Ludum Dare 32 — April 17th-20th, 2015 — Theme: An Unconventional Weapon

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Beacons

by Xanjos - Compo Entry

5th Ludum Dare Entry (Does this mean I'm a veteran now?) and 2nd for compo.

Probably the most interesting theme (considering how anything can be an "unconventional weapon") so I was a bit stuck for ideas at first but then I suddenly thought, does the weapon have to kill (implying that it's used to harm or kill others)? In the end I decided that I wanted to make a game where player's primary tool does not hurt enemies both directly and indirectly (and also, no shooting or hitting things to make it a bit more unconventional)

I decided to make the game in a 3D isometric view (as I've never made a 3D game before for a game jam plus the last few LD games I've done were in 2D so I figured why not switch it up a little bit) using just the primitives in Unity (as I'm no 3D artist). Eventually this became more me experimenting with RAIN's AI engine as my game slowly started to come together but I think I've ended up with something playable.

I previously had a WebGL build of the game but I decided to remove it because it was too slow and buggy and crash-happy (So Chrome users I recommend that you enable the NPAPI flag to play the WebPlayer version or just download a desktop build)

Desktop builds are available on my game's GameJolt page (I'll probably put post-compo builds here as well if I'm actually bothered to work on it again. Also as usual I don't have a Mac or Linux machine so message me if they don't work).

Instructions

Guide the blue cubes to the yellow goal point (which appears and changes positions randomly every 10 seconds)
Avoid the zombie red cubes
The black sphere hunts down and turn blue cubes into red zombie cubes
Use your beacon to attract cubes/repel the black sphere (Your beacon lasts for 10 seconds before disappearing and you cannot place another one until 5 seconds have passed)

Controls

WASD/Arrow Keys - Move
Left Click/Left CTRL - Place Beacon at your mouse position

Tools Used:

Language:C#
IDE: Visual Studio
Library/Framework:Unity (with RAIN AI plugin)
Sounds:bfxr

Downloads and Links


Ratings

Coolness100%
#504Innovation3.17
#775Audio2.05
#798Theme3.04
#826Overall2.87
#881Graphics2.47
#883Fun2.61

Comments

Figglewatts says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 2:54pm

This was difficult, but that isn't a bad thing.

Apr 20, 2015 @ 6:38pm

Control is very hard, also the game is very hard, other than that, not a bad game.

haveric says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 11:17pm

As others have said, this is quite difficult, but definitely something that could be expanded upon.

Mekuri says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 6:49pm

I liked the idea. I don't think it was overly difficulty, but not easy either. I liked the style- I kinda like it when people make something meaning full out of the primitives. You did a nice job - well done!

Team-KwaKwa says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 8:03pm

Concept is interesting. It is unfortunately too random and there are no clear goal.

arhpositive says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 8:21pm

I think the game has potential, but some adjustments should be made. Beacon radius is too small in my opinion, we can't control and direct blue cubes as well as we could. Also, I wanted to find a way to destroy some of the red cubes, perhaps by exploding our beacons but there weren't any. Gameplay has potential but needs more work.

Keep up the good work!

MightyToast says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 10:05pm

Pretty difficult, and the controls were a bit stiff which made it difficult to manuever. I like the concept though and the variety of enemies and obstacles was quite nice!

Tuism says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 9:38am

Interesting idea, but falls flat due to a lack of... Game design? Everything you know must be read in the documentation, the game should really try to give you an idea of how things work in the game itself. Attraction/repulsion is utterly random, and shapes/movement are too abstract to communicate anything. In short: you need some juice that communicates. Your beacon placement's cooldown, for example. How long they last, for example.

The problem isn't in cubes and primitives, it's in the way they behave and communicate.

I don't think mapping up to top right and left to top left etc was a good idea. Isometric movement is really confusing if people have to react using cardinal directions. There would have been nothing wrong with up being up, etc.

Xanjos says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 10:06am

I'll admit I should have playtested this a bit more to balance the game out (it's probably a bit too slow at the beginning and the npcs' behaviour to the beacon probably didn't work as well as I thought). As for the beacon, the npcs only react to it if they see it within it's range of sight which in retrospect should have been bigger (and also separate from the range of sight for when they see other objects such as the player or other npcs).

