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

Ludum Dare 26 — April 26-29th, 2013
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Fragments of Him

by Aceria - Jam Entry

A point and click narrative experience.

A man loses his partner in an accident and tries to come to terms with this by removing everything from his life that reminds him of his loved one.

WASD to move, mouse to look, left mouse button to remove objects. Esc for options (video, controls).

Audio is highly recommended for the full experience. There are a range of randomised clips for the audio, so you will have a slightly different experience on repeated plays.

Downloads and Links




chrysiridia says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 12:23am

This is lovely. I'm not crazy about the voice acting, but everything else is great and contributes to the game and its story in a meaningful way. A bit hard to discern the boundaries of the park in the beginning, though.

spliter says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 12:42am

This game is beautiful.
I've only really realized what is actually going on when I entered the appartement and had to remove only one towel in the bathroom. It hit me then and I teared up.
Thank you for this beautiful experience.

Apr 30, 2013 @ 9:37am

DAMN. I suck so badly. I just, couldn't do anything. I was perpetually stucked by invisible walls, couldn't go anywhere. I couldn't move my "head" vertically till I activate the invert Axe Y. And what's about the remove mechanics ? I tried to click on everything :'(

That's kinda frustrating, the art, the narrative, and the mood seemed really great. I'll try to play the Windows version instead of the web later, cause it really seemed interesting.

Aceria says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 9:43am

That's really weird, what browser were you using?
I'll export a .exe version soonish, maybe that will help.

EdoMiyamoto says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 9:45am

Wow this is perfect. Wonderful experience !

juaxix says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 10:01am

Wow, I love the atmosphere of this game, I would like to keep exploring the human psique throught our past memories: wars, happy moments, with this cool environment it reminds me of the "Unfinished Swan" - PS3, but with a human taste, it is indeed designed as a great project, thanks for share it

anatolat says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 4:33pm

Love atmosphere of this game(?)

Jellycakes says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 5:26pm

Really nice game, I enjoyed the mechanics and understood how it related to the character and the theme in general. Really good work on the 3d models and the story. Great job!

Aron says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 5:46pm

This game is more an interactive story but a very touching one. I liked it very much.

Thijsku says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 8:05pm

Great work! I like the story and the graphics. I encountered the same bug as theRestlessTaxidermists: I wasn't able to move my head vertically in the beginning. I solved it by hitting escape. (options menu)

Good job! :)

Aceria says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 7:34am

Spliter: Your comment made the narrative designer's day. Thank you! :D

tiffi says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 9:19am

best audio so far

May 1, 2013 @ 9:21am

I loved it!

Jyrkface says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 9:26am

This game made tears in my eyes. My only critique is that while the general tone of the voiceover was quite good, especially considering the constraints of the Dare, it lacked gravity in some pivotal moments. Nonetheless, the writing came through brilliantly in the design and mechanics, like interactive poetry. Not to mention this was one of the best uses of theme I've seen. So yeah, all of that.

robotality says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 9:32am

great mood and I like the visuals. quite big game for a LD :)

Topaz says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 9:33am

I really liked that, full stars for the mood. Music and voice acting worked well together in my opinion. Thanks for the advice with my game.

kyyninen says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 9:55am

Wow! Effectively told poignant story without a hint of pretense! I didn't think that would be possible to make over a single weekend. Voice acting was spot on, don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

However... central mechanic of clicking stuff to remove them really broke the flow several times. At end of each and every level I found myself hunting for that last bit railing to unremember and getting frustrated for not seeing the story continue! IMHO embracing the un-gameness would have been better option here, like maybe fading stuff slowly away if the player is close enough and looks at it's general direction?

The best use of theme so far.

Aceria says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 10:04am

Note to self: take acting classes before the next jam ;D

Aceria says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 10:08am

Thanks for the feedback Kyyninen. We tried a couple of systems to assist people in finding the final objects in a scene - it's a tricky thing to do without breaking the mood!

And thank you everyone else for your comments too - we're really enjoying reading them!

May 1, 2013 @ 10:34am

That was really interesting. I liked the meaning of the game mechanic and how it's used back again in the second part, with opposite effect. Sometimes the mechanic itself felt a bit like an obstacle to me (find all the objects for proceeding). Great job anyways :)

lotusgame says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 11:10am

Very innovative concept ! And so moody ! Too bad pace is a little too slow. I also appreciate transparency and colors effects, and the music taht fits well to the atmosphere and the theme. Huge congrats :)

vgcharlienash says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 4:22pm

Really beautiful and some really well executed mechanics! 5 stars from me.

tcstyle says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 8:49pm

Sad but with a nice ending.
The mood transported through sound, stroy and graphics is great.

smilingrob says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 9:44pm

Wow. Incredible story. Great music. Amazing modeling, mood, and visuals.

The removal sound was bad. I thought at first it was because it wasn't in the same key as the music. The sound seems to slide from Eb to A but the music was also often hanging around Eb. Maybe if the sound was a piano, or natural instrument instead of a sine wave it would be better. Or maybe if you change the sound to be in F minor like Chopin then it would work better.

