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

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Initial Conditions

by reheated - Compo Entry

Humanity is extinct, but the possibility exists to grow it again. We have to get the initial conditions right, by building the first towns along the rivers. Help set up the simulations in this logic puzzle game.

- Coding: Notepad++
- Testing: Firefox, Chrome, Edge
- Graphics: Gimp
- Audio: FL Studio, Miroslav Philharmonik, Glitchmachines Fracture
- Code base: the reusable parts of my LD33 entry

Update: "ported" to IE11 also.

Update: Due to the great voting results (THANKS!), the game has got more attention than I was ready for and my cheap VPS has been struggling. Bart Bonte (, has kindly mirrored the game and I added a link below. Note: if you leave the game and come back, then because of the way browser localStorage works, you'll only get the option to continue your game if you keep playing on the same link you started on.

Downloads and Links




jk5000 says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 11:49am

I don't need to make a long comment for this game. It is just brilliant. Very very well done.

TomenLuca says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 11:32pm

Superbly designed game. Great puzzle design. Finished all fourteen levels, the last four were very difficult. It's a great concept for a game overall, but I'm not sure about the theme. I did not like the voice overs, transition between levels could be shorter. 4/5 for innovation. Maybe integrate it into this webpage or make it into an app? Props for the right click marking tool, although it did make filling it did make filling in the puzzles easier. Great stuff!

Xgor says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 9:58am

Quite a nice puzzle game. I dunno what I feel about the story but the main mecanic was both fun and kinda relaxing as you had to reduce the possiblitites to find the answer on the later levels.

jcwelgemoed says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 10:18am

Great game. Simple aesthetics, great gameplay. Well done

Afendar says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 10:27am

funny puzzle game I like it ! Story is great fun good job.

Komradus says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 10:38am

Superb entry. I really enjoyed the story behind it and how it was implemented. The puzzles themselves were very easy at first but quickly got harder.

gv1351 says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 11:07am

Good game

Firellon says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 11:18am

This is great. I've completed the game and did not found anything that would bother me. I just love it, though I'm not used to play such type of games. Thank you.

Dec 16, 2015 @ 11:47am

This is really great, I love puzzle games like these, and you can have all of my stars!

deadpixl says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 1:27pm

Awesome game!

Baransu says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 1:40pm

Audio is just perfect. Gameplay is very good too.

Valandre says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 1:55pm

simple, clever, just awsome!

AxeTheory says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 1:56pm

Damn why are you so sad?

Agram says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 3:32pm

Better entry so far. Great puzzler, great riddles, good feelings.
Good job.

thesnake91 says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 8:17am

Very very creative!

Dec 19, 2015 @ 9:34pm

This is just so awesome. The last level was very difficult but was worth it for the backstory. The audio and mood is simply superb.

ethankennerly says ...
Dec 20, 2015 @ 5:03pm

When I clicked 3-size towns with an elegant interface, and considered many possible configurations, I felt contemplative. When I listened to the narrator interstitial, I felt a bit sad. You told a story well. If you continue to develop this, I would be curious to see more puzzles, and a bit of interweaving animation into how the logic puzzle plays out like Conway's Game of Life to make more or less history. Also, I would be curious to hear deeper analysis into the limiting factors of human civilization, for which the age of the universe is far beyond the expected survival of our species.

Dreyan says ...
Dec 28, 2015 @ 8:18am

This is fantastic. Great job on the puzzles and audio. Very, very enjoyable. Would definitely play more of it ^^

zenmumbler says ...
Dec 28, 2015 @ 10:36am

Nicely implemented puzzle with good mood added by story, bgm and austere graphics. Finally got stuck on Bonus level 2. Very nicely done.

purrpurr says ...
Dec 28, 2015 @ 10:38am

All the different elements came together so well on this entry. I really enjoyed my time with it, fairly relaxing altogether. There really isn't anything negative to say about it either.

KanedaXIII says ...
Dec 28, 2015 @ 11:04am

An awesome full puzzle game, with a mysterious background story. It's fun and interesting, excellent work ;D.
The only con I found is that the right click doesn't work well, maybe it applies only to the web player.

bigsoxfan23 says ...
Dec 29, 2015 @ 4:31pm

Amazing game! Beautiful music, simple but complex gameplay.

kmakai says ...
Jan 1, 2016 @ 4:56pm

Wow, this was so unexpected... everything about this was great, unfortunately I don't think I have anything other than positive feedback to give you! Great job making such a simple visual style really engaging. It's clinical which fits the simulation aspect and doesn't get in the way of the puzzle, but it's very appealing at the same time. I quite liked the voice-overs as well, it added a lot to the unexpected story. Puzzle design is just perfect. Congrats!

justinooncx says ...
Jan 1, 2016 @ 6:36pm

I remember playing your last Ludum Dare game with the growing milk. You're exceptionally gifted with making great puzzle games, as well as injecting them with rather nice story! Well done!

