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

NOTE: Because of the Theme tie, we allowed everyone to pick either Theme. Using both was optional. To keep things simple, there will still only be one Theme category. Every category in Ludum Dare voting is an opinion, so you’re welcome to rate them as you see fit. But we encourage you to be fair in your scores to people that chose only one Theme, and not both.

ALSO: has an experimental game downloader over here. You may find it useful.

Back to Browse Entries

Zen Roots

by nopogo - Jam Entry

This is my seconds solo submission called Zen Roots. It was a blast to make and I am very happy with how it turned out.

You control the root of a tree as it is growing ever downwards.

You move left and right with the left and right arrow keys or A & D respectively.

The green pickups give 10 points. The white ones are 1/5th of an extra life.

This game is best played as a full screen standalone. But included are a html5 and a UnityPlayer version.

A very special thanks goes out to Lindar. A wonderful individual who not only provided the OST for this game but whose feedback and ideas helped form this game. Without them this would have been a very different game.

Also thanks to everyone in the LudumDare IRC. You are a blast and really very helpful, even as sleep deprived as you all were.




Movement: Arrow keys or A &D.
Made by: Nopogo @tiohoan
Music by: Lindar K. Greenwood @Lindarthebard

Downloads and Links




Jace239 says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 7:10am

Three words come to mind when I reflect on this game. Soothing, engaging and beautiful.

I heard about Zen Roots in the IRC chat from Lindar and told him I'd check it out. Well I'm happy I did. As I told him in IRC, I love the Zen Roots song, and it's extremely fitting for this game's mood.

The simple yet elegant graphics are nice, and I like all the little touches you put in like the off-shoot roots and the details on the rocks. Even the credits screen has the nifty feature of growing trees as you wait. The whole game exudes the feeling of "zen".

The gameplay is engaging too. I found it a lot of fun. My main complaint (a small one) is that I died early on due to mistaking a tiny rock for one of the white pickups (I hadn't yet found a legitimate one yet). The other is that I feel the white pickups are too rare. I got to 361 which I felt was decently far and had only seen a single white pickup.

That aside, this was a lovely game and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It's just what I needed to relax after all the stress I've had today. Thank you, and excellent work!

VitasaMode says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:43am

What a delightfully soothing game. I loved your choices in aesthetics, music and mechanics to really bring the theme and mood together. Thanks again and keep on growing :)

anael says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:53am

Great work, it's very pleasant to play, the music is smooth, and I like the graphical choice, even if I have some doubt about the color contrast. Thanks!

teamross says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:54am

Paceful, smooth and relaxing game.
The music matches the game very well.
Good Job!

Yamzho says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:55am

What a great game ! So peaceful & relaxing ! Great aesthetics, music and pace to the game.

Well done !

bobismijnnaam says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:56am

Lovely game! Indeed very zen like, very cool to play. The controls are great and the music is extremely soothing. The whole was also very coherent, with the music fitting the athmosphere of the visuals, and even the controls :) Best I've played from the 20 up until now!

Did you publish the source code somewhere? I'm very interested in how you implemented the line effect. Well done!

Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:58am

Very relaxing! It took a while to ramp up, but that seems to be the point. One minor technical note: Sometimes the collectibles would spawn inside rocks. That's really the only bad thing I have to note. Great job!

Ayaya33 says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:58am

I fidn't find the game too fun. The theme matched the Ludum Dare very well though.

I also found the graphics far too bright to the point of it hurting my eyes.

The music was by far the best piece of the game.

nopogo says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 11:26am

Thanks everybody for the kind words and valuable feedback. All graphics were drawn using the unity LineRenderer component.

nopogo says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 11:30am

For the people finding the game to bright. I noticed the HTML5 version renders it way to bright but haven't been able to find a fix for that.

euske says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 12:51pm


Green Soda says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 2:01pm

NICE GAME! relaxing... and nice... really nice :) the right gamejust after playing so many games

LadyS says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 2:40pm

Wow. This made me really relaxed, very well done!

MAB says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 2:41pm

beautiful but i think is to slow

zenmumbler says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 2:41pm

Nice mood. Tranquil and calming, which is what I needed after my 20-hr day yesterday :) Nice look and feel, well done!

utoxin says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 2:41pm

Loved it. Very calming and zen. My only suggestion really would be to make the rocks a bit easier to see. Other than that, BRAVO.

skysthelimit says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 2:43pm

Would love to see this developed further. Very nice game.

However years of playing top down driving games really made the whole "left to turn clockwise and right to turn anti-clockwise" thing confusing.

Belug says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 2:47pm

Great game, lot's of zen gaming in view with this one. Thanks

linseyray says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 2:48pm

So soothing and highly zen-inducing, just what I needed after the jam! The name is very fitting. Love the controls and the mood set by the music, good job!

ashdnazg says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 3:13pm

Great construction of atmosphere, the music, graphic style and gameplay mix together exceptionally well.

I was confused at times because when I press the right arrow, the root actually turns left (from its POV) so that cost me a few games (it may be just me though).
The heavy bloom (I think?) seemed to make the view have very little contrast. While it definitely added to the soothing feeling it made it a bit hard to see.

The way roots grew was really beautiful!
Music and sound effects fit each other well.

Good job!

Zeriver says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 5:02pm

Hah, growing root, that's innovative :)
Warm, nice colours and relaxing music match very well.

arzi says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 5:20pm

Very zen indeed :) good work!

kaype says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 9:34pm

I remember playing your little demos of this in IRC the other night! Feels good to finally be able to play it.

Lindar's music for the game is absolutely phenomenal, very relaxing. You've done a great job at polishing the hell out of this as well! The concept is really simple but that's the beauty of it.

