Spare some change governor?

The October Challenge is now upon us… finally!! It hasn’t actually been that long since the last Ludum Dare Jam, but it certainly felt like it.  What do we have to do this time? Make a game, release it in to the wild, and earn at least a $1 (or if you’re me that would be £0.62 – not even a £1).  So for the next bit I’ll explain the main ideas and steps involved in the game developed here – Space Mines K2013 (working title).


The game is inspired by, or should I say based on, two games. You may have heard of one of them, but the other you may only know if you were at school around the same time as me, and had a library with a gem of a book located in the corner, on the bottom shelf.


Are you familiar with the Amiga 600?  It was a nice little home computer, and a very good platform for gaming.  The game I enjoyed the most was K240, developed by Celestial Software and published by Gremlin Graphics. Sound familiar?

K240 (Amiga) by Gremlin Graphics.

K240 (Amiga) by Gremlin Graphics. Best strategy game?

In K240, you manage an asteroid.  You can mine, build missile silos and launch them out neighbouring asteroids, launch ships to newly discovered asteroids to set up new colonies or as defence against CPU controlled asteroids, and a bunch of other stuff.  A ship visits every now and again allowing you to by and sell ore in exchange for blueprints for new buildings or technology.

Space Mines

The second component of Space Mines K2013, is actually,… Space Mines. Now this is a game you couldn’t play through the medium it was recorded on.  You’d have to spend a few minutes typing this one out before you could play it.  Yep, you’ve guessed it, I’m talking about a book.

Computer Space Games (Usborne)

Computer Space Games (Usbourne) – best book for game dev ever!

There are many excellent examples of short, but fun games with good solid mechanics.  The book provided the code for each game in different flavours: Spectrum ZX, ZX81, BBC Micro, TRS-80 (whatever that was), Apple (the first one?), VIC & PET (I’m obviously not old enough to remember this one).  Each page of the book is illustrated with the coolest and most colourful sci-fi airbrush work I’ve seen for ages.

Space Mines is the real gem, starting on page 24 and lasting for all of two pages of hard to read code (as a result of the super cool aforementioned illustrations).

Your challenge is to survive a ten year stint as the leader of a mining colony. Your role is reduced to buying and selling mines, food, and ore, and maintain a harmonious colony before it all goes tits up caused by random events such as riots, nuclear explosion, or market glut. Brilliant!! And only two pages of code!

Space Mines K2013 (working title)

The only difference between my game and its previously mentioned components is,… brothels.

Well, not only brothels, but I’d like to add an entertainment industry in to the mix. In other words, you’ll be able to build gyms, swimming pools, museums, casinos, and brothels, the idea being that depending on your chosen mix, there could be adverse effects such as, healthy hard working miners, or a series of drunken brawls/riots.  So in essence, my game is based on the mechanic present in K240, and the simulation behind Space Mines. In addition, there will be geological features which will dictate where you can place certain mines, oxygen plants etc.

Space Mines K2013

Space Mines K2013 – last years prototype – all sprites are borrowed and so there needs to be some time dedicated to creating a consistent look and feel.

I started prototyping the game a year ago and most of the basic elements are there; different building types, buy and sell ore through visiting transporter, a title screen, some sound effects etc.  However, being a prototype there are tons of bugs, so I’ve had to strip it back quite a bit to finalise some of the code. I’m using canvas and javascript for this one. I love the immediacy of being able to type a few lines of code, press F5 and see your changes straight away!
I have a ton of work to do in order to get it up to a standard I can sell for $1, but it’ll be fun doing it and I’m hoping to get there by the end of October as per the challenge.
Thanks for getting this far! Time to give you guys a break.  In the next part I’ll explain some of the implementation details and describe a number of new features I hope to develop to make it more than just a game that is a rip off of two other games \@__@)/

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