Nieuwe Aarde

2010, April 25th 3:45 PM

The planet is dying.

Monsters raise themselves out of the ocean monthly. The skies themselves blacken.

You, and your civilization, have but one choice: amass enough magical power to leap across the starless void, to another, safer planet. But you're racing against time – every day the attacks get stronger.

The planet is dying, and it's taking you with it.

Ludum Dare competition page and voting

Windows (.zip version available)
Mac OSX (10.6 or higher)

Nieuwe Aarde was made for Ludum Dare 17, a 48-hour game development competition. Yeah, that's right, my normal week-long development process was compressed into two days.


The theme for this event was Islands, and so Islands is what I did! Nieuwe Aarde was inspired by Desktop Dungeons and Seafarers of Catan, and I feel like I've made a reasonably coherent little single-player strategy game with a whole pile of tooltips.

Postmortem up in a few days. Time to start on the next project!

  • Tang

    2010, April 25th 8:14 PM

    Nice. Very nice. It has simplicity, challenge, and replayability. My only complaint is that the mouse events are received a little bit above where the pointer is, so I have to click on the bottom half of a tile to be sure the click will be received on the correct tile.

  • Tang

    2010, April 25th 8:19 PM

    There's also a sense I have that escaping doesn't really feel like a victory, but that would be a better subject for a sociologist or a shrink than a programmer. If you'd had more than 48 hours, a victory animation of some kind would be a better reward than simple "you won" text.

  • Zorba

    2010, April 25th 9:00 PM

    Thanks :)

    Odd bug though. I think that might be a problem with your computer or your cursor choice – I can't duplicate it at all, even clicking on the very top pixel of the tiles. What OS are you running on?

    I had the vague sense, never actually explained in the game, that every time you "escape" you're merely escaping to the next playthrough of the game, on another planet that is also about to be conquered by monsters. If I were fleshing out the game I'd probably avoid saying so explicitly but hint at it a little more strongly.

  • Tang

    2010, April 25th 9:19 PM

    OS is WinXP. Not sure what would be causing the issue. About the only abnormal thing I have on my system is CJK language support which should not affect the pointer.

  • Zorba

    2010, April 25th 9:57 PM

    Strange, I'm really not sure. If you don't mind some bugtesting, do you get the same issue with the level names in Robert Recurring?

  • gramcracker

    2010, April 26th 1:54 PM

    I like this one a lot. It would be nice to see it expanded and developed more if you ever have time to come back to it.

    It took me a few monster-cycles in the first game to figure out what I should be trying to do, at which point I quit and started fresh. I think I'm at the point now where I can win more often than I lose or give up, but I'll probably have to play more to figure out if I've developed a strategy or just gotten lucky the last few games. It's the sort of game I win and quit instead of immediately playing again, but then later I get itchy to play another round.

    Suggestions if you decide to expand this one:

    This seems like the sort of game that could fit into a Creeper World style storyline. You escaped from your homeworld, hooray! But it turns out the monsters are taking over the entire galaxy, so you'll have to keep jumping between ever-more-hostile worlds to survive.

    Being able to "discover" a pile of resources (shipwrecked?) between islands might be a neat bonus, and keep travel from being just a shortest-distance-between-two-points kind of thing.

    I'll let you know if I think of anything else.

  • Tang

    2010, April 28th 10:56 PM

    Re the mouse bugtesting, yes I do see the same issue in Robert Recurring. Clicking the top of the 'h' in "twoholes" will cause "jumps" to be selected, and clicking in the black space just below a level name will cause the item above it to be selected.

    The issue occurs in both standalone .zip and .exe installer versions. The problem is only in the Y direction, by about 8 pixels in Nieuwe Aarde.

  • IkaTaii

    2010, April 29th 11:00 AM

    Beautifully maddening little thing, though I keep wanting the grid to be more obvious. It would make scouting make a lot more sense if I could actually count tiles.

    The game's also prone to the RNG completely screwing you over. I had a really great game going, got to like 19000 magic and made a small error in judgement, went to load up a fresh one, and didn't have an empty island within 3 tiles, which lead to my head being handed to me. The exponential monster power curve also means that, eventually, you just run face-first into a cliff.

  • Zorba

    2010, April 29th 3:57 PM

    Gramcracker: Yeah, that was actually part of the (never-quite-explained) backstory. Working another thread of the "island" theme in, you're actually hopping from one island of safety to another, and each one is being eaten by monsters.

    I admit this makes me curious what the people are doing to spawn monsters on every single planet.

