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Slower Than Sound ~ Ludum Dare 34 – Two Button Controls / Growing

I’m not even going to pretend this post is supposed to be on time. Ludum Dare 34 happened on December 11th-14th, which means voting is already well and truly over and I’m just terrible with getting these posts up in time. Oh well, we’re here now, so it’s time to get started!

The theme for this one was *somehow* a tie between Two Button Controls and Growing. Since I wanted to cover both bases (not required as participants were allowed to choose just one theme), my original plan for my game featured both, although I settled for just Two Buttons in the end because of the huge time constraints. My game features two spaceships that shoot at each other (similar to Faster Than Light, hence the horrifyingly bad title), trying to target the other ship’s weapons. Both ships are able to shield each of their weapons temporarily in the hope that they’d be able to block out incoming enemy bullets. The game is turn-based, so one player attacks while the other defends.

The Two-Button part comes in with switching between weapons; on your attacking turn, you press Q to toggle which of your weapons you wish to fire, and E to fire the current weapon. On your defending turn (the enemy’s attack turn), you similarly press Q to toggle the selected weapon, and press E to raise its shield temporarily.

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The game is a bit buggy, but at least it’s pretty.

The original plan had you navigating through space on some world map using Q and E to turn left and right, flying forward automatically and trying to get to the next galaxy while avoiding asteroids. However, I didn’t have enough time to even attempt that part. In that version, you would trigger battles randomly, with enemies getting stronger as you progress. You would also be able to visit shops in order to upgrade your ship and buy more weapons; the annoying thing is that I had the code in place to add more weapons to your ship, but I couldn’t showcase it properly because the game crashes on level 2 (I eventually made the game just a series of 10 ships you have to fight, gaining weapons some levels).

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I also liked the effect of blown-up ships.

What started off as a pretty ambitious project got somewhat out of hand as I spent too long on the art. I’m pleased with how the game looks, but I wish I’d had all the key gameplay features nailed first of all. This Ludum Dare entry was the antithesis of how I usually work; this one sacrificed features for looks, while for example, my Ludum Dare 32 entry, I Will Be Happy, did well due to its simplistic graphical style and focus on gameplay. In the future, it seems I’ll be making sure I shift most of my attention on the gameplay. That said, I’m happy with the graphics – the stars look very nice as they scroll in the background and the ships, despite their minimalist look, are pretty pleasing to look at (if I do say so myself of course, I’m always modest, me).

I also didn’t rate enough other Ludum Dare games for mine to get any rating, although it was good fun making this entry. Here’s to the next Ludum Dare in April, hopefully I’ll do better next time round!

If you’d like to give it a go, you can try it out on the Ludum Dare website – there’s a link on there somewhere. Have fun and don’t get too confused – the game is a bit messy so I’d like to clean it up a little at some point.

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