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Ludum Dare 25

December 14th-17th 2012 :: Theme: You are the Villain

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Trina of The Depths - Christina Antoinette Neofotistou - Jam Entry

* *** TRINA OF THE DEPTHS *** *
An underwater adventure
May contain goats (although it probably doesn't)


GENRE: exploration, octopus simulation (will be metroidvania/RPG, when it's finished)

SOFTWARE USED: Photoshop, Flash, Construct 2, FL studio


::: Story :::

This is Trina.
She's an Octopus. She's also the daughter of the Dark King of the Seas. This is not her home, this is not the Depths.
What is she doing in this place? All she remembers is she woke up in this ridiculously colorful cave..

Why is the water so clear, why the fish so happy?
She just can't stand it! They will pay, and maybe, maybe she will find a way back home.


::: Controls :::

Cursor keys to move. Cephalopod muscles are a mixed blessing. On the one tentacle, they allow for amazing feats of strength. On the other 7, they require some coordination.
On your bottom left is the Octopus Muscle-meter. It gets tired the more you exert your muscles.
But you have to think like an octopus. Hold the cursor key(s) in the direction you want to go, and release. The longer you hold, the farther you go.

You will be rewarded with a feeble jump at first, but watch how gracefully Trina moves at the height of her villainous mollusc power.

Shift to attack fish and things. Casually turning them into blackest ink. You can also try the same attack by quickly pressing left <- and right -> a few times in a row in succession.

The peddler crab is selling ink and agility upgrades. Stand in front of the upgrade and press shift. Provided, of course, you have the necessary gold coins.

The purple octopus pellets give you some muscle power back. Collecting them helps you stay afloat and go higher.


::: CONTROL SHEET :::

Hold down cursor key(s) : charge your thrust
Release cursor key(s) : jump in that direction
Shift or <><> combo : attack


Stay tuned for the timelapse video.

I hope you like it. I'll be happy to receive bug reports! I know it must be full of those. ^-^

Also, I will be finishing this. I've planned as far as a boss fight, some dialogue with NPCs and a dramatic cliffhanger ending. 72 hours just wasn't enough for all this, so I understand complaints of "this game doesn't fit the theme". I wanted the story to unfold inside the game, through narration and dialogue, but I had no time for a pretty implementation, and I made a decision that I should not cheapen the art with plain text. So your concerns are valid!

::: Strategy Guide / Hintsheet :::
Tip: always let the meter replenish as much as you can before making a second jump. After a while, it becomes second nature.

(Spoilers ahead)

1. Swim to the right collecting coins. Kill the fish. Continue right until you find the peddling crab. You should have enough coins to buy the small power-up. Trina will be much more maneuverable. <- From a game design point of view, this is what I thought would be a good tutorial, it's pretty much a straight line, and teaches you the basics.

2. Then, go to the left and up, using the purple octopus pellets to help you, and get a bunch of coins. Take in the sights. Trina can rest on anchors if you position her at the bottom T, use them.

3. You should have 49 coins when you get to the crab again. Get one more from the right, and buy the 50coin powerup. Now you're on turbo power

4. Go to the right and explore the final section of the dungeon. Kill the last thing you find. That's it, you've beat the game. Feel free to explore the previous areas, with your improved control. I think moving around as an octopus is the most enjoyable part of the game. Do you?


::: PS section :::

P.S. I forgot to tell you. See if you can find the easter eggs. I counted 4.

EDIT: after complaints about control, I managed to pinpoint a big bug that made the movement CPU-dependent. I edited, and it should feel more playable now, even on older systems.

View Christina Antoinette Neofotistou's journal. | View all entries by Christina Antoinette Neofotistou

Ratings

Coolness100%
#37Graphics(Jam)4.14
#54Audio(Jam)3.47
#101Innovation(Jam)3.17
#101Mood(Jam)3.15
#139Overall(Jam)3.12
#213Humor(Jam)2.22
#215Fun(Jam)2.58
#314Theme(Jam)1.95

Comments

Suese says ...
Dec 18, 2012 @ 4:27am

It looks great, but the gameplay is a bit clunky. I find myself just sitting at the bottom of the ocean, unable to swim because the bubble-o-meter there runs out too quickly. I couldn't seem to collect the floppy disks either (bug?). Trina is the cutest and least scary villian I've ever met.

halemaster says ...
Dec 18, 2012 @ 4:38am

One of the best I've seen so far. Bravo.

