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

Ludum Dare 27 — August 23rd-26th, 2013
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I'll Give You A Head Start

by Tifu - 48 Hour Compo Entry

I've uploaded a version which should fix a bug that was causing massive slowdown for many players, this was a minor change just editing one line of code, so I think this is permitted within the rules. If you disagree however, I have left the buggy version up for you to vote on instead.

A teenage girl explores an abandoned boarding school in search of Emily, the ghost of a young girl who died there years ago. But when she finds her, she finds the ghost doesn't want visitors...

You get 10 seconds before Emily will begin pursuing you, if Emily touches you, you die. Explore the school for items that can help you and clues on how to escape.

Left mouse to interact with things - open/close doors, pick up/drop items, investigate [!] marks for information.

Right mouse to run, but you can only run for a total of 10 seconds.

WASD or arrow keys to move around.

Press space to pause. If you pause you get a description of the item you are holding. Not every item has a use, but every item that relates to Emily in some way does - read clues to find out which ones relate to her.

Emily will start off slow, but she gains speed the longer you take. If you play on "impossible" (which might very well be impossible, I haven't really tested that mode thoroughly) she can get very fast. I recommend playing on the normal mode.

The layout of the map is the same every try, but the location of items is randomised between set points, as is your starting position.

Downloads and Links




lulzfish_4 says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 2:16am

The kill animation and mirror scenes are very cool.

I missed a lot of doors the first time because I didn't know you had to click right on the door itself. Other than that, the controls are good.

I'm glad you didn't make it a frantic "10 seconds per level" game.

madk says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 2:27am

After a few minutes the frame rate dropped suddenly to the point of being unplayable. It looks nice, though, and it was a clever idea. I would have liked it more if there were fewer dead ends, and if I could have taken the map and the notes with me in a inventory.

Tork says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 3:06am

Liked it a lot, with some horror audio for the background it would had been great

Pierrec says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 9:28am

I love the intro/ending screens and the "scenario", but the game really is too slow, exploring becomes tedio.

DaanVanYperen says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 10:56am

Kind of a cop out on the theme, but the game has a really nice mood. Fun to play!

Zccc says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 12:23pm

So cool :D But too slow, it kills the mood.

Acrimiens says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 2:39pm

Realy Cool!

IHackedDeath says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 3:11pm

really enjoyed it, was a bit slow but it was 48 hours to make it and really impressive for that aspect, i think maybe some more hint of 10 second theme would have been more appropriate but it was really good for what it was.

sgehlich says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 4:07pm

I love the idea and the execution - although I was wandering around the school and was a little depressed when Emily got me so I had to start over again. Also, I didn't head any sound, that would have improved the mood :)

m110 says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 5:01pm

I like the idea behind lights and the mood. Good job overall, enjoyed it!

Delca says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 7:03pm

Although I did not feel the theme very much (I play mostly without running), the way you build the ambiance is impressive given that there is not even any sound ; I felt completely immersed in the school. I spent almost an entire hour just walking around, uncovering the background one (!) at a time. You did great !

Aug 26, 2013 @ 7:32pm

I like the game loads. Some objects that I picked up however, I didnt have a clue what they were. I also liked the fact that Emily went slow at first; the first time I played it I was a bit confused. What you did with the flashlight effect was also pretty cool, the way it lit everything up. I sorta wish I had an inventory tho, so I could have picked up that dang map!

Aug 26, 2013 @ 11:04pm

Hello! I am making a sort of compilation of all the games I can. Your game is featured in this video!

BradleySmith says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 11:28pm

Loved some of the animation work in this, excellent job. Rated highly. :)

Fireblend says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 11:40pm

Cool concept! I love how you establish the atmosphere right away through a few cues and the visuals. Great job!

Slader16 says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 11:51pm

This game is so awesome, I keep finding myself yelling at the screen "OMG SHE'S GONNA KILL ME!"

nSun says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 12:19am

Good atmosphere and characters.
I'm not sure that "run for a total of 10 seconds" will serve the gameplay. It's a bit embarrassing to move so slowly when you know you're being chased.
Maybe "10 seconds of flash-light", something which freeze Emily when she's too close, could be better.

