About Crowbeak (twitter: @crowbeak)


Ludum Dare 35
Ludum Dare 34
Ludum Dare 33
Ludum Dare 32
Ludum Dare 32 Warmup
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Crowbeak's Trophies

You were there *Award* #LD30
Awarded by alvivar
on September 2, 2014

Crowbeak's Archive

The post-compo version of Ultra Hat Dimension is out!

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Friday, December 4th, 2015 5:05 am

Hey y’all! I’m a little late posting this because we released it Wednesday, but the post compo version of Ultra Hat Dimension is out! It has three times as many levels, new mechanics, and some impressive modding capabilities built in. Check out the Legend of Bea level Eniko made, starting about 30 seconds into the trailer!

You can get it for $5 on itch.io; there is also a downloadable demo. It’s currently Windows only. Sorry! We plan to port it later, but Eniko needs to get more work done on MidBoss (another LD post-compo game, the beta for which is free at midboss.net).

And Yuzuki made a badass soundtrack for Ultra Hat Dimension, which is also PWYW over on Bandcamp.

Once again, I’m gonna end an Ultra Hat Dimension post by saying that y’all are awesome. We absolutely love the Ludum Dare community and are super glad to be a part of it. <3

Keep being friendly and make awesome games! I, for one, am really looking forward to the upcoming jam! 😀

Ultra Hat Dimension post-compo version coming December 2!

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 1:47 am

Greetings, Ludum friends! ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

Ultra Hat Dimension, which was originally made for Ludum Dare 32 (An Unconventional Weapon) this past April, is getting an improved post-compo release on December 2!

It was tied for 24th overall out of the approximately 1,500 entries from the jam. This new version has about three times as many levels by yours truly, additional art and animations by Eniko, more lovely music by Yuzuki, and new mechanics — all without sacrificing any of the adorable hats or rampant punching that made it fun the first time around.



It’s going to be $5 for Windows and distributed via itch.io. I’ll post again when it’s available, though you can bet your baseball cap that Eniko, Yuzuki, and myself will all be tweeting about it like mad when the time comes.

If you haven’t tried the Ludum Dare original, you can play it online!

In the meantime, the soundtrack is available for pay-what-you-want over on Bandcamp. Go listen!

We’d also like y’all to know that we very much appreciate you. The Ludum Dare community is awesome and we’re glad to be part of it. So rock on, keep making games, and may the Force be with you.*

*Star Wars references are inserted by Crowbeak and may or may not be endorsed by the rest of the team.

Expectations, or How the Voters Surprised Me: A Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Tuesday, September 15th, 2015 6:31 am

My game this time around was made in Twine. I had planned to make a Twine game for some weeks before LD33 began, but although I wanted it to be an exercise in prose, that is not what ended up happening. The reason for this are explained in my LD33 game, which is a commentary on Ludum Dare itself. I titled it On the Growth of Ludum Dare and the Selection of Themes because I imagined it as a sort of interactive essay on that subject. You don’t need to play it before reading on, but I suggest that you do.

I am usually very responsive in the comment section of my game entry page, but this time I was not. I feel like the game speaks for itself in terms of what I intended, so I didn’t (and still don’t) want to say much about it. I very nearly opted out of all voting, but decided to leave the categories up out of curiosity. I’m glad I did. Most of the results were unsurprising, but not all.

Things I expected/hoped for and got

  • Some veterans of LD sympathized with my feelings about the LD33 theme.
  • Some people were glad that the game covered multiple view points by the end of it.
  • Some relative newcomers to LD learned some things they didn’t know.

Things that surprised me

  • People thought Chain Reaction being the last and infinitely repeated theme in the slaughter was intentional. (I wish it had been; the truth is that I got about ten pages made for that manually and then realized I could actually make it choose randomly from a list but was too lazy to implement that later.)
  • This: Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 8.25.07 PM


I’m funniest when I’m not trying to be.

