August 19th-22nd 2011 :: Theme: Escape
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Damn My Stubby Little Legs

by oatsbarley - 48 Hour Competition Entry

So this was a bit of a pain to put together. At least more than I thought it would be.

You play Stubbs, who has to escape from a tower slowly filling with water. There... really isn't any backstory to this. JUST MAKE BELIEVE. Ride the water upwards and try to avoid the platforms. If you hit one, catch up with the water or make it to an exit before Stubbs' tiny little lungs run out of air!

Arrow keys to move above, on and below water.

It was put together in AS3 using Flashpunk (if I'd had more time and not been about to fall asleep on my keyboard, I'd have included the flashpunk splash page). I used GraphicsGale for pixel art, Ableton Live 8 for music, OgmoEditor for maps.

I don't really know how fun it is to play. I'm really just glad that I managed to get it finished!

NOTE: There is a bug where once you reach the top of the level, you can't swim below the top half of the screen. Because of that you won't be able to get to a couple of the exits (the map sections switch around when the map is loaded, so you might not come across this problem). There's a bugfix version that I've linked to where this is fixed, but the competition version comes with the bug.

Downloads and Links




oatsbarley says ...
Aug 22, 2011 @ 10:47am

I've played through a few times and there are surprisingly few bugs for something that I finished coding just 40 minutes before the deadline. There is one issue with the map though, where one of the sections physically won't let you get to the exit.

Also I really probably should have added some sort of instruction or something as to what you're supposed to do, although it's kind of obvious after your first playthrough.

Oh and this can get ridiculously hard (perhaps sometimes impossible?) so if I was to put some real time into this I'd take a look at tweaking various things to make it a bit less punishing. Although I find that part of the fun is pushing to the last second of the breath meter and finally popping out of the water or reaching the exit.

I'm going to write a journal entry on how things went for me, so check it out there.

TellusE says ...
Aug 22, 2011 @ 8:54pm

Short, sweet, smooth.

I spent countless attempts trying to dodge the notoriously evil blocks. Once you're just a dozen pixels under the water it's almost impossible to catch up.

As you noted yourself, though, it's very polished, the minimalist soundscape and slick graphics creating the essential focus of the game.

Neat :)

Gornova says ...
Aug 22, 2011 @ 9:13pm

I like it! Well done little game!

oatsbarley says ...
Aug 22, 2011 @ 10:41pm

Thank you both for your comments and for trying out my game!

N0_Named_Guy says ...
Aug 22, 2011 @ 10:53pm

Good game! I only miss a way of storing my hi-score =( Port this to the iOS or Android, and start making some pocket money =P

mcc says ...
Aug 23, 2011 @ 6:01am

Oh, this is very cool. I like how the gameplay concept is much deeper than it looks at first. Music is very good.

You might want to upload somewhere a version without the exit bug, I hit it on my first serious playthrough and it lead me to suspect the game was just unwinnable (hey, Ludum Dare, you never know).

You actually seriously might want to consider this an iOS/Android port, it seems amenable to touch/tilt controls and this is the kind of game (randomly generated arcade game with simple controls) that gets rewarded there. I feel like in that case it would help if some kind of metagame to encourage you to keep playing multiple times-- like, maybe you have a global score on total distance traveled, or % of games which you won, or maybe each time you got to the exit it would send you to a new "tower" and your "score" was how many towers you made it through before you lost. An approach like that might that might turn what seems like the one downside of the game currently (ie that the distance before you hit the exit is random) into something like a bonus.

heck says ...
Aug 23, 2011 @ 8:40am

Interesting take on the endless vertical jumping genre. The music is very nice too.
Too bad that you didn't show the score at game over screen. I believe it's mandatory for this kind of game.
I found a bug where the tiles completely blocks the way from left to right of the screen.

oatsbarley says ...
Aug 23, 2011 @ 9:30am

Wow, thanks for your comments guys!

Adding some sort of scoring system is a good idea. If I do work on this again I'll definitely add something like that, and after your comments I'm certainly more motivated to work on it again.

