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

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[Work in Progress]

by Core43 - Jam Entry

Please note that this game requires XNA Game Studio 4.0 Refresh ( and .NET4.0 (
No, the title isn't a work in progress.
Remember, there are no bugs; only features. ;D

Every puzzle is self contained, so you don't have to worry about bringing objects from previous rooms.

There currently is some some slight mouse lag at the moment, but we'll be fixing that ASAP.
Please note that there may be a temporary lag spike at the beginning.

You're welcome to download the source from the GitHub link provided, but if you use any of it, it would be nice to credit the programmer (Alex Van Liew) or the artist (Jonathan Fischer) for it. Thanks!

Downloads and Links




snoozbuster says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 1:34am

Programmer here. I've done all I can for the mouse problem; it's a little better but not too much. I would really recommend a controller if you have one, but then again I prefer to use a controller in general.

PIXEL^3 says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 3:55am

Interesting game.Liked the general atmosphere of the game though it is a little disorienting. The puzzles felt intuitive and weren't too hard to figure out, the problem was the actual solving. Physics games always seem to have the problem of things not working how you want them. I managed to get past the pool but when faced with that wall I kind of gave up. Couldn't get things to stack right. It might have helped a little if you had a wider PoV. Though I'm used to Quake Pro in Minecraft so it might just be me.


snoozbuster says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 4:03am

AlucardX60: The wall is the hardest part by far; it takes a good bit of patience but it's so satisfying to finally get to the top. It probably should have been a little shorter, but oh well.

alvarop says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 4:52am

Took me a while to figure out but I really liked the texture mechanic, never seen it before!

snoozbuster says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 4:54am

alvarop: Thanks! I thought of it a while back and am so glad I finally got to use it, and that it turned out well. It was surprisingly easy to implement!

manabreak says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:32am

Pretty cool concept! However, I couldn't figure out how to press the red button in the second room...

Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:36am

Good game. Any game that looks like a Windows 95 maze screensaver is objectively graphically appealing. It taps into that little synapse still buzzing with endless left and right turns. Could have benefited from more consistent range of textures, though, but good work.

tomhunt says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:40am

Doesn't start for me. Running Windows 8.1 x64.

Core43 says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:41am

manabreak: You have to put an object on top of the buttons to hold it down; the orange for example.
Lolshouse Dev Team: Haha, thanks; I wish I'd had more time to work on texture graphics, but lo, what you see is what you get.

mtinkerhess says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:43am

The opening animation is awesome. Great music too.

I didn't understand what I was supposed to do at first but then I went back and read the instructions. That's a pretty original mechanic, and nicely implemented!

Could have used lighting to make the depth of the space stand out a little more.

KirbiKaka says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:45am

Wow! This is an awesome idea :D! Dragging things around was a little wonky, but the fact that it's 3D is pretty awesome! :]

Lissar says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:55am

This concept is really neat! Such a unique take on the theme.

snoozbuster says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 7:07am

manabreak: There's an underwater button and an above-ground button, but beach balls don't sink... Anvils do, though! Too bad you can't pick them up. :( ...(is that enough of a hint?)
Lolshouse Dev Team: That's the most unique compliment I've heard! Thank you!
tomhunt: You probably don't have the XNA Framework 4.0 installed. Try downloading the installer and then running it.
mtinkerhess: The opening cutscene is courtesy of my roommate, he did a great job! I would have loved to add better lighting but I've never been able to get a multiple-source light system going and I just didn't have time. The mechanic is one I thought up a while ago and never got around to implementing; I can't believe no one else has thought of it but I'm glad people like it!
KirbiKaka: Yeah, dragging things around in most any 3D game is gonna be a little weird. It used to be worse; if you picked up an object while standing on it you could get launched hilariously into the air. Thank you!
Lissar: Thank you! Not only are wireframes "beneath the surface" of 3D models, but the entire game is supposed to be a humorous look at game development in general, and the absurdities many games go through before their final completion. So it's also a "beneath the surface" look at the development process itself! The idea is that the game you're playing is itself unfinished, and I think we managed to convey that idea pretty well.

yo_milo says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 7:26am

Very good game... The only problem was the mouse... I was going to download the source, but it is pretty late, and I am sleepy...

