August 25, 2014

Battle of Khe Sanh - Or how to make a game in 48 hours


This last weekend there was a competition called Ludum Dare where the goal was to make a simple game in 48 (or 72) hours. I believe the organizers run the competition two times per year - one in the spring and one in late summer. This was the second time I participated in the competition, you can read about the last time here: Max Manus.

Each Ludum Dare competition has a theme and the theme this weekend was "Connected Worlds." It took a while to come up with the idea, but the idea I decided to test was a sort of logistics simulator where you are a Logistics Officer in the army and is the only one who's connected to the outside world. To make it more realistic, I decided to find inspiration from a real battle during the Vietnam War. During that war, for a few weeks, the US Khe Sanh Combat Base was surrounded by enemy forces. If you want to learn more about the battle, you should watch this documentary on YouTube: Battle of Khe Sanh.  

If you are participating in the shorter 48 hour Ludum Dare competition, you have to create everything during these 48 hours - down to the smallest sound and texture. I didn't read the rules before I started working on the last competition, so I had to submit that game to the longer 72 hour competition. I began this competition by creating the models, including the main map where I used the real map from the battle and the C-130 cargo plane that will deliver everything you need. What I noticed was that it's much easier to make something in 3D than what it is to draw something in 2D. 


After a few hours of work in Blender, the models were finished and the work in Unity began. I hadn't made a similar game before, so I learned a lot. The most difficult part of a game where you simulate logistics is to tweak the parameters. The game has to be difficult and fun to play at the same time, and that requires a lot of tweaking. Anyway, this is the final result:



...and you can play it here: Ludum Dare - Battle of Khe Sanh

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