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    Ludum Dare 28

    December 13th-16th 2013 :: Theme: You Only Get One

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    The Day the Laughter Stopped - Crabman - 48 Hour Compo Entry

    TRIGGER WARNING. Please read the notes in the menu if there are topics that could cause you significant emotional distress.

    The Day the Laughter Stopped is a personal story told using interactive fiction. I don't want to say too much at this point, as it is best experienced unspoiled, but I will soon write at length about the concept, why I wrote it and what I was trying to achieve. I'll add a link to the blog post once it is ready.

    The Windows executables are packaged with node-webkit, so it's HTML packaged with chromium. This should be your safest bet should you have trouble with the web page.

    KNOWN PROBLEMS:
    * It seems there's sometimes a bug with loading later in the game. I couldn't reproduce it when I tried, but the game is very short and shouldn't take more than 10min to finish, so loading is hopefully not too necessary. [FIXED]

    * There's also sometimes a bit of odd behavior with the scrolling. But it works just fine most of the time, so this should be but a minor inconvenience. [FIXED]

    Everything else works as intended.

    EDIT: I have added a link to the blog post outlining what motivated me to make this game. I also added that link to the ingame menu, as I wanted people to have easy access to it. The game itself is unchanged, as are the source files and the Windows build. I hope this is alright by the LD rules, otherwise I will remove it. It is, however, just a link and has no effect on the game whatsoever.

    EDIT2: Added some statistics to the web version. Again, no changes affecting the game were made, and the Windows build and source files remain unchanged.

    EDIT3: Loading & scrolling bug fixed. Since I made other changes to the web version (see Edit 1-2), I'm not updating the Windows build and source files, so you can still play an untouched version if you prefer.

    View Crabman's journal. | View all entries by Crabman

    Ratings

    Coolness100%
    #8Mood4.20
    #68Overall3.75
    #108Audio3.39
    #110Theme3.64
    #299Innovation3.21
    #725Humor1.72
    #789Graphics2.30
    #845Fun2.32

    Comments

    tommakesgames says ...
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 12:02am

    Inklewriter?

    Crabman says ...
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 12:11am

    Nah, it's all written from scratch. Can't deny being inspired by it though. ;)

    Dec 16, 2013 @ 3:27am

    The engine is really nice! I'm also incredibly impressed with how much text you cooked up in such a short period.

    Shigor says ...
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 3:28am

    Thumbs up for interactive fiction (I've always wanted to make some IF entry, but never got to it).

    BTW is there a way to restart the story?

    andrewkennedy says ...
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 3:32am

    Woah that was dark...

    Nice to see people doing good text adventures, keep it up!

    BoppreH says ...
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 3:39am

    Loved the false mechanic at the ending. When I tried to visit the page again, I got another surprise as it silently saved my "progress". Great game.

    Crabman says ...
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 3:45am

    @Shigor: No, you only get to play once. Unless you figure out how it saves and how to delete it at least. :) But it's part of the point that you don't get another chance. It happened and now you gotta live with it, so to say.

    ENDESGA says ...
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 5:15am

    Pretty cool :)

    ParaPup says ...
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 8:41am

    This is a really nice story.

    Dec 16, 2013 @ 2:45pm

    Horrifyingly well-told story. I love how you subvert the interactive fiction elements toward the end.

    tommakesgames says ...
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 3:19pm

    Excellent entry. Good writing and good handling of a nasty topic. Good twist near the end.

