[Competition] D : Two Buttons (are more than enough!)

Comp D : Two Buttons (are more than enough!)

Constraints are amazing. With the right set of constraints, it's possible to both inspire people and limit the size of their ideas to something achievable by us mere non-Carmackians in a standard Earth month. So, here's your constraint for this competition:

Make a game that only uses 2 (Two) buttons.

Want to use 3 buttons? Tough. Rethink your design until you come up with an idea that means you only need 2. There are so many smart ways to get more oomph out of a limited set of buttons: The most obvious is what happens if both are pressed at the same time? But after that you get to pressing them in sequence and how long they're pressed for, tap A -> tap B, hold A -> tap B, hold A+B -> release A or B, etc. Then you start adding in game states: A+B makes your character jump when on the floor, but what happens when you're already jumping? WHO KNOWS?!

Check the advice section below for more ways to come up with neat ideas...

  • Competition starts on July 9th, 09-07-2013.
  • Deadline for entries is August 9th, 09-08-2013. (Yes, national Women's Day, a holiday)
  • The use of copyrighted material will not be tolerated. Do not steal!
  • Use whichever language, tool or development system you are comfortable in. *
  • Ask for help when you get stuck.
  • You may only use 2 buttons to play your game. Yes, that includes menus!
  • Your game must contain all files needed for it to run and should not require other bulky systems to be downloaded or installed, exceptions are browser plugins like Flash and self-contained dlls distributed with the game).
  • Your final entry must include a readme.txt that EXPLAINS THE CONTROLS, RULES and any other information you want to get across to your users. Although, if your controls are super-complex, exactly how well did you find your game's core?
  • Yes, you can totally enter the same game into other competitions. PLEASE ENTER YOUR GAMES INTO OTHER COMPETITIONS!
  • Competition is open to entry for South African citizens, current residents of South Africa and South African passport holders.
  • The judges' decision is final and no negotiation will be entered into. All risk or liability in case of copyright infringement or other legal issue resides with the entrant, MGSA takes no responsibility for entered games. (Other legalese included, implied and not intended to hurt)
To enter the competition, start a thread titled "D : NameOfYourGame" and post your design ideas and game releases there. As you release files, edit your first post to point to the most recent versions available.

Other people WILL reply to your post with their feedback and ideas. Any offensive comments will be removed, that said please do your best to take any and all feedback as positively as you can and use it to make your game better. Consider releasing your source code, it helps us pinpoint problems that you might be having and benefits the community as a whole.

Having a hard time coming up with ideas? Try the following thought experiments to get your creative sparklies flowing:

Do you like a particular genre or type of game? What happens if you try to turn that into a 2 button game? Don't give up straight away because something has a complex control scheme: You can always make a racing game where your car is constantly accelerating and jamming both turn buttons at the same time pulls your handbrake! Conversely, if you dislike a particular genre with the fire of a thousand fanbois, why not see what happens to it if you mess with the standard control scheme and expectations a little?

Draw diagrams of the state changes in a game, then see how many different states each particular one leads to. Chances are that you can recreate almost any set of transitions with some clever overloading of specific button inputs or timings. For instance: A platform game goes from stationary to jumping, moving left, moving right or shooting. If you make A = start going left, B = start going right, A+B = jump, you still have room for tap A -> tap B = fire to the right and tap B -> tap A = fire to the left. This also gives you a neat little gameplay twist where your player will move a little bit of a jig when firing, so that could factor into your level design or your animation and enemy design. How would you let players charge up shots?

Do your keys have to be split horizontally? Can they be at opposite ends of the keyboard? Can they be on top of each other? Can they be strangely shaped keys that are easier to hit? Do they have to be the same specific keys all the time? You could always make a two-player 1-button game instead (Warioware keeps doing this amazingly, look it up)


Good luck and enjoy the competition!

* (Downloading and using Game Maker is recommended for beginners or if you've never prototyped a game before.)


  • Sounds absolutely awesome! Am going to try and do something for this :)
  • Why two when you can use just one? :P There's a whole slew of games that fit this. Let me throw out some inspiration:

    Super Hexagon - two buttons, left and right.

