In between zooming around from NS to NB this past weekend, I knocked out a Ludum Dare game. Neat little randomly generated retro style platformer. Posting this both on the Ludum Dare site and my own blog. So LDer’s enjoy an expository preamble!
So if you’re unfamiliar with Ludum Dare it’s an online, solo game development competition. They release a theme and you have to develop a game using that theme in a forty-eight hour timeframe. A large list of themes is created and after a few rounds of voting , the list is culled to a dozen or so final themes to vote on. After the final round of voting is complete, the theme is released and a sleepless, hectic weekend begins. I was rooting for “Randomly Generated” to be selected as the theme and was already salivating at the prospect of making a roguelike.
Over the last few years the only games that really stick out to me as being actually fun and life destroyingly addictive were the new wave of roguelikes. Spelunky, Transcendence, and The Binding of Isaac have taken a mostly inaccessible genre and made it almost casual. If a player can get over how masochistic these games are, it really scratches their drive for mastery. There is nothing that can foster that “Just one more turn…” effect better than these games. But I digress, this is a subject worth a post all on its own.
The weekend of this Ludum Dare coincided with a friend’s Christmas party I few hours away. I didn’t want to lose six hours driving back and forth so I opted for twelve hours by train. After packing everything for the trip I settled in and waited for the theme reveal. “Alone” ended up hedging out Randomly-Generated by a few votes. Even though I was bummed over my pet theme losing, I figured I could still work Randomly-Generated into my concept. What I roughed out, was that you were a monster created by the government, you wanted to escape their pursuit and be left alone. I pegged the gameplay as a platformer with randomly generated level sections. I wasn’t sure about combat and mechanics but I was hoping it’d grow organically throughout the competition. My main goal was to produce something playable that had some random level generation in it.