Planetary Garden

Ludum Dare 38:

For one reason or another I’ve never managed to participate in a Ludum Dare before this past weekend (LD 38). Planetary Garden was made under the compo rules (worked alone, created all new assets, finished within 48 hours of starting). However, I got a late start (3 PM Sat) and did not submit in time for the official deadline, so it’s technically a jam entry.

The theme was “a small world”, and I started riffing on various ideas for many connected small worlds: perhaps a platformer on a circular planet or mini golf where you switch worlds.  These ideas didn’t quite jell or seemed out of scope considering compo rules, and incremental games have been on my mind as well, so I ended up going in that direction (tho Planetary Golf seems like it has legs, might revisit it in the future).

You can download the compiled version for Windows as well as the project with source code and assets at itch.io, and vote / leave feedback on the LD 38 project page. Unless otherwise noted, assets created for the compo are placed under a CC0 license and game code under a MIT license.

Art Style:

Entering the compo means that you have to make all of your own art and audio (with some very limited exceptions for fonts and brushes/samples, etc… that are suitably transformed). I’m not a particularly good artist, so I went with a watercolor artistic style that let me leverage materials for most of the impact, and created the actual art as simple RGB masks (outer border, inner border/outline, and fill color). I wasn’t going for realism but just something evocative of watercolors, with variations in opacity and splotichiness generated by a couple of noise samples operating in screen space so it looks coherent across objects.

How to play:

  • Repopulate a barren planet (Earth?) with life by seeding new plants
  • When the time is right, enlist animals to help automate the process (one of them knows an ancient secret).
  • Eventually other things happen. No spoilers.
  • Note: Progress is saved between sessions, but time does not advance while the application is closed. Keep it open to continue amassing life.

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