About Notch


Notch's Trophies

The heart of my coding passion
Awarded by Damoy
on January 19, 2017
The almost every post loved award
Awarded by Nnnnneeeedddd
on November 28, 2016
The "Pretty sure I'm gonna win the Indie Award" Award
Awarded by HawkSandwich
on August 18, 2016
Created a game that made a community that was so bad he left
Awarded by Oddfruit
on November 22, 2015
The "You Made Mincraft" Award
Awarded by lxd1
on September 5, 2014
Inspiring me to make games Award
Awarded by Crafting4U
on August 25, 2014



Frimkron says ...

Incredible. The pixel art is amazing - you really squeezed a lot of motion out of such tiny sprites. The sounds are well chosen and the game itself is highly enjoyable. A true salute to Settlers with the added cool of spinny-rotatey-ness. An awesome achievement in 48 hours.

matrin says ...

Impresive. I like the way the screen is rendered. It reminds me of settlers 1&2, the good old days :D

MrPhil says ...

Took me a while to figure out HOW to break the tower, but I did.

Endurion says ...

Very nice!
I\'d love to be able to save the game though, it is a long play ;)

Papper says ...

Took me a while to beat, the soldiers weren\'t clever enough to defend my buildings.. :)

It\'s a great game though, I liked it.

gadlor says ...

The guys swarming out of the tower overpowered my puny soldiers. :(

I liked it a lot!

PS: Do not destroy a barracks in the middle of building - it will take your \'allowed soldiers\' count down into the negatives.

edwardoka says ...

Fantastic. Hypnotic watching them go about their lives. Want MOAR!

LoneStranger says ...

I had to go back to your journal posts to figure out how to break the tower, but that was about an hour in, so you captured me for a long time. It's a fun little game, though once I got a couple barracks, I was able to hold my own on the island without any problems, occasionally adding one more. Wood seemed to be the only thing that was a pain to collect, since it was used most often. I like the idea of the farm and the planter with their renewable resources.

Time: 1:13:08
Score: 8394

drZool says ...

Awesome! Took about an hour to break the tower, fun, retro and good looking. I ran the game whole night, I got 19747 wood, 190 rock and 11335 Food :)

nilsf says ...

I thought this was a really impressive looking game. How can so few pixels look so nice? :)
I didn't figure out how to break the tower until after I played and read the comments but I had a self sustaining settlement so I just went to do groceries and had won when I got back.

Deepflame says ...

Haha this game has charmed me right from the start. :) I love how it looks as well. It reminds me so much of Settlers 1. Nostalgia ftw.

adamzap says ...

Long play, but awesome game. Faster pace would have made it better for me.

Hamumu says ...

Super cool. It's a pain to get guys to do what you want... I was always really short on one of the three things, but for no particular reason. The people just felt like doing something else. And 2/3 of my soldiers hung out on the wrong end of the island to be useful.

But it's really amazing and cool, one of my favorites so far.

keeyai says ...

Very nice game. Love the camera work. Amazingly complex for an LD entry. Unfortunately I got frustrated and quit when my half my warriors were just hanging out at the beach all day and the other half watch the guys in black walk past, kill some workers, and destroy a building or two before attacking. Still, very nice entry.

GBGames says ...

I wish I hadn't read how to break the tower in IRC. I would have liked to have known how long it would take to figure it out.

Brilliant use of the theme, and great graphics! I found it tedious and long, since I'm waiting around, but then I didn't find out about the X that sells back your buildings until late in the game.

Very impressive overall!

wonderwhy-er says ...

Wah... Great game for 48 hours :D Reminds me of many god sims :D
Tough not without a flaws... I think it would be nice to have something like priorities. Aether made by count of buildings or as tools on top so that we could control statistically what people prefer to do...

Another thing that is needed is save games. This thing takes time and sometimes i really want to interrupt from it for some 10 minutes but can't...

Anyways very good result for 48. Seems complex and i couldn't find any bugs :)

Codexus says ...

Cool game but it becomes very slow after a while. An option to speed up the simulation would have been great.

Also most of the little guys just wander around doing nothing instead of being where they are needed. I was ready to start breaking the tower but then they attacked my guys near it while all my soldiers were having fun on the other side of the island. That was after 30 min of play so I gave up.

Orangy Tang says ...

Really nice, and rather addictive for some reason. :) I didn't realise how to finish it until I looked at your journal entries though.

DrPetter says ...

Very very nice. I've wanted to make some kind of sim game for one of the LD's, but haven't taken the plunge quite yet. Maybe next time.
I agree about the graphics - they are very effective for the resolution used, and cute. The rotation isn't really critical to gameplay, but it adds a lot of fun diversion and variation to what could otherwise get rather boring.
Easily the most captivating game of the bunch this time, as I spent more than 40 minutes playing it (and that was just one round!)

Morre says ...

