About Jonathan Whiting (twitter: @whitingjp)

I am Jonathan Whiting, a games developer, keen climber and part time geek.


Ludum Dare 37
Ludum Dare 34
Ludum Dare 33
Ludum Dare 29
Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22
MiniLD #29
Ludum Dare 21
Ludum Dare 19
Ludum Dare 18
Ludum Dare 17

Jonathan Whiting's Trophies

The Bill Rizer "Rendezvous with the Sikorsky" Award
Awarded by pekuja
on September 5, 2010
The Cute Distraction Award
Awarded by GBGames
on August 21, 2010



SpaceManiac says ...

A wonderful game, great sounds and graphics.

jhauberg says ...

You clearly put a lot of effort into this game, and it definitely shows both graphically and in the content. Good job, man. I also think it was a nice variation of pacman-ish gameplay, even though I never liked pacman.

However, i did notice one small bug where the game sometimes didnt seem to want to recognize my keystrokes, making me run into bad stuff :(

(also, great to see a lot of journal/food entries! Yours were especially good at showing the entire process of making the game, imo)

Orangy Tang says ...

Oh that's rather addictive. :) Nice style and plenty of polish too, really impressive for a 48 hour compo.

dave1 says ...

great game... felt like I could have been playing in the arcade.

Hamumu says ...

The sounds are awesome, and it does indeed feel like a real arcade game! It's kind of an annoying game, though, especially when the big slow guy just sits there circling the exit like a shark. It's hard to make turns sometimes, since unlike Pac-Man, you can't back up a bit and try again.

matrin says ...

Nice game. The controls are a bit frustrating though, sometimes it seem it won't move the way you want it.

increpare says ...

Lack of music was conspicuous. Sound effects were good. Graphics were quite good. Controls were infuriating (even just stopping at a junction to let you choose, while not allowing you to move backwards, would be good). Also, possibly for me, the 'die and you move back to your starting position' mechanic was a bit annoying (Because I died so often). That said, I wasn't playing in survival mode mostly, which is probably more authentic in this way.

Morre says ...

The graphics and the retro sound effects are absolutely amazing. I love them.

The gameplay is pretty great, except for one major problem: The unforgiving control schemes. You should *really* allow the player to indicate which direction he wants to go by pressing before the actual turn. As it is, I keep turning the wrong way because I can't handle the controls, which is a big issue in games like this (you should war against the enemy, not against your keyboard).

Great stuff!

erik says ...

I find games frustrating when the challenge is caused by the difficulty in controlling the character. In your game this is balanced out by not having to completely restart the level every time you encounter an enemy. Trying to strategize around the behaviors of the enemies is also made things a bit more interesting.

The men you have saved flying to the top of the screen was a really nice touch. Lots of polish made this a good game overall.

demonpants says ...

Fun times! Definitely one of the best I have seen so far. Keep up the good work!

HybridMind says ...

This was a thoroughly enjoyable game! I played all 10 levels and survival mode. I really just loved so many aspects of this one. Anticipating the strategies of the various creatures and learning how to lure them away from the target zone or you was great. I loved the 'only forward' always on the go method as well as low penalty for death. I think if there were 'lives' I wouldn't have found this very enjoyable at all. The "death" noise was my favorite, so nice and bassy. This is the most polished and all around balanced entry I have played this compo so far. Having only done 2 LDs now I am starting to realize what a feat that is so congrats on really pulling off something fairly complete in the time period. Your journal and food photos are great and show so many progressions along the way that one could feel they are right there with you. ;)


dessgeega says ...

reducing pac-man from "collect every last thing" to a flicky-style "collect this handful of things, and hold on to them til you get home" makes the game a lot faster-moving, and i like that stages are measured by how much time i take to complete them and getting caught just makes me take more time.

what frustrated me, and this might just be the game, is not reacting fast enough to pick a direction before i hit a junction, and having the game pick for me (usually poorly). i like the concept of always moving forward, though. maybe the player could always move in a consistent direction - "always clockwise," for example - by default. maybe that's how the game already is? if so, i didn't notice it.

ondrew says ...

Really enjoyed playing this one. It's fun and very nicely polished.

The time frame for pressing a key could be little bit longer, so that the character responds snappier.

threeeffhex says ...