Looking at my rating habits with the LD Personal Voting Analyzer

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Saturday, May 9th, 2015 11:05 pm


Liam 😀 made this awesome Ludum Dare Personal Voting Analyzer. You go to the play and rate page while logged in, copy everything in the table showing your voting scores for all the things you rated, and then paste it into a box on the voting analyzer page. The tool then takes the data and pops out a bunch of charts and graphs about your votes.

I am super happy that this tool was made. For several LDs, now, I’ve been wondering how good my internal milestones for each rating are, and although my rating is balanced in some areas, it turns out that it’s pretty heavily skewed in others. I’ve had the feeling my judging was skewed for a while now, and this tool has given me the data I need to know how badly skewed it is and in which areas so that I can adjust how I vote for next time. The reason I care is that I feel like 3 stars should represent the average and that if I’m scoring right, I should have a nice bell curve across all my votes.

The pie chart above shows how many of the things I rated were Jam, Compo, or Other games, where Other are games on which I commented without rating anything because the game was unplayable. As you can see, about half the games I rated were Jam and half were Compo. This is the only pie chart the tool shows, and aside from telling me that I have good sample sizes for both Compo and Jam games, I find it less useful than the line graphs.


Ludum Dare 32 Roundup Roundup >_>

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Saturday, May 9th, 2015 7:06 am

Silly title, yes, I know. Sorry! But I’ve written three Ludum Dare 32 roundups for IndieGames.com, and I wanted to share them since judging is nearing its end. I’ve featured a total of 31 games this time around.

Ludum Dare 32 Picks: Lots of platformers and a bit of flailing around

Ludum Dare 32 Picks: Poke with a finger of doom, diffuse text bombs, and more

Ludum Dare 32 Picks: One more batch before judging ends

I probably won’t write any more articles about Ludum Dare 32, except to announce that the winners exist (unless our game wins, of course, in which case I will ask the other editors to cover it). I’m more or less tapped out on energy for rating, though tomorrow is Sunday here in Japan and I’ll probably try to help games which don’t have enough ratings to place.

As always, it’s been a pleasure to see what neat stuff people came up with and I wish I had more time so I could play and rate more things. I love y’all and the stuff you make and look forward to covering next Ludum Dare!

Ultra Hat Dimension Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Friday, April 24th, 2015 8:45 pm

UHD Title

Our game, Ultra Hat Dimension, is a puzzle game in which you are a hat designer. You won a prestigious hat design contest on another world, but at the ball in your honor everyone suddenly went crazy, aligned themselves into factions based on which of your hats they’re wearing, and started attacking each other and you. So your goal is to get out of the palace. To do so, you have to get past the crazed guests, using hats to avoid getting punched backwards and to move people so they’ll get out of your way and/or attack each other.


This was my first team effort, done with Woof (@woofycakes), Yuzuki (@yuzukimasu), and Eniko (@enichan). Woof was on art, Yuzuki on music, Eniko on programming, and I did the writing, level designs, and mouth sounds. As someone who always found group work incredibly frustrating in school, I was pleasantly surprised by how awesome it was to focus on one area and let the others take care of their areas so we could end up with a game which has been very well received.

This is a long postmortem, so read on after the break to learn more about how we made it!


Oh, the muchings I have learned! \o/

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Thursday, April 16th, 2015 7:46 am


Happy Bartholemew

I have been adding stuff and I have learned much. The platformer is horribly, terribly broken (you can’t move the legless, happy triangle) and I don’t recommend trying it. The shooter doesn’t have enemies yet, but it DOES have shooting and moving. Collision with the walls still needs some tweaking, but I’ll get to that later. Neither has sound because I already figured out how to do sound.


Here’s a Windows build! (It should work on all the Windowses. I hope.)

Getting Warmer, I really am

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 7:21 pm

Well, after some problems with text, I have more stuff. I learned some things about Godot’s translation/localization system (really easy to use except when one or two keys just frelling fail to work for no reason) and about loading from files (crappy documentation, but the functions are aptly named, so that’s okay if you know how to load from files… which I didn’t much so I learned about that).