Dec 18, 2012 @ 4:42am

Suese I promise you it gets better. You need to coordinate yourself. Note, vertical jumping empties the jump-o-meter earlier. And there's other gameplay tricks as well. Thank you for the kind words :)

Dec 18, 2012 @ 4:52am

Oh yeah, the disk is there as a checkpoint. It's where you respawn when you die, that's why it's not collectible. I should make it more clear in the post-compo version

Dec 18, 2012 @ 5:21am

love the octupus' animation.

Claite says ...
Dec 18, 2012 @ 5:42am

I loved the art! The controls confused me a bit, and I didn't understand the design decisions behind them, but they were unique, so it was fun trying to figure out how to work it.

laaph says ...
Dec 18, 2012 @ 6:23am

This is awesome! Interesting controls, strange game play, not exactly theme-keeping but awesome nonetheless.

Alink says ...
Dec 18, 2012 @ 6:32am

Excellent arts (graphics, animation and sound).

Suese says ...
Dec 18, 2012 @ 8:37am

How do I get her to speed up?

feili says ...
Dec 18, 2012 @ 10:03am

cute little game!

amidos2006 says ...
Dec 18, 2012 @ 11:23am

Nice mechanics and art :)

Dec 18, 2012 @ 12:42pm

Suese: collect 15 coins and go see the crab to the right. Then, press shift when you're in front of the powerup that costs 15 points.

Cake&Code says ...
Dec 18, 2012 @ 4:30pm

I love the way Trina moves! There's a lot of attention to detail and I went far enough to catch your easter eggs. (They made me lol, hehehe) You did excellently, and I think Trina is adorable. :)

Meep says ...
Dec 18, 2012 @ 6:14pm

Very aesthetically pleasing. :)

Atomic says ...
Dec 18, 2012 @ 6:17pm

This has great graphics and music but the gameplay is far too slow for me. The movement mechanic seems right in theory but TBH it isn't fun. If it wasn't for the description I would've missed the connection to the theme.

heloheu says ...
Dec 18, 2012 @ 7:30pm

Wow, great graphics!

illugion says ...
Dec 18, 2012 @ 8:27pm

I started playing it and i really got into the game and i was struggling to swim and saying "go octopus! go octopus!" lol that was really fun XD

Dec 18, 2012 @ 9:07pm

wow, thanks so much illugion!!! That's the nicest comment ever!

Floko says ...
Dec 18, 2012 @ 10:10pm

cute graphics! haha =]
pretty fun, i liked it.

Dec 19, 2012 @ 12:32am

Really liked the artwork, but the pacing in the beginning was a bit sluggish.

Soggyclog says ...
Dec 19, 2012 @ 1:40am

Beautiful game, great art and music, nice atmosphere. I didn't mind the controls too much as it gave you the feeling of muscle faigue or whatever you want to call it. I couldn't find any other killables on the right, just the first fish. I got all the upgrades and traced along all the walls.

Dec 19, 2012 @ 1:54am

Soggyclog thank you. Yeah, a huge bug which I still haven't fixed. I had 7 fish, but they never spawn right, so I took them out. I'm not a programmer. When/if I fix this I will make a post-compo version, hopefully with more plot as well.
Also, you can also kill a pot, and the secret you find at the bottom left. Not that it does anything significant

Dec 19, 2012 @ 6:40am

Really nice animations and art!, the controls are a bit hard to get used to though.

Dec 19, 2012 @ 6:44am

Thank you ConflictiveLabs. Think like an octopus and you'll be fine

Tanner says ...
Dec 19, 2012 @ 7:35am

looks better than it plays. BUT it looks awesome. So... there is that!

Ludonaut says ...
Dec 19, 2012 @ 5:43pm

Weird mechanic, but great animations. The little octopus is so cute! Well done!

DaviDeMo says ...
Dec 19, 2012 @ 10:41pm

wow, the graphic and gameplay is very solid. gratz!

