As I mentioned in my previous post, my plan for this Ludum Dare is to try to make a multiplayer game in Unity 3d.

It’s crazy. No one does that. 48 hours is a microscopic amount of time for a simple, single-player game. Debugging is going to be a *bitch*. The real challenge, however, is that the game must be playable solo because I can’t guarantee that there will always be other players online when a judge tries the game. Fun times.

Anyway, as a mental exercise, I’m going to go through the top-20 voted themes from the PREVIOUS Ludum Dare and try to think of ways to work this theme into a multiplayer game.  The basic control schemes I’m considering, in ascending order of “hardness”, are:

  • First-person (may or may not be a shooter)
  • Over-the-shoulder third-person (shooter? platformer?)
  • Diablo/UO/-style 3/4 view (RPG/Adventure?)
  • RTS


Things that WON’T work:

  • Fully automatic physics. The built-in physics engine does not work correctly in a peer-to-peer setting. Physics aren’t impossible, just trickier and/or more limited.
  • Persistent worlds. I will be using cloud-based peer-to-peer networking, with no central server. (Assuming something miraculous happens, I MAY have time to have some things sync to a central server, but those things would be more like leaderboards.)



Note — these were the possible themes for the PREVIOUS Ludum Dare and are unlikely to come up again. This is just a mental exercise.



  • Butterfly theory — what kind of small changes can players do to something that has a large effect down the road?
  • Are the players trying to build something, but there are unpredictable disasters that keep happening?
  • Some twist on something like the classic Kerplunk game might be possible (with just the Master client resolving the physics).


  • FPS game with day/night cycle. Players are space colonists that have crashed on an alien planet. During the day, they can scavenge for debris, resources, build barricades, etc… During the night, they must defend themselves from monsters.  Each night brings more enemies. How long can they survive? (Number of enemies scale proportionally with number of players.)
  • Multiplayer dwarf fortress/SimCity/Tropico. Because I’m a masochist.
  • Players are shipwrecked. Gilligan’s island.  Under the Ocean. The Settlers. Players have hunger, thirst, tiredness, dryness, and coldness. They must hunt, make fires, cook food, build shelter, craft items, and survive for as long as possible (X number of days until rescued?). Friendly-fire is enabled (can be disabled when creating a room?).  Dead players drop their inventory…..and meat.


  • See “colonize”.
  • Players control cranes and work together to build a tall tower. Depends on ability to resolve physics on the master client with reasonable latency to clients — not sure if this is possible.

End of the World:

  • See the ideas for “Colonize”. Replace space aliens with zombies. Cliche game, but a good one.
  • See the ideas “Chaos”.
  • The world  is literally disintegrating around us.
  • Some kind of “free running” game? Where’s the interactivity? Or is it just a race?



  • See “Construction”. Medieval variant?
  • Alternatively, top-view castle building. Tower Defense game?
  • Rampart.
  • Co-op or competitive?



  • Players are on a souped-up bus, trying to make it out of town during a zombie invasion. One person drives, others fight? Problem: Some roles are more fun than others. What about solo-play?
  • Players part of a convoy of vehicles? Cars?  Horse-drawn wagons?  Players can choose to drive (including for solo play) or if they’d prefer, they can man turrets or something.
  • Players represent the environment — either assisting or obstructing something trying to make a trip. Are they working together to blow a ship through a reef-filled bay?  Maybe they take turns placing down road segments, jumps, turns, etc… for a vehicle (or instructions for a robot) or something.  Players have 5 seconds to place their next piece somewhere on the board. Reminds me of something like RoboRally.


Night and Day:

  • See “Colonize”.


Outer Space:

  • See “Colonize”.
  • Multiplayer space sim. Artemis? Escape Velocity? X-Wing?


Parallel Worlds:

  • Players cannot see each other, but changes they make in their environment are reflected to other players. Where’s the game? What’s the solo mode?
  • An actual play on “parallel”, where one player operates on the XY plane and another operates on the XZ plane. Solo mode could allow players to <TAB> between them. Or if it’s competition, have an AI opponent option.
  • Maybe each player is playing on a separate “floor” of something like an office tower building.
  • It might be fun if we intentionally FAIL to sync something across the network, such as physics.  Players can see each-other, but their worlds start to diverge as various boxes and stuff get moved around or destroyed in completely different ways.  Imagine an FPS where a box you can see doesn’t exist for another player. He can walk right through it or shoot you through it, but you can’t do the same.  You need to build a mental map of what you think HIS world looks like and how you can take advantage of it.  Maybe you can place “bombs” that only blow up in other dimensions, allowing you to affect other worlds in ways different from your own. No solo mode that I can think of, but remarkably innovative/unique.



  • Maybe a “sorting” game, where you’re having to divide up paper/plastic/metal recylables using some sort of claw?  A little like the construction crane game. Each player has his own claw.
  • See the Colonize idea, where players are salvaging during the day.


Time Loop:

  • Ugh.
  • Seriously ugh.


You Are The Villain:

  • The players are the enemies in a shmup or something.  They have hundreds of (shared?) lives and must destroy the “hero” before he reaches his goal. It would be neat to show a “zoomed out” view of the area, where you can clearly see where the hero’s screen view is (and bullets cannot go in/out of that area) and then the huge armada of ships that the players can claim just outside of it.
  • Dungeonland.


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