April 20th-23rd 2012 :: 10 Year Anniversary! :: Theme: Tiny World

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The Pioneer

by Moth - Jam Entry

There are still some bugs in this one, mostly physics related ones. I'm sure there are probably ones I don't even know of, seeing as I am submitting this with... uh, like 5 minutes left.

It was kind of rushed, but the core engine is complete- there is one flying enemy, one walking enemy and about 10 level maps. All of these elements undergo randomization that is derived from a seed you enter at the start of the game. Also, it will tell you letters and numbers are allowed in the seed, but only letters are currently. This will be fixed soon of course but it really shouldn't matter anyway.

The game is completable, although you will certainly notice the dearth of content. I opted to make a single enemy of each variety (walking, flying and boss) and in the end that was all I had time for- even then I had to rush. Alas. I suppose that's what I get for beginning a whole 24 hours late.

I got a bunch of help on this from my friends Marius Schneider, Zachery Delafosse, and Benjamin Pullen.

This is made in Game Maker, so it's windows only right now.

Check out the readme for controls and basic story info!

Uses the SGAudio DLL for game maker by snake5: http://gmc.yoyogames.com/index.php?showtopic=506072

**** WHAT IS THE PIONEER? ****

It's a game about a supernatural little being who goes between tiny planets in space and exterminates the monsters that inhabit them. My idea with this was that the "tiny world" concept could translate into a lot of small, separate places conveyed in a screen-based platformer.

The design for the final version of the game is kind of leaned towards being an almost roguelike sort of escapade- the rooms are not actually randomly generated, but based on set skeletal structures with lots of points of articulation.

In every map there are bits of solid and stuff that might not appear, enemy slots that have a higher chance of being filled the further on into the play session the player is, etc. There are also twelve color palettes and four tilesets that skin themselves over the levels.

Speaking of the randomized features, they aren't all purely aesthetic- the monsters, in particular, all level up as the player survives longer. These levels give them points that they allocate into statistics and abilities- giving them more survivability through hit points, dole out harder damage to the player, or move faster. The skill builds are not global between all monsters of a single type, but rather become randomized on each level- slimes could be very fast and jump between the floor and ceiling in one stage, and be very slow with a lot of HP on the next.

Again I am highly disappointed that I couldn't work fast enough to supply more content than what's available here, but I hope the barren framework and concept is enough to catch your interest to watch its further developments. There are a lot of different enemies planned; teleporting wizards with ranged attacks, skeletons that try to get to you, a wheel-shaped creature with four legs that travels along all sides of solid surfaces, and a lot more. More player abilities are also to come in a more fleshed out release, such as lava resistance, slow-fall and a few other neat things.

More features and tons of content are definitely in store for this game, so please keep watching if it has caught your interest!

I had a lot of fun working quickly to meet a deadline and I'll definitely want to get a better head-start on the next Ludum Dare!

**** UPDATE: POST-JAM VERSION 1 ****

This is not a greatly fleshed out version of what was first released, but it does have a few things brushed up: the environment tileset composed of blocks has been redone and looks nicer, levels with unfair jumps were tweaked to be easier and you can now restart the game [bypassing the logo + sound] after you die or win by pressing enter.

The end-screen restart was supposed to be in for the initial release, but a small coding error caused it to make the audio DLL freak out and produce a lot of loud, weird glitchy noises... so I, unfortunately, had to temporarily pull it.

There's still more to come for this game!

Downloads and Links


Ratings

Coolness72%
#40Fun(Jam)3.44
#44Audio(Jam)3.55
#60Overall(Jam)3.48
#101Graphics(Jam)3.48
#101Humor(Jam)2.57
#105Mood(Jam)2.94
#160Innovation(Jam)2.74
#169Theme(Jam)2.65

Comments

jeroenimooo says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 10:11am

Fun gameplay! great graphics too.

Moth says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 11:13am

@jeroenimooo thank you a lot! I'm very glad someone could enjoy my little oddity. :)

LFleck says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 11:41am

Cool game, i liked the gameplay.

crippledgames says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 1:06pm

very good, I like how there's multiple attacks

Fireblend says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 1:17pm

Really cool! The brief voiceovers were a cool addition, and the controls were actually really tight. Also liked the graphic style, and there was a decent variety of music. Good job!

Apr 25, 2012 @ 10:18pm

I Like the Character design. It's cute.

MadGnomeGamer says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 10:22pm

Sounds cool! Unfortunately it says something about a missing dll when i try to run it. Maybe give a link to the source code?

robbiehunt says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 10:37pm

I really like the game play ... but those graphics! They're amazing! Seriously great work!

Moth says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 11:23pm

Thank you very much to everyone who enjoyed it! I'm glad you took the time to check it out.

@robbiehunt: thank you very much! :) It really means a lot that you enjoyed the visual style that much. I'm always a bit worried about pursuing a retro look because it is just done so much with indie games.

