April 26th-29th 2013 :: Theme: Minimalism

Ludum Dare 26 — April 26-29th, 2013
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Sociales Santillana

by Ithildin - 48 Hour Compo Entry

This puzzle game takes inspiration from Bejeweled and minimalist artists (specifically, Frank Stella) at the same time.

You select blocks and flip them vertically or rotate a whole "plate" in order to match groups of 3 or more blocks of the same colour. Check the "How to play" attached screenshot for further advice.

CONTROLS
==========
* Left mouse button => Click to select/deselect a block, then click on an adjacent block to attempt a flip or a rotation.

* H key => Stuck? Let the game select a block for you! It costs 3s of your time, though.

* S key => Shuffle the board completely. Unless you've run out of movements, it'll cost 5s.

* I key => Toggle timeless mode on/off. If you're having fun on a specific level and don't want to move to the next one you can activate the Timeless mode and forget about countdowns. This is somewhat game breaking, as you can alter the board freely and then go back to timed mode, so use it at your own responsibility (yeah, this is cheap).

* Backspace => If you've won/lost the game you can restart from the beginning.

//-------------------------------

KNOWN ISSUES:
================
- There is a bug with the match checker failing at detect some matches. Bad news is I couldn't track it, the good is that it doesn't happen frequently.

- Sometimes it seems that you can not rotate in the expected direction. If that happens, try to rotate in the opposite one. If it's still blocked and it's obvious that the rotation should be allowed please let me know.

- Toggling timeless mode on and off in the middle of a level breaks the balance.

- Poor balancing. I ran out of time for that.

//-------------------------------

TOOLS OF THE TRADE
===================
- AS3 + Starling + Adobe's commons library. The IDE of choice was FlashDevelop. Flash 11+ is required.
- bfxr + Audacity for sound effects.
- The fonts are the same ones I used for my previous entry. Credit goes to Miffies again.

//-------------------------------

WHY THIS?
============
Originally, as I mentioned in a post written during development, my intention was to take a well-known gameplay concept (the usual suspects: Tetris, Pacman, Pong... come to mind), bloat it with irrelevant features and then strip it from the gameplay one at a time until the player was left out with the essential core mechanics.

However, I decided that rather than just doing that I could use some concept that worked out by itself too and so, after googling for image references, I came up with a match-3 concept with a slight twist using a clear artistic style. Then, if I had the time, I would add the layer on top (Spoiler: there is never time -_-UU)

The reason for the title, which probably makes little to no sense to anyone outside from Spain, is, apart from the fact that I couldn't come up with anything better, is that the picture from which I took the final idea was used in the covers of a well known publisher for the primary school textbooks from the time when I went to school (sigh...). I actually used quite a few of them myself :D

EDIT (29/04):
* Modified the web link so that the HTML document displays some instructions.
* Added screenshot with a "tutorial".
(01/04): Updated html page to center the game.

[EDIT 06/11/2016] Updated web link after Dropbox removed support for html rendering. Also, added post-compo version

Downloads and Links


Ratings

Coolness100%
#176Innovation3.64
#339Theme3.76
#427Overall3.29
#537Fun3.01
#539Mood2.90
#607Graphics2.96
#822Audio2.24
#1023Humor1.50

Comments

Logun says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 8:55am

Fun and clever ! I enjoyed it and replay many time !

Xgor says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 12:31pm

Pretty nice, the game play could be explained a lot better in-game though as I had to read the instructions at the description to understand what I was doing.
Also, it would be neat if you actually saw the pieces rotate.

loxo says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 12:42pm

I like the combination of the bejeweled concept and the minimalistic graphics very much. This is one of my favorites so far.

Ragzouken says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 1:21pm

I had a real hard time figuring out which moves are valid and why, but the idea seems really cool :)

visibleatom says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 2:58pm

I had to freeze time and work on it for quite a few minutes before I FINALLY understood the rules. More explicit animation would've helped immensely. Colors were changing all over the place and I had no idea why some clicks were working and others weren't. It wasn't until I started to imagine the animations that things clicked.

Ok, so if anyone else is as stuck as me: look at the first screenshot of the submission. The only valid move is to click on the orange block right above the center and then click on the red block above it. That will SHIFT the entire column UP. Then, the orange blocks will make a 'C' shape (as the orange block will connect to the other two orances in the L shape). Colors will change to fill those gaps. There are no other valid moves.

When you click on a color that's adjacent to it in the same 'ring', you're trying to ROTATE the entire ring. You can either have 3 colors connected in the same ring, or 3 colors connected in the same stack.

