I am a few days late with this blog post as I decided to wait and see if I participated in the 7DRTS before writing it. Due to other obligations I was not able to spend a week, or for that matter evenings during the week, to work on the 7DRTS challenge but having worked out a simplified 4X game in my mind I wanted to give it a go. This is not that game but hints at what I had in mind are all throughout this postmortem. The game was posted on Ludum Dare, but is going to be August 2nd Blazing Games release. For those who don't want to wait a few days, here is the link to the page so you can try the game out right now. http://blazinggames.com/gamejams/minild44/miniLD44.php
What Went Right
In addition to the Mini-Ludum Dare theme of 7DRTS, I decided even before I started that I would try and incorporate the One Game a Month theme of Metal into whatever game I designed. Massive space fleets battling each other on a galactic map fit this theme but when I had to reduce my scope as it was probably not realistic, fitting that theme into colonizing planets was a bit trickier. Coming up with the amount of metal different stars have affecting the production rate worked really well as it definitely determines which strategies are most effective. The most effective strategy is focusing on heavy metal stars but bottlenecking the opponent by taking advantage of the 10 light-year limit is also effective.
What Went Right and Wrong
When I first heard of the RTS component of the challenge, my first thought was a galactic conquest game with a focus on fleets. As I only had a couple of the seven days this wasn't possible, at least not the way I had in mind. While playing with my galaxy generation code I added code to detect clicking on stars and making sure that a star was within 10 light years of a star the player already owns. This is when I realized that a race to colonize the galaxy is ultimately what the game is about and by eliminating the combat it becomes easy to finish the game over the weekend. Of course, by not having any type of production choices, or fleet dynamics, the strategy element of the game is significantly reduced. My what went right added a bit of strategy back to the game so while still simple on the strategy level, the game is fun and fairly quick to play.
What Went Wrong
As was already mentioned, the original plans for this game was to be a strategic space combat game so I spent time working out a simplified fleet management system. Had there been a full week to work on this game I have no doubts that I would have been able to pull this off. As it was, after spending a few hours of putting together some basic fleet management code, I quickly realized that the game simply was too large for a weekend so scrapped the code. Except that I still want to do the original game. Yet another game in my ever growing list of projects. Ah well.