@MadGnomeGamer: That's really strange! :( Could you tell me what DLL it says is missing so I could try looking it over? Do keep in mind you need to extract the RAR into a folder before you can play it; otherwise the game won't be able to use the included DLLs. The reason why I think this is the case is because all DLLs I make use of are included in that RAR and if the source were run in the same way, I'm almost positive the same error would occur.

I'll also note that at this juncture I have opted not to include source not because of being protective of it or anything, but just because I am a very bad coder and what's in here is very slap-dash (especially since I was pressed for time), so wouldn't want anyone learning poor code etiquette or design from it. On that note, if anyone's interested enough I would be more than happy to explain how I go about programming anything included- it's all very simple and absolutely anyone could do it (and probably better than how I did). :)

MadGnomeGamer says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 1:04am

DOH! Facepalm!!! Sorry about that. It extracted it into an executable and another file, and I missed the executable in my VERY crowded downloads folder. :P Sorry.

Thank you for your review of my game!

MadGnomeGamer says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 1:12am

Very cool game! I'm a sucker for a roguelike. Impressive that you created one in such a short time, too! I like the enemy behaviours.

High replayability value. :)

One thing tho: Dying when you misjudge how far you can jump, after 5 levels, with all 3 lives, seems harsh. If you expand it you should lessen the penalty for falling to your doom.

sampyxis says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 1:14am

Really liked this one - seemed very complete - nice game play and sound too.

runsintowalls says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 1:37am

Really like it. Great job.

HeuGamer says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 3:03am

Really interesting and fun to play!

Apr 26, 2012 @ 8:30am

This made me nostalgic for my ZX Spectrum. I was almost disappointed that there wasn't any colour bleed. :) It's cute/fun though!

Diventurer says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 2:37pm

Haha, epic. I love the voice XD
The game seems really polished IMO, however, as I died, I had to exit the game and start it again to try again. Would be nice with a restart button ^_^
Other than that, nice wowrk :)

Moth says ...
Apr 28, 2012 @ 6:43am

@MadGnomeGamer: Thank you very much for your input and for sticking it out past the initial DLL problem! :)

A bit of insurance against missteps- extra lives- are planned as one of the things you will be able to spend points on later. I'm also trying to shy away from jumps being difficult, and in the post jam version I've just released I make some of the (unintentionally) hard jumps from the first build much easier.

@rustybroomhandle: Thank you very much, that really flatters me! :) As you can tell, I was quite heavily inspired by the Speccy. I can't help but just love that aesthetic- two color sprites, I feel, can communicate very powerful character between their silhouette and single color. And I would like to make something with some simulated color bleed sometime :P

Diventurer: Thank you very much! I just uploaded a post-jam that addresses the inability to restart after dying. Unfortunately, that was supposed to be in at first, but then at the last moment I noticed the sound DLL was freaking out- I later discovered this was because I didn't stop playing a song before I had the game play the title screen song again. Anyway I fixed that and the end-screen restart is back in now, thankfully :P

Thank you very much to everyone who took the time to play and enjoyed it! It means a lot to me.

cakemonitor says ...
Apr 28, 2012 @ 9:42am

This game is a lot of fun and feels well put together and polished. Great work :)

Apr 28, 2012 @ 12:22pm

Great graphics and love the tunes! Also super fun so good all round really, great work for such a short space of time!

Jhelle says ...
Apr 28, 2012 @ 1:12pm

Very enjoyable, liked how I could input a seed for the random generation. The music and graphics were topnotch too!

caranha says ...
Apr 28, 2012 @ 5:09pm

Wow, this is a very charming game. I loved the random level generation. The game has a very polished and consistent look - even if you say there is a darth of content, the random generation more than make up for it.

Thanks for the awesome game!

SusanTheCat says ...
Apr 28, 2012 @ 11:40pm

I die a lot in platformer games. I would have appreciated a "try Again" feature considering by first three tries lasted lest than 15 seconds (altogether)

Looked like it could be fun but three chances was all it got since I had to restart every time.

Moth says ...
Apr 29, 2012 @ 3:19am

Thank you everyone! I'm really glad that so many people seem to dig the presentation :) As far as music goes this was actually the first time I made an entire OST for a game myself!

@SusanTheCat: I'm really sorry about that! :( As I said several comments ago and at the newest update to the write-up, the quick restart after death was taken out of the initial version due to a bug in the code; I had about 5 minutes left to package and upload so I simply opted to take it out altogether so I could get it submitted in time. It has been fixed in the newly added post-jam version.

Evil Cult says ...
Apr 29, 2012 @ 6:17am

[Comments and ratings from this account come from various team members]
I started up the game, the music was great and I was very excited to get into this. I typed in my seed OMGLOL and proceeded on normal difficulty. Then I walked right one step (off the edge of the world!) and got the game over screen and had to close the game. Opening the game again I picked a new seed and went straight to the EASY option. Took me a little while to find out what the controls were but after that the game seemed pretty solid. Graphics were good, animation was very smooth. Sound and music as I already mentioned were awesome. The only real complaints I have about this (and probably what stopped me playing) was that you only have one life and you have to quit the game then reopen it after that.

