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

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Beneath The Clouds

by Skipi - 48 Hour Compo Entry

You are a little gnome that has never seen the sun. You live under perpetual rain (the clouds being the surface which you are underneath). Grow plants to reach the clouds and burst through to the sunlight beyond them.

Kill angry birds that wish to eat your plants. And watch out for mutations in your plants, sharp thorns can make you take a nasty tumble. Keep the tall plants alive, let the short ones be eaten by birds.

Note: There may be crashes.

Technical notes:

The game is powered by a genetic algorithm. Mutations and such can happen. :P Also implements sexual reproduction via bees.

Downloads and Links




sudorossy says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 11:11pm

Interesting mechanic, but I didn't seem to get anywhere.

voidqk says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 11:16pm

"The program can't start because MSVCR110.dll is missing from your computer." :-(

Robber says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 11:34pm

I like the idea a lot, growing plants, the birds and bees thing, some great potential here for a fun gardening game..still gameplay feels kinda random, like the player has no real influence on how the plants grow, except for keeping the birds away. Also the scale makes it hard to play, tiny player, tiny birds which are the same size as bees, huge jump and big movement of such a small characters makes it harder to control, to jump on the leaves and such..what about different plants, defence/offence or scarecrows in stead of shooting maybe ?

Dreii says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 11:45pm

This was a cool concept :) Might wanna make the birds death more obvious i diddnt realize they where dead each time I killed one cuz they keep flying just downwards lol looks great though!

Jed T. says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 12:05am

Can't start the game (MSVCR110.dll missing)

May 1, 2014 @ 12:15am

An interesting game, had difficult getting anywhere, like others said, felt random, like nothing really mattered. Is it possible to get to the sun?

jtpup0 says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 12:21am

Very interesting mechanic, I wasn't able to climb the stalks because they disappeared so rapidly because the birds were so hungry xD

RikardKarlsen says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 12:39am

Was there some sort of evolution thing here, since the plants got taller and taller every generation?

drnick says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 12:50am

Your game's concept is very nice and creative. It reminds me of Johnny and the beanstalk.

I understand that your idea was very ambitious (because it was a great idea!) and because of that the game isn't finished, so I leave you some tips if you wish to complete it:
-Make the birds damage the plants gradually. Perhaps make them eat only the leafs, without letting them kill the plant. With this mechanic, you could make the plants only grow if the topmost leaf isn't damaged by birds.
-Make the birds bigger so that they aren't as hard to kill
-Make the genetic differentiation faster so it's more perceivable
-Create more types of seeds and let the player chose which ones to plant

Skipi says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 1:25am

I originally got the idea when I was hoping for Generations to be the theme. I found I could adapt the concept to Beneath the Surface, though. You are correct, the plants follow a genetic algorithm, so a plant's offspring can mutate to become taller.

Garrett Hoofman:
It is possible to get to the sun, although in its current state it's just a "You Win" screen.

I'm going to end up making difficulty levels to change the height which you have to get to. I also agree, the jumping feels a bit floaty, so I'll tweak that. Those are also some good ideas, I want to allow the player a greater degree of control on the plants, so maybe even mechanics to remove currently grown plants (instead of just allowing undesirable ones to be eaten or shooting their seeds).

I wanted to have a little sound effect play and have the bullet enter a "hit" animation, but I ran out of time to implement it. (Just barely got birds working as it was). I'll see if there's anything I can do, I already have sound effects recorded for it.

The birds only eating parts of plants was my intail idea with that, but I designed myself into a corner (I made it difficult to determine which leaves and such are associates with which plants). So I ended up changing them to eat the whole plant, since that's what I was going to add zombies to do but ran out of time (and such a great easter egg that would have been if I did have enough time).

voidqk, Jed T.:
Looks like that's something Visual Studio wants, which is.. Odd. I'll upload another version immediately.

Skipi says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 1:29am


Forgot to finish my response to you :P

Those are some excellent ideas. What I was toying with was the player collects the seeds that fall, and can choose which to plant. Some seeds that aren't collected might have a random chance at taking root anyways. That could allow for different kinds of plants to grow.

I'll change the hitbox of the birds to make them twice as big. Luckily, it's a very simple change to make, as I just need to change the hitbox and scale their sprite. I'll also bump up the genetic mutation rate.

Skipi says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 1:46am

voidqk, Jed T.:

Looks like the problem was the MSVC compiler likes to dynamically link some libraries that come with Visual Studio 11. I uploaded a fixed version of the exe that has those libraries statically compiled into the executable. Just replace "BeneathTheClouds.exe" and it should work, although I cannot really test if it does or not.

5T4MP5 says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 3:35am

I seem to agree with a few other commenters. The mechanic is interesting, but the game doesn't go further than that. I would say this is a really good prototype, and I would be interested to see the idea developed out into a larger system (types of plants with strengths/resistances and weaknesses, etc...) Nice work.

Garris says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 4:21am

Neat idea. I think it needs a little polish to truly shine, but the concept is strong, and it's a very unique game.

Dietrich Epp says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 4:37am

Had a hard time figuring out what kind of effect I had on the world, but I love the atmosphere.

sensenmann666 says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 7:49pm

A very good game, loved the atmosphere beneath the clouds. Although i was a bit confused at first, i eventually managed to touch the clouds :)

MidCry says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 8:05pm

It's kind of hard to catch the goal ... good job by the way

Skipi says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 8:23pm

Nice to see my game isn't /too/ impossible :P

Aye, it's difficult. Although, if you are lucky with the RNG, it can be a 5 minute game. Knew I should have added difficulty levels, though. (The current height would be "Hard" difficulty)

alvarop says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 4:10pm

I didn't really get what the player was supposed to do.

phi says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 7:23pm

Fun concept, but maybe it could be elaborated a little more. I like the "genetic code" aspect of it, but I didn't really have a feeling of achievement. It's a good start though.

May 3, 2014 @ 9:02pm

Neat idea, I like the genetics and reproduction simulation, its interesting. Seems a bit hard to get anywhere in it though. The sprites are a bit too small as well, I lost track of where I was a couple of times.

Caridorc says ...
May 6, 2014 @ 6:43pm

I'm sorry, for me the download link is broken.

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