Ludum Dare 36
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Ludum Dare 29 — April 25th-28th Weekend — Theme: Beneath the Surface

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by Lyje - Jam Entry


*** NOTE - This is the original, prototype version of Sublevel Zero. For the new, commercial version we're now developing with Mastertronic, please go to! ***


SUBLEVEL ZERO is what you get when you cross Descent with procedural level generation, permadeath roguelike mechanics, pixel art low poly graphics and a thumping 8-bit soundtrack!

Multiple weapons, multiple enemies, infinite levels, one life. Destroy the RED reactor to beat each level and descend to the next!

NOW WITH OCULUS RIFT SUPPORT in v2! V2 also features lots of tweaks, bugfixes and rebalancing. Please don't rate based on v2 though - it's just for fun!


- Web v1.1 has a bugfix which will fix mouse controls for most people. Everything else identical to the original! -

Controls: Mouse/keyboard or XBox controller.
WASD/left stick - fwd/back/strafe
mouse/right stick - pitch and yaw
QE / LB/RB - roll
Ctrl/Space / Dpad up/Dpad down - Up/down
LMB/RTrig - fire primary
RMB/LTrig - fire missile
Tab/Button Y - toggle map
Shift/Press left stick - boost
Scroll / DPad R/L - switch weapons

[Coding] Phi Dinh @Phi6 and Luke Thompson @Six_Ways
[Sound and Music] Jey Kazi @JeyKaziAudio and Will Bedford @WBedford
[Art] Gary Lloyd @GaryLloyd89

Gameplay video:
Phi's post mortem:
Luke's post mortem:
Free download of the music:

Downloads and Links




olkeencole says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 4:38am

Great looking game! This game has so much potential. The mouse controls are a bit wonky, but nothing a bit of tweaking could solve. You should totally make a Mac build. I really enjoyed the audio and the graphics.

Lyje says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 4:49am

Hi there - trying press Y to invert your mouse controls if you're having trouble with it! Thanks so much for playing!

BigGiantHead says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 9:06am

Awesome looking game. I'd play this if you finish it. Descent FTW :).

Calahagus says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:28am

Fantastic game! The mouse, like others said, is a bit wonky but that's nothing but a minor detail on an otherwise amazing game!

Lyje says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:49am

I've just uploaded a new build to fix some mouse issues - the Web player should now capture the mouse so the game is actually playable now :) Enjoy!

SoupWithBits says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 1:44pm

Sound is awesome keeps you playing the game despite it being very difficult to control. Art style is also quite a goodie.

StudioWolfox says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 2:43pm

I think the game looks amazing! Great mood and atmosphere and the music helps a lot to create a sense of exploration. It does remind me an awful lot of descent, both in good and in bad ways. I think some of the combat moments in descent weren't that good or enjoyable and you managed to capture that quite well as the only thing I don't like that much here is the combat. The sense of being in control and the feedback from where I have been hit needs some work. Sometimes you get insta-killed and you have no idea where you've been hit from.
The map is also a nice addition and if I have to pinpoint the most enjoyable moment than it would be flying through that slightly curvy room in the main screenshot, that just feels right. Well done!

HelixFox says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 2:45pm

Awesome! Played for a long time. The only complaint I can think of is that the controls seem a bit sluggish. Otherwise it's great!

Charimation says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 3:32pm

Really cool game :) Nicely polished for a game made in such a short time too! Really enjoyed playing!

kbm says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 3:50pm

really cool feel, brilliant graphics style. very nice, well done!

Nelly says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 3:51pm

Cool!! But rather hard to control ship with keyboard

Apr 29, 2014 @ 3:52pm

Gives me a strong Descent vibe. Awesome work!

Stepperz says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 4:01pm

This game is awesome!!! I was playing for about 30 minutes :)
Well done! The graphics and sound were fantastic. But unfortunately the mouse controls felt a little slow.

mrhill says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 4:12pm

how the f**k did you guys pull this off in three days. I am impressed. Good job

Lyje says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 4:35pm

@mrhill You have know the idea. The entire team is absolutely knackered and on the brink of death...

Glockenspiel says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 4:44pm

Wow this is awesome, reminds me alot of strike vector.

sirikan says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 5:56pm

Nice one :).

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

I didn't really understand what to do

Crazi456 says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 5:59pm

Very entertaining! Took a sec to get used to controls, but once I got them down it was a blast! Good work

Alex Rose says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:09pm

Descent is awesome, the procedural generation is fucking fantastic, Phi is a genius. It just looks, feels and plays great, and I love the six degrees of rotation. You can never go wrong with pixel art on 3D walls either, and the soundtrack is amazing - that plugin's amazing.

Really well done guys. Manchester hype.

Khopa says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:11pm

Awesome ! Great job, i was a bit confused with the mouse/keyboard controls, but with the Xbox controller it was just perfect and smooth.

Maek says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:28pm

This in 72h, WTF!

mimic says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:59pm

Wow, this is awesome! Everything about it is awesome! Even the option to invert mouse control! Really really good job guys.

mechabit says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 8:25pm

Hey guys, we sat next to you in Manchester :)

Great game, can't praise it enough.

Shigor says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:51pm

Great piece, best of LD so far. Too bad I didn't have 5 guys to help me with my own proceduraly generated fps :/

cr2crstudios says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 12:30am

Really impressive in effects, art, and sound. The controlling is a little wonky, though, and it didn't help the combat. :/ Overall, great!

camlang says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 7:41am

Great sounds and graphics. Looks nice!

mechabit says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 12:57pm

I thought the controls were fine. You're flying a ship, it's not meant to spin around like a solider FPS

Apr 30, 2014 @ 6:20pm

Amazing job guys ! The procedural generation is an awesome feature ! Good music, nice graphics, the controls of the ship are perfect, great work guys !

