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

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Dwindling Worlds

by NiallM - 48 Hour Compo Entry

An abstract game inspired by John Whitney Jr.'s Side Phase Drift, among other things. It makes heavy use of audio, so screenshots don't really do it justice.

Control via mouse. Escape quits.

Best viewed in a 16:9 aspect ratio.

[update: I've changed the links to point to a version which *I think* will fix the crash issues some people had. This replaces the alternate Windows version. I didn't change anything else.]

Downloads and Links




De10ter says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 12:49pm

Hmm, doesn't run for me (Windows Vista)

bms says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 1:00pm

Haha really wierd! but i like it xD

Flyboy says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 1:09pm

Definitely the most interesting game I've played so far. Worth some time.

cakemonitor says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 1:12pm

I couldn't understand what I was supposed to do, or whether I was making progress or not. I spent several minutes moveing the mouse around and clicking mouse buttons at random and the dot on the screen seemed to move a bit and change colour a bit in response - but it also seemed totally random and like I say, I couldn't tell whether it was progress or not. Maybe it would be a good idea to give the player a little more feedback about their progress, or perhaps this type of game just isn't for me. Still, good use of audio :)

robbiehunt says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 1:14pm

I dig this. It's a great experience with wonderful visuals and great use of voice over.

My only concern is the theme, I don't get the Tiny World vibe. But maybe I need to play through more and pay closer attention to the voices?

Danvil says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 1:15pm

Ha, this was funny! Not sure if I understand what I did ;) Audio quality is bad.

Andrew Marsh says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 1:26pm

Doesn't run for me, crashes when I start it.

samoojamies says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 1:46pm

I need more games like this.

NiallM says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 2:05pm

If it's crashing for you, could you let me know what graphics card you've got? I suspect my engine's trying to do something a bit too fancy for older cards. It should fall back to a more sensible default, but if it's not doing that then it would tend to crash.

NiallM says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 2:07pm

Also, [slight spoiler]the voices are hints; they explain (in a more or less cryptic fashion) what you're looking for to fix the various worlds[/slight spoiler].

23 says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 2:51pm

That was fun! The white-background stage was unplayable with my trackball mouse, though, and I had to give up on the next one (even after reading the source).

There really should be more games like this.

Do the letters KG mean anything special to you?

fishbrain says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 5:44pm

Great Job! I enjoyed this... I always like games that attempt to do something novel like this. Great atmos too.

berkano says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 7:07pm

Very immersive and innovative concept. I got stuck after about 5 screens, but will definitely be giving it another go! Great music and voiceovers

angrygeometry says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 11:09pm

for some reason, Data Execution Prevention decided to close this so i can't get it to work just yet (my computer is pretty much dead) but i'm gonna keep trying because this game sounds fascinating.

cakemonitor says ...
Apr 24, 2012 @ 7:11am

So I came back to this and gave it another go, and this time I managed to complete it :D ... I think the main problem I had on my first attempt when I couldn't even complete level 1 was (despite what can be inferred from the theme being 'Tiny Worlds' and mention of worlds diminishing in the voice-over) it wasn't at all clear that I simply had to make each world grow larger until it filled the screen. Also, When it said 'press any key to start' I pressed any key to start - this was a mistake! as I now couldn't listen to both audio clips at once so on the first play through I'd had no clues as to what is going on. Personally, I think the press any key to start option should have been withheld until the initial narrative finishes and for the title screen to have an image showing a diminished world in one viewport and a full size world in another with some accompanying text explaining that you're supposed to use the audio clues to get from the former to the latter. I've scored it much more favourably now that I understand it! ;)

jeroenimooo says ...
Apr 24, 2012 @ 10:53am

Doesn't run for me too, windows xp, kinda old laptop.

NiallM says ...
Apr 24, 2012 @ 10:58am

Thanks for the comments guys. I'm going to do a post-compo version that smooths off the rough edges this weekend.

@everyone having issues with it not running: I've uploaded an alternate Windows version. Does this fix it?

@23: The letters KG do mean something to me, and if I'm thinking what you're thinking, that's a pretty big compliment. Thanks!

Orni says ...
Apr 24, 2012 @ 11:05am

wow, one of the best games I've played so far

I completely didn't understand it at first, but then I slowly got in ... awesome concept

gavin5564 says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 9:07am

Great game and one of the best I've played so far, Awesome voice acting and great music. Super impressed.

namuol says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 10:51am

I ran this with Linux. I enjoyed it more than most entries so far, but I didn't hear the voices that other people are mentioning. Somehow I managed to figure out each one, heh. I'll have to give it another try in Windows, later. Very unique, love the minimalist visuals and "controls".

