I spent the weekend entering the Ludum Dare game jam. For this competition, entrants had two days to design and produce a game given the theme “Beneath The Surface”. I used this opportunity to try out the game engine I have been working on.
My entry is called Skull Mountain and can be found here.
I have for the last few days been squinting in the dark at my monitor in the early hours of the morning. I couldn’t resist entering this months Mini Ludum Dare since the challenge was to make a RTS game in 7 days. An RTS game is something that I have always have wanted to make, from a technical point of view as much as anything. I spent countless hours playing C&C, Dune2 and dungeon keeper in my childhood and the AI in this genre in particular always fascinated me.
My initial research on RTS AI directed me to some great papers written about potential fields and their use in the RTS genre. This is a method I had read about previously, but these papers really gave me the vision for just how powerful they could be. The papers can be found a the bottom of this great article at AIGameDev. http://aigamedev.com/open/tutorials/potential-fields/.
All the programming I had done on my framework is now being tested to the limit for this project, and so far (touch wood) it hasn’t failed me. Additionally, I am particularly proud of my efforts on this project because I have made all of the graphics myself from scratch and this really is my most complete game to date, since I usually get sidetracked while working on the technical details of a project. Provided below is a screenshot of the current work in progress. Several potential fields are being displayed for debugging by eye in the lower left corners. Top left shows the fog of war maps for both the human player and the AI player respectively.
I have not just been working on Ninja Flare since the submission deadline of LD#26 however. I have been experimenting with lots of pixel art for game ideas I have had.
Since my childhood have always loved the god games from Bullfrog, such at theme park and dungeon keeper. I have always wanted to make a god/simulation game involving a small group of people trying to gather resources to survive the natural elements. I made a mockup of what a game of this sort may look like visually. The little people could collect food by hunting and fishing, as well as collecting lumber for fires and for making cabins to shelter from the cold.
An alternative in the same vein as the above game is shown below.
The game would take place on a small island, far out at sea. A man and his wife, live out there days in a small cabin on top of this island. It would be more of an interactive simulation then a game in my mind. Just something nice to look at. There would be a day and night cycle, rain, snow and sunshine. The plants and flowers could come into bloom and then die off. The man and his wife would collect resources and use them to survive, again fishing, collecting wood, rocks etc to maintain themselves and their cabin. The art style shown is not really what I was aiming for so I will still be playing around with this idea a lot.
There was a great entry into this LD#26 Game Jam that really resonated with me. It is called potato dungeon. The art and setting are just great and really inspired me to knock up a pixel style demake of it.
The characters here are just great fun to animate. The dragon is my own design, but the horse, knight and pig are very true to the art of the original. I would love to program a mockup of this one day.