Ludumdare 26 – Minimal Interaction Warfare

As some of you may know, the 26th edition of Ludumdare took place last weekend and boy was it fun. A wooping 2345 (nice number eh?) games have been developed in less then 72h, thousands of lines of code have been written and industrial quantities of caffeine have been drank. The theme for this edition was Minimalism , a theme with so little, yet so many, interpretation. Some entries focused on having minimalistic graphics (color scheme, elements, basic primitives), others had simple interactions and gameplay. One guy went the extra mile and made his game minimalistic by all possible definitions (graphics, design, executable size) and added a bit of maSOchiSm to the equation. My interpretation of the theme? Minimal interaction during the Action Phase of a game.

Minimal Interaction Warfare

Minimal Interaction Warfare - Post Ludumdare Edition

Minimal Interaction Warfare – Post Ludumdare Edition

When I first started MIW the goal was simple: A 2D war fighting game in which the player placed his troops, issued orders and sat back to follow the outcome. I guess I can say I succeeded as my entry featured all the above. The down falls? No sound, over powered player units and little-to-no-polish. That’s why I decided to release a second, post-jam, version with a simple Main Menu, more maps and balanced gameplay. The game still has no sound effects and music because, well… um, I have little-to-no talent in that area and I wanted to keep things in the spirit of Ludumdare where all the assets are created by me. Maybe in another version, when things settle down (I still have to release another Pimps vs Vampires version this week, and I also have some freelancing work to attend).

Gameplay

The first thing a player must do, when the game starts, is to deploy his units. He has 1300 points which he can exchange for Soldiers and Tanks. Both unit types can be placed on the lower part of the screen (2 rows). After deploying all of his units the player can assign orders to each one (move to position X and defend or move to position and engage/attack). He can also skip this phase and start the simulation (in the post-ludumdare version orders can also be issued by pausing the game mid-play). Player and enemy units clash somewhere in the middle of the map. The game can be won by either defeating all the enemy units or by successfully sending 3 units on the opponent’s starting rows.

Graphics

I’m happy with the way I handled the creation of assets. I decided to go with 16×16 (that I upscaled to 32×32 in the game), each sprite having no more then 4 colors. They all turned out well enough, units were distinguishable and you could tell what each tile on the map represented. For the post-jam version I created 2 more versions of the map tiles for Autumn and Winter maps. All in all, I handled this part well (by my standards)

3_environments

Programming

I decided to stick with LUA for this Jam but I changed just about all the tools that I used in previous jams. The framework I used was MOAI SDK (for which I wrote a basic wrapper) and my IDE was Sublime 2. Coding started out well but halfway through I started hacking things together, which as always, turned everything into a mess. I have more nested if statements in game.lua then your average pop singer amount of twitter followers.

If I were to summarize everything in “Good” and “Bad” things would look like this:

The good

  • Assets
  • I finished what I set up to create
  • Good choice of language and tools

The bad

  • No sound effects and music
  • Didn’t get to add a navigation menu
  • Underpowered AI and units

The ugly

  • My code.

That’s about it. I look forward to the next edition of Ludumdare and other gamejams that might be thrown my way. You can download the post-jam version of MIW here or, alternatively, you can check out the version made in 48 hours. If you took part in the jam then feel free to also rate it 🙂

P.s. I’m Open Sourcing the code under CC-3.0 for non-commercial use. The assets are available under CC-3.0 SA  and the .pdn (Paint dotNet) file can be downloaded from OpenGameArt. Feel free to fork the project on github and alter it. Going to try and work on MIW during my spare time, to add new units, fix bugs and improve code readability.

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