Gornova says ...
Jan 1, 2016 @ 10:52pm

great entry, well done!

ztiromoritz says ...
Jan 1, 2016 @ 11:56pm

5+++ stars for the mood. Awsome. Make an App of it and i would buy it.

ragnta says ...
Jan 2, 2016 @ 12:51am

nice work

Jan 2, 2016 @ 7:35am

First of all, amazing work with the puzzle and game design, that's a full five stars for fun and innovation from me. The only thing I feel it needs added is a reset button, so you don't have to remove all the squares if you want to start again.

Unfortunately, I feel a lot less enthused about the story. Early on, the narrator states that the simulation simulates an entire civilization down to independent lives. This is an interesting idea to play with, but it seems farcical when matched with the mechanics. By providing a puzzle with preset solutions, you're asking players to work through a logical process, something even the simple computers are much better at than humans. The idea does have merit, but I feel it would be better served by a game where players have more choices to make, rather than just solving puzzles.

Also, I can't help but feel the message of the game comes across as very prescriptive. That humanity would almost inevitably lead to the creation of a megalomaniacal individual who would manage to destroy all of humanity in the quest for love... well, that's something of a big leap, and I don't feel the game does enough to back that up.

Of course, I understand that 48 hours is a short time to design a game to tell a narrative, but I feel in this case, the game is actually lessened by the narrative. An abstract puzzler would have engaged me a lot more, or the mechanics could easily be transferred to a hacking game (sets of wires, attach modules to each wire, ect.). I can understand trying to make the game fit the theme, but in the long run, I think it's better to take a hit in the theme scoring to make a more complete experience.

gelisam says ...
Jan 3, 2016 @ 4:47am

So sad...

graebor says ...
Jan 3, 2016 @ 5:28pm

It's a really solid puzzle game with a great difficulty curve, but what makes this game shine to me is the way the mechanics, music, visuals, and narration all mesh together into one coherent piece with a strong mood. Great work!

dvdfu says ...
Jan 5, 2016 @ 2:53am

This is a really clever and well-designed puzzle game, backed with some thoughtful narrative. Well done!

omaha says ...
Jan 5, 2016 @ 3:37am

I really enjoyed this. The mood and music and effects and voice work all blend so beautifully together.

reheated says ...
Jan 5, 2016 @ 6:27am

Thanks everyone for your comments and votes. I'm delighted with the outcome.

@RockhopperGames: I think you're right about the plot point. I wanted to make the game not go anywhere while still having some kind of snappy ending, but I see how it's a bit unbelievable and that could get in the way of the suspension of disbelief. Hopefully it got you thinking though! Regarding the connection between the puzzles and the story: I consider my puzzle games to be a gamified abstraction of the process they represent, e.g., in the world of this game, setting the initial conditions would be a more fiddly, un-game-like task (that isn't so easy to do with an algorithm) that is just represented abstractly by these puzzles. That might sound like a cop-out but all games make this kind of cop-out to some degree, e.g. think about all the triple-A games with hacking/lockpicking/safecracking minigames that are nothing like the process they represent.

@kmakai: I was wondering what word to use to describe the visual style... "clinical" is right - thanks!

@KanedaXIII: Darn! If anyone experiences right-click troubles can you let me know what OS and browser you are using?

@ethankennnerly: You're right, of course - I just wanted a very short argument justifying a limit on how long we can survive.

scriptorum says ...
Jan 5, 2016 @ 7:51pm

Really addictive. Well earned scores. When working some of the harder puzzles it'd be nice if you could "lock down" a city when you're reasonably sure it's correct, just some way to paint or tag it so you can focus on the open cities.

rayriver says ...
Jan 6, 2016 @ 7:46am

Nice work!
I love this game very much!

maksibonus says ...
Jan 6, 2016 @ 11:18am

Nice game!

scorched says ...
Jan 6, 2016 @ 1:56pm

Consider adding possibility to skip the narrative to just play the levels!

ddoomus says ...
Jan 11, 2016 @ 9:48pm

@scorched is wrong! Maybe allow skipping after you've already beaten it, but the narrative was awesome. I really liked the ending.

Sorry, this was not one of the games I played during rating-time or I would've given you a great score. Two thumbs up!

oal says ...
Jan 13, 2016 @ 8:56pm

Woah, I decided to check out some of the top rated entries. This blew my mind. Really good!

Silveryard says ...
Apr 13, 2016 @ 1:32pm

I am to late to rate this but I really love it! Great work!

crazyrems says ...
May 10, 2016 @ 1:03pm

Excellent! I really love the mood. Puzzle were challenging, I didn't made the bonus levels.
Your games are great !

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