I enjoyed it overall, regardless of the lag, but I bet I would have enjoyed the wall way more with accurate input...

Nevertheless, five stars for innovation...

snoozbuster says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 7:34am

yo_milo: I honestly wish I could have fixed the mouse input. It's much smoother on faster computers; I have no idea what causes the stuttering on slower ones. I would be less confused if gamepad input was plagued by the same problem, but it isn't; looking around with the gamepad is incredibly smooth.
Either way, thank you for playing! Just to warn you, the source is a Visual Studio 2012 solution file, and VS2012 doesn't natively support XNA Game Studio, so the source is probably going to be tricky to open/compile, although of course reading it is not a problem.

PaperBlurt says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 9:07am

Ohh wow this style is truly unique!
Awesome !

snoozbuster says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 9:45am

PaperBlurt: Thank you! I appreciate the compliment.

Neonlare says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 12:59am

I got stuck on a cliff-side section but the concept is fascinating. Has a very mysterious vibe about it, and whilst some of the grabbing mechanics were really weird and felt kind of hokey, the whole thing has a very good feel overall. Very damn good entry.

ComicSans says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 1:04am

Really innovative and fun. Just wish I could restart a single room, since I seemed to have botched myself in room 4.

snoozbuster says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 1:25am

Neonlare: Thanks! Grabbing is really tricky to do in any 3D game; although the implementation in this one isn't great I don't know how to do it any better. The cliff is hard!
ComicSans: I don't know how you would manage to do that! A reset function would have been nice, but I didn't have time to code one in.

alvarop says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 7:53am

I played it again (the right version) and loved the mechanic. You got my comments during the stream, so you already know pretty much what I think about it, heh.

snoozbuster says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 8:00am

alvarop: Yep! Thanks again!

xdegtyarev says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 6:25pm


jsspiegel says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 6:33pm

Really unique and interesting game! The atmosphere is very Portal-esque to me. Great opening sequence too!

snoozbuster says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 11:09pm

xdegtyarev: Thanks!
jsspiegel: I was sorta going for something between Portal and Antichamber. Thanks!

May 3, 2014 @ 9:40pm

Fascinating idea with the texture switching to change the properties of objects. I like the intro sequence, and the music is good too. The game itself could use some lighting, the max-brightness look isn't the best. Really cool though!

shasharala says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 9:55pm

That was an amazing concept! Seeing the theme implemented in interesting ways is what makes Ludum Dare fun for me!

vladimirdlc says ...
May 4, 2014 @ 12:04am

Neat idea, I liked the originality on this one.
The opening animation was really fun and well made.
The gameplay, I needed some time time to grasp it, but after that I found it cool.
The mouse movement felt a little weird (but in these kind of games you will always hear complains unless you offer a lot of mouse movement customization options).
The difficulty of the puzzles sometimes feel unbalaned, and the music and sfx's were fitting.
Interesting entry, keep it up.

snoozbuster says ...
May 4, 2014 @ 1:46am

ArcturusDeluxe: I agree, but I've never been good with lighting. So, I had to just go with what I could do easiest.
shasharala: Thanks!
vladimirdlc: Yeah, the puzzles weren't super great; as cool a mechanic as it is, it's difficult to come up with consistent puzzles. And the mouse was a little wonky, yeah.

hbocao says ...
May 4, 2014 @ 3:55am

I liked the antichamber vibe and its uniqueness. I loved the animations at the beginning. Very interesting indeed. Great job, guys!

v3games says ...
May 4, 2014 @ 4:24am

Doesn't run for me, also Windows 8.1 x64. I'll try it from work tomorrow on Win7 x64

snoozbuster says ...
May 4, 2014 @ 4:51am

hbocao: Thanks!
v3games: I'll almost guarantee that's cause you don't have XNA installed, there's a link in the description for it.

randoman says ...
May 4, 2014 @ 2:40pm

The concept is great. I could not play with a controller because I don't have one here at the moment, so I suffered a bit with the mouse

snoozbuster says ...
May 4, 2014 @ 11:52pm

randoman: I wish I could at least make it a little more smooth, but since all of the walls, ceilings, floors, etc are one big physics object, I think I'm taxing the physics engine quite a bit and slowing it way down. If I could I'd go back and split everything up, but oh well. I think it would have helped with the mouse problem.

mrjohnson22 says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 2:04am

This game certainly has a creative concept. The idea of a texture gun for giving objects different properties based on their appearance is one I don't think anyone has ever seen, let alone thought of. And it's a relief to see that you explored this concept thoroughly enough to craft some fairly engaging and unconventional puzzles (especially the one with buttons and doors, you clever devil). The intro video & background music also set a very engaging mood, and played a big role in making me want to play through the game.

