The game is more a prototype than a finished product, and there’s the beginnings of a complex gesture system that sadly has only one spell it recognizes. This entry needs polish and some tweaking, but the concept is very interesting and solid even with only one spell and one enemy type.
A number of people here and elsewhere who tried to play my voice-controlled Android game for LD25 were on Jellybean devices. That’s great for you guys, because Jellybean is pretty snazzy and you actually have devices running it!
BUT, it was unfortunate for me since the game totally didn’t work on them (the voice commands would not interpret at all). As such I have fixed the problems that I’ve found in Jellybean so the game is now actually playable, as you can see in the video above. The solution isn’t perfect, but it’s at least playable now.
Why do I care so much about supporting Jellybean?
All the conventional wisdom around Android development says that you have to support older OS versions at the expense of all else. Talking heads point to pie charts that show big slices of Gingerbread out there in people’s hands (nearly 50% of the total market), and tiny slices of Ice Cream Sandwich and Jellybean.
Close to fifty percent on Jellybean. Let that sink in for a moment. JB may account for less than 5% of the total devices wandering around in the wild, and maybe lots of people out there have older OS versions in their hands (like in my Droid 3), but those older device owners aren’t the ones doing the downloading.
Herein, I unearth a few more hidden games that I found by poking at random icons in the “Browse All Entries” screen. I hit a run of about 5 awesome games in a row, so two of these are from that streak.
We see a lot of first-time Unity users do the same thing, wherein they drop the standard CharacterController down into a scene with a standard 1st person POV camera, don’t change the control scheme, and proceed to experiment with importing some assets, throwing around some particle effects, and getting a handle on sending messages around the Heirarchy. While all these things appear to be true of White Rabbit, there’s a huge investment in attention to detail that make it stand strongly apart from others that do the same thing. The textures and shaders are gorgeous. The overall aesthetic makes it such that the floating text narration feels right. The dramatic timing and set design is thoughtful and masterfully executed. The theme is only tenuously followed, but I can forgive that in light of the polish and excellence in presentation here.
This game gave me some very vague and brief flashbacks to Tecmo’s Deception back on the PS1, if that game had more of a board-game feel to it. I very much enjoyed playing around with efficient floorplans and dungeon layouts. Even lowly spike pit rooms have uses not just for proper spacing but because there are heroes that are particularly weak to them.
I actually felt pretty bad after I played Vixen. Sure, it’s a game. Yeah, I’m exploring all the options given. Still, the particular villain type you’re playing here is both low and all too common. The banality of the situation kind of got to me. Once you’re done being a jerk, it might be worth going back and playing one more time and find a way to *not* be one after all.
The premise is very simple here. There’s a killer on the loose in the crowd of people, and your job is to select the villain out of the crowd. Of course, if you fail and you accuse the wrong person, then you yourself are the villain for ruining an innocent life and letting the killer get away.
Yes, there are some bugs in this one. That said, I very much enjoyed the premise of this at-first simple-seeming game. You are a temple raider in the vein of Indiana Jones, looking for hidden treasure. When you find it though, you are cursed! At that point, you now control the spirit of the temple, and your job is to lay traps for your former self that will kill you on your way to the jewel. Once you succeed, you are back to playing your old self, and this time you have to avoid the traps you just laid. Repeat this for 4 – 6 cycles. It becomes an exercise in making sure that the little explorer doesn’t ace the level so hard that he can’t be trapped, and not making the temple so deadly that you yourself can’t win the next time you take over as the explorer.
You are the dark lord of evil. You are the ultimate final boss, who no hero has ever managed to face… in fact your minions are so powerful that no hero has even managed to find you. It’s kind of boring being the ultimate evil, sometimes… so in this game, you must distract your minions by shouting at them, so that the hero can have a chance to dispatch them on his way to your throne room. Truly, the hero is incapable of standing up to even the weakest of your minions on his own, so he needs all the help he can get!
This is simultaneously the game I am most proud of and the game I feel needs the absolute most work to make it truly acceptable as a “real” game. The concept : A completely voice-controlled audio game played through your Android phone. You call your special agents and guide them around the enemy compound, to fulfill their missions
– ^^ Video illustrating gameplay ^^ –
As you can see, you speak to your agents and they respond to your questions and commands … when they are understood.
But what about when they aren’t?
This happens a lot, I think. I’ve heard a lot of people say the recognition doesn’t work for them. Unfortunately, they can never tell me what they say, or what the phone hears. Do they have a strong accent? Are they in a room with a lot of conversation? Is there a song in the background? These things could all interfere with the speech recognition.
Therefore, I’m very strongly considering releasing an update to the game that includes analytics. I would want to store, send, and study the following:
1. Which agent is on the phone
2. Which location they are in
3. What the phone thinks you said
4. What command your speech interprets into
Since this would be part of debugging I feel that this would not be breaking the rules of the Jam to issue an update to do this… But do you agree? If I do incorporate analytics, would you have concerns about the amount of data sent costing you money on your data plan? Any other concerns?
If you want to give the current build a try, before I make any final decisions on analytics, here is the submission page.
Our jam entry is nearly complete. We had to cut a bit from the scenario, and I’m also concerned that I might have the only phone on the planet that won’t choke on all the audio we’re juggling, but we’ll see soon! We’re on target for a successful launch shortly.
You have some more time for polish and bug fixing. Also, people with strong skills in some areas and weaknesses in others can come together to make something super sweet!
What I don’t love about the 72 hour team jam
All you 48 hour guys are all wrapping up right about now and I won’t get a chance to really play your awesome stuff until tomorrow, and likewise you won’t be able to play mine until then either. Sadface.
So, what is it like to play a game where you don’t see anything, but only know what you can hear?
Here’s a video with unpolished voiceover for Agent #2 for your enjoyment. Right now, all you really do is just wander the halls and listen to descriptions. You *can* ask to know your status or inventory but there isn’t voiceover for it yet.
Yes, the bug in the beginning of the video should be resolved now.
I have been writing and recording VO for Agent #2, a sneaky, shifty thief, for the past 3 hours almost.
My sound partner is doing the part of Agent #1, a demolitions expert who is itching to blow something up, for almost the same time.
Considering that your only window into the game is their verbal descriptions of what the Agents see, and what you hear around them in the ambient sounds through the phone, this is all incredibly important. Aside from just a bare phone UI, there really are no graphics.
And, by the way, it’s proving incredibly trippy to hear the ambient sounds change as you direct your agents through the building. This is turning out so much better than I had imagined and we’re still only halfway!