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

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by Ebriosus - Jam Entry

It is the mid 1400s, and you are a portly, bearded man named Glutenburg who just opend up a print shop. Egads! A customer already!? She wants you to print several notes for her. Be sure to finish them all in time, though - you don't want people walking away from your services!


How to play:
- Look at the blackboard, check the numbers and their color
- Add the numbers that are the same color together, now you know how many plates you need in each color to make
- Collect ink needed to make plates. Hold down the left Shift button to see the ink-to-plate conversion chart
- Once you have the needed ink, go to the Type O' Matic and press Space to create the plates. Now it's time to create the customer's print!
- Go to the printing press and press Space to produce the customer's print
- Take the print and give it to the customer. Congrats!

Keep in mind:
- Glutenburg's Belly bar at the top-left slowly decrease. Once it's completely depleted, you lose a Rest. If you lose all your Rests, it's a lost customer, a.k.a. Game Over!


- Up, Down, Left, and Right move Glutenburg
- Space is the action button
- Tab changes the screen size
- Esc brings you back to the title screen
- Holding down the left Shift show the ink-to-plate chart


Everything but the blurry font by Ebriosus.

Downloads and Links


SketchyGalore says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 5:17am

I really loved the artwork! And the tutorial at the beginning felt very well-made. It took me a little while to figure out exactly how things worked, and I did notice that it was possible to be given a situation where there simply wasn't enough ink to complete a level, but it was still a neat idea and a great use of the theme!

steph88 says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 8:18am

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)

yotam180 says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 7:29pm

Hey there!

Nice game you have made! I love the background music and the cheap style art! The gameplay is cool, not too hard but not too easy either! The costumer looks a bit annoying tho :P Looks a bit needy

Anyways, cool game!

Strike says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 6:05am

At first, I felt there was too many explanations during the tutorial part. I couldn't understand anything I was reading because I had no idea what the game was about and I couldn't make any connection. Then I played my first game, and the first challenge was to understand at which position I was supposed to stand to interact with the different things. Then I went back to read the description to get a better understanding of how to play. I was under the impression that I could lose by not providing the right amount of ink or plates. It's because this game reminded me at first of all these games where you have to prepare sandwiches and you have to make sure you put the right ingredients or cook them for the right duration. Then I realised I only had to camp at the bottom left to farm ink, go to the pie when the belly is near to empty. Repeat 3 times until I have lots of ink. Go to the Type O'Matic to smash the space bar as fast as possible to produce as many plates as possible. Go to the press and voila ! In the end, the requirement for the print seem pretty useless.

I felt a bit disappointed because that seems a bit boring. But I can see you put a lot of effort into this game. Art style is really great, I like the background music, you used the theme really well and tried to make something original. I might have totally misunderstood your intention and the way to play the game. If it's the case please tell me, I'd be happy to pay your game again. You have done a great job after all.

dissonent says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 6:25am

I love the art, it's so cute. However, I felt the gameplay was needlessly complicated. Often times I found myself simply waiting for the ink and in the end I just gave up after needing to make 13 blue plates and only having blue ink come up 1/3 of the time.

I reaaaaally love the art though, it's super cute.

dissonent says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 6:29am

On my second attempt, I had to get 18 blue text plates, meaning I had to wait for 72 blue inks to show up with (I think) only 3 available pies.

HellBlazer says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 6:51am

That's a very interesting and original use of the theme. Unfortunately though, the gameplay itself seems to boil down to just waiting for ink to spawn, and that's... well, not that interesting.

I don't know if I'm just unlucky, but it always seems to ask me for a ton of blue ink too, and that's the one that seems to spawn the slowest. On my first attempt, I needed 44 bottles of blue ink, and I starved before I even had a chance to collect that many.

Anyway, the idea of a printing press shop "simulator" seems solid, but I would change how the ink collecting works to be more skill-based, rather than just depending on waiting and hoping for lucky spawns. I kinda like the frantic math aspect, maybe it could be something to do with that... Like, mix the correct proportions of certain ingredients to make the ink, but you have to be precise. I don't know, just some thoughts if you wish to develop the idea further.

