Ludum Dare 36 — August 26th-29th, 2016 — Theme: Ancient Technology

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by MarekkPie - Competition Entry

Build the most technologically advanced fleet in all of Greece in TRIREME, a fast-paced shipbuilding sim! Take a ship spec and build it quickly to earn points.


How to play

A trireme is made up on individual ship sections: the front, middle sections with or without a sail, and the tail. Once an order comes in, you start working from front to tail, following the on-screen instructions to make the necessary materials for each section. Your active section will be highlighted yellow underneath it in the work order, and will turn green on completion. Each work item in a section requires one material to start (either a tree or a sail). Complete all the sections to finish the order and earn bonus points.

​Tip: Don't forget to check which color the sail is and apply the correct paint prior to painting!​



Uses the PICO-8 control scheme

(O) - Z,C,N
(X) - X,V,M
Directions - Arrow keys


Note: the source is in the .p8 file you can download at the bottom of the Web link. If you have PICO-8, just open the file. Otherwise, just open it in any text editor; it'll be at the top of the file under the "__lua__" section.





* Swapped (O) and (X) to /actually/ reflect how they are written in the PICO-8 documentation (d'oh);
* It was possible with luck and really fast fingers to overflow the score (PICO-8 numbers only go to 32k). Reduced ship-length score multiplier, but added bonus points for each sail section;

Downloads and Links


Traf d-Lo says ...
Aug 28, 2016 @ 7:12pm

I like the look and the tune but couldn't quite understand the controls!

SmallPhil says ...
Aug 28, 2016 @ 9:30pm

The concept seems really neat, but it's quite confusing :/
Still a good game though :)

Dedioso says ...
Aug 28, 2016 @ 10:19pm

I like the graphics and the arrow based gameplay. But when the arrows got more complicated (rails) I started pressing any keys.
Pretty good game. Thanks!

MarekkPie says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 12:18am

@Dedioso: You need to check which color the sail is and apply that color to your paintbrush prior to painting. I'll add a tip to the description, and might see about making that more clear if I have time! Thanks for your feedback.

manabreak says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 4:12am

Neat concept, but definitely took me a while to understand how it works. I didn't get very far in it... Solid work nevertheless. :)

LoneSpelunker says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 4:31am

Interesting mechanic. I'm a sucker for a PICO-8 game, and this was fun to try out. I'd love to see this fleshed out more. Some things that I'd like to see:

* Larger instructions. The arrow key graphics are a little hard to parse, especially when animated. There's plenty of room for gorgeous pixel art on the stage.

* Have the ships do something. Maybe ships are sailing your way, and your ships fight them. The goal is to push the enemy off the left of the screen with your own ships. Larger ships can deal more damage and last longer, but take longer to make, and small ships are quick to make but do less damage.

* A cursor showing where you are on the ship. I think those little dots underneath *sort of* do that, but it seems like you have to do multiple things for some dots, and it felt a little confusing. (Luckily, the onscreen instructions help zip through that.)

Overall, a fun little diversion. Enjoyed it.

jakatpemadi says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 7:26am

Yeah, I also need time to understand how it works. Great work in the graphic and music! It's fun to play. Thanks!

slam_nine says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 8:15am

I agree with the other comments, the controls were a bit confusing at first playthrough. Sounds and visuals are great, though, and it's a fun game after getting the controls right.

peterthehe says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 9:46am

Really nice art and sound. Could've done with more of a tutorial - I found myself mashing my keyboard to work out the controls!

SamuelSousa says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 11:10am

Lovely art and music!
Had to press Z to start...

Not sure i GET IT! Found myself just hit the keys and see if something happened.

tomer_cool says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 2:24pm

Cool game I love the idea and the graphics.

RhythmLynx says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 2:50pm

Very pretty! I like the frantic button mashing, especially when the clock is low. Getting a bigger bonus for completing a bigger ship is nice, but getting a small ship right at the end is much better because there's chance you might finish it in time. Maybe make it more likely for small ships when the timer is low? Overall I really like it, but like others have said it took a couple tries before I fully understood the controls.

MarekkPie says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 3:57pm

@LoneSpelunker: thanks for the detailed feedback! Other than random tinkering, this was my first heavy use of PICO-8.

* Agreed. The arrows (and buttons) are glyphs that the PICO developer added in to represent PICO-8's "controller," but there's a lot of confusion about it (especially that (X)=keyboard Z). As far as pixel art, it wasn't until less than two hours to go that I knew there were more than 64 potential sprites! Would have been so much prettier if I knew I had more sprite space!