Happy Bartholemew

Now to put together some mock games and line them up on the left next to Happy Bartholemew there. 😀 Current builds are available… HEEYAH!

Whoops! Actually Getting Warmer now, I think (har har)

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Sunday, April 12th, 2015 4:10 pm

I posted about my warmup project Getting Warmer yesterday, complete with link to a build… which was broken. Let us try this again.

Getting Warmer

I still haven’t gotten very far or done much with it, having just woken up and being about to head off to work, but there is now a working 64-bit build and an untested 32-bit build, both for Windows. Yipee!

Warmup game: Getting Warmer

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Sunday, April 12th, 2015 7:29 am

I need to go to bed now T^T but I got a proper start screen up with chirpy bird sounds and a button that plays a sound file to make sure I connected the button to Doing A Thing correctly.

Getting Warmer

If you want to try what I have so far (dunno why you would, but hey, mouth sound?), there’s a Windows build you can download.

\o/ Godot Engine basic-y base code

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Sunday, April 12th, 2015 5:46 am

I’ve decided that unless I work with Eniko for this LD, I’m using Godot. As part of warmup/learning the engine, I’ve created some very basic stock stuff to start my game off with. As per rulez for the compo, I am making it available for everyone to use if they want.

Grab it here! (zip)

It has a splash screen on which the logo fades in and then out while a sound plays and a handy function for changing scenes that gets called at the end of the fade animation to bring up the start scene. The start scene is so small you can’t see it, but this also includes [what should be] working progress bar code for scene loading.

I might update this again before the jam starts, but in the meantime… \o/ Viva Ludum Dare!

Me-sa people gonna LD

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 5:35 am

I’m in. I’ll either be compo with Godot or Twine, or Jammin’ with Eniko on a framework she created because she’s a much better programmer than I. We shall see.

Oh yeah, LD weekend

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Monday, August 18th, 2014 4:42 pm

FWIW, I’m in. I might do another Twine game, might make something with Phaser. Might make a board game. Might make bacon and eggs. Will of course make bacon and eggs, breakfast of Ludum Dare meatatarian champions.

Read Between the Tropes: A Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Friday, May 2nd, 2014 8:44 pm

At the end of last Ludum Dare, I decided that much as I like the enchant.js library, I don’t want to use it for another LD until they fix the glaring problem with sound and Firefox, which is that if you have sound, the game won’t load — it freezes about 3/4 of the way through. I decided to switch to Phaser, a popular library that looks quite promising. Shortly thereafter, however, Limb Clock and I decided to collaborate on a Twine game for this Ludum Dare and I didn’t end up learning Phaser, instead starting on a Twine project to help my students with their English.

Unfortunately, due to family obligations, the collaboration fell through. For now, anyway. But that left me in a pickle. I didn’t want to use enchant, I had no clue how to use Phaser, and although I could do a Twine game anyway by myself… I kinda didn’t wanna with Beneath the Surface as the theme.

On the first day, I came up with an idea for the theme and went to work trying to implement it in Phaser. It didn’t work. It was demoralizing and I ended up spending several hours playing Minecraft with my best friend instead, then putzing around after he went to bed (since he’s in Alaska to my Japan). I eventually decided to go Twine after all, but… but… theme?!

It came to me late, after midnight and before I went to bed, that I could do a Twine game which, ultimately, is about the use of tropes. Tropes, for those who are unaware, are narrative devices used commonly enough in storytelling that writers can reasonably expect their patterns to be familiar to readers/watchers/players. They’re really fascinating, and at risk of you clicking the link and never coming back to finish reading my postmortem (because this web site is the greatest time sink in the history of the internet), I recommend checking out TV Tropes for more information. It’s called TV Tropes because it started out being just about television tropes, but has since expanded to cover ALL the tropes.