Anyway, I don't mean to be too negative, it's certainly a good effort for a game jam, with cute graphics too! I just think it has more potential. :)

Daniel says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 3:10pm

Nice art style, I did like the idea but I feel that it was a bit complicated, the blue ink which I needed more didn't appear as often I guess because its more rare or something, but good idea for a game well done

Ebriosus says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 1:47am

@Strike Thank you for your comment. I appreciate that you felt this passionately about the game. It's a little long to write the reasons in the comments section, so it seems like I'll have to make some sort of post-mortem for the game.

Ebriosus says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 1:50am

@dissonent @HellBlazer @Daniel @SketchyGalore I'm glad you guys liked the art of the game. I am aware of the blue ink problem. Did you know you can get four blue 7's in a row on the blackboard, totaling 112 blue ink bottles? lol. The reason's too long for the comments section, so I need to create a post-mortem for the game.

Ebriosus says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 1:52am

@yotam180 Glad you liked the game. I was trying to make her all stuck-up and entitled. I guess it kinda worked? rofl

tmpxyz says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 3:58am

The art style is quite great, remind me of the good old GBA games.

But the gameplay is a little long and repetitive. I didn't finish the first level as it takes too much time to wait and collect the ink bottles. Or maybe I misunderstood how to play the game?

johnasebok says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 4:03am

This would work well as an educational game for math.

With that being said... I failed. My first 2 plate assignments both required an impossible to get amount of ink in one color of another. It was sad to see Gutenburg starve, but he looks like he could miss a few meals :P.

I enjoyed the art work and the math-esque theme and music did make me think of a game I might see at the library or in a school.

cottontrek says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 4:29am

I liked this one! I think the gameplay, especially with the possibilities of your theme could use a bit more strategy (but, to be fair there's only so much complexity you can add to a game during a short game jam!). The art is cute too - the whole game has a nice atmosphere to it.

I really love the theme in particular though, it's pretty unique and I think you could be on to something!

genluck says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 4:38am

This is a really aesthetic game. I really enjoyed the art(especially Mr. Glutenburg), and the music. A few little things I liked was the different floor patterns between zones, the angry customer, and the belly meter. The floor patterns help with tutorialization. The tutorial was a bit long winded to do in text and pictures though. The customer's just funny. But the belly meter surprised me, I was like, "why is that a rainbow?", and then I realized that when you have only red left on the bar, you know you have little time left. Good Indicator there. Despite all this it felt repetitive, picking up ink after ink. And the blackboard/chart weren't particularly helpful in determining how many inks I needed to pick up before plating and printing. However, it's definitely one of the most conceptually interesting games I've seen so far, and it held my attention for a good while.

mvasko2 says ...
Sep 5, 2016 @ 3:53pm

I scanned through the comments, and discovered that @Strike has already said exactly what I wanted to say.

The art style is really nice and cute, the music is not bad as well, but the concept, though original, just doesn't work I think.

It probably would, if it wasn't so random. You need to be lucky to have the right combination of letters and to have the right ink spawn. Most of the time, you just sit in the bottom left corner, collecting as much ink as you can, with an occasional lunch break. After a while, you've hopefully collected enough, so you just go to the necessary machines, take the result and hand it over to the customer.

Okay. The problem is, I don't see much of a game in there, I simply see a waiting simulator.

It's certainly an interesting take on the theme, but I don't think it works, at least not in the current state, sorry.

Headmade says ...
Sep 6, 2016 @ 4:22am

The game screen is too tiny. I had to get out the windows magnifier just to be able to read it. It's nice that you can scale the screen up but the font is still not very readable.

The game is very simple but it has such a wordy tutorial. "Feed ink to the type-o-matic to produce plates. Use printing press when you have enough plates. Eat when hungry." A concise intro would be much effective in my opinion. Also I would like to have better feedback from the machinery. Are there to few plates to use the press? Tell me so.

The game mechanics don't make much sense to me. There seems to be no challenge or purpose, it's a mere waiting game. The conversion rate seems especially useless, why over complicate things when it adds nothing to the game?

