The challenge: Create a zombie survival game in 1 hour
Let me show you the tricks I used.
I like the beauty decay creates and have been venturing into different lost places.
It's super fascinating how things fall apart when humans are gone (and how quickly!).
I also like to imagine apocalypse scenarios. It's always interesting how ridiculously meaningless most things are from the stand point of an apocalypse. Making an escape plan, survival skills ... it's great to see you can survive without a working society.
To keep things achievable in this short timeframe, I used the following tricks.
1. Using an engine I'm familiar with
I'm working since years with the Cube 2 engine. It's a free, cross-platform engine with an incredible ingame world editor. If you want to try it out, I can suggest you to take a look at the Lamiae fork, which has a lot more tools when it comes to gameplay and better graphics.
Another bonus point definitively was, that I had models and textures to use. Else a hour would not have been enough.
2. Modular building
I first created a simple street module, I then used to create a street across the map.
After that I created a module for the skyscrapers. 1 module = 1 floor.
Now I could simply copy&paste the modules on top of each other.
To let the player reach the higher levels, I then created also a staircase module.
This approach saved me a lot of time when building the city.
3. Small space, rich world
Instead of trying to make a huge, but consequently empty world, I decided to create only 6 houses to go in. To trick the player into thinking the world is bigger I made the street lead into the distance, added some empty buildings to it and placed an invisible wall on each side.
Now I used a colored fog and lightening to set the mood. I decided to go with dominating tones of green and blue, to create a cold, wasteland-ish feel.
4. Asset pool
Without all the prepared textures and models, I'd have took me 4 times longer.
If you're making several games with a similar style, a quality asset pool can save weeks of work.
For single games you can also download assets from sites such as gamedevmarket.net or opengameart.org.
Although I did only fill one of the houses in time with details, I would have fully filled all houses with 40 mins more. So in 1 hour - rather not! But 2 hours would have been enough time to make the full city come alive. With gamejams usually lasting 48 hours, you could easily create a full zombie survival game, using the tricks above.
Thank you so much for reading! I'll see you in the next tiny worlds blog!