Anyway, I realized that tropes basically float beneath the surface of stories helping the writer make their point, whether the tropes are used in the regular fashion or averted. They’re not exactly building blocks, though they are tools, and my initial goal was to write a Twine game that would explore tropes about Alaska, Japan, and space. I was raised in Alaska, live and work in Japan, and have been fascinated by space since I was young. So before I slept on the first day, I created a Twine file, put together the first few passages, and posted this screenshot on Twitter:

Read Between the Tropes, first draft

When I got up the next day, I still didn’t get to work immediately. I was still demoralized. Over the course of the day, I came up with the idea of doing not just trope- and cliche-ridden versions, but following them up by asking the player if they wanted to learn more about what those places are really like and cut out space altogether. I started on Japan first (just because) and decided to have two tracks, one for being a mech pilot and one for being what I called a magical guardian — a magical girl, essentially, but I wanted to be gender neutral. That led me to wanting to do both adolescent and adult versions of both and that was where I realized my scope was going to get out of hand if I didn’t pull on the reins right away.

In the end, I ended up cutting out Alaska, taking out any references to Japan (or any other country, for that matter), didn’t get any adolescent branches in, and still barely finished the second major branch of the story in time to submit for the jam. After only getting four hours of sleep the next night. What the player now sees as their first choice of the game is this:

Read Between the Tropes, LD Final

Both of these lead to stories about adults, each of which has two endings. Most of the passages (story chunks) that the player goes through add one or more tropes to a list behind the scenes and that list is shown to the player at the end of the game along with a recommendation that they look up the tropes they got.

I like this game and am already working on a post-compo version which will have expanded/improved versions of the existing branches and also an adolescent branch that starts in a high school. If you want to try the LD version, the entry page is heeya!

Without further ado, here are some bullet points listing some things I’m taking away from this Ludum Dare.

The Good

  • People like it! One person told me she wants to know more about the backstory of the mech branch and another said that they had TV Tropes up in another browser window and tried to guess what tropes they were getting when they played (a meta game I may suggest to people at the beginning in the post-compo version).
  • I’m pretty happy with the quality of the writing.
  • I’m now more familiar with how to use Twine, which will help with the aforementioned project for my students.
  • I nipped scope creep in the bud. \o/

The Bad

  • I should have just stuck with Twine from the start instead of diverting to Phaser. I wasted more than a full day because of trying and the demoralizing effects of failing.
  • Developing this game required me to immerse myself in the time-sucking mire of TV Tropes. I dunno how much time I spent on the web site instead of writing, but it was a significant chunk. Not good for a game jam. xD

The Hmm

  • The Mech Pilot (MP) branch has been universally more well-liked than the Magical Guardian (MG) branch. I have to agree that it is the better of the two. I feel like it’s better written in terms of allowing and reacting to player choice. It was the first one completed and was not rushed like the MG branch.
  • On a related note, there are more passages in the MG branch than in the MP branch and those passages have a higher average word count. I think there are two reasons for that. Firstly, I needed to describe an underground magical environment. Second, without the time to work out better player choice options, I may have subconsciously tried to compensate by fleshing things out more.

LD 29 WIP Ruminations

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Friday, April 25th, 2014 8:47 pm

So, I was gonna collaborate with Limb Clock on a Twine game, but some family stuff has come up that might pull me away at any time for an undisclosed period of time, so we opted to not work together this time.

That left me wondering what to do — I could still make a solo Twine game, but with the theme being Beneath the Surface, I kinda want to make a game that incorporates the theme as gameplay, rather than as a thematic element. That’s what I tend to do in my solo entries, anyway. So many people apply the LD theme as an aesthetic wrapper for their game genre of choice, and while that isn’t inherently a bad thing, I like to be a bit more creative than that. So the direction I’m going to take things is to have the player manipulate the surface to affect what goes on beneath.

Ideally, I will think of something involving looking down on the surface to manipulate the stuff underneath it. Right now, though, my best idea is a side view where manipulating the shape of the surface affects paths underneath, and you have to try and get the people/aliens/whatever on the left to their desires on the right. It would be a turn-based puzzle/strategy thing.

LD29 notes

Before I forget…

Posted by (twitter: @crowbeak)
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 5:43 am

I’m in. I’ll be collaborating with Limbclock to make a Twine game this time around. Yarr!

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