Ludum Dare 29 — April 25th-28th Weekend — Theme: Beneath the Surface

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Ground control to major Tomashevsky

by kdrnic - 48 Hour Compo Entry

This is a game about a soviet cosmonaut that loses contact with the Motherland. The story was greatly inspired by Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A space odyssey" and the related song by David Bowie "Space Oddity". My objective was to create something with a very immersive atmosphere, clearly going for the "Mood" score.

Edit 28/04: "Fixed" the game by adding "Press D to skip dialog" and repeating the instructions below the game's canvas, so that people don't think they are stuck when they can't pass through the dialog.

Edit 28/04 #2: I just discovered it isn't playable in Firefox! Please use Chrome while I try to solve this bug.

Edit 28/04 #3: I solved the Firefox bug. You can now play it on Firefox.

Edit 29/04: My free host at is blocked by AT&T. The great prophet Jiggawatt had warned us of the evils of businessman foolgarbage. Therefore I uploaded the game in another free host, and changed the entry's link. I hope this host will be more successful than the last.

Edit 29/04 #2: Reverted to previous hosting due to's businessman foolgarbage thinking all freely hosted sites are evil.

Edit 29/04 #3: Now hosting the game with Google Drive. Hosting is hell.

Edit 02/05: Check out the post-partum (not post-mortem for my game will live on) at

Downloads and Links




Peter says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 1:41am


jsmars says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 10:59am

Good job on this.. I thought the intro was a bit long for a very short gameplay, then it got stuck after I landed once. I like lander games like this, would have been great if there were multiple levels with different challanges.

snooze82 says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 7:03pm

wow - *spoiler* C.C.C.P. had superman power :D

drnick says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 9:42pm

jsmars, you should have used "D" to skip dialog after the landing, as the instructions say. One takes the time to write instructions, and people don't take the time to read them; then they go hating on my game.

Apr 28, 2014 @ 10:12pm

Pretty good overall. The audio was great, especially during the intro. I liked the narration as I continued to explore deeper. I ended up not using the light, since it seemed to obscure more than illuminate. The multiple gameplay phases, between landing the ship, planting the flag, and utilizing various tools was enough to sell me on the idea that I really was a spaceman landing on Neptune.

WetDesertRock says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 10:47pm

I enjoyed playing through the game. Along with what I told you on IRC, there were a couple more things to mention. Hate to be that person, but Neptune's gravity is greater than that of earth, so you might want to explain the cosmonauts super jump skills.
Also, the wall to the left of the lander is a bit awkward. But oh well, its 48 hours, what are you going to do?

I think this game had good level design, and as I said, I enjoyed the gummy worm enemies.

TomCooper3D says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 11:44pm

i thought the intro was the best part great atmosphere. also its too easy to die but good job overall

otato says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 11:45pm

Nice job. Took me a few tries to not just crash straight into the surface...

atlantian says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 11:48pm

I enjoyed the game, I had to delete a few saves and start from the beginning a few times as sometimes checkpoints would be created halfway down a deathfall.

Jason Lay says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 11:55pm

The audio during the intro was good, I'm glad I didn't skip it! I had to play it a few times before I finally got it right (kept dying), but it was fun.

eerongal says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 2:00am

interesting little game.

Neonlare says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 2:01am

Interesting graphic style, got stuck in a checkpoint resulting in a looping death. :< Tried to get through it again beyond this point and managed to, the use of tools was simple and aside from the light (which made it harder to see for me) the whole thing actually felt pretty damn good.

cavf88 says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 2:02am

Pretty good game. The only annoying thin was that I fell to fast and died and then the check point will restart me while falling.

xensky says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 2:14am

interesting subject and plot! effects worked well to tell the story and set the mood. the combination of 2001 reference and soviet theme was fun.

controls felt clunky, it wasn't obvious that falling too far or touching the worms would kill me. also sometimes i couldn't see where i had to jump.

mjau says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 3:16am

The game started pretty suddenly after the intro, i thought. I was just watching Neptune come closer waiting for the intro to end, and then before i knew it i'd crashed into the ground and died. I didn't press D there because i thought it'd skip all the rest of the text of the intro, not just that one box. Also, when the lander appeared on screen, it wasn't really clear that the intro had ended and the game wanted me to control it.

There's not a lot of contrast to the text most of the time. It's all readable, but too similar colors makes it harder to read than necessary.

