This past weekend I participated in my first Ludum Dare game jam and I’m alive and here to tell the tell! Admittedly, I did not spend a ton of time working on my game for the simple fact that I have 2 kids and wife that also need some attention throughout the weekend. I’d estimate that I spent about 20 hours in the allotted 72 hours for the game jam. Of course the final version of the game did not have all the mechanics and ideas I started with, but without a doubt it was an excellent learning process that has given me a lot of confidence moving forward with game development. Now, let’s talk about Hotdog Harry’s Food Truck Racing!
The theme of Ludum Dare 41 was “Combine 2 Incompatible Genres” which I thought to be a very hypocritical thought. If they are incompatible, why would you ever combine them? That would surely make for a horrible game… Nevertheless, I took the approach many other developers during Ludum Dare do, just make something that resembles the theme, in your own sort of way. I decided that what the theme really meant, was combine two genres that don’t normally go together, and so was born the food truck racing game!
If you’re interested in playing the game, you can find it here: https://ldjam.com/events/ludum-dare/41/hotdog-harrys-food-truck-racing
My original game concept was to create a top down food/meal making simulator (think Overcooked) with a racing mechanic as well. Fly down the streets as fast as you could to win the race, but feed the walking people on the streets with food you make in your food truck. Of course, this was not my idea (shout out Kyle Burk), I got it from an old work friend of mine. It sounded cool, the jam had already started, and I went with it. I wanted to implement mechanics where you would move the player/cook inside the truck to pick up ingredients and make a variety of hot dogs (ketchup, mustard, relish, etc.), and then shoot them once they were done, but I only made it as far as shooting (which took forever, BTW).
I made the bones of a procedurally generated road (I only had one section made at the time of submission) and was able to generate random cars with random velocities along the streets. The built in physics of Unity made the collisions great – cars when flying when hit by your truck or even by a hot dog! The timer was a last hour kind of implementation, as well as the score. Hey, it got done though!
I had a great time making the game, and learned a ton while doing it. Here are just a few:
- Did you know there were such things as Sorting Layers? Especially helpful with 2d games!
- Vectors, vectors, vectors. I knew nothing coming in, now I know just enough to move things around the screen!
- Raycasts! So useful when trying to find mouse click coordinates, or even figure out collisions (didn’t use it this way yet though…)
- ScreenToWorldPoint – translate those raycasts to actual coordinates you can use!
- RigidBody2D – So many different values to mess with here, I need some more experimenting!
- OnCollisionEnter2D and ignoring collisions based on a game object’s tags!
- Instantiate! I can create whatever I want, wherever I want!
If you want to see me in action, you can check out my VODs over the course of the weekend on over Twitch. If you’d like to keep up with the development of our other games, or learn a few things about Unity, hit the follow button so you’ll be notified when I go live!
Let me know if there is anything here you’d like to know more about and I’d be happy to write a new post about it! Thanks for reading and keep on developing!