Ludum Dare 14 Themes

Ludum Dare 14 is this weekend, and I could not be more psyched about it! This’ll be my second Ludum Dare – my first was LD13, which had the theme “Roads”. For that, I worked on what eventually became Pathways. I also entered a mini LD earlier in the year and started what eventually became Don’t Look Back.

As happy as I am with those projects, this time I’d really love to actually finish something by the deadline! Which probably means coming up with a much more realistic plan for what I can actually do in 48 hours, instead of totally underestimating the amount of work it’ll take like I usually do. I don’t know what I’ll make yet, but it’s likely going to be very gameplay focused and not very content heavy.

(Also, Klik of the Month is tomorrow night; depending on how things are going I wanna give that a try too!)

The contest theme won’t actually be announced until the very last minute – the voting process is kinda complicated, but the jist of it is that there are multiple days of voting and one final round. So, while you can’t know for sure which theme is going to win out, you can make a pretty good educated guess by looking at which themes won in the previous rounds. Here’s the final round list of themes, sorted by score:

Score Theme
23 Rain
21 Advancing Wall of Doom
18 Attraction
18 Evil, defeat the lone hero!
16 Single Enemy
15 Epidemic
14 Microscopic World
13 Evolution
9 Flying
8 Procedural Generation
7 Gravity
6 Layers
4 Bosses
4 Distorted perception
3 Breaking the rules
0 Explosions
-1 Wormholes
-2 Recursion (specifically, Yo Dawg!)
-4 Very Short Games
-8 Cooperation

For the rest of the day, I’m gonna fix up my C++ and Allegro framework, and try to brainstorm a few ideas for the most likely candidates.


Please don’t be away too long

I’m itching to finally release Don’t Look Back after spending the last month working on it, but unfortunately I’m going to have to wait a while before I can – as an experiment, and since I’m, like, practically bankrupt, I’ve decided to try looking for a sponsorship. The game’s on Flash Game Licence, but it looks like the whole process is a lot slower than I thought it was. So I don’t quite know when I’ll be able to release it, unfortunately 🙁

In the meantime, I’ve decided to try and finish off one of the old projects I’ve got knocking around. I felt like working on Pathways, and something recently came up which gave me a good pretence to finally finish it off! I might have it out by the end of the week? Possibly? Who knows!

Currently, here’s where I am: the engine is finished, the dialogue is about 50% done, the music is finished, but I’m starting from scratch with the graphics to take a different approach with it, so all of that needs to be done. Here’s a preview of the new style I’m going for:

I’m still doing the mixed resolutions thing, but it’s a lot more subtle now, I think.

I should have a better idea by Saturday with regards to how long this one will take to finish… I’m thinking of making a short game tomorrow too though, if I do that’ll probably hold things up a bit.



Ever since I started rapid prototyping, as I called it back at the end of October, I’ve let quite a few projects build up on me. One of my new years resolutions is not to start anything else until I start finishing a few first! With any luck, this should be a pretty productive month for me as a result!

(In any case, I can’t really afford to continue experimenting like this. My loan’s running out, so it looks like this venture of mine is almost out of time…)

In rough order of priority, here’s what I’m working on at the moment:

Space/Void [Collab with Cactus]

Of all the unfinished projects I’ve got around me right now, this one’s not only been around the longest, but it’s also the closest to completion. I made the levels for cactus’ game way back in last april or so, and it’s been sitting idle since then because we’ve both been too busy to add the finishing touches. I think it would be a pretty motivating start to the month if I could get this out in the next few days. First thing I’m going to try doing is explore the possibility of a flash port (which could work quite well for this) – if that doesn’t seem reasonable we’ll just finish off the game maker version…


I’m itching to get back to this, because I’ve got it to the stage where all the yucky vegetable coding work is finished and it’s just a matter of the chocolatey level creation and polish! Can’t wait 🙂


I’d been chipping away at this over christmas – as much as I love the concept behind the game, right now it’s not really what I want to work on. I was trying to get it finished as soon as I could because of the whole ludum dare thing, but it’s so overdue now that I don’t really care – I think I’d rather take my time with it.

I’m also hoping to totally redo the graphics – it’s nice in places but I don’t like the sprites and it’s way too much work to draw the entire game like this and have it look good. Anyway, I think I can do better with a bit of work on a new style.

Judith [Collab with Increpare]

Another project where all the heavy lifting coding-work is out of the way, Increpare and I are currently in the process of designing the levels of this. We should be able to finish it this month if we can find a day or two where we’re both free to work on it.

Electric Panic

That screenshot isn’t exactly representative, heh. Electric Panic is a new game that I’ve got in mind that’s loosely based on the mechanic I was exploring in my december KOTM entry PANIC. I’ll have more details once I get a little further along with it! 🙂

Flying Cities

Started this just the other day, but I like it enough that I really want to get back to it and see it finished… With its technical focus it’s very different to everything else I’m working on right now.

Tower Platformer [Collab with Dock]

Dock works in the industry and is apparently in crunch mode at the moment, so this has had to take a back seat. Probably won’t be finished for a little while, at least…

In addition to that, there’s also:

Self Destruct Update

I think Self Destruct was the best game I released last year. It also got by far the most positive response, even extending into friends and family who don’t normally play games at all. Which is why it annoys the hell out of me that there are so many little things to fix in it *still* – in particular that you need to be online to play it. Sometime over January I want to make time to finally update the game, even if I don’t bother with things like the replay uploads and other crazy things like that that I was planning.

And finally, just to mention:

Buster Drake

Buster Drake is basically scrapped, at least in it’s current incarnation. The biggest thing I wanted to try for Buster Drake was the aiming mechanism and I’ve used it for Never Opened, so as a result I’m not that pushed about approaching this project from that perspective anymore. There are a few other things I still like about the project though. I’ve got an idea for a radically different form that I hope to explore later in the year, time permitting. It involves sitting down and learning a few new tricks, though…

Phew. Better get to work, then.


I worry when you’re away

Posted in pathways

So, did a bit more work on Pathways today. I’ve mapped out the entire thing and I reckon there’s about 70 rooms in total, which is a *lot* of artwork. Thankfully, my approach to things should make that kinda manageable. I’m more worried about the writing, which is really crucial to making this whole thing work (and which I always get kinda self conscious about). I could do with some betatesting help on that end, if anyone’s interested…

Turns out the Pathways demo ended up in the Ludum Dare megapack, which is really annoying – but I guess I can’t do much about that 🙁 I told a couple of people before the deadline that I was thinking of not submitting it and taking time to do it properly, and they all said the same thing: submit something for the deadline: you can always go back and polish it up later. So I did and then I went and played it the next morning and was like NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I’ve made a balls of it and now I’ve to be a total drama queen by withdrawing from the contest just because I don’t want that horribly bloated written-at-3am thing floating around out there making a mockery of a concept I’m very fond of…




There’s still time to change the road you’re on

Posted in pathways

Over the weekend, I put something together for Ludum Dare 13 (for the theme “Roads”). It’s called Pathways, and it’s a lot less arcady than most of the small projects I’ve made this year. I submitted a short demo to the contest, but the game isn’t finished yet. There are a lot of placeholder graphics, only about half the content I’d planned and most of the writing is rushed, overlong and generally pretty awful. The concept though: I like enough to want to see it through properly, so for the next few days I’m going to focus on finishing this. Until then, here’s a few screenshots!

Increpare also made a game for the contest, and it’s absolutely brilliant. It’s called Rara Racer – the screenshots don’t do it justice so I won’t post one; but be sure to check it out. Download here.