Good little game, impressive stuff - like others have said, the control scheme could be a little more forgiving, and the game would be better for it - it's mainly when you have to make several turns in succession that it gets annoying - considering you can't go backwards, a slightly more forgiving system might make the game better.

Still, nice little real time puzzler, very good :)

Gilvado says ...

Really fun, great mechanics, love the pacman inspiration. Gets really hard at the end! Would have preferred if you spawned in a random location -- sometimes a bunch of enemies would cluster nearish to the beginning on one of the main roads that you have to go down, and I'd die over and over again.

dstrysnd says ...

It almost felt like a music game in later stages. The tones arranged themselves nicely. I've always wanted to do something like that and you pulled it off very well. All of the other aspects were great. Nice job.

Archive for the ‘LD #13 – Roads – 2008’ Category

Post Mortem + Control Improving Update

Posted by (twitter: @whitingjp)
Sunday, December 21st, 2008 10:38 am

Right, now that I’ve taken steps to correct the control irritations in Only Forward (see below for the updated version) this seems like a good time to write up a postmortem for the competition.

What I aimed for:

LD13 was my first Ludum Dare competition, and whilst I’ve previously dabbled in coding with tight time limits it’s the first games competition I’ve entered into, so it was all pretty new to me.

My goal from the start was to try and make a game that was essentially complete/polished etc.  I was less worried about managing something technically impressive, or dramatically original, I just wanted to *finish* something in the time.  This ended up shaping the majority of the game, I picked the concept I did because it required minimal simulation, the graphical style because I wouldn’t need to make too much etc. etc.

What went well:

I’m really happy with the direction I took, and particularly my choice to bite off as little as possible.  I ended up being able to get the core gameplay, graphics etc. down very quickly, and that left me with a lot of time to polish and polish.  Were it just a prototype (say what I had at the end of day one) I’m not convinced it’d have been very good, but I’m pretty happy with the fleshed out version.

Following (not quite to the letter, but not far off) the Survival Guide paid off to, it’s a very good set of advice.  I think even the time I spent blogging/on irc/or cooking all ended up helping me keep sufficiently distanced to be able keep polishing and improving something despite being so close to it for such a short length of time.

What went badly:

The controls!  I was a little bit worried about them from the very start, and with all the time I spent polishing the rest of the game I could have easily taken the hour or two I’d have needed to do something less frustrating.  I think the problem was that by the time I had the free time to deal with such things I was so familar with the controls I’d put in earlier on that they just felt natural to me.  I should perhaps have got more feedback during development (and listened more to that I did get).

The other issue was that I couldn’t really see a simple solution and I didn’t want to spend time faffingiaround on something that might not have even worked.  The solution now seems very trivial with the benifit of hindsight, you just allow directions to be pre-selected before the junctions.  It’s the only thing I’m *really* unhappy with in the game, and as such I spent a little time fixing it.  The updated version can be downloaded from http://jwhiting.nfshost.com/coding/onlyforwardfixed.zip it is perhaps worth mentioning that the only thing I’ve changed is the controls, and also that if you’re still judging entries do play the genuine entry instead. The updated version for the unlikely event that anyone wants to play a better version after they’ve made their mind up.


Wow, that was a bit more epic than I was expecting, congratulations if you’ve just struggled through all of it!

Overall I really enjoyed the competition, I’m definitely looking forward to the next one (fingers crossed I’ll be able to enter it).  It was all a lot of fun, and some extremely impressive stuff was done (just not by ‘safe option’ me).  I’m quite looking forward (only forward, har har..) to seeing the results tomorrow too, I never thought I’d care about that side at all, but it’s kind of exciting nonetheless.

Only Forwards – Finished

Posted by (twitter: @whitingjp)
Sunday, December 7th, 2008 1:36 pm

Well, I am completely shattered now, but it’s been worth it, because now it’s done! \o/


I spent the few hours implementing a special ‘Survival Mode’ that is unlocked after completing level 5. Apart from that, general just generally tweaking and fixing up bugs.

