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.

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by Creative Sectors - Jam Entry


Back to the golden age of gaming! To the almighty Commodore 64!

LOAD "KHOMODORIA+2",8,1 is a JRPG styled, Commodore 64-ish interactive short story, where you can interact with only two buttons at the given time. We didn't took the theme as you can use only two buttons for the entire project, but as you can use one, or max. two buttons at the same time to: walk, to decide, and to battle a boss.

We had a bunch of plans, but we reached only a base point of the original concept:
* We wanted to use more buttons, especially in battle, for combo and magic possibilities.
* Your decisions would alter a couple of stuff. (e.g.: some characters wouldn't join you)
* We planed way more maps, levels, and a complete story, where you could battle Myradus Tollen.
* We planed to tackle the "Growing" theme in a couple of ways, but didn't manage to get far.

Long story short, the stuff is kinda' like a tech demo. We hope to finish it as a Post Jam project.

Before starting the game, please do the following:
1.) Download package and extract it.
2.) Go to Fonts folder and extract the ZIP file in this folder.
3.) Install the "C64_Pro_Mono-STYLE.ttf" font to display the text.

* When you arrive at a "Make a choice / get ready adventurer" message, you can use one of the two appearing buttons to choose a path, an answer, or to move one tile to the given direction.
* Battle: at the boss battle, you'll see 3 buttons. You can use two of them, to select which characters will attack. For example, the party looks like this:
Tirion - Byron - Lenea
The left and up button will choose Tirion and Byron to attack.
* Battle: the down button will choose the "defense" option.

[x] Game crashing depedency repaired: Portable pack.
[x] Missing sounds provided.
[x] Missing credits picture included.
[x] Provide fallback font ("Courier New") for display.
[x] Typo correction. (We hope we don't have more of them).


So, I finished my first, full-fledged, IRL Ludum Dare participation. To tell you the truth, I was excited, proud, angry, devastated and rejuvenated at the same time. Really, this opportunity brought me through a lot of feelings, that I would not had even imagined. And that's a cool thing, as with a few tries, and one full-timed experience behind my back, I truly look at LD in an other way. I'm starting to love this competition, it's community, and of course the challenges that we're given.

I did some level design, music, dialogues, systems, etc. But the newest things were:

* working through the 3 days limit with a new (at least for me) powerful engine,
* working with a great dev-friend, within instant reach,
* working as a game designer in a Ludum Dare Jam.

I learned a lot of things:

* how to schedule my own and the team's time,
* how to work within the RMXP engine,
* how to cope with the upcoming stress of the deadline
* how to manage upcoming problems, and how to cut, what is unnecessary, or what is too long, or difficult for implementation.

... And a lot of other things as well. Some things went wrong, in it's final state, the project was much shorter, and much clunkier, than what we intended, but it's okay. We'll do even better next time!

I'd like to thank:
* my girlfriend, who haven't seen a glimpse of me for 3 days, as I've traveled to my dev's HQ,
* ETC, my colleague, who was really kind, encouraging, inspiring, and was a joy to work with, (and even kept me going in the darkest hours)
* every fellow dev, who gave a word, or played our game!

I could write so much more, but that wouldn't be a developer note anymore, more like a long blog post. So I'll end this here.

Thank you Ludum Dare community! See you next time!

ETC: Soon...

Downloads and Links




rzuf says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 9:24am

;hmm I suppose this is some kind of bug
There is no text at all in the whole game. :P

rzuf says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 9:44am

Ok, nevermind, fount the readme and the font!
PLayed the entire thing. It was nice, a jrpg without exploration, just story and choices. What is your plan on expanding this? No grinding either? It will be also hard to come up with interesting battles with the current mechanics methinks.
Congrats on the game!

