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

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Write Only

by randomhuman - Jam Entry

Write Only, a game about robots and their silly ideas about ancient technology


Human kind is long extinct, replaced by the race of artificially intelligent robots that they created in their image.

For centuries they have picked over the ruins of human civilisation, searching for hints as to the intentions of their creators, something to give their lives meaning. Religions rise and fall over the scattered fragments of data that they can gather.

One such religion has as its most holy relic an ancient storage device with a single commandment inscribed on its face: "Colin's Stuff - Do Not Touch". They do not have the means to read it, and intend to ensure that nobody ever does...

But now, a heretical sect has discovered another artifact, one with a 3.5" slot in its face, and a war for control of the sacred disk seems inevitable...


WASD to move

Right mouse aims, which also slows your movement

Left mouse fires while aiming


** Update **

I have updated the build on with fixes for a couple of minor visual glitches:

* The end-game level had loads of artifacts when running with a vertical resolution of 1200. There may be similar issues at other resolution, but that's the one I noticed.
* Removed the weird semi-transparent background behind the health meter. It was supposed to be transparent, and I didn't realise it was visible until I was taking screenshots.
* Also added a quit option, and an in-game pause menu with an option to quit to menu. I hate having to force quit jam games!

That is all, post-jam version with new features soon I hope!


** Update 2 **

Post-jam version now available!

I tried to balance things a bit better - health pickups, slower bullets, lower firing rates for the enemies... Hopefully it is a bit less challenging now. I also added some new effects and fixed a couple of minor bugs that didn't get fixed in the previous update. Probably there are still lots of bugs though, so tread carefully.

Downloads and Links


steph88 says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 8:09am

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)

randomhuman says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 5:19pm

@steph88 Thanks Steph, I have added my game there.

TheLaw says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 6:39pm

Can you build 32bit version?

leondryaso says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 8:18pm

Great gameplay and graphics, but it's really hard and I was not able to finish it :D

Aug 30, 2016 @ 10:48pm

Really pretty visuals, and the gameplay is solid, but it's too difficult. Health drops would have made it better. Loved the concept and what I saw of the story.

Headmade says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 1:20am

Nice graphics and mood. I like the gameplay mechanics but the difficulty is way to hard for my taste. I need a way to heal myself, this is a cover shooter I should actually heal automatically ;) Grenades would be a cool way to get rid of those hiding cowards.

randomhuman says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 1:26am

@TheLaw Sorry about that oversight - the post-jam version includes a 32 bit build. I can maybe do a build of the original jam version tomorrow.

randomhuman says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 1:28am

@leondryaso Thanks very much :) I've just released a post-jam version that I hope tones down the difficulty a bit, if you're interested in knowing if I've succeeded in that.

randomhuman says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 1:31am

@Shatter Point Studios Thanks very much. I think the gameplay was going in the right direction, but I didn't have any time to balance it unfortunately. The post-jam version includes some health pickups and also includes a few other tweaks to reduce the difficulty, if you want to give that a go.

randomhuman says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 1:37am

@Headmade Thanks for the feedback. I hadn't actually considered regenerating health, I will have to give that some thought... What I had in mind for a game I want to work on with this combat style was in inventory where you can carry health packs around with you, but for the post-jam version I just put pickups in the world that apply health immediately. Grenades are definitely something I would want to add - and maybe some melee for if you were able to sneak up close enough!

Avon says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 12:50pm

Great game. The story was funny, the art was great, and I really liked the game mechanics. Playing the post-jam version I thought the difficulty level was good.

Would have been interesting if the enemies would go to more offensive positions to try to push you back, but that behaviour might be tough to implement in a short time.

mitya1234 says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 1:17pm

OS X version doesn't start at all :(

randomhuman says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 1:54pm

@Avon I would really have liked the enemy AI to be more dynamic - pushing forward, falling back, trying to flank you and stuff. But, no time, had to go with something simple :(

Thanks for the feedback! I'm glad to hear the post-jam version is a bit more balanced!

randomhuman says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 2:07pm

@mitya1234 Is there a reason given? What version of OSX are you on? Both versions start fine for me on Yosemite (10.10.5), which is what it was developed on, but I haven't been able to test it on anything else.

tmpxyz says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 5:17pm

Great shooter game, the AI is well designed, and the background story is quite interesting too.

monkeybit29 says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 3:13am

Really great game, artistically and gameplay wise, nice job!

Steven Miller says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 5:27am

The art is incredible and the gameplay is very fun. The AI is very impressive as well. I only wish it was longer. I played the post-jam version once and then went back and played the original version. Wonderful game, I would to see more.

mitya1234 says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 6:17am

@randomhuman el capitan 10.11.6

Sep 1, 2016 @ 10:27am

Nice concept ans execution, I really like the behavior of the enemy, almost feels like A.I-like.
Teh game could use a better difficulty progression of course and enemy bullets could be another color because it's really hard to dodge when in a shootout with all those grey pixels flying around.
Besides that, a cool entry overall :)

Ludipe says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 4:43pm

Very fun game and quite polished, beat it on my second try! :-)

The only thing that really annoyed me while playing was the scroll system. Most times I was targeting a far enemy but the camera wouldn't allow me to see it. Nuclear Throne and many modern 2D shooters tend to scroll in the direction you're facing, that would work great in here.

