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

Ludum Dare 26 — April 26-29th, 2013
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Starhook

by sparksgently - 48 Hour Compo Entry

What would be simpler than Pong? What if there was only one paddle?
And, what if the goal of the game was to minimize your paddle until it was gone?

You are a starhook operator on an intergalactic transport. Catch stars with your starhook to harness their energy. More energy means your spaceship will go faster, however, you will experience time more slowly. The faster you go the more energy you will consume. (when going very fast, you may experience timespace distortions, as if you actually had multiple starhooks.) Gather enough energy and you'll activate the starhook's hyperdrive -- then your job is done.

I recommend playing this with a mouse (web) or a gamepad (Windows only, afaik), if possible. Using the left/right keys is a bit unwieldy. I didn't quite finish tweaking this, however, it should be challenging yet beatable for many players. It usually takes me 1-2 minutes for a single playthrough; but then, I've been playing it all weekend.

Unfortunately, I didn't get around to adding the running commentary of your co-pilot, nor music. I'm still glad to have completed a game for my first LD48.

Please note: If the game runs at a normal speed when you start the game, FRAME RATE CHANGES ARE INTENTIONAL (most likely).

To those who want to look at the source: I apologize. It's a mess. Lots of last-minute hacks that were unencumbered by the thought process, especially where math is concerned.

Downloads and Links


Ratings

#359Fun3.20
#411Innovation3.30
#540Graphics3.05
#690Overall3.05
#694Theme3.40
#802Mood2.63
#853Audio2.19
#1689Coolness32%

Comments

lpcustom says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 6:50am

lol great take on pong! However some of the balls started going through the paddle after a bit. The bounce sound sounds like geese flying overhead.

Jonatron says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 6:52am

Love it! This kind of game would be perfect for playing on a phone while you wait for the bus.

sol_hsa says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 6:52am

Ahhh.. Shatter's radial mode =) Too bad there's no sound.

swizzcheez says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 7:06am

Interesting take on pong though it ran pretty slowly on Linux/Chrome, don't know why.

sparksgently says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 7:10am

thanks everyone!

@sol_hsa: what are your specs? it should have sound. minimal sound, but satisfying bounce sounds nonetheless.

@swizzcheez: as your paddle gets smaller the game slows down intentionally. Was this what you experienced? I've had a report of it running slowly throughout in Opera.

ThirteenWB says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 7:53am

Okay so apparently the game was slowing down intentionally, which was otherwise kinda weird.
Was fun to play, but I found myself not really caring about the other paddles after a while. After three there's too many to really focus on, and if you're using the mouse like I was the speed to move the paddle to where any other paddle would be was minimal anyway.
Liked the idea of gathering energy though and the graphics were cool, needed a potato :)

mortus says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 8:05am

Nice idea, too bad it lags like hell on FF. I've noticed some collision detection problems too.

patrickward says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 11:05am

Fun game. This could be a great alternative to breakout. It did start to slow down considerably after awhile though.

sparksgently says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 12:16pm

@ThirteenWB: I totally agree about the paddles. I made some last-minute changes that messed a lot of things up, including that. You used to (sort of) be able to control the number of paddles, so it was somewhat strategic; if I could change it, right now, I'd set the maximum number of paddles to 3.

I also really, really wish that I had included the pitch-shifting for audio that I had intended, which I think would have helped people realize that the slowing down was intentional. I doubt that many people will experience *actual* performance issues with this game.

ElScootro says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 2:14pm

Very fun!

AaronYip says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 9:34pm

Slowing down time as a way to denote progress is really creative, and maybe not as fun in practice. It messed with my mental mapping of the game space, so I felt disconnected from the game (not in control) after the time distortions. I actually restarted the game twice, so I could only play the beginning parts--which were really fun! I would love a version of this game (radial pong), without the narrative as neat as it is, on my iPhone in a folder next to Super Hexagon.

s0ulcrusher says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 6:36am

Cool idea! My only gripe is when I had 4 paddles going it felt like the game was running @ 3-4fps, which made the game difficult to play.

pvwradtke says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 11:50pm

Very nice, like the idea of a 360º pong variation. However, the random stars are quite hard to keep track. One improvement: (1) some thought about sequencing better the starts and (2) making it a rhythmic based game with some electronic music that goes with the action. Would be very good to play on touch based devices.

May 16, 2013 @ 11:58pm

I see what you meant with the slow down, I know it was part of the game so I guess it made sense thematically, but it just felt like the controls were getting more sluggish. I liked it overall though, a cool idea. The look of the game was consistent and fits the theme. Shame you never got the copilot in there. It's a great first LD game

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