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

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by TheMonsterFromTheDeep - Compo Entry

Fellowship is a game where you are a wizard with a purple top hat who thought he could travel back in time and create copies of himself but ended up only being able to magically bring boxes, bridges, and springs into being from another dimension.

Essentially, I started with an idea where I thought I would make the single control send you back in time, but rather, I ended up making it so you could build stuff.

The name came from the theme that sadly didn't make it past slaughter - "fellowship of the whatever."

As it is, I started the whole project when the theme read "One button control", so that's the one I based it off of. If you like, my second button is the mouse pointer.

This is my first Ludum Dare entry to:
-Have music
-Be winnable
-Be losable
-Have levels
-Play at an almost sane pace
--> I really need to get better at optimization: My game takes up the entirety of 120 * 90 pixels at its raw resolution, and yet it runs slower than like any other game I've played.

NOTE: THE GAME CAN BE RESIZED. Maybe next time I'll have it start maximized.

The only real control is clicking; the menus in the game are self-explanatory.

(This is also my first game to have real menus)

Additional controls:
R -> Reset level (never necessary)
P -> Pause level

Known bugs / things:
-The last level will no longer be unlocked once played. This is because the integer that stores the highest unlocked level will then have the value of 18, but to check if the last level is unlocked, the game only checks if said integer equals 17, rather than if it is greater than or equal to 17. The last level can be played again by playing level 16 or by changing the number in "fellowship-save.txt" to 17.
-"fellowship-save.txt" is saved in the RUNNING directory of Java - so for some linux distros, this is by default something like the root folder or something (I'm not really sure - I don't use linux yet) but so if you want to make sure the file is saved in the same directory as the jar file, run the game using the java command from the command line while inside the directory with the jar file.

EDIT: I've uploaded a post-compo version of the game.
Right now it:
-Is more standalone: no longer requires a library file
-Has a fully working level select screen
-Has two command line arguments: size and difficulty. Size is an integer specifying screen size. 5 is the default. Difficult is an integer representing how slow the game should go. 1 is the default. 2 will make it go half as fast. 3 will make it go one-third as fast.

To use the command line arguments, do java -jar Fellowship (Post-Compo).jar <size> <difficulty>

EDIT 2: If you want to have a sort of "walkthrough" of the game, watch this:

Downloads and Links




blohod says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 6:47am

very nice, love the graphics and sound, not quite a sane pace though.

tweedle says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 5:33am

Cool concept! Good use of the theme.
I like the building mechanic, but holy hell it got tough quick!

piper82 says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 5:34am

after a few tries i had to do aim warmup. challenge accepted :) well thought our mechanics. very fun.

Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:00pm

Yeah, when doing the whole building thing I originally thought it would be pretty boring. But it turns out that even with just five buildable objects there is still a lot that can be done!

A little cheat: holding down the mouse will automatically build new blocks when it touches them. This works really well for the jumping-lava-gap-span-thing.

SoulBound says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 1:52am

Fun and challenging. The music is repetitive but it works well with this fast paced game.

micky says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 2:12am

nice little game :) great job

Dec 16, 2015 @ 4:06am

Yeah, the music was a rush job... I made it using BeepBox ( and just figured it was good enough. :)

The game music is slightly more complicated than the menu music - the menu music is something like a 4 or 8 second loop or something.

XtremePrime says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 9:35pm

Interesting concept and quite fun to play! As other people said, it does get insanely hard quickly!

intchanter says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 10:18pm

Relentless, frantic, punishing.

MemoryLeek says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 11:34pm

Wow. Great idea, great execution. Really fun, addicting, and challenging. I couldn't make it past stage 3 even after what felt like 30 tries or more. Still I love it. Great job.

dkilford says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 12:53am

The concept that you went with is cool, but there's a few tweaks you could have done to make the game much more approachable.

Clicking on the white blocks was really difficult because the camera snaps around so much, if you added a little bit of smoothing on it, the controls would feel less frustrating.

You also started introducing new mechanics and ideas while the player is under a lot of pressure, and often after tricky sections. It's always a good idea to introduce a new concept in a safe environment so the player doesn't freak out and stop.

Overall good attempt though, it's clear you put a lot of hard work into the game!

Dec 19, 2015 @ 1:01am

The first four levels were supposed to be the introductory levels. I'll say that number four wasn't very easy, but I thought the other three were moderately beatable. ;)

The point of the level design, of course, was to be very tricky and creative. There are three things you can build: solid blocks, bridges, and spring-jumper-things. So, of course, the first thing I did with the introduction of bridges is make it so that a bridge had to be un-built - this was the first real little trick. Level 4 brought more of these - for example, the player has to jump over one of the pre-built springs such as not to be launched into lava.