Anyway thanks for the advice. I'll try to bear that in mind for anything I make in the future.

asobi tech says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 1:23pm

Interesting concept.
The stark graphics style works. But perhaps lacks a bit character.
It all feels a little hectic and random, maybe need narrow corridors to make a maze type game. Or zoom out further so I can see more of the playfield.
Sound is minimal.
Gotta juice it up :D

Luminar says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 6:59pm

Nice entry! Scored 80 points. It was quite hard to run away from lots of zombies :D

GarethIW says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 7:54pm

Nice idea, I just thought I would get some in and the portal moved !

-CH

Horsed says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 7:59pm

For the most time the blue cubes didn't move anywhere I wanted, unfortunately. Some timers would be nice, indicating the life time of beacons and when another one is available. I like the minimalism of your graphics, although it add makes the game very abstract.

HotBoxGames says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 8:38pm

Interesting concept, can be quite a challenge! Nice one :)

Apr 22, 2015 @ 9:53pm

With some more polish, I could see this being a pretty fun game with some interesting choices to be made.

jesterswilde says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 10:04pm

After I acclimated to the world, understood it's rules and customs, I decided that the black sphere was the root of all of my woes. I spent my time trying to put the sphere in a corner, away from my flock. For this I was awarded 100 points and death.

hexdie says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 2:33am

I like the idea of this game and with some work, it could be very cool. At the moment, it's pretty rough around the edges. It's very hard to control much of what is going on in the game. It seemed like the best strategy was to just place a beacon on the yellow spot and hope some blue guys would be attracted to it. There wasn't much strategy or control otherwise. There also wasn't much of a way to make sure my blue guys turned red. I think if you took this idea and gave the player some more control and interesting choices, it'd make for a cool game.

Mr. Jif says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 4:53am

Interesting concept and could be cool with some more work. Some indication of when you can place a beacon would help a ton.

wooltech says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 12:13pm

Definitely fits the theme, and I like the shepherding concept, but it's pretty difficult. The plain geometric shapes work well for a game jam game.

goadrich says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 6:21pm

This is a great demo of herding mechanics, did you use steering behaviors? I found it really hard to herd with just one of me, I think I only scored randomly and not through any effort of my own. The beacon was a nice touch to distract, the lighting of the yellow goal point was very nice!

smokecastles says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 9:28pm

If this is your first game jam using 3D it's definitely nice! I liked the visuals, simple but effective. The moving portals mechanic is clever, I would like to see this turned into a fully-fledged game with smoother controls and maybe a bit more of speed, nice work!

xbcw says ...
Apr 24, 2015 @ 1:28am

Good balance of challenging but not too challenging.

Apr 24, 2015 @ 1:48am

Very cool game. First time a zombie came after me it moved really fast and gave me that panicked feeling! Ayeee!

Great job!

lochmann-apps says ...
Apr 25, 2015 @ 2:11pm

Nice game! I am missing a bit of background music, but hey, it's compo, I guess you simply had no time for that.

Xanjos says ...
Apr 25, 2015 @ 6:13pm

@lochmann: Thanks. I actually generated a small background music loop using NodeBeat on my iPhone at the last minute but it was a bit of a hassle transferring the recording from my phone to my pc and then converting it from an m4r to something that Unity supports I decided to leave it out in the end as it was nearly submission hour.

Apr 26, 2015 @ 10:04pm

The game is viewed in a really interesting perspective and has fluent controls. It's rather hard and a bit difficult to get into, but is fun when you've learnt the mechanics. :)

Plustech says ...
Apr 27, 2015 @ 4:17am

Interesting concept, I wish it was more balanced, it felt really hard from different angles. Is hard enough without the black sphere transforming dudes. You should test a version without the sphere, or maybe without moving the hotspot so much.
Good entry nevertheless, respect!

ruerob says ...
Apr 27, 2015 @ 2:32pm

That is a really difficult game! It has an interesting mechanic, but somehow the blue cubes don't want to go where I want them to! Nice cube artstyle.

java the hutt says ...
Apr 28, 2015 @ 1:13am

I like the overall idea of the game. The sound when a ball hit the blue cubes was rather jarring. I wish the yellow areas would stay up a little longer.

BeardoGames says ...
Apr 28, 2015 @ 3:45pm

A very interesting and high-concept game! I like how much thought you put into your interpretation of the theme. Super tough and challenging, and really well done!

Omiya Games says ...
Apr 29, 2015 @ 4:06am

I thought the game's AI made it unfair rather than difficult. The beacon felt incredibly ineffective, and since I don't have the full view of the stage, it's super-difficult to tell where the black sphere is, and how to prevent it from attacking other blue cubes. The beacon itself had a large collider that made it difficult to attract the cubes to the right spot. Lastly, there are too few beacons to place to be able to use them effectively.

