The quest for $2 – Ludum Dare Challenge
I’m in for this October’s challenge of making a game and selling 1 copy (or making $1 out of it) before October 31st. Well in fact I’m in twice so that means the objective is bigger… $2…
Project #1 – Crazy Scientist Defense
This project is solo. I decided to stay around the theme of my MMO Golemizer as it’s a nice way to promote this indie MMO and after 2 years of existence there’s plenty of spin-off to make out of it.
This is a Flash game (using Flixel) that I started to work on a bit before the challenge was announced. The challenge is basically for me a way to put a deadline on the project which I consider a good thing. It’s far too easy to waste time so by announcing I’m participating to this challenge it puts some pressure on me to get something good that can make money soon.
Much of the code I’m using is based on my first “real” Flash game which is currently available for sponsorship on flashgamelicense.com. The games don’t have much in common but it’s always nice to have some code you can reuse. I try to keep most of my code as clean as possible so I can copy/paste a lot of it in new projects. That’s easier to say than to do but I try.
So this is an action game mixed with a feel of tower defense. Players are controlling a blimp that must protect Dr. Altus (a friendly but slightly crazy scientist) from monsters trying to invade his lab. While there are turrets the player can buy to help protect the lab I want the focus to be on the blimp action. Having turrets to help just add some strategy to the game instead of being just a big mess of monsters running around with the player not knowing which one he should kill first.
The basic mechanics were built in about a day. The game is fairly simple and it was intended this way. I wanted to make sure most of my time would be put on polishing and tweaking. Besides I also had to do some graphic work so the faster I could get to that the better. There was a quick try to get an artist involved but it didn’t work so I decided I’d deal with this stuff myself… (ouch…).
I’m quite proud of the result actually. Surely an artist could have done better but that’s still good I think.
Do I think I’ll make $1 with this game? Well I surely hope I do more than that. In fact my objective is at least $100 for this one. I already built a small game that made $3 in 2 weeks which some of you might recognize as the Shootorial from Kongregate. It was just a simple experiment for me but when I realized that a simple skinned version of a tutorial could make $3 I thought I could do much better with a “real” game. $100 is still not a lot but until I receive a check of $100 for a Flash game I built that shall be my current objective.
Project #2 – The Fae’s Wyrd
This one is a team project. You can read about our small team here (yay! also artists in there!). While we have completed 2 projects this one should be our first public release. And yes it’s an RPG. Of course what can be built in 1 month is limited so that will be a small simplified RPG. I guess you could say we’re building a roguelike but I’ll let the designer talk about that. If things look good we can probably think of expanding the concept a bit for a new version.
The twist for this game is the elemental advancement concept developed by Brian ‘Psychochild’ Green. So while we might not have enough time to build a full and complex RPG it will have something that makes it different from other RPGs.
My work for this project will be to take care of the programming surrounding gameplay rules. We’re talking about maps, movement, interface and that kind of stuff. Brian knows his design better than me so it will be faster if he takes care of it by himself while I make sure he doesn’t have to worry about other things. Again for this project we’re using Flash and Flixel. Note that using Flixel is simply a matter of using what I currently know. I’m sure the alternatives are also nice but to make it before the end of October it’s not the time to start learning something new.
So far I have taken out-of-the-way the map generation and character’s movement. That wasn’t much to do and it took about 2 days. The map generation is what took most of the time and the result is interesting. I based my work on this article from Adam Saltsman. Since the only directive I received for that was to have a way to create random maps I made sure that some parameters could be set to create different results based on what we might need later.
Here are some results of this code. Note that I used very small tiles for these pictures just to get a full view of the maps:
Again we are not aiming for something ultra-complex here but just something to showcase smart design and release our first public game. For motivation purpose I think that having some work you can show is important. Besides we have more projects in our mind so getting some attention can’t hurt.
Both of these games will be submitted to flashgamelicense.com meaning that it’s possible we don’t make $1 before the end of October because of the bidding system. There’s no way to predict when the bidding will end assuming bids are made at all. Also submitting a game there doesn’t mean you’ll receive bids the day after even if you end up making money with the game (2-3 weeks later or more). We could slap ads on them and then post the games without any sponsorship just to be sure we make $1 (my experiment with skinned tutorial proved me it’s quite easy) but then it would just be wasting possible opportunities. My solo project is nearly completed so it might make it but it won’t be the end of the world if it doesn’t. I think our main goal is to RELEASE something before the end of October that WILL end up making at least $1. The challenge is a fun way for us to see how close we can get to the initial objective but even if we think it’s pretty sure our games could make $1 each there’s no way of knowing when for sure.
Enough talking and back to work now.