When I found out the theme was Alternate Realities and Time is Power, I knew I wanted to think of something a bit more interesting than the easy option of waiting a certain amount of time increases your power. I also was trying to think of a game for Ludum Dare, which started the same weekend with the theme Harvest. Taking both concepts in mind, I ended up getting the idea of a spaceship powered by harvesting the remaining lifespan of living things. Plants were the obvious choice since humanity would be less likely to object to them being used and harvesting too many plants could cut your food supply. The premise was you and your crew were lost in space, and you had to use your resources wisely to get home. Most of, if not the whole game, would be at the ship's dashboard with an options menu for whether to choose a course, harvest more time, etc..
I quickly gave up on asking if it was okay to submit to both GoedWare and Ludum Dare because it was obvious I'd need the full span of the jam. I spent a couple days trying to create a different game for Ludum Dare, but never thought of one I liked enough to stick with. What I did get during that experience was some time to experiment with the new button assets in GDevelop, which I ended up using in my GoedWare game as the dialogue box as well as the menu buttons.
When I finally sat down to work on “Time Harvest in Space”, I came to the embarrassing realization that while I had handled Time is Power perfectly, I had not taken into account the alternate reality theme. I decided to remedy this by saying that the player (you) woke up on a spaceship as the captain, who is an alternate version of you. The ship's android realizes what is going on, but wants you to pretend to be the captain so the crew doesn't panic. This inserted a great opportunity for the android to act as a tutorial, explaining things as you came to them in a more immersive way than an instruction screen with a wall of text.
I had planned for most of the game to take place in front the options menu with a quick cut scene at the beginning. With the stats Food, Fuel, Plants and Oxygen. However, I did not get much beyond the cutscene and basic design for the stats stats/options screen with stats and action buttons, of which only one is semi-functioning. I also changed the stats slightly, adding a moral stat to include the importance of keeping the unseen crew motivated. I also removed the oxygen stat since it was taking too much thought and research to decide how much the ship should have and how much would be lost per day – I plan to say the ship recycles its water and oxygen to keep things from getting too complicated.
In all, I am satisfied with what I got and have plans to submit a more finished version to OGA Jam at the end of the month.
Summary of things learned:
- How to use the button assets in Gdevelop for dialogue
- Rudiments of how to work with many stat variables and research the logic behind them
- Integrating a tutorial into the story through an explanation from the character, while attempting to mix in enough story and interactions it does not feel like an overwhelming info dump
- Basic sci-fy space writing, such as ship logistics and appropriate titles for the crew members
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