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Accursed Stare – Post-mortem

Posted by
Sunday, September 13th, 2015 2:26 pm

Zoomed Sun

itch.io page

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What?

Accursed Stare was my entry to the LD33 Compo. It’s a top-down 2D game where you use gravity to move stars into our very own sun.


How did it go?

Self-assessment: B-

I’m overall moderately satisfied with realising the vision for the game in two days, but it is not as complete a game as it should be. In particular I had to revert to a very basic control schema at the last stretches instead of the mouse-drag model I had in mind at the start, making the gameplay much less fun than it could be. I’ve seen gravity mechanics used in many games but often from the perspective of shooting out some projectiles rather than adjusting the gravity fields themselves.

Aesthetically I’m moderately happy with the end result in the time available: the aesthetic reaches for the nursery with some success though the music is borrowed from the public domain. Looking back the combination of 2D and 3D is unnecessary and it would have been better to stick to 2D only. For me there has always been something utterly terrifying in the placid heraldic depictions of the sun in his splendour.

Overall, I find I often struggle with siphoning an (over?)elaborate idea into the form of a jam game yielding a result that is only moderately fun to play. But it does push my boundaries and somehow making a ‘safe’ game within my comfort zone just to be able to polish just doesn’t sit well with me at all. Does anyone else feel the same?


Zoom out


But why feed stars to the sun? 

 

Short answer: The sun has always fed us but our attempts to repay it have been pathetic.

 

Longer answer: Contemporary economics is self-avowedly a science of scarcity, imagining on some level a closed system. Some heretics have however reversed this basic notion and speak of surplus as the real foundation. Without perpetual surplus there would be no growth, no reproduction, just dust. The real fount of this surplus on Earth is of course the sun which bombards us relentlessly with energy. This surplus enables all live and leads to various accumulations which erupt in the form of pointless luxuries – festivals, olympics, wars, computer games, etc. And what else? Perhaps with the surplus arrives a sense of collective guilt too – we get the gift of the sun for free but how do we pay back? For not being able to pay back violates the notion of reciprocity fundamental to many ‘archaic’ economies (and which lies at the root of personhood), where mutual competitive gift-giving (Mauss’s Potlatch) is pivotal in establishing and maintaining relationships.

With this in mind, consider that societies in the past have offered various sacrifices to the sun, but these have always remained at the symbolic level only, always disappointing to some degree. The sun has not budged at the sight of burnt effigies or out-torn hearts. Yet, at some point in the future mankind may reach a level where it can wield energies many orders of magnitude greater than it currently can, and then it will be able to pay the sun back in kind with energy, more specifically with the energy of other suns.

And this is why the conceit in the world of the Accursed Stare is that this repayment is not only technologically possible, but also libidinally compulsory, no matter the cost. And so the nearby stars are sacrificed, and the dust balls that fly around them, as are the planets of our solar system, until the sun bursts with satisfaction. The moral perhaps being that when technological growth far outpaces inner growth, you may well become a mighty monster (At least this is the part of the cosmogony of the folk who use this software to indoctrinate their children).

 

Since the jam I’ve continued working on the game a little to make the controls closer to the original vision. It’s definitely more fun to play with mouse controls. I’m toying with the idea of making a touch-controlled mobile version of the game.

You can try the updated version here: http://archbang.itch.io/accursed-stare

Accursed Stare submitted

Posted by
Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 8:22 pm
Celestial bodies revolving

Game submitted – release! An intense two days going from some upended economics and readings of potlatch to simulating interstellar gravity while the spheres sing lullabies. Reasonably satisfied with the end result, it is a little bit hypnotic to play with though the aim was to build something more tactical. Good thing this is a holiday week and there might be time to keep working at it!

 

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