Awesomely pretty - polished. I can't believe this was done in 48h.
Gameplay is cool, but gets repetetive pretty quickly. Took me roughly an hour to complete at first try. After that, I don't find much reason to play it again. Still, an hour is more time than I spent on most of the games :)

And no matter how this game does in the compo, congratulations for getting featured on indiegames.com and rockpapershotgun :)

jolle says ...

You just stole an hour of my life. But that's ok, it was fun. Definitely best game I've played so far. Nice graphics, very fun game, polished. Fits theme, too.

pansapiens says ...

Amazing pixel art ! Tricky sort of isometic sprites + 3D (+tech points). Nice retro sounds. Took a while to get the hang of things without instructions, but once I understood the way the limitation of peons worked it was easier (eg if you have too many buildings of a type you don't need the peons may still busy themselves there, rather than moving to work at the new ones). Fairly well balanced considering the limited time for testing. Could get a bit harder (increase baddie spawn rate) as tower gets lower ?
My score: 1:08, ~8300 (clicked accidentally and lost the exact score)

Edge says ...

Wow. That was the best entry for me so far.
Pretty nice graphics and impressive map rotation. The sim part worked pretty well without giving orders to people. The placement of the buildings becomes pretty important. And the option to sell old buildings with just 25% loss of ressources gives the player enough room to adjust to new situations. I found it very addicting and will probably try it again, to get a faster finishing time.

Congratulations for making this in 48hours. :)

Sivart13 says ...

An epic level of polish, but did you purposely tune it to take so long? Watching little sprites blip along for 40 minutes is a little crazy. A 'speed up' button would change everything.

Archive for the ‘LD #12 – The Tower – 2008’ Category

Highscores in Breaking the Tower

Posted by
Thursday, August 21st, 2008 11:07 am

Hi, all! I’ve made a small post-LD12 fix of Breaking the Tower, and I’ve included a high score list.

Click here to play, or check out the highscores here (although at the time of posting, there are none. I hope it works. ;))

Debriefing the Tower

Posted by
Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 5:07 am

Wasting the Night

The Tower. Seemed pretty straight-forward, but I still googled it for inspiration and to see what possible alternative meanings there are. I saw something about a tug boat, as in “someone who tows”, and thought that was sufficiently out of the box to be considered clever, and would allow me to make a game that really stood out from the rest since it wasn’t about a big circular stone building.

After considering boats dragging other boats, an idea formed about a space game in the style of Elite 1 / Wing Commander, where you played the role of a Tower responsible for rescuing stranded ships. I had some vague ideas about trading as well.

Instead of going to bed after seeing the theme as I had promised myself, I stayed up another three hours, building a first prototype of the game (you can try it here). I didn’t go to bed until I realized there was no reasonable way I would be able to finish the game with all the art it would require.

Starting the Game

After some six hours of sleep/dreaming about a new game idea, i suddenly woke up and realized what direction I wanted to take.

Just before I woke up, I half-dreamed about the Yoshi’s Island title screen, and that type of rendering would fit perfectly with the code I already had. I had the code to render hundreds/thousands of z-sorted sprites fast, and I had the basic code for mouse interaction and applet support. I also knew from earlier that I could do tiny pixel art fairly successfully in short time.

It seemed a game like The Settlers would fit fairly well in that style, so I took the obvious route and decided that the task was to build a huge tower. I mean, it WAS the theme after all, so why not just slap one in there? I made some art, did some basic interaction, and coded together a horribly hacky Job class for giving the peons tasks, and things were going great.

Fixing the Balance

Of course, by now the game was horribly unbalanced, and there was no win condition, not to mention that The Tower wasn’t all that central at all. I thought about having higher tower mean you could have a higher maximum population, I thought about having a timed game that rewarded points for how fast you could finish the tower, but nothing really worked. And there were no enemies!

But then it hit me. Why not have the tower spit out the enemies? Then the task would become to bring the tower down, and there would be a natural way for the game to become more difficult as you came closer to your goal (the tower would spit out more and more enemies). I decided to keep the time based scoring, and went with this idea.

Unfortunately, random maps would have to go. There was no way for me to be able to write a good enough level randomizer that made playable maps in the short time I had left, so I kept the hand drawn test map I had made and kept the randomizer using the fixed seed I had used for testing. This really helped a lot for making sure all users had a similar experience.

I toyed a bit with the idea of having the user read some instructions before starting the game, but since most people just click past those and the fun in the game was mostly about trying to tame the very peculiar AI, I skipped that and just added tool tips to the houses. I chose not to mention how to Break the Tower since it had the same color as the rocks you were already trained into mining, and I figured that clue would be good enough.

Then there was pacing and balance testing, and heaps and heaps of tweaking.

Adding the Polish

As final polish, I finished up the intro screen and added a win screen. I decided against a loose screen, as detecting when the player had lost (out of rock and no barracks? no more peons and no residences?) was too hard, and in reality the player would’ve lost long before those conditions happened, and the besides, the game was simple enough that the player would rarely lose once he had built some momentum.

