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

Ludum Dare 26 — April 26-29th, 2013
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by Julian Ceipek - Jam Entry

Welcome, my friend, to the world of Auraline, an eerie but enthralling audiovisual experience that is hard to describe, although many have tried:

"It's like Flatland" - Riley

"This reminds me of Dwarf Fortress but without the Pike Zombies" - Brendan

"Aw, that sneaky little bastard!" - Alex

"The eternal struggle of man versus corners" - Eric

Charles Goddard and Julian Ceipek.

This game requires headphones and is best with the Oculus Rift. A Rift headset is NOT required.

Downloads and Links




Apr 30, 2013 @ 8:22am

Oooh! A rift game! Pity I don't have one...yet! Cheers lads, a real tight entry.

Lafolie says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 6:19pm

This is awesome. Audio, graphics and challenge are all top-notch.

Holofire says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 6:45pm

Wow, this is great. So challenging. Very awesome idea to navigate using sound and thin lines :D

LeafThief says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 7:34pm

So very good. Thanks for making this game!
I played the webplayer version. Is it so small because it's optimized for rift? Because if that isn't the case it's all the more great.
The miniature viewport works so well with the audio. The beautiful flageolet sounds guiding my way through the maze.
And the "goal" color was so good.

I have really really enjoyed this. Thanks :)

Julian Ceipek says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 10:17pm

Thanks, everyone! @LeafThief, that the game's viewport is limited is entirely intentional and was actually difficult to achieve with the Rift SDK. I guess the developers didn't really have this use case in mind :) However, perhaps because the game is so abstract or because the eyes have an anchor for focus within the world, we managed to avoid most of the nausea effects people tend to experience with virtual reality.

SmilingCat says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 2:29am

The audio was top notch, and the concept was good. I was really getting into it.

For some reason, the limited viewport caused me considerable eyestrain, though, and I could not play very long. That's probably me, though, and not any fault of yours.

Komradus says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 3:05am

Wow, that was really trippy, solid experience here.

Julian Ceipek says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 4:18am

@SmilingCat: That's really interesting. Of the ~30 playtesters I observed while making Auraline, only one complained of eyestrain, and he finished the game with the Rift. I'm curious: which version did you play?

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

Excellent. Love the experience of navigation. Excellent use of minimal visuals and sound. Waiting on a Rift, very excited to check this game out with the Rift.

netpro2k says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 4:23am

Wish I had my rift for this.

AaronYip says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 4:37am

Wow, this is really cool. I might have to borrow an OR from friends. :D The large amounts of negative space had a weird psychological effect on me too--not really sure, claustrophobia isn't quite right--that made the game feel more "trippy" than it probably was intended. The audio's especially great--the voice over made me smile. (:

I usually can't play games without well-established controls/mapping of the game world, but I really liked this piece. Nice work, guys!

Julian Ceipek says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 5:03am

@AaronYip: I'm glad you liked it. The psychological impact is definitely something we were aiming for. We actually experimented with trying to evoke claustrophobia in a full 3d tech demo shortly after we got access to a Rift dev kit, but we never got it to work very well. One of our main ideas behind Auraline was to provide the player a glimpse of what it might be like to be transported to a universe where the way the world must be perceived is radically different from the world we inhabit. The Rift adds to that experience because it removes outside distractions and makes the experience of looking around the same as looking around outside of the game world.

For me, the best part about making Auraline was watching how players reacted to the game environment. We observed testers physically jump, talk to the narrator, and in one extreme case, rapidly remove the VR headset as if to reassure herself that the real world was still there.

AaronYip says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 5:36am

Ahaha, Rift development sounds really fun. I definitely hope VR takes off in a serious way, so there's more support and designers/developers asking questions and looking for answers. (:

Auraline made much more sense to me when I started pretending that I was a knight, ha! Trying to challenge natural laws is always really difficult to make feel right--people always are going to push back against it, by the nature of the game. Going too far or too brutishly can violate the player experience entirely, and going too little defeats the point. It's tough stuff to balance. In a way, Portal is a really successful example (as well as for many other game design principles) and not too many of those types of games can say the same. But I'm glad that you guys pulled it off! And made a great Rift game, if the testers' reactions can speak for themselves ;D

stevejohnson says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 6:10am

At times confusing (what are the rules for getting eaten by the dark red?), but overall very engrossing even on a normal laptop. Well dome.

