Ludum Dare 33 — August 21st-24th, 2015 — Theme: You are the Monster

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Otherworldly Stars

by Sam Twidale - Compo Entry

In Otherworldly Stars you are an evil fire God with a bad case of amnesia. You are summoned back to your shrine with no memory - and so go forth searching for your disciples, trying to gather your memories.

The game has a graphical style inspired by Ludum Dare 29 entry Beneath The Cave by feiss and the iOS game Alto's Adventure by Snowman. It was written using Haxe, targeting JavaScript/WebGL. It requires a recent graphics card and modern browser to run at all, and probably needs a fast computer to run at full speed.

For those without these things, here is a playthrough video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxFP0QTp4XI

Controls are just point and click and arrow key movement. There was going to be some bullet hell and a longer story with multiple runthroughs of the game as you atoned for your past sins, but time ran out - so it's an incomplete narrative, and there's not much in the way of gameplay.

CONTROLS
========
The game requires keyboard and mouse. In case you miss the instruction, you use the left and right arrow keys to move, and mouse hover and click to interact.

IMPORTANT NOTES
===============
* There is no audio, that's not a bug - I wanted to avoid problems with cross-browser compatibility, and ran out of time in any case.
* The sky shader code is a derivative of the three.js sky shader example: http://threejs.org/examples/#webgl_shaders_sky - I did not write that shader from scratch in 48 hours.
* There is a bug that causes slight blips with particle systems on Chrome. This does not to happen with Firefox or IE, so I recommend playing on those instead.
* I (attempted to) fix an annoying bug that made the text disappear sometimes, reported by players after the jam ended.

CREATED WITH
============
* The Haxe Programming language.
* three.js for rendering with Haxe externs.
* Joshua Granick's actuate tweening library.
* Luke Moody's ShaderParticleEngine for three.js.
* Massive Interactive's msignal signals library.

Downloads and Links


Ratings

Coolness79%
#71Graphics4.11
#125Mood3.59
#515Innovation2.92
#669Overall2.91
#736Theme2.91
#777Humor1.75
#900Fun2.11

Comments

Aug 24, 2015 @ 2:11am

A really neat game. I found the two main draws to be the gorgeous, particle heavy visuals and the story.
The visual spectacle was executed brilliantly - the ever darkening night sky really is exceptionally pretty.
Unfortunately, the story was hampered by a bit of buggy text - I found that, when entering a new screen, the story chunk that was tied to it would sometimes cut off, and I would have to leave the screen and come back in order to read what it said.

Sam Twidale says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 2:34am

Thanks for the feedback. I'll put up a debug version of the game that makes the sky shader parameters manually tweakable soon.

Also drat, that bug... I think that's owing to the mouse picking up some "examinable" object that shouldn't be there when the camera jerks between screens. Oh well!

ENDESGA says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 2:44am

Looooove the art and atmosphere :D great work man

Aug 24, 2015 @ 2:47am

Love the initial art style.
was confused if its a story narrative or game after i went right for several screens and nothing happened.

panda says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 2:51am

This game is gorgeous! I love the visuals. Sadly, I got stuck. No idea how to atone. Also, the text would sometimes cut off as I travel from screen to screen, that's too bad.

Sam Twidale says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 2:54am

Thanks, clarified that in the description - it's narrative. There was some plans for bullet hell, but ran out of time trying to make the particle pooling less wasteful.

Aug 24, 2015 @ 2:57am

Very atmospheric. Had trouble reading some of the text, though, as a single step or stray mouse movement would sometimes cancel or override a displayed text item.

Flygamer101 says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 3:04am

Very neat simplistic color scheme and "particles" Very nice for Haxe.

Aug 24, 2015 @ 3:11am

I loved the scripting of the entire sequence. I can tell this game had big plans and was placated by the time alotted. The movement is fun and the particles are obviously a big draw. I hope to see more of your stuff in the future.

FerraWare says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 3:30am

Wow! Breathtaking!