Pierrec says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 10:51am

Pure awesomeness.
Reminds me of Frequon Invaders or The Divine is Hidden Behind the Noise of the World (but I think this last one is yours...^^)

I get stuck though, with the blinking red circle. I got the "pattern" but everytime the circle was too big, he just vanished. Is this the end of the game ? I want to play more!

NiallM says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 7:58pm

@namuol: Oh, weird. Did you get you get any sound at all?

@Pierrec: Yeah The Divine... was me :) This is kind of a follow-on from that approach.

The blinking world is about half-way through the game. It should flash white like the others when you get it right, but it shouldn't disappear. I'm not sure why it's doing that, but I'm going to make that world a bit more forgiving when I do my post-compo version, which might fix things?

Pavel Dlouhy says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 7:27pm

Wow, I like it!

desmarkie says ...
Apr 27, 2012 @ 5:15pm

Really nice, seems like lots of effort went into the sound without ignoring the fact there needs to be a game too. Obviously not much repeat value, but enjoyed figuring it out :)

scgrn says ...
Apr 29, 2012 @ 3:37am

Once I understood it, it became fascinating and immersive. Great audio!

Manik Sinha says ...
Apr 29, 2012 @ 3:42am

I liked your game, and I was totally in the groove, but I got stuck at the 4th circle - with it disappearing as someone else was saying. I look forward to your more forgiving version.

dr_soda says ...
Apr 30, 2012 @ 2:57am

This game by far wins my innovation vote. It's just absolutely brilliant and beautiful. I did have a little bit of difficulty understanding the narration at times due to the accent, but in the end I managed to complete the game.

As far as gameplay goes it might be nice to repeat the hints if people just aren't getting it.

R3ason says ...
Apr 30, 2012 @ 5:54am

Wow, very different! I...think I get it? :D Thanks for making this!

Patacorow says ...
Apr 30, 2012 @ 1:19pm

Very interesting game, could use some subtitles.

ronsho says ...
Apr 30, 2012 @ 10:43pm

Hmm, I guess I'm supposed to make circles with the mouse? After a while it stopped getting bigger. The narration is hilarious.

Zyll says ...
Apr 30, 2012 @ 10:50pm

I really enjoyed this. It's very different. Nice job with the blend of sounds and music.

Fireblend says ...
May 1, 2012 @ 1:19am

So, the strong points of this game seem to be visuals and audio for me, but every stage ended up turning into me moving my mouse frantically, trying to figure out how to get to the next one... good job!

Several says ...
May 6, 2012 @ 8:17pm

I'm inclined to file this under the "guess what I mean" kind of game, rather like riddles, crossword puzzles, and a slew of indie games that only seem to work (in my opinion) if there are very few linguistic cock-ups, insultingly obvious solutions, or totally insufficient clues. It's interesting to see this entry explore a gesture-based format, mostly for the difference it make in the experience (relying on audio to deliver the clues does a lot to augment this), but also in the way that it constrains the possible answers (providing one does not go overboard). I actually kind of like fact that "waggle 'til it works" seemed to be a perfectly viable strategy, as it helps frustration feed back into the "game" in a potentially constructive way.

A few complaints, though:
- The "any key to start" feels a bit misleading. Though I'd read the instructions before downloading, by the time I got to playing (a bit later, after reading some other things), the "key" business gave me the impression I was supposed to play with the keyboard, at least until I quit and checked the readme. Why not ask for gestural input to start? ("Move your mouse around the world to start" or something. A hint could be hidden in the voiceover, too.)
- There were a few cases where I figured out the puzzle before the voiceover stopped, and was left trying to work out the simultaneous audio tracks. I'd have preferred to hear the "completed" track continue while the visuals remained in some sort of "win" state, then transition to the next puzzle & its VO.
- As others have stated, the audio quality made the words undecipherable rather frequently.
- There were a number of occasions where I had no idea why a gesture did what it did, but this may be related to the above audio issue.
- The size of the worlds at their smallest seemed too small to reliably make out colors (on my monitor, at least).

That said, I found this to be a very refreshing experience. Thanks for sharing it!

(Note: everything I've written here refers to the original version.)

kibertoad says ...
May 6, 2012 @ 9:51pm


Puzzlem00n says ...
May 9, 2012 @ 12:01pm

I got the disappearing 4th circle as well. Too bad, I'll have to get the post-compo after I rate.

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