This weekend was the 42nd Ludum Dare and the theme was “Running out of Space”. It reminded me of a few jams ago, the theme was “Running out of Power” and I think both themes were finalists that time so I had thought about potential games to make back then too. My first thought was to do a play on a racing type game, where the space would literally be running out, and the mechanics would be about braking or stopping before the space ran out. Maybe even in space, going lightyears per second and performing some kind of puzzle mechanic to slow the hyperdrive down before actually running out of space, as in the end of the universe.
What I started with was planning as like a “fulfillment center simulator” with the idea that things would get delivered to you in one way, and then you’d need to send them out in a specific configuration. I had originally started planning for multiple colors and shapes, but scaled it back to just colors as I started having some issues getting the drag and drop working well. I wanted to be able to pick up individual objects and be able to sort them, and then also move them around in bulk. I’m pretty happy with the end result for how the boxes and pallets drag and drop relationship works now, but I think I’ll need to play around a bit more with the size of objects in relation to each other to fine tune how smooth it should be fore moving things around. I’ll probably make the pallets a big bigger and reduce the space between them in the middle, so that clicking on the outer edge would be for moving a whole pallet, and clicking in the middle would be for grabbing individual boxes.
I ran into another bit of trouble figuring out how to check that the pallet the player has configured matches the randomly generated ones to create the gameplay points system. What I settled on doing is creating a global array called pallet[x,y] where x is the pallet id, and y is the spot on the pallet 1-9, and the value stored is the type of box in that spot, so pallet[2,3] = 1 would mean on pallet number 2, the top right spot is a red square. That way is scale able in that I could have as many types as I wanted and still have a quick way to check if it matched.
To continue work on this game, I’d definitely like to incorporate some better themed art for a industrial type environment with the conveyors and walls. I’d like to make the boxes different styles, some could just be the square, or with crossed beams, or a triangle or really anything. So the amount of potential objects could get more and more complicated to sort and be able to quickly put together the things needed to finish the outgoing pallet configuration. I’d also like to work in different size pieces like a 1×2, 2×1 or 2×2 that would make both the sorting and shipping a little more complicated to create a difficulty curve, or maybe different gameplay modes. I could even see myself designing stages with a particular order of pieces that I would make out to specific difficulty that would match the stages through a campaign like experience.
Check it out on the LD site here: https://ldjam.com/events/ludum-dare/42/put-what-where
Or on the itch.io site here: https://doublesquare.itch.io/put-what-where