Unfortunately, this game has a few problems that bring down the experience. For instance, like any physics-based game, it's hard to maneuver items while carrying them, which is a big problem in this game given the importance of dropping items in certain spots or stacking them on top of each other. Having items cast a shadow directly above where they will fall would have been a useful feature to make perception a bit easier.

Also, the limited size of the texture inventory gets in the way, as I often found myself having to revisit a previous room to deposit my textures somewhere just so i could swap textures with items in the next room. If you made each room's puzzles completely independent on items & textures of the previous room, this could have been addressed by clearing the inventory every time you enter a new room.

And then there's The Wall. For those who haven't played this game yet, there's a room about 10 minutes into the game that has a giant wall that has to be scaled by placing items & climbing on them to progress. This is WAY too hard of a challenge to put so early into the game! It takes an incredible amount of patience to get past this section, and it happens pretty early on so as to be a barrier to the rest of the game for those who give up on it. And when I finally cleared it, I somehow lost one of the items in the next room, rendering all my hard work useless. :(

Despite my complaints, I do think this is a very good game. I only went hard on it in this review because I feel it deserves to be analyzed in detail. :) Great job!

snoozbuster says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 3:35am

mrjohnson22: Those are certainly things I would add if I took this game further; I have noticed all of them and just didn't have time to fix all of them within the time limit. Puzzles are self-contained, but in an attempt to encourage creative solving, I didn't specifically prohibit taking things between rooms. Unfortunately, the engine isn't as robust as I thought and this creates more problems than solutions. I considered adding devices to "emancipate" textures/items taken between rooms the other day, as such a device already exists in the game after the final puzzle, but decided it wouldn't really be a bugfix and so I didn't. Thanks for the compliments!

javierecf says ...
May 6, 2014 @ 3:32am

Really intersting game, love the puzzles, but at the Wall the FPS drops a lot for me, between that and trying to carry around objects that behave with physics it becomes annoying and hard really fast. Maybe a different state of the object while been carrying around would make it less frustating, and you can focus on solving the puzzle. Overall very interesting and glad to see such unconventional puzzle game.

snoozbuster says ...
May 6, 2014 @ 7:07am

javierecf: Thanks for the compliments and ideas!

sirikan says ...
May 9, 2014 @ 5:37am

Love the way you interpreted the Theme.

snoozbuster says ...
May 9, 2014 @ 5:43am

sirikan: Thanks!

Wertle says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 3:57am

I like the idea of the texture swapping for properties, it was pretty cool and I can see how you could develop that further beyond just heavy and light. I almost got to the end but at one point when I swapped a texture on a refrigerator it vanished on me, and then I lost an anvil by bouncing it up beyond reach, alas! There's some great feedback in this game (for example, coloring the wireframe the previous texture) but you can still clarify a few things, like make it a little easier to tell which texture I currently have selected. I want more textures like the tree that show the UV unwrapping in the icon :) Nice work!

snoozbuster says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 6:11am

Wertle: Thanks! You're the first person to mention coloring the wireframe with the previous texture; it was intentional! Other people have mentioned things disappearing. It didn't used to happen... I'm not sure what's going on there. There's a few other uses for the mechanic beyond The Wall; including a few where the textures of doors/buttons are removable. Most of the textures were pretty simple things, so none of them were quite as interesting as the tree, although there is a secret texture with some interesting, obfuscated text on it! I wonder where it goes... ;p Thanks for the feedback!

Managore says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 1:21am

It's pretty rare to come across a game with such a unique concept. Add on to that a beautiful intro, killer music and thought provoking puzzles and you get a great game!

snoozbuster says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 9:05am

managore: Thanks! :D

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