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

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The Mystery of the Maniac AI

by reheated - Competition Entry

The ancient AI in charge of an electric grid monitoring system has been switching everybody's electricity on and off! Also it's been killing people. Go in and shut it down.

There are logic puzzles here, but it's a little bit different from what I've done in the past.

Coding: Notepad++.
Testing: Chrome, Firefox, Edge.
Audio: FL Studio, Miroslav Philharmonik.
Code base: the reusable parts of my previous entry.

Downloads and Links


Aug 29, 2016 @ 8:57am

The mix of interactive fiction and logic puzzle works surprisingly well and the resolution of the story is great!

I say 'surprisingly' because you would think the puzzles would feel like needless hindrance, but they strike an elegant balance between simple design and satisfying challenge that make the IF/puzzle mix work.

The background color effect is also simple and effective. Elegant!

The next level would be to have the puzzles be a little bit more symbolic, but that seem very hard to do.

Puzzle feedback: a way to clear all would be nice.

Story feedback: There seem to be a chunk of the story before the end that does not offer much in the way of branching (it's a 48 hours compo though!). I confess I am a bit tired, so take it with a grain of salt, but SPOILER ALERT realization the AI was still around was a bit confusing to me, I guess it was not super clear that I was supposed to have disabled it (except I did not).

ratly says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 12:53am

This was a really unique game combining a logic-puzzle-based game an interactive story story. The logic puzzles were fun and challenging, and I was so happy about the hint/reveal at the end (even though I hadn't figured it out). The color changing was also a nice touch. I really enjoyed this game!

ztiromoritz says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 9:13pm

Great game.

After your last two ldjam entries that i played, i was looking forward to a new one. Was not disappointed.

The idea of having multiple outcomes of a puzzle leading to multiple paths in a IF game is very smart.
The combination of both genres involved me into the game in a way the story on it's own or the puzzles on it's own would never have.

xgeovanni says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 4:15pm

The story was enticing, well-written and detailed. The twist at the end was, while weird and kind of impossible to figure out without being told, very clever.

I haven't seen a puzzle system like that before, it worked really well, and they were sometimes really difficult. However, the puzzle I had the most difficulty with was attempting to ask "what could it mean?" in the middle, so the difficulty curve could be a little off.

The music really compliments the atmosphere.

scorched says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 4:45pm

It should be very simple, but I'm stuck:

PnDAA says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 8:45pm

Great game again, I'm stuck at the "Holding the EMP stick in my hand" thing. Will play again tommorow to finish it!

reheated says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 1:13pm

Thanks for your comments, all!

@Rico The Jammer: All good points. You're right about that plot point - if I was a more skilled writer I'd have been able to emphasise it a bit better.

@scorched: [SPOILER] Depends which exit you want. Try drawing the letter G?

@PnDAA: I'm not helping you! I can't give that one away!

pogo says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 2:56pm

I really enjoyed the logic puzzles, they were challenging but also had multiple solutions. The use of puzzle solutions to select the choice was also a clever use of tying the mechanics to the story.

tmpxyz says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 2:53am

A very fun mix of story and puzzle

Bogden says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 8:23am

Really dig the aesthetic, but I think you could have benefited a _lot_ from a custom font and a bit more CSS. The simple minimalistic web-page look is great for what you're doing, but the default fonts give off a vibe of un-done work that I don't think was exactly what you were going for.

The puzzle mechanic was super cool too. They're pretty well designed. Would have been nice to keep track of the branches you've explored though. Really well done overall.

HuvaaKoodia says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 4:08pm

It's always nice to see some interactive fiction around here. It is a medium which deserves more recognition.

Mixing IF with a puzzle in this way (having to solve a puzzle to make a choice) is something I haven't really seen before and I'm at two minds about it. The situation is similar to games which have an unrelated story, in other words the the story has nothing to do with the gameplay but rather happens in between the levels.

I think the puzzle alone would have been boring as it is, in the end, rather trivial; which is to say it benefited from the story. The story on the other hand suffered from the puzzle as it simply made choosing actions take more time and add nothing to the story. Having to complete a puzzle every time felt arbitrary, not thematic or integral.

If you do intend to continue experimenting with a mixture like this, I'd suggest you concentrate on one part over the other. Either a kickass puzzle with some light story elements or a complex branching interactive story with some thematically fitting puzzles thrown in there. This way the end result has greater flow and focus.

Later down the line you'll get them both just perfect, I have no doubts about that.

g12345 says ...
Sep 22, 2016 @ 10:05pm

This was a nice interactive story with some very lovely puzzles.

It's also something I can't yet create in 48 hours because I'm not good enough in mouse events in javascript yet.

I didn't guessed the Mystery until it told me right there in the face, either So it was well done.

The difficulty at the end was a lot lower than in the middle, and perhaps you need a bit more work there. It felt like you've sacrificed the difficulty for multiple solutions.

But to do this in 48 hours? I think this is brilliant.

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