all roads lead from home

all roads lead from home

all roads lead from home (mac version) is my first ever ludum dare entry. ludum dare is a forty-eight-hour game design competition: all code and assets in the game need to be created during those forty-eight hours.

the theme of this ludum dare is “roads.” most of the other games in progress seem to be about cars; mine is about those banana-yellow roads in zelda II: the adventure of link. in that game, link is completely safe as long as he stays on the paths that dot hyrule’s countryside. the instant he steps off the road, however, monstrous shadows crawl out of the wilderness and being to roam the map. if one of them catches link, he’ll have to fight.

it gives the impression that the world has teeth, and that it will bite you if you stray too far from civilization. the game follows link’s quest to prove his courage: as the story unfolds, link will be asked to step further and further from hyrule’s safe roads.

i attempted to cross that theme – of monsters waiting just out of sight to pounce upon anyone who strays from the path (a kind of child’s moral play) – with one of those mouse dexterity games that ask you to follow a track without touching the sides. here, though, there are times when you are forced to leave the path.

nearly all of the game except the audio was done yesterday: i set the entirety of today aside for sound effects and music. the source file’s included, so you can peek inside if you have a copy of game maker. i tried to be as object-efficient as possible, which means some actions are hidden inside unlikely objects, for the sake of having as few actors in the game as possible.

(TRIVIA: the ship that appears in this game is a caravel redunda!)

while working on the opening and closing screens of the game last night, i listened to dan and patrick’s new podcast. eegra is essentially a running critique of videogames journalism, and i enjoyed the opportunity to listen in on what is essentially a conversation between the two of them. patrick also plays an excerpt from heartcode, which is one of the most breathtaking chip albums in recent memory.

16 thoughts on “all roads lead from home”

  1. “Step between the gateposts of the forest with the greatest trepidation and infinite precautions, for if you stray from the path for one instant, the wolves will eat you.”

    Indeed a “kind of child’s moral play”.

    Have I mentioned recently how much I love your games?

  2. why did you have to tinker with my favourite game? these days all roads lead me to adventure of link.

    i’m still trying to recapture the feelings i had when i first played it, back to back with the legend of zelda for the first time last year.

    playing loz and aol without clues, and having to compulsively draw my own maps for both of them, was the only really right thing i did in the last 18 months.
    apart from quitting cigarettes and leaving my girlfriend.

    for me, adventure of link is still the experience of wu shu: link pounces like a cat in his little, concise game of swordfighting. every action has weight – trying to stab a guarding enemy will send you back step by step, and vice versa – and every patch of trees could be the right one.

    i need to get my hands on that mac editor.

  3. (heh, I spent half of Sunday playtesting board/table games for a teacher friend’s design class, this might influence my sound here)

    48 hours, damn! Musta felt luxurious ;-)

    Decent job gradually introducing new elements as usual.

    Movement in the caves wasn’t pleasant, the avatar always getting stuck.

    I like the derived hop, hop, hop mechanic in place. A lot like a kids “the carpet is lava!” type game.

    The ambiguity cemetary was also good, an I liked the rogues gallery of monsters, and I assume a bit of an Ico nod.

    While I appreciate games that don’t seem out to deeply frustrate the player, this one mighta been a little easy.

  4. i’m not thrilled with the way the protagonist sticks on walls in the caves, but i used game maker’s own path-finding functions because they were quick.

    the adventure of link is my favorite zelda game, and it frustrates me how the game is overlooked by fanboys who have come to expect the same experience from every installment in the series. zelda II is one of two zelda games i can think of (the other being majora’s mask) that are actually framed as continuations of a previous game’s story rather than retellings of the same myth.

  5. Im honestly not much of a zelda fan, but I definitely remember that aol was one of the scariest games when I was young.In fact, playing this game has helped me realize that aol was probably the first time I was ever actually frightened by a game.

  6. AoL is really really unfun

    Did you know that that ‘stay on the roads’ mechanic returns in Ocarina of Time’s Hyrule Field?

  7. “Im honestly not much of a zelda fan, but I definitely remember that aol was one of the scariest games when I was young”

    “YOU GOT … MAIL…”
    and all those floppies…and later CDs…

    (Sorry, I always think of it as “Zelda 2”, so “aol” was confusing)

    Anyway, Z:AoL was the first Zelda I got through, and almost the first I played (and all thanks to that old black-covered Nintendo’s Player Guide)

    My memories of it are kind of fuzzy… the offroad aspect that Dess’ game picks up seems only vaguely familiar. What I liked was the leaping swordfighting, it was a lot more physic-y than anything in the first game.

  8. Your game… astonished me. Really. It would have had me bouncing away, hadn’t I been lying on the couch; but what impressed me of All Roads is that even being so simple (or *through* its simplicity?) it reminded me of fairy tales, the spooky ones like how the Grimm brothers told them. Something as ancestral as the fear of monsters, followed by a sense of claustrophoby: it waas brilliant.

    And even being Italian I just found about your interview on indievault, cool :D (actually I also played Calamity and found a link to ARLFH from Gregory Weir’s blog)
    Thank you anyway for your work,


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