Ludum Dare 45

The one where everything went right until it didn't


The theme for LD 45 was "Start with nothing". I decided not to get too meta with it and think more inside the box. I had made a list of game types I was interested in making, and the cookie clicker and multiplayer keywords really stood out. It's relevant to point out that this jam took place in October 2019, after the first starhopper hop, and obviously that was all I could think about. I wanted to make a cooperative cookie clicker, and what better setting for cooperation than Mars?

The plan was to make a cooperative cookie clicker where everyone would work together to build a Martian base by building different modules and expanding their access to resources.

Technical Stuff

I wrote the game in Unity, I made a webserver hosted on my server using ExpressJS and made the models for everything in tinkercad, an online cad tool that is usually used for 3D print models.

The webserver was a simple REST service with 3 endpoints: one to GET the game state information, one to update the game state information, and one to GET the leaderboard stats.

The Part That Went Really Well

It felt like everything I tried worked the first time. I was able to set up a quick webserver, call it in the unity project, and have the entire game state managed outside of the client game. The game world looked good; I made Martian terrain using a bumpmap generated from the mountains of Colorado, the game models took no effort to throw together, and all the animations I had developed for the models gave the base some life.

Rocket Taking off from a base in its early stages

The way the resources worked, is every x amount of time you could earn cash. cash allowed you to upgrade things like how much cash you made per x time, automatically generate "research" (the catalyst of the cookie clicking) and increase how much was made with the manual research override button (the cookie click button).

It all came together so well, I was even able to put actual time into setting up the UI properly. Then I tried to build it.

The Part Where I Gave Up

I clicked build to windows annnnnnd it worked! I was excited that even the build worked first try. I launched the game and immediately got an error. a network error... the networking library stopped working when unity compiled it. I was using the main C# networking library, so I switched to try Unity's. While it was a pain to figure out, I got it to work in the editor again, but it failed after building again.


I was pretty upset that something I had built was so so close but was not able to be finished. That took a lot of my emotional energy for the rest of that week. But I did enjoy making it, and while I didn't get to let it run with actual users, I still learned so much. I might revisit this, just because ITS SO DAMN CLOSE... but still haven't really been modivated to fix the networking issue and re-set up the server. I might strip the networking out and just make it a singleplayer game too.