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

Ludum Dare 27 — August 23rd-26th, 2013
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Boxer's Seconds

by madk - 48 Hour Compo Entry


No boxer is complete without a second in the corner to keep his spirits up between rounds. In Boxer's Seconds you're responsible for hiring as many seconds as you can. But there's a catch: the candidates will refuse to work for you as long as the other candidates they personally hate remain alive. Study the candidates and order assassinations and hire as many seconds as possible!

- Lose a few rounds and the difficulty will go down. Win a bunch and it'll go up.
- Mute audio with F4, toggle fullscreen with F11.
- Ants! They'll happily take a joyride on a piece of paper if you move it around. Or you can crush them.
- Autosave! Close the game and later you can pick up right where you left off.
- 4,000 possible names! 38,000 possible faces! GAZILLIONS of possible character descriptions!


I wanted to interpret the theme in a way that didn't have to do with time. I googled the definition of "second" and learned that the guy in a corner who advises the boxer between rounds is, in fact, referred to as a second.

I tumbled the idea around in my head. I'd decided I was going to do something deliberately slower-paced and more to do with logic and strategy to contrast the direction most other entries have taken. I came up with Boxer's Seconds, in which you're a professional boxer tasked with hiring some seconds to replace the one that just quit on you. The problem is that each second hates some of the others and would never work for you while the ones they hate remain alive. Your job is to choose which candidates to order assassinations on and which ones to hire. You get points if you hired the maximum possible number of seconds, and you lose points when you didn't hire as many as you could have. It's not so simple as that, though - you'll have to read up on each candidate to determine who it is that hates who, first.

I hope you enjoy playing as much as I've enjoyed making it!

Tools used:
MS Paint - for all game art that isn't generated on-the-fly
GIMP and ResHack - for icon-ifying the application icon
Ableton Live - for a few percussion samples/synths
TED Notepad and Notepad++ - for text file editing
BlitzMax - for programming, naturally

A special thanks to Lucas Pope, who developed Papers, Please, for being one of the big inspirations for the interface and graphic style.


Track my post-compo progress!


Downloads and Links




Tork says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 2:57am

COuldnt open it, crashes when double clicking the exe

madk says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 3:19am

Any more detail than that? The graphics are OpenGL and the audio is DirectSound.

mpath says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 3:58am

I don't have a windows machine to run this on.

Ravetcofx says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 4:11am

-_- to many non Linux games

Aug 26, 2013 @ 4:26am

Really really nice! I enjoyed it even though I think I am not smart enough for it.

Martze says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 5:22am

Please make the text bigger or add a 2x size option, it's really hard to read.

manabreak says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 5:24am

Oh, you son of a... Those bugs almost gave me a heart attack!

Really original perspective on the theme. :)

madk says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 5:26am

Martze: try pressing F11. It should be easier to read in fullscreen. (Assuming your monitor supports a 1024x768 resolution, I didn't have the time to make it work with others.)

brmassa says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 5:30am

A logic problem. Nice implementation of logic statements. Graphics make enough mood but the notes keep getting on the top. Great game nonetheless. This I will play more!

Gus says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 6:03am

DID I JUST KILLED AN ANT? (srsly, man, I thought it was some real deal 2-3 times)
Well, this one is pretty solidin the amidst of so many buggy and incomplete feeling games, it has that Dukope ( feel to it, excellently polished, if It wasn't for a certain dose of repetition, I really would say that every man is pretty much unique (and has some pretty cool quirks)(Talking about man, you could've tried adding some females too, if it was supposed to have any, I didn't get them in my gameplay run).
In my opinion, you just got one thing wrong, and it was theme part, although you stimulate the hyperfast hiring/killing thing, this is a game that is best played slowly and patiently for achieving best results, I don't know if it was supposed to have a time bonus or something, if there is one, I'm sorry couldn't notice. (But I liked the tick tick clock-"oh shit, i'm out of time"-part)
This is yet, another game that I would recommend you, author, to implement and develop deeper, it would make an awesome full game if released with some story and/or other cool features ;D.

Mekuri says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 6:16am

Nice game, and a hard one. I like the way you interpreted the theme. Good work.

madk says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 6:21am

Gus: I'm glad you liked it! I choose to take a definition of "second" other than time. The guy in the corner that advises a boxer is also called a second. There are no women because it would've been too much work to put hair on the faces.

BlackBulletIV says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 7:41am

I like the theme; it's an interesting twist. I just found the gameplay quite dull and drawn out. I suppose it might be better if I had a lot of time and weren't tired. :P

Tifu says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 11:48am

"my favourite pie is cherry pie. I hate people who make baked goods." but... where does he get his pie!?! :P

Good to see alternative interpretations of the theme. Love the little details, being able to add in notes and actually scribble in a signature. Well done :D

madk says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 1:01pm

Shh, shh, pie is magicked into existence by pie gophers. Not baked.

flamecow says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 1:16pm

Wow, this is very original. It's pretty nice!

Falcon says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 1:39pm

Neat concept! And squishing ants was very satisfying. :)

michail says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 2:28pm

I spent half an hour reading the notes and making notes... then I accidentally signed the contract because I thought it was just another note and wanted to drag it, and all my planning and making notes was worth nothing. Frustrating as hell.

madk says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 2:38pm

michail: And that's why you read the tutorial! Sorry, I suppose I could've added some undo to the signature space.

