Hot on the heels of the success of Hack Quarantine, I was eager to get sunk into a new project before term started anew and university work began to once again pile up. Thankfully the 46th iteration of the Ludum Dare competition was about to start. In this competition, participants are tasked with developing a game from scratch in just 3 days! There are two events that go ahead with each Ludum Dare: the compo (48 hours, one person, all assets must be made from scratch) and the jam (72 hours, teams and external assets allowed). I decided to participate in the jam due to the more relaxed time limit and allowing teamwork - I was working alongside Sam Boyer, whose website you can check out here!

We wanted to try something new, so instead of using a more traditional game engine we decided to develop for the Pico 8, a fantasy retro console and development platform. The console contains its own development environment, sprite and map editor, and even a music sequencer! All development is done in Lua and its toolset is quite limited - all the game’s data must fit inside the least significant bits of a “cartridge” PNG image, limiting the code’s size to 65535 characters and putting a fairly strict limit on the amount of sprites and music in a game. In our case, we found these limitations helped us focus our creativity; after all, constraints often help produce interesting results!

The theme of this event was Keep it Alive so we made a game called Bloom Eternal, a play on id Software’s Doom Eternal. Our game focuses on the “doom slayer” post-retirement, tending to his garden in hell. The garden is laid siege to by an army of plant-eating slugs, and he must once again take up his weapons and defend his precious garden. The game features numerous equippable weapons and powerups, fun gameplay, and completely original graphics and music!

You can check out our source code in the link at the top, see our original ludum dare entry here, and play the game here or in the browser below!