    Croze says ...
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 10:48pm

    Really dark, but really good.

    sudorossy says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 1:36am

    Well written, and pretty depressing, good job!

    sykotomy says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 1:41am

    I don't know what to say. Not really a fan of IF, but this might have changed me. Very well done.

    whiteknife says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 1:44am

    Powerful use of the interactive fiction medium. Excellent. I think this is a great way to talk about a subject like this.

    ovenchips says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 1:57am

    What an amazing talent you have. Thank you for the game.

    zzzev says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 3:20am

    Extremely well executed, and I like the subversion of the "choice" mechanic. The flip side of that is that it lacks the hallmark of my favorite works of IF, which is the feeling that you're in control of the narrative. Still, a powerful work and awesome to see a more experimental work succeed in LD.

    uRLgR3y says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 3:23am

    This was really dark but very well written.

    vinull says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 3:41am

    Very well done, you really hit home the loss of control someone would feel. The "no choice" mechanic at the end really worked well, as did the subtle audio. This might also work well as a visual novel, and uploaded to a portal like Kongregate where is may get some attention and spark a conversation. I'd be willing to help even!

    BlackPoison says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 4:28am

    I love text adventures, when i try to choose a "safe" path, and nothing happened i was a little concerned thinking that the game maybe wasn't completed or something, but when i realized that i didn't have that choice, i was really tense! Love the way you lead the story even if it was "dark" as it was!

    WetDesertRock says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 4:31am

    Very powerful, not expecting something that dark for a 48 hour contest. Trying not give away any spoilers here so if its cryptic, sorry: The way you gave the users options was very powerful. Probably one of the most powerful depictions I have seen.

    Good job.

    Dec 17, 2013 @ 4:37am

    http://www.reddit.com/r/GirlGamers/comments/1t26z7/trigger_warning_sexual_assault_the_day_the/

    Lissar says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 4:59am

    This was a hard read, but good. I enjoyed the subtle use of music.

    Dec 17, 2013 @ 5:40am

    I appreciate the way that mechanically choice seems to be taken from the player. Very well done piece of IF.

    chabuduo says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 6:53am

    Lessons of empathy through a game, very effective. great job

    kidder says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 7:58am

    Wow. Very nicely done and very moving.

    BluShine says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 9:12am

    Oof, that was tough to play, and I mean that in a good way (if that makes any sense). The part where the choices stop working was simple, but it definitely puts you in the shoes of the person, and was really powerful. Gameplay and story working together perfectly.

    henrykun says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 1:44pm

    Very descriptive, detailed and well done. You really made me feel like I was there. Although I cannot imagine the exact feeling of that it was somehow uncomfortable and wanted to punch that guy in the face or something xD.

    Dec 17, 2013 @ 2:26pm

    Well told story. I like that you didn't over dramatized it, that you stayed subtle. I often find interactive fiction boring or anectodal. For once the "gameplay" is coherent with the plot and the writing.

    SunShiranui says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 6:16pm

    Best game I've played so far.

    Kayelgee says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 9:00pm

    I don't like the story. I never had a choice. I knew where this would end from the first block. Why give us a fake choice if you gonna tell us the same story anyways?

    Crabman says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 9:18pm

    @Kayelgee: The point of that is that you have no control over a situation like this. You don't end up there because of what you did, it happens because you have been targeted by a predator and he makes it happen, no matter what. There are no right choices and no wrong choices, because it's not your fault. That's the point, it's not your fault.

    The later choices that literally don't work are about wanting to do something and not being able to. If you want to know more about why I did this and why I chose to present it this way, you can read about it here:
    http://hypnoticowl.com/the-day-the-laughter-stopped/

    @Rest of y'all: Thank you so much. I can't put into words how much your feedback means to me. It's been a very weird, overwhelming coupla days, so yeah, "thanks" is all the eloquence I can muster. :D

    Dec 17, 2013 @ 10:16pm

    not normally my type of game as lots of words usually make me instantly tired hah.. i persisted and enjoyed it tho.. good job :)

    Toureiro says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 10:53pm

    Nice writing. I enjoyed it.

    AaronGordon says ...
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 11:47pm

    The link to the theme completely hit me out of the blue. It made for very uncomfortable reading (in a good way) and it's great to see people doing this kind of thing. Very well written. Good job!

