10 Seconds of Night Title Screen

Ludum Dare 27 Entry: 10 Seconds of Night

Entry Link: 10 Seconds of Night

10 Seconds of Night was my second game jam entry.  The Minion Studios team and I decided that we had so much fun the first time around, we would give it another shot.  The theme this time around was “10 Seconds”.  We settled on the idea of being a werewolf for 10 seconds of gameplay, then switching to a human player for another 10 seconds.  During the werewolf period, the player would have no control over his character.  Instead, an AI would direct the werewolf to consume nearby villagers.  There would be a day/night cycle that reflected this.

I was in charge of getting the human player off the ground with camera/controls, some level design, and programming the interactivity in the environment.

Ludum Dare 27 Game Jam Entry Development Screenshot
After the first day of development

I initially started to design a world that was similar to Super Mario Galaxy.  I imagined that the whole level would be round and the player could run infinitely around this little globe that contained the village and the mountains.  I built a small demo of this, including a full character controller, but we weren’t getting the look/feel we wanted with that, so we opted for a flattened bowl, with the mountains forming a natural boundary for the player.

After the first day, Eric had create a huge number of models for me to work with including a character with animations.   I set up the animations for the characters in Unity, hooked them up for the player to our control system, and we were off and running around!  I also started working on picking up items.  I will admit I did waste some time here on making the smoke on the houses and the snow particle effects.  It was a lot of fun, and I couldn’t help myself.

Ludum Dare 27 Game Jam Entry Development Screenshot
Another shot of our hero in the woods outside the village.

The original concept involved a lot of interactivity, including collecting items that would allow you to cage or inhibit your werewolf self.  The only working item in the game is a Hemlock plant which will basically poison you.  This is considered a winning outcome in the game.  I also created little word bubbles that would pop up over the villagers heads with randomized phrases stored in a text file.  These would hopefully give hints as to how to win the game.  We did add a lamb shank.  You can pick it up, but you can’t use it.  It was supposed to allow you to prevent the werewolf from feeding on villagers by distracting him for the night with the shank you drop.  We also envisioned having game mechanics for if the player is spotted while transforming into the werewolf.  Any villagers left alive after you transformed back into a human would try to kill you.  We unfortunately did not have enough time to implement this.

Ludum Dare 27 Game Jam Entry Development Screenshot
Problems, Problems, Problems

We built this project before our team was really comfortable with using a version control system and Unity.  We have since corrected this by teaching the whole team, including our artist, how to use Subversion correctly within the Unity workflow.  Not having this in place for any of our jam entries has been a huge hindrance.  We’ve had problems like in the screenshot above when migrating assets.  The materials on the body parts and blood particles from the werewolf kills were disconnected from their game objects during the transfer.

We also ran into a multitude of other stumbling blocks:

  • Lighting: I wasted quite a bit of time by trying to mix dynamic and baked lighting.  During a game jam was not the time to play with this.
  • 10 Seconds:  10 seconds was a great amount of time for the werewolf to slaughter villagers, but it was not good from  a player time standpoint.  So, we adjusted the human time to be 30 seconds and the werewolf time to be 10
  • The majority of the gameplay did not make it into the game.  We wasted time on other pieces that should have gone into making a fun game.  Instead, it’s kind of boring to play.
  • The werewolf & villager mechanics were created by another team member.  He and I did not collaborate much until the last minute.  If we had combined our work earlier, we would have been able to accomplish a lot more.  Also, he lost 24 hours worth of work in a computer crash, so that sucked.
  • We should have tightened the design to begin with.  We make this mistake constantly on jam projects and regular projects.

Overall, I had a great time making this game.  I had higher hopes for it, but I learned so much I definitely don’t regret the work we did.  We really grew as a team with this one.