Ludum Dare is an ‘accellerated game development event’ where developers from all over the world make a game from scratch in just a weekend.
There are two competitions held at the same time.
48 hour competition – this is a solo challenge in which the developer has 48 hours to make a game.
Game jam competition – open to teams who are given 72 hours to make a game.
We of course went for the latter.
In the weeks prior to the competition, polls are held to choose the ‘theme’ – which everyone has to use and interpret in some way for the game they have chosen to create.
In the early hours of last Saturday morning, the theme was revealed…
— Ludum Dare (@ludumdare) August 23, 2014
Our first thought was “oh shit”, followed by about an hour of silence with the whole team trying to figure out what to make. We had discussed game ideas for many of the other potential themes, but hadn’t mentioned this one at all.
72 hours later, after way too many energy drinks, 5000 lines of code and hardly any sleep – Planet Jumper was born.
The game features a young space explorer called Larry, who loves nothing more than to travel from planet to planet in his solar system in search for gold and other expensive materials. One day, planets begin smashing together around him – resulting in shiny gold coins being scattered about ripe for the picking.
Your main objective is to stay alive, as being hit by orbiting planets or flying off into the darkness will not give you a happy ending – though it’s advised that you help Larry out and collect as many of these coins as possible (they are the main scoring factor, after all).
The game features:
– Randomly generated space
– Randomly generated colliding planets
– Online leaderboards
– Full ambient space soundtrack & awesome main menu music
Now, as with all games made in such a short timeframe there are still some features that we wish we had time to add/tweak. This being said, we’re all extremely happy with how the game turned out – better than planned!
If we did have more time, we would have loved to do the following:
– Add a minimap (to give players a sense of surrounding space)
– Utilise PhysX (for gravity on planets and such)
– Recode the ‘hop’ mechanic (it can be a tad buggy)
– Add more powerups
– Add drills/explosives for digging through planets
– Create a much larger level size (not infinite, but you’d never reach the edge)
– Add automatic camera zoom (on proximity to planets and other obstacles)
Nevertheless, our aim at the start of the weekend was to actually finish a game, with music, sounds, animations, online leaderboards, the lot – and we did it. If anything, this has shown us that when you’re in the right frame of mind (along with being willing to have less than 10 hours sleep over 4 nights) you can achieve more than you originally thought possible.
The feedback received from the Ludum Dare community so far has been great and really is appreciated – we hope you all enjoy it too.
It’s also worth mentioning that there have been 2500+ entries into the jam and 48-hour compo this year, all of which are available to play at www.ludumdare.com/compo.
Many of them are great fun and worth a play – check ’em out!