    Raiyumi says ...
    Dec 18, 2013 @ 3:55am

    The twist at the end. :) Nice use of theme.

    aeveis says ...
    Dec 18, 2013 @ 7:28am

    Saw it coming but couldn't prevent it :(. Thanks for making this.

    erebusman says ...
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 5:54am

    Nicely done. Good approach on a serious topic. I've often thought of taking on serious topics before but haven't had the courage!

    Venks says ...
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 7:30am

    Not exactly my kind of game, but it opens up discussion so that's a good thing.

    Crowbeak says ...
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 10:16am

    Altering expected use of the buttons gives this greater impact. Well done.

    finefin says ...
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 11:20am

    This game is so sad and disturbing... I'm speechless...

    5/5

    Mlle Eole says ...
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 8:42pm

    Glad to see the subject on the table.
    And with such a nice way to do it. Merci !

    Dec 21, 2013 @ 12:54am

    Jesus. That was really well written, and perfectly implemented.
    Great mood setting with the music too.

    5/5 in overall, theme and mood. Blech

    *******************
    ***SPOILER ALERT***
    *******************

    Well, a mild spoiler at least. I thought something was wrong at the final choice, but after finishing, I guess it was designed that way. I think.

    *******************
    ***SPOILER ALERT***
    *******************

    Dec 21, 2013 @ 3:18am

    Whoa. This was such a powerful experience.

    Dec 21, 2013 @ 12:30pm

    the most important game i've played this ludum dare, and thanks for that well written post-mortem.

    don't really know what else to say.

    Alex Higgins says ...
    Dec 21, 2013 @ 8:06pm

    Thank you not only for making this, but for making it so well. As you mentioned, this had the potential to backfire, but it didn't. You convey the message you wanted to communicate not only through a well written story, but also through the mechanics of the game.

    Atmospherium says ...
    Dec 22, 2013 @ 2:25am

    Wow. The moment you started taking choices away was extremely powerful.

    A lot of games try to make a statement for the sake of making a statement, but this made a statement because the statement needed to be made. Thanks for approaching this with maturity and tact without shying away from the distressing truths. I've seen this story, I know this story, and I hate this story. But thank you so much for telling it.

    Atmospherium says ...
    Dec 22, 2013 @ 2:36am

    Holy crap, I just saw your tweet about the stats for this game and it just reinforces how effectively you communicated this. The shift from desperation to resignation is extremely clear, even in how people chose their responses. Simply incredible.

    Arkrothe says ...
    Dec 22, 2013 @ 6:22pm

    This is interactive art at it's best.

    Mekuri says ...
    Dec 22, 2013 @ 8:22pm

    Like the idea that you only get to do the story once.
    Good story :-)

    stigmawall says ...
    Dec 23, 2013 @ 3:53pm

    Nice work you made it here, @Crabman. I played two times just to see if I really can made a different choise, but even on the mechanics you put the fell of incapability. Awesome work.

    mcapraro says ...
    Dec 23, 2013 @ 4:23pm

    wow. just wow. this is amazing on so many levels... first, the writing: i think its easy in these game jams to focus on the mechanic and the fun, throw-away nature of it all. you have written an amazing story. and game. its simple and heavy and last with you. so incredibly well-written, you convey that sense of no-turing back, that sense that you have crossed the rubicon.

    the mood is perfect. the music really supports the piece and takes you to the place you want us to be.

    this is proof that good stories are the real place to start when creating games that last. that stick with you. and it is also proof that games can be a place to teach and learn and tell stories that arent easy. that are about hurt and love and all those things that most games are not.

    thanks and congratulations.

    Crabman says ...
    Dec 23, 2013 @ 7:29pm

    I still don't know what to say... Thank you all! :)

    sam1373 says ...
    Dec 23, 2013 @ 9:24pm

    I didn't expect to see something that serious, but it was handled very well. Good job.

    zatyka says ...
    Dec 23, 2013 @ 10:19pm

    I don't know if I'd can call this a game, and I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it, but you did an excellent job. You made me feel helpless... very effective.

