MiniLD 53: Running From The Future
I’d never done a game jam before the MiniLD 53. I was worried that I wouldn’t complete the game I set out to make. Overall not only did I do that but then some. I took a technology released 2 days ago, completely new to me and created the game that I not only wanted to make but also wanted to play. During the jam I noticed myself saying “Okay I will just debug this one thing.” then twenty minutes had past of me trying to beat my previous score.
For the MiniLD 53 I decided to make an endless runner. I’ve never found endless runners to be that exciting but I did have a bit of time where they were the majority of what I played while I was in college. I wanted to get into the endless runner because it was one of those games types of games that had a ton of depth than what’s originally on the surface. In fact it wasn’t until 2010 did I realize that people would hit objects purposefully to slow themselves down in Canabalt.
I finally came up with Running From The Future in which not only do you jump over static obstetrical but also dynamically spawning zombies. The zombies spawn behind you for a slight warning then charge as soon as possible. The score is generated simply by distance traveled but I did have thoughts of adding in calculations for increasing score per object dodged but ultimately didn’t want to punish players for using a legitimate strategy to keep control of their runner.
The technology used was the Unreal Engine 4 with Paper2D. Paper2D released that Wednesday with Unreal 4.3. I found a few bugs and glitches with Paper2D but overall it was an ease to work with. Things functioned how I thought they should and setting up a project to start was a few clicks of a button. This was a key motivator because from the get go I didn’t have to write my own engine, setup physics or anything else like I’d been use to when writing 2D games. The entire game was written in the Unreal Engine 4 blueprint system which was also fairly new to me. Coming from 4 years of C++ development, I’ve noticed that I found myself drawn in by blueprinting. At first I thought it was going to be the hardest system of Unreal Engine 4 for me to utilize but it does things quick and with little performance loss.
Lastly I am happy to have finished the game but am a bit upset that I didn’t pick a game with a bigger scope. I will probably make menus and customizable keys more of a priority. All in all not bad at all for my first game jam and I hope to do it again very soon.