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

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Daunting Disorientation

by Ronin748_ - Jam Entry

The game is sort of an amalgamation of An Unconventional Weapon and Companion. Cats and dogs are companions to us humans, but why not use them as weapons?

The game was written in C++ using SDL2. Music by Kevin MacLeod. Sounds made with sfxr.

You are lost in the woods and the night is falling. You have to find your way back to your cabin, but you can't recall where you came from. It's as if the forest around you is changing... There are monsters that roam the vast wilderness and you don't seem to have any weapons on your person...

There are 2 commands: attack (E) and defend (Q). These will alter your companion's behaviour. In attack mode your companion will attack everything and might wander off if the leash is not attached. In defense mode your companion will stay close to you and attack only aggressive animals. Attaching the leash by pressing R will cause your companion to follow you (even in attack mode). When it gets dark, you must defend yourself from the darkness by turning on your lantern (press F).
Each day the cabin will be further away and more monsters will spawn. Sleeping in your cabin restores health, oil and you gain xp. You can also upgrade your companion's stats (attack, defense, speed).

Controls:

WASD move
E attack mode
Q defend mode
F lantern
R leash
Space activate
Esc quit

IMPORTANT NOTE: changing out of the window will mess up texture alpha values (screen goes completely black), restart to fix

My personal best is day 12 and level 8, see if you can beat me!

TIPS:

- Spending the first nights in your cabin is essential as this is your only source of oil (around day 5 you can get oil from drops)
- Farm xp by killing animals to level up

Downloads and Links


Ratings

Coolness100%
#99Mood(Jam)3.78
#160Overall(Jam)3.67
#164Innovation(Jam)3.67
#198Graphics(Jam)3.94
#239Theme(Jam)3.75
#277Fun(Jam)3.37
#317Audio(Jam)3.20
#825Humor(Jam)2.21

Comments

JALgames says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 5:16am

This game is brilliant! It is built around such a simple mechanic, but you crafted a really nice, detailled world (I guess it was generated, but someone had to write the generator...) and the leveling mechanics make it possible to play the game for a longer time.

Apr 21, 2015 @ 5:16am

Innovative and very moody! GREAT concept.

Supernovadx says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 5:18am

Really cool game. I think this is a great concept. I wish I could say more, but I really can't. I just want more. I guess the sound design could be better.

hellforge says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 5:19am

Nice idea! Really like the look and the hunter setting! Let the Dog do the work ;)

Andy Gainey says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 5:23am

Well, I'm lost alright! No matter which direction I wandered (diagonal was faster, by the way, due to not dividing by square root of 2), I never found anything. The friendly animals gave me something blue when my dog attacked them, but I don't know what that was for. (<continues playing> Ah, experience, I see.) My lantern always ran out of oil well before I found anything interesting. When it restarts me, it seems to be already pitch black much of the time, and my lantern doesn't even last a single night.

<continues playing> Well, I finally found the cabin. But got frustrated by how easily this dude keeps getting lost every single day. :-) Being lost without any clear idea of a strategy I could employ to resolve my problem was not particularly fun, unfortunately.

benjamck says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 5:28am

Running around in the woods like that reminds me of King's Quest. I like the ambiance and the setting. The controls were smooth. The pet dynamic was really cool. I've enjoyed playing pet handlers in games. I wasn't sure what the little blue things were that dropped as loot, but I found myself chasing after them in hopes of looting more oil. Neat day/night dynamic there too. The one thing I really wasn't sure of was how to find the cabin. I couldn't find a map edge or any other clue as to where I might be in relation to it. All in all a fine little game you have here.

Ronin748_ says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 5:31am

The blue stuff is xp, which you can use to upgrade damage and speed

Ronin748_ says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 5:36am

You get oil as rare drops from monsters and from sleeping in your cabin. I guess the trick is also to farm the animals for xp so you can upgrade your stats and survive longer.

Iak says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 6:00am

That's a really awesome game. Only some mechanic to help you find that shed would be good... Half the time I have no idea where the damn thing is - and then get so far away from the spawnpoint that I probably wouldn't find the shed ever again.
Great graphics btw!

AdamW says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 6:48am

Amazing game! The graphics are really good, and even though it's simple it's fun!

bace1000 says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 7:09am

On my screen it used the wrong aspect ratio so everything looked really tall. What a brilliant game though! It perfectly fit the theme and the graphics were quite nice as well.

Kaijuu says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 10:58am

It's very good game! Easy to lost through

Apr 21, 2015 @ 11:45am

Great mood! The sound and music really scared me too. Good job!