    Diptoman says ...
    Dec 24, 2013 @ 6:08am

    Impressive. Well written and presented. I sometimes felt like I wasn't in control of the story at all, that it was all supposed to happen. But the impression this has created on my mind will last a long time nonetheless.

    fullmontis says ...
    Dec 24, 2013 @ 10:41pm

    A powerful experience, for sure. While there isn't much in it to call it a game, it has a way of conveying a message through the mechanics that is very strong, and I like it. I personally wouldn't have gone with such a dark interpretation of the theme for a Ludum Dare but I am happy to have played it.

    oldmanbiles says ...
    Dec 25, 2013 @ 2:35am

    Honestly, although I'm a big reader these things are never usually to my tastes. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this, quite well written and I loved the use of the theme.

    mmickyman says ...
    Dec 25, 2013 @ 9:52am

    Very well put (I also read your blog posts) and how you use the mechanics at the end is clever.


    Technically speaking, I don't know if the slow auto-scroll is intentional (to give a little break between steps ?) but sometimes it lost me a little when I started reread previous chapter during the scroll.

    local minimum says ...
    Dec 26, 2013 @ 6:36pm

    Utmost disturbing. I feel shaken after having played through, trying consistently to avoid. Good serious entry.

    Crabman says ...
    Dec 26, 2013 @ 9:44pm

    @mmickyman: If you're still around, can you tell me more about the slow scrolling? It's not supposed to take more than half a second or so, just a smooth slide down. Did it take longer than that? What device/browser were you using? And did you play the web version?

    f7f5 says ...
    Dec 26, 2013 @ 11:31pm

    I liked the way some of the options do nothing near the end, and how you cannot restart.

    The scrolling was also slower the more text I had on the screen (playing the web version on Chrome 31). Near the end, sometimes I would lose a moment waiting for the scroll and then finding out the exact spot where the new text had appeared. Otherwise, very good technically.

    Crabman says ...
    Dec 26, 2013 @ 11:34pm

    Ok, thank you, I'll look into it. Probably messed something up determining the speed. ;)

    Crabman says ...
    Dec 27, 2013 @ 1:45am

    Huh, weird, Chrome and Firefox handle the scrolling differently. My attempt to fix the weird jumps it sometimes does only worked for FF and kinda broke Chrome. That certainly wasn't supposed to look like that. ;)

    Crabman says ...
    Dec 27, 2013 @ 2:03am

    Ok, it's fixed. I detected the scroll position by using $("html, body"), which returns the right value in FF but returned 0 in Chrome (and yet, it worked for animating the scroll position.) That set you back to the top of the page and had you scroll through the entire document in an adapting pixel/sec speed. Sorry about that, didn't even think to test everywhere since it's so basic. But $(document) did the trick, and except for some weird but manageable glitches in Opera, it works fine in all major browsers now.

    Thanks for letting me know!

    SnoringFrog says ...
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 6:17am

    What I immediately noticed about this game that set it apart form almost all of the other IF I've played: sound. Very nice touch, even just the click when you select an option is extremely nice to have. That's something I want to look into adding to my IF if I continue making them.

    Based on the fact that a trigger warning existed and the first few passages, I realized pretty early on how things were going to end (although, at that time I thought--hm...how to say this without spoiling anything--I thought the character would be given more power) and was dreading it for the remainder of the story. But nothing could compare to "The Moment The Choices Stopped" (to borrow the subsection title from one of your follow up posts). I thought--no, I desperately hoped I had encountered a glitch at that point. Extremely effective mechanic.

    PaperBlurt says ...
    Dec 30, 2013 @ 7:37pm

    I like this.
    A good game.
    And a difficult topic, worth mentioning.

    Maybe a bit too much text, I think the game
    might benefit from more passages with less text in each.
    Rather than a lot of text in few passages.

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