There are also balancing issues. I was tasked with 6+1 green and 4+5 blue plates. So the read ones were completely useless. Waiting for the 36 blue ink vials was very frustrating. Each red ink I collected just added to the frustration, knowing it did not help me in any way.

I hope my feedback isn't too harsh, I'm trying to be as constructive as I can. I can see that you put some love into the game. The pixel art is really nice and the sound is decent.

Ebriosus says ...
Sep 6, 2016 @ 6:37am

@mvasko2 @Headmade Thank you for your detailed feedback, guys. For sure, the game still needs a lot of work put into it. I've made a post-mortem for the game addressing most of the problems, if you guys are interested in reading it.
You can see it here:

darthbox1 says ...
Sep 7, 2016 @ 10:37pm

This was a fun game. It took me a while to figure it out, but it seemed to have a nice balance of urgency and the possibility if winning. Had to keep my wits about me to collect the right amounts if inkpots etc. The graphics were nice, though there were some occasions where it would've made more sense for Glutenburg's sprite to face sideways rather than up or down. The music may also need a little more length or some extra tracks. Great job on a unique game experience!

Sep 9, 2016 @ 2:36pm

Nice entry. I liked the cute graphics and the music is fine. :)
The concept is quite original, however, as some others pointed out before me, the game is not that fun to play. After figuring out how it works (squeezing in between the legs of the table to get to the pie for example), there is not much to do other than collecting randomly spawning ink bottles in the bottom left and then going to the machines. Furthermore, it was a bit to hard to read the message of the customer, since the UI covered most of it.

Still, good work! I can see you put a lot of effort in. :)

DespiteSoft says ...
Sep 10, 2016 @ 2:19pm

Cool idea, neat presentation. Music and graphics are great. So are the little machines, and the fact that you have to walk back up in case you forget the order.
As others have noted, the ink mechanic is not so fun. I did not get the game at first, because I thought there must have been more to it. But it was that simple. Of the top of my head I would propose any of the following:
If you had to put on specific bags/bottles for each color, and then you can only pick up that color, while the other colors spawn much more often, it would at least require some thinking.
Or if you still have the entry hall as in the current version, but also a far away room in the back for each color. You would have to either be okay with the front spawns, or plan a little adventure: eat food first, and then embark on the journey to the cellar of green color.
As your post-mortem says, you have many cool ideas to expand your game. I guess it is somewhat usual that people really love their first finished LD project and try to expand on it. I did so myself (note that this is a shared Jam account, so you can't find my real first [solo & compo] entry), and it definitely became my finest work as of now. Yet I stopped because there is not really a platform that will give you as much feedback as this LD. I do not know if this is supposed to be a warning, but I thought I would just let you know.
Anyway, I am going off-track. To sum it up: Nice presentation, but the gameplay itself needs to be tweaked.

Odefus says ...
Sep 10, 2016 @ 11:38pm

I suppose I am a bit thick cause it took me multiple attempts to even understand what I was supposed to do. I felt the tutorial was not much of a help until after I had actually tried to play the game first. It was lots of information to take in with no context. Ideally you'd pair gameplay with the explanation side by side, but understandably that often gets cut due to the time allocation of LD.

I actually almost gave up without completing a single stage, because when I thought I had finally understood what I was supposed to do, as it eventually turned out I had, I made the mistake of trying to operate the printing press from the side while you are supposed to do it from below. I feel additional feedback, while trying to erroneously operate the machinery, would go a long way in helping teach the player what one is supposed to do. Just a simple "Not enough ink to create plates!" or "Not enough plates to fulfill the order!" messages would do. The lack of any feedback when trying to operate the printing press too soon really threw me off hard and left me questioning if the printing press was interactable at all. Had the aforementioned message popped up at that point, I probably would have understood immediately what I needed to do.

Another thing I thought of was that the amount of plates required was very arbitrary as it was random and instead of the random you could have randomized the words, given each a random color and the amount of plates required could have depended on the number of letters in the word. That would make a tiny bit more sense.

Other than those I have not much to add that hasn't already been added by others in detail. Loved the art style which reminded me of ye olde shareware games I used to play back in the day. Thats where most of the effort was clearly focused on, as you mentioned yourself in the post mortem of the game, and it does show. Well done.

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