Thursday, 1 May 2014

My games - Ludum Dare 29's warmup game, Ye lost viking

This is the second time I made a warmup game in preparation for the Ludum Dare 48h game development competition. The first time was 2 years ago, in 2012. Interesting to see how much time has passed since. Click on the images to play the game:

It's basically a small game you make in the week before the compo so you can test your tools and abilities.

In 2012's LD23 I simply made a extremely generic platformer without any theme in mind. This time I went through a different paradigm.

I frequent the #ludumdare IRC channel at AfterNET, where Ludum Dare's folks meet to discuss interesting issues like programming, game development, and when I can completely derail the channel's topic, cultural, geopolitical and medical topics. While I (drnick) was discussing the themes (topics to whom Ludum Dare entries must be related) with hdon, awsumpwner27 and Wonkyth, hdon had the idea to use the themes database he had to make a sort of a "simulated" voting where 100 of the themes were selected randomly from the database and each one of us had to "slaughter" an equal share of those 100 themes, leaving only one remaining theme. I then suggested we all did our warmups based on this single theme. I don't know if they followed my suggestion, but I did, on the selected theme of "You control two".

With this theme the idea of multicharacter player control immediately come to my mind, and with which the image of The lost vikings, an old, DOS and Amiga game where you control three vikings that are lost in time and must cooperate with their abilities to advance to the next level and hopefully find their way back to their native Norway.

But since it's "You control two" and not "You control three", the idea was that one of the vikings is lost and the other two have to rescue him. This was actually suggested by Wonkyth. Thanks, Wonkyth.

I decided to change a little each viking's abilities. The differences are:

  • I completely removed the viking with the ability to run faster than the others and kill enemies with a head bash, and replaced him with a viking with a sword.
  • The viking with the bow doesn't have a sword.
  • The viking with the shield can't use his shield as a hang glider.
  • Additionally the vikings didn't keep their names or original hair and clothing colours.
See all the vikings in the image below:

Also, I planned 3 scenarios, which I believe is less than the amount found in the original game:
  1. Prehistorical
  2. WWII
  3. Alien spaceship
Due to self-imposed time constraints to better mimic the main LD's compo experience, I didn't
 finish the game completely, i.e. I didn't implement everything as planned. Below is a list of things I had time to implement:
  • Each one of the three vikings, and their abilities
  • The first scenario
  • Two enemies (a spear throwing and a bat-mashing cavemen)
  • A pterodactyl usable as a moving platform
  • The flying saucer that brings you to the next level
  • Two levels for the purpose of testing
  • Password system to continue playing after interruption
  • Instructions screen
  • A static palm tree
To comparison, below is a list of things I didn't have time to implement:
  • The last two scenarios
  • More enemies (dinosaurs, carnivorous plants)
  • Gates that can be opened by moving switches
  • Actual level design
  • Targets for the archer viking that could do actions like opening passages
  • Keys, bombs, other items like in the original game
  • Sounds
  • Music (not that I can actually write music)
  • Coconuts that fall upon your head from the top of the palm trees
Also, with respect to time usage, I later made the following analysis:
This analysis I built upon the timelapse I recorded while I was making the game, you can watch it below:
This is all I have to say about my tiny warmup game. I may expand it later. I may also upload to this post a scan of the paper sheet where I drawn the game's design.

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