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

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Ancient Switchboard

by Narkhos - Jam Entry

Here is a little puzzle game based on Conway's Game of Life.

In Ancient Switchboard, you have to push the right button(s) at the right time in order to clear the board while the switchboard evolve according to Conway's rules.

I hope someone will found it fun to experiment the game of life this way and to discover some nice properties like I did during the developement.

Tools : c++, SDL2/Opengl and my homemade game engine (in work in progress)
Sound : bfxr
graph : gimp

Here is the link to the post Jam version :

- I made some new levels and distributed them into 3 difficulties.
- The firt levels now contain some indications on how to play.
- added a short description of game of life rules.
- I adjusted sfx volume
- The best time is now recorded for each level

Thanks a lot for your feedbacks. I would be glade to have your opinion about this new version.


Downloads and Links


Damdoshi says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 12:40pm

It is a pretty game of life. Puzzle difficulty seems cool. At the beginning, this is relatively automatic, but sometimes, it takes a little time.

Gipzo says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 6:52pm

Good idea to turn game of life to real game )
Adding fast-forward button could be cool :)

yotam180 says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 7:32pm

Nice game :) Looks cool and it's fun, it's really easy at the beginning (you don't really do much) but later it's harder and takes more time.
I love the game it's based on "Game of life" - nice concept either. As Gipzo said, a fast forward button will really be appropriate there :)

2011petia says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 7:44pm

I liked the puzzle idea, the graphics its really good, and you made the engine ?? Awesome !!
Success to your game engine, i want to be first to download it :D

Narkhos says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 9:27pm

@2011petia Yes, I'm working on my own game engine for a long time. Basically it consist in integrating all the usefull pieces of code I made for different project in one well designed package (managers for GUI, sprite, 3d...). I will probably distribute it under GPL license but there's still a lot of work ^^

austintradr says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 10:11pm

Interesting game, but unless you are familiar with Conway's Game of Life it makes essentially no sense. I'd recommend having maybe a small tutorial or at least explain the mechanics in some way.

It seems that you made your own sound effects which is cool, but they are very rough. The puzzle complete sound was headache inducing and far too loud compared to the rest of the game. Consider polishing them a little more to balance with the rest.

Also it's "Frozen" not "Freezed" :)

fabsy says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 10:24pm

Nice! Maybe it could be useful to include a brief explanation about the "properties" for someone who doesn't know how it works, so as to not appear completely random.
But very cool implementation nonetheless!

Narkhos says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 10:50pm

@austintradr at least Disney will not complain about copyright ;)

Junber says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 12:05am

It's cool to see a game based on Conways Game of Life. I initially thought I would have to make the pattern in the background ("clear the board" isnt the most unambiguous goal) and was confused. For someone unfamiliar with Game of Life the confusion wouldnt have stopped there (but I guess google is that persons friend). It would have also liked to have something to compar my level result to. Something like a par for Moves or Cycles. Nevertheless the visuals looked pleasing, the game was quite fun and its always cool to see people use their own engines or make their own sounds.

Hero7785 says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 5:05pm

This was really fun, but I had no idea what I was doing to beat the levels

Elit3dGaming says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 9:30pm

Don't really understand the puzzles but I completed a few levels. Very cool game and +1 for coding it in c++

Diptoman says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 11:39pm

Heh, very cool idea to base a puzzle on Conway's Game of Life (and the game incidentally reminds me of a version I made a few years ago). For someone unfamiliar with the simulation, you propbably needed an explanation on how pieces evolved. Good stuff though.

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

complicated to understand at the beggining, but everything seems solid

tonynogo says ...
Sep 4, 2016 @ 2:53pm

Fun to play.. but I'm so bad ^^
Good job! Congrats!

AWOL says ...
Sep 4, 2016 @ 5:20pm

This was fun. A neat idea. I liked the puzzles.

stefvanschie says ...
Sep 5, 2016 @ 2:17pm

This was pretty fun, but there weren't enough levels if you asked me. Also it didn't feel like there was a strategy to it. I just pressed a button and see how it went and usually it ended up with a victory. Some harder levels would've been nice.

Narkhos says ...
Sep 5, 2016 @ 3:30pm

@stefvanschie Did you try the post-jam version ? I added some levels and the best time is recorded for each level so you can try to beat your score. You're right, there is a lot of moves that end up with the level being cleared, but the purpose of the game is to found the best one. I admit that it is not really clear, especialy in the Jam version.
Thank you for your feedback :)

Dietrich Epp says ...
Sep 5, 2016 @ 3:51pm

I eventually figured out how to solve the first level but it seems like I'm just trying random squares until I find one that works. Great polish.

mvasko2 says ...
Sep 5, 2016 @ 4:11pm

Nice little game, I see you've made Conway's Game of Life into an actual game :)

It's surprisingly fun to watch, though the beeping sound gets a little annoying after a while. There's really not much to say about this except good job, and props for not using Unity ;)

Mekuri says ...
Sep 6, 2016 @ 5:07pm

Nice game! I managed to end up with an infinite 3 step cycle in one of the corners, quite fun to bring "somekind of stability" to "life" :-)

Daniel says ...
Sep 6, 2016 @ 10:33pm

Good game idea, I didn't know you had to clear the panel, I instead decided have fun with the panel and just create moving patterns.
Overall good concept, and very well finished well done.

Capt Nemo says ...
Sep 8, 2016 @ 12:16am

Good implementation. The graphics are satisfying, and fit the theme of retro computer things, and that meshes with the source material nicely.

Defiantly would make a time sliding scale to control the speed of iterations. At about double speed i think you would really start to see the 'moving' effects which are just cool to look at.

Overall great job, and no glaring flaws to speak of.

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