June 25 MiniLD Theme = ALL TALK

Posted by (twitter: @McFunkypants)
June 5th, 2011 8:52 am

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The secret phrase is...

MiniLD #27 is officially a go!

“I think we can work something out…”

All games that include this phrase will be awarded a golden Ludum Dare achievement trophy that will appear on their profile page. Good luck and have fun!

Happy summer vacation, everyone!  Are you ready for June’s Ludum Dare miniLD game jam? This month’s mini will be held on the weekend of the 25th. I think you will love the theme. It is sure to get people talking… due to popular request I’m releasing the theme early so people on vacation can dive right in and get started early.

The theme is: ALL TALK – conversation trees and dialogue choices.

On Friday June 24 at 4pm PST (midnight GMT) a secret phrase will be announced. Your entry must contain this phrase in the dialogue!

This month’s MiniLD #27 is designed to be fun, low-stress, and relaxed. Perfect for vacationers. The rules this time are going to be very chill: you can use any game engine you like, premade art, and people are welcome to form teams. Instead of crunch-time cramming, you are allowed to start now and work up to midnight on Sunday June 26th. There will be no disqualifications whatsoever. The only rule is that there are no rules. Take your time – use whatever tools you like – just have fun!

Crimson Gem Saga


June’s “all talk” theme is perfect for plot-heavy, deep philosophical discussions between the player and a cast of NPCs.

Ideal for z-machine text adventures using Inform7, ultra modern HTML5 literary gaming powered by engines such as Undum or the Choice of Games engine. There’s also RPGmaker and Doglion’s RPG engine.

I recommend the ever fantastic Ren’Py visual novel engine.  A complete sample Ren’Py game source code is available here to help you learn.

If you are using Flashpunk, I recommend using Draknek’s upgrade which has an amazing text engine.

Another fantastic engine you might enjoy working with is Jake Elliot’s Visual Novel engine from this game that uses Flixel.

I’ll be creating my own HTML engine for this, using pre-rendered 3d avatars. Since we don’t have to care about tech or rendering performance, HTML5 is the perfect choice since it is great for low-power mobile devices. Heck, you could write your game using youtube, regular html4 or even hypercard.

L.A. Noire

Fire Emblem

Think NPCs, CYOA, multiple choice, text, plot, voiceovers, speech synthesis, prose, humour, conflict, debate, love.

Make a murder mystery or a political scandal. A dating simulator or a talk show. A news report or a bedtime story. A love story or a heart-wrenching breakup. Beat poetry or freestyle hip-hop. Whispers or screams. Secret school flirtations or code-words between spies.  Hardcore RPG, Ren-py visual novel or pure text IF (interactive fiction), the choice is yours.

No matter what the genre – from AAA rpgs and shooters to puzzle games and everything in between, virtually every videogame ever made uses dialogue to progress the plot. Repetitive battles and grinding are sometimes seen as mere filler between the NPC dialogue and missions.  Which is more exciting? Killing your thousandth giant rat or encountering the next major NPC who gives you a quest?

Fallout 3

Alpha Protocol

This low-stress, relaxed rules MiniLD is a fun way to get away from worrying about framerate, animation or incredible 3d graphics and instead focus on the plot. The characters. The story. The soul.

Perhaps you will invent an epic storyline and a cast of interesting characters that are so cool they make it into your next action title! For now, just remember: focus on dialogue and characterization. On personal conflict, emotions and tough decisions.

Valkyria Chronicles

Final Fantasy II

Will this be a fun breather between more intense programming projects? Will your game be easier to program than something more graphics-heavy? Will it be deeper than your last brainless shooter? More artistic? Less work? More original? Discuss.

Read this wonderful article for ideas: [part1] [part2] [part3]

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59 Responses to “June 25 MiniLD Theme = ALL TALK”

  1. Winterblood says:

    Ooh, intriguing. Allow me to kick off the dialogue :)
    I have a strong interest in the field you’re hinting at, so your miniLD should be the perfect excuse to actually implement some of my ideas and see if they work. This time I must aim to build it in ~36hrs, so I have a few hours to bugfix and playtest it…

  2. uuav says:

    I’m pretty sure it will be microphone related :)

  3. matthias_zarzecki says:

    And another exhausting event. It will be once again awesome.

    Also, I somehow forgot how quick they come. Feels just like the last one is two weeks old…

  4. MrDude says:

    I know I said I’d sit it out but… Oh…

    I might be in it. Not quite sure yet. :)

    • We’d be honoured to have you take part. This theme is perfect for people who hate to struggle with tech and just want to focus on plot without regard for rendering speed or low-level coding. I have a strong gut instinct feeling that this one will be perfect for you to finally relax and just have fun, secure in the knowledge that you will be able to submit a game.

