August 23rd-26th 2013 :: Theme: 10 Seconds

Ludum Dare 27 — August 23rd-26th, 2013
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The Grassfires of Veldstar

by Porpentine - 48 Hour Compo Entry

The planet of Veldstar is a peaceful one. The eyefolk of the grassy plains live in sprawling villages of mud huts and stone mazes.

They grow magical crystals made of time--each village collectively sacrificing bits and pieces of their lifespan, just a second here and there, to slowly daub together shimmering mineral growths of hyper-concentrated chronal energy. These crystals have saved them in the past, giving them time to respond to disasters.

For centuries their stone fortifications have kept out wild animals, shielded them against sandstorms, and partitioned their villages so fire can't easily spread. But one day...


Made in Gamemaker
Songs are generated by WolframTones
Sound effects are me in Audacity + Bfxr

Thanks to Leon Arnott for testing/feedback

Downloads and Links




Soundboy says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 2:50am

I really like the idea of the fires proliferating at different speeds. Cool stuff!

Aug 26, 2013 @ 7:01am

A nifty jaunt into a world of eyeballs that must escape grass fires! If you're clever enough you can use the grass as cover to evade the Beamos-type enemies. The voice acting kept me wanting those magic crystals! I love dodging stuff so this one was right up my alley.

Mase says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 9:46am

I enjoyed when those blue things said something like "j-d-d-d-d eye-ball"

magicdweedoo says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 9:59am

that was fun, I like the colours

withoutpillow says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 12:29pm

love the colors, design, sounds and the almost bullet-hell like aesthetics towards the end. yeah the music too.

cafeine says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 2:24pm

Oh yes yes yes. Love the arms flailing around while running! I hope it ends well for the eyefolk, I haven't been able to reach the end yet.

Aug 26, 2013 @ 7:55pm

This is beautiful and intense and the crystal is indeed nice.

panurge says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 8:56pm

Lots of nice little touches here (the sultry voice acting and soaring overhead silhouettes, for example) and cool mechanics such as using the grass for cover. The difficulty level was pleasingly unforgiving but I love crystals so I kept coming back. Haven't quite finished it yet but I will...

lalanl says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 5:32am

Wow, Nice Crystal! :D Love all the sounds and the deathlasers.

RobotParking says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 1:53pm


RobotParking says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 5:42pm


Aug 27, 2013 @ 6:43pm

That was great! Reminded me a bit of Revenge of The Sunfish, but more focussed. Really love the art in it, kinda reminds me of Michael Brough in a way. Good work on the audio too, it was suitably unnerving.

gre says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 7:24pm

Graphics feels strange at the first time, but they are actually quite good.
Incredible different game mecanisms. It fastly start to be hard core. Can't pass level 5 in normal mode!

Aug 27, 2013 @ 7:26pm

This was pretty fun! Too bad there wasn't any intense music in the background, would have given it nice panicy feel. had fun playing this, outrunning the grassfire was interesting with the crystals made out of magic.

douglasv says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 7:37pm

Wow, nice crystal!

angrygeometry says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 7:44pm

i love this, so much. its pretty challenging! the colours are so good. kind of need an mp3 of 'whoa nice crystalll' in my life.

Inertia says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 8:33pm

I got the crystal c:

Entity2D says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 8:37pm

This game's a great test of level memorisation and quick reflexes. Great job!

KhaoTom says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 12:47am

It's both funny and moody!

mrspeaker says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 3:16pm

Man, this is fantastic - I don't have windows but I saw it on a LD stream: SO COOL! You got the crystal... needs a remix!

Jiggawatt says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 3:18pm


Norgg says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 3:39pm

I liked how magical the crystals are.

tchem says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 5:21pm

strange and unique game.... great!!!

paulmcgg says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 10:50pm

Lovely art, only bettered by the speech clips. Bombing runs on defenseless villages (who just want to sing), this is horrifying. D:

bassarisse says ...
Aug 29, 2013 @ 4:17am

AHH The magic of the crystal! So funny and very strange. Good game.

lekochen says ...
Aug 29, 2013 @ 6:01am

Completed! Very good level design & "j-d-d-d-d eye-ball" sound!

Magdev says ...
Aug 29, 2013 @ 6:59am

This is easily my favorite game so far. So cool, adorable eyeball dudes, cool grass fire spreading hiding grass, dat touching ending.

wally2069 says ...
Aug 29, 2013 @ 5:53pm

A little too trial and error based for my liking

Aug 29, 2013 @ 9:22pm

Very fun, the fire is awesome. I'm glad you're into graphics now!!!

