Just got done submitting my 3rd Ludum Dare compo game. This time, the theme was “An Unconventional Weapon”, so I chose food as an unconventional weapon. What I ended up with was a hilarious food fight game where the objective is to clear out all of the customers.
The backstory of the game is a bit like this: You have been given a dirty fork! And as you know, a food fight is the only appropriate way to respond to this egregious of an insult.
It started simply enough – throwing the tomato was the first prototype. Then I made the tomato go splat and stick to whatever it hit. Then came the customer to throw the tomato at. Then there were some tables, and more customers, and the tables were filled with tomatoes. Then the Maitre ‘d made his appearance. Then I decided that the restaurant needed pie, because pies are awesome in food fights. Then the waitstaff, chefs, and managers were created and they started throwing things back. Then I wanted some hot dogs, because hot dogs are funny. The poor player needed some cover, so then I added shoji screens. After that came breakables in the form of the lights and some glass pitchers. Then the world needed sound, and funny one-liners when opponents got hit. After that, a bit of music, some improved textures for the environment, and then 3 final food types, the waffle, the pizza, and watermelon, all in rapid succession. And lots of little stuff along the way. That’s how a game gets made in 48 hours.
This time, I used 32 of the 48 hours, which was a bit better than the 34 hours from the last compo I participated in. Honestly, I probably could have dropped the hours around 2am, because they weren’t very productive.
So now I am 3-for-3 in creating 3D games for Ludum Dare events. I’m not sure why, but I seem more comfortable doing artwork for a 3D world than a 2D one. I think it’s easier. It might be because 3D artwork seems more rooted in math and form – instead of drawing a projection of a form, I’m actually building the form itself, which usually boils down to a series of geometric exercises.
Overall, I’m very pleased with how the game turned out. I was especially pleased with the 3D modeling and texturing job that I did on the food items, and for the walls. One can do quite a bit with the new Unity 5 Standard Shader and some clever height maps.
One thing I am not pleased about that really came to the forefront this weekend is the whole kerfluffle with many plugins now being disabled in Google Chrome by default, including Unity Web Player. I have come to rely on Unity Web Player to distribute my games, especially for Ludum Dare events. I hadn’t yet tried Unity’s WebGL/HTML5 support, though this blog post made it sound like switching from Web Player to WebGL would only be a small risk. I’m here to tell you this is not the case, folks.
I spent a few hours pre-competition playing with the WebGL builds and doing a bit of research, and the results were not encouraging. Then, it came time to start actually putting out builds, and I so I built for 3 platforms: Windows Native, Web Player, and WebGL. The Windows Native and Web Player builds worked like greased lightning – over 100 frames per second in both. The WebGL build, though, was awful. It was the worst pile of pants. The build was badly bloated, and even with the quality turned way down, it was huffing and puffing and wheezing and choking and sputtering at 3-4 fps. (If you know Dragonball Z, just imagine that time that Trunks and Goten botched their fusion.)
So, contrary to claims that Unity’s WebGL deployment is the way of the future, in the present, it very much feels like the past to me. I think that only two of my back catalog games would run acceptably on Unity’s WebGL support: Chroma Invader and Snowflake, two of my earliest and simplest games.
I have not forgotten about Dehoarder 2. On the contrary, I’ve been working on it a ton. It is nearly feature-complete, which is where I am looking to be for Steam Greenlight. I’ve implemented building inspections, and some character stats as well. Dehoarder 2 also very much benefited from an upgrade to Unity 5, and from the incorporation of some formerly-pro features like pre-baked lighting. I also went back for another pass at the house model, adding details like exterior trim and baseboards, and preparing the house model for player customization (e.g. new siding, carpet, etc.). I hope that my participation in Ludum Dare this weekend ignites my productivity even further. At this point, I hope to have Dehoarder 2 ready to ship by the end of June.
Ok, I’m going to bed now. Tomorrow it is time to rate some Ludum Dare entries.