You are the monster

This weekend I participated in the Ludum Dare game jam. The theme this time was “You are the monster.” So I made a small game about a troll.

My initial plan for the game was to make an experience for what it would be like to be a “monster.” But when I thought about it I realised that what defines a monster is not the creature itself but our reaction to it. That led me in a somewhat relentless and melancholic direction.

A troll’s life

My inspiration for the style of this game was the early home computer games of the 80s like Frak.

I painted the sprites in the Gimp directly onto the canvas. This was somewhat laborious. I’ll look for a better pixel editor if I decide to create any pixel animations in the future.

troll-sheet

The only useful feature of the Gimp I used was to produce the flash effect for the lumberjack selfie. (You will only see this if you wait around after the game is over.)

human-flash-large

Other than that it was all pixel by pixel painting. I’d like to have got a few more frames into the troll walk cycle to give the animations a little more bounce, but I started late and was already running short of time.

I think in depicting the troll’s death I was unconsciously influenced by the pictures of the death of Cecil the lion. I think that helped to capture the mood I was going for:

troll-dead-large

With the music I lucked out. I tried several of the tools suggested on the Ludum Dare website in an attempt to create a sombre backing track. But it was my very first try with Otomata, as I was testing the ability to capture a wav, that I got exactly the feeling I was after by pure chance. I was unable to recreate it over several subsequent attempts so I edited the capture I had into the loop that ended up in the game.

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