Bobsleigh says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 7:20pm

Great game. Impressive graphics, did you do them from scratch? The storyline seems interesting, I want to know what we did wrong! The battle with the Earth Golem felt very generic thought, I think you should drop the two button control if you want to push this further.

sim9 says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 7:59pm

I had a difficult time getting this to run, but I eventually got it working by:

1) Install the font as described in the readme
2) Install RPG Maker XP RTP
3) copy move1.ogg to move.ogg in Audio/SE

Piscythe says ...
Dec 20, 2015 @ 4:51pm

This game has a solid and cohesive graphical environment, an interesting story, and good audio. The only thing it's missing is gameplay. The two-button path choosing might have been better with more interesting choices than "find the key first or the locked door first." Really, there wasn't a point where I understood the impact my actions were going to have on the game. If I get hit by the fireball traps, what happens? Is there a strategy in combat, or do I just hit things until they die? What, if any, impact will my choices have? I'm glad there wasn't grinding, though. As a tech demo, it's excellent, but it needs something else to be a fun game.

Dec 23, 2015 @ 9:05pm

[Lazarus-omin from Creative Sectors]:
@rzuf: Thanks for the kind words and the playthrough!
We definitely didn't plan grinding in this one, but a lot of other stuff was in mind at start. For example, you've mentioned the battle mechanics. Yup, those are pretty much basic, we planed a couple of other buttons in use, for combo possibilities, magic, skills and items. But unfortunately, we run out of time, so none of those are present yet. Bummer. We're kinda happy though that we could even include a single battle. Lesson learned: we need to focus on our schedule.

Dec 23, 2015 @ 9:17pm

[Lazarus-omin from Creative Sectors]:
@Bobsleigh: Thanks for your kind words, and advices.
The "Two button controls" theme was an interesting one, that I really wanted to tackle. Little did I know, how much time will it cost us. My dev partner even warned me about it, but I was too stubborn. My bad, next time I'll be more cautious. However, in a post jam version, we won't have to keep it all the way. (Maybe at some places it could be interesting) Oh, and the secret behind the story is nifty one. :) Stay tuned!

Dec 23, 2015 @ 9:20pm

[Lazarus-omin from Creative Sectors]:
@sim9: Thanks for your work, and play.
As you can see, we managed to repair the flaws, as indicated in the changelog.

Dec 23, 2015 @ 9:45pm

[Lazarus-omin from Creative Sectors]:
@Piscythe: Thank you for your kind and constructive words!

In my opinion, the stuff, first of all needs to be a game to be... a fun game, eh? :)

We planned a lot of interesting choices (in fact: locations, dialogues, mini-games, battles), but we managed to do the work much slower than we excepted. It's scary how those 3 days disappear in an instant, really. It was my first full-timed Ludum Dare, and I'll admit I f*cked up way to much time on some things. Lesson learned, I'll try my best in the next challenge!

To give you some more exact answers: the fireball mini-game would damage you before the battle, and you would start the boss fight with less health obviously. But, a nasty one liner even managed to kill this possibility, as you start the fight with a full HP-bar anyways. So, yeah... Messed up again. Lame.

As I've mentioned before in one of my comments, we planned to use more buttons in battle, for combo, skills, magic, and item combinations. Unfortunately, we don't have those features yet, so it'll take a tonn of work, to make this project into a full-fledged video game. Hence we announced it as more like a tech-demo. I feel that this is the truth.

As for grinding, we didn't planned that.

Thanks again for your questions!

Dec 24, 2015 @ 10:37pm

[ETC from Creative Sectors]
@rzuf: It's a pleasure to see you finally get it working and I feel a little bit better since we finally get rid of game breaking bugs. I think we continue and keep it an interactive fantasy game, with more possibilities on story telling, battles and more interesting decisions.