I realize this is supposed to be an experiment, and I commend you for that. It tries something very different, but I think it's too complex for its own good.

Ammypendent says ...
Apr 30, 2015 @ 10:51pm

Interesting experiment. Beacon radius could have been increased to make it easier and the black sphere doesn't seem to be repelled much at all.

Good experiment overall!

May 1, 2015 @ 1:32am

Pretty cool concept :-) Well done

LandoSystems says ...
May 2, 2015 @ 1:50am

Interesting mechanic and nice graphical style, but it is a really tough game. Good work!

AsixJin says ...
May 2, 2015 @ 6:27pm

This is very innovative. I'd definitely like to see a more fleshed out version of this game. I think it would work very well with touch controls.

RyanNielson says ...
May 3, 2015 @ 5:20pm

Could use a bit of tweaking with the controls, but overall a good effort! Well done!

Jacic says ...
May 4, 2015 @ 5:33am

I like it, but the working distance for the beacons is much too small. Good job! :)

paruthidotexe says ...
May 4, 2015 @ 1:46pm

I like the concept and game. Can concentrate more on level design to make it more interesting..

May 4, 2015 @ 3:02pm

Hum, the idea itself could be interesting but the game is really too difficult to handle: you don't know what you're supposed to do and how you're supposed to do it, so you're wandering for a while, trying some things here and there. Some kind of tutorial would definitely be appreciated!

CScribes says ...
May 4, 2015 @ 8:31pm

Like others have already stated, it was a little hard to grasp what I was suppose to be doing. Otherwise, I like the general premise and especially the use of the theme!

May 5, 2015 @ 5:55pm

I will tweet you with a video of gameplay and review soon.

lucidsheep says ...
May 5, 2015 @ 9:13pm

Really like the lighting effects and minimalist presentation! As others have said it's pretty hard to do well, since your beacons have a short attraction range and attract both good and bad cubes. Nice work!

May 6, 2015 @ 2:36pm

Staying on the outskirt of the map while placing the beacon at the center seem the best way to go in the long run. Maybe give a reason to not do that by giving pickup or something interesting? I like the concept. Good job!

local minimum says ...
May 6, 2015 @ 3:06pm

I think the mechanics could make for an interesting game, but it feels a bit unpolished (though definitely playable). I think it would do the game good to have the trigger for when a blue enters the light to be much larger than it is at the moment. It would also be good if the beacons were removable (e.g. by clicking on them). If you make the global light much dimmer and make the range to the target light larger and placed a bit above ground you would get some mean shadows that would kind of remove the need for the particle system you currently use. Just some thoughts. Nice game mechanics though!

w1n5t0n says ...
May 6, 2015 @ 3:34pm

It's difficult but it could be a great game with a bit of polish.

jhell says ...
May 6, 2015 @ 4:54pm

Interesting idea but I feel like the execution was not perfect. Like others have said, timers would have been necessary. It also seemed to me that red ones were attracted from farther away than blue ones. Still, cool take on the theme.

Fabraz says ...
May 6, 2015 @ 7:12pm

Interesting concept and I absolutely think it has potential. Keep working at it!

Here is some (hopefully helpful) critique:
- It is difficult to outrun the reds. Perhaps give the player a limited dash ability to quickly outpace them?

- The constantly respawning yellow spot means that sometimes blues just automatically get counted without me guiding them there.

- If you keep the constantly changing yellow spot, consider implementing a visual timer to indicate how long its going to stay

- Add a physcal gravitation between the player and blues. As in, the closer you get to them, the stronger you push them! Combined with the dash mechanic the player can then quickly push blues into the yellow spot

- Revise the controls. Isometric is cool, but the player is locked in an odd 8-directional rotation. Why not give the player 360 degree freedom of their movement?

- There are weird soundbites that I can hear, despite there being little audio otherwise.

Thought of a good theming for it yet? Or are you staying with the geometric shapes? :)

Any way, good job dude!

MonoS says ...
May 7, 2015 @ 10:11am

even after a couple of plays i've still had problem using the beacon, i've also wanted to use a pulling beacon instead of an attracting one.
Guiding the blue cubes to the goal was almost impossible and the majority of the points were done by pure luck.

Loved the TicTac protagonist, to bad it's not red cinnamon :(

May 7, 2015 @ 6:48pm

That's a pretty difficult game! I like the way that you can block the red things chasing you but then it means you've basically wasted a beacon.