Otherwise this is fantastic, so far the highest rated game I've played.

DavidErosa says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 10:59pm

A tear dropping story, really well executed. Thanks for creating this.

Aceria says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 11:06pm

@smilingrob As a programmer, I have no clue what you just said. But I'll forward it to the right people, thanks for the feedback!

@Everyone else, thanks a lot for playing and leaving a comment. This type of reaction is the reason we love making games

ilo says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 12:01am

Oh man, who started chopping onions? ;_;

Seriously, I like this a lot. I prefer it when the narration is more restrained and not chock full of overwrought metaphors (see Dear Esther), and it worked well here, making it easier to relate to the narrator.

I'd echo kyyninen's criticism. Maybe most objects would fade away like kyyninen suggested, but the objects with important bits of narration associated (toothbrush, pillow, etc.) could be manually removed. Or just grouping the objects together so there is more of a focus on listening and less on clicking away.

I also thought the sound effect for removing objects felt a bit too 'beepy'; I wanted the object to slip out of existence with a sigh, but oh well. A minor nitpick.

But really, superb - technically, aurally, and emotionally; and an experience I will continue to think about even though I have stopped playing.

zkenshin says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 12:14am

Absolutely beautiful and emotional story.

Aceria says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 8:07am

Designer here: I agree with your points on the removal sound, unfortunately I couldn't find a copyright free set of samples that worked well enough with the rest of the audio aesthetic during the time that we had for production; however, the benefit of this was that it is very distinctive and doesn't interfere with the score. I think that piano notes might upset the soundtrack... I'll put some thought into it and see if I can find a set of plucks on a cello. That's what I tried to find during the weekend but couldn't locate a source in the time.

Thanks for the feedback ladies and gents, keep it coming, it's really wonderful to hear so many people have engaged with this story. Critique is as welcome as praise - both inspire us to create more adventurous things in the future!

As the writer, I was concerned that the theme of my story might not resonate with people due to my choice of characters. It was the first time I've done something this serious for a game, addressing both a heavy emotional topic and societal preconceptions. From this sample set of people who have responded, you have given me huge hope that as developers we can move beyond the narrow set of themes that are usually in games and still find an audience who wants to see something that speaks to them as humans with emotions and empathy. Thank you all so much, you don't know how much this means to me!

May 2, 2013 @ 4:35pm

Interesting gameplay, I enjoyed this more than Dear Esther because it was actually me that progressed the story, rather than just storytelling with a pretty background.
During play I felt connected to the main character. Now I may be biased here, the voice-actor is my favourite lecturer, I like his voice and I recognised it as his and so through parasocial relationship I (am likely to) like the character. Worse: The rest of the team also consists of friends. However, I like to think that I can be unbiased, and that the game is objectively good.
If you haven’t yet, please play the game first! Or I might spoil some things.

The idea that one character did have a colour while the rest of the world was grey (Or fading yellow) was a nice way of putting the character in perspective within that world. It took away the idea it was a god-game, though did cause me short lapses of "Am I having an outer body experience?" It made me more familiar with what sort of person we were dealing with. It might sound odd, but it goes a long way.
I like how the main character was a male in grief (Willing to 'de-emasculate' the player) and how he was mourning about another male. I think it would had detracted from the experience if the main character was female (As being more emotional by stereotype), or the lost relationship was female (In line with saving a princess, she is a victim, he must grow in order to save her memory), it might had felt clichéd in my opinion, and it caught me by surprise how by the end of level 1 it was mentioned it was a "He". There was no big buildup. It was a he. No emphasis. That was great.
I noticed during level 3 that the character seems to go through the five stages of grief, with exception to bargaining. It would have been nice if each step had its own level, but this adaption makes it more organic, rather than forced and worse: predictable.
I noticed this during level 3, because I couldn't find the frame in the trash-bin and the books behind the bookcase. It made me feel clever when I did find them because it required me to look more closely to find them, but it was also a powerful use of environmental storytelling. It told me that either the character threw the books away and they landed there after his grief, or the books just fell off by accident. The frame however was not as easy to mistake for accident, and felt like it had already been thrown with the rubbish prior to the current visit. It felt clever, maybe a bit off with the difficulty of the rest of the game, but good.
During my first playthrough I thought the sofa in the living room was a new item during level 4. I got the feeling it was new and that the character got it after he accepted the passing of his loved one as a way to enjoy his afternoons with a wineglass next to it to read the books that used to be read to him. I thought it was a nice way to display growth, but unfortunately on a second playthrough I discovered it was already there. I’d love to see it removed during level 2, but it may also play in against the whole idea that he doesn’t need anything new in his world because the old things, and the memories attached to them, are a part of him.

Great work!

May 2, 2013 @ 4:39pm

I forgot one item in the last post:
The second time in the apartment I was a little relieved that the objects were grouped. It did reduce the expectation for a surprise, but it also made the level less tedious as I knew where most things would be. I did miss out on a mirror, it wasn't liked the the items around it: Making it the last thing I put back in place. Felt a little magical, like the last thing I accepted was myself.

