Hot on the heels of our participation in Ham's Heart Jam, we've jumped into another Jam, the 41st Ludum Dare! This time with (Gasp!) an actually interesting theme! (Calm down in the back, Meredith.) We were also able to use our participation in his jam to emotionally blackmail Ham into joining me (Rusty) for the jam! Yay!
(You can check out our game here)
The theme of the jam was Two Incompatible Genres and we sorted through a lot of mashup ideas before settling on a turn-based space shooter. Influencing our decision was an awareness that we wanted the game to be playable outside of the jam.
We appreciate that a lot of the culture (and some of the best rating experiences) of the jam comes from games so specifically made to fit the theme of the jam that they don't make a lot of sense outside of that context or, in the best cases, even within it. Still, we decided that given this very good theme we wanted to make a game that it would make sense to work on after the jam.
What we came up with is basically just an engine for turn-based space combat. While our heads are currently spinning with ways to expand this into a full game, we are pleased with the experience we turned out for the jam. It's short and sweet and, although it would probably be better with a short tutorial, people seem to be enjoying it so far.
The name Piloteer was chosen in the last moments of the jam, literally in the last half-hour of development time. Originally we had planned to call it void hunters, but it turns out that is already a thing. The title is definitely still a developing situation.
As far as the game experience itself, our biggest miss was probably giving the enemies too random of a firing timer and no way to telegraph that they are about to attack. In future build we will have a special animation that will loop during planning on any enemy that is able to attack in the next round.
We were also unable to get much sound into the game in time. This is my fault (still Rusty) because I don't know how to manage time. We did get the music in at the last minute, with a gimmick where a synthy affected double of the bass melody fades in and out with the active phase of combat. We plan to play with that gimmick in more complicated and musicky ways in future versions of the game, possibly tying specific rhythm tracks to enemy presences or other hazards.
Expect to see more on this game, or at least on a game utilizing the combat engine we made here. We find it fun, and that's a pretty good barometer for whether we will put more time into a game ;)