(And others: thanks for the feedback!)

optimality says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 4:12pm

Nice logic puzzle implementation, would be nice if I didn't have to keep side notes to solve it.

ratalaika says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 4:19pm

innovative work

X-0r says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 4:23pm

Oh maaan... Killing all those poor people for not liking Batman. If the "10 Seconds" would know the game rules, I'm sure they'd have agreed on something and worked for you.
Love the randomized character generation, btw!

madk says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 4:31pm

opimality: Pfff, games where you have to think and take notes down are the best ones. Just be glad I made it so you can take the notes in-game instead of needing paper and a pen.

X-Or: Awesome! I spent a lot of time trying to get the generation just right. I think I could have improved it more if I had more time, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Sh1rogane says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 4:37pm

Haha, great way of taking the theme on! Got 2 out of max 3 (darn) and love the graphics (big fan of Papers, Please)

HeyChinaski says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 5:14pm

Clever twist on the theme! Crashed once while I was making my notes. I just tried guessing after that. Anyone got any tips on how to quickly parse that much info? I enjoyed squashing the bugs.

Skully says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 6:34pm

10 seconds... I like your take!
It's a nice concept and well executed

Anoarith says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 7:02pm

Haha, I immediately thought it was a dukope game.

It was very cool and the first bug scares me so much oO

gikdew says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 7:35pm

Nice concept, but i dont like to read in games, fun and very enjoyable anyway

Tegu says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 8:07pm

I was doing searches for meanings for second and found this definition. So it's cool that someone took and made a game about it. :) Ten seconds.

VDZ says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 11:14pm

From a technical viewpoint, this game is quite good. It's well thought out, everything works, and so on.

But for some reason, it just doesn't feel fun to me. Maybe it just isn't my kind of game, but the auto-generated walls of text aren't that interesting to read, and solving the puzzle doesn't really feel rewarding to me.

Aug 27, 2013 @ 1:36am

It really made me feel like I was at a desk doing this lol. I love the random bugs you can squash. Really interesting take on the theme. Well done. :)

Liz England says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 4:30am

Ahhhh! I drew a logic grid for this! It was awesome. I haven't done that in ages.

Thank you so much for not making a twitch/timed game. I really liked that I could sit down and be thoughtful and think through it. I didn't know a boxer had 'seconds', so you learn something knew every day. I did feel bad signing my name, though, since it sent some people to their deaths just because they had different ideas about the role of Pluto as a planet :_(

Those ants, though...

infernet89 says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 9:44am

Really liked the interpretation of the theme, of not using the "time" meaning, very original gameplay too!
I wonder how many "Too long, didn't read" comments you will receive for that..

Diogo Muller says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 11:11am

The wall of text is a bit scary at first, but it's well worth the time. Innovative idea, good interpretation of the theme.

brogrammers says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 4:51pm

excuse me, sir, may I ask which font did you use? I find it awesome.

madk says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 7:39pm

brogrammers: It's a font I made myself. Incidentally, I named it "mackerel".

panurge says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 9:33pm

This is one of my favourites so far. It's clever, funny, nicely written and planned, and just really satisfying to play. I loved all the little touches like squashing ants and signing your name too. Great work!

Kragnir says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 1:01am

Interesting idea. Very complicated way of determining a puzzle that I did not find very interesting to solve though.

Gazok says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 3:37am

I felt like there were too many attributes per second for it to be fun, rather than grueling, and I don't really buy that it's particularly based on logic and strategy. Observation and memory, definitely.

The effects like ants sticking to notes and stuff were great, though.

madk says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 7:07am

Gazok: the first part of the puzzle, figuring out who hates, who, is less logic and more to do with just reading each one and searching the others for conflicting traits. The second part, finding an optimal way to hire and kill, is the real logic puzzle. You know you can keep notes on each paper, right? It shouldn't be necessary to memorize anything at all.

vanderZwan says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 10:35am

An honest to goodness "sleuthing" game - very nice, and quite an original take on the theme!

Starspell says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 3:51pm

The game is really interesting and I had fun matching up who would be ok with who and whether it was better to choose a different group. Unfortunately when I signed the invoice (which was a great touch) the text that appeared was all the letter A. I assume that's a bug and it would normally tell me how well I'd done.

Very innovative concept, well done!

madk says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 4:42pm

Starspell: yep, that isn't supposed to happen. I'm not sure what could have caused it. Sorry!

pighead10 says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 7:48pm

Interesting interpretation of the theme and a great game. I got 4 people hired. The wall of text might put some people off, but it's actually surprisingly fun.

Jeremias says ...
Aug 29, 2013 @ 2:17pm

Very funny idea and take on the theme, but the text is sooooo small! :D Besides the score, a better classification or label how well I done would be nice. The ants are a great way to break the reading for a short second - nice idea!

jay griffin says ...
Aug 29, 2013 @ 3:09pm

Definitely a fresh take on the theme, I really enjoyed this one.

madk says ...
Aug 29, 2013 @ 7:28pm

Jeremias: the invoice, once signed, should provide a full report describing who you killed, who you left alive, who refused to work, and who you hired. As well as the maximum number of people who could have been hired, and the number that you did end up hiring. Also, as to the text size: have you tried fullscreen? (Press F11.)

Venturelli says ...
Aug 30, 2013 @ 12:55pm

This is... different. Not a very fun activity, but really creative and unusual. Kudos for that!

ashdnazg says ...
Aug 30, 2013 @ 4:22pm

I'm extremely sorry for not actually playing this game.
It's so well made that I'd have to either:
1) Make a zillion spreadsheets
2) Program a solver :)
Both would be a bit overkill...

Seriously, this is one original entry!

JaJ says ...
Sep 1, 2013 @ 3:18pm

Playing this game is hard work! I like the spin you gave on the theme, and I loved the clock and the ants, great touches!

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