This past weekend, I decided to take part in a game jam arranged by Butterscotch Shenanigans, a little indie studio in St. Louis who made Crashlands, Flop Rocket, Roid Rage, Towelfight of the Gods, and assorted other games.
It was sort of a last minute decision to take part, but I figured it would be a good way to freshen my game development perspective. I needed a break from Loop of the Lost.
The theme choices for the jam were "Void Sandwich", "Sticky Justice", and "Burn it Down". After taking the day at work to think about what kind of game I could make out of the themes, I decided on making something with the Sticky Justice and Burn it Down themes.
My original plan was to make a puzzle game where the goal was to burn a rope to drop a block on a heckler. Your bullets stick to whatever they hit, with a set amount of ammo. The idea was to platform to a certain zone that ignites your player, thus igniting his bullets so you could burn the rope. That plan didn't end up being something that I felt would be accomplished in time or well enough.
The next plan, which is what I ended up with, was to make a top down shooter where your bullets stuck to enemies and slowed them down. If an enemy could no longer move, it would burst into flame and burn for a set amount of time before dying. The idea was to make the enemies turn into dangerous terrain for a short time before they eventually exploded.
After toying with sticky bullets, I couldn't make it look quite right so I removed the graphic of the bullets being stuck.
The next task was to try to make something that had more playability. This brought me to the idea of an endless mode of play where each level gets progressively more difficult and you just survive for as long as you can. This gives incentive to replay.
After failing at an enemy spawn system or a while, I ended up making a system that did a very close version of what I was looking for. The idea was to give enemies a point value then populate a list with semi randomized numbers one at a time in a for loop until reaching the total relative to the difficulty. Then each value would be popped from the list and an enemy is spawned in a random location along the outer edge of the room.
The game would definitely need some work to make it feel a little better, but I surprised myself with what I could make with only 23 hours of work.
I may take some time to make the enemy waves feel a little more difficulty accurate, as well as making the boss better (I failed hard at making it do what I wanted), and adding a couple extra bosses and basic enemies and making an online leaderboard.
Oh yeah, I've been learning networking. Expect some form of an online multiplayer game from me in the future. It's really intriguing to me right now. I briefly spoke to Dan Fornace (Creator of Rivals of Aether) about net code and he told me about his current system in Rivals and pointed me in the direction of some literature on the subject.
Until next time.