April 26th-29th 2013 :: Theme: Minimalism

Ludum Dare 26 — April 26-29th, 2013
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by manabreak - 48 Hour Compo Entry

Spacus is a space-flying game, a bit roguelike-ish. It approaches minimalism from technical perspective: How much can you do with as little assets as possible? All textures are 8x8 pixels and black and white. Everything else is done programmatically.

The music library I used (NAudio) seems to be quite picky of the environment - If the music doesn't play, some other app might be reserving it. Anyhow, you can find the MP3 from the Resources folder if you like to hear the music. ^_^

Have fun playing it, and let me know if you like it. :)

I changed the physics engine from multi-threaded mode to single-threaded mode and added a couple of try-catches. I hope that helps with the crashes you guys are getting.

Edit 2:
Added more try-catches. It seems that the music library is causing the crashes...

Edit 3:
The music library crash should be fixed now. I also fixed a bug in level randomization (it didn't actually happen, but used the same seed value for each game).

I want to thank you all for your awesome feedback! It really warms my heart, especially as it is my first attempt at LD, or any other game compo for that matter. Thank you. :)

Downloads and Links




Perry says ...
Apr 28, 2013 @ 3:39pm

Loved the music! Music was great! Could use some sound effects though.

lpcustom says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:25am

Great music! I liked everything except the left/right rotation. It's pretty hard to control. Great game overall though.

sparkleswirl says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:43am

When I first ran it clicking crashed the game. Running it as an admin worked for two levels but it crashed again when I grabbed a ? powerup. (I'm running Win 7.) It was fun though and I really wish I could see more than two levels.

manabreak says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 5:08am

sparkeswirl: Did it say anything? I could try to fix it (it's allowed to fix bugs!), if I just know where to start (I suspect the threading)... Sorry it didn't work for you. :(

Cheshyr says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 6:09am

This is phenomenal. My only complaint is how touchy the controls are. :-)

Nonameghost says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 6:15am

I like the loose controls, but perhaps they're a little *too* loose. It's difficult to do any precise motion without painstakingly tapping left and right ever so slightly. I did like the graphics, and I can appreciate the minimal assets idea you have here. It crashed once for me, and sometimes I get flashing lag. But I did like it, it's a beautiful game, and I think it has a ton of potential.

pjchardt says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 6:32am

I keep getting a crash from an unhandled exception. I am trying to run the game on Windows 7 64 bit OS. Looks interesting though.

ilo says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 6:55am

Thumbs up for the music and visuals - they gel together nicely. I liked the exploratory vibe too, with the random pickups and maze layouts. Good job! :)

Jonatron says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 7:03am

I get an exception as soon as I start:

Thanks for playing!
Music stopped.

Unhandled Exception: System.Runtime.InteropServices.COMException: Exception from HRESULT: 0x88890002
at System.Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal.ThrowExceptionForHRInternal(Int32 errorCode, IntPtr errorInfo)
at NAudio.CoreAudioApi.AudioClient.Initialize(AudioClientShareMode shareMode, AudioClientStreamFlags streamFlags, Int64 bufferDuration, I
nt64 periodicity, WaveFormat waveFormat, Guid audioSessionGuid)
at NAudio.Wave.WasapiOut.Init(IWaveProvider waveProvider)
at LD26.Program.waveOutDevice_PlaybackStopped(Object sender, StoppedEventArgs e)
at System.Threading.ExecutionContext.RunInternal(ExecutionContext executionContext, ContextCallback callback, Object state, Boolean prese
at System.Threading.ExecutionContext.Run(ExecutionContext executionContext, ContextCallback callback, Object state, Boolean preserveSyncC
at System.Threading.QueueUserWorkItemCallback.System.Threading.IThreadPoolWorkItem.ExecuteWorkItem()
at System.Threading.ThreadPoolWorkQueue.Dispatch()

guestcheap says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 7:12am

Solid game. Great visuals, great music and great gameplay, although I'll agree that the controls are a little finicky.

