Grow Trees… Or Something – Ludum Dare

So this is something I didn’t expect to happen, around two weeks ago was Ludum Dare, where we all had only 48 hours (or 72 for jams) to develop a game, however because I had plans to go to a party that was some distance from home, I had much less time. Despite that I still managed to finish something, although honestly was disappointed I didn’t have much to show, so I could go and vote on other entries.

You can play my entry for Ludum Dare 34 here, but here’s my post mortem as written on the Ludum Dare website.

Voting

What surprises me is that I’ve had some nice and positive comments from many people so far, obviously I wasn’t expecting overwhelmingly positive comments of people thinking a game about planting trees, letting them grow and chopping them down with no time and a limited amount of space was the best they’ve ever played, however I was surprised to see many people saying how nice and calming it is, how it’s very peaceful and relaxing it was to play. Among that, most people said they were impressed that I managed to produce this in around six hours.

Concept

Originally, I was going to team up with an artist that I work with in my full time job as a programmer. When the themes were announced, we were hoping the winning theme was going to be non-violent combat, and had an idea for combating enemies with dancing. I cannot recall why we didn’t go ahead with that one, but we did also have ideas that involved growing trees, so when growing became one of the themes we ended up agreeing to it.

Development

After recalling the development stages, I’m not entirely sure if I did only work on the game for less than six hours. After the theme was announced at 1:30 am on Saturday, I went to sleep. I didn’t start working until around 10am when I got on the train to London, where I did at most 1 1/2 hours (see above). Because of the party, I didn’t do any work until Sunday afternoon when I got back home (around 4pm), and even then I had stopped to discuss any chance of salvaging what time we had left to work on the project with an artist. Once it got late enough I decided to call it quits and try for Monday.

After getting back from work on the Monday, I quickly finished the last of the art work, added in some audio from freesound.org and uploaded it, so judging by the timestamps and when I took breaks, it’d be more accurate to say I took around 6-8 hours of the game.

In Conclusion

Regardless of how long I actually took, what’s clear was that I honestly should have planned my time better, either by cancelling my invite to London or not take part in the games jam entirely. By having more time, I could’ve made a more complete and fulfilling game entry, and probably kept both myself and my artist motivated to working together. Instead I went on an assumption that because I managed to create games in shorter times in the past, that it would be fine this time around.

Thank you to all those who have voted, I have been enjoying all the entries that I have seen so far. I’ll be interested in what the final scores will be.

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