Final important stats update
Hot Brown Caffeinated Beverages: 12
Time Spent Actually Working: around 24hrs
Total new Lines of code written: 1216
16×16 Sprites drawn: 20
SFX Generated: 9

It’s been a lot of fun, cheers for the support everyone :)

Right, now it’s time to sleep for an age.. Hang on, work tomorrow, grahrg!!1

You Pretty Thing

Posted by (twitter: @whitingjp)
Sunday, December 7th, 2008 9:27 am

Well, I’ve put in some level progression/record stuff, and now it staring to *really* feel like a game. Which is an incredibly good feeling. I also just spent an hour or two just tweaking/adding scenery sprites, adding some sweet motion blur and generally making things prettier, completely superfluous on one hand, but it’s been a nice break from other stuff, and I’m pretty pleased with the results too, so yay!

The New Look

Pasta Fights Back

Posted by (twitter: @whitingjp)
Sunday, December 7th, 2008 6:48 am

Just a quick post lunch post. Decided to cook something properly (i.e. from scratch) for once, so I cooked myself some pasta with spicy bacony sauce.


It was great :) but then towards the end my plate decided to go walkies, and I’ve now got a pretty good tomato sauce splatter pattern on my jeans, grr.

Game is going well, though there’s nothing new worth screenshotting. I’ve put in some irritatingly retro sfx, bumped the number of levels to 10, and polished the interaction a bit. I think I’m going to put in a bit in a bit of saved out level progression + time taken data. I’ve also got an idea for an alternate game mode that should be very doable and nice to have, so I might have a look into that too.

Feeding The Brain

Posted by (twitter: @whitingjp)
Sunday, December 7th, 2008 3:19 am

Right, well I’ve got a few levels worth of simple text based in-game tutorials in, so it shouldn’t be so bewildering to people that start it. Not really sure what I’m going to look into next, but not because I lack things to do to it! I might try and get some sounds and/or music in.

Tutorial in action

I also had some breakfast, I was going to cook some bacon, but I felt hungry and lazy, so just had some toast with peanut butter instead. Will have to do something more exciting for lunch. More tea was also involved (of course).

Toasty goodness.

Only Forward

Posted by (twitter: @whitingjp)
Sunday, December 7th, 2008 1:31 am

Well, back to the grindstone then. Took forever to get to sleep last night, my brain was just buzzing with ideas, probably a good thing, but quite frustrating nonetheless. Work up feeling kind of tired, but still plenty motivated, so I decided to start double buffering my tea consumption.

Taking my hot brown beverage consumption total to 7, rock and roll!

I spent the last hour or so crafting a bunch of progressively harder levels to ease a player into the game (it is, I suspect, pretty damn confusing if you just get thrown into it). Definitely glad I took the time to make an in game level editor. It also means it’s really starting to feel more like a game and less like a dodgy prototype, which can only be a good thing.

Still loads and loads and loads I want to get done though, so I guess I’ll just keep plowing on.

Neither Here nor There

Posted by (twitter: @whitingjp)
Saturday, December 6th, 2008 1:49 pm

Well, I’m calling this my halfway point. I now have a (single) fully playable level, with goals and dangers and a timer to keep track of how well you did. In other words I have a game! (woo, yay, fireworks etc.) 15 hours ago none of this existed, so I’m pretty happy to call day one a definite success :)

I’ve still got a long way to go yet though, still to do:

  • Tutorials of some kind
  • Several progressively harder levels
  • Score tables
  • SFX
  • Music
  • More graphics
  • Some sort of menu to glue it all together
  • Polish! Polish! Polish!

So.. it doesn’t really sound like I’ll be twiddling my thumbs tomorrow either then!

I’m actually really enjoying this 😀

Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche

Posted by (twitter: @whitingjp)
Saturday, December 6th, 2008 10:36 am

.. but MrPiglet does!

Blurry Quiche Shot

Please excuse the blurriness.

I’ve been taking a couple of hours break for a shower, food, and some general mooching, figuring there’s no point getting burnt out too early. Back to the grindstone now though, time to make this game a game!

Oh yes, also about time I did an Important Stats Update
Hot Brown Caffeinated Beverages: 5
Food Consumed: porridge + cheese on toast + quiche
Time Spent Actually Working: around 8hrs
Total new Lines of code written: 727
16×16 Sprites drawn: 17

Coding in the Dark

Posted by (twitter: @whitingjp)
Saturday, December 6th, 2008 8:29 am

Well I’m definitely getting back on track, the past few hours have been rather productive. I just love the feeling rolling out lines and lines of reasonable code, I’m really enjoying myself at the moment.