* The concept is based off a game called "Cook, Serve, Delicious," where you are a chef taking orders from customers. I didn't want the player to have to make decisions; I just wanted twitchy action. There's probably room to make that connect to it being ship "orders" visually.

* You're right, that's what the dots are showing. White=not complete, yellow=currently working on, green=completed.

MarekkPie says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 4:01pm

@RhythmLynx: I noticed this, too, after playing it a bunch. Given perfect play, your score seems highly dependent on whether your first ship (the one you are most likely to complete) is big (as the bonus is dependent on the size of the ship).

justinooncx says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 8:00pm

Took me a moment to figure out what to do and what was going on, but I caught on after a while. A pretty interesting and fast-paced game when going against the clock. Well done!

uvwar says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 11:06pm

hello fellow trireme related game!

Took me a while to figure out what was even going on, but it was cool! Like some other people said I think if the UI was rearranged and enlarged it could help(theres a good amount of 'unused' space, and stuff like the island doesn't really need to be there, etc.) Nice simple music!

steph88 says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 8:19am

Hi, nice game and congratulations ! Simple mechanics that still offered a decent amount of challenge.We're realizing a video with several games of the Ludum Dare #36. We made the same thing at the previous jam.

Can you add your game on ? (it's free)
So we can include also your game in the video ;)
p.s. write #LDJAM in the game's description. (you can already find several games from the jam there)

Lonely Vertex says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 9:16am

It was hard to understand the controls but once I got it it was really fun, good simple game.

Aug 30, 2016 @ 1:54pm

Really nice little game! I included it in my compilation video series of Ludum Dare 36 games, if you’d like to take a look :)

NEETsoftLD says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 4:56pm

Pretty fun little game, best part is the boats slowly crossing as you complete ships.

johnbjuice says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 5:31pm

What a fun little game! Love the little touches, the art is fantastic. It's cute, and the logo is very cool.

Very twitchy! Not much else to say that hasn't been said. Very good job!

High Score - 22090

MarekkPie says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 5:36pm


crazyrems says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 7:47pm

23.657 pts! That is a hard SmashTheButttons game.

publicidadeba says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 3:47am

I guess you have to redo the control :( But the music was cool

Gipzo says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 9:33am

Sounds, music is fine. Graphics is simple, but it fits. Mechanics is very good: simple and fun. :)

Some endgame screen with ability to start again wouldn't hurt.

Sean says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 2:03pm

Nice entry! I found the painting part to be really frustrating though, because everything else is button mashing I pretty much always picked a colour accidentally when finishing the previous step. My high score was 18620 points.

I think you mixed up the buttons btw; The PICO-8 "O" and "X" buttons are usually mapped to "Z" and "X", not the other way around. It's still a bit confusing that Z is O, but at least X is X!

MarekkPie says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 2:35pm

@Sean: derp.

Just looked at the manual again. I'll swap it when I get off work this evening.

Smiley says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 5:18pm

nice work on the graphics but I didn't understand the controls at all.. just pressing all the keys on the keyboard.

monkeybit29 says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 7:21pm

really wish that the circles were the arrows that you were supposed to push, and that there was a "game over" sort of state. Other than that, dug the music and art style, nice job!

Sep 1, 2016 @ 1:56am

Wow, nice game! Like a lot of people here, I was a little confused at first, but then I got it. I think if you ramped up the difficulty by giving easier ships first and then getting more and more complex ship orders you could teach the player more gradually. Right now, the player is really thrown in the deep end.

Good use of the PICO-8 graphics and sound. Great job!

wilsk says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 9:37am

I think my neighbours are complaining to the police due to all the button mashing :) thanks.

Four Quarters says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 2:54pm

Nice graphics)
Nice sound effects and music)
Hard to understand controls for the first time, but second...)

g12345 says ...
Sep 4, 2016 @ 1:10pm

I've played it a couple of time.

I like how confusing the player gets at first play... I guess it must be intentional. :)

Also, nice graphics and idea. I still think making a PICO-8 within 48 hours is a lot of work, and it's a nice job you did.

And I've managed to build 2 ships within the time limit too! Especially with half the ships being 8 length, that's quite an achievement! :)

If you still want to improve, I'd probably try to make the game a bit more focused... for example by replacing all those lights by 1 arrow showing the yellow light position, tell the user the real keys instead of the pico-8 buttons, change the timer or ships lengths so that you can finish 4-6 ships in a run.

But even now, it's a nice game. Well done!

charlesbaby says ...
Sep 19, 2016 @ 12:51pm

Fun idea! Very impressed that you got music and sound effects in there - I ran out of time to do that >_>

Oct 28, 2016 @ 4:34pm

I also included your game in an article of my favorites as well as awarded a trophy to your profile! :)

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