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About axcho (twitter: @axcho)
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The Love Letter has been settling into its long tail and finally broke 500,000 views recently, so I thought it was about time to make good on my promise to release the source code.
So I did. Get it on GitHub!
We finally declared The Love Letter to be as finished as it will ever be, and I just lifted the site-lock from it this evening. Anyone can host the game on their site now.
You can download the game pack here:
Not only was the game featured on the front page of Newgrounds, but Kongregate just gave it a badge and The Love Letter is now featured on the front page of Kongregate too! None of my other games have ever gotten this much attention, so I’m pretty excited.
No new plugin this time, but that might not be a bad idea – something to make tracking achievements easier?
Maybe next time…
Anyway, check it out!
The Love Letter is now on Kongregate!
There are stats for the time you took to read the whole letter, and for the longest time you read the letter without stopping or being interrupted. Hoping for some badges! Took a while to get it all working, but now I’ve got a nice new FlxAPI plugin to add to the pile.
Next up is Newgrounds…
Hey, just a quick post to let you know that I added automatic pathfinding to the mouse controls for The Love Letter!
If you put your mouse on the other side of a building, he’ll walk around it. No more getting stuck on corners!
Also added optional keyboard controls too – arrow keys and space bar, or WASD and enter. They’re not mentioned in the tutorial, but they’re there if you want to use them. Hope you like it.
Hey, this post is going to go on the notgames blog! Cool, huh?
On Valentine’s Day, indie game developers axcho and knivel released a little game called The Love Letter. It’s a free, five-minute experience, a slice of life as the most popular boy in school. But things aren’t so easy at the top, especially when you find a mysterious love letter in your locker and you have to read the whole thing during passing period without any of your so-called friends catching you.
“It’s hard for me to say where The Love Letter fits in the spectrum of game to notgame. The purpose is to get across a particular five-minute experience, not to make it about a challenging game with a lot of replay value,” says axcho, who wrote the code for the game.
While there are no points, achievements or levels to be found in The Love Letter, it is possible to win or lose. Getting caught by another student while reading your love letter results in a cute but painful shaming in front of your peers, and a quick trip back to the title screen to try again. If you do get to the end of the letter without anyone seeing you, you are rewarded with an awkward but adorable encounter with your secret admirer, and a satisfying “the end” that makes it clear you’ve met the game’s expectations.
Still, there is a balance to be struck. You could call it a casual stealth game with only one level, but that would be missing the point.
The Love Letter was originally a 72-hour creation for the Ludum Dare 22 game jam, where hundreds of participants all over the world spent a weekend making games inspired by the theme of “alone”. The game’s author knivel says that the brief development time encouraged him to try making a short, scripted experience that really explores the competition theme rather than simply trying to make a fun game that people would want to play over and over again. It lasts for five minutes because that’s as long as it needs to be. It’s not particularly deep or profound, but it stands on its own for five minutes, without all the gameplay fluff that would be needed to sustain a longer playing time.
As one player mentioned on the notgames forum,
“What made this for me was the fact that the game didn’t try to ‘challenge’ me with levels, achievements, or points. It could have been more ‘fun’ and earn more flash portal money if you went that route. I can imagine myself adding more challenging level design and mechanics to this until the game ends up as this soulless fun machine.
But you sir, made this with the notgames mindset and left me with something pure and sincere. Thanks for that.”
We’ve all seen shallow themes stretched out to hours of gameplay, whether in killing monsters or clicking cows. But while some developers choose to reach for lofty heights with themes that deserve such extended introspection, others like axcho and knivel simply take something sweet and fresh and give it all the time it deserves. Five minutes.
This quote says it best:
You can read more about The Love Letter’s development on axcho’s blog.
We did it!
The Love Letter is all polished up for Valentine’s Day! You can play it here:
Happy Valentine’s Day everybody! <3 We hope you love the game!
