While getting excited for LD35, and reminiscing over my previous experiences with Ludum dare jams, I wanted to share the story about my previous entry at LD33 – You are the monster.
Phase 1 – start with basic idea (Saturday morning – noon)
I always keep the scope small. One or two mechanics, make it playable and simple.
Starting from something simple, then add more stuff according to remaining time and energy.
On this LD, i had idea to start from the Space.
In the Space, there is that overwhelming feeling of unknown and infinite nothingness around you, so it’s perfect location for the spooky “You are the monster” game.
Since I didn’t want to go with aliens on the spaceship (too much cliche), I went with the planet.
Small rotating planet (The Little Prince style).
I always wanted to make game with rotating planet, so I used it here to make small and restricted environment for the game, surrounded by vast emptiness of space.
I downloaded moon texture from google, and added “Noise & scratches” from Standard Assects Effects, to boost spooky atmosphere.
So what more could be scary about planets and moons, and to keep it with theme?
I went through all sort of different things:
- Astronauts lost in space, you are the infected one
- Astronauts in exploring mission, you are monster that lives on planet
- You are astronaut exploring new worlds, and “cleaning” planets for colonization (you are monster because aliens living on the planet are peaceful)
Then while thinking about moon and scary scenarios, my brain got association of werewolf.
It’s general knowledge that werewolves transform to beast form when there is full moon.
So I asked myself, what would werewolf do on the moon itself, as it’s kind of always “full moon” there.
So I immediately decided that I wanted to do game about werewolf on the moon
Important thing about Ludum Dare is that you can do anything you want. It’s all for fun, no one will disqualify you, ban you or laugh at your game.
Maybe you even won’t fully finish the game (my LD28 game) or it’s going to be very simple (my LD32 game).
Just do it, have fun and make the damn game you want. It feels great!
Phase 2 – implementing mechanic (Saturday noon to late evening)
I then starting implementing mechanics ad-hoc.
Inspired by Werewolf/Mafia party game, I added hidden werewolf player and targets (civilians). You could transform to werewolf, and kill civilians.
To add challenge, I added some guards which can kill you if they catch while you are in transformed mode.
I added some naive behaviour for them, so if you are close to them, they start going your way. No memory, not calling backups or anything.
Instead of overcomplicating the guards behaviour, I focused on UI and particles for death (blood splatter), since I planned my time.
For UI, I used standard Unity NGUI, and free icons downloaded from some random sites.
For particles, I used some basic particle effect from Asset store (can’t remember exactly which one), and changed color and some basic properties so it looks more brutal.
I added that radial blurry screen effect from standard effects, when you are transformed, so it looks clear to player that he is in beast mode.
Important thing at LD (or any timed hackathon) is to prioritize.
Don’t overdo stuff, as nobody will expect perfectly engineered solution or complex stuff.
Just name it as a feature, and continue with other stuff. Make it playable
Phase 3 – Wrapping up (Sunday half of day)
I finished playable prototype, so wanted to invest some more time into effects and juiciness.
I used GoKit library for tweening, and added more natural movement to objects, added fading out of screens.
Game was a bit weird for new players, so I added some info notifications, to give some context to the game.
Guards were simple, but game was interesting with them, so I kept them that way.
Since I had more time and energy, I added more advanced guards that appear later in the game (when you kill at least half of the civilians), Inquisitors, which remain hidden unless you are close to them.
It added nice dose of challenge for better players, when “A new inquisitor appears!”.
I kept the “models” of the objects just cubes, because my 3d skills are zero, and decided to keep just the color as differentiator.
After that, i tested game for an hour, fixed some bugs, and decided it’s done.
Check the gameplay here:
Or try it from LD site.
The best thing is the feeling you get when you complete a playable game in a weekend.
It won’t be Assassin’s Creed.
Someone probably would not even call it a game.
But the most important thing is THAT YOU HAD A LOT OF FUN.