The game itself made me feel some chills from how calming it was. This would work very well as a mobile phone/tablet game for waiting rooms.

MorganLeFay says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 9:59pm

As others have mentioned before the music and game in general are very relaxing. I enjoyed playing it but so far haven't been able to catch one of the white thingies. I only came close to the first one I saw and the second one was in the middle of a rock =/

esayitch says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 8:18am

Very calm and soothing, a very relaxing experience. The background music is very serene :)

Very good entry, good luck!

Avant-Marde says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 10:34am

Saw your post mortem blog post and decided to give it a go - glad I did! It's very relaxing, even if I think the background colour is a bit too bright. The graphics are really good, and they fit the zen theme you were going for perfectly. I also liked the random root parts that would spawn from the main root, and it was weirdly satisfying to manage to lump a lot of them together. Well done!

jackyjjc says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 10:42am

Very zen indeed, the music and the graphics work great together to make the game very enjoyable. It fits the theme very well as well. Well done!

suppi says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 11:02am

This game is great! I really like the pace and you really were able to set the mood with the graphics and audio. I made a game with a similar concept a few jams ago, but not nearly as good as this. great work!

Dec 16, 2015 @ 11:09am

Well it's pretty zen alright! I like it, very smooth, nice relaxing gameplay, only gets confusing sometimes if you're trying to chase one of those sparkly things around and you get lots of side-roots in your path :D

Ionut(Tyrants.not.found team)

sathorn says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 12:17pm

Gorgeous game.

banana4life says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 12:51pm

This game is very relaxing :D
I like it!

Jesse Freeman says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 5:24pm

Really great concept. Love the idea of the roots growing and you have some control over the direction. Great use of the theme!

MaulUdder says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 5:52pm

Zensational <3

g12345 says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 12:03am

Great Zen-like music, but the game is so fast at the end I'm more panicking than comtemplating. It's not a bad game, probably it's just because I went too deep too quickly.

Jace239 says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 6:50am

I included your game in my Let's Play Ludum Dare series as thanks for commenting on my game!

You can check out the details here:

rnlf says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 2:55pm

Very relaxing and beautiful game. Played very smoothly in the real web version. The growing was very smooth and just felt right. Good job!

Nega Drive says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 6:36pm

Excellent mood in this game. Very chill. Love the minimalist graphics and music. Gameplay is paced well and matches the presentation in a nice way too. A minor gripe I have is the colour choices are a bit harsh in the beginning of the game, the roots and some of the rocks contrast a little unpleasantly with the background. This is less of a problem later on as the background darkens, though. Good work overall.

Jan 2, 2016 @ 11:13pm

Great atmosphere and the gameplay, simple yet very fun and entertaining! I loved the little roots growing off. It was a very fun game! Much enjoyed! :D

You must sign in to comment.

Mini Submission FAQ

TEAMS: Teams entering the Jam should pick a single representative to submit your game, or create a team specific account you can share. We currently do not support Team Voting, but sharing an account and together playing and rating games is acceptable.

CAN I ENTER BOTH EVENTS?: You should pick 1 event, whichever you think it’ll do better in. If the idea is strong, and everything plays well enough, you can go Compo. If you’re a perfectionist, and would prefer people to play a more polished game, do the Jam. Historically, more games are entered in the Compo, but with more people and more time, Jam games have the potential to be better (that doesn’t mean they are). Many solo participants do enter the Jam.

If you made 2 games, unfortunately, the website doesn’t support multiple submissions per user. To submit your 2nd game, you will have to make a 2nd account. Only do this if you made 2 games. Alternatively, if one game is better than the other, then consider just entering the better game.

CAN I KEEP WORKING UNTIL THE DEADLINE?: Yes! Immediately after the 48 or 72 hours, we do something called Submission Hour. As the name suggests, it’s an extra hour for you to package, upload, and submit your games. If there were catastrophic issues trying submitting your game, or you misunderstood how submissions work, that’s okay. It happens. We’re flexible. If you need advice, check with the folks on IRC. If you need an admin, get in touch.

CAN I KEEP WORKING ON MY GAME?: Oh definitely! You should! But for the sake of judging, keep the Compo or Jam version around. You can include a link to the Post-Compo/Post-Jam version of your game on your games page, but sure your main links are the original version.

PORTS: Ports to other platforms can be done after the deadline. That said, the sooner you finish your port, the sooner people can play your game, improving your chances of placing in the final results. For best results, provide a Web version of your game, or a Windows version with no dependencies. Also be sure to rate at least 20 games to improve your visibility (Coolness).

MY GAME CRASHES, IS UNBEATABLE, OR I MADE A TYPO: We allow you to fix crashes, win condition, or tiny bugs after the deadline. In a sense, this is like “porting” to support more players. We leave this open to interpretation, but generally speaking your game should be identical to the game you submitted. No new features, just fixing mistakes you should have caught had you been better rested.

MY GAME DOESN’T SHOW UP: If you can’t find your game, it’s usually because the URL to your downloads are missing ‘http://‘. Fix your URLs ( and you will show up. Alternatively, if you just posted it, wait a minute. The cache may not have refreshed yet.

NOT LOGGED IN?: If you get a message about not being logged in, even though you are, it’s because your web browser cached the non-logged in page. You can fix this by either refreshing your cache or clearing your cache. CTRL+F5 in many browsers. Chrome is a bit more work. Press F12 to enable Developer Mode, then you can right click on the refresh button and select “Empty Cache and Hard Reload”. This option is unavailable if you are not in Developer Mode.

[cache: storing page]