Jasonsumm says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 8:18pm

Love it! :D

BtheDestroyer says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 8:58pm

Amazing! Will be streaming this in the future ESPECIALLY if it get's updated and added on to :D (Please do that, also, add a windowed mode if possible)

Dege says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 9:18pm

Great concept! I hope you get the chance to add more to this in the future. One of the best games i've played in this LD

randoman says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 9:25pm

Is there any indicators for the cabin? Played a few times and the darkness devoured me everytime :(
Overall, I really liked the concept and execution.

Apr 21, 2015 @ 10:46pm

Hmm, I had some trouble progressing in the game because of how quickly time seems to pass and how brutal the nights are on your resources. I found that one night generally takes almost a full lantern to fully survive. So that means you pretty much would have to find one cabin per nightfall I'm guessing. The day cycle lasts about 30 seconds (nights are the same), which is pretty short all considering since finding the cabin sort of relies purely on the time+luck from what I could tell.

That made it fairly difficult to pick up and understand at first since you had essentially 30 seconds to learn how to play the game before you essentially die. I played it about 3-4 times before going back and reading the description to understand how to do stuff (regarding the lantern and dog controls). I then probably continued to play another handful of times with this new-found knowledge only to still consistently fail at finding more than one cabin per run.

I mean, but at its heart I really liked the core stuff you do with the game. It's got a really nice general ambiance to it and the art and mood is fantastic for the timeframe. I just wish it let me enjoy and admire some of that a bit while introducing the survival aspect. There was always this nagging pressure to constantly keep moving and looking for the next cabin. This also put a damper on all of the interesting dog mechanics because I almost always needed to spend my time looking for the cabin.

Some things that would have improved this for me would be:
- adding in control prompts for the lantern and dog leash. The lantern specifically could have just had an "F" under the oil bar and I could have figured it out without having to refer to the description.

- Better balance for the pacing of the day night cycle with learning the mechanics for the game. Slower days, shorter nights or less oil consumption per night, would have tremendously helped ease into understanding the game before ramping up the difficulty later on. Right now I felt like it was constantly punishing.

- Something needs to be done about the cabin random gen I think. If the cabin wasn't around the local area it felt impossible to find. Two main ways I could think of would be to allow the dog to lead you to the cabin when you take his leash off (a bit too direct imo), or to have some sort of landmarks to spawn near the cabin so you know when you're getting close. I know the game is supposed to give you the feeling of being lost, but with the additional pressure of time added it just makes it a bit more frustrating and easy to blame the game for revolving around luck.

You've got some really nice atmosphere here and it's a great start to something that can be tweaked and rebalanced to allow for a better learning experience. In its current state though it felt too punishing to me.

Feel free to contact me if you upload a post-jam version that you've tweaked or just want to discuss any criticisms I had.

sP0CkEr2 says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 4:05am

very neat idea - love the concept of having a companion do your work for you - great job

Wayward says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 1:17pm

Well executed entry, like the mood it created

pi_pi3 says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 4:35pm

This is great! Except for the 2 glitches I encountered and the crash. 1 glitch was that a bunny stood on a tree. The other was that text disappeared at some point after I level up.

Ronin748_ says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 6:31pm

I think a memory leak is causing the crash, I'll try to fix this as soon as possible. I've also encountered the text thing at some point but was unable to reproduce it.

Ronin748_ says ...
Apr 26, 2015 @ 1:35pm

Back from Germany, fixed the crash and the memory leak. The text bug was related.

pistolshrimps says ...
May 1, 2015 @ 1:58pm

Maybe you can add some colliders to your assets, otherwise a really nice take on the unconventional weapon!

Techblogogy says ...
May 1, 2015 @ 2:29pm

This game is really nice. I enjoyed the graphics and the mechanics. Nice job!

lucentbeam says ...
May 1, 2015 @ 3:24pm

Neat little game! Great mood and interesting concept.

StrayByte says ...
May 1, 2015 @ 3:34pm

Great game. I couldn't find the cabin for the life of me so i ran out of oil. PRobably not so clear on how to find it. Anyway. Great.

notrorschach says ...
May 1, 2015 @ 5:50pm

Too good. One of my favorites entries.

Jajo says ...
May 4, 2015 @ 4:19pm

Simple, with wonderful pixel graphics. Nice sound, very nice sound. If I have any criticism, I thought walking through trees was a bit weird...

awestsecurity says ...
May 6, 2015 @ 1:57am

I really like the atmosphere. Unfortunately, after 5 tries I never found the cabin. I also wish time would pause during leveling. It got dark while I was trying to guess the confirm button and I almost died the first time.

mathmadlen says ...
May 10, 2015 @ 2:42am

I loved the mood and the graphics. You really get the sense of being lost. Great job!

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