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

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Planet Improver

by udo - Jam Entry


Control Planet Improver 2000 on its epic quest to terraform some bug-infested remote planet circling some forsaken star system somewhere out in a cruel and uncaring galaxy. Planet Improver's super-advanced text interface makes administrative tasks a breeze. In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only planetary mining!

Control by pressing the highlighted keys, press R to restart the game, requires a recent browser - try to figure out the rest by yourself...


This game was made in HTML5/CSS/JS. I made all the assets myself for LD. Let me know if/when you run into bugs! Oh, and the user interface sound effects are all made by my mouth, so in case you're wondering why they sound like they do...


I should have done this weeks ago: fixed a bug that sometimes caused the Killbot option not to appear in the menu. Also, the R key now restarts the game from scratch if you're in an unwinnable situation.

A help screen and a message board have been added to the game post-LD.


While many people seem to enjoy the economic simulation that is the first act, it's apparently not for everyone. If you lose patience, just build 1x Extractor, 1x Furnace, and 1x Reactor on the best dig site you can find. This should be enough to get the machine parts that allow you to build a Killbot - enough to move on to the second act.

Downloads and Links




Korwegian says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 3:10am

Game looks freaking amazing, but it wasn't very fun. Can you upload that shader somewhere?

udo says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 7:22am

It's just CSS, there is no shader.

Cosmologicon says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 5:52pm

Is there a way to reset my game? I got it into an unwinnable/unplayable state after about 30 seconds. I guess I spent all my money on extractors so I have lots of ore but no way to do anything with it. Now what?

Kuchalu says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 8:43pm

Looks great and nice take on the theme. Requires a bit more time than some of the other more pick up and play games, but it's great at creating the mood it wants to go for. Impressive that you only used html/css/js!

joe40001 says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 8:44am

I really wanted to like this game, the issue is that before you know what anything does you are buying stuff and you can get your game unwinnable at that point and then refreshing doesn't reset the game.

I really like the originality of these kinds of games, and I wish I could play this one, it looks really interesting.

PaperBlurt says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 9:46am

This was really extensive and complex.
Nice job and real impressive!

Waterman7 says ...
May 4, 2014 @ 12:05pm

Nice mood for a text-based game. I loved just building random facilities and pretending to know what I was doing. And after a while, I actually understood it, too!

Tomski says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 11:26am

Nice idea!

May 12, 2014 @ 12:30pm

I love it! I could play this all day, it's so simple, so effective, and oh so atmospheric!

camlang says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 1:27pm

Hard to figure out what to do, but the mood is perfect!

udo says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 2:52pm

Hey guys, thanks for the feedback! If you find yourself in an unwinnable state you can start over by pressing R.

andymar says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 3:15pm

Really well done, and a cool ending. The Killbot interface reminds me vaguely of CROBOTS, though. Good times...

udo says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 3:32pm

Thanks! Heh, I was aiming for Rogue-like with the Killbot interface, but I take it :)

May 12, 2014 @ 3:59pm

Brings me back to the BBS days :)

gre says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 4:06pm

Atmosphere is incredible. 5/5 for audio & mood.
The concept is great.
I'm not a huge fan of text based games, but this one is probably one of the best text based games of the LD 29.

udo says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 4:36pm

Thanks gre. I kid you not: the audio is all me making silly sounds into the mic and for the background hum I used an old fan :)

Candyhandy says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 4:37pm

Wow I love the feeling of this game, its brilliantly executed.

fermenter says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 5:02pm

boring. pretty boring

bvssvni says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 7:12pm

Liked the mood!

tuxxilla says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 7:13pm

Great gaming experience!

littleball says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 8:54pm

It's hard to fault this once you get into it. Slight learning curve to begin with. Well done, great game!

LeReveur says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 9:54pm

Great entry. :)

However, needs some in-game help, at least to know what to do with elevators, decontaminators, whatever...
For exemple, I guessed that elevators was needed to change stratum (or get ore from deeper), but, even after builded two of these, nothing happens (except vanished µ).
And KillBot action is lot too random. Sometimes I managed to reach 4th or 5th level, and other times the bot dies after 2 attacks on an ennemy. About that, there is a bug (or is it on purpose for unlucky players like me ?) : when you reload the game, a new bot appears and you can go with it free of µ...

