Ludum Dare 31
December 5th-8th, 2014

Posts Tagged ‘pixel art’

Trappy Tomb postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @jimmypaulin)
Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 1:31 pm


Trappy Tomb was conceived as a response to the poor score for ‘innovation’ I received from my previous LD entry ‘Midnight Minigun’. Mulling how I could do something innovative I decided that client-server would be a fun way to interact with the LD community, and since I’d have very limited time I’d also attempt to integrate User Generated Content. I didn’t want to overly burden the player with creating things so I figured that playing with or against the recordings of previous plays would be a fun way to generate content and promote interaction. The death messages idea was influenced by the LD28 entry Rude Bear Resurrection and the mega-replay idea was an homage to Super Meat Boy. My own interest in collective insect behaviours also came into the design though my original ideas of collective problem solving ended up on the cutting room floor.

Trappy Tomb is set in an Indiana Jones / Tomb Raider style environment viewed from a top-down perspective. The player can move and jump. Jumping results in flying kicks which kill the bats that populate the tomb. Pretty much everything in there is lethal – spikes (timed, triggered and fixed), boulders (always triggered), pits, lava pits, bats and arrow launchers. There is also optional loot to collect. The game is split into two parts – a sizeable onboarding level in which you cannot die and your replays are not recorded, and the main Trappy arena.

The onboarding area has an important additional function beyond simply teaching controls – it shows what you get if you win, which is a statue personalised with your message and score for all to see. These show the game is beatable as well as providing motivation.


Without further ado here are two composite images of the main tomb complete with the death location of the first 2000 plays (left) and the breadcrumb trails left by those players (right). Click for larger views.

Click for full size Click for full size

You can clearly see that the vast majority of players die in the first couple of hazards – some static pits. I’ll come back to this below. It’s also perhaps apparent that the climax of the level is a bit lacking- again see below!

You have 2 minutes to complete the level (ample time). If you timeout or die a dialog pops up asking for your “message to eternity” and you can see these being quoted as ghosts die while you play – I can honestly say it has been utterly hilarious seeing what everyone has put and I’m thrilled with this feature. However it was exploited badly at one point by trolls – more below. If you win you enter an inscription for your statue and are returned to the onboarding area where you get a special ending sequence and can see your statue in all it’s glory.

What went right

* The client-server system. I chose FatFractal for the server backend and it worked really well. It doesn’t require much setup at all and there is no server side code needed. You simply log-in a user and push your objects to the server. You can then pull them back with a rich query language. The player position is sampled every 0.2s and frames are interpolated on replay. When a ‘died’ state is encountered the death message is displayed – these are usually hilarious, so thank you for those! I’ve included a few choice quotes below ;)

* Artwork. This LD I decided to leave all the art until day 2 and this decision paid off as I got less bogged down in pixelling than previously and hence have more gameplay in there. The hardest part for me was selecting a colour palette – I needed everything to be readable and to separate sprites from the background and I’m pleased with how this turned out. I borrowed a few colours from other games and built up from there. Tools were Pixen and Zwoptex


* Onboarding and level flow. In my last LD entry I had many people rage-quitting because they died within the first few seconds before they’d even mastered the controls so I was determined to pace the start out and give the player a chance to get into the game. I’m really pleased that I managed to do this in the time and I think it meant people were ready when the real challenges came. I was generally happy with the building series of peaks and troughs of intensity in the level itself though I ran out of time so it ended a little abruptly. The first obstacle was probably a bit too hard as well as it claims about 60% of all attempts ;)

What went wrong

* Controls and physics. Disappointingly I failed to iterate enough on the player controls. I partly put this down to using a new framework (phaser) for the Jam so I had to find out about how the physics system worked as I went along which was not ideal. It turned out that with some really simple tweaks the experience could be much improved but the damage was done and no doubt people’s enjoyment suffered due to the over-large hit-box and slippery movement. Essentially people feel a bit cheated when they don’t think they touched spikes etc but die anyway and I can sympathise with this! The post-compo version (with about 10 characters of code changes) is loads better ;)

* Open to abuse. I really should have seen this coming, I really should, but I figured it was unlikely that the game would make it outside the LD community and so everyone would ‘play nice’ with their comments. Alas it was not to be and on one occasion I was confronted with some extremely offensive language that caused me to take the game offline immediately. It took a few days to work out a solution and thanks go to Gary at FatFractal for his support (t: @gkc). I settled on a system whereby all comments are immediately added to the local game, but will not appear in anyone else’s game until I’ve moderated them via a holding area. This actually has the side benefit that I can read all the comments as they are added :)