      • MrDude says:

        All right, I’m in. I have some ideas, and doing it in an LD event is fitting, since I want to have a prototype together quickly.

        (Mind you, part of this idea involves some tech but it’s fun tech: A* and line of sight, not just boilerplate!)

  5. huhwhozat says:

    Sounds like it may be time to investigate RenPy.

  6. So many of us are on vacation already, looking for a fun project to dive into.
    I wonder… is it almost time to post some more information? =)

  7. medice says:

    if my reasoning is correct..

    Will we be recommended to use a certain program to do the devving?

    • You will be allowed to use any dev environment you like – any tools, any content, any base code, teams ok, clipart ok, closed source ok. When the theme is announced there will be 3 or 4 suggested tools if you can’t decide, but they are optional. Code the thing in pure assembly language if you like, or basic with GOTO statements. As a fun summer miniLD, I’ve decided to allow everything – there will be NO disqualifications and all are welcome. =)

  8. matthias_zarzecki says:

    Wait wait wait. Could the theme be .. “It is sure to get people talking” ? because that is a kick-ass theme.

  9. moltanem2000 says:

    I remember a while back I wanted an excuse to make an LA-noire investigation type game for an LD. But then LA-noire came out and used the exact same idea.

  10. MrDude says:

    That’s a tough theme for me. My idea had relatively little talking in it.

    D’oh… Now I’ll have to give the whole thing some thought.

  11. huhwhozat says:

    I’m not too happy with the ‘start now’ approach, for purely selfish reasons. I had wanted to get some of my friends together for a Ludum Dare meet-up to introduce them to the competition. Problem is, with our various schedules, the weekend of the 24th was the only time it’d work. I’d love to do the real LD at the end of Aug, but most of us go back to school that weekend, moving into dorms on Sat/Sun. So. This get-together was going to happen near the weekend of the 24th for brainstorming, etc. Well so much for that. I don’t really mean to complain at all, I’m just sad that my plans are upset by the early start. This was probably my only chance period to get us together to do an LD before everyone graduates.

    On the other hand, I can see how this will be a great opportunity for everyone involved. Less pressure, less stress, less mess.

    Good luck to everyone!

    • Good news: the weekend 48hr compo is still the best time to work woth your friends. The IRC will be active, and everyone will be working to incorporate the “secret phrase” which will be announced at the last minute.

      • huhwhozat says:

        Well, looks like I’m going to switch the get-togethers to two meetings. It’ll work. Yay! Also, missed the bit about the secret phase the first time. Don’t make it something that’s strictly text please – you saw my symbolic ideas. As long as I can morph into into another format it’ll work. #re-excited

      • MrDude says:

        “Secret phrase” sounds interesting… :)

        That’s a nice challenge. Considering that I’m doing a lot of my work before the Mini-LD weekend, I might have to go back and rewrite some of the story to fit it in.

        I think I might challenge myself and try to use it at least once in every chapter. We’ll see how it goes.

  12. matthias_zarzecki says:

    Once again Inspiration struck under the shower. This will be fun :-)

  13. huhwhozat says:

    Question – when you say premade art, does that still mean made by you?

    • The choice is yours! If you enjoy making avatar art then I suggest going for it and making your own. If you *dont* enjoy working on art and want to focus solely upon the prose, then you are fully allowed to use clipart, photos, avatars from others games, collages, modern abstract art, or even scanned crayon scribbles.

      Heck, you don’t need ANY art at all: it could be 100% TEXT. Anything goes! FUN is the only goal here.

  14. onefineline says:

    I’ve been following LD for about a month now and I’m seriously considering entering this one, especially since it gives me a little more time, as my experience is fairly limited.

    My curiosity is piqued. I’ve always enjoyed a good story, but admittedly, it’s not always easy to come up with a good one. I think Final Fantasy 1 (and possibly other FF’s) is a good example, since the characters are so generic and have so little to say. Even in the Zelda series, which is otherwise one of my favorite set of games, the story and characters are frankly pretty shallow.