I’ve mostly been doing stuff behind the scenes stuff. I’ve put in an entity spawning system so that player+enemy positions are all stored in my level data. Rather happy with how it’s worked out (I’m wondering why I haven’t done something like it in the non-compo game I’ve been working on recently).

Then I’ve put the groundwork in for some rescuable stickmen things, I’ll come clean and say the *idea* of rescuable things that follow you I’m pretty well ‘borrowing’ straight from my other game. Having said that, time is (obviously) at a premium, it’s a concept I’m particularly fond of, it looks pretty cute, and it’s going to work a bit differently here, so, *shrug* I don’t really feel bad about it.

Here’s how it looks at the moment (the stickmen things bob up and down a little, it’s kinda cute).

Oh yes, and finally, why the title? The suns going down now here, and I started working before it started coming out. The bulb in my rooms light has blown, and the bulbs I bought to replace it don’t work for whatever reason. So, coding in the dark it is!

Bots and Shops

Posted by (twitter: @whitingjp)
Saturday, December 6th, 2008 6:08 am

A little while since my last entry, but I’ve been pretty busy at least. I’ve come up with some slightly more road like graphics (I kind of miss my old hyper abstract ones, but it feels like I should work the theme in when I can). I’ve also added some AI opponents, so now instead of one blob there are several 😮

Each enemy has somewhat different behaviour, kind of like in pacman. Actually the whole thing was starting to become very pacman-esque which was a little worrying, I didn’t particularly want to make a clone of something if I could avoid it. I was getting a bit bogged down generally too, so decided it was a good time to get some fresh air, go to the shops, and stock up on some food. It worked pretty well, I’ve got a much better idea of what to do next now, and I’m much less worried about the pacman thing (there’ll be similarities, but I don’t expect it to feel like a clone).

Got back from the shops, was hungry, so mades cheese on toast for lunch, served with more browny beverage goodness \o/ (my count is now 3).

fud is gud

Posted by (twitter: @whitingjp)
Saturday, December 6th, 2008 1:59 am

Important Update!

I finally have breakfast. Porridge with Golden Syrup and tea (what better breakfast can there be?!)

time waits for no man

Posted by (twitter: @whitingjp)
Saturday, December 6th, 2008 1:26 am

Well, just past the 3 hours of implementation mark. What do I have to show for it?

  • A tile based world
  • Restricted player movement in said world
  • In ‘game’ level editing
  • Level saving/loading

So all in all I’m pretty happy with how things are going so far. The problem is I now need to figure out how I’m actually going to make a proper game from this. I’ve got some vague ideas, but they seriously need fleshing out. Eep!

Important Stats Update
Hot Brown Caffeinated Beverages: 1
Food Consumed: NULL (this needs to be rectified immediately)
Time Spent Coding: 3hr
Total new Lines of code written: 296

Finally a new progress screenshot, it’s not desperately exciting yet, you’ll just have to trust me that I loaded the level from a file, and the ball bounces around the ‘roads’ compellingly.

Loaded level.

and so it begins

Posted by (twitter: @whitingjp)
Friday, December 5th, 2008 11:15 pm

Roads it is then, fairly happy with that as I’ve got a vaguely plausible idea for it. Time will tell just how plausible I guess. Woke up at 6am this morning, which is officially too damn early, but I couldn’t get back to sleep so I decided to get started instead.

Important Stats
Hot Brown Caffeinated Beverages: 0
Food Consumed: NULL
Time Spent Coding: 1hr
New Lines of code written: 53

Obviously I need to change some of those, and soon! For the moment however have a hour one screenie :)

Zero Hour Screenshot

Posted by (twitter: @whitingjp)
Friday, December 5th, 2008 2:31 pm

Hi all, looking forward to my first ever attempt at Ludum Dare, should be a learning experience at the very least :-)

In the interest of upfrontness, and because it seems to be the done thing, have a link to the *extremely* primative base that I plan to use mrpiglet_base.zip.  It does very little, just provides a bit of a wrapper around some SDL + SDL_Mixer and OpenGL functionality.  Can’t imagine it’ll be of any use to anyone, but use/abuse as you wish anyhow.

Now I think it’s time to try and sleep off the Friday beers, see you all tomorrow for the event itself.  Cheers!

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