This is not a minimalist game – Postmortem

Posted by
May 3rd, 2013 10:38 am


It was my fourth participation to the Ludum Dare, and it’s a great experience every time ! Here’s the game I did for the compo :

This is not a minimalist game


About the game
It’s a platformer – adventure game. You play a warrior in a medieval fantastic universe who does quests for various NPC. Suddenly the world changes. It has no more colors, no more details, and the people are talking rectangles.

The theme
At first, I had minimum inspiration for “Minimalism”… :)
It made me think of Mondrian, but also of Magritte (“This is not a pipe”, “This is not an apple”). I like Magritte’s work, so I wanted to put a reference to it in the game, but I didn’t know how.

Ceci n'est pas une pomme

Then I had this idea of a basic character from a medieval fantastic game who finds himself in a minimalist world. I tried to imagine what a minimal NPC would be like, then I thought of this rectangle who wants squares and tries to use the minimum of words to interact with the player. And I started from there.


The development
I roughly had the whole story in mind when I started to code. In my timezone, you discover the theme at 4 a.m., so you can really sleep on it.
I was convinced I’d had to make cuts because there were so many scenes. In my previous LD, I was never able to do everything I wanted. For Tinysasters (LD23 – Tiny World), I had to rush the graphics and the sound during the last hour, and the gameplay was not working. For Lucas’s Quest Backwards (LD24 – Evolution), I had to abandon the compo and go for the jam. And for Crime in the City (LD25 – You are the villain), I couldn’t work on the graphics at all.

When the first day was over, I had 6 scenes left. No work had been done on the graphics or the sounds. Although, what was very convenient about this theme was that all my prototype-looking graphics for the minimalist world could almost be considered as final :)
Fortunately, it only took me 1 hour by scene, so I had plenty of time to finish when he gameplay was done.

For the code, I used As3 (flash) with the framework Flixel. I never use Flixel or heavy frameworks outside the Ludum Dare, because I like to code more freely. But it was great for this LD and it saved me a lot of time.


For the level design, I used DAME. It works great with Flixel. It’s nice to be able to draw the maps so easily with a set of tile.

For the graphics I used Photoshop CS2. It’s not the best tool for pixel art but it’s the one I’m comfortable with. It’s also good enough for animations, although not very handy.

For the music, I used ThumbJam (iOS). This is a fantastic app that lets you compose music like you were playing an instrument. And the interface is so simple !


Things that went (a little) wrong

A lot of people on the comments of Kongregate and Newgrounds said that the game was inspired by Flatland. It’s not, I’ve never read this book and I hadn’t heard of it before I released the game. But I will probably read it now, sounds interesting !


The puzzle aspect
The game looks like a puzzle game, but it wasn’t supposed to be one. Actually, there are only two puzzles in the game… The mirror one wasn’t even planned, it came to me when I was developing the scene.

The idea is that the character brought the change with him to the minimal world. He doesn’t make the change happen, the change is already there (the red squares, etc.). The character is only the spark that lights things up, he’s not really active in this. That’s why things can feel a little random to people used to puzzle games, This is not a minimalist game is a story before everything. If I had more time, I would have made more dialogs, NPC, choices and alternate storylines.

Player sprite


What went right

Time is on my side
This is the first time in a Ludum Dare that I didn’t run out of time. I had 7 hours to do the graphics, the music and some polish. It was very comfortable. I’d definetly like to do it again ! But I wonder how much it had to do with the theme…

Lots of plays
The game is currently featured on Kongregate and Newgrounds. I’m very happy so many people get to play the game !

This is not a minimalist game


Thanks for taking the time to read my post-mortem.
Here’s the link to the game : This is not a minimalist game
I hope you’ll enjoy it :)


I’ll make a post in a few days about my favorite games. I’ve rated 60 so far and saw some great entries !

2 Responses to “This is not a minimalist game – Postmortem”

  1. infernet89 says:

    This totally need to grow in a bigger, longer game.

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