Ludum Dare 34 — December 11th-14th, 2015 — Theme Tied: Two Button Controls, Growing

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Lawnmower Puzzle

by Zathnic - Jam Entry

◯•◯ TL;DR notes: ◯•◯
• Controls explained ingame in tutorial
• If you have any troubles following the tutorial, there are some hints below
• Planting things with the mouse is a little jerky, click "Retrieve last planted" if you misclick
• Level 3 doesn't exist in the game because of not enough time (but the other levels are fairly large)
• The game may freeze randomly on rare occasions, restarting the game should let you continue where you left off
• The folder needs to be extracted to start


I'm still tired writing this, also the game is quite hard to describe, so the description may be a little convoluted, sorry :3

You play as a lawnmower that only has two simple abilities: turning left & right and shooting a seed pellet forward, with ammunition collected during lawnmowing in the form of seeds. Since these shots work like fertilizer, they have two purposes: Taking down enemies, and growing several kinds of plants for the lawnmower's benefit. You can grow plants to farm more seeds, or create saplings and make them grow into full-grown trees (for maneuvering the level) with a single shot.

This game was kind of meant as a combination of a puzzle and an idle/progression game (farming seeds). The farming elements didn't end up being an important part of the game, but a playground-level at the end is centered around it. You have attributes like speed that you can upgrade, most of them will help you to gain seeds faster. There are some more mechanics that are explained in the game. All in all, I'd say it's a pretty weird (and complex) mix but maybe you'll find it interesting :3

There's also a level editor!


Programs used:
- Code: eclipse (Java)
- Only default libraries were used
- Art: Gimp2, Paint.NET, MSPaint, GraphicsGale
- Audio: SFXR


Tutorial / Hints ( - - - You only need to read this if you're stuck! - - - ):
In case you're stuck or some part of the tutorial confuses you, here are some tips on the game's mechanics:
- You continuously move forward, and always turn left or right when hitting something. The turning direction is indicated by an arrow on the players' sprite. Press R to switch to the other direction.
- You cannot determine the direction you move when hitting a corner / dead end. The mower can't turn around in corners, so there's only one way to go.
- You start off with 10 seeds, and gain seeds by mowing down tall grass. Seeds can be used for many things, like upgrading attributes. The amount of seeds gained is determined by the GAIN attribute
- You can shoot a seed pellet with the space bar, costing 1 seed. They work both like a bullet and like a fertilizer ball:
  • Hitting a sapling makes it grow into a tree (it becomes collidable)
  • Hitting tall grass makes it grow into overgrown plants, you can't mow these and they slow you down
  • Hitting overgrown plants cuts them off and turns them back into tall grass (you get one seed in the process, or more with higher GAIN)
  • Hitting worms kills them (the collision is a little bugged on these, so you should only try to shoot them if both you and the worm are either moving horizontally or vertically)
- You can plant either saplings or tall grass in the world, costing 10 or 3 seeds. To do this, click "Plant Tall Grass" or "Plant Sapling" in the left bar, then place them on a tile with the MOUSE (yes, I didn't fully go with the Two-Button-Controls theme). The placing is a litte jerky, if you misclick, click "Retrieve last planted (gives back all seeds)" in the left bar. If you don't want to plant things anymore, click the button again to turn it off.
- Planting tall grass becomes useful when you want to farm, which you can especially do (just for fun, it's like a clicker game) in the "Idle"-level that is unlocked after beating level 2. If you got until there, you'll be able to figure out how exactly farming works yourself (Hint: don't forget the "Drag to plant faster"-option).

Is the game really this complex? Or did I just write down way too many things that are self-explanatory? o_O

Downloads and Links




Aglavra says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:14pm

When I try to run it on Windows 8.1, it says "Java exception has occured"

murlsousa says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:16pm

Not working =(

Bobsleigh says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:22pm

Pretty hard to get the hang of, but interesting puzzle game. I got stuck for a good while in the 1st level because I didnt get the shootonethesapplingtomakeitcollidable mechanic. Great idea.

