Ludum Dare 46

A great game, graphics and a planetary physics system alone does not make

Its been about 2 weeks since the Ludum Dare and it came at such a good time. Quarantine was driving me to madness, and my only escape was the 48 hours where I would have to do nothing but make a game. In the 8 or so jams I'd done in the past, this was the first time I had been given a government issued order to sit at home on my ass and make a game. Almost every year, Something comes up the weekend of the LD jams and I'm forced to work on it with less time, or skip it entirely.

Anyway, this was my year, I had all the time in the world, a creative itch that was bordering on acute pain, and hours of tutorials on Unity's custom shaders and render pipeline tools. When the theme "keep it alive" got announced, I have to admit I was seriously under-prepared for that. Day one I couldn't come up with a game idea, and instead followed a tutorial i had just watched about simulating gravity. I have always wanted to do something with that interaction outside of the obvious "KSP" style. So, I started but had no idea where to go with that mechanic. It was the latest I've ever decided on an idea, and unfortunately I think that hurt me in the long run.

With day 2 starting, I had an interesting physics system and two planets in a stable orbit. I had the idea of the planets acting as "ships" and the cannons being the moons. I spent the morning working on trail effects (I ended up scrapping) and a firing mechanism. I again sunk way too much time into the idea, first making the cannonballs physics objects, so they could be flung around by gravity, but that turned into a disaster. So i scrapped the morning's worth of work and made all the projectiles fire straight towards the enemy. Saturday afternoon, I got my shit together and everything started to fall into place. By Sunday, I was adding a new level, a menu screen, working on the sound track, and making annoying twanging sounds with my guitar.


I finished up the 3D modeling, added a dope lighting effect to the skybox and published the game.


So I gotta admit, while this was one of the more technically and visually impressive games I've ever done, It felt more like a tech demo. The gameplay is basically a glorified cookie clicker and the objective is made unclear from the get go. A lot of feedback I got mentions how they didn't really know what the enemy was. The game did look very nice but again, I feel like a made a very pretty box and put a very cheap and meaningless gift inside of it.

I really liked the code aspect, and it got sloppy in the end, but a very noticeable improvement from my last games. I want to dig deeper into using orbital mechanics in creative ways and see what happens. Or, I won't and I'll put this project on the shelf and never think about it again, who knows? Who cares? Here's the LD link:

Play It Here: