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

Back to Browse Entries


by namuol - Jam Entry

Written in HTML5/Javascript(CoffeeScript) and using Akihabara (http://www.kesiev.com/akihabara/).

Most notable missing features are a proper HUD and sound/music. (But I have begun to add SFX to the post-jam version.)

If you're interested in seeing what I do with this, follow my devlog (muniverse-game.tumblr.com) or @louroboros on twitter. Cheers!


The biggest problem was that I didn't have the time to do any real playtesting, so there will definitely be bugs and balance problems, heh.

Anyway, enough excuses. Let me explain the game.

(mu)niverse is a very simplified version of a space exploration/trade/action game. It feels a bit like Elite but with top-down 2D of Star Control II, if you're familiar with either of those games. You select a star system, then a planet/moon, and there you can gather resources, visit space stations, pick up passengers, trade goods, and encounter simple enemies.


Star Map:
- Arrow Keys move cursor to select star system, highlighted with green circle.
- Large turquoise circle is the range of your FTL fuel.
- 'Z' selects star system
- 'C' returns to Flight Mode

Planet Map:
- Arrow Keys move cursor to select a planet you wish to visit.
- 'Z' travels to that planet (instantaneously) and puts you in Flight Mode
- 'C' returns to Star Map

Flight Mode:
- Arrow Keys -- control is much like classic Asteroids.
* Down is afterburner ("brake").
- 'Z' fire cannon.
- "Park" over a space station for a few seconds to enter the Station Screen
- Blinking pixels on and around planets are resources -- fly into them to collect them.

Station Screen:
- 'C' to exit the Station.
- Up/Down to select different items on current screen.
- Left/Right change screen (Cargo[trade], Missions, Hangar)
* Cargo
- 'Z' - Buy selected good
- 'X' - Sell selected good
* Missions
- 'Z' - Accept/Abandon selected mission
* Hangar
- 'Z' - Purchase selected upgrade


Some stuff that I want to be able to happen in the final version:
- More visual variety of planets, stations, enemies, etc.
- More than Taxi missions.
* Research missions -- acquire and return goods from a remote planet.
* Transporting unruly prisoners...
* Bounty hunting.
- FTFTL (faster than FTL) jumping to different sectors of the Galaxy (Galaxy Screen and Jump-gates).
- Building a reputation against the police. :)
- Hiring crewmembers
* Mechanic - Automatically repairs your ship mid-flight if you have scrap metal.
* Smuggler - Reduces your chance of being caught with fugitive passengers or illegal goods.
* Muscle - Keeps unruly passengers in order.
- Jettisoning anything and everything, including passengers and bombs...

Full disclosure: yes, I have fixed a handful of bugs -- mostly crash-bugs -- post-jam. Anything major added feature-wise will be on the "Post-Jam Online" version. I intend to continue working on this game so let me know if you have any ideas!

Downloads and Links




GreyShock says ...
Apr 24, 2012 @ 7:39am

Can't play it. The game just showed me the fisrt screen of the pixelated city, then it broke at the next frame of a spaceship leaving a grey square...

namuol says ...
Apr 24, 2012 @ 11:25am

What browser are you using?

Make A Game says ...
Apr 24, 2012 @ 7:38pm

=D it reminds me of the ME1 travelling system! You were right some planet textures would make this look amazing (I loved the spaceship minimal art and controls). With a little more time I'm sure the experience will improve a lot =D. It's easy to try to overachieve in LudumDare, trying to do everything to perfect our game.

namuol says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 12:43am

Funny -- I've never played Mass Effect! I was actually pretty heavily inspired by Star Control II, but apparently there are lots of parallels between the games (http://www.vidgama.com/2009/04/head-to-head-mass-effect-vs-star-control-ii/). I better try ME1 now...

racarate says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 7:09am

Damn, did you just try to make Elite in 48 hours? I liked the moment where it switched from overhead map to ship-view. The asteroids-style controls were fun and reminded me of a favorite Dreamcast game, Armada. I wish there were more baddies to shoot, it was a bit lonely.

s0ulcrusher says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 7:17am

Wow those upgrades are expensive! Considering I made $620 in 10 minutes, it would take 7 hours to be able to purchase a shield upgrade at that pace :)

namuol says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 8:04am

You aren't selling enough drugs. ;) But yeah like I said, the numbers are totally unbalanced right now.

namuol says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 8:07am

@racarate -- yeah I never got around to making the baddies diverse. There was actually a bug that I just fixed where half the time they just wouldn't show up at all.

Catman says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 10:24am

Nice controls and concept!

daredevildave says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 3:36pm

Lovely, an 8-bit version of Escape Velocity (and obviously Elite)
With more content this could be a great game, I hope you keep working on it.