CrisisSDK says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 5:34am

I think this was impressive for 48 hours. I haven't won it yet, but I think I might play it again later to try.
I actually got a little scared knowing I'm always being followed by the ghost, although you can avoid it easily if you're careful.
Kinda wish you moved a little faster, just so you could get from A to B a little quicker, and if you continue working on it some sound would be awesome (not sure you could have got good sounds for it in just 48 hours)
In your blog you mentioned putting too much time in the intro/ending screens, but I think it was worth it.
Good job!

dumasflo says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 1:56pm

Lacks some sounds to make it really interesting ! I liked it anyway ! good job !! :))

Aug 27, 2013 @ 2:06pm

I hate starting at the bathroom.

This is awesome!

sirdorius says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 8:35pm

It's a really simple but scary idea for a game. Unfortunately I had severe performance issues on my laptop to the point where it became pretty much unplayable.

kratorspore says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 8:36pm

Wow this game really built a lot of tension! Wonderful effort! Sound would have put it over the top!

Aug 27, 2013 @ 9:54pm

The level tiles are bit bare, but I like the art in scenes.
The game is bit slow though, she should be able to move faster so replaying doesn't become tedious.

Sounds and music could have really added to the panic mood!

panurge says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 9:57pm

I thought this was a very accomplished game indeed for such a short timeframe. There was real tension and drama in the setup and execution.

I'm not sure why some people are saying it didn't make much use of the theme - that was the idea of the 10 second headstart as well as the running, right? I thought it was a clever concept which worked really well. I do agree that it could have used a faster pace, though. And a couple of carefully chosen sound effects would go a long way.

Anyway, it would be wrong to mark you down for that when this game is otherwise packed full of good content. Excellent work!

ShitAndSon says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 10:01pm

The game is great but the light animation is really weird.

Almax27 says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 10:04pm

Nice mood, I like the mirror concept.

sP0CkEr2 says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 10:05pm

very good game -- wanted to keep playing it -- nice job

Aug 27, 2013 @ 10:20pm


Love the 'lighting', love the fact that Emily gets faster. With sound - music, effects... some safe areas, etc, I could totally get into this. More! MORE!

Also - the death screen is fun! Oh, so THAT'S what Emily looks like.

bitserum says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 12:03am

This has got to be the most creative use of the theme I've seen so far. I love it.
And though I like it is not frantic it could have a slightly faster pace to transfer the feelings of urgency, danger and impending doom better.

Zknet says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 3:14am

I liked your execution of the 10 second headstart better. Would have loved some creepy audio.

Aug 28, 2013 @ 10:44am

Very well made! Loved the roguelike-ish lighting :) The mood was pretty good, even if the graphics were not "dark and gritty" like so many horror games (like ours XD). I loved uncovering the story by stumbling on ! marks and items. But the map is so big... Or feels like it because you do not see much at a time. I was startled several time by turning around and seeing Emily right behind me, good job on that. Audio would have been a huge plus, but for 48h, including the great intro/game over screens, you did amazing (and I have not won yet, even...)

ratalaika says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 4:39pm

good job

rogueNoodle says ...
Aug 29, 2013 @ 12:12am

That was actually very creepy - knowing that whatever that was was probably right behind me the whole time kept me moving. I got lost quite a bit, but the addition of the maps was a nice touch.I'm not sure if there was supposed to be sound (there wasn't for me, so I didn't rate anything for that) but the addition of some creepy ambient music/sound in the background would have sold the mood even more so. Great job!

LordHellMaX says ...
Aug 29, 2013 @ 12:31am

Cool effect with the flashlight, although it's a bit rough, it's good looking. Nice drawings. Ambient audio would help bring your game to a whole new level, but I know this is a 48 hour challenge. Anyway, great job!

drkrunk says ...
Aug 31, 2013 @ 4:17am

This was enjoyable. I liked the art and the flashlight effect, would have been more tense with some music. Good job!

blackotus says ...
Aug 31, 2013 @ 9:18pm

The cutscenes are nice, and I really like the how the lantern works!

Cool ceoncept, too :)

VDZ says ...
Sep 1, 2013 @ 12:51am

This game has a lot of potential, but unfortunately it really gets bogged down by its flaws.

The most problematic aspect is that, at some point, the game just starts to feel tedious. I know being able to die is a necessary element for the excitement, but having to recollect every item again simply doesn't feel fun. That's partially because the item collecting itself is too slow and aimless - eventually you're just walking through the school three or four times to find out what room you forgot to check this time, to get that last item you need. Then when you finally learn the ritual and place the correct items, and wait for Emily (who is now rather fast) to arrive, you suddenly get a wonderful surprise: nobody told you, but you actually have to keep up the ritual for 4 seconds. Hope you placed your items right. Needless to say, after I got inevitably killed during the ritual, I just no longer felt like doing all of it AGAIN. This problem might be lessened by NOT randomly changing the item locations whenever you play.

