Ludum Dare 32 — April 17th-20th, 2015 — Theme: An Unconventional Weapon

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Crowd Control

by CriticalMammal - Jam Entry

Click the tank to open up the menu to modify your weapon. You can click buttons that add/decrease their effects at the cost of more damage.

Then click (and hold) the mouse button over parts of the crowd to apply your selected emotional damage to them.

Quick Notes to Clear Up Confusion
EDIT: Added a post-jam version that will continue to be updated. Already added tweaks to the crowd reactions so they have animations and additional effects to their behavior.

1. The game DOES have ending scenarios, they can just take a while to achieve.

2. The crowd size does not grow, what you see at the start is what there is. It's up to you to get rid of them. (Note: If fearful, they generally run off stage but return back later which may give the impression that more are being added).

3. The emotional effects can be fairly subtle, I'm sorry they aren't a bit easier to distinguish. In general, rage makes them more/less aggressive, sorrow increases affect their long-term interest in rioting, and fear causes panic quickly at the cost of more rage later.

4. The goals are very loose and I don't force you to take any certain approach. This means there are easier and harder ways to "win", it's sort of up to you to decide what approach is appropriate or most rewarding.

The Game
The goal of the game is to stop the crowd from rioting. You can do this in whatever way you see fit, though for a challenge you can try to see if you can end it without killing anyone.

My concept focuses on riots and emotional/physical crowd control. The weapon is a kind of microwave mind control tank based on the very real Active Denial System (minus the mind control). I thought it'd be interesting to be able to alter the emotions of the crowd and whatnot at the price of doing physical harm to them. It encourages some thought about how far you should go to keep control over a population. I hope it's presented in a sort of neutral way, where you can experiment with it and come up with your own idea for what works.

About me:
Created by Dylan Gallardo for the 72 hour Jam. All programming and visual art was done during the jam. The audio was found and edited during the jam from

Find me on Twitter:
Or visit my website:

Downloads and Links




salmonmoose says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 5:04am

Cool idea - although it does seem easiest just to zap everyone, perhaps I'm not approaching the problem the right way.

mandolin says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 5:19am

Woah jeez wow! this is amazing. can't wait to see this as a full game. So much to expand upon

Bitterdeath says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 5:27am

Dead rioters seem to be the way to maintain operator safety. The stylization is great with the boxes for people. Somehow they seemed like little people.

retrophantom says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 7:18am

nice, after awhile i just decided to see how many i could kill tho >_<

Vulture Tamer says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 7:21am

great game,

unclear though what the decrease and increase mean...

lowering rage and then clicking someone decreases its rage or has less effect on its rage?

CptDustmite says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 9:10am

Nice idea but a bit confusing. Wasn't sure if I had to click on the crowd or not. No indication as to when the game would end - does the crowd ever go away?

Apr 21, 2015 @ 11:58am

Looks really cool but i'm not too sure what i'm doing. Ended up just frying everyone :).

dyfer says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 1:56pm

I really like the idea of win without killing anyone but I failed that

Apr 21, 2015 @ 9:01pm

Hi all, thank you very much for the feedback so far! The game seems to be sort of confusing people in some ways, so I'll briefly answer some questions without spoiling how it all works.

1. The crowd doesn't grow or happen in waves. What you see at the start is what there is. They run off-screen though, which might give the impression more are being added when they come back

2. The emotional effects can be fairly subtle, I'm sorry they aren't a bit easier to distinguish. In general, rage makes them more/less aggressive, sorrow increases affect their long-term interest in rioting, and fear causes panic quickly at the cost of more rage later.

3. The goals are very loose and I don't force you to take any certain approach. This means there are easier and harder ways to "win", it's sort of up to you to decide what approach is appropriate or most rewarding.

