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

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by Tijn - Jam Entry


You are a caveman scientist in the stone age and have invented the wheel. To inform the world about your invention, you want to go to STONECONF, the largest conference on stone age tech in the world. Better get going, the event starts in 10 days!


How to play:
Use the mouse to click on your desired action. Try to reach STONECONF in time without dying.


* The conference is pretty far away
* The game will tell you when you get close
* Take plenty supplies with you!
* If you want to make the game bigger on your screen, you can use the zoom controls in your browser


System requirements:
An HTML5 compliant browser with Javascript enabled. Mobile browsers might not work right, the game is intended to be played using a mouse.


Changes since initial release:
* Increased text speed
* Improved event randomisation by making sure the last 3 events don't happen again


This is my 5th entry for Ludum Dare. I tried to incorporate the theme both in the content of the game, as in the way it's presented. The game was intended for the compo, but I ran out of time, so I submitted for the Jam a day later instead. It does comply with the other rules of the compo.

I have mixed feelings about this entry. I'm happy with the story, the style, how the game works and I like a lot of the content. I am however not entirely happy with the amount of content. Writing them took me longer than I thought it would.

Downloads and Links


Wan says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 7:23pm

This is the best entry I've played for LD36 yet! The fact that it's the first one helped though ;)

After a few attempts I managed to survive for 10 days but not arrive in time. It took a few minutes & deaths to get more comfortable with the gameplay (notably how eat/drink/rest can be done almost everywhere, without missing a special event), but once I got it I found the game really fun to play and quite well balanced.

The main issue I have is that I've got no idea how far I am from the conference, making it impossible to gauge whether I should take more or less risks. For instance, for my last playthrough, maybe I was close to winning, maybe I played really badly, I have no idea... If I did have that info, I might have tried another run.

It would have also helped with immersion to prevent from resting outside from "calm places" maybe. Resting right besides the spider web was a bit strange!

Overall I enjoyed the game though: it's true there was not a lot of events, but knowing them didn't take the fun away as I still had to find the right balance of actions for survival. Not being able to search for resources by night was a nice touch. Good presentation too, it reminded me of "Papers, Please" :)

g12345 says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 9:41pm

I've played a few times and at the final play I've managed to finish the game.

It was pretty fun, choosing what you should do and shouldn't. For example, stock on food for the first day will help. A full belly with food and water is always recommended, and eating and drinking don't cost any time.

Also, halfway you will get a message telling that you're almost there.

This was really fun and it made me look for that accompanying font. I like the font a lot.

I would like to skip the first few text screens though, because reading it after every time you die is a bit annoying.

But a very good game! :)

Jwatt says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 7:15pm

Whoa, this is like... resource management with a narrative. Whatever term you'd use to describe it, it's pretty damn unique and cool.

I agree with Wan that the minimalism didn't hinder this at all. There's actually quite a bit of diversity and challenge from a few possible events. So it's very much got that old-school spirit I love.

Danae123 says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 8:31pm

That was fun, sure I died a few times but I will definitely tried it again later. Thanks for this game!

Kableado says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 10:12pm

Fun text adventure.
It's a little frustrating reading while it's written, maybe click to show all text would be nice.

sorceress says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 10:14pm

Interesting idea. The game is enjoyable, the writing is good, and the game is beautifully made.

I think the range of encounters is sufficient. Experiencing an encounter for the first time, we have to play trial-and-error to learn how to pass it safely. A larger array of encouters would only increase the chance of dying. five plays and I haven't yet managed to get to the conference.

After playing the game these five times, the text scroll speed is starting to feel a little slow. I would have liked a show-all-text button.

There is no indicator for how far the conference is away, which makes it hard to know how best to ration provisions. I'm left wondering, is it two more steps away? ten more? fifty more? Just how close did I get to winning? I don't know if I did well or not.

There is a heavy focus on the need for food and water and rest. This area of the game demands a lot of care and management, so that we don't run out of some provision. And it's almost constantly there in the text. I feel this detracted a little from the enjoyment of the encounters.

