Red Planet Farming
Red Planet Farming is a game that I made over a weekend for a game jam with the theme of Harvest. Limitations for the game jam were that we were not permitted to use words or text in our game. The game can be played here on itch.
I started designing and developing the game on a Friday and finished the following Sunday evening. I developed the game in Unity and coded it in C#. You can read my blog post about the development process here.
Rules and Gameplay
The game takes place on Mars and simulates the cycle of a year. Players first go through a “planning” or “selection” stage, where they can choose which crops they would like to plant, and which buildings to build. They are given a budget, which is symbolized with coins at the bottom of the screen (remember, I wasn’t allowed to use any text!). The crops and buildings all have different properties. For example, some of the crops don’t need water to survive the year, so the player doesn’t need to build a water tower. Other crops are immune to certain weather conditions that can appear in the game. The water tower building will protect crops from dehydration, while the fertilizer plant will double the profits at the end of the year.
After the “selection” stage, the game then simulates the course of the year, and players watch their plants survive -or wilt- in that time. The simulation includes different weather effects that come at random times, and their crops can experience dehydration if they have not purchased a water tower.
After the simulation, the player is left with an “end” screen that shows them which of their crops survived and how much profit they have made. If the player has made a great enough profit, they are permitted to continue on to the next year. As the player progresses, the weather conditions change, and they are given more options for seeds that they can purchase. At this time, there are only two years (or basically two levels), but this idea is still demonstrated in the addition of snow storms and pineapple seeds in the second year.
I created all of the art for Red Planet Farming in Piskel and Inkscape. Creating the art posed a challenge because I needed to make sure that I was conveying all of my information through graphics, since I wasn’t allowed to do it through text. This was difficult to do in the weekend-long time span. However, here are some close-ups of what I created:
Although I was not allowed to use text, I quickly realized that the placement and location of text can still tell the player a lot of information. So I decided to use a sort-of “alien”-looking font to use as decals on my art. When someone sees the symbols on the cards, even though they are in “martian”, they think, “ok, I get it, these are cards and those symbols are titles”. It makes the whole thing a bit less abstract while still not directly having text in the game. From an aesthetic standpoint, it also fills the large gaps of empty space and keeps the game looking still a bit more complete than it had looked without the text.