- Dylan

jmborden says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 5:19am

I liked the atmosphere created with the audio. The audio you selected was perfect. I felt like I was in the middle of an uprising. The simple graphics still conveyed the sense of a crowd in the middle of a city. The overall mood was really well done. However, I wasn't really for sure what to do in the game other than just blast everyone away. I didn't feel like I had any control over the crowd other than just holding my mouse button down and trying to get rid of as many people as possible. The only way I could "win" the game was by killing everybody. Even when I thought I had it under control, they just kept coming back.I really wish I didn't *have* to kill everybody. It would have been nice to be able to focus on those who were actually throwing things, meting out punishment only as it was deserved and perhaps dissuading others. Nice effect having everyone gang up on the tank operator after it was destroyed. I liked that you tried to capture crowd dynamics and emotion. This game wouldn't have happened to have been inspired by Elias Canetti's "Crowds and Power" ?

Apr 22, 2015 @ 7:23am

@jmborden Thank you very much for the feedback. There are ways to control and manage them so that you don't kill anyone, though it is very difficult (probably much more than I think). I agree that it doesn't always feel like you have very good control over individuals. I think I'll work on creating a tweaked post-jam version that fixes some of those problems and emphasizes individual reactions. I have a couple of things in mind that would probably drastically improve on it.

It's interesting though, being threaten by the crowd in-game and resorting to violence. There's a certain point where you sort of take a "them or me" approach and decide you just can't handle them and have to take them out.

I haven't read Elias Canetti's "Crowds and Power", though I'm tempted to now as research for this since it seems so relevant.

runvs says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 2:17pm

Nice Game, i kind of like the graphical style and the audio.
Some more feedback would have been helpful, like i did not always know, in which "mode" the crowd (or single individuals) are. for example, look at gods will be watching, there you can estimate how nervous people are by looking at their movement.
Nevertheless a great game. Well done! :)

jmborden says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 6:43pm

I can't quite pin down why, but the game is reminiscent to me of "This War Of Mine". Perhaps it is because the game tries to be about more than just killing enemies.

sputnik says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 12:43am

Cool concept and nice graphics, but I kill a lot of people... seems realistic! :)

iSamurai says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 1:25am

It successfully creates the riot feeling by using of the realistic sound and the nice graphics.

Apr 23, 2015 @ 8:36am

Great experiment in gameplay. I think you've already hit the nail on the head with the sort of things that might improve this into something self-contained as a full game. The element of choices in crowd control and the various effects and outcomes of making those choices was fairly clear to me, and encouraged some experimentation. All in all, a really good Ludum submission!

I also appreciate your comments on my game and elsewhere! It's obvious you're very committed to Ludum and providing feedback, which is great to see.

cbear_wallis says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 4:35pm

I really enjoyed the idea behind this game. I liked the idea that I could control a crowd but that was a difficult task. I would really like to see this in a bigger fuller game ^_^

zaibakk says ...
Apr 24, 2015 @ 11:11am

Fantastic concept! Great job!

Apr 24, 2015 @ 7:06pm

I liked the interpretation of the theme, and using emotional manipulation was a cool mechanic in general. It's not so easy to distinguish the responses the crowd though, and the relentless attack from them doesn't really give you the time to observe and experiment (which is a shame because that would have been fun). Overall I liked it and I think you have definitely got the beginnings of interesting game here

oparisy says ...
Apr 25, 2015 @ 12:44pm

Well, it's a very sad game... I like your visual design, the audio too.

MonoS says ...
Apr 25, 2015 @ 4:22pm

Very well use of the theme.
The audio fits very well into the game and made me appreciate even more.

The only problem is the crowd, i spent about 15 minute trying to calm it down [using sorrow -3, rage -2 and fear +1 and some little modification] but was unable to do so, in the end i killed everybody out of "rage" and felt like this was the only way to calm it down [as jmborden said].

I'll try the post-jam version asap and see how it plays

Boberro says ...
Apr 26, 2015 @ 10:31am

I think there should be some way to see at least hints of what emotions the crows has at the moment. From what I understand, throwing bottles is a mixture of rage fear and sorrow, and as such it's hard, or impossible to tell what to do to make them stop (apart from killing them).