Spread the love! Don’t spend this holiday ALONE…
Ha, see what I did there? :3
I last mentioned that The Love Letter will be released after judging ends…
And yes, judging has ended (and we got voted the best in Theme for the jam, thank you!) and The Love Letter is not released. But our original pronouncement still stands – the game has a release date, and that release date will take place *after* – and not before – judging ends.
And it’s the perfect release date.
What else could it be but… Valentine’s Day! February 14th!
We’re so close. We were working all weekend, and we’ve got all the major features in – at this point, we’re just iterating on polish and playtesting feedback. I’m excited!
Source code is looking good too. I’ve factored out two new Flixel plugins from the code for this project, and I can hardly wait to get them on GitHub. FlxScript and FlxTilemapPlus, coming up!
Release for the full game code will probably be a week or two after the game release, just to give us a bit of a head start on the inevitable flood of copies and clones that will soon follow…
I just wanted to give a quick update on our game The Love Letter.
First of all, thanks for all the encouragement! We got a lot of comments from people saying that they really liked the concept, and that we should finish the game and release it so there’s actually an ending!
We’ve been working on it since, not as frequently as we’d hoped on account of work and family stuff, but we’re still working on it. The plan is to wait until we are completely done before we release an updated version, given that Ludum Dare game jam entries are still being judged. But judging is almost over, and we are getting closer to finishing the game, so we will definitely be releasing the game sooner than later. Hopefully.
And, I’m planning to put the source code on GitHub to share, so there’s that to look forward to as well. Thanks again for your feedback and encouragement!
So, I took a day off from work to finish the game for the Ludum Dare jam! I got a lot done, and you can try the game now, but there’s a lot missing.
But, there is a title screen…
And music, and a clock, and you can lose the game.
But you can’t win.
And likely, neither can we, with an unfinished game in the competition. Oh well. Hopefully we can finish it up over the next week or two and give it a proper release, because the game has a lot of potential.
I spent most of my time today working on the scripted sequences for the tutorial and winning and losing the game, but those turned out to take a lot longer than I’d hoped. I cut my losses pretty late, barely adding a placeholder lose condition but no tutorial and no win condition.
I’m still waiting for all the adrenaline to wash out of my bloodstream. That was a bit too stressful at the end.
Not sure if it was a good idea to submit the game in its current state, but I guess it can’t hurt. Letting people try it out is a good thing, as it’s not like anyone will want to steal it the way it is now. Just hope not too many people see it until we have time to make a finished version. It’s just a draft!
Yeah. Kinda disappointed.
But no, I don’t regret it. This was a great experience overall. The fun parts (that is, most of it) were really fun, and I was really amazed at how much we were able to get done. And I look forward to finishing the game. I just hope I still have enough energy for the rest of the week. I don’t want to burn out now.
Well, thanks for following us on this little journey. The best is yet to come!
Here ends the second day of the Ludum Dare jam, at least for us. We’re pretty happy (or, depending on who you ask, amazed) with how much we’ve been able to accomplish so far, thanks in no small part to Adam Atomic’s awesome Flixel v2.55 game engine.
But given that we both have to go back to work at our real jobs tomorrow, we’re not too confident that we can finish this game to our satisfaction in time for the Ludum Dare jam deadline.
Most of what happened today was on the graphical side of things, along with all the little fixes and tweaks to the simulation that are hard to describe or notice unless you’re looking for them. As you can see, we have a bunch of new tiles in the game – it actually looks like a school now!
Since we didn’t want to try learning any new tools, like DAME for making tilemaps, I had a fun time enhancing Flixel’s basic image-to-tilemap conversion to support multiple colors for different tiles, and not only that but also autotiling at the same time. Fancy!
Here you can see the image that is interpreted as the tilemap for the game. All the pretty colored pixels are for the goodies on the walls like lockers and doors and such.
I’m looking forward to sharing my clean, beautiful tilemap code with all you other Flixel devs out there. Soon, soon!