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Becoming Something

A maze game.


Sole Developer

Made for:

Ludum Dare 45: Start with nothing

Play here:

Based loosely on the story of creation, you start as a No-thing in a world full of nothing. You must navigate the maze in each themed level and collect items to breathe life into this world. Through your actions, maybe you will even become a Some-thing.

This was my first time working on a game entirely by myself after having only started learning Unity a few weeks before, so I took it as a personal challenge to create something complete and playable.


Day 1

One thing that stood out to me in the first two games I’d helped with was the lack of any user interface or consideration of user flow. Things like not being able to access instructions or to close the game without tabbing out felt quite jarring. So, for this one, I started out by creating a solid exoskeleton that would contain the game. This included things like setting up the levels and the transitions between them, as well as the main menu, pause menu, and game over screens. This structure alone gave a sense of completeness to the game. Once that was done, I created the scripts and elements that would be used in every level: sprite placeholders, player movement, health system, particle effects, etc. It was a long and productive day.

Day 2

This day was for graphics and level-specific scripts. I had set time allocations for each, but I was too much “let’s see what this looks like” instead of “this needs to look like this” for the art, so it took much, much longer than planned. At one point, I had to abandon the drawing and move back to scripting to make sure the game at least worked as it should. This is where I created all the levels I had had time to draw for and created the mechanics that would make each level unique. It was a slightly less fruitful day, but I still felt on track.

Day 3

The last day was for finishing the graphics, creating the mazes, writing the writing, fiddling with the particles, refining the other mechanics, downloading fonts apparently, squashing the bugs, mourning all the dreams that time didn’t allow for, building and submitting, and whatever else that was left over. The day passed by in a blur, but by the end of it I had a finished game that worked and I was dazed but I was happy.

Some of the assets

Lessons & Insights


The game has no sound at all. I knew that leaving music and sound to the end was likely to be a bad idea, and it was. Even a small amount of effort would have made an impact, but I was so focused on getting the main part of the game done that I didn’t prioritise it enough to devote the time and energy it required. And it required a lot, given that it would have been my first time using any of the software, creating the audio, and then inserting it into Unity. It made more sense to focus on refining what I already had, but even some sort of background audio would have been better than nothing.

Modular design

Creating the game with the whole thing in mind, instead of progressing piece by tiny piece made such a huge difference to time management and even to my perception of how things were going. Build the skeleton, then the organs, then the muscles; start broad then fill in the gaps pass by pass.

I’m a programmer

I’m surprised by how much I enjoy programming. It feels comfortable, it feels intuitive, it feels easier than the creative work because there are rules and there’s immediate feedback and far less ambiguity in what to do. Things that seem too complex are fun to break down and often turn out far simpler than expected. And there are solutions everywhere, either in forums or videos or even in the API documentation. Sure, I made some human errors and maybe what I was working on wasn’t incredibly complex, but that methodical approach to problem solving is something I really enjoyed and need to remember to apply to other more ambiguous areas.

Resolutions and ratios

Who would have thought that the biggest challenge I’d face in game development would be figuring out how to deal with image resolutions and screen ratios? And why does no-one talk about it? Am I missing something? Is it actually the simplest thing? Am I the crazy one?


For each level, I implemented a different mechanism. From a personal development standpoint, this was a challenging and fulfilling thing to do, but from a game standpoint, it did not work out as well as expected. In fact, some players thought that some of them, like the gravity effects, were bugs. Maybe it would have been better to pick just one, like the changing graphics in level 3, and then execute that in creative ways for each level.

Getting away with it

So, the player character’s movement is jittery during collisions. I suspected that it might be a bit strange, a bit off-putting, but maybe it was normal and no-one would notice or care. No. They noticed. They cared. Turns out that kind of jittery collision is a known problem, but I wouldn’t have known about it without all the great feedback I received from people who took the time to try my game. This is why it was so important to not only make the thing, but to submit it and get eyes on it. Feedback is so, so valuable.

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