Moth says ...
Apr 29, 2012 @ 10:49am

@Evil Cult: Thank you for your time! As I have addressed in the comments and the writeup I have uploaded a post jam version that addresses the restart issue.

The one life thing is mostly due to its roguelike influence, but I do plan to have saving available in spite of that- it's one of the features of the coming versions.

Again thank you for checking it out!

summaky says ...
Apr 29, 2012 @ 11:56am

I liked the game play while the graphics and the sounds reminded me of those of old games. However, it would be great to have some kind of restart when dead, because I do not enjoy having to quit, re-run the game, and see the intro again and again (I die a lot...)

Moth says ...
Apr 29, 2012 @ 12:17pm

summaky: Thanks for playing! Right, that does seem to be a recurrent complaint! :P The post-jam does fix that. I had every intention of leaving a restart option in but a last minute rush to submit made me cut it due to a bug.

RHY3756547 says ...
Apr 29, 2012 @ 1:10pm

Sweet gameplay and art, loved the style.

namuol says ...
Apr 30, 2012 @ 12:07am

Nicely done! The music/graphics set the mood, the gameplay is smooth, and there's a good deal of variety of content which makes it more replayable than most entries.

I ran this in Linux through WINE, so I'm not sure if there were missing SFX or not (I -did- hear music). If it's not just me, you should totally add some SFX. Big bang for your buck.

Moth says ...
Apr 30, 2012 @ 12:48am

Thank you a lot Rhy! :)

namuol: First of all I am flattered you took the time to go through the trouble and give this a run with Wine! I am also really happy that you found replayability in the title and that you like the soundtrack and graphics.

Second of all- wow, I'm actually really surprised to hear it worked so well! I don't actually have any access to Linux myself for testing purposes (although I know it wouldn't be hard to slap ubuntu into my computer) and it's really cool that it seems to work well on Wine! I always figured that Game Maker games must work either horribly or not at all if emulated- although I guess that shows what I know about the state of emulation.

There are indeed sound effects in the original game; the reason why music works is because I used an external DLL for playing back the OGG music, and then the built in (directsound I believe) Game Maker functions for sound. However, now I see that if I make the normal sound effects also use the DLL, I should have good Linux compatibility through Wine. Thanks so much, it's awesome to know this!

namuol says ...
Apr 30, 2012 @ 2:26am

@Moth: It's rare for a Game Maker game to run flawlessly through WINE, so I was probably even more surprised than you were that I could _play_ it. Haha. By the way, I already gave you a high rating for sound on the basis of the music alone, so I'm guessing that the SFX you have don't take anything away and thus I shouldn't need to change my score. ;)

MrBarnslig says ...
May 3, 2012 @ 5:09am

The level generation system must have been fun to write. I feel like the enemies, the moves, and the platforming were kind of standard, however. I would have loved to see something that surprised me, either in the levels or the gameplay. The music was really fantastic, took me back to old school Megaman. Nice work!

MrPhil says ...
May 8, 2012 @ 2:59am

I played on easy and it still felt hard, but I'm not a platformer player usually. So, I didn't finish. Music and sfx were the best part.

May 10, 2012 @ 6:02pm

Very very fun! The music is awesome, and the iterative level design plays great.

Moth says ...
May 11, 2012 @ 12:11am

@MrBarnslig: Thank you a lot! It makes me giddy that you actually compare the music to Megaman :D I agree with you entirely on the criticism of the included stuff being too standard. I had higher hopes for what would be included in the jam release- I had hoped to throw together at least 3 more enemies with more interesting ability sets and AI, a couple more boss styles and more room layouts, but I guess I worked a lot slower than I anticipated. That'll all come in polished post-jam releases though!

Thanks a lot guys! Very flattered, Christina! :) MrPhil, I'm sorry to hear that it was a bit difficult. You weren't missing much by not completing it, since the ending screen for both game over and victory is quite similar. I had not particularly intended for the game to be excessively hard- again I blame the time limit :P There were some really punishing/ridiculous jumps in the first build that I have since removed, and bats won't be able to rush their speed stat anymore nor overlap your hitbox where it's hard to fight back. If you follow its later releases I hope you'll favor the difficulty a bit more!

May 11, 2012 @ 11:36am

I enjoyed it a lot, great concept and great execution. The sound, graphics and gameplay all worked together perfectly!

scgrn says ...
May 13, 2012 @ 6:23am

This is the game that I secretly wish all video games could be.

Moth says ...
May 13, 2012 @ 10:44pm

Pacifist Games, Thanks a ton! :) scgrn, wow; I think that's one of the most flattering compliments I have ever gotten on one of my projects! I'm really glad that you like it so much!

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