Game developer & web programmer
Fuel Me Once is a game of triangulation*, wonky driving and oil extraction that I made in Unity in 72 hours for Ludum Dare 29, which ran from April 25th-28th 2014. It was both my first (non-tutorial) Unity project and my first Ludum Dare entry.
The aim of the game is to use detector beacons to locate oil deposits beneath the desert sands, so that you can plant a drill atop them and deliver the oil they extracts back to your central base to sell it.
* - Strictly speaking, it's trilateration, not triangulation, but fewer people have heard of that.
An Xbox 360 controller will probably improve your experience with Fuel Me Once, but it's not required.
Detectors will emit a "ping" if their scan pulse passes over an oil deposit, and the pulse will leave a green ring behind indicating the range of the deposit from the detector. By combining the information from multiple detectors, you can pinpoint exactly where to target your drill.
A drill that is dropped correctly onto an oil deposit will start to produce oil! Carry oil in your spare inventory slots back to the shop to sell it for cash. The price of oil generally increases over time, and drops slightly every time you sell some of your stocks, so pick your moment to get the best price.
You start with 3 detectors, 1 drill and $50. Detectors can be bought in packs of 3 for $5, but another drill will set you back $100. If you miss with your first drill, you'll not be able to afford another, so make sure you're certain before picking your first drill site.
Make as much cash as you can before the time runs out!
The inventory icons (ie. the only thing in the game that's obviously not programmer art) came from game-icons.net
In general, players have praised the concept of Fuel Me Once, although the process of using three or more detectors to pinpoint the location of oil deposits turned out to be much less intuitive than I expected.
The most obvious problem in Fuel Me Once was the controls. I decided early on to make the player character a vehicle, to save me having to animate any of my hastily-produced SketchUp models. I then got bogged down in the physics almost immediately, trying to find some values for Unity's Wheel collider that felt as fun to drive as the buggies in Renegade Ops. Although the final result is (mostly) fine after a little practice, I never quite found the sweet spot.
It's possible, however, that the reason people complain about the controls actually has more to do with the layout of the central platform, to which the mechanics demand that you return to shop for gear and sell your spoils. While driving up a ramp at full speed to leap into the air over the platform and sell all your oil is a genuinely satisfying interaction, navigating your vehicle with its large turning circle to the precariously-placed shop items in the corner of the platform is surprisingly fiddly and frustrating, especially when approaching the platform from the same side as the item you want.
During the jam, I did add a self-righting feature which, if you manage to flip your truck onto its back or side, should after a three second delay unceremoniously right your vehicle and fling it into the air. Even so, far too many playthroughs end with the truck stuck between the corners of the platform or bottomed-out on the lip of a ramp.
I've written a few demonstrations of Phable in action: