Tag: Ludum Dare 28

Fun plays from Ludum Dare 28

I don’t get to vote on LD28 games since I didn’t submit a game of my own, but I can still play them. Here are a few that I found worthwhile so far… these are in no particular order, other than the order I found them.

Asshole Ducks

Asshole Ducks

I love this take on the theme, “You Only Get One”. Gameplay has the feel of an Atari 2600 game, although the graphics are not done in that style — in the early 80’s game designers took a lot of inspiration from everyday life and would take demented inspiration from seemingly mundane activities such as crossing the street or sorting baggage. Asshole Ducks fits right into that type of game concept — you’re feeding ducks, and to make it fun you’ve made a little game out of it, the goal being to feed each duck exactly one piece of bread. But of course once a duck gets a taste for bread, it turns into an asshole and tries to eat all of it. It’s hilarious how well this reflects real-life duck behavior. Despite it being a bit of a one-trick pony, it’s quite fun to play, and pretty difficult. Graphics and sound are crude, but not essential to the success of the game, which is all about gameplay, humor, and that slice of life that is familiar to anyone who’s been to the park.



Javel-ein is great. Full stop. One of the best games I’ve played in a long time, and one of the best LD48 games I’ve ever played. It’s amazing how well done it is, in all aspects, but particularly core gameplay and level design. It’s a fairly standard platformer, but with a twist. You move using the arrow keys or WASD, and you aim and throw a javelin with the mouse. You Only Get One, so once thrown, you have to retrieve it before you can throw again, leaving you defenseless in between shots. The enemies are just challenging enough, and you have to kill all of them before you can activate the gateway to advance to the next level. You have to stay alive, can’t get hit once or touch lava, and there are also optional bonus pickups scattered throughout the levels for added challenge. Graphics are quite good for the style, using an amazing 16-color palette. The only weak point is the sound effects, which are typical bfxr blandness, but fill the intended purpose adequately. Early levels aren’t terribly challenging, but it ramps up pretty quickly, and the “boss” at the end of the enhanced edition is one of the best, most satisfying videogame battles I’ve won in a long, long time, overcome only by mastery over the controls AND a shrewd strategy that I discovered after dozens of attempts.

A Ronin Heart

A Ronin Heart

Just as impressive as Javel-ein, but a bit less innovative in terms of play mechanics; in this action platformer, your “only get one” thing is your life — take one hit and your artificial heart is cut loose, and you have a few seconds to try to grab it before you die. Since this only comes into play briefly, when you get hit, it doesn’t open up a lot of potential for interesting play, but it’s every bit as well polished as Javel-ein. A strong art style evokes Edo period Japan, the pixel samurai animation is rendered masterfully.

I Can Haz One?

I Can Haz One?

Even though this is a very simple game and kindof stupid, I still like it. The cat is cute, the music is cute, and it is fun to see all teh thingz u can hazzing. Joo r a cat, things fall from teh skyez, an joo haz to haz only one thingz. Try to haz teh moast raer thingz to get moar pointz.

You Only Get One Chance To Save Xmas


Simple, but fun. You run around a shopping mall, trying to find the right colored gift for each person on your list before time expires. Shove other shoppers out of your way if you want to. The minor-chord variant on “Jingle Bells” is fitting. This could really be a fun holiday satire title if developed a bit more — I think there should be a Boss Santa or something that you have to fight at the end.

Ninja Kun’s Final Exam


This difficult platformer provides challenge through stealth puzzles. You must evade the samurai and get to the door. The samurai are very difficult to defeat if they are alert to your presence, so your best bet is to sneak around them with your stealth, or to hit them with a shuriken while they are still unaware. You can use a rope to climb to the ceiling and hang, which makes for an interesting alternative to jumping, which you also can do. The graphics are well done, cute pixel art, similar in style to the original GameBoy. The major downside is the controls: using the left/right arrow keys to run, up/down arrows to use the rope, space to jump, and the number 1 key to shoot a star makes for a very awkward control layout. Also, if you make any mistakes, you start all over from the very beginning — I really wish the doors served as save points.

1111 pt 1


This literal take on the “You only get one” theme is brilliant. Flying around in space, shooting numbers >1, breaking them down to 1’s, collecting the 1’s to gain points to power up and face ever larger numbers.

The game is very easy, there’s no real challenge here, just button mash your way to victory. But it’s fun to see how your ship changes as you level up, and the interesting forms the higher numbers take.