Dreii says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 3:43am

My god this was beautiful, I'm a sucker for this graphical style and music was really jamming. It reminded me of this game from my childhood where you drove a similar ship through a cave :D

mtinkerhess says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 6:11am

Pretty freakin cool.

I got to a point where I wasn't sure what to do, I think I had explored the whole map and there weren't any enemies left, there was just a red item that I couldn't do anything with.

Lyje says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 7:39am

@mtinkerhess - We should have made this clearer but the objective is to destroy the red thing (the reactor!) and that will transport you to the next procedurally generated level :)

Xaychru04 says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 3:40pm

That's one of my favorite games so far, the antigravity mood is awesome, and the amount of gameplay elements is really big for a LD entry! It kept me playing for almost an hour, and I think I'll play more, awesome game! :D

GlowingSnail says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 4:54pm

Procedural-generated, perma-death, chiptuned, Descent?
And you thought about Y-invert!
You have my attention there!
.... downloading ....
Ok, it does feel like Descent, indeed! =D

The tiny blue robot with the red flashing light can move around faster than I turn my mouse, that is annoying.
I miss having the countdown to escape in a shaking mine after destroying the core.
Could you add some more wall texture variety?

Still amazing for 72hr jam.

There need to be a voting star scale to rate the opposite of innovation. Like nostalgia or faithfulness. So I could give you an extra 5 there.

Glockenspiel says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 5:36pm

are you posting the source code?

Lucariatias says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 8:13pm

Beautiful retro-styled visuals, and matching sounds. Level design is pretty good. I didn't really have a problem with the controls like others seemed to have done.
If you expand it and add different regions to explore, perhaps some Corneria-esque maps or asteroid blets or something, this could be fantastic.
Didn't really see the theme coming through in this, but a great game, nonetheless.

Lyje says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 6:26am

@Glockenspiel We're still deciding whether we want to take this project further, so at this time we will not be posting any source code :)

DustyStylus says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 9:45am

Oh wow! Flashback to one of my favourite DOS games ever! Superb polish, well done indeed!

May 2, 2014 @ 7:42pm

Wow this is fantasist XD
Controls are mental to start with but I came to love thjem (After I nverted them XD)
10/10 Graphics are great

eckcz says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 11:51am

Sweeeeet :D

Tifu says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 2:10pm

This is really impressive, love the visuals and the music. I find it hard to control, but this could be down to that I rarely every play any kind of flying games.

adamwoolridge says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 4:33pm

Good job! Nice Descent inspired game :) Movement felt nice although I was playing on a trackpad, so I'm looking forward to trying it again later at home with a mouse. Nice visual style too!

sP0CkEr2 says ...
May 4, 2014 @ 5:53am

holy crap - my most favorite game so far - take me back to descent! awesome game

JayPC says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 4:55am

My favorite game so far in this jam, Though the theme is not as apparent in the game itself, I assumed it was some underground facility or the deep dark core of some space station.

Only game ive given all 5 stars in, as well as the only one I keep coming back to play.

MintArcade says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 11:44am

Great game, I get owned very fast. Nice effects...

May 5, 2014 @ 6:44pm

Lovely game! So much work for 3 days, wow <3 Top marks for Fun, Theme, Graphics and Mood

conormn says ...
May 6, 2014 @ 1:54am

Incredibly well done!

JayPC says ...
May 6, 2014 @ 8:03am

Any chance we could get the audio track? Id love to listen to it while I work! Its so good!

Lyje says ...
May 6, 2014 @ 8:15am


Enjoy :)

petey123567 says ...
May 6, 2014 @ 7:47pm

Wow, you get swarmed really fast O__O Great job!

Don't know if you know about this but there's a library for abstracting the gamepad a bit: (makes it easy to support PS3 and Logitek controllers in addition to XBox)

scgrn says ...
May 7, 2014 @ 5:10am

I'm a huge Descent fan, and this is absolutely mind blowing! The low-pass audio filter while viewing the map was a nice touch.

Penguincat says ...
May 7, 2014 @ 5:28am

This is awesome! I really love the concept of this game, and I declare this the best music of LD29! The art was really good too, though I think the enemy ships were more detailed than they had to be, since you rarely see them up close for long. There were a few minor problems though: I would have liked to see higher mouse sensitivity, larger field of view, and more difficulty (I barely ever took damage). Also the minigun seems overpowered, and there seemed to be too much ammo everywhere. But obviously these things are hard to balance in such a short time; what you managed to pull off is very impressive!

Lyje says ...
May 7, 2014 @ 12:28pm

Thanks for all the feedback thus far!
@Penguincat: There are definite balance problems, and we're doodling away on an updated version which we'll add soon. We may add adjustable FOV and sensitivity too.

@petey1234567: I was thinking of using InControl, but haven't before so decided to stick with what I knew!

May 8, 2014 @ 4:46pm

Great game, the graphics are very nice and the game is fun to play.

01010111 says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 9:47pm

Super awesome entry! You could polish this up just a tad and I'd be hooked! Leaving the map screen seems to reset the invert option, and it'd be nice to be able to control the map rotation and zoom. I want to play more!

01010111 says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 9:48pm

Also, reading your post mortem, I totally got a Descent vibe from this!

jorgemoag says ...
May 14, 2014 @ 2:15pm

Awesome graph & moody but very hard to control the ship

BooleanByte says ...
May 19, 2014 @ 3:48pm

Awesome game, realy enjoyed it.

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