rinesh.t says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 7:30am

Awesome. I can just imagine how coll it feels playing on an Occulus rift. Upload a video of some one playing with a Rift.

kazukishida says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 12:44pm

I can only imagine what a hair-raising, surreal experience this might be with the Oculus Rift. And yet without one, it's already amazingly immersive. I don't think I'd like to see dark red lines anytime soon. x_x

Amazing game! :D

GreenPixelDev says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 1:50am

Amazing job! One of the best interpretations of the theme I've seen so far! You've set the mood very effectively and the voice-over work is extremely well done! You managed to freak me out out with a red line :D

Julian Ceipek says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 2:38am

I'm really happy that everyone likes Auraline so much. Thanks for your kind words and for sharing your experiences.

@AaronYip: As far as I know, no one else has made that interpretation, but as far as implementation goes, you are not far off. I absolutely agree with your sentiments on challenging natural laws and game design principles. I've been studying game design extensively all semester and plan to post a Postmortem soon on how I integrated what I learned into Auraline.

@stevejohnson: Could you elaborate a bit on your confusion regarding "getting eaten by the dark red"? I tried to keep the rules for all the entities in the game simple and discoverable, but if we decide to make a more polished version in the future (Charles and I have been discussing the possibility), I'd like to have enough data about what doesn't quite work properly to make appropriate tweaks.

@rinesh.t: I'll see what I can do. By this point, most of the people I know have already played it or seen someone play it, and player reactions aren't quite as interesting on additional playthroughs.

@kazukishida: Wow, thanks!

@GreenPixelDev: Thanks; I did my best. :)

Boiúna says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 2:07pm

Amazing! Simply genious. The audio, the graphics, the theme, all fits so well.

Prelucid says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 9:44pm

Holy crap, played this on my Oculus and it creeped me out a few times. Pretty cool and I really felt like sound was my strongest sense. Probably the highest score I gave any game on LD so far.

May 3, 2013 @ 1:56am

YES!!!!! finally a Flatlands game Thank You!!!!

hughsk says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 6:47am

Really nice vibe from this game - wish I had a rift to experience it fully!

May 4, 2013 @ 7:48am

I didnt know how I was dying, but it was an awesome idea, a 2D world.

robotality says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 8:27am

Very cool idea :) Would love to try this out with a rift!

Hegemege says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 11:48am

Very original idea, nice audio and mood! Now my eyes hurt after watching the thin line :D

klianc09 says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 2:10pm

It took me a long time to realize what was going on, and that the sound can guide you.
It's somehow strange that I rate a game where you only see a line that absurdly high, but somehow everything fitted nicely together, so you well deserved it.

Madball says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 3:56pm

Oh, just a first-person game with a thin field of view... OMG WTF IS THAT RED LINE??? Was playing it for a while, but couldn't pass it, stuck on a level, I think, after the first one without reds (but after some ones with reds). I didn't understand what does the music mean. However, that's best use of the theme I've seen. And don't expect me to understand the voice :P

Spiridios says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 8:59pm

Played the non-rift version. Really curious what the rift version looks like. I think I kinda got what was going on, though there were a couple sound cues I didn't quite understand. I still managed to find my way to the goal and avoid getting twanged too many time.

Tozy says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 9:34pm

The voice helps a lot setting the mood :D

oatsbarley says ...
May 5, 2013 @ 7:16pm

Awesome idea. I fumbled my way through it, and I wish I had a rift because I'm sure it looks great in 3D. Nice job!

joe40001 says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 1:56am


Tsuki_Usagi says ...
May 10, 2013 @ 1:23am

wow, I loved this game<3 (those kind of games are one of my favorites)

I loved the song too, can I have an .mp3 version..? xD

just a couple of thing: It was very hard to make it run into my computer, don't know why but it kept freezing in the beginning -.-'''
but then miraculously it let me plays

the first levels without problems but later, when I was playing, the game frozen again, and the last time it was spinning and spinning and spinning without stopping
I didn't know what to do and simply ended there, it's a shame because I really loved the game :/'''

ayways, relly great job!

Julian Ceipek says ...
May 13, 2013 @ 4:26am


Sorry to hear about the freezing -- we've never seen that happen to anyone before. What platform are you on? Were you running the web version or one of the builds?

You can get the audio files here:

Sylvain.p says ...
May 15, 2013 @ 5:43pm

Nice audio game and less difficult than other game without eyes. Really good creation.

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