Run OGRE Run is an infinite runner, where you (the OGRE) run through a medieval village causing mayhem. With an angry mob hot on your heels, and an outraged citizenry hurling anything they can get their hands on at you. You must avoid obstacles, dodge weapons, consume pies, and drink ale along the way to stay one step ahead.
We're a two-man team out of California and Texas, and this is our first game jam. In fact, we only heard about this competition three days before it started and figured it would be a great experience. We have a handful of games in our development queue, but we’ve struggled along the way with scope creep and the daunting reality of large game projects. We were very excited by the idea of a game jam to force us into managing the scale and scope, and avoid getting bogged down as we have in other projects.
After reading the winning theme on Friday, we connected over Skype and shared a Mischief session to sketch out ideas, figure out our base mechanics, and conceptualize the general game flow. Once we had a high level view of what we were going to build, we jumped into a google doc and wrote up a basic game design document (GDD) of the systems, art, and sounds we would need to complete the game, and then split up ownership of tasks. Since we're both pretty comfortable bouncing between code and art responsibilities, our plan was to build all the logic first using primitives, then tag-team art creation while merging and testing systems, and spend whatever time we had left polishing the results and adding as much candy as time allowed.
Mischief concept sketches and GDD...
We started by building systems in separate projects, then importing them as asset bundles into the main project, and used SourceTree and Bitbucket for our version control. We assumed once we had basic functionality in the main scene we could both switch to it and proceed with a Commit, Fetch, Merge, Push routine. After a few of these however, we realized git wasn’t working well with Unity specific files such as levels, materials, etc, so we stopped trying to work on the scene simultaneously and ended up doing most of our refinements in separate projects and merging only once we knew things were ready, or close enough. By the end of day one, all the primary systems were built to at least the first pass stage.
On day two we took turns working on the main project while the other worked on art to deal with version control issues. Art was produced in Blender, Photoshop, and Gimp. Everything is our original art, but the character and houses were originally built for another project so we opted out of the graphics category. The character and houses still had to be modified for this project and the remaining art was created within the 72 hour window, so art still consumed a chunk of our available time. It was great to replace the primitives with final art, the transformation was exciting.
Core logic in place with primitive graphics...
3D asset creation and testing...
The music and sound creation occurred throughout the duration of the project, but really started coming together towards the end. The songs were created in GarageBand, and audio processing was done in Audition. Getting audio into the game was another aha moment that added a lot of polish to the overall project.
Day three was filled working out remaining code issues, creating the logo, theming the UI, and plenty of play testing. Time restrictions forced us to cut a handful of ideas, and take a few shortcuts, but we managed to submit the initial WebGL build by the deadline, and followed that with desktop versions for PC, Mac, and Linux.
Ludum Dare was a fantastic experience for us, the time restriction forces productivity over all other things. It’s been so fun to see other perspectives, play other games, and have an immediate audience for our own. We can’t wait to do it again. As for Run OGRE Run, our current plan is to polish it up, add all the things we were forced to cut plus more content and touch controls, and publish it on mobile.
Our software toolset for the build...
- Unity (Game engine)
- Blender (Modeling, rigging, and painting)
- Mischief (Concept drawing)
- Gimp (Art and textures)
- Adobe Photoshop (Art and textures)
- Adobe Audition (Audio processing)
- Garage band (Music composition)
- Shadermap (Tiled normal maps)
- MindTex (Normal map creation)
- SourceTree (Git)
- Bitbucket (Git)
Additional software to make it easier to deal with our geographical difference...
- Skype (video chat, desktop sharing)
- Telegram (chat, image and file sharing)
- Teamviewer (desktop sharing)
What is Ludum Dare?
Ludum Dare is a community of game developers that participates in 3 intense, accelerated game development challenges a year. While there are no prizes, nearly 3000 developers/teams get together to produce their game in 48-72 hours. There are two categories of submission:
Compo: is a solo developer submission, where the developer has 48hrs to complete an original game, with all assets (other than code libraries) being created within the 48hrs.
Jam: allows individuals or teams to work on submissions and extends the time to 72hrs. Additionally, any assets may be used to create the game.
Crazy Minnow Studio submitted Run OGRE, Run! as a Jam entry and we pretty much used up our allotted 72hrs! :)