I recently completed Ludum Dare 39, and want to make a quick post explaining my game.
The theme was “Running out of Energy,” which has a lot of ways it could go. You could have a sim-city sort of game where you are trying to balance your evergy needs. You could have basically any type of survival game, from Don’t Starve to DOOM.
I took it a bit of a different way, mainly a game about depression. Of course, it didn’t start that way, and I want to explain how I came to that realization.
When I first read the theme, the very first thing that popped into my head was a picture I’ve seen on the Interent a while ago. Basically, it shows the daily life of a NEET (person with “no education, employment, or training”) and how their life may not be as fun as people might consider.
In fact, this image is representative of what is being termed as “robot culture.” Essentially, robots are people who are outcasts from society, who feel they have no place. They are most often male virgins, aged 19-30, with few, if any, friends.
Depression is a big thing in the robot society. Whether they have clinical depression, or their life just plain sucks, the life of a robot is punctuated by periods of extreme sadness.
Many robots can temporarily dull the pain of this type of loneliness, whether through booze, eating, gaming, excessive masturbation, or any combination. But, of course, this is not a permanent or sustainable option.
One of the biggest hurdles of being a robot is managing your depression. Suicide is a common topic among robots, and is only slightly ironic.
In the game I made I wanted to demonstrate how a robot’s life works, and how comparatively little control they have.
Feel-O-Clock revolves around managing your life by planning your actions. However, just because you say you are going to do a thing, doesn’t mean you are going to do that thing.
There are six stats to the game (Hunger, Happiness, Motivation, Energy, Arousal and Loneliness) and your goal is to keep the bad stats (Hunger, Arousal and Loneliness) low and the good stats (Happiness, Motivation and Energy) high. If you don’t, you will end up killing yourself.
Your actions can help you manage your stats in fairly obvious ways. Fapping reduces your arousal and raises your happiness, but has a consequence of increasing your loneliness and reducing your energy. All actions, on average, increase your bad stats and lower your good stats. There is no way to live forever.
Also, as I mentioned above, sometimes you just do things you weren’t meant to do. When you sleep, you tend to keep sleeping. Each stat also has a “emergency” action that is performed if they get a bit out of hand. If you have no energy, you sleep and if you are super hungry, you eat.
There are other combinations, like how if you uncontrollably cry (which happens if you are lonely or unhappy), you will immediately go to sleep.
Overall, I think this game turned out pretty well. There are numerous problems (no sound, bad graphics, restart game button doesn’t work, balance is messed up, stuck at 1000×1000 with no scalability), but I think the game concept was well planned.
If you want to have a go at my bad game, play it https://ldjam.com/events/ludum-dare/39/feel-o-clock.