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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, 08:52 PM

This is quite a fun game. although you should be able to tell what houses are peasents/warriors/mages etc so you know what kind of person you are killing off to make room. and also you should be able to kill people seperatly and not kill them off randomly by picking a house.


April 20, 2002, 04:11 AM

Yay! Fun! I lack a single-player mode though, with seven hours to spare you should've been able to whip up at least a self-learning neural net! ;)

Btw, I love all you indie guys; many of you are like me, old-timers with a grudge against the increasing focus on (assumed) population-streamlined, populistic, flashialized games reduced to what is believed market-wise correct. The general trend is that game content, innovation and playability is a negative function of time. I don't know if this indie rebellion will change this - the indie film movement hasn't dented mainstream movies much - but hope stays eternal...!


April 20, 2002, 07:03 AM

Impressive. Nice work.


April 20, 2002, 07:44 AM

Yeah... Dare is the verb to give, ludum means games.


April 20, 2002, 08:38 AM

Looks great for such a short development span. Reminds me of Advance
Wars. I meant to enter this competition myself, but forgot all about
it. Grrr. So how did you do, assuming the entries were graded?

I think Indy gamers rule too. The commercial market is aimed too much
at percieved trends. We have far too many franchises spilling over
from other media formats, film licenses, cartoons, pop-stars etc. So
when your at a company, you're stuck implementing other peoples ideas,
most of which contrast the subtleties of good game design. The sad
part is that those are precisely the games that sell, pushing more
innovative titles off the shelf. We need more concept stuff!


April 20, 2002, 08:58 AM

Reminds me of Rampart. :)


April 20, 2002, 11:23 AM

As a matter of fact, that's also the first thing I thought when I saw the picture :)


April 20, 2002, 01:10 PM

This is excellent for 24 hours! I glanced at the other projects on the website, this seems like the best one. (Although I didn't try ALL of them...) Good luck.
I've done my own 24 hour projects, with a team of 3, twice already, and I know it's tough to get something done, and more importantly POLISHED on schedule. (Maybe I should post an IOTD myself...) This ran first try on my computer and didn't crash at all! That's always tough to achieve with no time for playtesting. And it's actually fun! (At least, a little, solitaire.) My first project came out pretty unpolished, and the second was nowhere near finished and got canned.
I have to agree with what a lot of people on these IOTD comments seem to say, engines are trite and worthless. A finished game is where the real impressive stuff is, even if it's a simple little 2D game like this.


April 20, 2002, 03:10 PM

Or better yet, make the engine *from* it. That way you already have a working example of your engine in action.


April 20, 2002, 03:51 PM

I thought you went away. Shoo.


April 20, 2002, 05:49 PM

Rampart was in fact a large part of the thought process of coming up with this game... it's actually based on a design doc I wrote in 1996, which specifically mentions Rampart in fact! It also originally had cannons in it... it was intended to be sort of rampart, but without the random factor of the tetris blocks, and with the addition of people who invade the bases (and like Rescue Raiders, which I doubt anyone remembers, you can't rely on your cannons to win, they just have to 'fly cover' for the troops that can destroy the enemy keep). The end result however, managed to definitely differentiate itself!


April 20, 2002, 05:52 PM

why on earth are you killing your own people!?!?!


April 20, 2002, 05:55 PM

There are scores to be given out, but the judging is still going on... if you wanna see the results, check out Ludum Dare, probably tomorrow! At least I hope so, I'm antsy!


April 20, 2002, 06:14 PM

This looks a lot like the SpeedHack competition ( ), where you have 72 hours to make a complete game.
I really should post an IOTD :)

(btw, how does one make a URL on these forums?)


April 21, 2002, 01:53 AM


Alex May

April 21, 2002, 06:05 AM

damn straight!

Alex May

April 21, 2002, 06:08 AM

I'm so impressed, nice one. Cute graphics.

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