Dec 19, 2012 @ 11:28pm

Really pretty graphics and animations! Wish there had been more content besides swimming around, but you did really well in such a short time! I also liked the soundtrack.

vrav says ...
Dec 20, 2012 @ 12:32am

YES. Squids and octopi need better representation in games. Good work on the art and music.

Blodyavenger says ...
Dec 20, 2012 @ 12:58am

Very lovely game! (graphics, animations, music..) controls and mechanics are great as well. Amazing game for single person on jam, you did great :)

OU GDA says ...
Dec 20, 2012 @ 3:08am

cute, the movement is a really cool idea

BrothersT says ...
Dec 20, 2012 @ 3:09am

Interesting. Controls are a little stunted in my opinion. Don't think adding a strength guage that runs out really improves gameplay that much because the solution is not intuitive or crucial to other areas of the games design. It was only limiting. I really like the idea of squid like movement in a game though :) I would love to see him tilting angles and only doing the swim animation when you release the key. Art and music were pretty good too.

Dec 20, 2012 @ 3:15am

BrothersT thank you. It's only limiting because this is going to be metroidvania, and you're not supposed to be flying from the start. You get powerups, you can revisit old places. I know it's not apparent yet, so I accept your judgement of "limiting"

Dec 20, 2012 @ 3:17am

By the way, when played right, this control scheme can be extremely graceful. You get to feel very strong and flowing after a few powerups

myachin says ...
Dec 20, 2012 @ 3:17am

Nice game!

good mechanics,
but first minute i cant move because i dont undestand what is happening...

buggy camers scrolling...

GreenPixelDev says ...
Dec 20, 2012 @ 5:27am

Great, smooth visuals! The control was very unique and may not be everyone's cup of tea but at least you tried it! :D Good job!

Dec 20, 2012 @ 6:20am

For a villainous octopus, she sure is cute. It took me a while to really get the gameplay, but once I did I found it kind of galvanizing to try to make the octopus move where I wanted her to go.

Great music, too! It would have been nice if I'd been able to find more than just the one fish enemy, however.

bigbadwofl says ...
Dec 20, 2012 @ 7:23am

Lovely animation, nicely done. I also particularly enjoyed the mood created by the music.

cwilloughby says ...
Dec 20, 2012 @ 8:43am

Looks good. Felt clunky trying to play. Good work - just keep refining and get gameplay to match the rest! :)

Faust says ...
Dec 20, 2012 @ 9:38am

The control mechanic is so unique, excellent fit to an octopus, great, job.

Gungnir says ...
Dec 20, 2012 @ 3:05pm

A good sense of atmosphere and environment, and well-designed character. Charming, quality animation.

The control scheme was an ideal choice for the setting, but not quite forgiving enough at the outset for new players. It also didn't seem fair how much more muscle energy it costs to propel upwards. Even so, tackling a non-standard control scheme as well as you did is impressive. Hope you do keep going with it and get some of that narrative into the future versions.

Dec 20, 2012 @ 3:45pm

Thank you Gungnir! Coming from you, it means a lot. I'm definitely hearing what you're saying about vertical movement. Everyone is finding it painful. I totally will change it.

SonnyBone says ...
Dec 20, 2012 @ 3:54pm

Totally amazing visuals and mood set by this game. It's a little slow but you were definitely able to craft a game that stands out. The theme feels a bit lost in the gameplay and progression. Easily one of the better looking games I've played.

Lidfrid says ...
Dec 20, 2012 @ 5:39pm

all the animation are really cool, good work on this one!

blackmagic says ...
Dec 20, 2012 @ 6:20pm

Production is marvelous but controls are painful :'(

zenmumbler says ...
Dec 21, 2012 @ 12:58am

Very nice artwork and animations. The visual style reminds of me Dragon's Lair (but not the gameplay, thank Zeus) I found 3 of your hidden messages.

You're going for a more laid-back control style which is good but the extreme gravity being applied to Trina it actually defeats the calm control style and makes it stressful. If you loosen up the downward pull on Trina and let the player get used to the unique control style in a more relaxed manner it will be much better. Consider: if you need the speed power up for the game to become more like the game you want it to be then it should not be power-up, it should be the default.

But again, very nice game with fresh ideas. Excellent!