Permanent7 says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 5:48pm

Nice work! Impressive amount of work done in such a short time.

namuol says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 10:27pm

@daredevildave -- you're not the first person to mention Escape Velocity, but I've never played it. I looked it up, and apparently it was made by Ambrosia Software. They're the only relevant game studio from the small city of Rochester NY, where I also happen to live. Talk about Tiny World. ;)

JustinMullin says ...
Apr 27, 2012 @ 12:50am

Spectacular. I am so dang impressed right now. Can't wait to see what you do with this in the future!

jwolf says ...
Apr 27, 2012 @ 12:53am

Wow, this is a very ambitious entry. I'd like to see where you go with it after the competition!

namuol says ...
Apr 27, 2012 @ 1:47am

@JustinMullin & @jwolf

Thanks, guys! Just keep an eye on http://github.com/namuol/muniverse to see if I've been actively developing stuff for it. I may start keeping a development log once I clean up the code-base and ready it for serious development.

R3ason says ...
Apr 27, 2012 @ 2:21am

Wow, this feels really in-depth! Definitely a full game going on here; great job; thanks!

mneubrand says ...
Apr 27, 2012 @ 2:26am

Very complex game mechanics for a 48h game. I am impressed. Controls are a little frustrating from time to time. Watching the repo to see what's coming

crazyheckman says ...
Apr 27, 2012 @ 3:32am

This is a really big game. I'm gonna have to go back through it again. The controls are kind of clunky in my opinion I found it really hard to collect the resources around planets, one tap of the thrusters sent me to the other side of the planet and missed everything. That said, the size of the game is really really impressive, kind of reminds me of star flight for the sega genesis.

namuol says ...
Apr 27, 2012 @ 4:01am

Thanks! I was trying to go for a small-worlds among an epic galaxy vibe. ;)

The controls -are- difficult -- it really takes some practice, which I had a little too much of for my own good, probably. My only advice is to try to use the thrusters in short bursts, and to press the 'down' key to gradually bring yourself to a stop without careening in circles by trying to do so with the thrusters.

In the final version I'm going to have two flight modes, automatic and manual -- automatic will always apply afterburner when you're not using thrusters, manual will require you to do so... manually.

johannhat says ...
Apr 27, 2012 @ 4:42am

Always love a good space trading game. :D I believe someone else mentioned Escape Velocity and I have to concur. I did have some issues with the controls, but it could also be a compelling reason to add different types of engines and upgrades to your ship at a future date.

Anyway, I'd love to see where this goes from here. I'll try to keep my eye on this, but just in case, feel free to message me here and poke me as well to try it out!

alexlarioza says ...
Apr 27, 2012 @ 4:50am

I really like the concept, but I don't feel like it was executed as well as it could have been. While I enjoy asteroid-like controls, it was way too difficult to fly the ship. Even adding some kind of beam that sucked up resources would have been extremely helpful. Other than that, great job! I'm a sucker for space related games. ;]

Cosmologicon says ...
Apr 27, 2012 @ 6:00am

Wow yeah this reminds me a lot of Starcon 2, especially the hyperspace map, which I recently posted on Mapstalgia. :) I'm impressed that you have four different modes implemented. That must have taken a lot of work. The planets look good, and I like your procedural generation. If you put even a few secrets in that map, I would definitely have fun playing the game.

My biggest issue is the controls in flight mode. There's way too much inertia on that thing. A video game spaceship needs to go from 0 to max speed in a couple seconds at most.

gnx says ...
Apr 27, 2012 @ 6:13am

Very impressive scope.
I thought it was a nice touch to have moons to the planets in a somewhat realistic way.

Picking up fuel and minerals is a bit tedious due to their small size though. Combat works very well.

The only negative is the lack of any sound and the rather steep difficulty level.

leafo says ...
Apr 27, 2012 @ 6:56am

Nice job, there's a lot to do here. Good way to spend some time. Would be great with some sound!

Moth says ...
Apr 29, 2012 @ 11:07am

An amazing little title with some nice stylization in the art department. It blows my mind you threw together something so ambitious so quickly! Really has the makings of a classic space game I think, good job! Also, the instructions on the side were a good idea and helped a lot.

Drabiter says ...
Apr 30, 2012 @ 4:10am

The controls are kinda hard I think. The rest are fine.

CoffeeOnimal says ...
Apr 30, 2012 @ 5:05am

This is a great piece of work. I'll be keeping an eye on future developments too.

McFunkypants says ...
Apr 30, 2012 @ 11:00pm

Very interesting and deep! Complex enough controls to scare me away (the "wall of text effect", but I can tell it is a super awesome effort for those looking for a deep space trading sim!

