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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Grow From Earth

by JamesMowery - Compo Entry

This is my FIRST attempt at making a game.

The theme is that you're planting a seed, and attempting to grow it, all while avoiding the platforms to go higher and gathering sun to maintain your speed. My total time on this project was around 9 hours, with about 3+ hours spent trying to learning the Phaser. I also started over from scratch halfway through.

======================== CONTROLS =========================

Use Left & Right keyboard to control the seed to avoid the platforms and collect sun tokens.

When you run into a sun token, you will maintain the current speed of the game (scoring was added in Post LD).

If you fail to collect "Sun" tokens, the game speeds up. Miss enough of these, and the game will be significantly more difficult to impossible.

Note: I added an improved version, but the Ludum Dare final version is, of course, available, and it is what is what you are playing above. (Access the improved version by clicking "Web (Post Ludum Dare)" link below.

====================== POST MORTEM ========================

I really enjoyed participating in my first Ludum Dare and making my first game. I only wish I had more time to flesh out the idea and to refine the game, as I know it's not really innovative or terribly fun as it is.

What I didn't get a chance to add that I really wanted to:

- Instructions (Added Instructions in Post LD)
- Skip intro/press play functionality (to break out of the menu faster)
- Game Over / Victory screen (if you get a score of 100, the game just randomly ends)
- An end-of-game score reminder (Added in Post LD)
- A nice looking "stem" for the seed/plant, that would draw itself and leave itself on the screen. Didn't figure this out on time.
- Audio/Music (Added Sound in Post LD)
- Random widths of the platforms (to sometimes make it easier and more challenging to slide through
- Checks on the platform logic to ensure you wouldn't get into a situation that was impossible (if you were doing well).
- Optimizations: The game isn't optimized, but I'm sure that if I did it, the game would run a lot smoother.

What I did figure out that I was proud of accomplishing:

- The Phaser framework; I figured out the basics, and after I spent a lot of time figuring this out, I got to get into creating the actual game
- Touch, mouse, and keyboard support - the touch bit was tricky, but I figured it out in the end
- Adding the Sun, collectable, system, which was something unique to these styles of games
- Ability for the game to speed up and increase the difficulty — it's very hackish with out I did it, but I got that part done to make it more of a challenge

I know the game isn't pretty, unique, or interesting, but if you look at it from a perspective of someone who was actually learning how to do this as I went along — along with the fact that I only had less than 10 hours to work on it, then maybe you can see through the extremely rough edges.

====================== TOOLS USED =========================

- Phaser Javascript Framework
- Atom
- Pixelmator
- GitHub

======================= UPDATES ===========================

- 12/14/2015: I cleaned up the comments in the code, and also split out the files to make them more easily readable for anyone from Ludum Dare to have a look. I also removed two assets that were not used.
- 12/17/2015: If you click on the "Web (Post Ludum Dare)" link below, you'll find the improved version of the game. I added a "game over" score screen, included some silly sound effects that I recorded, reduced the starting game speed, and tweaked the scoring. I also included the branch to the improved source code as well.
- 12/18/2015: I added a tip to the main menu (for the controls), locked in a 4:3 aspect ratio (so that the game can be more easily used on other devices) and made changes to the placement of assets to accommodate that, enabled support for high-DPI displays, removed an unnecessary attempt to load an asset (the asset was removed), and removed a physics rope effect on the stem in the hope to optimize the performance a bit (as the game stutters every once in awhile, more so on mobile).

Downloads and Links




rantt says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 4:09am

Pretty creative use of both themes. Congrats on finishing your first game. I enjoyed it. Nicely done :)

RhythmLynx says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 5:39am

For a first game in just a few hours this is really good! Congrats, well done.

Elenesski says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 8:52am

good idea. Found it hard to control. Perhaps the position of the mouse could help guide it's direction rather than the movement of the mouse. Overall I found it moved too quickly. Try it at 1/2 the speed then speed it up?

JamesMowery says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 10:19am

@Elenesski Good point about the mouse controls. I probably should have left them out to be honest. I was just wanting to cover as many people as possible (including on the off chance there was anyone who might have difficulties with a disability or anything like that). But definitely the preferred way to go is with the left & right keyboard keys (or on a touch screen).

