Ludum Dare 34: Rise of the Weeds
December 18, 2015
Ludum Dare has come and gone again. This thirty-fourth edition of the international “to give a game” event was a unique one in that the community of computer game developers involved in it voted a two-way tie on the themes. The two themes for this event were “Growing” and “Two button controls”. People had the option of doing one, the other, or both. I chose both and the result was a little game called Rise of the Weeds.
The weeds of the world have mutated into giant B-movie forms of their former selves. Now as they grow to gigantic proportions they are pulling cities into the ground building by building. You fly a small helicopter armed with the most powerful weed spray known. You must spray the weeds to keep them at bay long enough for the rescue helicopters to arrive and evacuate the buildings.
Ludum Dare comes in two flavors: the Jam—where you can work alone or in a team and use any base code, third party art, music, and audio, and have 72 hours—or the Compo—where you must work alone, create all art, music, and audio, have only 48 hours but can still use any base code you have (which you then have to make publically available afterwards). I went the 72 hour game jam route and ended up working 25 of those 72 hours (yep, I kept track).
As evidenced by my two Sleuthhounds computer games, my preferred game type is adventure games. The thing with adventure games is they require a lot of content and so aren’t the best suited for short game jams like this. But that’s what I see as one of the best benefits of Ludum Dare. The theme or, in this case, themes serve as a “design prompt,” an opportunity to push game developers out of their comfort zone and into game types they might not ordinarily tackle.
Being pushed out of your comfort zone is advice that’s been widely known among writers for a long time, but I seldom see or hear it mentioned in game developer circles. As a writer, reading and writing material out of your usual preferences exposes you to different ideas and different ways of telling stories. When you do come back to writing your preferred genre, you bring those experiences with you and can incorporate them to write something hopefully much more unique and interesting than you would otherwise.
The same, I feel, holds for computer games. By both playing and developing games that you ordinarily wouldn’t, you’re exposed to more ideas to make your “regular” games better. For the meagre price of two or three days, Ludum Dare is an excellent way of broadening your developer horizons. Like creating adventure games? Create an arcade game. Like creating puzzlers? Create a shoot-’em-up. Like creating scary games? Try something humorous.
I had a lot of fun with Ludum Dare 34 and I do feel I gained something as a developer from the experience. But, I’m not the only one to benefit from this. You, yes you, also benefit as there’s a new, free game for you to try. Keep in mind this game was created in a limited time span, so don’t expect an epic of, um, epic proportions. Also, I’ve done my best to make the game as stable as possible in the short period of time available but the odd bug or two may have crept in.
Anyway, here it is, warts and all:
They have been downtrodden.
They have been pulled from their homes.
Now they're here for revenge.
Rise of the Weeds
The weeds of the world have mutated and are growing to ginormous proportions. They seek to destroy humanity one building at a time.
As part of the Weed Aerial Brigade you must hold off the weeds long enough to evacuate the cities. But be careful, your chopper is armed with only a limited amount of the critical weed killer needed to stave off this threat such as humanity has never seen.
Good luck, pilot!
- Simple two button play. One button to turn your chopper, one to spray weeds.
- Ever increasing difficulty. Play until the weeds overrun the city.
- Scoreboard of high scores…Challenge your friends.
- Collapsing buildings and exploding helicopters!
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP or later
- CPU: Pentium 3 1.2 GHz, Athlon equivalent, or better
- RAM: 256 MB
- Graphics: Hardware Accelerated with full OpenGL 1.2 support (ATI Rage 128, ATI Radeon, nVidia GeForce 2, or better)
- Desktop Resolution: 800x600 or higher (runs fullscreen at current desktop resolution)
- Hard Drive: 7 MB free disk space for install
- Input Device: Keyboard
Download Rise of the Weeds Installer for Windows (Download Size: 2.0 MB)