DrTeaSpoon says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:25pm

Pretty cool puzzle.

BobM says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:32pm

Bobsleigh said all <3

Zathnic says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:32pm

@Aglavra and murlsousa: I just checked some settings and saw that I had set my compilance level to Java version 1.7, but version 1.8 of the Java Runtime Environment activated. That MIGHT be the reason. I re-uploaded the game after changing it, give it another try...

UntitledQ says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:33pm

Neat puzzle and lots of nice ideas, though maybe too many elements at once. The punishment of resetting the level when hitting water seems a bit harsh, too.
Very interesting implementation of the two button concept!

It appears to require Java 8, but outputs a confusing error message on Java 7 by the way.

simon.parzer says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:33pm

The controls are kind of unintuitive. I can see how the game is supposed to work, but it was almost impossible for me to get anywhere, even after reading the lengthy description and the in-game hints. I always end up pressing the R button at the wrong moments. Effectively, the lawnmower doesn't ever go where I want it to go which gives me a feeling of not being in control.
Buying the speed upgrade at the beginning didn't help very much either, it makes navigating the thing even harder.

Zathnic says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:53pm

@UntitledQ: Ha! Seems like I was right about the error!
About the water: I thought it was good to add depth to the gameplay aside from just losing seeds when hitting worms, I agree it's harsh, but I payed attention to designing the levels (it's only really in level 2) so that you would always have enough time to react when there is water nearby. In level 1 I made a mistake, there's one spot where you can easily end up in water if you don't watch out, but aside from that I think it's fine.

@simon.parzer I agree the controls are not that intuitive, but I do think you can get used to them with a bit of practice (which is probably too much to ask for a simple LD game). I'd always keep the speed at the lowest unless there's an easy situation where you want to get through fast. It helps to, after hitting a tile, directly look for the next one where you'll have a direction to choose, check if you want to move left or right, and press the button (red arrow = left, green arrow = right) long before you come close to that tile.

Dec 16, 2015 @ 12:53am

Pretty interesting puzzle game. Reminds me of those ice puzzles in Pokemon. The growing/seed mechanics were interesting too, but a bit difficult to understand. Good job!

Shivur says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 1:38am

A good basic idea but it,s hard too understand beacause of all the added gameplay features.

ddoomus says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 2:09am

I like the concept. Well done, but hard to get into.

Funske says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 2:10am

Really creative good game. I love how you have an editor and a game, I really enjoyed it.

sorlok says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 2:18am

Solid idea, and you got quite a lot of content in there. I think the mouse is kind of cheating for "two buttons", but you made up for it with a nice focus on "Grow". Neat idea, and would like to see more!

sorlok says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 2:19am

*Edit* By "cheating", I don't mean "actually cheating". Just that the mouse is kind of like a mega-button. :D

Geckoo1337 says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 5:16pm

It works fine for me on Win7 x86. A good entry which respects the theme. However the gameplay seems to me after 10 minutes a little bit annoying. It could be better with other features. I like the minimalist aesthetic and colors. Well done ++

Auroz says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 6:17pm

Tried to run it, gave me a "java exception has occured" error message.

brainstorm says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 7:21pm

Not bad mechanics, but they're too complicated, at least for my taste. Also there's an annoying scratch sounding. But very innovative and good use of the theme. So you had a great idea and executed it bad.


Shovix says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 8:32pm


madjackmcmad says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 8:41pm

Quite a lot of effort here! Good show.

Geti says ...
Dec 20, 2015 @ 1:34am

Simple enough to play but fairly fiddly. Some of the mechanics "needed explaining" which isn't a great thing when a lot of players are going to be in a hurry ;)

Mantlair says ...
Dec 20, 2015 @ 1:57pm

Well I guess game was too complex. Looks like you really spend some time on it and i respect that but I thing it would be better if you focus on a single mechanic. Besides this yeah interesting concept. Well done!

zulman says ...
Dec 23, 2015 @ 7:04pm

Unable to start in Win7 64

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