I recently participated in my first Ludum Dare, making the game “Jewel Defender” over a 48 hour period (I spent about 10 hours of actual work on it). In this article I want to document the process of making it, I will probably do a separate article on what I plan to do post-Ludum Dare as a result of feedback. You can download it at the link on the Ludum Dare page.
Jewel Defender is a tower defense style game, but purely using melee traps. I had the time to include two traps, one that is a swinging sword, the other a block drop.
The theme was “One Room”. I went in to this Ludum Dare either wanting to do a prototype of a game I had previously had in mind, or a prototype of something that I could use for my Sea Trading Game that I’ve been working on for some time. I decided to try out an idea that I had long had of making a game where you set traps to defend a few high value artifacts, namely gems.
Friday I was able to spend an hour on the project, which was enough for me to test navigation meshes. I had not previously done any work with the Unity AI system, and learned a lot in that process. Early versions were problematic, as can be seen below.
The major obstacle I faced was getting collisions to work correctly. I often had traps that wouldn’t trigger, or objects wouldn’t be placed that were supposed to, as can be seen below. I finally found that certain objects needed RigidBodies, while others didn’t need them. With the right combinations of rigidbodies, I was able to make everything work right!
I slept Saturday evening with a single trap, decent looking graphics, but objects still weren’t being placed as they should be.
My time on Sunday was quite limited, but I spent most of it just getting my traps to be placed right. I made an actual score, and got the building cost of making traps set. I ran in to what at first appeared to be a Unity bug, but ended up being me accidentally placing an animator on my walls, which moved my collider for some reason!
I also added the ability to destroy traps, otherwise one could simply set up a massive wall of traps and keep anything from practically winning. I threw in a few sound effects, and overall was happy with the game, although I really wanted to have more traps set up, along with more robots trying to take the gems.
I wasn’t able to spend as much time on this as I would have liked, because I was sick for the entire duration of the event. Not really sick, but enough that I wasn’t at 100%, and had to take frequent brakes. Sunday evening I had finally worked out the bugs in the simple version, and initially submitted to Ludum Dare with only a single trap type, but 4 hours to spare. I slept for a few hours, and then realized I still had motivation to do one more trap type, which ended up being the swinging sword.
I can tell from my play through of the game that it isn’t very balanced, it is very difficult early on, and surprisingly easy later on, if you can make it that far. If I had more time, I would have improved that balance some.
What I would really like to know is if I should persue this as a game, particularly in comparison with my much further advanced Sea Trading Game that I have been working on for the entire year. What do you think? Leave a comment to let me know!
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