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Submitted by Mike Hommel, posted on April 19, 2002

Image Description, by Mike Hommel

The web site Ludum Dare - a website for indie game developers to meet and discuss junk - held its first contest this weekend. It was the 24 Hour Game Programming Competition. The theme was Indirect Interaction, which worked out beautifully, because every entry was totally different, instead of seeing the same thing executed 20 different ways. You actually were required to do *everything* in the 24 hours - art, sound, code, everything. And there were rules on what libraries you could use, to limit you to starting with just the absolute basics (no rotating alpha-blended sprite functions or anything - just straight blitting). That was intended to get you working only on the core issue: gameplay. This shot is of my entry, Castle Smash. You can download it and all the other entries at the Ludum Dare site.

My entry is kinda like an RTS. You start with 5 peasants, who do nothing but wander, and you build Schools, Barracks, and Guilds, to train your peasants to become Workers (which harvest wheat to make more peasants, and gold to buy more buildings/walls/bridges), Warriors (which attack the enemy castle and people), and Wizards (which defend your castle). I'm actually really proud of how it turned out. I forgot it was possible to make games so quickly, and this contest has really helped me get back into the "true spirit of game development"... it's like a Game Dev Carol!

There's not a lot of special features to discuss - this was made in 17 hours, you know... but in the shot, you can see workers harvesting stuff, and my mighty yellow warriors well on their way to absolutely wiping out the red castle (it's a 2 player game, I was playing yellow). There are also some wizards milling about in my castle area. Your own troops can walk through your walls - consider it symbolic of there being gates in them, okay? You can also see a little red dot where a yellow warrior and a red warrior are duking it out across the water (there's also one right on the red warrior's face!) - warriors fight by shooting little dots at each other. I didn't want to write any aiming code, so they actually shoot in random directions, but it's okay - it adds to the tension of combat! Because the theme of the contest is Indirect Interaction, you can't make your people do anything. Each type of person just automatically acts in a certain way. All you can do is build buildings (and blow up buildings you don't want anymore). The number of the different types of buildings you make influence how many peasants choose which jobs (if you have more Barracks, you'll get more of them to become Warriors, and stuff like that).

There are about 20 other entries at the website to check out, so you should go see what your fellow developers can do in 24 hours! And they all include source code, so you can rip off our hard work. Please don't do that. Here's a link to the list of entries:

Mike Hommel
Hamumu Software

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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.

April 19, 2002, 11:53 AM

YAY, me first and its my first reply EVER!!!! BUHAHAH


April 19, 2002, 11:55 AM

Very impressive for 24hours work!

Thomas van Dijk

April 19, 2002, 11:58 AM

Sounds great... I'm downloading it now!

What does 'ludum' mean? (Too lazy to get my dictionary...;))

Post - Postscriptum:
I thought I was first, but now I'm told that there's a bug and that I should report it! Now I'm not first :(... lol


April 19, 2002, 12:06 PM

WHat is that ?


April 19, 2002, 12:09 PM

It looks like nonsense


April 19, 2002, 12:10 PM

Nice art and a good idea; it's like simcity with a purpose.


April 19, 2002, 12:27 PM

Really impressive result for 24 hours of work. I've joined the last Allegro SpeedHack competition where you have to do a game in a weekend, but I didn't finish my entry. I know how hard it is now;)


April 19, 2002, 12:52 PM


Dominic Mulligan

April 19, 2002, 01:09 PM

From what I remember from Latin classes, it's Latin for games, as in Ludo.



April 19, 2002, 01:14 PM

THAT sounds *VERY* funny, 24h game making - what a great idea.
not the best 3d engine counts but the game idea.


April 19, 2002, 01:18 PM

I like the artwork and animation, it's simple and elegant. Playing against myself, if I don't win in the first minute or so, it seems like it would take a long time to get through the wizard defense.

Maybe if you could move the houses where you want the people to go.. it would let you direct units, plus they'd be easier for the enemy to kill.


April 19, 2002, 01:28 PM

haha! looks funny!
well done for 24hrs of creation time.


April 19, 2002, 01:54 PM

Downloaded it and played it.
It's fun ;)
Very impressive for 24h work !
I like the programmer's arts too.


April 19, 2002, 02:00 PM

very cool.. impressed.. worthless..


April 19, 2002, 02:21 PM

Damn, it seems you can make a game in much less time it takes to make an engine that helps to make a game...

who would have thunk it ?!


April 19, 2002, 02:28 PM

True, that's why i always make the game and when it's finished i make the engine for it ;)


April 19, 2002, 03:11 PM


Peter Mackay

April 19, 2002, 03:38 PM



April 19, 2002, 04:27 PM

THANK YOU, MC BAXTON!!! I look forward to seeing your 24 hour game too and comparing! You always provide fresh insight into every issue, and I can only presume that your game development skills are equally profound.


April 19, 2002, 04:35 PM

Since the goal was Indirect Interaction, I was trying to make it as indirect as possible. That's why all you can do is build buildings. I also scrapped putting in cannons you could fire at the enemy side (like Rampart) for the same reason.

I've played 2 players a few times, and though I don't think there's too much strategy to it, the wizard defense is nowhere near impregnable. The trick is in building and destroying bridges. You can build up a big army and keep it from going anywhere by not building bridges (and destroying ones your opponent builds), until it's as big as you want. Then go nuts building bridges and storm the castle!

There are some strategies which seem to work well. Actually, in the version up on Ludum Dare, there's one that works PERFECTLY - build walls on your opponent's crops. However, that's cheating, and there's a version available on my website ( that disallows building on enemy terrain entirely, which is how it should be.

But anyway, it's a 24 hour game, so it's not too deep, and probably not balanced at all (how many games have been released with a grand total of 2 full playthroughs having occurred?). Enjoy!

Warren Marshall

April 19, 2002, 04:38 PM

VERY nice for 17 hours of work! Really impressive!

It's easy to get caught up in writing engines and interfaces and forget about the game -- in other words, just get on with it! It's a lesson I wish more programmers (including myself) would remember. :)


April 19, 2002, 04:40 PM

A quote from the website itself (under Site Purpose):

Ludum Dare is Latin for "To give free play to", which is just about the best conversion I could get for "Independent Gaming" with my poor understanding for the language. :)

By the way, Geoff Howland runs the website, I was just one of the people who entered the contest (and I happen to be a big Ludum Dare fan, I'm trying to get it more indie-filled).


April 19, 2002, 05:06 PM

You f'n idiot. You don't seem to have much of a brain.


April 19, 2002, 05:16 PM

Hey isn't 24-hour coding what they did on Might and Magic 9?


April 19, 2002, 05:24 PM

They needed 24h for changing '8' to '9' ? WoW!


April 19, 2002, 05:31 PM

I always thought your comments were a bit odd, but interesting from a certain point of view.

This comment has no point at all, let alone a point of view.

(Now I must be careful not to confuse myself)


April 19, 2002, 05:53 PM



April 19, 2002, 06:14 PM



April 19, 2002, 07:58 PM

Hey, looks like fun, really. I'll download your demo tomorrow. As a matter of fact, the last time I seem to pull a lot more fun out of old-school simple games than the high-tech games of these days; realism and fun ard two distinct things. But then again, I may be growing old. Is there anyone who remembers the likes of Herzog Zwei, Sworx of Vermillion or Silpheed? Nah, I guess I'm really growing old.. :)


April 19, 2002, 08:20 PM

Its amazing ! You got quite low fps ;p

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