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
This is both a science-fiction and city-builder game. The combination itself is rather rare.
It just feels awesome. And I love the “Build now on moon”-gag, which I think is quite good game-design.
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”.
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.
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.
The combination of the sombre soundtrack and the space-y visuals worked quite well, which people also remarked positively.
What went alright
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.
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