The theme this time was Shapeshift. Which surprised me since it was definitely not one of the themes I expected to win, but in all fairness every theme apparently had a negative vote total due to being disliked by the majority of theme voters (lol). As evidenced by the official twitter post:
The name 'Saving Steve' didn't occur to me until later in the weekend, but as the game evolved and I realized one of the facets of the game play experience I could offer was to strongly identify the character you're trying to save by shifting the dungeon, and subsequently attempt to engage the player between deaths by taunting and revealing more information about Steve.
One of the ways that I surfaced this was to spend a couple hours on Sunday building out an intro sequence, and adding flavor text on death.
Facts about Steve... I decided Steve is blind:
Steve has a family:
And your lackluster performance has other far-reaching victims:
Because the game is also intentionally difficult, players are forced to experience the messaging that introduces humor and also their own agency in Steve's demise. So far as results and comments trickle in, the effect has been great! Most players are both amused and frustrated as Steve dies over and over, and the game taunts them.
This was exactly the type of investment I was aiming for in Saving Steve. The only downside is that the skill curve is steep and erratic. I've watched a handful of people play the game now, and the average player dies upwards of 10 times on levels 2, 3, and 5. While levels 1, 4 and 6 appear to be the easier levels (which is unfortunate since Level 6 is the final level).
One of the surprises last weekend during the Dare was also how effective it was to use OSCADSharp to generate 3D models for Saving Steve. It was my expectation going into the compo that I would only produce a model for Steve, and perhaps a couple other things, and do 2D art for the rest, but ultimately the speed of creation and greater quality of my simple models greatly exceeded my ability to make good 2D art efficiently.
Plus because I went 3D using tools designed for 3D printing, was able to print a figurine of Steve while making a game starring him. How badass is that?
Overall, Ludum Dare 35 has been a great experience. Shortcomings aside, Saving Steve came better than expected, and the reactions to the game have been delightful.
Feel free to check the game out on the Ludum Dare site or on the LD35 link of this site. (For a limited time most likely!)
Saving Steve on Ludum Dare
That's all for now! Have a great week!