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

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A Mole's Life

by Gins - 48 Hour Compo Entry

In this game, you live the life of a female mole. You have to dig a system of tunnels to trap worms, mate and defend your offspring from incoming hazards like heavy rain or nasty rats! There is no winning condition, so just play as long as you enjoy it or die, and then move on :) May contain a couple of bugs. Does not contain sound effects or music due to time constraints. Also no guarantee for biological correctness of anything that happens in the game ;) My first time entering LD and my first time actually making a game in HTML5/JS, I really enjoyed the process of getting here. I feel that next time I'll come better prepared :D

Downloads and Links


Ratings

Coolness82%
#26Theme4.10
#175Innovation3.67
#469Humor2.55
#526Mood3.02
#535Fun3.04
#544Overall3.19
#700Graphics2.94

Comments

bvanschooten says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 10:39am

Unusual and intriguing game. I like how it starts off simple, but adds new gameplay elements as the game progresses. Unfortunately the game moves a bit slowly and I got stuck at the "hungry" part. Worms keep popping up and I keep eating them like mad, but I die from hunger every time. It's a pity I didn't get to see the other parts of the game. There seems to be water physics in there as well, and what do the baby moles do? Maybe I'll play this again later when I have more time.

anbreizh says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 10:46am

Nice mechanics, close to what I wanted to do myself. Pace is kinda slow however, I think it may be more enjoyable is it were a bit quicker.

Also, gameplay is annoying as you have to repeatedly hit space to dig.

Gins says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 11:15am

Thanks for playing and for your comments!

@bvanshooten: It's a bit cryptic I guess (although the game should tell you what to do in the text box): In order to eat you need to first catch a worm (space) and then press E to eat it (while you hold it). I forgot to add the inventory status to the HUD so that is not as clear as I'd have liked it to be ^-^
The baby moles just creep around and eat worms that get close to them. As their mom, you're supposed to catch worms and bring them to your babies. Initially I wanted to add a scoring system based on how long your babies survive etc., but all it is now is a sandbox (almost literally) without any defined goals besides not dying yourself. But maybe you feel a bit bad about letting the babies die, then it's something at least ;)

@anbreizh: the slow pace of digging is intended, as the plan was to make the player prefer already existing tunnels over digging new ones, with the hope that it will lead to more of the player's thought put behind the tunnel layout.
I'm aware though, that this slow pace isn't for everyone, and you're right, repeatedly tapping the space bar isn't the most ideal way to do such a slow paced task for the player, instead it was the easiest way to do it for me as the programmer :(

x1212 says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 11:43am

I didn't see that message telling you about how to eat until I read the comments ... this time a rat killed me :)

xevozfighter says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 4:57pm

Interesting game. Well done in 48 hours.

Chris Mondok says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 4:57pm

Neat concept! Digging is a little awkward, though.

Apr 28, 2014 @ 4:57pm

Interesting concept, I really like all the options you give the player, it's a pretty solid simulation (dont know that much about moles though).
But as others have said, it feels a bit monotous as a game as it is right now.

Anny says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 4:58pm

Very cool game! It was funny and interesting, even though one of my offprings drowned ): It'd be really cool if the babies followed you (I didn't see them so perhaps they already do that) you'll have something like a snake underground

Zazibar says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 4:59pm

Really interesting idea, I liked it, well done.

Fasox says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 5:06pm

Its slow at start but Funny game and interesting mechanics.

dalbinblue says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 5:07pm

Really nice simulation with good depth (no pun intended). I was confused about the eating part until I read the comments as well. You may want to add some additional instructions to the description above as a good number of people do read it and will benefit from it. Very nice initial LD entry, congrats.

Apr 28, 2014 @ 5:26pm

Good game. But winning condition would be nice to have =)

Gins says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 5:31pm

Thank you for the positive comments and suggestions, everyone!

@Oddly Shaped Pixels: Thanks, and yes, for me too once you dug a nice tunnel system there's not much left to do besides catching worms and eating them.
Regarding the simulation aspect: I actually watched an episode of a children's documentation about moles before I started programming to familiarize myself with the animal, so the things you see in the game are at least trying to be realistic, with a bit of creative freedom.

@Anny: That would be beyond all levels of cuteness :3 unfortunately I didn't think of doing that. I had different plans for them that I couldn't do because of the time constraints.

@dalbinblue: That's a good idea. I added 3 lines displaying the controls on the game's page. I hope that doesn't violate any rules..

Figglewatts says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 9:25pm

Pretty nice gameplay, I liked the gradual increase in the amount of gameplay elements at work over time.

