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[Postmortem] The Story of Your Life

Posted by
Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 11:20 pm

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 下午8.36.51

The theme of Ludum Dare 28 is “You Only Get One”, the first word pump into my head is YOLO. I know its literal meaning, You Only Live Once. Well, that’s true, everyone only have one life, if not considering afterlife or something like that. So I made this text adventure game The Story of Your Life.

Ludum Dare Entry

How did I design it?

First I abstract human to five attributes

  • Mind
  • Body
  • Social Connections
  • Self-confidence
  • Property

In the game, all players’ choices can affect above attributes, and some choices only appear when player’s attributes satisfy the requirement. Mind and Body are random at born, Social Connections, Self-confidence and Property are connected with family.

There’re 4 types of families in this game : Rich, Middle-class, Poor, Abandoned. Character got more attributes at born in better family, but like real world, player can’t choose the family, which is decided by a spinning wheel. Not like the real world, the possibilities of each family is equal, so player can easily get different experience.

Property don’t exist in the childhood period, and there’re many differences among different families, for example

  • Rich family can buy luxury in childhood, and middle-class family only have this option in adulthood.
  • Better family get more choices, and get more attributes bonus. Poor families have more “Part-time Job” options and get nothing from it, but the same choice can benefit rich family kids a lot. The reason behind it is different goals, one for surviving and the other is for building themselves.
  • Abandoned kid has no social connections at born, for them, there’re only two choices “Gangs” and “Do Sports” can get such attributes, and I add more “Gangs” options to this type.

Before entering adulthood, game provides players 4 career candidates based on the attributes. Some good career like scientist need high self-confidence, which is poor kids lacking of.

Adulthood is more boring than childhood, it’s 3 times longer than childhood. Player receive paycheck every 10 turns. Many choices in this period need money, the choices player can’t afford are not in the list.

At the end of this virtual life, game generate a short description based on the attributes at born and death. One gifted kid may died as a gangster and a kid born with silver spoon may have nothing in the end. All of these are determined by 3 factors Family, Luck and Choices, this is what I want to express in this game.

The Bad Design Factors


I should admit that this game is a little…boring, the whole process is just pushing different buttons. It would be much better to give players some text feedback after they made the choice, I cut off this feature because the limitation of my English writing skill.

In the real world, it’s difficult to quantify ourselves, so I made the decision that not exposing specific attribute numbers to players, which is a big mistake. I was making game, abstraction of real world. Without specific numbers feedback, players can’t get a clear picture of what they’re doing, it’s really frustrating.


I cut off family and special event features for lacking of time and energy.

There’re only 4 options each turn, may confusing players. A better solution in my mind right now is listing all options with requirement, and only allow player choosing the qualified options, then players can choose what they want and know why some options can not be chosen.


Graphic is more appealing than text, and bad text (ex. text in this game) can easily ruin the atmosphere and fun. Something like below can be visualized

  • Avatar
  • UI difference between childhood and adulthood
  • Iconify : careers, choices, etc.

After all, I’m very happy and getting lots of fun in this Ludum Dare. I believe I can make a better game next time.

P.S. There’s an eastern egg in this game. In the adulthood of middle-class family, one option is Make Indie Game, guess what would be happened after you choose it.

[Finished]The Story of Your Life

Posted by
Sunday, December 15th, 2013 6:05 am

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 下午8.36.51

OK, I’m done. A simple UI based game.

Everyone has only one life full of choices. So I create this game.

My entry. Play it on Kongregate.

I’m in!

Posted by
Friday, December 13th, 2013 7:44 am

Tools : Unity



The Mistake I Made in Black Hole Runner

Posted by
Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 8:53 am

Black Hole Runner is my Ludum Dare 27 entry, it’s about black hole and time dilation. I found almost everyone complains the slow vertical movement, which is caused by time dilation. To me, the slow movement has its reason, that’s just what I want, a slow motion effect. But why players don’t like it and how can I improve it?

The biggest mistake I made is let players waiting. Games should keep players busy, from receiving information (visuals, audios, texts and emotions) to taking response, always let them having something to do. Even in the turn based game like Go, in opponent’s turn, player have lots of brain work to do.

Yes, time dilation slow down spaceship’s movement, I can’t make it faster under this precondition, but I can give player more works. I found below possible solutions.

* Adding a laser weapon to break the asteroids.
* Pressing UP and DOWN to move a spaceship is so easy, increase the apm.
* Adjust the speed of background music to the in game time speed, emphasize the dilation situation.
* Adding fancy visual effect to attract players attention.

Posted by
Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 3:19 am

Black Hole Runner is my entry for Ludum Dare 27, it’s about spaceship, black hole and time dilation.