Husky says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 1:56am

Very impressive one,
I love the vocal story and all the mood.
Great work!

angelk says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 7:29am

The audio and mood are incredible. I really appreciated the voice acting. The assets and world construction definitely get the point across. This is definitely my type of game.

Aceria says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 7:34am

Thanks everyone! It's great reading your comments! :)

SnoringFrog says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 11:14pm

Powerful story, well voiced. I like the fact that you don't always get the same audio bits; I played through twice just to see how much would change, and actually ended up with what felt like a much more moving account of the main character arriving at the hospital and being told his partner was dead.

The game's a bit too monotonous for me to continuously play it to see what other audio pieces there are, but it is still a great touch that makes it feel a bit more natural the second time through.

cadin says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 1:08am

This is really lovely. I almost gave up on it in the first scene because I didn't see where it was going. I'm glad I stuck with it. It's really difficult to tell a story like this honestly without resorting to Hollywood cliches. I think you did a wonderful job.

My only beef is that the mechanic itself (moving around clicking stuff) gets tedious, especially if there's something you can't find.

MinionStudios says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 1:21am

Quite incredible. I am stunned by the simple idea.

Spiridios says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 2:21am

Interesting interactive story. The voice acting seemed a little devoid of emotion considering the subject matter. I can see conveying numbness in spots, but other spots it seemed out of place.

fishbrain says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 5:47am

Unique. Minimalist. Superb.

ZYXer says ...
May 5, 2013 @ 7:12pm

Though the gameplay is a bit simplistic, the perfect atmosphere makes up for it. I actually really liked your voice acting, made it feel real.
... and now I'm depressed. :(

dray says ...
May 6, 2013 @ 2:16pm

Wow, a very deep story, well made and beautiful. on the first scene, we don't really realize why we are removing things, but doing it in the others... each object i remove i felt the loss of the character. Congratulation for making such a great entry.

KEFIR says ...
May 6, 2013 @ 2:33pm

Really beautiful expirience. Really nice graphics and vice acting!

ovenchips says ...
May 6, 2013 @ 3:57pm

A deeply moving production. In fact, it's one of the most emotionally charged 'games' I've ever played. Heartbreaking, but thanks for something truly memorable.

Jorjon says ...
May 7, 2013 @ 12:05pm

Incredible narrative game. It would be nice if different elements carried out different emotional value. For example I was expecting his side of the bed to remove more "fragment" than other stuff.
Also, I wanted to re-read some texts but that wasn't possible.

Taro Omiya says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 3:26am

An excellent experience, though one I admit I had a hard time relating to. For the most part, the game mechanic accented the story, but occasionally that "last thing" broke the flow a bit.

mildmojo says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 6:40am

This looks really nice. Do you have a Linux build?

Aceria says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 10:30am

Unfortunately, my version of Unity does not have a Linux export. I'm currently working on a big project and I do not dare to update until that's done.

joe40001 says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 3:24pm

I think you guys took the artistic approach to minimalism way more seriously than everybody else. I wanted to dismiss your game as pretentious but it really isn't. Instead, it was a very deliberately crafted work which while not satisfying my twitch gamer desires was quite clever.

Aceria says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 8:25pm

Designer here: Thanks Joe. 'Pretentious' is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot. I wrote this with a lot of passion for the subject matter, and I'm glad that this came across to you. I completely understand that it won't be everyone's thing, but I'm immensely happy that so many people have engaged with the story we've told.

Thanks again for your feedback everyone! It's great reading your thoughts!

jackspinoza says ...
May 11, 2013 @ 10:07pm

fantastic! My favourite. Death is this weird thing and we all live in it's shadow but most have a latent awareness of death. It always perplexes me as to why people don't talk about death all of the time and why all media isn't about death. I love this game. I love this chance to be alive. Thank you so much Aceria.

lorancou says ...
May 13, 2013 @ 3:40pm

Lots of emotions in your game ... I really like it

Sylvain.p says ...
May 14, 2013 @ 4:52pm

Good idea but the gameplay is a bit repetitiv and the invisible wall are frustrating.

Misael.K says ...
May 15, 2013 @ 12:14am

It wasn't immediately apparent that the story was about him and him, and it's great that you guys did it this way.
I enjoyed the story a great deal, and the music is very appropriate. A good unexpected ending, too. :)
This was one of the few Unity games that don't have crazy mouse sensitivity, control was perfect.
The only thing that was confusing was the "beating" of the things that I already removed, it made telling what was missing hard. Specially in the office level (I had problems finding the Eiffel Tower on top of the shelf, and the broken picture frame in the trash bin).
I agree with smilingrob, the removing sound felt very weird at first, but I got used to it.
Great job!

Aceria says ...
May 19, 2013 @ 5:15pm

Thanks for the feedback Misael.K, we agree! We've actually improved all of those things in the version on Kongregate - we kept the main web link as the unpatched 72 hour version :)

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