As other users said before, the A.I. was a really cool feature, probably what makes the whole game stand out.

Quite a cool game! :-D

randomhuman says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 5:31pm

@mitya1234 Ok, maybe it is time for me to upgrade! I'll let you know if I have any luck reproducing/fixing the problem.

randomhuman says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 8:40pm

@tmpxyz @monkeybit29 @Steven Miller @Oddly Shaped Pixels - Thanks for your kind words!

randomhuman says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 8:44pm

@Ludipe It does actually scroll a bit in the direction you're facing, but I guess maybe not enough? Maybe what I should have done was have it scroll a certain amount when running, and a bit further when aiming. However, I have been thinking that it should be more zoomed out altogether, so you'd be able to see enemies from further away anyway.

Thanks for the feedback, glad you enjoyed it!

johnasebok says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 4:21am

Really enjoyed the game but unfortunately my shootin' skillz must not be up to robo-heritic levels as I died a lot :(. I fear I may never be able to project the commandment of 'don't touch Colin's stuff'.

The imagery, 8-bit and clean color palette really came together nice. Great job and presentation.

kostik1337 says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 4:23am

This game has the coolest shooting mechanics, robots and cloaks. I liked it.

juaxix says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 11:26am

Pure action.
Perfect balance between movement and aiming.
It would be nice to have an option to reduce the amount of camera shaking.
I must learn to play better :)

TheLaw says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 12:03pm

Cool idea for shooting system, but player needs some practice and he must thinking tactically.

Good job :D

randomhuman says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 2:09pm

@johnasebok Yes I died a lot too. Did you try the post-jam version? It is a bit easier :)

Thanks for playing, and for your feedback :)

randomhuman says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 2:11pm

@kostik1337 Thanks very much :) Cloaks are the best... From a game dev perspective anyway!

randomhuman says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 2:11pm

@juaxix Too much screen shake eh? I'll keep that in mind. Thanks for your kind words :)

randomhuman says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 2:12pm

@TheLaw Thanks, that's exactly what I was going for :)

ginger9 says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 4:20pm

A little short, and I find it's easier to run to the exit instead of shoot to there.

mde says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 8:09pm

Great game!! Did you get any inspiration from Hyper Light Drifter? Your game reminded me of its art style...

randomhuman says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 9:03pm

@ginger9 Hmm, maybe I should have made it a requirement to clear all the enemies before proceeding... Thanks for the feedback!

randomhuman says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 9:08pm

@mde Yes I would say I did, and that comparison is quite a compliment! I was really impressed with that games design, use of colour, and the fluidity of its animation, and I learned a lot from it, though I think I am pretty far from achieving that standard.

mitya1234 says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 5:57am

@randomhuman i've tried once more and the game works well. Thank you. The game is good itself but screen had to be more quadratic to see enemies.

mitya1234 says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 5:58am

@randomhuman i've just remembered that there is resolution option before game starts.

Gipzo says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 10:24am

Nice story, animations and graphics :)
Love how enemies try to hide behind obstacles. It is scripted I think, but looks natural.
Hitboxes should be a bit taller, I think - shooting in the head doesn't work :)
Nice game overall :)

Sep 3, 2016 @ 3:49pm

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

Diptoman says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 11:17pm

Very polished for the time frame, yet frustratingly hard (but cool use of 2D cover systems). A funny story isn't doesn't quite suit the white scrolling text though, for some reason. Good stuff overall.

randomhuman says ...
Sep 4, 2016 @ 11:45am

@Gipzo Thanks! The enemies are scripted alright, but it still managed to achieve the feel I wanted. Enlarging the hitboxes was on my todo list, but, didn't get to it... Oh well ;)

randomhuman says ...
Sep 4, 2016 @ 11:45am

@Jupiter_Hadley Thanks for playing Jupiter!

randomhuman says ...
Sep 4, 2016 @ 11:46am

Thanks @Diptoman!

randomhuman says ...
Sep 4, 2016 @ 11:48am

@mitya1234 I'm glad you got it going :) I feel it should have been a bit more zoomed out as well.

Frump says ...
Sep 5, 2016 @ 7:18am

Nice art, nice music and tense gun fights. Great job.

Sep 7, 2016 @ 3:04am

Difficult to download from Gamejolt (download never actually worked). The game itself was fun. The music was good and thematic. The graphics were fun. The level design was also good, with plenty of cover. Having to aim to fire, which lowered your speed, was an interesting mechanic. It worked when there was one or two enemies, but became almost impossible with more. I ended up just running around to the end. It worked!

lightsoda says ...
Sep 8, 2016 @ 11:29am

Not an easy game, for sure. Also, I pressed escape during gameplay and ended up in an inactive settings menu, had to Alt+F4 to get out.

I don't know how I feel about screen shake for shooting, I supposed it's meant the give it a little kickback, but that should probably be applied the the character itself, not the whole screen, I personally usually save that for explosions, impacts and such. Maybe if you had toned it down a bit.

alfie275 says ...
Sep 13, 2016 @ 3:50pm

Great art and music, pretty much my only gripe is that it was so short! I'd love to see more levels :)

I did a playthrough of it here:

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