Thoughts on My Little Planetoid

Last weekend I competed in Ludum Dare and created My Little Planetoid in 48 hours. Read on to find out what I thought afterwards (a post-mortem, if you will).

What went right

Genre/Setting
This is both a science-fiction and city-builder game. The combination itself is rather rare.

Building stuff
It just feels awesome. And I love the “Build now on moon”-gag, which I think is quite good game-design.

Timelapse
According to people this video is “intense”. It might be due to the orchestral music, but probably because my facial expressions during Ludum Dare alternates between “frown” and “manic laughter”.

Soundtrack
I composed this over the course of the 24 hours. The first idea of the music I had immediately after I decided on the idea, and it grew from there. It has been quite well received, with many people saying they like it and find it relaxing.

Also, the idea of a space-banjo is just awesome.

Graphics
Having empty space as background meant I was able to concentrate more on the 3d-models in the foreground. And while they could be improved a lot, you’ll notice there’s a lot of detail to be found.

Mood
The combination of the sombre soundtrack and the space-y visuals worked quite well, which people also remarked positively.

What went alright

Theme
This time I actually prepared. I made a list of ideas for every possible theme. Tiny World was the one where I didn’t have anything brilliant ready, so threw in an idea I already had before. After the announcement I developed more of them, but threw them out when I saw others made them first.

Scope in fiction
My Little Planetoid has a somewhat weird range of buildings. You start out with houses and farms, which could position this game anywhere in the past or future. Then you quickly advance to Science-Laboratories and advanced-space-stations. So while it is a progression through technology, I feel it could’ve been more focused.

Scope in design
In design-terms My Little Planetoid is huge.  It has more unique features/elements than any of my previous games. It has multiple complex 3d-models. It has a somewhat extensive GUI. And, most importantly, a huge web of each other influencing resources and variables.

I was even glad when something emergent happened, but there was lot of potential for bugs and unforeseen combinations. Which led to…

Balancing & bug-testing
I literally coded in something 10 minutes before the deadline. There was no time left for dedicated balancing and bug-hunting, only what I noticed during test-plays myself. The resource-balancing now kinda works, but it does feel off sometimes.

In the end the basic resources become abundant, so you aren’t really thinking about them any longer.

Textures
I used a basic pixelated diffuse-map on all things. Sadly there was no time to take care of UV-maps, but it doesn’t really show unless you really look.

What went wrong

Failure to realize how bloody huge this project is
This led to a (frankly mental) development-speed in the last hours, and the incomplete balancing.

All in all

This was an awesome and fun gamejam. My Little Planetoid is right now one of the most-played games, and people really enjoy it. The general consensus is that this could be huge if further developed. And so I will :P

Play | LD-page | Mini-Review (at 9:50) | Review

-Matthew

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