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Democracy, my game for LD#32

The 32th ludum dare happened this weekend (April 16, 2015), with the theme “unconventional weapon“.

Theme

I have have to say that I hate this theme. Really, there were so many good themes there, why this one could win? Damn you!!!! The theme isn’t an excuse to not do a game, but I spent so much time thinking of what I could do with this… A game not based on fights? Weapon is love? The weapon must be abstract! This is clichê? Oh damn… I finally came up with an idea, after 14 hours (counting sleep time)!

My game entry is about “democracy”, with quotes. The democracy and progress are the weapon of the government in the game, they want you to attack other species in order to “spread democracy and progress through the galaxy”. The player controls the invasions to planets inhabited by bugs with the goal to kill the natives and collect the planet resources.

The game is a very humble tribute to starship troopers (novel by Robert Heinlein and film by Paul Verhoven and Edward Neumeier). I wanted to create, somehow, the sense of order and progress presented by movie.

Development

I always start by the core mechanics because it is the main component of the game – if I can’t find time to make graphics, at least I have a block-based game.

I also always wanted to create a game in a circular world, that was my excuse. I had no idea how to do that, but at is was pretty simple. You have a world centered at (0, 0) with radius (r), than you can set the origin of all objects in the world to (0, r) and only manipulate the rotation to place than in the world.

After the basic world structure, I could drop structures, and these structures could create units. To control the units, I created a behavior tree to control each unit – the first time I really use behavior3js – and a behavior tree to control the bugs strategy. Figure below show these behaviors trees:

Behavior tree for player and enemy units.
Behavior tree for player and enemy units – Click to see in full size.
Behavior tree for the nests, its used to create orders to enemy units
Behavior tree for the nests, its used to create orders to enemy units – Click to see in full size.

Then it came to particles and easing! Man, I love these two. The animation below shows the game at this point:

Sample of democracy

After 28 hours I started to create the sprites and visual things in the world. I was stupid enough to lost time adding some details to sprites that don’t even will see because the sprites are very small (about 20 pixels). I also spend a good time trying to create a futurist screen aspect, which ended up very cool.

I added some scenes, UI and some other effects to the graphics:

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When the clock marked 5 hours to end the competition I started create sounds effects and music. I was desperate because of the time, I still had to adjust the levels of my game and I didn’t know what to do with sounds. At the end it was pretty simple and I didn’t do much, actually recorded some sounds with Audacity, generated most of them in BFXR and generated the music in SoundHelix.

I finished the game in the packing hour, the extra hour after 48, the time to deploy and write about your game.

Summary:

Good stuff:

  • Game finished is always good!
  • I’m using BTs successfully, even to control hundreds of creatures.
  • A circular world (always wanted to try).
  • Visually smooth and lot of cool PARTICLES!!!!!
  • Generative music and sounds worked well.

Bad stuff:

  • Balancing is hard as hell, I couldn’t do that properly.
  • Some details missing, especially the visual feedback when you win the game and the bug when restarting a level before a tween is complete.
  • Isn’t much fun due to balance, few types of units, and few levels.

I’m very critic about my games, I really fell for to not balance properly and create more content to the game, but well, it was made in 48 hours and this time the good stuff was really good! Moreover, this was the most complex and complete game I ever made for LD, it was really hard to do, thus of course some things would be missing.

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Ludum Dare 32 Starts Now!

Just for the record, I hate the theme of LD 32, “unconventional weapon”. There were a bunch of good themes on the final voting round, like “grow”, “companion” and “abandoned”, but they have lost for “unconventional weapon”, gosh…

Well, we have to do what we have to do. The theme is what it is and now I have to use it. Unfortunately, I’m writing these after 2:30 hours of brainstorming and I still have no clue of what to do.

I really want to use AI, so I trying to add some agents (enemies, allies, creatures, companions, whatever), and giving my artistic and resource limitation, I thinking in use tile maps. That’s all I got for now and it may be useless tomorrow.

I’ll keep you updated.