Well, that escalated quickly!
Last weekend we took part in Ludum Dare #36, an online game jam where a few 1000 games are made from scratch in just 72 hours around the world. It's a fascinating thing, and we like to take part in jams as often as we can. In fact, every game we've released so far has started life in some form as a game jam project. We cannot recommend them enough, and will probably to a post about that in the future...
This, however, was our first ever Ludum Dare jam. So I sat up till 2am Saturday morning,waiting on the theme to be announced (all games must reference a theme in some way, to help avoid the 'blank canvas' issue and provide some inspiration). This time it was 'Ancient Technologies'. My mind immediately went to retro computing as it most often does with any conversation, and it felt acceptable that Spectrum ZX, Commodores, Amstrads et al would be considered 'ancient' by many nowadays, despite being the foundation of my love of games.
Immediately after the theme was revealed, I went to bed. Most people get started for a few hours, and normally I'm not one for sleeping AT ALL during a Jam, but I'm not as healthy feeling as I used to be and decided to take this one at a more measured pace.
8am, co-founder and business/management end of the No Code-stick Omar Khan came round to pick me up and head into the studio. Part time No Coder (and my brother) Graeme joined us for day 1 too. Graeme handled a lot of the initial setup/puzzle design on paper, allowing me and Omar to get started on the game structure in engine, and art.
My concept thought process was: Ancient Tech = Retro Computers = Retro Game = Text Adventure = Game About Text Adventure = Game were Text Adventure spills out of game into other game.
And so we got started!
<ACTUAL DEVELOPMENT PROCESS POST-MORTEM TO COME LATER!>
Fast forward another 64 hours and we submitted the final game with 15 seconds to spare before the cut off deadline.
I'm proud of what we did. It feels like we genuinely did something new with an old abandoned genre (hence the name). Then Kotaku featured us out of the blue. Then we hit the top 10 games on Itch.io (Store where we host the game download). Then Rock Paper Shotgun, PC Gamer and Den of Geek wrote about us. Then people started streaming it left right and center, including from the PAX West floor in Seatlle.
Exhausting and amazing! Release week is always an emotional one, but surprise release week is even more so. We didn't think anyone would play it, let alone for it to pick up coverage, but here we are! We're looking at what our next steps are, and talking to some lovely people about what would be best.
In the meantime if you haven't played it, grab it free for PC and Mac here:
Let us know what you think!