About Surrealix (twitter: @philipbuchanan)


Ludum Dare 27
Ludum Dare 21
Ludum Dare 18

Surrealix's Trophies

Chased a Dragon (Late Entry)
Awarded by gritfish
on June 6, 2012
Employs uber-cheap construction workers
Awarded by sgstair
on April 20, 2008



pansapiens says ...

Considerable achievement to get a game like this going in 48 hours (despite the bugginess). Graphics do the job (minimal, fit with the theme). It's tricky to determine the killer. Maybe a 'clock' running while each alibi is replayed would help in correlating each sequence of events. And maybe colour each character differently. More of a thinking game than a "riotous fun" type game, but sometimes thats just what I want.

Hamumu says ...

Serious problems... crashing constantly, and when it did work, the font was virtually unreadable (scaled, without antialiasing, it seems), and then it crashed when I clicked the rolling pin. And Vista gave me a warning I've never seen about data protection, so I'm gonna protect my data and stop now. It looked really interesting, and I wanted to see how it went, but I just can't even judge this.

sol_hsa says ...

At startup:
"TBDI.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience."

Too bad, the shots looked interesting.

mjau says ...

I like murder mysteries. I really wanted to like this game too, but unfortunately I think it's a bit *too* minimal to be much fun. It's kinda fun-ish to try to figure out who did it by watching the movements of the suspects (name font was too small btw, a larger one certainly wouldn't hurt), but then again that's all you really can do.

Also, when you click the handcuffs icon the crime is apparently solved for you, so it didn't actually feel that much like a game to me (except you know if you guessed right or not, of course). That could have been because I had the wrong person selected when I clicked the handcuffs though.. I did figure out who the murderer was, but I thought I'd get a selection box or something when I clicked the cuffs. I tried running the game again to see what happens if you actually click the right person before clicking the handcuffs, but I couldn't get it to run again even though I probably tried more than ten times, it just kept crashing (using the windows version).

So anyway, it fits very well with the theme, both in graphics style and gameplay, but I think the minimalism in the latter hurts the game =/

I really like the murder generation system you created, though. That worked great =)

SethR says ...

Great visuals and interesting. I would have liked to see a "speed up time" key so people would move faster. Crashy but still an achievement to get such a neat system working.

dgriff says ...

I watched one story and guessed -- and won. Yay!

pekuja says ...

The crashes were annoying but I was eventually able to play a game. It seemed to take way too much time to watch through everybody's version of the events. Would had probably been nice to just click through a sequence that showed which room the person was in and who was there with them. The graphics were nice.

thedaian says ...

Neat idea, nice graphics, sadly, a lack of polish keeps the game from being all that fun. Once I got it to run, it was interesting, but a bit boring, to watch everyone's movements. No real way to know if you win or not, either.

keeyai says ...

I grabbed your working windows port, but it didn't really work very well. Crashed a couple times, then when it did load I couldn't tell what in the world was happening. The font was unreadable and without any interface clues I really had no idea what the icons were except the handcuffs. It sounds like a really fun game though -- maybe you can post a vid of it working :)

mikeware says ...

I like the look and the idea; I love murder mysteries. Though I think the interface would need a little work to make it a bit more fun. i.e. showing the items in the rooms, having names above the icons of the characters, etc...

phren says ...

Very nice implemetation, other than the random crashes on startup. Making a murder mystery generator like this in 48 hours is quite an accomplishment. Nice graphichal style.

drZool says ...

I got it to run, but when I interviewed someone, I could not get back. There was no back button, no key worked either, except Esc which exited the game. O at start, the rooms are in sideview, I though there was some graphic glitch at first, before I realized I could rotate it.

jolle says ...

Really like the look. Could probably be more fun if it wasn't such a lot of waiting. Lots of random crashes -- uninitialized memory troubles? And yeah, camera could start with better view.

DrPetter says ...

The cook did mine! And he admitted it too...
Very cool concept and most of the execution is great as well. The gameplay is a bit slow-paced, maybe having a draggable timeline for each story would have helped (so you can go back and forth quickly without having to start all over again with the sequence of events). I guess that would remove some of the cozy traditional pondering and book-keeping that you get/need with "realtime" execution though.
Oh, and the text rendered crappily for me. I ran the Windows build. Think I got the same issue with some other game as well - the text is sort of stretched down with nearest point sampling so you lose some pixel lines and it gets generally hard to read. It's probably due to whatever you used for building that executable I guess.

mariusz says ...

I'm impressed with the idea and the different storylines being generated each time, but once you get past that it seems to be essentially a logic puzzle. I spent some time fighting with the camera before settling on a point-of-view where I could see everything clearly. The style of the graphics reminded me of an old game called Movie.

Archive for the ‘LD #11 – Minimalist – 2008’ Category


Posted by (twitter: @philipbuchanan)
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 4:26 pm

So I’ve got around to compiling my 2GB of screenshots into a timelapse. You can see a long period at the start when visitors came round and I got absolutely no work done, but things get more and more frantic as the deadline approaches.

It looks like I never slept – but this is because there’s no screenshots from when the computer was off.


The Butler Did It, in Windows

Posted by (twitter: @philipbuchanan)
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 4:53 am

Well, it’s here!

A Windows port of ‘The Butler Did It‘ is now available for download. It’s unchanged from the linux version (except the bits coded so badly the compiler wouldn’t let me get away with).