    I guess at this point, I’m not sure what platform to support. Flash is an obvious choice for LD, but I’m fundamentally more interested in the iOS platform, but it would be a shame to have limited numbers of people being able to check it out… hmm

  15. Mike Red says:

    I’m going to participate in this MiniLD, but probably with something that only roughly fits the idea. In the last 3 hours I’ve written up a full outline of what I’m planning, even with a checklist with milestones for the project. All because I’m at the sea-side and it’s raining, so I’m stuck in my hotel room. The game roughly fits the theme, it’s definitely dialogue-driven, but it’s really short and simple. It’s less of a game and more of a story being told, but I’m not going the ‘games are art’ way. It’s just meant to be a simple game.

    I’m not sure about any other details yet, like libraries, art, etc, but there’s still time. I’ll be home, so I’ve got access to my tablet (even if I’m no artist), and if I choose to make it a web game, I’ve got my server to serve the game directly for ease of use.

    The working name I’ve chosen for the project is ‘Tree of Life’, but now that it’s all written, it doesn’t really fit that much, especially considering the ending, heh. But we’ll see about that.

    • MrDude says:

      I’m going in the same general direction (IE: Dialogue-driven game). Though from the sound of it, my plot is completely different.

      Once you’ve got something together, write a post about it, huh? It’s a shame to see entry posts in the comment thread on the announcement! :)

      Also, if I could make a suggestion: Ren’Py is excellent for this kind of game. It can’t make web games, but it can package for Windows, Mac, and Linux. I’m using it for my game, and it’s been great so far.

      It has a really simple scripting language. You don’t need to know Python to use it. On the other hand, if you DO know Python, you can insert blocks of Python code. (I’m mentioning this because I don’t know whether or not you know Python)

      It’s a really nice engine. I would highly recommend it.

      This LD20 entry gives a good demo of what it can do: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-20/?action=preview&uid=4135

      • Mike Red says:

        I DO know Python, and that sounds really useful, thanks. I’ll look into it. From what I’ve seen it’d really fit great, just need to look into it thoroughly.

        If you’ve got an e-mail, I could scan/photo the design docs and send you if you’d like to get a peek. I can’t really post them from the start, because I want a big part of the game to be not knowing the story or mechanics from the start. I’m not that sure that it’s a good idea or that it’ll really fit as a ‘game’, so some comments would be really appreciated.

        I’ll look into Ren’Py and make a post once I’m back from vacation and can work with all my tools and post some concept art/designs.

        • MrDude says:

          I’d love to take a look. Always an honor to get to take a peek at a secret design doc! :)

          You can email me at: henry the scot (at) g mail (dot) com
          (Take out the spaces, etc. :) )

    • Mike Red says:

      Sadly, dropping out, on account of life. Maybe next time.

  16. Fenyx says:

    Okay… I am definitely doing this! It will be an excellent excuse to work on a dialogue engine as well as an overworld engine.

  17. pikmin259 says:

    There should be awards for “Most Lines of Text” or “Most Endings”. It would be interesting to see the counts on all the games.

  18. MjStrwy says:

    A Ludum Dare with lax deadline and minimal technical requirements? I’m in!

  19. madeinpda says:

    Ha another interesting mini!

    I’ll try to be in!… but I’m sure I won’t finish it this weekend due to “real life effect” so I’ll publish it as soon as I get it finished during next week.

    I’ll post some screenshots of the progress during the weekend!

    My initial inspiration and thoughts about the theme… Maybe them can inspire other LD participants

    1 Some things are harder to say than others.
    2 Sometimes you say something misunderstood.
    3 When you are nervous sometimes you can’t express yourself clearly.

    So I think it could be interesting to add some difficulty (here comes a some kind gameplay) at the selecting choice during a dialogue game part.

    It is my starting point!

    Then I saw this month Experimental Gameplay Project theme…. “mashup!” and thought that it could also fit with my idea!

    So her I go for a 2 x combo weirdness indie development!!!!!

  20. LiquidAsh says:

    Just found this link on tigsource.com: “The art of dramatic writing”

    Reading up in anticipation!!! Looking forward to seeing all the entries.

  21. Ok I should be in this, depends on how work and everything goes.

  22. Reltair says:

    This should make for a good first MiniLD to participate in! :)

  23. Unnaturalist says:

    Gaahh! After a fraught weekend, I’ve managed to get one level working. Now there’s something wrong with my FTP, and I can’t upload it anywhere.

    I’ll submit it as soon as I can get it onto the web!

    Meanwhile, I’ll just say it’s called Hustings. You’re a politician, and your task is to tell the public what they want to hear in order to win approval and get yourself elected.

    I’ve looked at the “all talk” theme a bit sideways — it’s not a dialogue between characters, but you have to make speeches and keep an eye on audience reaction.

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