Inefficient Plasma Weapon – Ludum Dare 39 Post Mortem

My Ludum Dare 39 entry is called Inefficient Plasma Weapon and your objective is to keep providing fuel to your plasma weapon so that it will continue to rotate the killer plasma balls that are used to destroy alien ships. I feel this way after every LD, but I think that this is my best entry out of the five Compos I entered. I’ll get into why I feel that way in a bit.

Pre-Theme Announcement

I spent a couple of days looking at the final list of themes and trying to determine what I would develop if that theme was chosen. I was not a fan of most of these themes, to be honest, and that made it difficult for me to plan something I really wanted to create. Out of all the ideas I thought of, I really liked the basic idea that became this game, and I tried to make it fit into multiple categories, just in case they were chosen.

Friday Status
Friday Night’s Prototype

As usual, the theme was announced and with a little extra planning I started. I spent about an hour trying to create a concept of trying to shoot the path that the plasma balls are travelling to expand them out into space, but I just could no get that to work, and decided to scrap it… I can’t waste any more time on that, so I decided that the balls would travel in a defined circular pattern.

I worked about 6 hours Friday, into the wee hours of Saturday, and  put together a simple concept of rotating balls, moving a player, and having enemies track the player… all using simple Unity objects.

Saturday Prototype

Man, I spent a lot of time working in Blender… that UI just eats me alive. I think I exhausted my limit in 3D modeling, but the models in my game are the best I have ever done. Notice the models are solid colors? That’s my limit and actually getting a model to have 2 or more different colors is an amazing achievement for me!

I substituted my new models for the primitive shapes and everything was working nicely.  It’s now Saturday afternoon, and I still do not have any game play developed, other than enemies tracking the player. Added pressure, but time to step it up… I spent the rest of the day and late night on game play.


I always like to have game play finished by Saturday, and spend Sunday working on the UI, sounds, music, tweaking, testing, and visual enhancements… and that is exactly what I did. I spent most of Sunday working out the game play, and the afternoon was spent adding effects, sounds, and other cool things.

What Went Well
  • My Blender modeling. I have a long way to go, but I can successfully create “simple” objects, export them to Unity, and script them to add/remove/change colors. I listed my Blender skills as a weakness in my previous LD entry for Contamination, so it’s good to see some progress here.
  • I’ve improved in sound (better sound effects, and no one said “Your sounds are too loud!”).
  • I improved in UI and in-game notification. Plasma balls and explosions look like plasma balls and explosions. Visual and audio cues tell the player to do something. I generally forget about these extra things, but the plasma effect and the multiplier effect, along with the inventory panel really helps the game… and those things were added very close to the submission deadline.
  • I scrapped ideas that were taking too long. I could not create a way to expand the rotation, and I could not get a cool border effect going, so after about 30 – 60 minutes, I just moved on.
What Could Go Better
  • Again, my Blender skills.  Need to improve a bit more. It’s taking a lot of time and frustration to get any output.
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