Ludum Dare 37 “One Room” submission – Eye in the Sky

Hey everyone, happy December and thanks for checking out my Ludum Dare 37 submission Eye in the Sky! http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=109750  I definitely struggled figuring out what gameplay mechanic I was actually going for, and I was really feeling the time pressure this weekend due to some other engagements I had to attend on both Saturday and Sunday.  My overall work for LD37 was roughly 14 hours, which is about half of what I was able to commit for LD36.

The Plan:

I went through a couple different ideas in my head at first, and almost settled in on a kitchen-based tower defense against the ants game- but I wanted to do a little more with the theme than just having the game exist in a static room.  That led me to thinking about cameras and having multiple viewpoints in a single room where I toyed around with both bank security and casino security in my mind.  I didn’t have a real mechanic in mind as I started going, but I did want to be able to change camera views, and have some reason to find people or objects in the room.  My plan included having the people emote with speech-bubble emojis, and have the player try to catch suspicious activity- but I settled in on just matching random appearance and Where’s Waldo style people-finding.  I also originally wanted to give the player access to the cameras individually to be able to manually pan and zoom, but that didn’t make it in either.

What worked:

I have not worked much with camera or view manipulation in Gamemaker so I was glad to be able to explore those actions during the jam.  I am pretty pleased with how I was able to “animate” the view zoom from partial screen to full center.  I was actually surprised with how I set up providing a list of 20 random people, and then using the finder object to pick one and utilize it as the game objective.  It definitely took a bit of tweaking to make sure the actual matching instances of the people matched what was being asked for, as well as cycling through the entire list of people in the room.  There ended up being 96 different possible combinations of hair/skin/shirt/pants colors so I had to make sure the randomness generated 20 different people, but know exactly which combos each of those 20 had.

What didn’t work:

I’m not a big fan with how my people turned out, although I did kind of like my casino tables.  I wanted to also do slot machines, but it took me way too long to draw my people.  I also originally was going to include randomized reasons to find people, as well as random names, but it wasn’t working how I wanted in my head so I cut working on it to save time.

 

Takeaways:

I do feel that my pixel skills are improving, I like working with from-scratch jams to force more practice, even though I think most of what I draw looks pretty terrible most of the time.  I think I tend to rely on CC0 (opengameart.org shout out) a bit too much in my commercial games, which can be tricky to maintain cohesive themes.

I need to read up more on text and string data and list manipulation, especially with handling some sort of conversation engine, where I can keep my script/dialog text somewhere easily accessible and call on as needed to display it.

Having a busy non-gamedev schedule during LD weekend really made the time pressure weigh more heavily in my design decisions, which in turn made me feel more stressed when trying to implement ideas.

 

Overall I’m happy to get something submitted and looking forward to the next one!

 

Here’s a timelapse of the creation:

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