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Snail Garbaggio

The fastest snail in the world travels 13cm every 10 seconds. Not you though, you’re much slower.


Sole Developer excl. audio

Made for:

Ludum Dare 51: Every 10 seconds

Play here:

Following the theme of “every 10 seconds” the first action to take was to investigate things that happen every 10 seconds. Two things stood out:

  • The fastest snail moves 13cm every 10 seconds

  • The USA dumps 15 tonnes of food waste every 10 seconds.

So inevitably I made a snail game: Play as a snail (not the fastest) to gobble up the 15 pieces of garbage that appear every 10 seconds.

The game was made during a few stolen hours over the three days of the jam, so it was intended to be very simple both in design and style.


As game art has always been the part of development that slows me down, I wanted to stick to a style that could be completed effectively in very little time and that would reflect the simplicity of the game itself. I chose a cartoonish black and white line art style that I could complete very quickly and drew a cute snail to be the main character, some simple ground effects, and only a few recognisable food items for the food waste. Everything was kept in black and white, except for the food items, which were coloured in soft pastels to easily stand out from the monochrome backdrop and colour-coded so they were differentiable from each other. A handwritten font was chosen to match and music by The Surfin’ Birds’ Paul and Bobbie was created to complete the upbeat, cartoon feel of the visuals.


A more or less literal approach was taken to represent the 15 tonnes of falling garbage every 10 seconds with the idea being that it would quickly become too much for the player to handle, the garbage would build up, and it would be game over. However feedback from the jam showed that most were able to easily stay on top of the garbage collection, so few lost the game, and there was not enough motivation to continue playing. Further development would involve introducing a win condition, possibly by using a scoring system with a leaderboard - score points for all the rubbish cleared, bonus for a fully cleared screen before the next rubbish drop.

Further mechanics might also be a good idea to create a challenge curve for players. Sticking to the 15 pieces of rubbish per 10 seconds means that the design is limited in the challenges that can be introduced, as in there can’t be more or less garbage at increasing or reducing time intervals, so other challenges need to be considered. For example, changing the weight of the snail might introduce an interesting dynamic whereby the more it eats, the heavier it becomes, the slower it gets, and the harder it is for players to clear the screen. Having different kinds of waste with different consequences might also introduce more complex challenges by requiring decision-making and a symbiosis of actions.

Then, to further the messaging behind the game, it might be desirable to include more exposition with regards to the environmental aspect of the game, albeit in a non-intrusive or lecturing manner, but enough so that players are clearer on the context of the game.

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