How I made X=3-1 (Jam Theme winner)

Posted by (twitter: @VanMerwan)
May 21st, 2013 2:35 am

The first thing I said to myself before the start of the Jam was this : “I will do my best to respect the theme in every aspect of interpretation or development.” Then the theme was announced : “Minimalism“. I was very frustrated because I knew that obeying THAT theme would kill almost every fragment of creativity I have could put into it my game. I wasn’t creating a personal game anymore, but a thing resulting of the maximum extrapolation of an invasive theme.

My thoughts are a battlefield with Conformism (C) against Anticonformism (A).
I do hate the C part, but it’s keeping me sane. This is how I proceed, talking to myself :

  • A : What is the Minimal in a Game?
    C : Interactivity. Without interactivity, it’s just a show.
    A : But is a show a real game with unconscious inputs and inexplicit outputs?
    C : Don’t mix show and game or people won’t understand.
  • A : What is the Minimal in Interactivity?
    C : An input, an output.
    A : It seems to be true with 2 people (considering Player and Game).
  • A : What is the Minimal Input or Output?
    C : A click and displaying a pixel I think.
    A : Where are your arguments?
    C : In common games you just have to click and pixels are small and light.
    C : Remember, people need to understand.
    A : MAN, stop attacking your liberty of thinking by using understandability as a filter.
    C : Do a game for your yourself if you want BUT UNDERSTAND that shareability is primordial in LD.
    A : Go **** ******** C!

— Cerebral Meltdown —
I’m not going to show you everything, because it took hours.
And my head hurts.

  • A : So… what’s the minimal game engine?
    C : Notepad.
    A : LOL, are you trying to mimic me? You’re bad at this, you know.C : It was a serious answer.
    A : It was unoriginal originality, around 10 people will have the same idea.
    C : So what’s your idea?
    A : No game engine.
    C : WHAT???!! We are NOT going to make a game??
    C : GOOD JOB, YOU’RE RIGHT : 0 octets, that’s Minimal!
    C : Who won? Everyone who did NOT submit a game.
    C : You’re going to be hated for that.

— Conformism ragequit — Long wait — Conformism comeback —

  • A : Bro, try to understand me,
    A : I was saying : no “standard” game engine.
    A : Let’s use Ludum Dare website as a game engine.
    A : One possibility : Title = Question ; Download links = Answers.
    A : Let’s minimize everything
    C : Wow, you’re a genius, no kiddin, but can we?
    A : It’s not forbidden, I think. Let’s submit in “Jam”. In case of.
  • C : So, what’s the minimal question for you?A : “How are you?”
    C : Answer links : “Fine, thank you” and “Not so well”?
    A : I don’t like this, the question must be more challenging.
    A : What about “X = 3 – 1“, btw : weird name, easy to see.
    C : That’s not challenging at all.
    A : Well, it looks challenging so people UNDERSTAND where the game is.
    A : Remember, there’s no downloadable game, no Flash, no HTML5!
    C : Why not “48√∑2(9+3) = ?“, we will get more points in fun.
    A : Too hard, and minimalism has a difficulty interpretation.
    A : Note : We must do minimalism in the most diverse field of interpretations!
  • C : Where the “download” links are going to redirect?
    A : Maybe to wikipedia, to the true or false page.
    C : I like the “true” or “false” idea, it’s very “game-like”.
    C : However, some people will not understand that wikipedia is a part of the game.
    C : They will say “the link is broken” or something else.
    C : I will write “you need a web browser” so people don’t search a “physical” game.
    C : And it’s funny at the same time.
  • A : Good idea, hhmm, for the links I will write true or false in images.
    A : I will then upload the images and use their direct links.
    A : It’s important to lure people into thinking we spent minimal time and skill.
    C : I think you’re right.
    A : Haha.
    C : Be careful, some people will look at the URL, so upload the false image several times.

And that’s roughly how I got this :

Theme(Jam) 4.65
Humor(Jam) 4.40


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3 Responses to “How I made X=3-1 (Jam Theme winner)”

  1. vandriver says:

    Bravo! Your game was the most perfect possible interpretation of the theme.

  2. You get big props for ‘Who won? Everyone who did NOT submit a game.’

    I think that your opinion on the theme was shared with many many people, but I recommend an alternative viewpoint:

    Minimalism was a bad theme because minimalism is a tool for design, not because minimalism means stripping everything to it’s absolute base. It’s like saying ‘the theme for this Ludum Dare is: User Interface”

    I believe Minimalism is simply one stage of the design process. It simplifies your ideas, un-clutters your work area and makes your game more intuitive.

    Another idea during the compo that may be a bit skewed is that Minimalism was just an art movement – and not a very popular one. There HUNDREDS of games that made use of Mondrian simply because his art was the first Google image that popped up! And more than HALF of those made fun of art in general because of that! LOL

  3. Tifu says:

    I did not encounter your game during the competition unfortunately, but wow, that is a genius take on the theme XD

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