The Ludum Dare jams are always home to some fantastic games. I haven’t had a chance to pick through the entries from the 35th event yet, which finished yesterday, but I did notice some buzz around one entry. It’s called windowframe and it’s an extremely clever game, an experimental puzzler about vampire slaying, that uses the boundaries of the window in which it’s played to create some tricky quandaries. Simply put, you can manipulate the frame of the game by firing stakes into the borders and dragging them toward your character. You can, and should, play it right now.
windowframe is one of those jam games that is straining against its own limitations. I mean that in a good way. It’s a smart idea, implemented well, and I can imagine a much larger game that accommodates the mechanic. The most impressive thing, to me, is the way in which the windows are displayed so attractively. I don’t think anyone would have complained if they weren’t so aesthetically pleasing, given that the reshaping of them is the real hook, but the transition as you travel around the screen is pleasant in and of itself.
Play this thing and then head to the comments to let me know if you’ve seen any other spectacular entries. You should also check out windowframe creator managore’s previous entries.
The theme for this Ludum Dare is ‘shapeshift’. The keynote video features Catherine Woolley and Gary Napper, designer and lead designer on Alien: Isolation respectively. They’ve taken part in 26 Ludum Dares between them. They are big fans of tea. Their video was intended to give advice to people preparing to take part in the jam but I’m including it here because I find it interesting.
In a week where crunch has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, some of the advice here, which seems like preparation for a survivalist course rather than an enjoyable creative experience, comes across as vaguely sinister. REMEMBER TO EAT, DRINK PLENTY OF WATER, SLEEP OFTEN BUT FOR BRIEF PERIODS.
It’s important to recognise the distinction between an employer placing horrid expectations on an employee and those taking part in a voluntary jam, with a supportive community. Nobody is being forced to take part and nobody will punish you if you drop out. It’s fine. And you can finish the game in your own time, or extend your ambitions beyond the deadlines – as so many have to great success – if you think you’re onto something good.
I’ll take a look back at the highlights of the jam once the judging results are in.