JaJ says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 7:15am

For me the game crashes too on startup

imagnity says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 7:18am

Nice. Feels good to my eyes and ears. Great execution!

Sebastian says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 7:27am

Any chance of getting a web/mac build? I really want to play this!

manabreak says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 7:38am

@Sebastian: Sorry, I technically could port this to OSX, but I don't have a mac. Go visit your friend with a Windows PC and try it out there. :)

SonnyBone says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 8:52am

Nice interpretation of theme with the limited use of assets! Some of the looks you were able to pull out of these lil 8x8 graphics are impressive! AND THAT MUSIC! Oh man.... good stuff. The controls are a little "screwy", but that's an easy tweak.

raarlac says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 10:13am

The program crashes when I open it. I tried run as adminstrator and compatibility mode with Windows 7 but still doesn't work. I'll try on another computer later. Mine is Windows 8 64bit

manabreak says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 10:15am

Aww, hate this crashing problem. >_<

Norgg says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 10:19am

Nice graphical style and the music is catchy. The movement felt a bit too floaty for the kind of accurate movement required here though and the huge amount of health an armour felt like it dragged things on.

drkrunk says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 10:19am

It crashed for me.

Xaychru04 says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 10:22am

Good game ! But the space-ship is very hard to control...

Lerc says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 11:15am

I made it to level 7. My temper made it to level 4.

shotiris says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 11:24am

Looks cool! But crash, crash, crash...

manabreak says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 11:40am

I uploaded a fixed version, hopefully it works now. :)

flyingrobot says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 11:49am

Can't Play! Crashes!

dvdking says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 12:18pm

i liked it even though music didn't work for some reason
Controls were.. challenging. At first i coudn't control ship very well, but then i got used to it and it worked good enough.
I died for stupid reason, i was at 6 level, and i got caught on fire, and was dying slowly... was there any way to get rid off of fire?
Also i have very slow computer, and i had quite big jerks

Harsay says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 12:48pm

I like the music but controls are a little bit too hard. :)

Loren says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 8:01pm

again, the music was great :)

Travis Irby says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 9:28am

Thanks for the comment about my game! This is really cool, love look. I'm big sucker for asteroids and you captured the motion really well.

Jarrett says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 10:03am

Digging the soundtrack. I am a terrible pilot though xD At least spinning is really fun :)

Also, those powerups? I got a full health right at the beginning, then nothing but speed decreased after that. So troll :P

manabreak says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 11:26am

@Jarrett: Just give it a few tries, there's 14 different power-ups. :) At least you didn't caught on fire right away :D

Szedouu says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 6:26pm

very minimalistic , love the music. You have tobe patient to play that :D. Game for hardcore players. GoodJob!

noddy2006 says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 9:47am

Great job! I love the graphics & aesthetics. Like most people, I found the controls frustrating - my recommendation would be to remove the angular momentum altogether. The music also didn't work for me (Windows 8 x64) :(

kyyninen says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 1:02pm

My PC didn't agree with the game at all. No sound and movement was kinda janky. Also I did a couple of runs and every time all the items in a level were the same. Is there any way to put out fires?

However I liked the general feel of it. If you are planning on expanding this, more abilities would be nice (pew pew lasers, sidethrusters, force shields, ability to ram enemies and wall blocks...), maybe on different ships to act as a kind of class selection?

mokujin says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 10:05pm

Nice game! like physics

May 1, 2013 @ 10:16pm

Sadly it crashes when I try to start it (Windows XP, 32bit). :(

manabreak says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 4:14am

@SuperlevelSebastian: Sorry, it only works on Vista/Win7/Win8. :(

Tifu says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 11:58am

I'm on Win7 and it just crashes on startup, I just get the standard "spacus.exe has stopped working" message :(

plash says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 2:54pm

Thanks for rating Prisma! Sorry it took so long for me to back-rate! I haven't been on Windows in a while.


