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

Ludum Dare 26 — April 26-29th, 2013
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Small Tale

by hitchh1k3r - Jam Entry

Small Tale is a minimalist RPG, which aims to tell a story without telling the story. The inspiration for this was a much smaller tale: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." We wanted to try something similar; a game that told a story through implication and imagery, instead of exposition. Theories are welcome in the comments!

This was done for the 72-hour Jam, but we decided to impose the same rules as the Compo (blew the 48-hour deadline, though we lost most of a day due to tech difficulties and prior engagements). The engine was coded entirely during the competition, using Java, LWJGL, and Slick-Util. None of the visual or audio assets were made prior to the Jam either.

Considering that this was our first Ludum Dare, we're pretty happy with how the game came out. Here's hoping you enjoy it too, it was a blast to make!

P.S. If anyone manages to beat Challenge Mode and get a screenshot of their End Screen, our graphics guy will gladly award you a trophy. Because none of us have managed to beat it yet.

Hitch1k3r - Director, Lead Programmer
Naali - Writer, Assistant Programmer
Solifuge - Graphics, Music, Boss Design

Special thanks to the small but dedicated Twitch TV audience who kept us company while we worked, and made the jam that much more fun! Another shout-out to a Legit Viking who shall remain nameless, but offered much Historical and Mythological Consultation, and provided vital Scandinavian Fact-Checking Services.

Downloads and Links




Scaraban says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 2:56am

Fuck that dragon.

omaromeir says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 6:00am

Fun little tale, I liked it. But the dragon is so tough :(.

Lianne Booton says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 6:00am

Got an error when downloading packages sadly, looks like it would be pretty awesome to play too.

epaik says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 6:08am

Nice work!

Liked the build up to the dragon fight, wasn't sure whether my choices did anything though.

I almost killed the dragon, but it got me with a fireball :(. It was a little unintuitive to me that I should move away from the dragon to block his attacks, that got me hit more than once.

Leginar says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 6:23am

What a wonderful game. The difficulty of the dragon makes multiple restarts a necessity, but the opportunity to make different choices before the dragon makes that restart a reward in itself. Genius!

ilovepixel says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 7:34am

I tried the controls, but didn't work. Overall it has very nice art!

EdoMiyamoto says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 7:48am

Dear [hitchh1k3r], i really want to play this game ! i always get a package error when trying to play, so i'll fav it and come back later to test it !

timtimtimtim says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 8:13am

i get the following error in chrome

"An error occured while loading the applet.
Please contact support to resolve this issue.
This occured while 'Downloading packages'"

Robotic says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 8:17am

Well polished, fun, and with a very classy artstyle.

mchaza says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 8:20am

Controls were a bit unwieldy, couldn't get the hang of press s to jump. Other than that neat job.

hitchh1k3r says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 8:42am


Anyone that has been having issues playing the game online, try the new Windows, Linux, or OS X compatible jar file. Hopefully that will fix all porting problems.

Solifuge says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 10:08am

The stand-alone version works, hitch! Also, I'm interested to hear how people interpreting the story.

mostley says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 10:21am

nice game. I had fun. The successful end though is a bit unsatisfactory. at least the text "you slay the dragon" would give some closure.

reverso13 says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 10:33am

Awesome! I like the approach to the theme. Nice grahpics but very strange control scheme, it was difficult to get used to it.

BrainSlugs83 says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 10:49am

Man, that took a while to figure out the optimal path to get all the best items/upgrades. Very cool. Beat the dragon once barehanded, but not on challenge mode. Loved this game.

I wish the UI had been a little easier at first. Also the fading is way too slow. But after a while you get used to it. :-)

p.s. also couldn't run the browser version, had to download the .jar file.

May 1, 2013 @ 3:18am

Rosypenguin: Interesting how your choices affect your battle with the dragon; gives a high replayability value since I want to try to find different outcomes. The controls are unintuitive though, I can't get used to pressing S to jump when many other 2D platformers use the up arrow or W. Otherwise, interesting gameplay and solid pixel art work!

(this is a team account)

Tyro says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 7:51am

Great graphics, cool audio, and decent writing. Groovy game, dudes.