I really did want to make the controls less of a mess, but I really didn't have a good way to - the camera tracks the player, and that's really that. I don't really know how that could be improved - suggestions would be much appreciated. :) The controls are slightly less frustrating if you use a little trick - holding down the mouse button. This means you don't have to aim *and* click, you just have to aim.

fauge says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 2:10am

pretty good game, would recammend having more time before it starts and not just instant. Look into the game engine libgdx, it will run better and be easier to port to other platforms.

Masuno says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 2:34am

Pretty fun, but yeah, it's hard. I thought the pacing was alright, but I didn't like how small the targets are. When it comes to needing fast-paced action, requiring precision, especially early in a such a game, is not quite... welcoming to a player.

I'd suggest either making the allowed click area for the targets to be a bit bigger, or doing something to be a bit more player friendly in the early game.

I also couldn't give you a high score in the Theme. Why...?


...Either way, it's a good game, even if it's really unnecessarily hard, and I didn't let the theme screwup (Though, I must say. I didn't catch when it said "One button control," nor have I seen anything relating to that.) affect the overall score in any way. Keep it up.

Dec 19, 2015 @ 3:15am

Goes quite a bit too fast, hard to readjust to click oncoming things with such a small resolution. Maybe could be scaled down to better see what's coming up. Otherwise, nifty graphics and the sounds/music fit nicely. Good work.

Dec 19, 2015 @ 3:43am

@Masuno: I really don't know what happened with the theme. I could swear that the first day it said "One button controls" in the little box on the website. In fact, my original idea, as I said, was to have a SINGLE BUTTON that sent the player back in time. No other controls. Maybe I was really tired? (Like, really tired)

Of course, I'm not really expecting to get a high score in the theme anyways. I figured that would happen once I later learned the theme was actually two button controls.

Or you can pretend that there are actually two controls - build and destroy. :P Yes, it isn't two *buttons*, but it is two controls!


In general, I may be updating this game in a post-compo version that improves a few things. I am incredibly NIH, and as such, I will never use a third party library for Ludum Dare, but I will definitely work on optimizing my stuff.

If I do release a new version, I will attempt to do the following things:
-Make controls easier / better
-Make difficulty controls (different speeds)
-Improve game play consistency (less lag)
-Fix small bugs (level select screen)

thesnake91 says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 7:39am

this is awesome, and it's even better that you're using java libraries rather than unity or such.

Bumblepie says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 7:40am

I really enjoyed the creativity of this game, the idea behind it was really great, and the simple graphics didn't detract from the gameplay. However, the camera movement really made it difficult to click on things, as the mouse's position in the world would change as the player moved. In particular, there were some sections where you had to click as the player was in the air, which was extremely difficult. This could be addressed by either slowing down the gameplay a bit, or giving the player some leeway before the camera starts following him.

Dec 19, 2015 @ 7:51am

Ah - so if the camera sort of had a little lag behind the player (especially in gravity) it would be easier to play?

I'm still not sure what to do, then, to make the controls easier in terms of horizontal direction - as the player only ever loses horizontal velocity when touching a wall.

Right now, it still is very easy to do those vertical jumps if you know they are there simply by holding down the mouse button where the object will appear - the object will be automagically built as soon as the mouse touches its little box.

nlbi21 says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 8:04am

I like it, nice game bro gj.

shar says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 8:27am

gj, nice game! Really hard tho

Scipio Xaos says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 10:36pm

Hey. Wish I could play, but I get the following exception when I run the game. Looks like you're doing something with your sound that's not working properly:

Dec 19, 2015 @ 10:45pm

Unfortunately very difficult to play because the screen moves around too fast. This would be greatly improved by adding a button to toggle the character's movement. Cool idea (reminds me of lemmings), but I'm not sure how it relates to the theme.

canary40 says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 11:54pm

game doesn't run for me on Windows (A Java exception has occurred with no other windows popping up when clicking jar)

Dec 20, 2015 @ 4:16am

Yeah, one Windows computer I've tested it on didn't work.

I'm still looking into the issue with the audio exception - however, it's impossible for me to know if I've fixed it or not.

If it doesn't work on your computer, can you please give me whatever information possible about why it failed? It may be due to something simple, like the wrong version of Java, or something more complicated.

luysse_l says ...
Dec 20, 2015 @ 6:05pm

nice idea, nice work man

hyperscope says ...
Dec 21, 2015 @ 4:49pm

I found it rather difficult to click the empty block at times which was rather frustrating because the mechanic itself was incredibly simple. First thought was it might be a good idea to wait for user input before starting the players movement. Enjoyed the graphics and music good work!

tazdij says ...
Dec 28, 2015 @ 8:22pm

I really enjoyed this game.

tazdij says ...
Dec 28, 2015 @ 8:23pm

Oh and the game mechanic is really cool.

Haokarlos says ...
Jan 4, 2016 @ 9:12am

Like the graphics and the sounds. Cool mechanics

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