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

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

As an ancient guardian of forest, you must keep human population MINIMAL in your kingdom. To survive, you must eat.

Left click to move. Hold button down for better control.

Red gems at the bottom right corner of the screen represent your HEALTH. Empty socket next to it represents your HUNGER. You lose health if you haven't satisfied your hunger when new day begins.

Goal: Survive.

UPDATE 5.5.2013:
New post-compo release available! Please download the original first for judging. This version now features a tutorial and ambient sounds. Stealth approach is also more viable. See included readme for complete changelog. In addition there's now a Game Jolt page for the game, where I'll be posting new updates and information on the development after this LD winds down.

Downloads and Links




Andrio says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 8:27am

Interesting concept!

CMaster says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 9:21am

Hunger was far too little of a threat however, as my health seemed to go up all the time from eating the gun-men or children. In fact, the gun guys were more helpful than a hiderance. They hit me once in total I think, but as they (like the children) couldn't escape to hoses, they were easy food. Ended up just quitting, because I couldn't see that it would ever end (day 12 or so)

ToastyAbraham says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 9:26am

Solid game, good use of day night cycle

64Mega says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 9:49am

This is a really interesting concept! Though the gunmen weren't really enough of a threat.

evelyn-jolli says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 9:56am

idk why but i find the idea funny lol. seems liek an anti survival game

GetFun says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 10:09am

wow. Really fun and cool idea!

kyyninen says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 10:20am

Thanks for the comments!

re: hunger & health
Few hours before submitting I was thinking about removing health generation from eating. You would get 1 health when hunger meter empties at the dawn, no more. Decided against it, since I had no real gauge how difficult the game would be to someone else. I'll make it so in next version.

re: gunmen
I went back and forth on gunmen generation frequency. Now it's set to sparse since my room mate seemed to have major problems against them! Admittedly he was drunk at the time. Maybe larger quantity and removal of the healing during day would make them a bigger threat?

EdoMiyamoto says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 2:40pm

That's original !

8BitPimp says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 2:59pm

I kept eating.

Skywilly says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 3:47pm

Nice concept ! I love the visuals, "handmade style".

finefin says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 8:38pm

awww. i'm on a mac :(

gmaker says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 8:26am

looks good! i like it )

Alphonsus says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 11:23am

Gameplay is really fun. Great work!

Tainted_Code says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 11:31am

Great idea! That's a new type of gameplay. I like it a lot, it was fun to play :)

kyyninen says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 11:45am

Thanks for comments everyone! I'm working on making the game more challenging based on feedback. Here's a test build for those interested: http://bit.ly/17v9aY6 It's not thoroughly playtested yet, so there might be lots of odd stuff happening!

Benjamin says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 5:23pm

For some reasons I just meet one hunter at the beginning then nothing. The game lack a clear goal but the feeling of being a monster lurking in the wood is pretty well done.

Tainted_Code says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 6:31pm

Oooooh, I like the test build! :D

Dew says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 7:36pm

Perfect concept, this is great!

GingerMess says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 7:43pm


TriBeard says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 7:44pm

Cool visuals and concept. I'll be honest, I had no idea what I was doing or what the icons represented!

lambomang says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 5:35am


egos says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 9:40am

interesting concept but for win you just need to wait in the map center

May 1, 2013 @ 9:43am

I didn't really understand what the goal of the game was nor what the meters in the corner meant.

But I really liked hunting down the humans when they shot at me.

I played for quite a while until I finally died after eating a grey person, I'm guessing they are bad for you?

Good job! :)

marnaouf says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 9:48am

Very interesting concept.

kyyninen says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 10:19am

Thanks for comments! Keep 'em coming!

re: lack of instructions
I'm torn on this subject. Personally I would prefer not to have any kind of written text as a part of the game proper, but some sort of tutorial screen is clearly needed, at least so far as to instruct what UI elements mean! I'll have to think on this. Changed entry description to offer at least some advice.

re: lack of goal
Currently the only goal of the game is to survive as long as possible. Death is the only ending state. The post-compo version features a scoring system that should give some motivation to try to survive longer. My personal high score is 4770 :)

MinionStudios says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 12:34am

I like the feeling of this one. The graphics were simple, but the story was good.

pvwradtke says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 12:56am

Cool idea to play as the monster. I'd have loved if people would scream and run away from us when we got near them :).

HelkeGames says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 10:45am

Very cool concept, I like the art and graphic, well done ;)

Argembarger says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 2:13pm

Hm, interesting. I'd like to see what the game screen looks like in the endgame... Where you're totally surrounded by huts and your hunger is almost impossible to satisfy, and you're running out of forest etc.

