Crowley’s Ladder by Brian and Jack

Aleister Crowley

Project Summary

Crowley’s Ladder is a browser-based game made in Javascript and p5-play. It is a platformer where the player, known Al Crowley, must reach the books at the end of the stages in order to beat them. In order to do so, they must dodge continuous attacks from a fire entity tasked with protecting the books, and be quick to beat the stage, or else the lava of the room will slowly rise and reach Al. Being an Apprentice, they know little magic, and can only use a summoning spell to summon up to ten *box for now, something else* to serve as platforms to help them reach their goal.


Targeted Audience and Intended Outcomes

The game is for everyone (intended outcomes ?), and in order to create it, we had to research how to use the p5-play library for Javascript. We used the programs Seashore and Adobe Photoshop to create the graphics for the game.


Background Research

We researched into occult history and art to find inspiration for the characters, narrative and setting of the game. The games protagonist is a parody of the historical occult figure Alistair Crowley who during the late 19th and early 20th centuries was key in a large-scale revival of occult religions and literature in Europe. In his prime Alistair Crowley gained a reputation as socialite of the elite with a sinister personality, however in our game we made our imitation of him a slacker apprentice who gets into trouble with higher-level demons. Al’s mentor in the game is Mephistopheles, whose name derives from the demonic antagonist in the Faust legend in German Folklore. The games title is based from the biblical story ‘Jacobs Ladder’, however rather than being a stairway to heaven like in the original story ‘Crowley’s Ladder’ in contrast is meant to humorously imply a stairway to hell. In order to find appropriate level designs for a game set The games logo of a golden pyramid with a human eye pointing upwards is inspired by the Illuminati in pop-culture, such as their alleged imagery on the American dollar bill, and the symbolism in Alistair Crowley’s cult the Golden Dawn. The Necronomicon , or the spell book that acts as the catalyst for the story, is based on the fiction grimoire of the same name in stories by H.P Lovecraft and Sam Raimi’s ‘Evil Dead’ films.


Design Process

Our main problems when it came to building the game was figuring out how to use the p5-library, and how to incorporate it along with Javascript, since we needed functions from both languages at the same time. This was solved by looking at the source code of the library and getting an in-depth understanding of its classes and functions.

For the story we went through different phases of idea’s that developed over time into the finalized game. We worked from a storyboard that presented each sequence of the narrative in order to give the level’s context and then we adapted the storyboard into frames that depict the prologue of the videogame.

First conceptual character design of Al Crowley.

In this first design we thought a casual aesthetic for the character would be a humorous contrast with the hellish setting, however this design didn’t really translate very well into a pixelated animation of a walk or jump cycle.

Second concept drawing of Al Crowley
Second concept drawing of Al Crowley

This design worked better because the animations were more straightforward and was more fitting for the setting.

Storyboard for prologue sequence.
Storyboard for prologue

Initially we had nine frames for the prologue but frame 5 was taken out because it was unnecessary for the story.



Early level design.
Early level design.




Production Planning

Week 1:

Decide what programming language to use, and what extra libraries might be needed.

Week 2:

Started thinking of ideas for the game.

Week 3:

With game theme and genre in mind, started learning about the library to create basic outlines of the game.

Week 4:

Created basic background, got keyboard input and gravity mechanics working.

Week 5:

Created platforms, started working in level victory logic and implemented box creation mechanic.

Week 6:

Created menu buttons, started working on menu button input and flow; fixed some collision detection bugs.

Week 7:

Created character sprites, animated player movements, and started designing next levels.

Week 8:

Implemented more levels, started working on lava movement and enemy programming.

Week 9:

Finished implementing lava and enemy attack programming; created and implemented lava animation; did some playtesting and debugging.

Week 10:

Final polish, addition of introduction images and logo in the title screen.



During the production of our game, our main concern was to learn how to use Javascript and use the p5 library with it to create a simple platform game. Although we were unable to build all the features we originally planned, the main mechanic of movement and platform creation was implemented, which allowed us to make enough to complete the game to an acceptable level.



Game link:


Source code:



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