I'd definitely tweak the speed. I actually wanted to add bar that would fill up showing you how much faster the game was running if you didn't pick up the collectables.

Thanks so much for the feedback.

And thank you rantt & RhythmLynx for the kind words!

hexagore says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 6:15pm

This was your first game? Congrats! :D

jackycute says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 6:41am

Keep it up! Good work!

jackrugile says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 6:53am

Very nicely done! I'm so glad you're getting into game development and can't wait to see what you make in the compos to come.

Dec 15, 2015 @ 7:01am

Congrats on what you accomplished in such a short time ;) tis cool to see that your first game was part of LD :P and this was a good use of the themes too.

zamotany says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:12am

Tip for the future, can be buggy. Overall good work!

Dec 15, 2015 @ 1:57pm

I think the difficulty level could increase a bit more slowly, but overall very well done for a first game! Congrats!

LoneStranger says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 2:32am

Interesting 'reversal' where the sun keeps the speed instead of growing the plant. I was so focused on playing the game, I never got to see my final score, but you already know it needs a reminder for it. Good job on your first game.

psychonull says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 3:38am

Good use of theme. Simple and fun game. Well done!

ruerob says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 4:39am

Great for a first game and the time you did it! Great work!

pjimmy says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 2:02pm

quite entertaining, congratulations on your first attempt :)

LeReveur says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 12:43am

The most important thing is that you managed to finish a working game in so less time, for a first LD it's very positive !
You can improve it with a very little thing : find a way to keep the score somewhere visible when the player lose. ;)

JamesMowery says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 2:49am

Hi everyone. Thanks so much for the great feedback. I've taken in consideration a lot of the comments, and I have added an improved version with sound effects, a game over screen, and some tweaks to the game speed. You can access this under the "Web (Post Ludum Dare)" link.

Thanks so much for checking out my game!

SoulBound says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 6:07am

Very creative. It gets a bit to difficult later on but I like your implementation of the theme.

Kenneth Ng says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 6:18am

Would make a really fun mobile game! Graphics got more and more choppy the faster I went up.

Dec 18, 2015 @ 10:58am

That's really impressive for your first project and the amount of time you had. My greed made me want to keep collecting the sunlight heh

Xeke_Death says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 10:58am

Good work for a first game, and learning the framework... It took someone else telling me that the mouse controls were based on screen position rather than seed position before I got that...

Dec 19, 2015 @ 6:34am

quite good for 9 hours and first time! controls felt very tight.

Sir Magic says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 8:37am

Nice use of both themes and it works on mobile :)

Dec 19, 2015 @ 9:19am

Procedural generation could use a bit of work. Please make sure that getting suns is possible. Adding more sounds would help with the game's feel. A good first attempt.

Galvesmash says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 6:45pm

You should be proud of this game! For a first game, knowing you had to learn all those things, you made a lot! You choose something simple to make and you do it! Congrats, I hope you continue to learn and make more games!

Dec 20, 2015 @ 12:16am



xaedes says ...
Dec 21, 2015 @ 9:35am

both theme fits very well. its interesting to the growing concept of a seedling with this gameplay. gj

Dec 22, 2015 @ 4:48am

Pretty good! My high score was around 15, I think... I'm not sure because it disappears when you die. :)

I always need more time to really finish my Ludum Dare games too, but it's still a lot of fun to program or learn something completely new and then share it with other people.

Vosvek says ...
Dec 23, 2015 @ 2:41am

Managed to score 39 (and 97 on post-Dare)! :D

An entertaining game that reminds me of Flappy Bird's rogue-scoring gameplay.

Any changes that I would have made have already been made on the post-Dare version (namely the game over screen). The audio on the post-Dare version is also hilariously entertaining, and the gradually speeding-up gameplay makes it fun to play.

Congrats on both your first game, and first dare! I hope you continue developing, and return for the next dare. :D

publicidadeba says ...
Dec 23, 2015 @ 3:44am

Used both themes! Got 5/5 on themes :)

themadknights says ...
Jan 4, 2016 @ 10:45am

Nice use of themes. I miss audio in the game for create a better mood, but good work.

Happy to see a Phaser Developer

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