Here we are, finally finding the time to write something about The Lamp!
You do not know what The Lamp is? Then check it out! Also, here is a GIF for you!
So, what is The Lamp?
The Lamp is the only object you will find in the room you are stuck into, and it represents both your only hope and your sure doom.
Turn the lamp off, turn it on, watch what happens. Try to survive as much as you can!
Ok, that’s the marketing speech, but what EXACTLY is The Lamp?
Fine! The Lamp is a minimalistic survival horror game.
We tried to make the game as minimalistic as possible while still retaining its ‘survival horror’ qualities: there is a single, square room, there is a single lamp in the middle of it and the goal is always the same: turn the lamp off, then find it again and turn it on, before the monsters can get to you!
Monsters will spawn only in the darkness and will disappear once the light gets turned on again.
Even with such a minimal mechanic, we are pleased with the result! Here are some comments from the players:
“Much fun. At times i felt like I didn’t want to turn off the lights, too scared.”
“Very creepy for a so minimal game!”
“Very enjoyable, I got some thrills playing this one.”
“Great horror game. Simple means achieve tense atmosphere.”
“Very nice atmosphere, pretty scary! Even if it is minimalistic!”
Looking at the comments, we are very happy and proud about the result, as it seems the mood was conveyed successfully! We thank the commenters and everyone who played the game thus far!
The intro screen for The Lamp showing its main character (yes, the Lamp)
Arghhhhh the monsters!
Yes, the monsters.
There are seven monsters in total, each with its own graphics, animation and movement pattern.
If you are really curious, here are ALL of them together, as they would appear under the light:
We are happy with the monster designs: some are more predictable, others more erratic, some can be easily seen and others can’t almost be seen at all!
You want to know what they do? Then play the game!
You are not telling us everything… what about the torchlights?
Ok, we have not been completely honest. The game features one additional mechanic: the torchlights.
In the game, you will find that monsters are attuned to different colors: blue, red or yellow. You will find small squares when the light is on, which are actually torchlights. Pick them up, then when the lights turn off you will have a majestic torchlight in your hands to help you!
Torchlights of the same color as the monsters’ eyes will scare them away, while torchlights of a different colors (and even if the monster has NO EYES) will drive the monster mad and it will charge you even faster!
The problem is: you do not know what torchlights will appear in the light and you do not know what monsters will appear when you turn the light off, so you are left with a few choices: will you get the torchlight? If yes, which one? Are you confident enough that you will find the correct monsters in the dark? This kind of mechanic adds a rock-paper-scissors gameplay element that rewards sheer luck, something you will need to be able to survive!!!
Blue torchlight, yellow monster. Good luck next time, my friend.
Why did you choose such graphics?
Actually, during development, we changed the graphics back and forth between a minimalistic, square-like graphical style to a sprite one. We could not decide until the end which one to choose, so we have a few unused sprites resting in our hard drives.
For example, here is the main character in sprite form
At last, we decided to use the current graphical style, which has been chosen to convey a kind of psychologic meaning. There are a few differences between the light and dark phases in the game:
When the light is on, everything is minimalistic (the room, the player, the items) BUT the lamp is not. What does this mean? Is the lamp real? Does it come from some other world?
When the light is off, the monsters appear. Their eyes are still minimalistic, made of small squares, so to suggest that they too belong to the abstract world of the light. But there is more: if you try to aim one of the monsters with your torchlight you will notice that all monsters actually have a concrete, detailed and animated body.
Some touches such as the steps left by the character and the monsters have been added both for feedback and atmosphere.
There is a contrast between the detail of the monsters and the fact that, for the most part, you will not even see them! We feel this contrast is what helped to convey part of the atmosphere.
Here is how a monster (the dog monster) actually appears in the light. You can see only its eyes in the dark, instead, but you just KNOW it is there and it HURTS!!!
At last, the good and the bad!
Yes, we are at that part of the post.
- the atmosphere was well conveyed through sound and music
- mechanics are simple and the game is fun to play!
- we managed to add a few touches (the time-scorer, the steps, the hint text)
- we added all the monsters we wanted
- I managed to sleep more than last year (and worked on monday as well :P)
- a few imprecisions in the sound effects make some combinations of sound out of place
- the balance of the monsters is not perfected (we’ll do that)
And what do you think about The Lamp? Come play it and tell us! Click here!
The Lamp is waiting for you (and it is not alone) in our LD26 entry.