MrPhil says ...
May 2, 2012 @ 4:56am

I'm impressed with how much functionality you got done. Wish the trade screen told me my average cost of the cargo I was carrying. I also could figure out how to drop of Taxi fares.

namuol says ...
May 2, 2012 @ 6:57pm

@MrPhil: When you pick up a taxi passenger, the star system they need to visit will be highlighted with a small yellow circle on the map. Then, a yellow triangle on the planet map. :)

VoidChronos says ...
May 2, 2012 @ 9:00pm

Really great space sim. You have done huge amount of work making it sooooo fast. Although it needs a bit more complex explanation on what the player can do. Anyway, Great Job!

dansludumdare says ...
May 4, 2012 @ 7:26am

You drop off your passengers when you land on a space station near the fare's destination. But I got a passenger whose destination had no space station.

Excellent game!

namuol says ...
May 4, 2012 @ 7:34am

@dansludumdare: Ouch! Sorry about that. Yeah there's a bug I'm tracking down right now for the final version. I think it happens when two stars are coincidentally at the same pixel on the starmap...

uuav says ...
May 4, 2012 @ 8:07am

wow deep game! But I don't know about the theme, it's feel more like ultragiant world!!

namuol says ...
May 4, 2012 @ 8:12am

@uuav: Heh, yeah. And I didn't even get to the Galactic Screen...

I was mostly trying to shrink the perceived "epicness" of the space-trade/exploration genre by making it a less "invested" experience -- sorta like what Desktop Dungeons did for roguelikes. Still working on that, though...

madflame991 says ...
May 4, 2012 @ 8:57am

I'd like to say something constructive bout this, but I don't even know where to start... this universe is HUGE. There are A LOT of star systems, and a lot of stars in the background when in piloting mode and, I think, that makes my ship feel so tiny...

I like that you can buy and sell stuff and take missions... this reminds me of a very nice game, Freelancer. And since I mentioned Freelancer, you could add jump gates to make travelling faster and reduce the maximum speed when in piloting mode so you can better maneuver in combat.

I did notice a bug: when piloting at relatively low speed chunks of the star-background in the lower right corner will not render. This however is not happening when travelling at high speed.

oh, and it's all done in HTML5/JavaScript... really really nice!

All in all, I'd like to say that this game has LOTS of potential...

namuol says ...
May 4, 2012 @ 9:34pm

@madflame -- Exactly! I'll be adding "FTFTL" (Faster Than Faster Than Light) gates, but they're for going to different sectors of the Galaxy, and they'll be strictly monitored by the ITG and expensive to use... FTFTL will basically be for a different class of missions once you have enough money to afford "tickets" to use them. My hope is that's where the "end game" is for most people. I want games to last at most, a few hours, unless you're really dedicated/crazy.

The starmap only shows a small region (about 1/100,000th) of the full size of the galaxy. :)

23 says ...
May 7, 2012 @ 11:51am

Wow, this doesn't look like the kind of game you'd make when starved for time - there's a lot of systems there. I found the enemy ships too hard to kill, but I'm pretty bad at this sort of thing.

Also, surprised to see Akihabara! Brings back memories... You might want to check out EnchantJs, though, which has a much neater codebase, even if the examples are less complete:


namuol says ...
May 8, 2012 @ 11:23pm

Thanks for the tip, 23.

I'm probably going to wind up creating my own backend to replace akihabara at some point, but I'll keep enchant in mind!

josefnpat says ...
May 10, 2012 @ 2:54pm

This is a rather nifty game! I think the key to this would to build a node.js server, and start getting it multiplayer.

Nice job!

Krisjet says ...
May 11, 2012 @ 2:23pm

Very ambitious entry, and in a more polished form I can see this game being very addictive :) Good job for only 48 hours!

KevinWorkman says ...
May 11, 2012 @ 8:10pm

This game has a ton of potential, and it's really involved which is impressive given the time constraints. I think you already pointed out some of the areas for improvement, mostly in letting the player know what's going on. Also, some kind of checkpoint or revive system would be really nice, as it really sucked when I was saving up for an upgrade just to be taken out by an enemy ship just as I'm about to dock with a space station. Is there no way to restart other than to refresh?

namuol says ...
May 12, 2012 @ 9:33am

@KevinWorkman: yeah I never got around to a proper game over screen -- I literally added the ability for the player to die minutes before the deadline, heh.

May 13, 2012 @ 8:17am

That is a big game :) impressive for such a short time! But it takes some time to play it. Will come back to this after the rating is over. No time ;) Simon

You must sign in to comment.

[cache: storing page]