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

Reach For the Surface

by EMPBomber - Jam Entry

Collect seeds, grow plants, and climb to the surface. But you only have two buttons to control with!

F to select and perform action.
J toggles selection.
Hold J to pause.

This was my first time participating in a Ludum Dare. I don't know exactly what to put for a reflection, but through the stress and crunch of the hours in development, I enjoyed myself.

The mechanics came from the question of how to make a character do many things while using only two keys to play with. My solution was a menu in which one button toggles between the actions and the other performs the action. "Growing" was directly inspired from plants, and the quest to go up.

While I have done some projects in Unity and Adobe programs, this was the first time I productively used SFXR and used a tool like Bosca Ceoil to write a song. It turned out better than expected. Although for next time I make music, I will brush up on music theory.

Thanks for viewing my game.

Created in Unity. Visuals created with Illustrator and Photoshop. Audio created with Bosca Ceoil, Audacity, and SFXR.

Downloads and Links




Outbreak says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 6:07am

Fun Game! Well done!

Erlend Aakre says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 6:08am

Great graphics, music and execution, clever adherence to the "two buttons" theme, but it does make controlling the character a bit tedious after a while. Definitely very nicely done for a first LD entry!

Kuality Games says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 6:09am

had fun, but I got stuck on the right side of the level

Outbreak says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 6:25am

Fun Game! Well done!

Dec 15, 2015 @ 7:07pm

Interesting idea! I think it was hindered by the two-button theme though. The growing aspect alone is really interesting, but the two-button controls really made it feel slow and tedious

WASDMagician says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 7:09pm

Enjoyable, I did hae a problem with selecting the options in the vertical menu, it would occaisinally skip an option for no apparent reason, the horizontal menu (plant tree type) worked okay though.

elliottd says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 7:22pm

super awkward controls, like programming a VCR. Good job

EMPBomber says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 7:44pm

Thanks for all the feedback. I'll be sure to give your games a try when I can.

Nizar89 says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 8:05pm

Very interesting but a bit laborious to play.

mikedurn says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 9:13pm

Fun and interesting use of the two button control and growing themes. I think it would be even more fun with more buttons.

LavWa says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 3:13am

Great artworks, interesting use of both of the themes. Nice job :)

Dec 16, 2015 @ 3:37am

really cool and interesting game but it needs more buttons damned theme...

publicidadeba says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 12:43am

Cool concept and nice music, but the two button thing worked against you guys, otherwise awesome

Astro Cat says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 4:32pm

Cool idea, I liked this game!

zenmumbler says ...
Dec 29, 2015 @ 11:11am

This is a good game handicapped by the menu-based controls.

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]