Keep it alive (LD46)

I took on the challenge of creating a game by myself in a weekend.

At the start of my career I worked more on the offline rendering side of things. In 2020, I decided to explore more into the real-time field. Not that I had no knowledge of it before, but I started to experiment with gaming and VR in a more hands-on manner.

One branch of this exploration was looking into how modern game engines work from a user-perspective. Rather than doing endless tutorials, I decided to do some project-based learning by joining the Ludum Dare Game Jam. The objective was to make a complete game in 72 hours. The given theme was ‘Keep it alive’.

So, I spent a full three days trying to create a game where you, the player, have to keep the campfire alive to avoid freezing to death. You have to do so by going out into the woods and collecting firewood.

I thoroughly enjoyed the process. Because of my lack of prior experience with unity, I think half my time was spent on watching and reading tutorials, but in the end I managed to create a working little mini-game. There is so much more I wanted to do, but that’s the point of the experience: after three days it’s done.

The experience confirmed that I am a developer, not an artist. I really loved writing all the game logic in C#, making sure everything worked cleanly for the player. I also really enjoyed interacting with the rendering pipeline. The environment creation was a bit harder, and looking back I don’t think Unity was the ideal tool for that. Next time I would do most of that work in Houdini.

For the 3D models I used assets from the amazing Synty Studios, which I picked up a little before from Humble Bundle.

Here is a video of the gameplay. You can find the game in the link at the top:

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