While some parts of the school have a unique, recognizable look, a lot of parts look too similar. This makes it take longer to get familiar with the school layout (essential to complete the game) and even once you're familiar, you'll still find yourself occasionally wondering where you are because everything looks the same.

The game makes a very good attempt at a creepy atmosphere, but it's missing one vital element: MUSIC (or ambient sound). Music can make the difference between a boring walk through some school and a scary exploration of a creepy dark building. At some point, I decided to play some music from another game (Corpse Party) in the background, and sure enough, the game felt a lot more exciting.

I want to say I love this game, but I can't really say that when I don't even feel like starting the game one more time to complete it. A few changes and I could love this game.

Tifu says ...
Sep 1, 2013 @ 2:05pm

Totally agree re music, but given we have to work alone for the 48 hour compo, any music *I* could have created, would have created a worse atmosphere, not a better one :P

Likewise, the recognisability of locations comes down to time - I did intend to have different carpeting, objects etc in different areas but time restraints. Which is on me I suppose, I could have made a smaller school.

The point about the ritual: You shouldn't have to keep the ritual up for four seconds, it should be instant the moment she walks over the centre of the arranged items. If that isn't happening there's a bug somewhere (or the arrangement is wrong, but then it shouldn't do anything after four seconds either...) :(

VDZ says ...
Sep 1, 2013 @ 6:44pm

Oh, I saw a '4' pop up when she walked over the center, disappear again when she left the center tile, pop up again when she walked over the center, etc, so I assumed it was a countdown for the ritual. I read the book plus the two torn out pages; I had (in link for spoilers) What did I do wrong? The fact that the game responded in some way convinced me I performed it right but I just had to keep it up longer.

VDZ says ...
Sep 1, 2013 @ 7:01pm

Tried a different setup:
Now it says '2'. I followed all of the instructions, so what am I doing wrong?

Tifu says ...
Sep 1, 2013 @ 11:11pm

Oh, that 4/2 was debug code saying how many elements are in the correct place, whoops, I should have taken that out. In the first post, the things are all in the right place, you should be holding the spell book though? Maybe it wasn't clear you still had to use the book even after getting the clue from it... If you are and have the arrangement from and nothing is happening, then there is a bug. As that arrangement + book in hand + emily walks on the S = trigger cutscene. Or should do. Then just exit via the front doors to the south.

VDZ says ...
Sep 2, 2013 @ 1:47am

Ah, I had no idea you needed the book for the ritual. It doesn't feel logical when you already memorized all information in it.

VDZ says ...
Sep 2, 2013 @ 2:16am

Executed the ritual. The game really doesn't have enough replayability to justify what follows :/
Is it even possible to make it within the time limit?

Sascha says ...
Sep 2, 2013 @ 1:37pm

Great game! Loved the flashlight effect. I actually started looking backwards and getting creeped out being followed in the dark hallways. The only negative thing was that the map felt slightly too large for the number of items in it, but that might just be me being impatient.

Tifu says ...
Sep 2, 2013 @ 2:41pm

Unless you're playing the unfixed version and getting slowdown, it is possible. The glass breaks to the south (mentioned in the cutscene) so its just a straight run to the door.

Sep 4, 2013 @ 5:04pm

Interesting approach to a flashlight effect.

Jiggawatt says ...
Sep 16, 2013 @ 9:32pm

This makes me feel quite paranoid.


Cryovat says ...
Sep 16, 2013 @ 9:38pm

I didn't expect any LD game to get me so tensed up. Every time she cornered me, I was shouting at the monitor. D:

The light mechanic is a bit on the hard side; it made the game feel a bit flickery. If it had two or three levels of brightness, it would feel a bit more stable. The rooms also felt a bit samey, which hurt navigation a little.

Apart from that, I'm impressed by what you were able to pull off in such a short time span. It doesn't feel like a LD game (in the good sense); the school felt substantially big, and having randomized item locations makes it more re-playable. Also, the death animation is delightfully creepy.

I kind of disagree with VDZ about music though. Some feint sound cues might add to the game, but I felt like the silence helped build atmosphere. You're standing there all alone in the darkness and OH MY GOD THERE SHE IS.

I'm hoping that you will give this some extra love in a post-LD version. I really liked it. :)

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