Clavus says ...
Apr 26, 2015 @ 1:03pm

Pretty great game! Love the concept although the underlying mechanics could be communicated a bit better. Ended up just microwaving the whole crowd. :P

norwalnate13 says ...
Apr 26, 2015 @ 4:16pm

The concept is amazing. I know you said there is an end state, but lost interest before I ever got to it. Also, some way to tell a person's mood would be nice.

Embalaje says ...
Apr 26, 2015 @ 7:11pm

Interesting, this game could be on a museum. It´s kind of videoart-interactive installation.
Good job!

Apr 26, 2015 @ 7:12pm

It's a fun concept, it would be nice if there was a visual reprecentation of the wave on the screen tho.

Apr 26, 2015 @ 7:18pm

@TheScopelessOne, there aren't waves of people. It's one persistent crowd, they just run off-screen sometimes and return back later. Though I do agree sometimes it's hard to get a feel for how many people there are left... I'll look into that and think of a non-intrusive way to represent the people off-screen.

Thanks a lot for the additional comments everyone, there have been a lot and I may respond individually to some more of them later today.

I'm very aware of the original submission's lack of feedback regarding the crowd's response. The post jam version improves that pretty well I think, but feel free to tell me if there are still some confusing aspects.

Os_Reboot says ...
Apr 26, 2015 @ 7:30pm

Fun challenge!

Squarlboy says ...
Apr 26, 2015 @ 8:33pm

kinda lost. but a fascinating concept.

misterwalter says ...
Apr 26, 2015 @ 9:12pm

I liked it a lot. It took me a bit to figure out, but that's to be expected with a properly weird idea like this. Keep fleshing this out if you can!

skylerWithAnE says ...
Apr 27, 2015 @ 7:31am

Sounded great, a bit confused at first, but I was watching a stream so I kinda had his insight to my advantage. Still playing it right now!

Apr 27, 2015 @ 2:14pm

Unique entry which was a nice surprise to find. Liked that you left it to the player to decide how they wanted to approach the problem.

Lovelace Lair says ...
Apr 27, 2015 @ 2:20pm

Really awesome idea, took me a while to figure out to click and hold but was very interesting.

Michaeldaley says ...
Apr 27, 2015 @ 2:24pm

Hey Mammal, I wanted to let you know that I tried recording your game, but I didn't couldn't find a downloadable version. To record, I run fraps, which doesnt always pick up on web browser games. Do you have a link where I can download the software and play it on my computer, rather then through my web browser?

Apr 27, 2015 @ 7:43pm

Nice concept! It was hard to see the effect of the tank and how to stop the riot without killing most of the people. The audio fits very well and adds to the mood. :)

joe40001 says ...
Apr 28, 2015 @ 3:47pm

Very innovative/fun take on the theme.

Apr 29, 2015 @ 12:20pm

Wow! You know what? At first I've had an idea to make a game about a crowd control tower that would affect people's emotions in some way, like in Strugatsky's "Prisoners of Power". But I failed to come up with anything interesting gameplay-wise and swithced to the emotional cannon.

So, as you see, we have similar views on the theme. I like your game: it is simple and feels complete. The graphics is an example of what you can achieve with minimal skills and effort. God job!

I managed to control the crowd without killing anybody but didn't see any special ending, just "imagine something better"

calavera says ...
Apr 29, 2015 @ 6:09pm

Seemed a little hard to not kill them. Wasn't successful for long enough to see but I wanted to keep them calm until the dispersed willingly but either it wasn't an option or I couldn't manage it.

Simon says ...
May 2, 2015 @ 11:16am

This is really interesting. It might a little bit of feedback and tweaking but it 's already awesome as it is. Well done!

Crowbeak says ...
May 3, 2015 @ 1:20am

This is a really interesting idea, now that I've read the description and see what you were trying for, but the execution fell flat. I had no clue what I was doing or what difference it made to increase or decrease things, etc.

May 4, 2015 @ 3:28pm

Hum, it's a bit difficult to handle since we don't see the effects of the tank right away, but definitely an interesting entry!

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