Gamejam entry: INFALL

After missing Ludum Dare 20, I returned in August 2011 for Ludum Dare 21 ready to try my hand at a 3D entry. Equipped with Panda3D and a copy of Blender I bravely set forth to create a game based on the theme of 'Escape'.

Infall

Being the through and through space nerd that I am, I came up with the idea of attempting to escape a gravity well. That sounded a little easy so I decided it would be an obscenely overpowered gravity well surrounded in asteroids to dodge while you attempted to make your escape. Still sounds too easy? You are given barely any fuel and are required to perform a slingshot manouevre to gain enough velocity to break free of gravity's grip.

The game features a 3D cockpit (with comfy chair!) that you can look around. To the right is a radar map of your surroundings

Radar

And to the left a goal summary and distance required to win display

Goal

Your visual field of view is warped by the effects of acceleration and gravity as you approach the anomaly in the centre of the gravity well. Asteroids fly blindy across your path and are instant death if you should collide with them. The anomaly sings a dire dirge that increases in volume and urgency as you fall deeper in the gravity well. But none of these things matter as the game is flawed at a basic level.

Not any fun. Too much stress, too little player agency, no real ability to see all incoming asteroids before they hit, too little fuel to make even a single mistake. This is a game that only the developer, intimately familiar with the rules and expectations that are not otherwise communicated can enjoy. And even I don't really like it.

Still, a few judges saw something positive about the game and took the time to rate it, resulting in #118th place for graphics of the 599 entries, but only #318th overall.