Will Edwards says ...
Dec 21, 2012 @ 9:36pm

Excellent graphics and innovative dynamics. I liked the mood and the music and the overall effect of everything together... which brings up my one minor gripe: I wouldn't describe Trina as a villain...

chambers says ...
Dec 22, 2012 @ 7:22am

I love the mood, audio and graphics. I really like how you go for a different art style every LD.

The controls are very unique, but they get kind of annoying sometimes (especially when you still don't have any upgrades and want to go up) also I was wondering, did you consider using the mouse instead of keyboard?

Dec 22, 2012 @ 10:16am

Zemmumbler: thank you, and you're so right, it should and will be the default. I need to portray Trina in a powerless state for a while (she's just getting used to these waters) but I think I'll just give her the powerup for free after a few steps.

Will Edwards: thank you ^-^ Aww :) Well cute doesn't mean not evil. I'll flesh out her character and maybe I can get you to see it :)

chambers: thank you. I did consider using the mouse yes. The best I could do with a mouse, however, is a game like Aquaria. I enjoy aquaria very much, but it's not the game I want to make. I want to get the player to experience the octopus movement. This way you can control the x,y vectors with extreme precision, and can even change direction in mid-jump if you release the cursor keys sequentially.

caranha says ...
Dec 22, 2012 @ 4:27pm

The movement scheme was really unique, and rather fun. I had no problem moving the octopus around (even pre-upgrade), and I enjoyed a lot "swimming" like that.

Too bad that the game had such an abrupt ending. I would have enjoyed playing a more complete level.

Some sounds for coin collecting would have been great.

Also what is the last enemy?

Dec 22, 2012 @ 9:57pm

caranha: thank you so much. Regarding moving, I'm very torn. Most people think the octopus is underpowered. Some, including me and now you, think it's fine if you know when to release. What do I do? Do I trust most people, or do I trust the people who actually play it enough to get used to it, like you did?

The last enemy wasn't really an enemy, just an ANSI drawing of trina with the words "but Trina will be back". You have to sit still near it, in order to read it. It's cool that you destroyed it!

I'm so glad you'd play more, because this is going to be metroidvania, so expect more :) Thank you for the kind comment

Dec 23, 2012 @ 2:45am

Pretty impressive, especially considering it's HTML5.

I would have put the simple directions on the website/within the game at the start (directions to move/shift to interact). Also not certain how I'm a villain, but maybe I didn't reach that part.

Eniko says ...
Dec 23, 2012 @ 6:29am

Really beautiful game, and swimming around is kind of relaxing, especially with the background ooohs and aaahs. I noticed that when falling rapidly downwards Trina goes half off-screen, which could be a problem in a post compo version.

Also I'm not sure if it's a conscious design decision, but I think movement might work better if the meter keeps charging while you hold the arrow key? As in the length of the keypress determines the maximum amount of charge taken, and then when released whatever's in the meter is taken. As it is doing a maximum power thrust is kind of clunky, but like I said that might be by design.

Pierrec says ...
Dec 23, 2012 @ 8:16am

Interesting mechanics, but a bit tedious to play. Maybe if the "charging" was faster ?
The graphics aud audio are excellent on the other hand!

Saisaith says ...
Dec 23, 2012 @ 10:00am

Great game! Thanks for the review!

Dec 23, 2012 @ 10:17am

Loved the art style and music. Very fitting. I liked the Octopus theme but not the controls. Perhaps you could simplify it to up, left or right (where L/R kick her up at 45 degree angles, based on time held down). Easy controls are key to any game being fun. If it's a chore to move, people will never play. Keep iterating on it and make it fun to move around and fight things. Once you have that nailed you can add one piece at a time. Nice job.

Dec 23, 2012 @ 10:20am

This is lovely! The animations are cool, and I love the music/mood.

The actual "game" is a bit difficult to figure out though. Movement = great. Is that a checkpoint? Did I activate it? What are those orbs under the crustacaen? Can I buy them? Why would a cephalopod have a system of monetary value? THIS IS ALL SO CONFUSING :P

Still, nice work :)

Xavier says ...
Dec 23, 2012 @ 10:25am

Great graphics, great animations and amazing soundtrack! But I think you must improve the movement mechanics.

pereubu says ...
Dec 23, 2012 @ 11:53am

Great graphics and animation, and as everyone said, the controls are a good idea, but need to be polished. Great job for the ambiance !!!

