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.


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.)


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:


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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