Suggestions: Add rotation animation. Make the shuffle automatic when there are no more moves. Perhaps add a perma-hint mode, where clicking on a block shows the valid moves it can make, and ONLY the valid moves it can make.

Ithildin says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 3:12pm

Thanks for the feedback, I'll have it in mind for the future :)

I had some people play test the game today (after submission) and most of them got lost in the beginning, which is unforgivable considering that once they've figured it out, they keep playing it for quite a while (meaning that the game is actually fun once you know what you've got to do).

This hints heavily at some more or less serious visual/sound feedback deficiencies that could have helped. As you say, animation could be a life saver.

rab236 says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 3:56pm

It's a bit hard to figure out in the beginning, but once I understood how to play it, it was quite fun.

visibleatom says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:20pm

Yes. I had a co-worker play it and EVEN WALKING HIM THROUGH IT, it still took him a while to get. He was under the impression that we were swapping colors, NOT moving an entire ring/stack.


So I went ahead and made a tutorial image. Recommend you do something similar to it for your screenshot :)

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/2013/04/29/sociales-tutorial/

Yezu says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:46pm

Even with the instructions it took me a while to figure out how to play. Although I got the best results by clicking randomly.

visibleatom says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:53pm

never mind, I just realized that I was wrong, and it's a swap, not a shift of a stack. :)

See? Confusing, but fun ;)

Ysty says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:56pm

I love the look of the game. A bit confusing at first but once it clicks the gameplay works really well.

JaJ says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:59pm

Very visually pleasing. Unlike most of the minimalistic visual art inspired games I've seen, this game actually looks like an art piece.

Domantas says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 5:16pm

Looks good, made me interested for a while. I think you should make moves animated, it is not clear enough which plated move.

Zener says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 9:05pm

This is really quite addictive! It takes a little to know how it works but after that it brings a lot of fun.

Fits the theme to the perfection, it is to Columns the same BlockOut is to Tetris. And it's a bit too difficult for me :)

Nice name, waiting for Naturales Santillana

Ithildin says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 11:30pm

Thank you all for the feedback and, specially, taking the time to keep trying despite the initial confusion.

@visibleatom I've followed your advice and added a "how-to" screenshot to show the rules.

s0ulcrusher says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 2:05am

Is it possible that the initial puzzle could be generated in a way to be unwinnable or am I just doing it wrong? :)

Ithildin says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 6:02am

By unwinnable do you mean that you don't have any movement available from the start? Nope... You always start with at least one (unless there is a strange bug that passed me by). Check the value of "movements left" at the bottom right to see. Then, during the game, if you end an action with no moves left you'll get some big text telling you to shuffle ("S" key... Normally it would cost you 5s but in this situation you can do that for free).

If you mean "move to the next level"... It would be extremely infrequent, but I suppose that you can be really unlucky with the randomization so that you end up out of time.

If you don't see any moves you can get a hint with the H key.

ataxkt says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 1:04pm

Really nice! The match 3 genre is really well implemented here, original! I found it confusing though - instruction and feedback would improve this 110%. I'd play again!

antonijn says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 1:11pm

An in-game how-to would have helped immensely!

dick_claus says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 1:21pm

Rather neat )

Norritt42 says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 9:29pm

So sad it's not position in the middle so I can only see like the two left and right blocks. google chrome, windows 8. Hope you can fix it

Ithildin says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 10:02pm

Ooops, sorry to hear that.

I've been fiddling with the CSS to center it horizontally and the new version's up. Could you try again, and make sure that the browser zoom is 100%, please?

orange08 says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 11:12pm

For the first few minutes I was completely confused. Then I looked at the tutorial image linked to below the game, that helped me figure it out some... but really, a tutorial should be IN-game. Otherwise, this was a really neat idea and I hope you keep working on it because it has a lot more potential. :)

zazery says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 11:12pm

It didn't take me long after reading the instructions. At first I didn't realize it was timed and when I started playing I lost almost immediately.

I really loved the concept and the execution. Excellent work!

dreamlogician says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 11:26pm

Once I got the hang of it, this was great fun! Fantastic work incorporating the theme and using it as inspiration to create something fresh and engaging.

ddionisio says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 2:27am

There's a lot of potential in this game, it's enjoyable once understood! At first I thought you can only rotate, but then you can swap too, I guess I didn't fully read the instructions!

Needs visual cues like after you click it does an actual rotate or swap. And if it's an invalid move, it'll snap back.

Also, combos!

Overall, great innovation!

May 1, 2013 @ 3:36pm

First of all, I love the title (I am from Argentina and I know old books from Santillana). Really like the take on the theme. Mechanics are really clever and well balanced. Congrats on this game!

