date data about the overall state of the party to base your choices on.

I wouldn't be a very good sport without giving a few pointers so here they are:

- You need an economy attached to the action usage. In simple terms using an action should cost something like money, time or happiness. This reduces spam and makes each choice more meaningful.
- All actions should have clear positive and negative sides to them. Food and drink cost money, certain music tracks increase dancing while reducing conversations, etc.
- The deck mechanic needs to be revamped or removed altogether. One solution is to reshuffle the hand every X seconds so that the player only has to use those cards that they want/need to.
- Show averages of all the stats (food, drink, social, music, dance) in the GUI so that the player doesn't need to calculate them.
- Slower pace. It is impossible to make decisions if everything is happening too fast. The speed can increase over time or it can be tied to a difficulty mode of course, but it should start at a manageable level.

Hope this helps, keep at it.

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