Ludum Dare #23 — How I Battled a Spider, a Fever and the Power Grid to Finish a Game in 72 Hours

“Tiny World”

The theme is always announced at midnight UK time — which meant it was 3 am in Alexandria, Egypt. This was in April of 2012. I was 17, my brother was studying abroad, and my parents were gone for a conference. Which meant there was nobody to pester me about things like “You need to consume something other than coffee” or “You haven’t moved out of that chair in six hours” etc.

Blurry MSN messenger screenshot from our timelapse video.
Early concept art

The Fever

The first 24 hours were great. I worked through the night, took naps when I got tired and snacked when I got hungry. It wasn’t too long before I got stuck trying to create Big Bill’s arm system.

Bill’s arm following the mouse in the final game
  • If the mouse was further away than the stretched out length of the full arm (~500 pixels), then the arm should be fully stretched.
  • If the mouse was closer, the forearm would follow the mouse and bend, depending on how close the mouse was. The palm and upper arm would just follow.

The Spider

I was relieved to get over the arm system, and momentum had picked up. We were already making levels & everything was falling into place. I got stuck again, this time while trying to create a spider as an enemy.

Wobbling spider in the final game

Cold Shower Coding

Cold Shower Coding is the practice of writing code immediately after stepping out of a cold shower and before putting clothes on. It is usually accompanied by frantic problem-solving, a fever, and a pinch of despair.

Hallucinations

I wouldn’t have been surprised if I was actually hallucinating. The last time I was this sleep-deprived I kept hearing a distant phone ringing when there was nothing there.

Balloon from Concerned Joe

The Power Grid

In the spring of 2012, power outages in Egypt weren’t very common, but they weren’t quite rare either (it happened perhaps once a month). Had I submitted just a few minutes earlier, the power would have gone out as soon as the game jam ended, and it would have been another grand divine intervention to go to sleep; a sign that my work was done.

Tiny Timmy and Big Bill’s final rankings

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Omar Shehata

Omar Shehata

Graphics programmer working on maps. I love telling stories and it's why I do what I do, from making games, to teaching & writing. https://omarshehata.me/