Turn the lamp off, then turn it on.
See what happens.
Show us your interest and get a cool post mortem back (which is in the works)!
Ludum Dare #26 live from the Politecnico di Milano. 4 teams, 4 games and 4 jams!
I wrote a post-mortem for Walker just as I finished it, publishing a small series of thoughts in the middle of the night (here it is!). I thought that the game deserved a bit more and thus the traffic signs in the streets in these days, looking at me and judging my conduct, made me realize I needed to write a bit more and in a less sleepy moment.
So, here is its real post-portem!
This is Walker! Play and rate here!
What is Walker?
Walker is my entry for the Ludum Dare 23 Jam.
The game takes place in the early XXI century in the busy streets of some metropolis.
There is a tiny world just before our eyes. It is the world of the traffic signs, of which we can only catch a glimpse through small round, square and triangular windows. You are the Walker, a man who lives in the tiny world of the traffic signs, able to travel in this world but not in ours. This means that he is able to jump from sign to sign, but our world is off-limits!
In this time and place, the traffic signs have it hard as the GPS is slowly making all of them useless!
Enter the roadroller.
This enormous and scary machine is determined to squash all traffic signs in our streets and, without remorse, it will squash the Walker and his friends too!
Flee from the roadroller, escape to the Exit, save all your friends and score high to win the game, currently sporting 12 levels!
Why did you… Whyyy!!!!!!
Who are you?
I am Michele “Catman” Pirovano from Politecnico di Milano and this game I created in three days with the help of Federica Tana (for the game concept and some 2D art) and Dario Campanella (for the drawn background and the “Hello-o” voice). This is our first Ludum Dare and we had a lot of fun!
I live in Italy and thus the theme was revealed at 2.30 in the night here. Needless to say, I was sleeping by that time. In order to be prepared for the loss of the initial hours, I brought pen and paper Friday night so that me, Federica and Dario could throw in ideas for all the twenty themes-to-be.
Needless to say, I arranged the list alphabetically and thus “Tiny World” was the last one. Obviously, when we reached it we were tired and sleepy and it was past midnight, hence we gave it little thought.
Thus, I woke up Saturday at 7 o’clock and opened the web to find out that we were wasting time! (or were we? It was fun and we did get good ideas to use next time! J )
I started working on a game idea which later got scrapped: two aliens on a single round(ish) world, one is happy and the other is not. Not-happy-alien wants to bust the other out of his planet! This was a play on the “this place is too small for both of us”.
Then, at around 10, I went to meet Federica and she told me: “Well, I had an idea, what if the tiny world is the one in the streets?”. She showed me a few doodles of traffic signs, we threw a few ideas for each one and ta-da! I scrapped the other idea altogether! We would do the Walker!
Behind the scenes!
Development went good, steady and without surprises. We spent saturday and sunday at my home and at Federica’s, then I finished the polishing during Monday. The game was made with Unity free. First, I created a few signs and the Walker, playing around a bit with the controls. Then, I started adding the roadroller (since I wanted more tension in the game!) and a lot of different signs. I spent a good while trying to get the platforms right (if you notice, you can enter from below but you will stop on them if jumping from above), althought the collisions still have problems.
Well, I don’t want to waste time with useless details, so let’s go straight to the good & the bad!
The game concept
I am really fond of the game concept and I think it is quite original. Comments seem to agree thus far and that makes me and Federica happy!
Lots of signs!
I had fun creating the traffic signs and I think there is a good variety in them. Try them all out! I think there are around twenty of them!
You will notice that the plane doesn’t really do much, here is why: I planned to make it follow the player and push him down, and it still does that. HOwever, I had no time to tune its speed and fix some bugs, so I tuned it down. I left it inside because it is fun! (Wooooooooohhhhssss)
Lots of signs in here! Where is that plane going?
The art style
This was easy to achieve, yet I am really satisfied with the result. Me and Federica just took the most iconic traffic signs and recreated them in 2D and 3D. Paired with Dario’s background, a 90’s urban style was born! (I remember keeping telling Dario: “More graffiti!” :D)
Yes, the walker is a 3D mesh, I cannot quite draw so I prefer to do everything in 3D!
I got scared when I realized I had to do sounds and that I could not use anything from freesounds or similar. I panicked and tried out bsfx only to find out that I did not like its really electronic feel. Then Federica suggested we did everything by voice. I was skeptical at first, then we tried a bit of “boings” and “swoshhs” and it easily became fun! Suddenly, we found ourselves wanting to add sound to anything.