Wiering says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 3:42pm

Fun game!

Madball says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 3:54pm

Why do you wait for me to shuffle when there is no moves? Make it automatic! Also, make the backspace actually restart, not shuffle, when used in game.

Hegemege says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 3:56pm

A really nice puzzle game I must say. Took a few minutes to learn the mechanics, and met the matching bug three times during my playtime. With more polishing, this could be a great game, I'd definitely love to play it again!

EggDestroyer says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 3:58pm

I read your post-mortem after playing, I don't have anything else to say :p
I had trouble to understand the controls but once I did, I had a lot of fun. I found the pentagon level harder than the hexagon, which seems weird.

Jiggawatt says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 5:47pm

This is quite original, but unfortunately suffers from some design flaws. For example, it's hard to make up any cool strategies because the game limits you to the immediately "correct" choices.

klianc09 says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 6:00pm

The rotating of the ring is first confusing when you don't know it, and maybe it should be called "No possible moves left" because that confused me too at first. But I really like this take on the match-3 genre. Would like to play this on a larger polygon, but I never got so far.

May 1, 2013 @ 6:37pm

This is really great work for 48 hours. Well done.

madlee says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 11:10pm

nice take on the match3 style game. the shape of the board and the colors create some neat patterns to look at. good job!

moomoo112 says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 4:31am

rather liked this one after I read the instructions

palsina says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 9:22am

Once I got it it's really nice! it's much easier the more sides there are so maybe it should start at an octagon and reduce the number of sides progresively

Ithildin says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 12:52pm

Thanks! (Btw, some little bird showed me your game a couple of days ago; it was impressive, I managed to survive for a whole 20s) =D

As you say, I've realized that starting on larger levels, where there are many more blocks and therefore possibilities, could have helped two-fold with some of the issues most of you have spotted: making it easier, on one hand, or allowing for more strategic planning on the other (But in my opinion the latter depends on whether you want faster-paced gameplay, such as time attack modes, or if you can take the time to think carefully e.g, challenges, etc.)

Jhelle says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 8:45pm

Great minimalistic take on the match 3 genre. Love to see this made into a full game!

Rafael Sales says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 9:13pm

Cool game. Congratz!

yetanother says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 9:51pm

Clever gameplay

Are says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 5:28pm

Quite addictive. I like this harmony, when two or more blocks are "vanished" at one time.

lotusgame says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 9:00pm

Interesting and quite addictive. I really like the form simplification. Pity it lacks some animations to better understand what happens. Very good entry :)

runonthespot says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 9:54pm

Yes, a proper little thinking game this. I wasn't always sure why I lost the game, but enjoyed seeing the game expand out to bigger polys, and liked the look and feel of it. Good stuff.

mrexcessive says ...
May 6, 2013 @ 3:09pm

Nice puzzle... Had to go in infinite-time mode for my poor addled brain after a while, but great mental exercise! Nice one

Dir3kt says ...
May 6, 2013 @ 7:08pm

The idea is very cool, it's minimalist but at the same time it's like a 3D match3 game, very nice! Had some difficulties with the controls, many times it seemed I ended up blocked :/

May 6, 2013 @ 7:32pm

Quite hard to understand (I really needed the instruction image to understand the game) and it is missing some music. After quite some tries I understood the game and the concept is really great.

May 8, 2013 @ 10:31pm

Integrated instructions would help more than the "manual image" -- really fun once I grokked it.

May 9, 2013 @ 12:36pm

Very cool.

May 10, 2013 @ 4:14am

Smart use of the theme. Had to read through the instructions twice to get my head around it but it was fun once I got the hang of it. What does the title mean btw?

rezoner says ...
May 11, 2013 @ 2:35pm

Hey this is actually a fun game when you realize it's 3d and read the instructions! Good job.

Ithildin says ...
May 11, 2013 @ 4:22pm

Thanks! I'm currently working on an improved version, which will hopefully sort out the "first contact" woes.

The title comes from a textbook for the "Social Sciences" (Geography + History) subject I took at primary school. It was published by Ed. Santillana, which by the time I went to school used the painting from Frank Stella (or a variation) as the cover of their text books (there is a pic of one of them in the screenshots). So you could see it as a homage of sorts ^_^U

Oye Beto says ...
May 11, 2013 @ 7:57pm

Interesting game but not very intuitive.
I read the rules but I'm still a little confused.

Where are you from?

Sylvain.p says ...
May 15, 2013 @ 1:32am

I seems to be more stupid than other I have try more than half an hour ... and I haven't understand. But graphics are nice..so I will rate what I can rate.

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