Ludum Dare 50: Meteor Power

Cover art for Meteor Power--A robot next to a solar-panel station with a star-studded space background.

tl;dr: I made a little game for the Ludum Dare 50 game jam! Command a fleet of bots to build solar stations, connect power, and avoid meteors!

The game

🤖 A point-and-click AI platformer: Build solar stations, connect power, avoid meteors!

I used the frameworks that I've been working on (Scaffolder and Surfacer). So it has polished AI navigation and nice menus.

An animated GIF showing gameplay from Meteor Power.

An animated GIF showing gameplay from Meteor Power.

The game jam

The theme: "Delay the inevitable"

Ludum Dare is a semi-annual event where people create a game over the weekend. Ludum Dare is a ranked competition, with a clever voting system that gets more eyes on your game when you in turn rate other games. There are two tracks you can participate in:

  • In the "Compo" track, you must create all your own art, music, sounds, etc. from scratch, work by yourself, and finish within 48 hours.
  • In the "Jam" track, you can work with a team, you can use art, code, music, sounds, etc. that already existed or was created by someone else, and you get 72 hours to finish.

Additionally, the games all follow some central theme, which is only announced at the start of the jam.

I worked solo and created everything during the event (the Compo track). Except of course for my frameworks (which is fine, you're allowed to use pre-existing code).


What went well

  • Success! I submitted something!
  • My Scaffolder and Surfacer frameworks worked well again!
    • These let me focus on the interesting gameplay elements without spending a ton of time on tedious, repetitive tasks like GUI creation and basic character-controller logic.
  • I'm pretty happy with the simple song I made in less than a half hour.
    • I gotta give myself more time for music next time though!
  • I created a decent mechanic for controlling multiple characters with point-and-click controls.
    • A surprising amount of my pre-existing infrastructure assumed only one character would ever be controlled by the player during a level.
    • I was a little worried I'd be able to refactor my frameworks to support this in time, but it ended up working great!
  • I think the art turned out nicely too!

What could have gone better

  • I discovered at the last-minute that my game didn't run when exported!
    • This was very frustrating, because it worked fine all-weekend in the editor.
    • I wasn't able to debug this until the next morning, so I made the fix after the Compo submission deadline.
      • This is technically allowed, since you're allowed to fix game-breaking bugs after the deadline, as long as you aren't actually adding any new features to your game.
      • But it still feels dirty to do. Oh well!
    • The bug was just that I was referencing the type EditorPlugin in one of my global classes, and Godot doesn’t include this editor-only type when exporting a game.
      • All I needed to do to fix this was remove the type annotation in one place!
      • My logic wasn’t actually using the value outside the editor environment anyway.
  • I needed more time for playtesting and balancing.
    • This is almost always true in a game jam.
    • But I think a little more polish here could have had a big impact on how fun it is to play.
  • I should have added a few more helpful indicator annotations.
    • You should know the cost of a command before executing the command!
    • There should be an indicator over a bot to let you know which key is mapped to it.
  • My camera-controller could use a little more polish for zooming and panning.
    • In previous games, I've assumed panning should happen when you are dragging the mouse around and planning a new navigation trajectory for the character.
    • In this game, I wanted the panning to happen on mouse _move_ (not drag), so you could better explore your surroundings before clicking on a command button for the selected bot.
  • I started the jam feeling pretty tired from the last week!
    • I worked a little too hard last week to fix lots of many last-minute problems with my frameworks (since it's been so long since I tried using them!).
    • But my energy went way up after getting some momentum on a new fun little game.

What reviewers are saying

(See the reviews on

  • "Very nice! I loved the art. Controlling multiple auto-platforming bots was quite fun!"
  • "Really clever game. Well done! I really like the music. Nice and relaxing. It’s still on in the background whilst I’m typing this 😄 🎶"
  • "Bot movement felt nice and juicy, cables even jiggle"
  • "I like this game! It probably wasn’t intended, but Meteor Power had what felt like multiple paradigm shifts. First when I realized that I had to be patient, then when I realized I could connect solar panels with multiple wires. I felt smart."
Ok, so these are just some of the nice things. Pretty much all the criticisms are about the same thing: not enough in-game indicators to help you understand what to do! Which is very fair, and very much something I had plans to fix if I only had just two more hours...

Some other games I liked

In case you're interested, here are my favorites from the other games that I played and reviewed.
  • Too Cute for Space Fights
    • A top-down 2D action game, where you're a robot trying to repair your spaceship in the middle of a fight before you're destroyed.
    • This was very charming. Entirely too charming.
    • This had really incredible pixel art.
    • They didn't make the music, but it really brought the game to the next level.
  • Cold and Alone
    • This was a very polished survival/base-building/exploration game.
    • They kept each part simple, but they had so many parts, and they were all so well executed!
    • Really impressive Compo entry.
  • Atlantis
    • A hex-grid resource-management card-drawing game, where you build a city, and try to stop the island from sinking!
    • Very polished 3D game. Decent balance. very fun to play.
  • Imagine Him Happy
    • "A physics-based strand-type boulderlike anti-game, best compared to twisted creations like Getting Over It or Jump King."
    • You are a simple 3D character in a simple 3D terrain, pushing a boulder up an increasingly difficult mountain, with zero forgiveness for mistakes.
    • Very fun! Until. You mess it up. And. It is suddenly so, so, sad.
  • Slime Survivor
    • A top-down survival game.
    • This was very fun to play. It felt pretty balanced. And there were so many satisfying upgrades!
    • The graphics and animations were simple, but clean. And there were so many of them!

    An animated GIF of a pixel-art robot from Meteor Power.
    Go little construction bot—keep on building!

    🎉 Cheers!

    This is a simple icon representing my sabbatical.