    I definitely think it needs more than it has right now – I'll be writing up a bit of that in the postmortem :)

    Tang: I have absolutely no idea what could be causing that. I'm really thinking it's your computer somehow, since I've never heard that bug before (and can't duplicate it at all), but I'll absolutely keep an eye out for future reports. That one, I'd like to get fixed :)

    Ikataii: In an early design I was planning to include a little heftier grid, but I ended up not getting to it. I definitely should.

    The RNG can definitely fuck with you pretty badly. I based it off Desktop Dungeons which has a similar issue – sometimes the RNG just says, ha ha, no, you're not going to be winning this level. Mostly I'm okay with that – "getting better" just means that you can take increasingly dubious levels and turn them into wins.

    And yeah, you are guaranteed to lose eventually. By then, you'd better have escaped. ;)

  • gramcracker

    2010, May 2nd 10:41 AM

    One other suggestion I just remembered: A way to manually enter amounts of metal/magic when monsters attack would be nice, or just a way to make the number increase faster. It feels like you're holding down the button for ages at the higher levels :)

  • Supersausagedog

    2010, May 2nd 2:35 PM

    This is pretty fun, I'll probably keep playing and see if I can win (3 tries so far)
    The two inspirations you cite are both amazing games, and I can defnitely see some resembalances here.

    I think I'd prefer it if there was difficulty settings (although I take it the difficulty is one of the desktop dungeons inspirations)
    In a fuller version a multi level campaign would be very nice, with progresive difficulty and a story of course.

    I think knowing what the next monsters stats were going to be before it attacked would be nice, so I could plan ahead more, and if I understood the way my attack was calculated. Although this would remove some of the fun unpredictability.

    Finally, having pictures of the monsters would be cool too.

  • […] « Nieuwe Aarde […]

  • Whizzy

    2010, May 6th 9:47 AM

    Found this because my Questhelper updated ;) Thank you so much for that WoWmod
    doesn't look like this game here is one i would play normally but will try it out at least, much fortune to you in your developing endeavours


  • Terry

    2010, August 5th 2:51 PM

    so yeah, what strategy am I gonna neet to use to beat this game. I've played through about a dozen times, and gotten to 7 digit monsters, and tried two or three different strategies. But I have not been able to acquire even half the magic you need to escape. If someone could give me a pointer on what strategy to employ it would be lovely.

    I had decided that 20000 was an arbitrary number that couldn't be achieved realistically. until I read this forum where you all seem to be succeeding…

  • IkaTaii

    2010, August 5th 3:01 PM

    Terry, here's how I go for my wins: At the start of the game, colonize your initial island as a first priority, scouting / sailing only once you have a town on each resource. As you go, initial resources should be somewhat balanced, then rapidly switch to building towns only on metal and occasionally on food while producing forges at every opportunity. Make notes of how many resources you need to defeat each monster (the closer to balanced you can get the better, favoring the spending of magic in the early game as metal can be traded for an exponential increase of magic by using it to build forges). At a certain point, it will become nigh-impossible to earn enough metal in a round to defeat a monster without vastly depleting your magic reserves. At that point, dig in and just spend all of your metal on building forges and working to earn more / keep your food production in the black. You should pass 20k before a big nasty shows up and wipes you out. I have the resources needed to beat each monster in a text file somewhere if you need that.

  • Tim

    2010, August 5th 6:53 PM

    Beat this the first time I tried it, but I had to stop and think several times. I thought I had lost more than once, until I figured out another way to step things up a notch. Nice to see a developer who actually cares about game mechanics, and this isn't bad for a 48 hour game, not bad at all. I will be following your blog, sir, and I look forward to more excellent Mandible Games in the future!

  • Terry

    2010, August 6th 9:47 AM

    Yeah next time I played I got it. I was going about the attacks wrongly. Great game, Even if its subtleties were beyond me

  • Specialist290

    2010, August 9th 8:25 PM

    Great game. Still haven't beaten it yet, but I'll keep at it until I do.

    if you ever do decide to go back to rework the code, you might want to fix this bug I found by accident. Apparently, you can keep playing the game even after you've lost. If you click on the map, it still allows you to build towns, forges, etc. if you have the available resources, even after you've been technically wiped out. If you lose again, the screen just gets darker.

  • Mlog - An amateur composer's music blog

    2010, December 16th 11:08 AM

    […] it turns out, this month's music is being composed for another Mandible Games title called Nieuwe Aarde (Dutch for "New Earth"), a game developed for Ludum Dare 17, a 48-hour game development […]

  • Michael Todd

    2011, January 14th 6:30 PM

    I love this game. Great concept! Scratches my Desktop dungeons itch, while being new and interesting.,

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