Feeding Time - Ludum Dare 37

Well, this is a long one…

This weekend, I took part in the Ludum Dare Game Jam, once again!

The theme this time was: “One Room” and the entry I created was “Feeding Time”

Screenshot of the menu of the game Screenshot of the gameplay Screenshot of the gameplay Screenshot of the gameplay

Post Mortem


I had a few ideas before the theme was announced, however the only theme it didn’t really work with was the one that was chosen…

I spent ~30 minutes on Saturday morning brainstorming with my other half about what would work well with the theme.

Game Ideas

The following are two ideas I had for the game

The One Room

Top-down, RPG Style

Description

You are locked in a building, over the course of the game, you are able to get into every room except one.

The purpose of the game is to find out what “The One Room” means and why you aren’t able to get into it.

Review

Originally, I was quite pumped to work on that game, however after a little thought, I deemed it too similar to other games that will be made.

By far the biggest genres within LD are;

  • Top-down RPG
  • Platformer

So we began to think a little more and came up with the great idea of;

Feeding Time

Side-on, Action, Casual

Description

You play as a small purple fish, trying to stay alive within a fish tank.

You must eat the fish food to grow in size, then consume the other fish before you starve to death and before the other fish consume you!

There are some fish, however, that will always consume you. These are;

  • Puffer fish
  • Eels

Review

I loved this idea.

I thought this simple game type was both unique and engaging.

It allows for a score-attack style of game play. It’s easy to learn, difficult to master and infinitely replayable.

So this is the idea I went with

Development


Here’s the review of the actual development phase of the LD Jam

What went wrong

Time

Well, firstly, I was really busy this weekend.

I’d had a lot of work to get done for my job and so was left on Friday feeling quite tired.

Saturday was interrupted a fair bit, and Sunday was almost completely written off.

The only actual time I spent making the game was Saturday morning (2-3 hours), Saturday night (2 hours) and Monday Evening (8 hours).

Knowledge

I’ve not spent enough time working with Unity 5 to know all the functions included within the framework.

I had to google a lot of stuff in order to build up a knowledge base and even now, there’s probably a lot of redundant code in the game that I could remove or improve upon.

User Experience

Being as I’m not great with the art side of things, the user experience is lacking any direction.

I wanted to have a simple interface with as little text as possible. Leaving the game knowledge as a thing to be discovered.

The things that failed from the UX point of view are as follows;

Fish size

It’s really hard to tell whether you’re bigger than another fish and therefore if it’ll consume you or not.

Fish behaviour

It’s also difficult to tell whether or not a fish is aggressive or passive without

What went well

Productivity

During the times I was able to work on my entry, I felt incredibly productive.

Monday night I even streamed for 8+ hours and had a couple of friends lurk around to watch and play test for me!

Music

This was the first time I’d decided to make music for my game.

I’d left it until the final hour and so the silly mistakes I made during recording are left in… However, I feel the music is a great addition to the game and suits it quite well.

Sound Effects

These I sourced from elsewhere and again left quite late in the development (Final 3-4 hours).

I think most of the sound effects I used within the game are appropriate - except perhaps the level up sound.

I used Freesound.org for most of the sound effects, but also used one of Kenney’s.

Game balance

Another area I spent a lot of time on was game balance.

Most of the fun of this game is playing it multiple times to reach a higher score. So I figured that spending time on striking the right balance would allow for greater replayability and higher retention.

It could still be improved, however I think that because I’ve coded it so that every level is possible, the depth of the game is still there.

Overall


This LD Jam went really well. I’m happy with the result and would be inclined to work more on the game.

The people I had to play test, raised great ideas and told me about issues with the game. They were invaluable at working towards the more balanced game I have now.

In the future, I’ll probably try a bit harder to book the weekend off from social activities because the interruptions really blocked progress for the first 48 hours of the jam.

I’d also like to spend more time working on my art skills. The programming side of things is in-hand now and so to accompany that better use of paint programs and art techniques would open a lot more doors for creativity.

TL;DR

  • Did Jam with little time (~12 hours)
  • Created potential product
  • Had fun
  • Would do again

Here are links to my game:

Please try it out and let me know what you think!

– Lee

Ludum Dare website: http://ludumdare.com/compo/

Written on December 12, 2016