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

Event Links: [ MiniLD 50 | Warmup Weekend | Real World Gatherings | Ludum Deals | Wallpaper ]

Back to Browse Entries

A Day in the Life

by iambored2006 - Jam Entry

IMPORTANT: please, play the post-compo version. I added something that really makes the game complete for me, and it's important to me that you experience this idea to its fullest. If you'd rather rate the original version, by all means, do, but please check out the new one as well.
Someone said this is like a game-breaking bug. I'm not going to replace the original version with the updated one, but I'm also not going to override the post compo version with new versions. The addition is the 'Be happy' task. I'll leave it to you to judge whether or not to enter it into your calculations.

In this game, you need to allocate "life-frames" in such a way as to maximize activities... or, whatever, I'm not going to tell you what you should do. It's meant more as a thought experiment than a game, I guess. Anyway, you're probably asking yourself "what does this have to do with the theme?" I guess you could say that this is how life works beneath the surface...?

CONTROLS: one mouse and clickers, to do the clicking.
INSTRUCTIONS: each activity requires a certain amount of consecutive frames, depending on the activity and the frame where it is initiated. To remove an activity, set any of its frames to 'Do nothing'; setting another activity over it will also remove it. Some activities may be set several times. Some activities may only be set after other activities (e.g. 'Work' and 'Learn programming').

Downloads and Links




blockbot says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 2:33pm

I like what you are trying to do here.

Snoother says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 5:57pm

Very creative. Love the monotony of it in representing the workings of life.

InfectionTeam says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 7:15pm

Lol, it's funny how you can't be happy if you get a job and start a family

Apr 29, 2014 @ 7:34pm

I like the concept! Would be even better with some music :)

runvs says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 8:23pm

Nice Game. Some Background music would have been nice as well as some basic instructions.

iambored2006 says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 8:32pm

Thanks, guys!
@runvs point taken, added instructions in the description. Thanks for the feedback.

Thorig says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 9:50am

This is a nice game.

Maniulo says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 10:13am

I think this is the most interesting experimental game in this jam. Thanks!

Marcellus says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 4:09pm

mediafire is a huge pile of shit full of adds and my peerblock is going crazy. You should consider using a different cloud next time.
This aside I really liked your game and the message beneath. Well done.

iambored2006 says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 5:39pm

@Marcellus I'll put a mirror next time (not adding one now, though, for personal reasons). Thanks for the advice and for the feedback!

GamerTaters says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 12:33pm

Life is about choices. Guess you can't have everything. Interesting concept.

Managore says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 1:17pm

Really great concept for a game, and very original! It had a surprising amount of depth to it.

AugustSnow says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 7:42pm

Very interesting experimental game... good job!

Fritzendugan says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 8:53pm

(I played both. I rated according to the jam version, but this feedback applies to the post-jam, which was the first version I played)

A little description at the top of the screen like "try to organize your life so that you can 'get a job,' 'be happy,' and 'start a family'" Then put little tips that pop up as the player exhausts various possiblities like "It can be hard to manage family life with work, leaving you feeling stressed out" and "A life pursuing your dreams left you feeling pretty fulfilled, but a part of you longed to create the family you never had." Stuff like that. Kind of shoves the message into the player's face a little more (ruining some of the subtlety), but it makes a little clearer to the player what's going on. I was confused for a little what I was supposed to be doing exactly before I figured out what you were going for.

As others have said, music would've been nice. Even something very ambient and subtle.

Overall, it's nice to play something a little different from the other entries. Not that this kind of game hasn't been explored before (it's practically impossible to be 100% original, so who cares), but it's a refreshing slice of contrast from the heaps of shooters and "upgrade" games (those are fun, too, though!). So, kudos to you for trying to think outside the box. Made me reflect on my own life a little.

cageinabird says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 6:51am

It felt like a puzzle, and at first I thought 'oh, maybe I can solve it...', but I couldn't; that was the 'aha!' moment when it clicked in my head. That's not an easy thing to accomplish as a game designer, so well done!

iambored2006 says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 10:01am

@Fritzendugan first of all, thanks for the feedback! This goes to everyone here; I really wasn't expecting this kind of reaction.

Now, I get what you're saying here. I'll try to experiment with this a little, maybe upload an enhanced version with some music later on. The thing is- my design philosophy is that things like text, music, and graphics are all there to amplify the message delivered by the gameplay, not the other way around. I feel like putting in too much text will make this a case of the latter. A good compromise would be to have tooltips for the tasks, as in- you hover over 'Be happy' and it says "You need to: Learn piano, Make a game".
I'll write a blog post on all of this after the judging is over, I think. I'll address what you said. Thanks again for playing!

berareu says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 10:25am

Heh, took me a while to get it...Very nice concept, I really liked that you let the player figure out the meaning of the game without saying it out loud. Good job!

Team-KwaKwa says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 10:29am

The concept behind this game is really interesting. I don't feel like the lack of instructions is a problem; it's like in real life!

May 3, 2014 @ 8:39pm

Interesting concept. The clicking seemed a little buggy at times but it was still playable. If you're thinking of making any improvements to the game, I would suggest adding some sort of "lock-in" button where the player can finalize their selection and be offered some flavour text on how their character lived their life.

iambored2006 says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 8:43pm

@TeamPurpleDolphins I originally wanted to have the gravestone give this kind of message, but I scrapped this idea because it didn't fit well with how I wanted people to understand the consequences of their decisions, if that makes any sense. I'll definitely experiment with this, though!