Mizzinx says ...
Aug 30, 2013 @ 10:46am

Very weird game.

I think the main negative thing I could say is that some levels suffered from a sort of ... jump-puzzle syndrome? In that I found myself having to replay sections I've already mastered to get to my point of failure, which was pretty annoying.

Definitely not going to win GOTY, but I still found it strangely compelling, and thought the levels with the laser-beam-spewing-turrets were really cool in a trippy kind of sense. Other than that, main high points were probably the ridiculous audio ("It's a crystal made of MAGIC"), and the abominable(/adorable) MS-Paint eye-spawns.

Overall, a weird, wonderfully bizarre adventure. Would hit space again.

Porpentine says ...
Aug 30, 2013 @ 8:27pm

Yeah, I got the feeling when I was making it that some levels had that problem, but I didn't have time to rebalance. Do you remember which levels stood out?

oajfh says ...
Aug 30, 2013 @ 11:02pm

I got a bit of slowdown on the long laser streams, but my computer is slow. I agree with the issue about checkpoints, there's a noticeable spike in difficulty in the last two-three levels. But, a videogame about genocide ? Nice voices and strange graphics ? Cool.

Sep 2, 2013 @ 5:22pm

Hey, not as bad as it looks at first, this was actually quite good, the sense of danger from the burning grass really gets your heart racing! Graphics were strange, but fitting, sound was nice, but might be better with some music especially written for it, not just generated. Also, It gets quite hard rather soon, but i guess I would play it again...!

meszka says ...
Sep 3, 2013 @ 5:16pm

Woah, this game is brutal! I died a lot but made it in the end. Nice idea with the fires. Love the voices and the psychedelic laser effects :)

Sep 5, 2013 @ 8:40pm

Excellent use of the theme, excellently tense, great use of beam-spam, and with some bits where you had to stop and think. (I confess, I played it in Friendly mode. Couldn't figure out how to get past the first mouth-creature on Normal.) The graphics are probably a love-it-or-hate-it thing, but they worked for me, especially the vegetation and the crystals.

The voice acting, while good, got a bit repetitive after a while (a risk any game with voice effects runs, I guess), but the music is awesome.

For all that, it seemed to lack the... something... that keeps me coming back to your Twine games again and again. Well, it was made in 48 hours. And I do love that beam-spam.

Sep 5, 2013 @ 8:43pm

Forgot to mention... that one eye-person lying dead in the dead end of a corridor?


Porpentine says ...
Sep 6, 2013 @ 2:48pm

Grass provides cover, getting past mouth-creatures is easy that way


VDZ says ...
Sep 7, 2013 @ 5:12pm

I guess I'm the only one who doesn't like the graphics and audio. I understand you were going for a 'so bad it's good' style, but it just didn't do much for me. Perhaps it's the fact that there's too little variation in the graphics and everything looks pretty much the same, or perhaps I'm just weird (I didn't like Space Funeral either).

As some others have said, the gameplay gets rather repetitive. You'll just be moving towards the exit without having to think much about it, dying due to being slightly too slow, then going through the exact same motions again except changing your route by a couple of tiles. It's not so much that you have to try hard to do it right as that you have to be careful not to do it wrong; the second time you'll almost always get past your obstacle without any trouble, so it doesn't really feel like you've accomplished much.

Most of the levels feel like they're pretty much the same as the previous level (only rarely do you get an interesting new element to think/strategize about), so it feels like you're just going through the same motions over and over again. Though it must be noted that there are a couple of instances of new elements/patterns in the game, such as the part where you walk through the spiral with rapid-fire enemies shooting at you from all sides. Contrary to the usual 'walk past it fast enough not to get hit' gameplay, you actually had to walk in a small area with enemy fire all around you, which felt significantly different. Parts like that make levels interesting and memorable.

From a gameplay perspective, the execution of the theme felt rather bland. 'Beat a level in 10 seconds and occasionally recharge your time'. Better than not using the theme at all as some people do, but it's not exactly the most original use of the theme.

Lastly, a comment that doesn't affect my judging of the game, but bit of a disappointment for a Porpentine game: You wrote down some interesting lore, but the game feels like it has nothing to do with it. The environmental description is reflected in the art of the game, but other than that there's only the arbitrary time extension item in the game, which feels like it's hardly related to the lore (I can't imagine them surviving disasters with only a handful of single-use crystals granting only 10 seconds valid for only a single person). The ending of the game also amounts to nothing more than a simple 'yay a handful of us have survived'. Feels like it makes the lore a bit redundant, in my opinion.

Sascha says ...
Sep 11, 2013 @ 2:19pm

Cool-weird and fun!

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