Apr 29, 2014 @ 2:38am

Haha Mole Simulator '89, unique concept!

Nition says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 9:08am

Surprisingly complex! The baby moles :3

thaaks says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:43pm

Nice little game, pretty similar ingredients like my game: mole, rats, worms.
Pressing Space to dig is annoying. Could be a bit faster. The water physics is a nice little gimmick. I wanted to have that in my game too but dropped it being too complicated ;-)
As already mentioned a goal for the game would increase motivation of the player.

davidwparker says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:21pm

Neat little game- a little slow. I didn't get to mate, ha!

longshorts says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:26pm

I died from hunger half a second after my first worm spawned. Needs a little balancing :P

eskivor says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:48pm

Interesting, can the babies evolve to adults ?

Gins says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 12:22pm

@thaaks: Yes, I like the water flow system myself. Unfortunately it's a bit buggy, and doesn't behave like real water when it comes to forking vertical tunnels, so I was considering to leave the water out of the final submission. But in the end, I enjoyed the look of it when it actually did work, so I kept it in :)

@longshorts: Yes, balance is a bit of a shortcoming here. For the record though, the propability of a worm appearing rises with horizontal tunnels though, because worms drop from tunnel ceilings. That's kind of what a real mole needs its tunnels for, too, to increase the chance of a worm unexpectedly dropping into a tunnel, which the mole will hear and then dash there to collect it.

@eskivor: It was planned, but I couldn't add it in time :(

ezombort says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 5:23pm

Starts off a bit slow. I wish I could press and hold space bar to keep digging. A nice game with potential :)

vilya says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 5:29pm

When I started there was a big pop-up dialog covering the game with nothing but a missing image and a close button. Is that supposed to be there?

It's a bit slow & without a win/loss condition it felt a little pointless. That said, it's a nice concept & I could see it turning into something quite fun given a bit more time.

Gins says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 5:36pm

@vilya: There is not supposed to be a pop-up dialog :o
I don't get one either. It seems I need to switch to a different webhost for next time, if it puts pop-up ads there. That is a big no. Thanks for informing me of this.

pancakecity says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 5:38pm

This is really fun, a lot of fun things to do. Do the little moles grow up eventually?

Gins says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 5:40pm

^It doesn't seem to happen all the time. But I just got one before after disabling my adblock. Sorry to everyone who has gets to see this pop-up, that is definitely not my intention, and the host advertised being ad-free. I'll see if I can host my entry elsewhere.

Nichii says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 5:42pm

A very nice (and could possibly be addictive) game.

I suggest you to make a full game based on this with added features :)

Gins says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 7:13pm

The pop-up problem has been resolved. They should be gone now. If you still see any, please let me know!

mortus says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 3:26pm

Great entry! I love survivals and I love animal simulators. Wish there were more interaction and more challenge.

Moosefly says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 11:50pm

Must've played this for like half an hour even though I should probably be sleeping. Shame about the audio. I just listened to a Finnish children's song about the wonders of life instead on repeat. Worked wonders and got me thinking of life. Of course the inevitable happened in the end, after a lot of struggling :(. Here's what I came up with https://www.dropbox.com/s/vh4hr6ekdlshi1m/no_one_lives_forever.png.

I understand the time constraints, but this would've been absolutely lovely if it had seasons that changed the game around a bit (amount of food, how easy it is to dig, amount of rainwater etc). Would've added to the mood had I struggled trough some harsh winters before eventually perishing.

Loved the controls and navigating in the tunnels too, since you needed something to grab onto to be able to climb. The water physics were a bit buggy, but were indeed nice when they worked!

Got totally sucked in. Fresh idea and nice execution considering the time limit. I found it awesome that you actually looked a bit into the subject before starting, now that's devotion!

Anssi@MooseflyGames

Gins says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 9:27am

@Moosefly: Wow thanks for this lengthy comment and the screenshot, and even reading all the other comments before writing your own!

Seasons and a day-night cycle would be a cool addition indeed, thank you for that suggestion :)

And I can imagine that song like the one you described to work well with my game. In case you ever drop by again, could you give me a link to it, so I can try to experience it myself with that? :)

Moosefly says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 3:09pm

Gins: This is the song I listened to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6e2iBeLxr0. I guess the name could be translated as "Amaze and wonder". It is about wondering how different things in nature, for example shadows and waterlilies, work.

Gins says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 4:14pm

@Moosefly: What a lovely song :)
I can imagine it fits well with an animal's life.
Thank you for coming back and linking it!

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