Beyond Ludum Dare

As I’d hoped, my 48-hour game Glauron did pretty well in the latest Ludum Dare game development competition: it ranked #58 overall, and made the top-100 in the graphics and fun categories as well.

Glauron animation

That’s very nice and flattering, but I think there is more potential here. In fact, I already sent the game to a couple of “HTML5” game portals to see if they’d be willing to slap some ads on and host it. I’ve no idea whether this will make me pennies or millions, but since I’ve already built the game, it’s essentially free money, right?

Turns out it wasn’t entirely free, because some features were still missing. Most notably, touch support and sound muting. But both were easy enough to implement, and added only a few hours to the total development time.

Right now, I’m in the process of finalizing the deal with one portal; I just need to provide a nice icon and it should be good to go. I got a rejection from another portal because the game isn’t performant enough on mobile. (They’re quite right; it turns out Crafty.js is just too slow for limited platforms. Even people on desktop computers reported slowness in the later levels.) A third portal rejected the game because it wasn’t a good fit for their catalogue, which when I looked closer consisted mostly of Candy Crush clones, so again quite justified. Three other portals have not answered my initial inquiry at all. (If you’re interested in the names of these portals, I’m probably allowed to share them but too lazy to verify that right now.)

But as always with game jams, there’s stuff you have time to build, and stuff you have to leave out because you don’t have time. Just some ideas that I or other people had:

  • Make the score multiplier more “sticky” so you can make more ludicrous combos.
  • More types of enemies: ballistas, catapults, towers full of archers.
  • Increasing terrain height and difficulty over time. Plains, hills, mountains, cliffs!
  • Gold coins and diamonds that come out of buildings, and stick to your belly where you touch them. When they get hit by an arrow, they fall off but the arrow does no damage. This will let skilled players build up a layer of armour on the early levels in order to make those more interesting and prepare for the harder part later on.
  • Better looking fire. So, so much better looking fire. Must have additive blending!

To kill two birds with one stone, I’m thinking of porting the game to libgdx. That will let me publish it on mobile, but also create a web build that is hopefully more performant. But I don’t have much time, and I don’t want to let this get in the way of finishing Orbital Express… choices, choices.