Mouse only menus and keyboard only ingame controls makes the menus and game feel like they're from different games. Failing is more disruptive and punishing than it could be too, when you have to keep switching back and forth between inputs. (It's usually best to use the same control method for both menus and ingame, though you have to be careful to avoid accidental menu activation if it pops up when the player presses jump or something when you do that.)

At one place I was jumping while going down a slope (where it says "to further investigate..") and died from the fall. Restoring from the last checkpoint restored me to a point in the air, still falling to my death. Had to restart the game and not do that again to continue..

The light doesn't really illuminate things, and if you have both the light and can use the jackhammer, the action button toggles both at once. Would be better with a dedicated key for each, i think.

Controls overall felt a bit floaty.

The ending was also a bit sudden. I mean, there's the cube and all the knowledge pouring in (nice scene btw), but i kinda expected to get to play as supercosmonaut for a bit, or maybe explore somewhere completely different for a bit. Instead there's just a screen telling you what happened, and that's it. Show, don't tell! (I guess you ran out of time?)

Sorry if this sounds overly negative! Don't take it too hard though, i think you just need a little practice. Keep making games =)

I liked the speech effects.

PapyGaragos says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 12:41pm

Hey I have been trying to get that kind of indistinct speech for one of my project. Could you explain how you got that result?

drnick says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 7:32pm

PapyGaragos, the speech is Russian, synthesized with eSpeak. Then I opened it on Audacity and did equalization to remove frequencies below 150Hz and above 3KHz, applied a 140dB leveling and added white noise equalized in the same way (to look like it come from the same source).

jeffz says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 10:40pm

The site appears unreachable here. I'll try to check back inc case you upload to dropbox or something.

jeffz says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:03pm

Nice, I made it to the end. Well done!

ashdnazg says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:10pm

First of all it's a decent platformer with a nice feel and Russian vibe which is always good.
Every part of graphics was great on it's own but some didn't fit too well together. In my opinion it's better to have lower quality of graphics on specific parts of the game, if it means the overall graphics is more uniform.

The worm puzzle took me a few tries until I figured it out and was very good!

Music could add quite a lot, if you could compose something that would even sound semi-Russian, the game would have benefited enormously.

Well done!

gigitrix says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 12:47am

Liked the varied gameplay, and the level design was cool. Your use of forgiving checkpoints might be a minor detail to some but it's excellent here and keeps you engaged!

rnlf says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 11:38pm

Hmmm. I would have hoped for a bit more of a story. It begins with a strong introduction, then it builds tension as one goes deeper into the atmosphere. then you encounter the cube and then... nothing, more or less, except for something that feels like a soviet propaganda movie.

Also, i found it a bit hard with the instantaneous death upon the smallest mistake. The landing part might need some kind of indication for the speed and distance to the surface (just zooming out a bit more might actually help).

It was a bit annoying to play the whole game with the keyboard but having to switch to the mouse after every death. A reset-key on the keyboard might help, especially when you die so often.

Besides that, cool game, and an interesting start of a story (a bit Arthur C. Clarke style, reminded me a lot of 2001). Especially the radio voice over was cool.

XenosNS says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 12:13am

Looks good. Liked the audio during the opening. Eventually couldn't go any further as I was at a checkpoint that I instantly died everytime I respawned.

cardboard says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 7:23pm

The audio was nice, but I think there could have been at least some sort of ambient noise during the gameplay. The gameplay felt solid enough, and the checkpoints were placed well. The initial landing of the spacecraft caught me off guard as I was expecting it to be part of the cinematic, so it was rather comical when it crashed and I died. The toggling of the light might have been unecessary since there was really no reason to turn it off after plunging into the darkness. I like the overall feel of the game; it feels like I'm playing a retro/sci-fi movie, which I'm a fan of.

BenW says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 3:42am

I got caught on few checkpoints where I would just repeatedly die as soon as I spawned. Also I thought it was a bit weird having all of the actions mapped to the same key.

WhiteWolf93 says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 5:42am

Extraordinary introduction. Find it really interesting. Was a bit hard for me but good work!

Sparrow says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 1:02pm

Very interesting game, I like the setting of this and the execution is well done. The story is good and the audio fits it. Would've loved some ambient music on this. I had some of the same problems as the rest here like checkpoints where you kept dying, thinking that pressing D would skip all dialog. Switching between mouse and keyboard.

ActionRemix says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 11:47pm


USSR develops incredible propulsion technology to get to Neptune, but uses leftover sandwich bags for the space suits.

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