Dec 25, 2015 @ 5:50pm

[ETC from Creative Sectors]
@Bobsleigh: I see you like this art. I tried to aim for a Commodore 64 visual style: use a 16 color palette (contains the original VIC-II colors: and the graphics are based on RPG Maker XP RTP (RunTime Package) graphics. My original plan was to create a somewhat Commodorish art style on PC as close to the original as possible. Personally I tried to find a solution between the default resolution (640 x 480)and keep the original Commodore 64 limitations. What you can see is a middle ground between the two at halfway, for example: I didn't had enough time to follow the 8x8 cell standard on coloring, while I used the multicolor graphic mode (original: 160 x 200 resolution, and 4 color in one (8x8 size) attribute cell). I still thinks I have to make the graphics more close to the original to have the intentional Commodore 64 feeling both in audio and visual fields.

zenmumbler says ...
Dec 28, 2015 @ 12:31pm

As others have remarked: nice, C64-ish visuals, music got on my nerves a bit quickly. Given that I had no real agency in the game, I skipped most of the dialogue and the battle was also a bit stale. If you develop this further, I would indeed drop the 2-button limitation.

I think you got quite far with the RP part, now just the G part :)

Warboys says ...
Dec 28, 2015 @ 5:45pm

Wow, tons of content, great job on that. Very ambitious project, as an RPG needs a ton of writing and branching choices to really be compelling but there are the seeds of something really cool in here.

Although it's a pain to say, as you had such little time, but a little more variety in the music would make the whole thing a little less repetitive ;) But that's the most obvious advice ever. The boss fight seemed very arbitrary too, I had no idea what would do damage and when. It seemed that pressing Right > Left was the only reliable way to reduce the golem's health bar but that might have just been coincidence.

Once again though, good work!

RE: Slum Runner. I maaaay work more on it. I had another mechanic (access cards) already built but didn't have the time to make levels for it, especially as each level had to continue the story somewhat. Unfortunately the way I built the game (super hacky) made each level a real pain to build, and then with the story interludes I'd have to refactor to allow multi-stage levels or write content between each level for the foreseeable future :P

So we'll see, it depends on how it's received and how much work it will be to probably code the whole thing again and perhaps see if a real artist is interested ;)

kardfogu says ...
Jan 3, 2016 @ 10:27am

Well-well, okay, here we are. This is a huge project, I know that quite well.

First of all, let's skip Overall. It depends on everything else.

Innovation: While the game plays in a unique way, it reminds me of quicktime events. The reason is clear as it is given by the LD theme and at least it's not some "press wrong button for game over" style of thing, but its clearly the weakest point of the game. The implementation is good on the other hand.

Fun: Having fun is subjective for the avarage player. As for myself, I know better, a game can be fun in different ways. It can be action-packed that turns your mind off or relaxing or it can even be something like a good book. This is an RPG and it is best rated similarly to a book. As such, the background and story is as much as you can expect from 72 hours of development, but it has the potential to be more and the characters are quite good.

Theme: 2 button controls, 'nuff said, the theme is correctly implemented.

Graphics: The art style matches the game perfectly, the visuals are not missing anything. It looks like as it is meant to be looking.

Audio: Even better than the graphics, the sounds and the music fit perfectly the art style.

Humor: Again, something slightly subjective, but in a serious RPG the amount of humor this project got is quite close to optimal, so it didn't break the mood.

Mood: As I mentioned, it's quite serious. Politics, black magic and stuff, I love this kind of stuff, the mood was built up, too bad the story was cut short due to the limited amount of development time.

Overall I find this project awesome, I wish I could do something like this within the same timespan...

- Kardfogú

Jan 3, 2016 @ 6:42pm

[Lazarus-omin from Creative Sectors]:
@zenmumbler: Thanks for your kind comment!
Music-wise we had two options: none, or one. I had a couple of songs planned (5-6 sprouts), but we only had time for one. So, that's one thing that went wrong. And yeah, the gameplay is unfortunately kinda' slim, so that's the main aspect, that we need to work on. To have solid "G". :)

Jan 3, 2016 @ 7:12pm

[Lazarus-omin from Creative Sectors]:
@Warboys: Thanks for the kind words!
Nowadays I think, that the idea was way too big for a 3 days game-making event, so yeah, to finish this story properly, tons of content creation will still be needed. That's especially true in the case of music. (Just mentioned that part in my previous comment) The battle is pretty much basic too, but as I've said previously, we planned more buttons, combo & magic possibilities, etc.

