In an effort to break both our absurdly lethargic posting pattern and the grind/desperation of working full-time on our first-ever commercial game project, Salvage, Hong and I decided to take a lesson from the hip indie devs of recent years and hold a weekend long house game jam. The goal was simple: brainstorm Friday night, begin work Saturday morning, playtest the build with some friends on Sunday evening.

The prototype was essentially conceived in a sentence, frantically burst over Robocraft‘s in-game chat, to the effect of “Let’s make players build the Death Star out of blocks and lasers! We’ll call it That’s No Moon and make it a Tower Defence!”.

In our defence, we’ve long idolised games that (we feel) teach players something valuable; be it honing their cunning and micromanagement in Jagged Alliance, becoming the architect of farming utopias in Minecraft or – more recently – designing optimal futuristic warmachines in Robocraft. We’ve played a lot of Robocraft lately, and the programmer in me couldn’t help but observe that players’ designs are quite literally stored in three-dimensional arrays. The only complexity is introduced by special ‘non-cube’ items that can only be connected to neighbouring blocks by certain faces.

Actual development was pretty relaxed, with Hong banging out the game’s assets in hours, and me enjoying the healthy change of pace that writing something that wasn’t turn-based (for the first time in about a year) in Unity offered. The gameplay may be simple, but I was afforded a good glimpse at the requirements and challenges of writing a block-placement game, as I’m sure we’ll be building something like this in our futures, be it a puzzle, strategy or educational project.

You can play the game by downloading it below. The special “Hong’s Mode” difficulty setting was added at her behest, to satisfy the allegedly logical demand that for a game to be challenging, the developers must be unable to win it.

Hotkeys : [1] Sell [2] Armour [3] Laser
RMB-drag to rotate camera.