Pitoum says ...
Dec 23, 2012 @ 2:37pm

I like a lot the art and the music. Gameplay need probably some tweaks to be fully enjoyable.
Anyway, nice work!
(Like your post mortem too!)

Jeremias says ...
Dec 23, 2012 @ 5:49pm

Graphics and the music are very well made! As you already mentioned, there was not really much to do. But I like the movement mechanic. Some passages with hurting walls or floors... I mean, you could focus the whole game around the movement.

Mesene says ...
Dec 23, 2012 @ 6:08pm

Hi there!
I spend a good time playing it, I was lucky and played the level without finding any obstacle that required buying any upgrade that I didn't bought before :)
Great animations and audio! keep on figthing ;)

valeroth says ...
Dec 23, 2012 @ 8:01pm

Absolutely loved this game. Probably the best I've played yet! Graphics are superb. Was a little confused for a minute or so as I hadn't read the instructions but once I knew the main mechanic I thought it was great fun. The muscle meter runs out a little too quickly for my liking meaning you have to stop too much but that's a fairly minor gripe. Keep up the good work, would love to see a post-compo version of this!

juaxix says ...
Dec 23, 2012 @ 9:18pm

Nice mood and atmosphere,...i would like to listen a volume interpolation (crossfading) between different zone musics, and fixed the power bar.
I like the graphics and the smooth of the movements, the game invites you to explore and go out but you cant, it is a good go anyway ,congrats

ethankennerly says ...
Dec 23, 2012 @ 10:11pm

The octopus squirting and spinning along with the whimisical melody engaged me. If you continue to develop this, after a few fish and yellow circles, I was looking to deepen my choice and was feeling a bit uncertain of how I would deftly direct the octopus.

ENDESGA says ...
Dec 23, 2012 @ 11:36pm

nice!

Mesene says ...
Dec 23, 2012 @ 11:59pm

I just realized that you did kumiho :0!
Was a great game, I was eager to see the source.
great to see how well you deal alone!

Dec 24, 2012 @ 10:42am

Thank you all!

Dark Acre Jack: you're absolutely right. I'll get on it! Also, I know, she isn't very villainous without the extra animated expressions. Those are coming soon :)

Eniko: thanks for noticing! Yes, I have an upper threshold to how much power Trina can expend in one jump. This way, when you have a lot of power, you can still jump a standard way off, and have lots more power to make a second jump. I don't know if it will work in the post-compo updated controls. Also, I'll definitely fix the camera.

Pierrec: noted, and will try to balance it more! Thank you!

GeorgeBroussard: Thank you, I will keep it in mind when I update the controls. However, an 8-year old niece got used to them at once, and loves it. It's hard to keep everyone happy..

matthias_zarzecki: Hahaha :) Yes, it's a checkpoint, it starts off activated, so its only use is that you respawn if you die (from the fish). The crab is indeed selling powerups. The octopus needs the powerups, therefore it needs to collect money. See? It's all very simple, capitalism in its purest form...

Xavier: Thank you! I promise to improve. Do you have any suggestions? What would you like?

pereubu: thank you! What kind of controls would you like?

Pitoum: thank you very much. I will try my best

Jeremias: you're absolutely right, and I intend to. Obviously I want her to do more than move, but both owlboy and cave story, two of my all-time favorites, do build the whole game around the movement.

Mesene: viva la libertad! Ah Kumiho! It's our favorite game, Fedor and mine. Fedor made this ( http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-25/?action=preview&uid=19592 ) in this LD, so you may want to leave him a comment. I remember he wanted us to make our assets open-source, so he will certainly tell you about the code. If I remember correctly, he found the scrolling code somewhere, but he coded the enemy patterns himself!

Valeroth: you're so sweet. I will definitely try to polish the controls more, and certainly add more juice to her.

Juaxix: I wrote the code to crossfade audio (with a lerp function) and then stupidly tied it to a "when enemy is on screen" which produces an instant fade in of the battle music, because time was running out. The original condition was tied to distance between enemy and player, but I had to disable it for debugging purposes... Thank you very much!

ethankennerly: thank you so much. I will try to make it a relatively open-world action-rpg

blob says ...
Dec 24, 2012 @ 5:34pm

Yay for the most awesome animal in the galaxy ! I like the muscle meter system ! I think it might be even more fun to play with a mouse aiming, did you try ? ( left click to move, right to attack maybe ?)
Post-jam this baby.
The art / animation and main music with the choir are awesome.