I like that, by the way. Games don’t have to be hard, as long as they’re interesting. There’s really not that much interaction in Breaking the Tower, it’s mostly about taking care of your little ant farm of tiny pixel people, and it seems to work fairly well.

With just a few hours left, I decided to add sound. 22KHz, 8 bit mono sound, for maximum retro feeling, all generated in run time. Surprisingly, it went really well, although in retrospect the death sounds are confusing and sound too similar to the spawn sounds.

I had estimated the play-through time at about 30-60 minutes, and decided that was good enough, so I packaged it and released it.

Morting the Post

* One very nice thing with making games for a competition like Ludum Dare is that you know exactly who the target audience is.. it’s yourself. It’s people insane enough to write a completed game in 48 hours. This makes it a really fun experience. Instead of asking myself if the player would appreciate some detail, I just asked if I would.

* I probably should’ve spent more time on the pathfinding. Right now, it’s

10 Walk towards target
20 If not collide, goto 10
30 pick random direction, walk for a second
40 goto 10

And that’s obviously not very advanced. It works surprisingly well most of the time, though, and it does give the peons some apparent personality.

* Making the houses give out jobs to peons in sight works OK, but it would’ve been better to build a big global task list that free peons pick jobs from. I realized this far too late in the development.

* Many people don’t get how to Break the Tower. I should’ve made it more clear that you have to use masons. And some people take over 1.5 hours to beat the game, which feels like too long.

* The art direction was perfect for the duration of the competition and the level of my art making skills!

Creating the Tower

Posted by
Monday, August 11th, 2008 6:30 am

I’ve uploaded a timelapse video of me writing Breaking the Tower. You can see it here.

The music was made by me several years ago, btw. =)

Breaking the Tower is finished

Posted by
Sunday, August 10th, 2008 4:35 pm

Phew, finally. I had a few hours to go, but it’s probably safer not to get fancy.

You can play the game directly in your browser here, or download a zip file containing an executable jar file and all source code here.

Back from my sister’s BDay thing

Posted by
Sunday, August 10th, 2008 11:26 am

I’ve been unable to get any programming done so far today due to my sister suddenly turning 28, but now I’m back at the keyboard. Food has been eaten, girlfriends talked to, and bathrooms visited, so now I’m ready to really dig in these last 7.5 hours.

Good luck, all!

Slowly getting there / Preview!

Posted by
Saturday, August 9th, 2008 2:27 pm

Click here to test the current version of my game.

You need to have java 1.6 installed, which can be found at http://www.java.com/

That small rock ring will be a full tower, which you can mine for rock, slowly bringing it down to the ground. However, once you start doing this, you unleash the monsters who will start killing your doodz in ur base.

New screenshots, and AI woes

Posted by
Saturday, August 9th, 2008 12:27 pm

The idea in my game is that you don’t control any of the tiny men directly, but rather just build buildings for them use use. It’s working relatively well right now, and the code for adding new buildings is actually not that horrible.

However, the AI sucks. 😉 They frequently pick up rocks only to run away with them and get lost in the woods. I’m trying not to add a too complex AI as I believe much of the fun in games like this comes from figuring out how the AI works and exploiting that.. besides, there’s not much time left.

Let’s see if I can somehow turn this into a game..

Posted by
Saturday, August 9th, 2008 8:19 am

Pixels are good for you.

Starting over, abandoned idea

Posted by
Saturday, August 9th, 2008 3:53 am

When I heard the theme last night, I thought I’d try to do something special. I googled “define:tower”, and saw that it could mean someone who tows, and thought I’d make a game about someone in a spaceship, towing wrecked ships around. The graphics were supposed to be Wing Commander style.

Of course, now that I’ve slept a bit, I realize how utterly unrealistic that idea is, so I’m reusing whatever code I can and starting over with a much simpler idea. 😉

Here’s a screenie of how far I got last night (about three hours of work):

Click here to test it (applet)

There’s no actual gameplay in there, and you can’t move your ship, so don’t expect too much. 😉

The war room

Posted by
Friday, August 8th, 2008 6:20 pm

Here’s my desk:

Yep, that’s a (very dirty) Model M. I love it.

This, I can do!

Posted by
Friday, August 8th, 2008 5:00 pm

Hi! I’m Notch, and this is my first Ludum Dare competition.

The first time I heard about it was earlier today on the #lwjgl channel, and after considering it for a while, I decided I wanted in.

I’ll write my entry in either Actionscript (flash) or Java, depending on what game I decide to do. I’m hoping for something that gives me an excuse to do some procedural generation, although I suspect that might be a good idea for generating content anyway.

It’s 3:00 AM now, and the theme is revealed in two hours. After asking around in the irc channel, I’ve decided to stay up, so I can come up with great game ideas in my sleep.

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