Thanks for the info on Slum Runner, I've read your article on it today too. It was a good choice to release it as a Jam entry! :) Best of luck!

Rex Peppers says ...
Jan 3, 2016 @ 8:47pm

Can't play windows games, which sucks because this entry looks really cool!

drinkadriu says ...
Jan 3, 2016 @ 10:01pm

Amazing game I love it

Markus Brand says ...
Jan 3, 2016 @ 10:05pm

nice game. it was more like an "interactive story", you had barely a few decisions to make, but thats the best way to make an rpg two-button-controlled. Good work overall, but maybe dont try an rpg for two-button-control-theme next time :D

Moebius says ...
Jan 3, 2016 @ 11:10pm

Nice game. Very retro - brought back some good memories of my old C64. Also nice to see the Giana Sister's loading thingy again! :)

Jan 3, 2016 @ 11:13pm

[Lazarus-omin from Creative Sectors]:
@kardfogu: Thanks for the meaningful comment Dude! :)

Yeah, we have some quicktime eventish stuff in place, because they don't need a lot of buttons, and if they are planned right, can become fun interaction points. There are a couple of games, that prove that. Unfortunately, skim content, or story makes things duller, and slower, so we'll be more careful with decisions like this.

Obviously, we could show only the first segment of a much greater story, and that's quite the shame, as we've prepared a lot of interesting stuff. However, a post jam version can fix that.

Graphics-wise we can do some adjustments to emulate the Commodore-era standards even more properly. ETC mentioned that in one of his comments above.

I'm a little disappointed in our music department, as I've only managed to write one song, because we ran out of time. I had a lot of ideas.

Humor-wise we didn't go too far, everything went, as expected.

We aimed at a lil' darker, more serious tone, and we managed to keep it under control, but again, with more content, more of the story, it could've been better.

I appreciate your comment pal, and wish you best of luck!

Jan 3, 2016 @ 11:22pm

[Lazarus-omin from Creative Sectors]:
@Rex Peppers: That's a pity. What about some Windows emulation?

Jan 4, 2016 @ 9:23pm

[Lazarus-omin from Creative Sectors]:
@drinkadriu: Thanks for your kind words!

Jan 4, 2016 @ 9:28pm

[Lazarus-omin from Creative Sectors]:
@Markus Brand: Thanks for your comment!
We too gave it's style the "interactive-story" appellation in our description. The "Two button controls" theme is a pretty big challenge in some genres, but in our case it was worthy of a try, I think.

Jan 4, 2016 @ 9:37pm

[Lazarus-omin from Creative Sectors]:
@Moebius: Thanks for your kind comment!
The Commodore-era was an outstanding opportunity, so I feel lucky, that I could be a part of it as a child, every time, it pops up. I guess, it was a main reason, that my focus turned to game development. As for the Giana Diamond: we're sneaky lil' bastards. :D I'm glad someone even noticed that part!

Jan 4, 2016 @ 10:36pm

Given that my game is also a C64 parody, I appreciated this. (I even already had the font downloaded! Ha!!) Very charming graphics. The music got irritating fast, though if it wasn't looping for ten minutes I'd love it.

Jan 4, 2016 @ 10:41pm

[Lazarus-omin from Creative Sectors]:
@Thingo Studios: Thanks for your kind words!
Yeah, the decision about the music was problematic. Either we go without any, or make at least one tune. We decided at the latter.

NirabazGAMES says ...
Jan 4, 2016 @ 10:48pm

+ nice atmosphere
+ good idea

srakowski says ...
Jan 5, 2016 @ 12:24am

Well done! Great story telling and graphics/audio to boot.

mf1214 says ...
Jan 5, 2016 @ 12:37am

Nice game! Well done art and storyline.

IAmSpencer says ...
Jan 5, 2016 @ 1:51am

man, I love the look and feel of this game, great job!

will definitely continue playing this in times of boredom :)

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