Physicists found the fact, speed and gravity can slow down time when they increased, which they called time dilation. It’s an amazing fact, isn’t? Physicists are really smart guys.

Time dilation is the core of Black Hole Runner. You’re a bad luck captain, try to escape from the gravity of a black hole. The only solution is space jump, but unfortunately it needs 10 seconds to set up. At the mean time, you need collect fuel and evade asteroids. The good news is the black hole changed the time speed, you have enough time to response. The closer to black hole, the time is slower.

I think escaping from black hole is a mission impossible in reality, so this game is very difficult. As designer, my best score is 1 second left. Hope you have better luck.Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 下午5.29.45

Black Hole Runner Day 1

Posted by
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 9:55 am

Black Hole Runner

A desperate spaceship try to escape from BLACK HOLE. I’ll polish it and add sound tomorrow.

So exciting

Posted by
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 5:32 am

I’m in. My gears are

  • Unity3D + 2dToolKit
  • Gimp + Inkscape
  • Garageband +Audacity
  • My brain (Hope the theme is not something about Zombie…)


Collision. My LD26 Entry.

Posted by
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 9:32 pm

Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 下午12.10.48

OK, my game is out. Let me introduce you Collision……OK, I’m done. Wait, I don’t tell you anything, am I? The best way to understand a game is playing it. Just click the below link and play it. This game don’t have tutorial is not caused by mine idleness(really?), because its minimalism :-) The best situation for game’s tutorial is that players can easily figure out the rules not by reading it, am I right?

PLAY ME (Unity3D web plugin needed)


Minimalism Game

Posted by
Friday, April 26th, 2013 7:58 pm

Interesting theme, I got some ideas, not decide which direction to go.

1.Expressing the key idea of minimalism itself.

2.Refining the core of some genre.

3.Simplified some complicated things in real world.

Tools : Unity3D GarageBand GIMP.

Before Evil Come Postmortem

Posted by
Thursday, May 5th, 2011 1:36 am

Before Evil Come

Well, I really made it. This is my first Ludum Dare, and actually my second playable game.

Before this competition start, I’m  so exciting and also doubt whether I can finish it. I made a strategy for myself, no collision detection, no physic and no animation. I know they’re important for a game, but I can’t count them in before I really conquer them.

Game Overview

This is an evil game like the title said. You’re a demon, came to our world, because good man protect us you have nothing to do without some buddies. So you go to the wild and hope get some buddies join you. Although it’s wild, still some enemy out there. You can have rest in house and graveyard, but be careful your enemy also rest in some house. After defeat your enemy, you gain exp and may level up. The more buddies and hight level you have, you can kill more people. If you don’t have any buddies, you die.

Developing Tools

I used below great tools.

Libgdx: an open source Java game engine, also supports Android. It’s really good and best game engine on Android in my mind. The texture packer and bitmap font generator tools are very helpful for me in this competition.

Gimp and Inkscape: all graphic assets are made by this two software.  I think Inkscape is a good tool to draw cartoon style graphic.

Bfxr, LMMS and Audacity: The BGM was made by LMMS and other sounds were from Bfxr. Audacity handle the polish work.

Developing Process

Ok, enough background, I want talk about how I made this game. When I knew the theme It’s Dangerous to Go Alone, Take This., the first idea was ant. Tiny ants group a great army to defeat strong army. Based this idea, I split gameplay to two steps, first summon army and second defeat big boss. The bigger army got in step 1, the easier in step 2.

Because I like dead creatures so I replace ants with zombie and skeleton. I’m not expert of complicated control game, so one click control is my choice. Top view, tile map and my cute dead creature, first stage is done.

When I start made second stage, I hesitated. It’s actually a totally different game, did I have enough time to finish it? I give it up at last, instead I made a slot machine mini game, whose digit number is lead by gain points in first stage.  (OK, actually I am just lazy ;-)

After add story board of game background, this game finally done. It’s mini and some kind shabby, but I really love it. So do my girlfriend, though she just like click things and don’t care game content.



1.Not enough feedback when player made decision.

2.Inside game mechanic is too simple. OK, maybe it’s some kind pro :-) .

3.Not enough introduction, player would be confused :-(

Pros :

1.It’s really very easy.

2.My cartoon characters are cute, isn’t it, especially when player lose. I love the skeleton on the cross.

Hope you like this game and my poor English not disturb you. :-)


My First LD, So Exciting!

Posted by
Monday, April 25th, 2011 10:29 pm

Language: Java

IDE: Eclipse

Libraries: Libgdx (cross platform Java game engine, also for Android)

Visuals: Inkscape Gimp

Sounds: SFXR, Audacity, LMMS

Looking forward to this!

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