 That One Coin


This is a simple platformer, but it comes with a twist. You can win simply by collecting ONE coin. So the challenge becomes how far can you go WITHOUT collecing a coin? It’s like a very difficult platformer where one mistake kills you, but instead of ending the game through death, it ends it through “rewarding” you. It’s an innovative gameplay idea that turns the game on its head. Core gameplay is not terribly sophisticated — I’ve played many run and jump games that were done better — but the music and the sarcastic instruction text make it a fun play.

 One Shot

One Shot

Tiny pixel art stealth platformer where you get one bullet per level to get past multiple lethal sentries. There are also obstacles that will kill you, most of which you’ll discover inadvertently. This game is seriously hard, and will take a determined player a long time to beat all 11 levels. The developer wasn’t able to complete the game by deadline, but I hope they finish the remaining four levels originally intended.

Natural Sheep Care


If you like grinding, then Natural Sheep Care is the game for you. I don’t like grinding, but I have to admit that I found this to be a captivating and well-realized game. It was far too difficult for my patience, but I really felt drawn to the game world, and wanted to find out what would happen if I could win enough to make it through the portal. The difficulty stems from the carefully balanced economy that demands frugality and perfection, as well as intelligent power-up tree management, and the controls, which includes a novel aiming system that demands pinpoint timing and execution.

YouTube reviewer RockLeeSmile is much better than I was at the game, and managed to play through in his video:

The game consists only of one level, and the reward payoff is anticlimactic, but the game shows a lot of promise if the story elements were expanded and allowed a sense of journey to develop.

 One Take

One Take

One of the most original games I’ve ever played, you’re a camera operator shooting a movie. You have to get the shot perfect in a single take — you only get one. Shoot three different movie scenes. Your score is based on how well you capture a sequence of moments that happen during the scene. If you hit your marks and follow the Director’s instructions, your movie will receive a good rating.



A nonviolent puzzle platformer, Blomster is a well-polished hike through a dark cave to hunt for flowers. The challenge is to figure out how to get to the exit gateway in each cave. You find a glowing ball that lights up when you are carrying it, and which has the power to make some platforms become solid or immaterial. You need to be clever in order to get the platforms to become solid when you need them to be, so you can walk on them and move through the level. The physics, lighting, controls, and camera are fantastic. It’s a fairly short play, and more relaxing than challenging, but quite enjoyable.

A few quick updates

Did not complete Ludum Dare 28

I even liked the theme this time: You Only Get One. I came up with an idea pretty quickly: a platformer in which you are given the choice of several power-ups, but you only get to have one. Once you made your choice, you have to get through the level using that ability.

Alas, I did not get very far and did not complete the game. I started out trying to build a platforming engine from scratch, ran into bugs, and a few hours later concluded that without declaring a pre-existing base code for a working, tested platform engine, I just wasn’t going to have any hope of completing a game in 48 hrs.

really needed to do this in order to free me up to do things like come up with the various power up items, and devise level designs that would be solvable with each of them, just in some different, uniquely challenging way. That’s a rather tall order, really — level design in platformers takes a lot of talent and testing.

Once I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to finish that project idea, I could have scrapped it and started something else, but I opted not to — mainly because I was very frustrated by that point by a couple of technical problems.

This culminates a year of mostly failed projects for me: I was sick the weekend of Global Game Jam 2013 and didn’t partake, then the wheels fell off my computer just in time for our local Cleveland Game Developers Summer Jam event, when a dying hard drive put me out of commission for the weekend as I struggled (mightily, and successfully) to move my OS to a SSD. I blew off LD26 because I hated the theme “Minimalism”, and then skipped LD27 entirely because I hated the theme “10 Seconds”.

Of course on the plus side, I helped put out a book on GameMaker, and am currently working on another, but in terms of releasing finished products, this has been a bust year. Nothing to do about it but pick myself up and get back into it, though.

Site has been down a lot lately, hasn’t it?

Since I went and registered this domain name in 2010, I’ve been hosting on a server that a friend of mine generously provided me some space on for free. At first I had no idea what I was going to do with my domain, at all — I just wanted a web server of my own to play with in my spare time, and learn from. I dabbled briefly with trying to build a native HTML website before realizing how not-fun that really is, and switched to using WordPress, and have been blogging with it ever since.