    Dive Kick - two buttons, jump, kick.

    Deepest Dungeon of Doom - two buttons, one defend, one attack.

    Orbit1 - one button per player, 4 players.

    Ultimate Race - two buttons, two players

    Canabalt (everyone knows this XD) - one button

    Punch Quest - two buttons

    Super PSTW Action RPG - ok this one's really just a joke, but it's a funny one - one button

    I do want to ask if analogue controls figure into this equation, but honestly I think just keep it to two buttons, no mouse, no gyroscope, etc :)

    Very cool! :D
  • Damn it! Ever since I saw the comp I wanted to make a 2-button brawler and now, thanks to @Tuism, I see I've already been beaten to the punch by Punch Quest! I'll have to think of something better...
  • Same thought as me! My running dwarf game was going to be a brawler-esque game, then I saw Punch Quest then I went "arrrrgh" :) But in the end I think everyone's games will/should be varied enough to be able to stand on their own! :)
  • edited
    Yeah! I didn't say I'm going to do something different; just better!

    I think we can all blame the deliciously look Clash for inspiring brawlers in those that have seen the art presentations.
  • Hm? I would aim for different rather than better, we are prototyping after all :P

    Wondering how Clash is going :)
  • Thanks for all the videos @Tuism! I was going to post Punch Quest in here as inspiration, I love how that game evolved :)
  • @Tuism It's going very well ;)
  • Just for clarity, are mouse axes excluded from the competition? My gut says yes! Axes bad! But the rules don't quite cover that :P
  • @Wahooney: Yeah, mouse axis is an analog input, so you can do way more with that ;)

    Mouse axes bad! But two touch-screen buttons = fine.
  • So I had a thought about this....is it cheating if one button cycles through some options and a second button chooses that option?
  • edited
    Nope, cause those 2 buttons are digital and you're only using 2!
  • edited
    And that's what confuses me - two buttons, or two input options ? Is it against the ethos of the comp to have a completely cursor-and-menu-driven game that only uses LMB and RMB?
  • If the position of the mouse is important when using LMB and RMB, then that's another set of input, in which case it's not a two button game.
  • Ah, excellent. Crystal clear now, thanks. :)
  • Pivvot seems to have been made specially for this competition:

    Thanked by 1Kaiser_Gun
  • @Nitrogen: Damn, that's a cool design :)
  • Wow that's such a clever design :D
  • edited
    dislekcia said:
    Competition is open to entry for South African citizens, current residents of South Africa and South African passport holders.
  • @Kaiser_Gun: Enter anyway. :P

    I think that bit's only in case there are prizes. Most people enter for the feedback, critique, and as a way to increase the chances of their finishing something...
  • Yeah, that stuff was added years ago when we had prize money on the line. Enter anyway, worst that can happen is you don't qualify for non-existant prizes ;)
  • I hate to be bending the rule here but does the mouse button count as a button? :D Or are we talking more keyboard only here?

    Or to keep in the spirt of simplicy, only two "mouse operations" like click and drag (i.e move a player by fliking him across the screen)

  • As I replied above:
    If the position of the mouse is important when using LMB and RMB, then that's another set of input, in which case it's not a two button game.
    Dragging is definitely a position-based input, so flicking your player that way would break the spirit of the competition ;)
  • All this "clarification of the rules" type talk reminds me of rules discussions on card game forums where people think there's an advantage to be gleaned out of finding loopholes XD
  • It does resemble that, but don't forget that with simple statements come a load of potential interpretations. Rather confirm that your interpretation is correct than commit the cardinal sin of violating the theme. Developer Hell awaits those who do. It has cubicles. So many cubicles...
  • And nutrient rich sludge.
  • :)

    10 days left so i will give a try :p
  • I miiiight enter something into this: I have an input mechanism that seems to be reasonably fun, but haven't settled on gameplay to build around it that seems likely to be all of fun to make, quick to make, fun to play and a satisfying end product...
  • Ah ok, then simple controller/keyboard input it is. Thanks for the clarification. And how did you know I was looking for a loophole? Are you psychic? (evil grin)
  • edited
    We've been running competitions for many years and have a keen insight in the game developers mind; it's all about tricking users.

