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"Cream of the Crop" - LD32
Awarded by Dreyan
on May 12, 2015

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Theseus is on Steam Greenlight!

Posted by (twitter: @themeorch)
Sunday, May 15th, 2016 4:14 pm

Thanks so much to everyone who played Theseus over the last month! It’s been wonderful to watch streams and read comments, and I’ve been blown away by the response.

I’m working on an expanded version of Theseus, with new mechanics, updated art, a complete original soundtrack, a wordless story with a variety of unusual creatures you’ll interact with, and a huge non-linear world of puzzle levels. The expanded version is now up on Steam Greenlight!

 
TheseusWithResults

 

If you enjoyed Theseus, or you just want to help out a fellow Ludum Darer, it would mean so much to me if you’d vote for Theseus on Greenlight, and share this link with anyone you know who likes puzzle games! bit.ly/TheseusGreenlight

 

Expansion Pack for Theseus!

Posted by (twitter: @themeorch)
Monday, May 2nd, 2016 11:44 am

I’ve created a challenging expansion pack for Theseus with 9 new levels that explore some twists on the existing mechanics. Most of the levels are at least as difficult as the hardest levels in the main game. There’s a fun little surprise at the end, so if you’re up for a challenge, try it out!

TheseusExp2

If you haven’t played through the main game yet, I highly recommend completing that first, as the expansion pack expects you to understand all of the mechanics and techniques, and it increases the difficulty significantly.

You can play Theseus and its expansion pack HERE

Theseus: The Risks and Rewards of Continuity

Posted by (twitter: @themeorch)
Friday, April 22nd, 2016 12:00 am

Early on in development of Theseus, I made a simple decision: the character’s shape at the end of each level would be maintained at the start of the next level. I wanted to give the journey continuity and make it feel less like just a collection of levels.

So I set up the system that would save your shape between levels and started designing puzzles. Initially I wanted some levels to solvable with the character in a variety of shapes. However, levels that might start with many different shapes were hard to make solvable and even harder to make quickly. I had to give each puzzle a unique solution. The character’s shape would be maintained between levels, but I’d make sure I knew exactly what that shape would be.

The continuity between levels made it necessary to design levels in order, and any changes I made to a level had the potential to affect the levels around it. This was manageable in a small game — in a larger project, this could have been very cumbersome. One advantage to controlling the shape at the start of each level was that I could ensure a nice variety of shapes throughout the game.

As the jam neared its end, I was pleased with the 22 levels and how they explored the 3 main mechanics. Then, with 1 hour left, a playtester found an alternate solution to a puzzle… And I realized I hadn’t removed the system that maintained the character’s shape between levels.

I had designed the levels to control the character’s shape, but any alternate solutions I hadn’t found could put the player into a level in a shape that made that level impossible! This is particularly bad in a puzzle game, as players expect to get stumped and are less likely to realize they’re totally stuck.

TheseusUnsolvable

An unintended impossible situation.

I rushed to remove the shape-saving system and make each level start with a predetermined shape. As a result, it’s possible your shape might change from the end of one level to the beginning of the next. In those cases, congratulations and apologies — you found a solution that I didn’t see during development, and the illusion of continuity between levels might have been broken.

After the jam, I found 4 unintended solutions. I’ve uploaded a Post-Jam version with level tweaks that prevent them. It’s possible that more exist, though, and I’d love to hear from anyone who finds one.

Thanks to everyone who has played Theseus and left comments/criticisms. You can play Theseus here.

A second LD in the books

Posted by (twitter: @themeorch)
Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 1:01 am

Well, it was an exciting, challenging, and sleepless weekend of jamming, but Crystalline is done.  I was able to try a lot of techniques that were new to me, make a much larger game than my first jam game in LD31, and actually have music and sound effects this time.

Thanks to everyone in the Ludum Dare community for being so inspiring, supportive, and creative.  These jams push me to push myself, and I get hundreds of awesome games to play as a reward! I’m looking forward to checking out everyone’s work, but first it’s time to get some sleep!

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