KeyMaster says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 9:56pm

Really good mood anc great interface and visuals. Sadly the systems weren't really clear and not easy to play around with so I didn't experiment much. After a while I just didn't get anything from the furnaces anymore and it wasn't winnable...
Still really impressive entry, just needs a bit more accessible mechanics.

udo says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 9:58pm

Hey, thanks for reviewing. Yeah, some areas had to be left unfinished due to time constraints. Your guess about the elevators was right, you should be able to change strata (I'll look into it).

If you reload, most the game state is preserved, but again due to time running out after one day of coding the Killbot dungeon restarts from scratch. That's OK though, if Killbot's dead a new one is required, but if you left it alive, it will just restart at the beginning.

vilya says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 9:59pm

I love the old fashioned terminal look (although I'm not sure why a culture advanced enough to have space travel still has them?!?).

The problem I have is that the game seems to give you a lot of choices that you don't have enough information to make. You said in the description that figuring out how it works is supposed to be part of the game, but it just didn't motivate me to do that. Sorry!

udo says ...
May 12, 2014 @ 10:49pm

You were right, there was a bug in the elevator code, it should be fixed now.

kibertoad says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 2:12pm

I have no idea what I am doing, but it's fun and moody as hell. Probably the first truly original game at this ludum as far as I have voted.

ninjacharlie says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 3:27pm

Whoa, dude. Freaking awesome! I really like the unique gameplay. Good job :D

CDK says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 5:10pm

Neat idea - could be fun too, if it got some more work. It's really nice - i like the feel.. the theme.. but the funfactor seemed somewhat in the background.. and it was quite slow too.. :/

Jacic says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 5:45pm

I like the style, but it plays very slow. An interesting idea though.

udo says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 7:15pm

Well, since I already wasted 2/3 of my time on another game before making this second attempt, yeah, some tradeoffs were made ;) I don't think it's that badly paced though actually - but seeing how few people actually make it to the second part is kind of discouraging.

stvr says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 7:34pm

Awesome take on the theme, and super impressive for "just" a browser game!

jsmars says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 8:07pm

Nice entry, I loved the style and presentation, but a bit hard to get into without any type of graphics representation on the screen.

jujule says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 8:08pm

Aaaaaah... I love the mood so much. I think discovering the game mechanics is part of it too. I really enjoyed exploring the menus. I don't know, I feel like a steep learning curve is part of any roguelike ( 2nd part ) experience. Excellent job!

LeReveur says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 10:44pm

I'm sorry but even with hard refresh (ctrl+F5), and restart the game from begining (R), the elevator I build don't grant me acces to the deeper stratum (and the site I choose have 5 in depth). Is there something I missed (like 2 elevators needed) ?

udo says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 10:56pm

Okay, hang on, I'll try it myself...

udo says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 11:03pm

It does work for me. You'll probably have to clear your browser cache - browsers have a nasty habit of storing Javascript files forever if you don't force them to reload.

By the way, I didn't think of it at the time but the term "depth" was a bad choice of words. In that context it means "thickness". It does not influence how many strata there are.

neekobus says ...
May 14, 2014 @ 2:07pm

Looks good. Like the idea.

But I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. Maybe you should add some rewards to see if what the player do is good or not.
I guess I can stay stucked some times without noticing it.

LeReveur says ...
May 14, 2014 @ 11:23pm

Ok, I will retray soon. ;) But I managed to reach the end without that, so it's just to be sure. :)

loxo says ...
May 16, 2014 @ 5:43pm

Game with lots to discover. The game looks complete and is fun to play, the sound effects are awesome. One thing I don't like: The game doesn't fit on my screen.

voxel says ...
May 17, 2014 @ 8:33pm

Love the atmosphere, and I for one enjoyed the economic portion of the game

7elephants says ...
May 19, 2014 @ 2:51pm

Strange but shows potential

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