Extinguish, a 48-hour game

Last weekend I wrote a small game called “Extinguish” for the Ludum Dare 48-hour game development competition. You play on the side of advancing Evil, which is trying to engulf everything. The invadees aren’t so happy though, they’ve set up barriers which Evil can’t cross! Your job is to destroy these defences so that the conquest can continue.

Download it for:

The game was written for Ludum Dare, a game development competition. The idea is to write a complete (but small) game, mostly from scratch, over a 48-hour period. It’s free to participate, there are no prizes (except for your game!), and all of the post-competition judging is done by the competitors. Our theme was “advancing wall of doom,” which I think I kept to pretty well. I’m happier with Extinguish than I was with either of my previous two Ludum Dare games, but there’s still definitely room for improvement.

With my previous Ludum Dare games, the main problem was that I was driving my game design with technical ideas. This was especially true with Mininode, where I had awesome (or so I thought) ideas about how I could hook different components together into graphs and have them interact in strange ways. The problem was that once I’d implemented the technical side, I ended up having no good ideas for interesting gameplay. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out very fun.

This time, I started thinking about the actual gameplay from the beginning. With a lot of work I was eventually able to turn it into a game. This time, I had a different weakness: direction. Although I had a general idea of where I was going with the development, I didn’t take the time to break the task into milestones. The most important part of being productive is knowing what you’re doing at any moment, and what you’ll be doing next. You need to have concrete goals, or mini-deadlines. I didn’t know where I was aiming to be by the end of Saturday, so I ended up not doing as much as I could have. This made Sunday all the more frantic, and although I finished the game, I would have liked to have time to add more features, such as sound and better graphics.

I learnt a lot this weekend, and it will help me to do a better job during the next competition. If you can code and want to compete in either the next mini-competition (in May) or the next main one (in August), check out the Ludum Dare website or check out the IRC channel.

Finally, a timelapse of the development of Extinguish!

Posted on 2009-04-21 at 23:34. trackback