* Ran out of time. I had to ruthlessly cut features, for example I really wanted the ghosts to be more than just eye-candy, I wanted to have collective triggers that required ghosts to coordinate in order to open secret doors or get the ‘big prize’ etc. The idea being a community that self-organises to achieve a collective goal much like a colony of ants might… Was a shame to let that one drop! Similarly I underestimated how long it would take to create the traps and layout the environment. The game stands and falls on its level design and although I’m reasonably happy with it, the ending is weak and it kind of fizzles out a bit. I wanted to have a final large room with all sorts going on and some more timing based flame and spike puzzles but there simply wasn’t time. Still – by the time the make it to the end the few who’ve got that far were probably glad there was no more ;)

Final thoughts

This Ludum Dare was easily the most challenging and yet satisfying I’ve so far undertaken. Tapping into the creativity of the community for my content turned out great as I knew it would because YOU ROCK!. The amazing comments I’ve had have lifted me beyond words (especially around the trolling incident) and being featured in a selection of YouTube videos has been a total blast too. Here’s my favourite of those along with the truly final words – courtesy of you, from the selection of 3100 messages…

* jump. Jump. JUST JUMP, YOU FOOL!!!!
* i’m not laaavint
* the lava is not nearly as hot as my rage
* I see dead people
* i love fat eggs
* fat eggs are gross
* DAMN i got nervous… must be close…
* Wonder how many of these are me?
* This particular bat is a win cheat

I could go on all day, but why not just play for yourself and see?!


This guy did and just about kept his cool:

Postmortem on HONKO’s WORLDS!

Monday, September 8th, 2014 3:46 pm

Hello! Designer/programmer/artist here. Here’s a little write-up on my Ludum Dare Jam entry, Honko’s Worlds.
It is a dungeon crawling game where you shoot enemies with beams, collect gold, potions, special weapons and keys.
It plays a lot like one of those top-down zelda games.


You can try the game here:

I started making the game planning it to be a competition entry, but decided to make it a jam entry halfway through the second day when it became clear the game wouldn’t have enough content by the 48 hour deadline. On the third day, now that it was a Jam game, CBoyardee offered to make music for it, and made three great tracks.

I am very happy with how the game looks, and with many of the game’s enemy encounters. Those I think are its strongest points, it turned out really good.


But many, many issues came from a lack of foresight and planning in general while I was doing this. I only had the vaguest idea of what the game should be during the first day, I was like on autopilot. I knew I wanted to make some sort of top down dungeon crawler, but that was it. Most of the ideas came together through pixel art: I was just drawing game-ey things (monsters, tiles, keys…) and imagined how they could fit together as I did em. I should have stopped and should have taken a walk or something, to get those thoughts straight and order up some more solid idea.

The biggest mistake, a consequence of this improvisation thing, was planning a much bigger maze than what I had time to finish and polish. Once I was done making a basic shell of a game, I started sketching up a plan for the dungeon’s maze, and made it really huge. I always underestimate how much time it takes to actually put those rooms together, even when the rooms are simple.

Here’s a map of the game I was planning:
map of the game

That maze I drew up and then proceeded to implement is about three times bigger than the final entry’s size (which is already pretty big!!)
Most of that larger maze actually works gameplay-wise and is filled with enemies and items, but I didn’t have time to give it any tiles/graphics! When there were just a handful of hours left, I blocked off the unfinished 2/3rds of the game and focused on adding to that first third instead.
As I mentioned in the original post though, you can actually visit that huge unfinished section of the game by exploring the finished section completely and finding two gold keys (their locations are marked with two Xs in the map above)
The unfinished area starts just north of the two consecutive gold gates. Of course, without tiles to see where the walls are, that area is more or less impossible to explore. If you reach that unfinished area at all, you can consider the game beaten!


One of the biggest consequences of all those cuts to the game’s maze is in relation to the theme (the theme of the Ludum Dare competition was “Connected Worlds”). The gold keys you can find in the current maze were supposed to be hidden in “side worlds” with their own enemies and visual styles, but I had to cut all of that. The idea was to have this castle be a “hub level” of sorts, from which different worlds were accessible.
To access a new world, you have to find silver keys within the hub level, which opened the way to one of the side-worlds.
To make progress in the overall game at a higher level, you need to collect gold keys in those side-worlds. This would let you access a larger portion of the castle. Those gold keys mark your overall progress in the game.
Its quite frustrating to see how many hours I spent laying down walls and enemies for those unfinished sections. If I had kept the maze small, the game would have had a lot more content, could have been a lot more complete!

