Gamejam entry: Terra Bellum

Ludum Dare 23 took place in April 2012 with the theme 'Tiny World'. After throwing away a number of happy tiny biosphere gardening ideas, I decided the ideal use for a player created tiny world was to have it wage war on the tiny world of another player.

Terra Bellum

Terra Bellum is split into two distinct portions: building and fighting. In the building phase, a player uses their limited resources to build their tiny floating world around their Heart Tree, constructing walls and shields to protect the tree and building cannons and artillery to attack other players. Once the player is satisfied with their world the combat phase begins.

Terra Bellum combat

Combat in Terra Bellum is entirely automatic. The player's world is pitted against that of another player of roughly equivalent rank. The two worlds are positioned face to face and open up their guns and artillery in an attempt to destroy the weapons of the other world before receiving too much damage and ultimately to knock down the heart tree of the opposition. After 30 seconds or when a heart tree is destroyed, the combat phase ends. The player is rewarded with some quantity of resources to improve their world and the cycle repeats.

Terra Bellum explosion

Perhaps the most serious flaw with this game was the lack of intelligent aiming of the weapons. The cannons and artillery are able to shoot at slight angles, but currently do so only at random, not aiming for any particular target. This can result in what should be a clear victory resulting in a draw as your guns continue to happily blast into the void instead of targeting the enemy tree. Also the thinness of the shields coupled with the discrete collision detection of the projectiles makes shields a useless waste of resources, stopping perhaps one in ten projectiles at best.

The asynchronous multiplayer aspect of the game was reasonably successful however, and the game was ranked #65th in innovation and #325th overall of 1402 entries.