This weekend I decided to participate in my first Ludum Dare. My idea was to create a simulation-type game inspired by the likes of Monopoly, or Sim City (though not substantially similar to either). My focus would be the property developers who operated during the Celtic Tiger in Ireland.
To help me with research and material, I put out this call to friends and the internet at large for stories. Very interestingly, it got shared quite a bit and commented on, but I got very few replies. Apart from weekendy apathy, this could be an indication that Irish people of my generation have little interest in looking back on what was a very different time. Low emigration, loads of jobs and a bright future, as well as copious amounts of corruption, greed and stupidity. My game focuses on the latter.
The working title I have for the game is Unreal Estate. My idea is that during the boom, property developers succeeded by projecting an image of success. The banks didn’t care about existing debt because they seemed to think that more and more money would be pouring into Ireland forever. Instead, getting access to further loans is accomplished by appearing to be more and more successful.
I’ve never made a sim game before, though I’ve always wanted to. As I’m really sinking my teeth into it, I’m starting to realise what a mammoth task balancing it is going to be, but I can’t wait. Even though it’s just in a rough prototype state right now and I’m still adding features, it’s really exciting to see basic things like turns and money management working. I’m also working on building it in a scalable way, using prefabs and some tricks to make building a bigger, more ambitious map quite easy.
I’ll be hosting the prototype on this site shortly and will post a link here when it’s live. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your comments, suggestions, stories and anecdotes about the boom – the excess, greed and corruption. If you include your name I’ll credit you, if you want to remain anonymous, just leave your name blank (or include it, but mention that you don’t want to be credited). You can email me, or just enter your details and material into the contact form in the sidebar (bottom of this page if viewed on mobile).