- Very floaty. Art is nice. Not sure what the static grain is for, though.
- Could use some sounds.
- What are these skewed things? Ah, powerups of a sort.
- Apparently I have decreased my speed thrice. It does not feel like it has decreased.
- It is very jittery when I am moving fast.
- These walls are extremely bouncy.
- I have found level 2. 37/100 health.
- I found health! 100/100.
- These walls are too bouncy.
- Finally made it into this area. 50/100.
- Oh, those have question marks on them. Still don't understand why they are skewed when everything else is not.
- I found level 3! 88/100. White.
- Level 4. 48/100. Black.
- Hmm. One of those '?' boxes made the world white. I haven't been paying attention to the "condition" text at the bottom. Did it change?
- Found another inverter. Condition is the same. Does this enable you to get places you would not be able to get to in the other color?
- Level 5. 3/100. Not looking good.
- 1/100. A wall got me. Game over.
- Now all of the tiles are staticy.

- Respawned for kicks. Next level trigger is right next to me. Levels randomly generated? Spawn position randomized?
- *Checks entry page*. Oh, there is supposed to be music. Not working here. Levels *are* randomly generated. That's nice.
- Listening to music. I do not dislike it. A full 8m38s. Would take a while to get annoyed by it, assuming it isn't very repetitive.
- It isn't. I like the music. Still needs sound effects.

Things I would change:

- Make walls much less bouncy.
- Make controls far less floaty. They are very frustrating.
- Add some sound effects.

manabreak says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 3:14pm

@plash: Thanks for the extensive list of notes. :) The power-ups (and 'next level' portals) get skewy if asteroids collide with them. At first it was a mistake, but I thought it looks rather funny, plus the asteroids can bounce the power-ups and the portals around. :) The music library is something I had to whip up on the last minute, as my original library didn't work as intended. Well, neither did this, and I'm both depressed and embarrassed to have such a low-level problem there. :(

VDZ says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 10:17pm

A single session of the game takes too long. It takes a LOT of hits for you to die, and the amount of damage you take does not increase noticeably as you get to higher levels. Because of this, it gets boring rather fast.

On a technical note, in C#, if you create multiple new Randoms in a very short span of time, they will be IDENTICAL, and give exactly the same numbers. (Really, try executing
for(int i = 0; i < 20; i++) { Console.WriteLine(new Random().Next(1, 7)); }
and you'll see what I mean.) In your game, this causes most or all mystery boxes in a level to contain the exact same effect. Pass an existing Random to the constructor or use a static Random to fix this bug.

As for the crashes, they are clearly NAudio's fault (I couldn't get music running here either). I used NAudio for audio output once and I ran into the same game-breaking bugs; I've never used it since.

manabreak says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 4:00am

VDZ: I am aware of the random being not-so-random, but given the timeframe, I didn't really care that much. :) If this were to be a "real" game someday, it would of course be a lot more randomized. :)

TuxedoFish says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 7:04pm

This is really cool. I thought the graphics fitted really well with the theme and i especially liked the static background thing and how it changed color when you got to the next level. The thing at the console said it couldnt load sounds? The sound is played through my samsung tv if that helps?

Spiridios says ...
May 11, 2013 @ 5:31am

Hmm, no music for me. I thought you just didn't implement audio until I saw everyone talking about the great music. =( Controls were too touchy, and the collision response seemed to have more energy than I put into the crash. The graphics, however, looked great and the overall gameplay concept was good.

Misael.K says ...
May 13, 2013 @ 1:45am

This could be cool, but I'm missing something here. A clearer objective, some other level of interaction, or at least a change in difficulty. All levels are generated different, and yet, they are exactly the same. The controls are incredibly frustrating, and the abuse of 1 block wide passages make it worse.
The music was good (though I had to play it in an external player, it wouldn't work in-game).
I also agree with what kyyninen and VDZ said.
But hey, I didn't experience any crashes at all, that's a good thing. :)

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