Download, run, and keep trying until it manages to start without crashing.

Windows Binary (zip, 2.5 mb)

Burnt pizza, meetings, and a playable game.

Posted by (twitter: @philipbuchanan)
Monday, April 21st, 2008 12:07 am

Congratulations to everyone who finished, or even just attempted the LD11. I really enjoyed it, and will be back for more!

I’ve slept 2 hours in the last 2-and-a-bit days, and am seeing triple. Had a meeting this afternoon with three of my course advisors, and could barely stagger along in my Monday evening social sport.

Regardless, I managed to hold up long enough to also fix some show stopping bugs, and write a comprehensive guide to playing “The Butler Did It”. Original unplayable version is still available if you want to use it for judging (*ouch*), but give this one a whirl and catch a murderer.

Looking forward to a good long sleep, and then working my way through 60 minimalistic games. Probably a windows port of TBDI, too.

The Butler Did It

Posted by (twitter: @philipbuchanan)
Sunday, April 20th, 2008 6:17 pm

This is a procedurally generated whodunnit. Minimal clues, minimal interaction, and a very minimal appearance.

A crime has been committed in Lord Fletcher’s manor. Someone has been murdered.

Upon arriving at the scene, you are told who is deceased, where their body was found, and what they were murdered with. You must interview the residents, trace their movements, and ascertain the identity of the killer.

The murderer, being unlikely to confess, will fabricate lies. The innocent residents, however, will tell the truth. By careful deduction and investigation, you will slowly build up a picture of the crime, and catch the guilty party.

Pretty screenshot.


Playable Version : Ubuntu Binary + Source (rar, 1.8mb)

Windows Port : Windows Binary (zip, 2.5mb)

It may crash on startup, so keep trying until it runs :/.¬†Under linux, you’ll need OpenSceneGraph-1.2.2 to compile it (apt-get libopenscenegraph-dev)

(Update : Someone wrote a wonderful post-mortem of this game and saved me the work of doing it myself!)

With a Knife

Posted by (twitter: @philipbuchanan)
Sunday, April 20th, 2008 4:06 pm


After many, many, many hours, the murder generator is now working. It will generate, consistent with the house, a mystery for you to solve. I’ve now got 2 hours to write an interface for it, and until that happens (or doesn’t, depending on how well things go), here’s a screenshot of the console.

Exciting! It shows where each person was over time, and then an output of the logic used to solve the murder. Note that it generates this differently each time (aren’t I proud).

Oh and a footnote. It seems to have developed memory issues, and crashes nearly 50% of the startups. At this stage, this is something people will have to live with :/

In the Master Bedroom

Posted by (twitter: @philipbuchanan)
Sunday, April 20th, 2008 3:09 am

The house is now generated, both graphically and topologically (so characters no longer teleport between rooms on opposite sides of the house).

The butler did it, truly.

One worry I have is that these short ‘whodunnits’ are going to prove too difficult or unintuitive for most people to solve. I guess it’s a very specific target audience.

26th Hour Update

Posted by (twitter: @philipbuchanan)
Saturday, April 19th, 2008 7:36 pm

I was planning on posting this 2 hours ago, but it took a little longer than I expected to get it working. This is the 2 hallways and parlour, generated differently each time.  A number of rooms branch off the hallways (not visible here), in one of which the murder takes place.

I’m devoting the next few hours to implementing the timeline – sorting out who goes where, when.

Food Photo

Posted by (twitter: @philipbuchanan)
Saturday, April 19th, 2008 6:59 pm

A late lunch on day 2 (Sunday), we picked up pizza to maximize coding time.
Triorph on the bottom left, I’m on the right.

The butler did it

Posted by (twitter: @philipbuchanan)
Saturday, April 19th, 2008 5:55 am

After being otherwise occupied for several hours and eating tea, it was good to get back to work on the whodunnit. In the last few hours I’ve not written any code, nor drawn any art, but I have produced a prodigal amount of waste paper. The end result is that the algorithms which drive the scenarios (it’s dynamically generated each time) seem to be working – at least on paper.

The camera’s gone walkabouts, so pictures of the mess will be up later. Tomorrow is implementing everything, but for now I’m off to bed.

It’s alive!

Posted by (twitter: @philipbuchanan)
Friday, April 18th, 2008 11:00 pm

and kicking. It also runs.

I’ve decided upon a type of who-dunnit-mystery-game (minimal clues), though I’ve yet to pin down the details. I’m going for a very minimalist art style (obviously), but also a fairly minimalistic puzzle style gameplay. More updates as I figure things out.

Anyhow, here’s what’s on screen after hour 5.

and kicking


Posted by (twitter: @philipbuchanan)
Friday, April 18th, 2008 4:50 pm

To add to the conglomeration of photos, here’s my workspace for the moment.

Workspace, the first.

The Introduction Thing

Posted by (twitter: @philipbuchanan)
Tuesday, April 15th, 2008 12:37 am

So I’m planning on entering LD for the first time. I’ve wanted to do this for a while, but awkward times (for those of us in New Zealand) have put a dampener on the last few. Not this time though!

I’m going to use C++ & OpenSceneGraph, and probably openAL for sound. My previous games were developed in VisualBasic & DirectX, so things may be a little interesting. Experience wise, I’m studying my final year of Engineering, and have been programming for ages. I rarely manage to finish anything I start, but with any luck I’ll contain feature creep enough to write something playable during the competition. LD11 here we come.

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