This year, the server started having issues with downtime. I’ve been in contact with the server administrator, who at various points has explained that the outages have been caused by all sorts of things: database server disk storage full, upgrades, DDoS attacks, aging hardware, you name it. It seems the problems have gotten worse over time rather than better, and so a few weeks ago I began shopping around for a new hosting service. I’ve got one now, and am in the process of migrating the site over to the new server. I’m hopeful that I’ll be through doing that sometime this week, and then I can cut over the DNS registration to point to the new server, and all will be well again. This weekend there was another bad outage, and the site was down for about 24 hours. Dealing with that had me distracted, anxious, and frustrated, and not at all in the right frame of mind to be focused on my LD48 project.

Despite the ease of setting up WordPress initially, I’ve found it fairly difficult to migrate the site over to the new host, mainly due to differences between the hosts, but also due to my relative lack of experience in doing this sort of thing. So I’d like to say I’m learning a lot from this, but really at the moment I’m just learning that it sucks to do something when you don’t really know how, and the documentation and tools that you have available to you are not all pertinent to what you want to do, and it’s up to you to figure it out. I’m muddling through, and perhaps by the time I’m done I’ll understand how stuff works a lot more than I did before I started, but I haven’t seen that payoff just yet. I haven’t yet resorted to the tech support at the new host, but I plan to this week when I can get to it. Getting the current host to be up at the same time when I have a large block of time to throw at migrating seems to be an issue, and I don’t want to waste my time talking to tech support when the old host is down and something that I may need to pull off of there isn’t accessible.

So that sucks.

YoYoGames Support rocks

On top of that, I also had a bit of frustration with GameMaker Studio this weekend while I was still trying to work on my LD48 project.

Somehow or other, the auto-suggest feature in the GML code editor went glitch on me, drawing a super-tall suggestions box that drew off the top of the screen, and wouldn’t allow me to scroll up to see any of the suggestions.

Tl;dr: it turns out that the autosuggest box is resizable by dragging the edge with the mouse, making this quite easy to fix. However, I did not know that at the time, as there’s no UI widget that hints at this functionality, and I expected that it was like a regular “Tool Tip” widget in Windows, which are not normally resizable. I tried exiting/relaunching, and even removing/reinstalling GM:S to no avail, before resorting to tweeting my SOS. I also submitted a bug report with YYG.

Within an hour or so of my SOS tweet, xot of GMLscripts.com had offered me some suggestions which fixed my problem. I really appreciated him taking the time to do it. I don’t know who xot is in real life — if he’s connected in any way to YYG, a former employee, or just a long time GameMaker developer, but I’ve gotten a lot of use out of gmlscripts.com over the last couple years, and so I donated $25 to him for providing such a valuable resource to the community, and since then he’s been quite friendly and generous with his time — he also contributed quite a bit to the draw_text_rtf() script that I posted about earlier this year. So, three cheers for xot, wherever you are — you’re a great guy.

This morning, I woke up to find an email from YYG Support in my inbox:

Hi there,

Reading through the twitter feed you linked it looks like you managed to solve the issue.
Is this correct?


YoYo Games Customer Support Technician

Since the bug report tool doesn’t let you upload files, I had pasted the url of the twit pic, and Peter had apparently followed up, reading the conversation, and, seeing that I’d apparently sorted things out on my own, checked in with me to make sure I was doing OK. Awesome!

I wrote back to him:

I don’t know what caused it to happen in the first place, though, so you still may want to investigate that end of it, in order to prevent a recurrence of the issue. It seems to me that while it makes sense for the height of the auto-complete suggestion box to size itself dynamically, it ought to have some “sanity checks” to make sure it’s not sizing itself larger than the display resolution, and more specifically to size itself to no larger than needed to display the suggestions.

To which, he replied:

I’ll let our coding team know about this issue so they can add some checks to prevent this sort of thing happening again.

I’m extremely pleased with this exchange.

A year or so ago, back when YYG’s Mantis bugtracker was still open to anyone to submit bugs, it often took a long time for anyone to respond to a bug report, and often that response was unsatisfying — you felt like you’d annoyed someone with a concern or question that they felt was stupid, or that you were guilty of misusing the bug reporting system to ask for help merely using the tool rather than reporting a genuine bug, bug reports would often be closed prematurely, before allowing you to engage their developers who were working on it to communicate about the issue, and if the issue did merit a fix, it could be months before someone got around to it, because there’s a zillion bugs and they have to be properly prioritized, planned, and implemented.

By contrast, this experience left me feeling that they cared about my problem, not just the bug report, that they were interested in taking care of it the right way, and that it was their pleasure to do so. Submitting issues is also simplified compared to what it used to be in the Mantis system, which is also appreciated.

I really, really can’t say enough good things about how it feels to be using GameMaker these days.