23/Apr/16
Roamin' Hordes - Timelapse and Post-mortem

Ludum Dare 35 was the first game jam we have ever participated in – and we scraped through just in time to submit our game – Roamin’ Hordes.

About the Game

Roamin’ Hordes is a hybrid between a tabletop wargame and a tower defence. We tried to think of something different when it came to the ‘shapeshift’ theme and we were inspired by the geometric nature of historical warfare, with ranks of troops arranged in formations, and having to change their shape to manoeuvre and hold the battle line.

Above is a time-lapse video of the game development, and a play through showing the real time large scale combat in action.

The Good

- One of the goals was to show off huge battles with thousands of troops – which we accomplished by handling unit movement, animation etc. with the particle system in Unity. At the peak of the battle there are around 4000 soldiers displayed and performance remains fluid.

- We tried a new approach with art, by first creating 3D voxel models, and then turning them into pixelated 2D sprites. We were aiming for the retro style that existed between hand drawn pixel art and modern 3D realism. In the end there was enough detail and animation that you could zoom from the map wide view into individual combat between formations.

- We wanted immersive sounds to add to the atmosphere of being in a big battle, and spent some time to implement positional sound effects so you could hear the direction of marching barbarians, flying arrows etc.

- The game only includes one scenario, and we didn’t have a lot of time to test the balance, but it seems to have turned out well – the scenario is definitely winnable, but it usually takes people a few attempts to understand the attack patterns and develop a counter strategy.

The Bad

- We were a bit slow paced in the first days, and found ourselves rushing and sleepless at the end, which meant several planned features had to be dropped to finish a playable game in time. The main ones were not having unit icons to make them easier to identify when zoomed out, a lack of variety in the barbarian units (we wanted calvary, chariots etc.), and only having one scenario.

- The pacing of the scenario is not ideal, mostly as a consequence of only having one scenario, so it had to function as a tutorial as well as a challenging scenario. This means the first few waves feel too slow and easy, while things ramp up in difficulty in the later waves – having to go through the early waves again on replays can be tiresome.

- There were several limitations with the particle system within Unity (for our unconventional use), which meant that parts of the code had to be re-written, and sprite atlases has to be changed and arranged in a specific way to work properly.

- Too much time was spent background art (about 1.5 days) which would have been time better spent on creating enemy units and developing other scenarios.

Thanks to those who have tried out the game – all the feedback has been constructive and really helpful for us. For those who haven’t played it you can give it a try here.



FOR THE GLORY OF ROME – PLAY ROAMIN’ HORDES!

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