Gamejam entry: Mountain

For Ludum Dare 22 in December of 2011, I decided to learn Unity3D in 48 hours. After all, Unity was supposed to be the new super easy-peasy lemon-squeezy do-it-all in one click game making superengine, right?


The theme for LD22 was 'Alone'. I felt that climbing a mountain in the dark ought to be quite a lonely experience, but probably quite difficult and frustrating too. I had recently read a review of one of the Dark Souls games that mentioned the ability to leave messages for other players, even though you were essentially playing the game by yourself. This seemed like an excellent idea to me at the time, though I later learnt that the messages in Dark Souls are very limited, probably to avoid spoilers and offensive language. But I decided to try and implement this myself.

By peppering the route up the mountain with obstacles and traps that are almost impossible to see in the dark, a player is very likely to die without reaching the summit. They are then prompted for a message, which will be attached to the point they died along with a light that will help illuminate the obstacle for the next player to come along. Hence the route gradually becomes illuminated with the ghosts of failed players (and their often rather rude thoughts about their failure), making the game progressively easier each time it is played.

Mountain 1

The gameplay is very simple and I was able to utilise 'out of the box' unity components for much of the mountain climbing and dying. The only substantial functionality I had to develop myself was providing connectivity to an online database of player death locations and messages, in order to allow the players to see eachother's deaths.

Mountain 2

It is as well that the Unity component was so simple, as developing and testing a reasonably robust database and access layer within the gamejam time limit ate a good portion of my time, but was definitely worthwhile.

The game was generally well received and placed #9th in innovation, and #34th overall of 891 entries.