LogiQ121 says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 7:53am

I do have to say that the first comment made me play this game. It was AWESOME and I fucked that dragon up.... after he demolished me the first time :P

EdoMiyamoto says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 6:48am

I try the windows version this time, it works! Good fight with the dragon !

lotusgame says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 8:21am

"A error occured while loading this applet. Please contact support to resolve this issue. This occured while 'Downloading packages'." I'll try the download version later ^^

SonnyBone says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 8:02pm

Awesome way to establish your 'stats' and 'equipment' by giving us the choices up front. Would make more sense in an actual full game, but the concept is very refreshing for a 48 hour game. Great challenge on the boss battle! Nice job!

May 6, 2013 @ 11:21am

Same problem like lotusgame with the web version. Will try the download version later.

Spiridios says ...
May 7, 2013 @ 4:36am

Controls are a bit odd, but I liked them. Loved that making choices changed what equipment you had to fight the dragon. I worked out a pattern to fight the dragon and when I tried challenge mode found out my pattern no longer applied (since I didn't have a shield)! Nice touch.

May 8, 2013 @ 9:40pm

Quite interesting, but I didn't really get it, I'm too stupid. I guess... what a shame! :( I would like to play it longer if I had the time, however...!

Drabiter says ...
May 9, 2013 @ 11:07am

What a dragon :)

Burnside says ...
May 9, 2013 @ 11:58pm

I beat Challenge Mode.


The dragon clearly gets more challenging as the fight goes on; this is mainly because the speed at which it can raise or lower itself increases. So what you need is a a way of delaying the dragon for as long as possible while the initial burst of fireballs passes, and then you have to close in on the dragon. What I finally settled on was: stay on the outside edge of the upper platform as the dragon comes out of the lava. Right as he's about to reach your level, jump up into the upper corner of the room, and then fall to the ground; since the dragon won't fire fireballs unless you're standing, this gives a long delay, by which time the initial volley of fireballs should have passed. Start walking towards the dragon on the ground level, and jump to the second level as you're about to run into one of the fireballs shot at you. Then do the same on the second level; you should be close enough to punch the dragon in the face before you land on the top platform, so the dragon won't shoot a fireball at you. Then cross over to the other side of the room while the dragon's up in the air, and repeat.

hitchh1k3r says ...
May 12, 2013 @ 6:38am

@Burnside Awesome work!

I sent a message to Solifuge (graphics guy), and he's starting on your trophy's graphic. I don't think we can award it until the competition is over though, (If you haven't submitted a game, I'm not sure we can officially award you :( but we'll defiantly do what we can, it's a very impressive feat).

The three of us were competing to see who could be Challenge Mode first... Solifuge won that, but I'm not sure his technique. I could only get the dragon down to half health, and then I'd get bored and make carless mistakes. Challenge Mode was added probably in the last couple of hours and wasn't properly balanced, but I think the challenge is a pretty good level, and provides a fair challenge for people that really want to beat it. I'd still probably change some things if we did it again.

sP0CkEr2 says ...
May 17, 2013 @ 5:19am

very nice job -- like the overall concept and play

GFM says ...
May 17, 2013 @ 3:39pm

Great game!
My only complaint are the controls. It really confused me at times having two attack buttons, instead of only one that hit toward the direction I'm facing.

Beldarak says ...
May 20, 2013 @ 3:54pm

The controls are a little weird, and damn, it's hard. But otherwise it's a fun game to play and the art (music + graphics) is fantastic !

The music is simply awesome.

hitchh1k3r says ...
May 24, 2013 @ 3:16am

@Burnside, I can't officially award you your trophy (I think you need to submit a game before you can get trophies), but that's not good enough for us. For now here's a thing, and if you post a game in the future or the site changes we'll officially award it to you.


naali says ...
May 26, 2013 @ 8:08pm

In retrospect I think the story is a bit too obscure. There could have been more emphasis on key elements to draw out the imagination of the player.

For programming, I think working on library and helper functions was where my time thrived. I also enjoy working on such things so I think it's a good match (example: class GUIBox).

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