For future expansion, I suggest having multiple levels: after each conference, have a new invention like "fire" or "pants", and a new voyage to stoneconf, which adds new types of encounters so that the game doesn't become stale once players have learned how to solve it.

pighead10 says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 10:33pm

It seems that nobody can complete this game! It's oddly compelling, especially since it's a genre I usually don't like. This was really fun. Apparently grizzly bears are the same as brown bears, so my google searches failed me and got me killed.

Tijn says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 10:39pm

Thanks for the feedback! I made the text appear twice as fast now, I hope this helps somewhat. I agree that clicking to make it appear at once would also be nice, I'll look into that.

tmpxyz says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 4:51am

Quite fun to play with, the bears are deadly but once you get the pattern they're no danger any more.
It could be better to use RNG to decide results, and allow players to throw water/food to increase chance to lure bears away.

euske says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 1:04pm

You said your game wasn't that good, but apparently you were too harsh to yourself. The game is pretty damn good!

Spent an hour for this. Damn those bears. But finally I managed to make it! \o/

Felt a lot like Organ Trail. If I'd add a story, it would be like "You thought you smelled someone's fart. This means someone else was also traveling ahead of you for STONECONF, right!?"

Wan says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 5:11pm

I played again 4 times, tried to follow the advice of packing things beforehand, but I couldn't ever reach the message saying I'm getting close to the conference :P I guess I tend to make wrong choices on certain events, or maybe I'm just unlucky!

monkeybit29 says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 6:07pm

no chance to getting to stonconf :^C wish there was more variety of scenarios, i kept getting a bunch of webs haha

Sean says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 6:49pm

This is a great entry! That stark menu intro being timed exactly to the music was such an especially good start to the game. It's a minor thing, but it really gives a great first impression.

The level of difficulty seemed just a tad too high. It seems like you need to drink water every other turn, and since you get more thirsty when you take a break to eat I found myself stopping often to drink, eat, rest, then drink a couple more times to offset the thirst from eating and resting. Even though it does make sense that the other stats would change when you take time to fix one of them, I feel like it put an unnecessary level of strain on your resources.

The instant death events were also kind of annoying, it might have been a bit better to have the chance of death be based on your current stats (i.e. if you fell down the mountain while well-supplied and healthy, just have them the player lose some supplies and get tired instead of dying).

These are just fairly minor balance complaints though; overall the game was great!

Sep 2, 2016 @ 1:56pm

Made it! Almost dying of dehydration, so I hope somebody came to STONECONF to present a soft drinks vending machine.

Great entry. Reminds me of Oregon Trail :)

It requires several playthroughs (three, in my case) until you get the hang of the right balancing and what the right responses are. That's fine though.

On a subsequent playthrough, I also managed to get to STONECONF without packing any supplies in advance, with 3 days to spare. When I started to run low, I just explored a bit. Maybe I got lucky?

The encounters are funny, but it would be nice if they were a bit better randomised: don't repeat an encounter until you've exhausted all the others.

Also, lesson learned: do not fight bears. ;)

Tijn says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 7:09pm

Thanks for the review, Frozen Fractal!

You're right about the randomisation. It annoyed me as well, so I've changed it now so the last 3 events don't occur :)

Sep 5, 2016 @ 9:48pm

Good story! I included it in my compilation video series of Ludum Dare 36, if you’d like to take a look :)

Omiya Games says ...
Sep 13, 2016 @ 11:45pm

Welp, I guess I'm never gonna make it there at this rate.

Definitely made me feel as helpless as Oregon Trail did. Sometimes I'm fan, sometimes I'm not. I guess it all depends.

The presentation is really solid. I would like to have a skip-text functionality, since there's a lot of repeats. Liked a lot of resource management, and especially preparation management with the game.

dollarone says ...
Sep 19, 2016 @ 11:09pm

Aw man, I FINALLY got myself to Stoneconf :) With 2 days to spare even. LOL @ business cavemen.

Cool story, interesting events (black bear I hate you) and nice level of challenge in the resources vs time tactical choice.

Also sounds and music fits very well. They remind me of Zelda2.

Overall cool stuff. Props for so much text!

Oct 28, 2016 @ 4:39pm

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

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