How to Make a Game in 48 Hours

Running out of Coffee

About Coffee: How to Make a Game

Oh no! You have so much work to do, that you really can’t afford to sleep right now. But you’re sooo tired… You need Coffee. A lot.

Avoid running out of caffeine while you work to earn money for more coffee. Controls: Click on the cup to drink, the coffee machine to refill the cup and to brew new coffee. Click on the computer screen to start working.

Play Coffee Clicker!

Ludum Dare 39 Compo

The Ludum Dare is a friendly competition for indie developers and game makers of any kind. The special thing about it is that you only have 48 hours to finish the game and you are completely on your own (in the compo – the jam has less strict rules: 72 hours, teams are allowed).

Three times a year the Ludum Dare Jam and Compo take place.

I had participated in the Ludum Dare twice before: Once alone with a half finished game, and once together with a friend with a very complex game idea, which we weren’t able to actually finish either. This time I wanted to find out, how to make a game that actually works in under 48 hours.

How to Make a Game in 48 Hours


The Ludum Dare 39 Compo started at 3 in the morning in my time zone. But I wanted to get enough rest for clear thoughts, so I slept until maybe 8 am. When I woke up, I looked at my phone to see the email containing the theme of the Ludum Dare 39: Running out of Energy.

I was still in bed and started thinking about what I could do. Somehow, I was still too tired to catch an idea. I needed some coffee, before I could do any work on the game…

And that is, where my idea came from: To do work, you need to keep your caffeine level up. So that’s, what I wanted to make my game to be about: Work to earn money and avoid “Running out of Coffee”.

Day 1

Day 1 of How to Make a Game

On Saturday I focussed on putting a simple scene together and getting the most basic functionality of the game to work:

First: There’s a cup with coffee in it. Second: There’s a bar displaying your caffeine level, which is continually decreasing. Third: When you drink coffee out of the cup, the caffeine level rises. Also, when you drink coffee out of the cup, there should be less coffee in the cup afterwards. So far so simple.

Day 2

On Sunday I had a lot to do: When the cup is empty, what do you do? Refill out of coffee pot. When the coffee pot is empty, what do you do? Brew new coffee with machine. Now, free coffee would be great but unrealistic. So you needed to pay money to buy powder to brew the coffee with. But how do you get money? Do work at the computer. The money was going to be shown using the “money meter”.

Now there was a basic principle to the game: You have to do work to get coffee to keep your caffeine level high enough to do your work (sounds familiar, right?). Otherwise you lose. But while this might be enough to resemble the work life of a freelancer, a game might profit from a possibility to win it. This could be achieved by having a timer run down, and if you don’t lose until the timer is at 0, you win. Simple.

But this game did not allow for different tactics. It was just about pressing the right things at the right time without any variance. So it needed upgrades for the cup, the machine and the computer.

And it needed sound, an introduction and levels. What’s that? It’s 1 am on Monday already? Well…

Only 48 Hours: How to Make a Game
Day 2 of How to Make a Game


Blender and Unity: How to Make a Game

At first I had wanted to make something using SFML, the Simple and Fast Multimedia Library, as I had worked with that before and knew how to make a game using it. But then I was not able to set everything up correctly on my new computer, so I went with Unity 3D instead. A good choice, as it seems, because it was easier to put together a kind of complete game this way.

Also Unity 3D worked very well in combination with Blender 3D, my 3D program of choice. I had not expected that.