Druid says ...
May 8, 2015 @ 3:13pm

Difficult but still not frustrating. Pretty balanced! Simple clean graphics too! Really solid entry!

puppetmaster says ...
May 8, 2015 @ 10:41pm

+ for your first 3D game
+ taking a new challenge
- to many difficulty (random portal location, small view area)
Well done! congraz!!

ajopart says ...
May 9, 2015 @ 8:26pm

Not bad at all ! Neat concept, but indeed difficult. Well done.

jk5000 says ...
May 9, 2015 @ 9:03pm

A polished version could be really good.

BabaJaga says ...
May 9, 2015 @ 9:47pm

For a moment I thought this is my game, I apperantly use very simillar color scheme :)

Interesting gameplay, once you understand it, not really obvious without text.

orangemoose says ...
May 9, 2015 @ 10:10pm

I like the mechanics, but I think it could have benefited with introducing the mechanics more slowly, through smaller tutorial levels with specific goals. Since this was a compo entry, I'm sure it just came down to a lack of time though. You said this was your first time working on a 3D game, and I think it turned out very well. The art style with the primitives was simple, but effective, and you did a nice job working within the theme.

Gunzil says ...
May 10, 2015 @ 5:31am

No feedback on when you're allowed to spawn your puck was a killer for me, also the attract / repel radius is way too small. I had a really hard time trying to manipulate any of the pieces in the ways I wanted to.

Rate at which goal changes position is too frequent as well, so even when I did finally set up some attractors around a goal it would move. Since there isn't any way to know if the goal is about to move, it felt random as to when it would leave.

I like the concept, it reminds me of Atom Zombie Smasher, and all the pieces are there, but it needs some tweaks before I'd consider it enjoyable.

FireTwin says ...
May 10, 2015 @ 9:37am

I enjoyed trying to get away from the zombies and it would have been quite satisfying to kill them somehow with the magnet weapon or at least teleport them away.

The comment above's first two paragraphs sum up the problems I had too. Also I think the controls would feel better if pressing "up" really went up instead of diagonally.

I really like the concept, good job Jason.

ekkiiiii says ...
May 10, 2015 @ 11:35pm

The mechanics worked very well so the game made a lot of fun! I also like that you put some thought to integrating the theme into your game mechanics.

Ludipe says ...
May 11, 2015 @ 11:26am

It's an interesting concept but there are a couple of details that make it harder to enjoy:

-Movement: I don't think the isometric classic movement fits this game even if it breaks the feeling a bit.
-No indicator of when you're able to use the "weapon".
-Goal changes too often.

But those issues are easy to fix and they should take you just a couple of minutes.

I liked the visuals, they're extremely simple but quite nice, shadowcasting and simple colors do the trick. Well done ^^

May 11, 2015 @ 4:15pm

Interesting idea, but needs to be more balanced - it gets quickly to the point where there's too many zombies and not enough blue cubes. Maybe there should be a way to eliminate the zombies (indirectly) ?

OddballDave says ...
May 11, 2015 @ 5:14pm

From the description I thought this was going to be easy but it's deceptively hard. Clever idea and a solid entry. Good stuff.

rojo says ...
May 11, 2015 @ 6:28pm

Herding the cubes was definitely a challenge! The core concept / gameplay is pretty good. However, I'd like to see some more feedback on screen regarding when I can place beacons, and when beacons / goal zones are about to disappear. Some music or ambient audio would also go a long way, as would some more interesting graphics. Still, overall nice job!

Joystikman says ...
May 11, 2015 @ 8:39pm

Pretty good idea but also pretty hard game. More details on how the game works would have been cool.

whittgames says ...
May 11, 2015 @ 9:01pm

I misunderstood the instructions at first (only because I didn't read them!), but once I got the idea I had fun. The 'herding' feels pretty good, and makes for very difficult gameplay!

May 11, 2015 @ 9:50pm

Interesting game, the controls do feel a little strange at first but once you get the hang of it its fun.

OnlySlightly says ...
May 11, 2015 @ 10:06pm

I love how with such a minimalist style you were able to communicate so much. You were definitely able to get across a since of anxiety. And the slow build up to the huge swarm was great. Great job!

May 12, 2015 @ 12:01am

This definitely has potential. the idea of indirectly controlling things through the beacons is very cool. at the moment there doesn't seem to be much strategy or skill involved but that might just be me.

Forlorn79 says ...
May 12, 2015 @ 12:34am

Great concept, but just needs more time to flesh out. I don't know if there's a good strategy to win, so more levels to get used to a strategy before it gets hard would help me understand the gameplay. I hope it ends up a success!

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