@heck - that's probably the same bug as the one that blocks the exit. I was playing yesterday and found out that on the same section as the exit-block bug I couldn't move back down to the lower section. I think it's something to do with the collision grid not scrolling the same way as the tilemap.

@N0_Named_Guy - I actually might port this to one or both of those! It's not super-complex so it'd pretty much be a lot of direct translation between languages. I have some experience with Java and openGL, not much with Objective-C, so I might give an Android port a go!

@mcc - I'm glad that you like the music. At times I really like how it fits with the game, at others it just seems to annoy me with how long it takes to get anywhere. It's probably just because I've listened to it almost constantly for the whole dare!

I'll look into that exit bug today, seeing as I'm not the only one getting it and I'm going to need to fix it if I want to be serious about this, anyway. I'll fix a couple other issues I've been having and post a link to a non-competition one.

The metagame idea is very interesting. Maybe some sort of difficulty rating could help too, which influences the range of distances that you have to travel to get to the exit. Like I said before, a scoring system is definitely on the cards and I really like that whole tower idea.

You've all given me a lot of stuff to think about! Thanks again.

oatsbarley says ...
Aug 23, 2011 @ 1:06pm

I've fixed the exit bug. As per usual it was a single missing character in the code.

PaulWagener says ...
Aug 23, 2011 @ 4:22pm

I love how the game can flip so easily from peacefully floating and dodging platforms to manically struggling to catch up with the water.

oatsbarley says ...
Aug 27, 2011 @ 10:17am

Yeah, I'd love to say that was by design (initially, at least) but it was purely accidental when I made the water a little too fast and loved the excitement of trying to catch up with it. Thanks for your comment, I'm glad you liked it!

dogbomb says ...
Aug 28, 2011 @ 3:12pm

I've already spoken to you about this a little, but I ADORED this little gem. I'd LOVE to hear a sonic-esque countdown time in the last five panic inducing seconds to really give the player the sweats...

Gorgeous. Simple. Fun. I want to see more of this.

Shadow says ...
Aug 28, 2011 @ 6:06pm

LOVE it, really! A well executed tiny adventure. Congratulations.

oatsbarley says ...
Aug 28, 2011 @ 10:33pm

Thank you both for your feedback! It means a lot to have people let me know that they like what I've done. I love that sonic-esque countdown suggestion, dogbomb, I'll definitely have to look into including something like that!

You might be interested to know that I'm building on my competition entry and polishing it up. I'm looking into porting it over to Android and possibly iOS as well once I'm happy with the web version.

Thanks again, you guys! It's super-motivating to hear that so many people really like my little game.

DrPetter says ...
Sep 12, 2011 @ 10:13pm

Works ok, but it's a bit unforgiving and there's a very quick and strong contrast between being very easy and getting hard/impossible. Seems like you get stuck on walls sometimes if you try to slide along them - that should probably be fixed. One other idea is to add button mashing for swimming up at an increasing rate, like in Mario games. Basically making a small leap upwards at each press. That way you can compensate a too-deep dive by tapping more quickly to reach the surface, and you can mess up by swimming at the wrong moment so you end up going behind a wall segment (if the stroke makes you float upwards for a bit before slowing down). Adds to the sense of panic and puts the player more in control. You could also maybe leave pockets of air in cavities when the water surface has gone beyond that point, so sometimes you can duck into one of those to refill your air supply even if it's a long way to the surface.

oatsbarley says ...
Sep 13, 2011 @ 10:16am

Thanks for your feedback!

I agree that there are some aspects that really need smoothing out. There are parts that I've found that are kind of impossible and other parts where you can literally stay in one position and just float on through. I was really running out of time when I got to designing the level pieces and that's kind of reflected in how poorly thought out some of them are.

I'll look into the bug where you stick to walls. I had noticed it a while back but I cleaned up a lot of the collisions code and thought I'd fixed it. Guess I didn't test that out enough!

The swimming idea is really interesting. It would definitely make it a lot more panicked and more involved than just holding down the same button. Thanks for the tip!

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