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

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


Inspired by (and starring) La Monte Young, minimalist composer and fan of the twelve-tone technique:



See detailed instructions below.

Move: Arrow keys WASD IJKL

Tools used:

Executor library for Processing
Frames library for Processing
Gamepad library for Processing

Note Processing requires Java JRE or JDK version 1.6 or later (open-jdk is fine).


Linux 64-bit

Linux 32-bit

Windows 64-bit

Windows 32-bit


Detailed instructions/spoiler alert:

Level 0, establish a prime series of 12 tones, repeats are not allowed. The colored bar on the left indicates your progress.

Level 1, repeat the prime series of 12 tones.

Level 2, the player character reverses, indicating that the retrograde transformation of the prime series should be played. In other words, repeat the prime series backwards.

Level 3, the player character returns to normal, repeat the prime series.

Level 4, the player character reverses, repeat the retrograde transformation.

Level 5, the player character returns to normal and then flips upside down, indicating that the inversion transformation of the prime series should be played. The inversion transformation is the prime series with the intervals inverted (so that e.g. a rising minor third becomes a falling minor third).

Level 6, the player character returns to normal, repeat the prime series.

Level 7, the player character reverses, repeat the retrograde transformation.

Level 8, the player character returns to normal and then flips upside down, repeat the inversion transformation.

Level 9, the player character reverses and flips upside down, indicating the retrograde inversion transformation of the prime series should be played. The retrograde inversion transformation is the inverted series in retrograde. So inverted and backwards.

Levels 10+, repeat entire pattern.

If at any point you hit the wrong note, level & score reset to zero, but the song as it were goes on.

Downloads and Links




Alec Von Arx says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 3:28am

For OS/X I got "dodecaphony is damaged and must be moved to trash" :/

Dietrich Epp says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 3:36am

So, I got a bunch of points for hitting a twelve-note sequence. Is there a second level? How do I get to it?

richtx says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 3:38am

I'm not sure why I went up a level, then went back down to zero. I like the idea of figuring out the rules as I play, but I'm afraid they are still lost on me a bit. Thanks for the game.

DaGamesta says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 3:40am

This is... interesting. From a minimalistic POV, you give the player controls and they find out the game from its very essence, very good, I like it. Kind of confused at level 2 though, I thought I'm just supposed to hit them in the same order? If I didn't have to start from the very beginning every time I'd play it more to figure it out. Good job though. :)

foul says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 4:14am

The level reset to 0 really needs to be fixed.

heuermh says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 4:22am

@Alec Von Arx

That is the OS/X gatekeeper warning message, you need to disable that so I can hax0r your mac.



The wiki link above might be helpful.

Fritzendugan says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 4:22am

Very cool use of the 12-tone technique, but I think you may have made the (all-too-common in game development) mistake of assuming your player base knows as much about the game and the mechanics as you do. There is a lot to be said about letting a player experiment and learn how to do things, but in this case what you expected them to do was simply too complicated, or at least not well enforced. I tried getting to level 2 a bunch of times before I gave up and then read your explanation of what to do, but by that point I was too sick of the game to even bother trying. Which is a real shame because I was pretty excited when I started playing and first beat the starting level, which was pretty fun.

I'm not sure that you necessarily needed a tutorial or anything like that to make this work, just more feedback to the player when they did the right thing. And maybe without making them start completely over every time. Maybe something like when they hit a wrong note it simply plays an "ugly" sound, and flashes or something, and the player is left to continue from there. Then at the end of each round, it should be made clear exactly what they did to make it that far, say, play all the notes in that order again. If you're worried this would make the game too easy, you can do something like have a "combo" system where they earn more points for consecutive right answers. This would still enforce the competitive nature of the game. Maybe after level 9 you can no longer mess up or you have to start completely over.

Anyway, overall, nice use of the theme, and cool general ideas, but I think your execution left a lot to be desired. Not necessarily such a bad thing considering everything you have to accomplish in a 48 hour period to make this work.

alts says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 4:34am

I think this game has an interesting premise. Unfortunately it's opaque to anyone not familiar with the subject matter. I think this game could, with appropriate concessions, help instruct the player to instinctively understand what is being sought. The first change I'd make is to remove resetting to level 0. I think it's overly punitive. Then I'd preserve the original row built at the beginning so that the player has something to refer to. On level 1, when they see one color (the first color) match, I think they'd understand what is being asked, and the pattern of levels referring to the original will be established. I think with some more time, this could be made into a really compelling experience.

Julian Ceipek says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 4:37am

I couldn't get this to run on OS X either, but I configured Gatekeeper appropriately.

heuermh says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 3:40pm

@Julian Ceipek

I have tested on OSX 10.7.5 and 10.8.3 without issue, what are you seeing?

pvwradtke says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 2:15am

Quite interesting, but not so straightforward. Telling a bit more to the player could help improve the experience, like giving more directions on what to do and letting the player figure out how to achieve that. That's what your notes did, but the players usually won't see them until it's too late. :(

TenTonToon says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 5:53am

First of all, kudos to you for expecting your players to read a wiki in order to learn how to play your game. In this day and age of short attention spans, that's brave of you.

The use of the theme is one of the most uniquely appropriate I've seen so far, and again points to you for fleeing the most obvious and easy use of Piet Mondrian as a figure of reference (and I'm guilty of that as well, I should point out).

But gameplay wise, your game is ironically too thematically focused to be easily enjoyable. Maybe with enough investment from the player it is possible, but as I pointed out before, in this day and age, that's brave of you to expect.

Congratulations on daring to think outside the box :)

netmute says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 6:32am

I like the idea, but it's almost impossible to figure out what you need to do to advance a level without reading the solution :(

Symmeteer says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 5:42am

I really want to play this game, especially since I'm a musician, but I can't get past level 0 because my screen isn't big enough to accomodate the un-resizable window size (and two of the tones were offscreen).

hi-scor.es says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 10:39pm

As a music geek I get it, but I don't think it translated perfectly into game world.

paulopn says ...
May 14, 2013 @ 4:36am

I'm...confused. I agree with what Fritzendugan said: the game needs, at very least, some minimal feedback when the player does something right, or at least some basic tutorial. From what I read in the comments it's unplayable for anyone who doesn't know much about music... I look forward to playing an eventual future version =D

heuermh says ...
May 16, 2013 @ 3:18am

Thanks all for the feedback.

@Symmeteer Sorry about that, if you know Processing it is only a one line code change and then you can run from source. I'll make this configurable in a post-compo version.

@paulopn, @netmute, @pvwradtke, @Fritzendugan, @foul, @DaGamesta, @Dietrich Epp Yep, you are all right. Beta tester #1 (my wife) told me the same. Beta tester #2 (my 6 yr old) figured it out, but then he's smarter than me.

@alts Thanks, I like the idea of keeping the original row around. I'll add this to a post-compo version.

@hi-scor.es Shoot, I think I lost my only audience!


@TenTonToon Brilliant comment, I'll use this in my post mortem.

DDRKirby(ISQ) says ...
May 16, 2013 @ 6:54am

I'm getting the same issue on OSX. The exact message is "dodecaphony.app is damaged and can't be opened. You should move it to the Trash." Same happens if I drill into Show Package Contents and try to run "JavaApplicationStub".

DDRKirby(ISQ) says ...
May 16, 2013 @ 6:54am

(I'm on OSX 10.8.3)

dremelofdeath says ...
May 16, 2013 @ 7:09am

So I made it to level 2. Then I made it to level 0. I was pretty confused. It sounded nice, though.

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