Konrad Zegis says ...
May 4, 2014 @ 10:23am

Pretty depressing... but lol... you can start a family or be happy :D

Katamori says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 12:28am

Didn't really get the point, but looks promising.

BTW I've already rated it previously, I just forgot to leave a comment, sorry for that.

Jeffalisk says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 4:58pm

Interesting concept. I take it you can't have all 3 in the same lifetime, no matter how you fix it up?

May 9, 2014 @ 8:33pm

I was not sure how to win the day, but its a pretty cool idea. I included it in part 17 of my Ludum Dare compilation video series, if you want to check it out :)

Loneshark says ...
May 9, 2014 @ 10:47pm

Remove the last '/' in your post-comp link!

Loneshark says ...
May 9, 2014 @ 11:02pm

This is more a reality-check than a game...

If only I had mastered learning to play piano and dated earlier in life!

SK16Games says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 2:36pm

Interesting concept, I just didn't really got my attention :/(played both versions). Nice graphics and GUI :D

flrn says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 9:17pm

oh man, I tried all the combinations, and obviously I haven't been able to find the way to "win" at life… I love the whole thing, really. The inability to win is used in an awesome way here. Congratulations on making me really nervous abou the future!

HybridMind says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 10:21pm

Not sure if it is possible to activate all three goals or not. I could only ever get two at once. Was fun messing around with different permutations seeing what commentary and assumptions you designed into the system.

GFM says ...
May 11, 2014 @ 4:00pm

First of all, thanks for the comment on my entry. :) I'm still thinking about how to make a post-compo version... Perhaps trying to write random scenes would give nice results... but that would be too tough to do... I also want to actually write a story, maybe with branching paths... Don't know (yet).

Well, on to the comments about your game. :)
I really like the idea here. It's a really interesting approach to the theme.
I see that you kind of separated "ages" and somethings can be only done in certain ages (like, you can't date when you're too old and you can't learn to code if you're yoo young). But I don't see it as a game, as of now... it's more of a interactive thing...
Maybe you could add more time slices and separate the game into the ages. Like childhood, teens, adulthood, etc. Maybe you would be able to make it into more of a game... Adding short term goals (to a specific age) and long term goals (depending on what was previously done, but only on later ages), and also adding a conclusion after death, saying how you chose to live... This would remove the experiment part of it, but if it was short, it would be possible to play many times and see how things can go differently...

Ok, now after playing the post compo version... Still better. Really better. Now I have options and must choose what to do, and it interferes in my life...
But I still miss a conclusion (and more goals)... Maybe something like TeamPurpleDolphins said...

sP0CkEr2 says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 4:44am

nice game - i think having a family should automatically make you happy! - nice job

Wertle says ...
May 15, 2014 @ 8:02pm

Contemplative! I like where you're going with this, but it might be nice to tell people that it's impossible to have everything so they don't agonize for ages in depression about trying to figure it out. Such sad! Nice work!

Jeremias says ...
May 18, 2014 @ 8:29pm

Interesting idea. I played both versions, and yes, you could make an interesting puzzle game out of it, where the player is confronted with life goals and has to arrange "his life" so it meets the goals as good as possible.

local minimum says ...
May 19, 2014 @ 9:15pm

I think I would have been much more intrigued by the game if it was deceitful. If in fact, it didn't build on the stereotypes of life -- that the instructions "get a job" and "start a family" were only there to fool you. If interesting stuff started to happen when you experimented with the sequence of available "tasks". If life expanded in some cases. Shrunk in other. If strange stuff outside the scope of what seemed to be the game started to happen. If the stereotypical path actually never could even reach to death. And so on.

I think it still worked as it was now too. I got the two messages to light up as green. And the basic layout of the puzzle, the game was interesting.

You must sign in to comment.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want to place in the final results, you NEED votes. The easiest way to get votes is by rating other games. Judging lasts for 3 weeks following the end of Ludum Dare. For best effect, rate 20 games as soon as possible. Rating more games is encouraged.


TEAMS: Teams entering the Jam should pick a single representative to submit your game, or create a team specific account you can share. We currently do not support Team Voting, but sharing an account and together playing and rating games is acceptable.

NOT LOGGED IN?: If you get a message about not being logged in, even though you are, it’s because your web browser cached the non-logged in page. You can fix this by either refreshing your cache or clearing your cache. CTRL+F5 in many browsers. Chrome is a bit more work. Press F12 to enable Developer Mode, then you can right click on the refresh button and select “Empty Cache and Hard Reload”. This option is unavailable if you are not in Developer Mode.

PORTS: Ports to other platforms can be done after the deadline. That said, the sooner you finish your port, the sooner people can play your game, improving your chances of placing in the final results. For best results, provide a Web version of your game, or a Windows version with no dependencies. Also be sure to rate about 20 games to improve your visibility.

MY GAME DOESN’T SHOW UP: If you can’t find your game, it’s usually because the URL to your downloads are missing ‘http://‘. Fix your URLs ( and you will show up.

MY GAME CRASHES, IS UNBEATABLE, OR I MADE A TYPO: We allow you to fix crash or win condition bugs after the deadline (in a sense, like “porting” to support more players). We also allow “typo” bugs. I.e. A true that should have been a false, a word that should have been a different word, very tiny changes that you would have caught if you had more sleep. We leave this open to interpretation, but generally speaking your game should be identical to the game you submitted. No new features, just things you messed up last minute. Typos.

[cache: storing page]