The best one yet is the “Hellooo” done by Dario when you greet the Hat Walker.
Hello-o-o-o-o. T’is a nice day, isn’t it?
I liked how the main menu turned out, with its smooth movements. I think that the Walker jumping out of its sign as the game starts is a nice touch, since it tells the player that he can do that! I could however have spent less time on it to fix the controls… oh well!
I really like unity for how fast you can be if you know what you are doing. It still is a hassle to optimize games for phones and tablets (I do know something about it ) but I like how many features it has!!!! All in all it is a great framework and I will use it again next time.
I was surprised at how kind and tight the Ludum Dare community is, I love reading the postmortem and I really like how people are always making constructive comments! This is a nice environment to work in and the IRC people are kind too! I will definitely participate in the next one too! (well, maybe the one in December!)
I also really liked the game I played so far and I plan to play more during the week!
Little time to do music
I was not able to allocate enough time to the music. I usually pay a lot attention to the sound of games, being a keyboard player myself (And loving music in general! The main game I am working on is a music game after all!).
Too bad, I wanted to give Walker a memorable track, but the end result was kind of repetitive! Especially since I forgot to not reset the music between levels, so people only listen to the first few measures! Try to listen to the whole song if you can! (Well, not in the menu, that was an old version!)
Controls and collisions
This is my fault, I am sorry. L I did pay enough attention to controls and collisions and, I must say, Unity’s collision system still sometimes eludes me (I never remember what collides with what!). Controls are sloppy and, although a few really like them, most people find them bad. I will surely modify them for next version, but not before the competition finishes (I think it is fairier that way, so that people can really rate what we did with these few days).
Proper planning ahead
I think I should have allocated time to everything and, althought I did finish everything, I released the game at the last time (20 minutes before the deadline!).
Next time I’ll make sure to plan ahead how much time I’ll need for each part and not spend too much time on one feature while neglecting another one!
The release… where???
I panicked when releasing, didn’t know where to put the game and I had no internet space. In addition, my connection was going slow! I went to IRC and the kind folks there told me how to use Dropbox with its public folder, thank you guys!
So, get out of here and play our game if you didn’t have a chance yet, I am still looking for feedback!
Thank you for reading!
This was my first LD and I think it went fairly well!
The game I created, with the help of my girlfriend Federica and my friend Dario for 2D art and game concepts, is Walker.
Walker takes place in the tiny world of the traffic signs, who are not useful anymore because of GPS.
The roadroller is coming close, so you’d better run for your life!
Here is the game!!! http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-23/?action=preview&uid=11589
What was good:
- The concept
I really liked the concept, which was an idea of Federica. It’s one of those concepts that I feel have potential but are not really investigated! Seems other people think this as well, so I’m happy with the result!
- The jam
It’s my first jam, so I was a bit anxious (let’s say terrified). Would I be able to create everything in 3 days? I am happy with the results and, frankly, I didn’t think I’d be able to debug and create a dozen levels. Working with Federica and Dario was also fun! Hurray!
- The prototyping
I used Unity and I’ve been working with it for a year and a half, so I think I’ve a good knowledge of its functionalities. The first prototype with most of the gameplay was ready the very first day! The rest was polishing and assets.
- The gameplay
I never created a platformer before, althought I’ve been playing my fair bit! It was fun to invent what the traffic signs would do and I didn’t think it would be this fun to design levels!!!!
What was bad:
- The music
I was not happy with the music, did it in so little time… I usually pay a lot of attention to the musical part of my games, but this time… too bad!
- The sounds?
I didn’t know how to do sounds and I did not want to use bsfx as was suggested beucase it sounds too electric! So we went and recorded our voices! The end result is funny, to say the least. I am content with them, tho I guess we could have done better. Next time.
Thank you everyone, this was fun! Looking forward to play all games!!!
Check out the people at POLIMI creating their games!
It’s 8AM here in Italy and I’m ready to start! Too bad that the theme came out at 2AM (which means I was already in the dream world), but I was prepared: spent last night with friends creating a game for each of the themes in the final round!
Which also means that Tiny Wolrld was the last, alphabetically, and also that it got less attention!!
I spent the last hour envisioning new ideas, waiting for my jam partners to wake up, and I think I’m on the right track till now.
Here is the first screenshot! Wondering if going for a Sphere or a Plane world…