One good consequence of cutting off so much of the big maze however: I could take the unique enemies I designed for the cut-off areas and place them all in the smaller game, making the enemy encounters feel very diverse. My original design, by comparison, was probably way too repetitive with its enemies.


Some other regrets with the result:
-The subweapons. They are pretty generic, they don’t have much diversity, just extra damage, some spread shots and some projectiles that fly a bit further. I thought of the subweapon thing on the second day of the jam, but only started to implement them in the final few hours, so they’re not really elaborate. Ideally, I would work on them further, to make them feel more like magic spells. Something that is exciting to find, where collecting a lot of them feels like you are really expanding your inventory of actions. Some weapons could have non-combat applications, like freezing a lake to allow passage or breaking through a weak wall. Some could have special effects over the enemies hit, or have defensive applications. But this would also mean I would need to add some means of managing your subweapons inventory. Perhaps you could only hold 10 of those weapons at any given time, and could store them in some storage space accessible at save points. Speaking of which…

-Save points. The game has no saving or checkpoints, and that’s a huge bummer. I just didn’t have time to implement those. I was already cutting off so much from the idea and had so much more to fit in, saving was just never on my radar throughout the jam. I need to make saving a higher priority in my jams in the future, it really sucks to lose 20 minutes of exploration all of a sudden!

-Gold. There is absolutely no use for it in the game right now, its just some sort of score. Of course I thought it would have some use at some point, but it never coalesced during the jam. I would definitely add a shop that sold unique subweapons and potions, or could maybe upgrade your main weapon, or raise your maximum life.

All in all, I am pretty happy with this game despite all the flaws, and with some more work, it could turn into a solid little indie title. I have a lot on my plate right now, but I might revisit and spruce this up a bit sometime in the future.

I also put up a time lapse of the entire process of making the game: The pixel art, the design, the programming and even the last-minute sound effects.
You can watch it below:

thumbnail of timelapse

You Are Bacteria – a zero-player game for geeks

Posted by (twitter: @w84death)
Monday, August 25th, 2014 12:20 pm


My game is about connection between the player, the cellular automaton (Conway’s Game of Life) and a world of a simple bacteria.
This is a zero-player game. This is not a causal game for kids, it’s casual game for geeks :)

More info at



Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 20.50.37 Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 20.51.31

Halfway there!

Posted by (twitter: @YWainczak)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 9:41 pm

Ok, I was about to hit the sack when I remembered that I should post here! I just want to share what I’ve done so far and this is a great place to do it. Ok, so my game is about a evil king dude (Story subject to change ;P) who chains planets together (chain not implemented yet) and makes their inhabitants fight to the death (death not implemented yet.) using large objects and gravity as their weapons. Don’t ask me where that idea came from, because I have no idea.


I tried out a new art style

I tried out a new art style! I think I like it!

As you can see, players will be trying to kill each other by throwing crates at each other. The game will be kinda like Towerfall in which 1 hit kills you and the game consists of multiple switching maps. Overall, I’m happy with where I am and I see myself as past the halfway mark. All I need to do is finish a few sprites, make a title and a few maps, implement death and a scoring system, and make sound effects and music. The only problem I foresee is making the music for this game. (I’m 100% not a musician and I suck at everything music.) Anyway, that’s really it.

Good Luck!

~Yukon W.

I’m In for my 3rd time~!

Posted by (twitter: @PixlWalkr)
Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 8:50 pm

This Ludum dare would be different than any of my past jams because I will be collaborating with another dude :) I will now be focusing as a game artist and my companion as the game programmer.

  • Engine: Unity2d
  • Language: C#
  • Graphics: Photoshop CC
  • Sounds: Sfxr, Bfxr, Fake Music Generator
  • Screen Capture: Camtasia Studio 8
  • Others: Lots of coffee, energy drinks and epic musics!

Here is a compilation of my pixel art warm up:




Goodluck everyone! Lets do this~! >:D



Greedy Explorer

Posted by (twitter: @edlago)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 1:23 pm

Hello people.  My small game for this ludum dare is done.

Greedy Explorer Gameplay

“Beneath the surface is where the gold lies”

Greedy explorer is a puzzle/sokoban game with 10 levels where you play as an explorer who want’s to get all the gold nuggets around the caves. Beware the enemies and avoid being trapped.

