August 24th-27th 2012 :: Theme: Evolution

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Coming Into Focus

by Gjarble - Jam Entry

Left/Right arrows to walk
Up arrow to jump

This (very unfinished) game consists of a text-based platformer and a graphical platformer. The connection with the "Evolution" theme was supposed to be the graphics getting higher-resolution as you progress, representing the main character regaining his vision and sanity after a brain injury. However, since I didn't make enough levels in time to do that (or write a story, or make anything but the most barebones art and the most barebones platforming mechanics because I spent most of my time getting the text thing to work), I just have it so the graphics upgrade every time you die on the graphical level, you can at least get an idea of what it would look like.

Despite its degree of unfinished-ness, I submitted it anyway, because at least it's playable and somewhat challenging, and I'd hate to see all that work go to waste (after all, I did write a text-based platforming engine from scratch in 48 hours, and I think that's something to be proud of). Originally, the game was going to be played on this very ratings page (the text would've transformed into a game window from whatever link you clicked on to start the game), but unfortunately, the submission form didn't allow me to do the Javascript shenanigans I needed for that to happen. I might try a different method of that technique for a post-compo version, but it's unlikely I'll have the time.

During the text portion:
You are the letter O. #s are platforms, and Xs kill you.
During the Flash portion:
This consists of only one level. When you're done, you should see a blank screen. Just exit out of the window to return to the ratings page.

Downloads and Links




FrederickK says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 7:22pm

An ASCII game, wow. o_o
It would be nice to have a SS of this, to be more clear what your game is about.
The ideia that you tried to achieve is good and the plataform is nice.
It would be better if you did finish, of course, but at least you certanly had learned something doing it.

Gjarble says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 12:40am

Thanks for the comment. By "SS" do you mean software specification? Unfortunately, I didn't really have much in the way of design docs this time around... I could tell you what I planned to include, though. The story was going to be my main hook. I might actually make this into a half-decent complete project if I get the chance, so I might as well mark this for <b>SPOILERS:</b>

The main character is a spaceship captain involved in a war against an alien civilization. At the beginning of the game, he wakes up after some sort of brain trauma (he doesn't know what it is). He finds himself imprisoned and decides to break out in order to continue the fight. Each improvement in the graphics would be preceded by a journal (or "captain's log") entry detailing his current mental state. However, they would also be accompanied by the deterioration of the page surrounding the game (be it this ratings page or some external page). Words would start missing letters, text boxes would disappear, and so on, until the game was simply surrounded by a blank black background. As the graphics get clearer, it becomes more and more apparent that the opponents that he has been fighting are human. When the player reaches the last room, expecting to fight a final boss, they instead find themselves in their superior's office, who draws a gun and begins firing. Whether you defeat him or not (the writing of the ending slightly altered to reflect the outcome), it is revealed at the end that the brain trauma was the result of alien biological warfare, and that the captain has been having delusions that his own forces were the aliens. He was imprisoned for the safety of the surviving human forces.

Man, writing it out makes it sound more like a cheesy ZOMG TWIST than I'd necessarily like. Rest assured, I'd drop hints throughout and try to write it well. >_>


I'd probably take out the Xs/flames and replace them with something that works a bit differently. They don't really fit with the planned fiction, and tiles that kill you are a bit of a platforming cliché of mine; they were just the fastest/easiest thing to program. Other enemies/obstacles I planned on having were wall-mounted laser guns and characters (with guns, melee weapons, or both) that actually attacked you. I also wanted the character's abilities to improve with the graphics; wall jumping, shooting, that sort of thing. That stuff still really doesn't feel too inspired; I'd give more thought about it should I return to this project.

Gjarble says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 12:41am

...aaaand now I know HTML doesn't work in comments. Go figure.

eyehawk says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 6:18am

Dude, wow I absolutely love the ultra-retro ascii graphics!!! I'm actually a bit inspired now to make an ascii game like those ascii art videos! The only down side to the game was actually in the game play - the jump/fall is too fast. I couldn't for the life of me get past the second floor - kept hitting the X up high.

Overall though loved the originality!

Cake&Code says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 8:21am

Well that was different. I actually really love the concept, it's very much in the keeping with the theme. It's too bad level two is so difficult for me! That lower portion with the X weaving bested me every time xD

gnx says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 2:44pm

I had a problem that even a single keypress would be mostly registered as 2, so I couldn't hit the small platforms.

Aug 30, 2012 @ 2:03am

I'm also a fan of the ASCII Look. Might have been better if the difficulty started a little lower though.

FrederickK says ...
Aug 30, 2012 @ 2:54am

Actually...I just meant ScreenShot...

Gjarble says ...
Aug 30, 2012 @ 9:18pm

@FrederickK: Oh, okay! Yeah, I was planning on replacing the "screenshot" (really just a spritesheet I stole from the game assets at the last minute) with something more representative of the concept anyway. Per your request, I added a couple real screenshots, too, but I don't want the main game thumbnail to be just ASCII (among other things, that'd be hard to see as a thumbnail).
@gnx (also relevant to Cake&Code and Topher Florence): One of the hardest things for me, balance-wise, was the player speed. As it stands, the player spends at most 1/15th of a second at each tile, which I agree is too fast (and makes it seem like the player moves 2 squares in a single keypress- you just have to press it REALLYFAST). The problem is that any slower a speed and the player wouldn't be able to jump very far due to how fast the gravitational acceleration is (plus it would feel weirder during the graphical part when you have finer control). I thought that rate of gravity felt the best (not too floaty, not too rushed), but it's different for everyone, and it DOES make the game more difficult. I guess in a post-compo version, I would reduce the player speed AND rate of gravity (so the player can jump just as far)... in fact, that gives me an idea of how to make the concept even more connected to the theme... >:)

Gjarble says ...
Aug 30, 2012 @ 9:22pm

(oh, the @gnx thing is also addressed to eyehawk. Still wish I could edit comments on this page... >_>)

Jamin says ...
Aug 30, 2012 @ 9:49pm

That's. Freaking. Awesome.

However, I have to personally recommend against doing this. Switching technologies mid-game is just asking for things to break, mid-game.

For a more casual audience (I beat the game, but to be fair, I personally tortured myself in high school playing through cruel, unforgiving games), you might consider widening the single blocks to two or three spaces.

I really hope to see you build more text-terminal-style games.

csanyk says ...
Sep 2, 2012 @ 10:06pm

Difficulty is rather brutal, even in the first two stages. Well done, although the pixel-perfect jumping requirements make it less fun than it could be.

plule says ...
Sep 9, 2012 @ 8:27am

It's insanely hard, (the acsii part's movements are soooo fast) but really great.
Really good use of the theme, too bad you couldn't make something more complete.
It was too easy to make one game so you made two huh ? :D

jefrsilva says ...
Sep 16, 2012 @ 1:49pm

Liked the ASCII level, the difficulty reminded of some screens from VVVVVV.

alwaysinbeta says ...
Sep 17, 2012 @ 9:01pm

Wow that's really hard! Controls are very sensitive. Like the ASCI. Would be great if it was ever so slightly easier :)

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