Rude Bear Saga

Contrasting graphical styles for the first two Rude Bear installments

For Ludum Dare 25 I co-created Rude Bear with my housemate Alex Rose, a simple walking game where you take control of a Bear that seems to be having qualms with the animal kingdom. The theme of the competition was “you are the villain”, and the game was made in 72 hours (competition rules). I hand drew the graphics for the game and conceptualized it, Alex programmed it. The music for the game is an instrumental of T.I.’s “What You Know?” and regrettably (due to time constraints) there don’t exist any other sounds in the game. The game was praised for its originality and hilarity, although because of a lack of sound effects and hit indication it is very difficult. Rather than actually play the game I suggest watching this game play footage.

For Ludum Dare 26 we made a prequel Rude Bear Rising, which takes a look into Rude Bear’s origins. The theme of the competition was “minimalism” so for this game we decided to go for a pixel art style and I created more or less all of the images used in the game using GraphicsGale. Alex created the music and coded it. During the weekend it was created I listened to Flying Lotus’s album “Cosmogramma” on repeat, which I think might partly explain why everything looks so… weird. The game has quite an eerie, scary, almost melancholic atmosphere to it that I’m still not entirely sure how we managed to encapsulate. Nevertheless for each step forward we took another back and the game was plagued by its engine, based on feedback from the previous game we tried to improve the hit indication but somehow managed to make it worse. I’m proud of what we managed to create in 72 hours again, but disappointed with what it missed out on being.

For Ludum Dare 27 we made yet another prequel Rude Bear Radio; at this point we really knew what we were doing . The theme this time was “10 seconds”, so we went with a Wario Ware-esque game that paid homage to a variety of games that have had a lasting impact on our lives and the lives of others around us. The player is barraged with 8 different mini games (each with several levels) that reference games like Space Invaders, Super Mario Bros, Monkey Island and Angry Birds. When we submitted the game we knew we’d created something people would actually want to play even outside of a Ludum Dare context. The game was featured on the front pages of indiegames.com and Gamasutra, there are gameplay videos of it made by other people (here’s ours), and it started to appear on browser game websites all over the world.

For Ludum Dare 28 we made Rude Bear Resurrection, the first direct sequel to the original Rude Bear game. We’re both really proud of this one as it received first place for the “innovation” category. This time a platform game was made where the player has to navigate Rude Bear through a deadly castle devoid of health and safety and  full of hazardous traps. Each time rude bear dies his corpse remains in the castle, which helps out future players. You can also choose to leave dying messages to help other players (or not). There are two routes through the castle, one involving skill and the other involving teamwork, both must be completed to gain access to the boss room. The postmortem was once again featured on the front page of indiegames.com and Gamasutra. The game was featured on Free Indie Games and included in Ludum Dare 28 roundups on Indie Statik, Indie Haven and Rock Paper Shotgun (twice). The theme for this jam was “you only get one”, so we decided that once the game is beaten that’s it, the game is over for everyone. There is however a plot twist, which will remain mysterious.

We plan to enter future Ludum Dare jams and continue the Rude Bear saga. Keep in mind that because of the short period of time given to contestants to create games for Ludum Dare the quality of game play is much less than what you would expect from a lot of modern games. The primary motivation behind making the games is for practicing working creatively under short deadlines and experience. It’s also fun. I look forward to the next Ludum Dare and uncoincidentally the next installment in the Rude Bear Saga.