You can play the game here:

I did this game just for fun with puzzlescript  and with the help of some friends (because pixel art in 5×5 is damn hard). Enjoy the game and any other thing you can catch me on twitter to talk about game dev in general.

Cheers and see you in the next ludum dare :)


We are Datamosh! We’re in, BTW!

Posted by (twitter: @DatamoshGames)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 6:38 am

This is how our game looks so far! We got the main character animated and right now we are making the levels. NEVER GIVE UUUP!


First hour of progress

Posted by
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 3:02 am

So this weekend is somewhat busy for me, I have other work I have to finish but in between when I have free time, I’m attempting to work on my jam entry. Not even sure if I’ll finish, but I’ll most likely submit what I have at the end of it. I only began an hour ago, 9 hours after the jam began.

I did some pixel art (I use that loosely), since it’s my first attempt at art, completely going in blind, I haven’t even read on any pixel art techniques, just attempting from an image in my head to pixels. The approach I’m taking to the game however, is that of a JRPG, mostly including the turn-based order of actions in the vein of Final Fantasy IV for example, with a simple Active Time Battle-esque approach common in the series. The simple premise is that you’re in a nuclear shelter beneath the surface, which I am going to expand upon and saving the details as a surprise for when people can hopefully play it and how the gameplay relates to being under the “surface”.

Here’s a basic character and punch animation, first pass.



Here’s the character placed in a quick concept of a wall/corridor, testing the palettes.

ss (2014-04-26 at 11.40.20)

And here’s a piece of the wall in-engine using dynamic lighting for the pixel art, I haven’t created the normal/light maps for the rest of it, so it only shows the wall canvas as a test. First pass and still requires a lot of tweaking.

ss (2014-04-26 at 11.38.30)


Action menu for a battle sequence, still using an old palette I haven’t changed yet. An in-engine concept, supports both keyboard and mouse control.

First Ludum Dare participation / #LD29 Wallpaper

Posted by (twitter: @halfmage)
Thursday, April 24th, 2014 12:46 am

Hey there, well Iam very new at the Indie Gamedev scene and very happy about having a weekend full of free time to work on a new game. Iam very excited about my first upcoming Ludum Dare Weekend because its limited on 48hours and I want to know what I can do in this time. For now I thought a bit about the tools I want to use/learn/get better with.


Development : Construct 2

Graphics: GraphicsGale for PixelArt, Photoshop for screenshots/collage

Music: SFXR, BFXR, FamiTracker


Good luck and much fun to everyone!


Wanna #LD48 #LD29 Pixelart Wallpaper? 


Twitter Post:  / Dropbox: 


Pixel Art

Posted by (twitter: @LukeofRamsden)
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 5:16 pm



I was just doodling when I thought of an idea for a picture. Seens as it is Ludum Dare 29 in a couple of days, I decided to make some pixel art for LD, and I came up with this!

ludum dare controller

Hope you like it :D


A Catastrophic Date

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 4:10 pm

Hey, just wanted to make a post talking about the game I made (azuritereaction) with a friend (sweetielise); it’s called A Catastrophic Date. (Hey, we only had a few hours to come up with a name!)












It’s a cute little visual-novel-esque game (no nudity/sex/romance in it though) that we thought up, and it was the first time I’d completed a game project since… probably 16 or so years ago, when I was making games with Klik & Play and Multimedia Fusion 1 back when I was about 12 years old or so.

The game itself is really short, there’s about 10 or so possible endings with 7 of them being unique, including a secret ending, too :)

Sweetielise did the art in probably 8 hours, and the coding took me about the same amount of time, but we got continually distracted by Awesome Games Done Quick during most of Saturday, haha.

That said… I will probably NEVER program a visual novel game like this in Multimedia Fusion 2 again. Easily one of the most frustrating programming experiences I’ve ever had, for sure. Still had a lot of fun making it though, and I hope a lot of you have fun playing it!

Additionally, feel free to check out our main work on YouTube, Twitch, and a webcomic that I write with the links below! Looking forward to the Jam sessions coming up, we’ll likely do another game for that (and any future MiniLD’s too) :)



Era of Errors (webcomic)
First Page of the webcomic

Post-Competition Release: The Labyrinth of Keys

Posted by (twitter: @Martze)
Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 11:39 am



Although it was not completed in time for the Jam, we would like to share the game we started for Ludum Dare 28.

More details at the link above.



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