Dec 24, 2012 @ 6:17pm

blob: I did try. It plays like aquaria. I don't want a game like aquaria, i want a game like cave story and owlboy. Glad you like! I will post-jam this, but movement is kind of a big deal, I can't move forward with my controls if people don't want to play it unless it's mouse driven.

blob says ...
Dec 25, 2012 @ 4:44am

That makes sense.
Once you get the power up it's really quite easy to move around. If you make this the default I dont think you ll get nearly as much complaints. Good luck !

SimianLogic says ...
Dec 25, 2012 @ 3:26pm

slow and awesome. i like the strange controls.

fishbrain says ...
Dec 26, 2012 @ 12:25pm

aahhhh.... nice. Adorable graphics and serene music.

krutech says ...
Dec 26, 2012 @ 2:29pm

Nice game. I like the art and audio alot. Controls were a bit difficult at first but i quickly got the hang of it. All in all a very good job =)

rvmook says ...
Dec 26, 2012 @ 6:50pm

Cool idea for the controls (never saw it before although you said it was) great graphics. Would've liked to see a bit more enemies though and the resting on the anchors didn't really have a function in my opinion. But it looks great and controls feel pretty good!

mmorphinee says ...
Dec 26, 2012 @ 7:12pm

I didn't realy get what to do, but I will try again later.

Jiddo says ...
Dec 27, 2012 @ 5:17pm

That's a cute little game. I'm not sure if I actually managed to find all the areas tho. Still, I feel that it is missing an actual challenge. I don't see the reason to kill the other creatures. They aren't being aggressive towards you and there doesn't appear to be any reward in killing them.

Still, the graphics are awesome, the sound is good and the controls work quite well. The upgrades are certainly interesting. Great work!

Houly says ...
Dec 27, 2012 @ 11:05pm

With a little more polish this could be really nice.
The octopus animation is really nice.

mikemacdee says ...
Dec 29, 2012 @ 10:05am

sooo cuuuute!

yeah, with story and refinement it'll be better for sure. i don't think the control scheme is terrible; trina's "falling" rate, however, could really use adjustment. if she were to "float" rather than sink like a rock, controlling her might actually be kinda fun.

ilo says ...
Jan 3, 2013 @ 6:49am

The game looks gorgeous, and the squeeze/release mechanic is quite ingenious!

I must admit I had to persevere with the controls though - I almost had a revelatory moment where I was not dragging along the bottom of the ocean or slowly sinking but actually moving gracefully through the water, and it felt really good! But then... down I went again. :)

If in doubt, you may want to underestimate the skill of your audience at the beginning of games. The faster learners might not be challenged as much and will breeze through the early stages quickly, but the alternative is that players who struggle might stop playing.

Joncom says ...
Jan 3, 2013 @ 10:34pm

Pros:
Wow, I love the art style and animations! Great job.

Cons:
I did find that the gravity felt a little bit strong at times.

radmars says ...
Jan 4, 2013 @ 2:36am

Graphics and music are great, love the style. To pile on the control comments, it is a cool mechanic but doesn't really feel good until you get the upgrade - maybe bump up the default speed a bit, or make the bar refill faster (or both?). Also I feel like it might be more appropriate for upgrades to be another mechanic (dash maybe?) rather than just an overall speed increase.

Jan 4, 2013 @ 6:10pm

After coming back to try this again (I didn't know how to rate it a week or so ago), I don't think there is anything wrong with the controls, it's just that the gravity is way too strong. If you let Trina fall she will pick up so much speed the screen can't scroll fast enough to keep up. Since there is no real consequence or hazards (like bottomless pits) for running out of muscle energy, why not make her more buoyant and let the player focus more on exploring the beautiful world you've created?
(Apologies if i'm repeating points already made, I haven't read all the previous comments.)

lotusgame says ...
Jan 6, 2013 @ 3:33pm

I liked this game. Incredible for the time, im impressed !

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