    *Damn it, I've let me old domain lapse so the old competition pages are not available. I'll move them sometime this week*
  • Ok. I am in. I don't have time but dammit I want to built something with 2 buttons.
  • Hi everyone. I'll also try something for this. One question: can we work as part of a team, or is this a solo thing?
  • @tbulford: Keen to see what you make! :D

    @Pixel_Reaper: Teams are fine, there's nothing that says this has to be a solo thing. Whatever it takes to make a game.
  • @dislekcia damnit feeling the pressure pressure :p

    One thing. I assume the copyright part doesn't mean we cant copyright our own stuff.
  • Your stuff is your stuff. Don't use other people's stuff without them saying that's okay. Getting sued sucks ;)
  • LOL and been a thieving troll sucks too.

    THIS is a two button game, and it's... soooo shinyyyyyy.... So... MECHANICALLY BEAUTIFUL!!!

  • That looks really clever, and quite elegant! ^_^

    I think that I'd likely become bored of the gameplay after a short while, but that's likely a matter of my taste in gameplay (I find Tetris to be deeply boring, for example).
  • All right, I think that will indeed be entering. I have a question, however: does a "quit button" count as one of our two buttons? For example, if I have two gameplay buttons -- one each to run and jump, perhaps -- and one button that quits the game, is that three buttons or two?

    On the one hand, it is technically three buttons.

    On the other, I'm inclined to think that having no means of quitting during gameplay is a bad idea, and overloading gameplay buttons with a quit function seems like poor design to me...
  • Alt+F4 always works.
  • Hmm... After a quick test, it looks as though either Ubuntu (on which I'm developing) or Panda3D doesn't follow that. On the other hand, the game is currently running in windowed mode, and clicking on window close button seems to work.

    I'll remove the escape key, then, I believe.

    Thank you!
  • Just to clarify, do the final entries need to be in before a specific time on friday?
  • Normally it's 23:59 and the judging starts from the next day
  • Hmmmm, once again I've bitten off more than I can code, but a midnight deadline you say.... *strokes beard*
  • edited
    In case you want to play/look at the entries for the comp

    (In no particular order):
    [*] BLOCKBUSTER - @padie
    [*] Bounty Galaxy - @Nandrew
    [*] Shift - @Nitrogen
    [*] Archer 9000 - @Pomb
    [*] Onstage Onslaught - @TheeDC
    [*] ArcanoTrack - @Thaumaturge
    [*] Super Hexapinball - @Chippit
    [*] Colour-Me-Thru - @Colour_Bug
    [*] MecHero - @Pixel_Reaper
    [*] Skaterbot - @aodendaal
    [*] Speed Snake - @D3zmodos
    [*] Boost - @LittleBear
    [*] 6 sided anarchy - @tbulford
    [*] Warpfield - @Gazza_N
    [*] Legends of the Swell - @Manikin
    [*] Left or Right - @atomicdomb
    [*] Page Ripping Champion 2013 - @AlphaSheep
    [*] Bomb A Mole - @Muchie
    [*] Hostage Situation - @Kixie
    [*] Defend the Sheep - @PragmaOnce
    [*] Kerbang Space Program - @aodendaal
    [*] Cap Ship - @Rigormortis
    [*] Minigun Invaders - @FanieG

    I'll keep this post up-to-date; so if I've missed anyone please let me know.

    [Updated: 10/08/2013 06:43]

    I need to do my best to play and leave comments on all the newcomers before deadline. ~~~\o\
  • I'm still a little unclear about something: can we use assets like free sounds and music (eg. a CC license, says free to use in non-commercial work)? I've found a great (free to use) track for my entry and I want to use it.
    I understand it's not stealing if it's one of these licenses, but I just wanted some clarity on whether there's a Ludum Dare-type rule, in which you should make all the assets yourself?
  • You can use any assets that you find that someone else won't be pissed off about you using.

    Deadline tomorrow night! :D
  • Awesome, thanks! Looking forward to seeing everyones' final results! :D
  • Deadline tonight! OMGWTFBBQ?!

    Good luck everyone, I'm looking forward to playing all the entries :)
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