Ernyz says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 2:21pm

Nice graphics and game, really like it :) it was fun to eat people who harm forests :D

kddekadenz says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 3:59pm

Does not work under Linux using Wine, like all GameMaker games.. The loading bar shows, but the screens stays white then.

whitetigle says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 4:02pm

Somehow I find it creepy. All these strange dark windy woods end these pale colors, and you just trying to find some human to eat. With some music it could be so strange. The atmosphere is very refreshing. Good mood :)

Robrock55 says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 4:12pm

Very good game, with intresting concept, I had fun playing it !

kyyninen says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 4:40pm

Thanks for comments and encouragements everyone! They really mean a lot to me :)

re: sounds
I was planning on adding more effects and atmospheric sounds but time ran out! I'll see about adding some sort of gasping sound for panicking villagers and wind-loop for next version, maybe some sounds specific to time of day? Music is a bit outside of my skill set I'm afraid.

@kddekadenz & finefin
Sorry about that :( I tried to import the project to the free version of Game Maker Studio for cross platform support but it lost half the objects on the way. Maybe down the line, when I have better grasp on this programming stuff.

I'd love to see that as well! Free MYSTERY STEAM GIFT (which might or might not be Psychonauts) to the first who provides screenshot with no trees and plenty of huts?

HuvaaKoodia says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 7:05pm

I thoroughly enjoyed the mood and theme of the game.
The simulation aspects are well conceived as well.
Also the sounds, while rudimentary, gave a distinct feeling of futility. Wood chopping everywhere! Pesky humans.

dem0 says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 12:37pm

Really original game and nice gfx :) The game should have utilized sneaking a bit more, now it is mostly just constant running around but still very good.

Hegemege says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 2:16pm

Very original and overall a great game I must say! Every day in the game feels like a small story of how the poor guardian tries to stop the invasion of people into the forest, just to find out they have built more houses on the other side of the forest. The controls and graphics felt polished, only thing missing is an ambient soundtrack.

Mekuri says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 5:18pm

Very nice game, and an impressive concept. I can easily see that concept evolve into something great :)

Orni says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 7:26pm

I enjoyed playing this a lot
nice concept

very well done :D

kyyninen says ...
May 5, 2013 @ 11:11am

Thank you, kind strangers! For the next version I'm adding audio and trying couple of things to make stealth-based approach more viable. Here's a test build: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BylyOE6bMNbFNlJfU2FkYnFGWVU/edit?usp=sharing Again, highly experimental, probably unstable as well! (ps. try moving very slowly)

wademcgillis says ...
May 6, 2013 @ 4:06pm

The game doesn't pose much of a challenge unless far later in the game the humans breed like rabbits and take over.

The idea of the game has potential. Try expanding it.

TenTonToon says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 5:49am

The game's somewhat confusing, made worse by the view moving up and down following the mouse. The forest was so scarcely populated that I didn't have much to do for most of my playtime. And then, I ate a blue-headed guy and my health went actually down for no apparent (or explained) reason.

The graphics are cool, and I especially liked the sort of washed-out look of the overlay. Also, the overall game's design is quite fitting of the theme.

I just feels this game needs to better express what the player's supposed to be doing (and there's no need for any intrusive exposition or tutorial; just a more thorough design of the game's elements), and to keep you busy instead of having you just strolling through the forest with nothing to do.

A promising game to follow.

kyyninen says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 10:51am

Thanks for constructive feedback!

Yeah, the compo version is pretty unbalanced in favour of player. Currently I'm working on making most of the game variables adjustable through ini-file. That should allow for rapid iteration to find that sweet spot in challenge curve.

@TenTonToon (and @Jesper Oskarsson)
Pale apparitions are ghosts that generate when villagers are sufficiently terrified of woods. I originally implemented them to give hunters something to hunt for in addition of player, and also to give player some encouragement to not go full speed ahead all the time. In post-compo version I made them appear more ghastly (glow everywhere!), but they remain still pretty unintuitive. I should rethink their generation and purpose, or at least make them only appear at night.

I originally hoped to teach game concepts through gameplay, but well, yeah :( Current tutorial in the post-compo version is hopefully pretty unintrusive, it shows few tooltips on the screen and lasts for about 10 sec. Still aiming for teaching through design, but it's going to take some time.

I'm definitely still honing the overall design of the game, and it's a real boon to have this many people comment on what works in the game and what doesn't. For that, I'm deeply grateful :)

Rafael Sales says ...
May 12, 2013 @ 6:11pm

Great game. The mood is very interesting. Your game reminded me Slender. Congrats dude!

May 13, 2013 @ 2:45am

Well-executed game from an interesting idea. I kinda liked the visuals -- a little eerie strangely to me.

Dotanukii says ...
May 15, 2013 @ 10:38pm

I thought this was too easy but I like the concept, i really like games where you're a powerful monster and eat humans, nice job!

csanyk says ...
May 18, 2013 @ 9:18pm

I really like the color palette you chose, and the idea of being a great big scary monster running around in the woods eating people.

sP0CkEr2 says ...
May 19, 2013 @ 2:44pm

brilliant -- i really like the concept of the game -- nice job

Siewart says ...
May 20, 2013 @ 4:10pm

Omnomnom! Tasty game!

Purplescape says ...
May 21, 2013 @ 12:16am

I like the graphics and what an interesting setting and character. At first I thought it would be cool if the people started settling in other areas, then they did. Loved that!

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