Pros:
-Excellent artstyle & effects
-Interesting story

Cons:
-Buggy text :P

Sam Twidale says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 3:41am

Thanks, glad you like how it looks as I was quite nervous working with let's say... limited artistic abilities.

I just updated the game to hopefully fix the text disappearing bug. Reading the submission FAQ I'm gathering that's OK for annoying little things like that.

BortStudios says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 4:38am

The particle effects were nice, but it was difficult to tell where the actual player was. A solid, not particle effect something at the end would make it clearer

Suese says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 4:58am

Great visuals. Really great intro.

SvenFrankson says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 5:12am

Nice art !

markoburzan27 says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 5:16am

really cool.

feiss says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 5:54am

Oh, What an unexpected honor! Thanks so much. The mood and graphics in this game are superb, congratulations!! I love it

nonetheless says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 6:26am

Nice particles and pixels :)

Gaius Baltar says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 8:17am

Cool particle engine.

TheZoq2 says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 9:09am

That was really cool, the graphics look amazing and the story was pretty interesting with a nice buildup.

The text placement made it a bit hard to both look at the game and the story at the same time though. And it would have been nice if there were a few more lines of 'history' so you could finish reading something if you accidentally made new text appear.

peterthehe says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 9:18am

It's been said by everyone before but those particles are <3

Aug 24, 2015 @ 9:39am

Gorgeous visuals!

nicotuason says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 10:06am

Really striking art but I was confused at first... I didn't realize that the particle effect was my character. I was able to figure it out after a while. This game has lots of potential for emotional impact.

Split82 says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 10:15am

The visuals are really interesting. Would love to see how would you finish it if you got more time.

bombjack says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 11:01am

the art is amazing. Unfortunately I found nothing to do expept moving right...

sydream says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 6:32pm

Excellent graphic but other than the narrative, though important, there isn't much else going on.

Sam Twidale says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 6:42pm

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

Adding a scroll-back text history would have been a good idea. Agree just having one line visible at the bottom isn't great. I tried using the tweening text shown at the intro sequence for all the narrative text at first, but the problem was that every letter was a 3D mesh, and so I figure that would require recycling/pooling of meshes to perform well. With more time I would have done that.

Next time I'll put more time aside to get proper gameplay in and working.

ovenchips says ...
Aug 24, 2015 @ 9:10pm

Particlicious! Nice job. :D

Aug 24, 2015 @ 10:48pm

Incredible story telling! I'm glad you didn't make it a bullet hell game, that would only have been distracted from the superb story!

richardjs says ...
Aug 25, 2015 @ 2:33am

Incredible visuals. I especially loved the coloring and the way you used particles.

I wish there was more to the story, but I'll readily accept that you were going for understatement (or maybe I missed something).

Mythalore says ...
Aug 25, 2015 @ 3:14am

Amazing visuals, but really not much more then a walking simulator. Worth playing if just for the art.

vividhelix says ...
Aug 25, 2015 @ 3:48am

interesting, a bit too much text for my liking but i liked the visuals and the color composition a lot!

commodoreKid says ...
Aug 25, 2015 @ 8:24pm

I think it wasn't a good decision to drop out the audio cause it doesn't give the effect otherwise it could. It's an interesting idea and visual style though.

stevenlr says ...
Aug 26, 2015 @ 9:39pm

The game is gorgeous, I love the graphics style. Unfortunately there is not much to do.

zuurr says ...
Aug 28, 2015 @ 1:48am

i like the visuals. your color choices are great, especially for the sky, the silouettes are striking and generally you made great aesthetic choices. the game runs smoothly and has low power consumption, despite my machine not being a powerhouse of a machine.

my biggest issue is that your controls make it very hard to play on a trackpad. consider letting the user choose between wasd/arrow keys for games need both keyboard and mouse input (this is what i do in my game).

i think your particles are nice, but if i'm being completely honest i think they look a little bit generic. i spend a lot of time looking at particle effects though so it could just be me.

i think the game could have used some smoother controls (e.g. as it is you just move left if left is down and right if right is down, theres no momentum/velocity). that said, this is a very minor given that this is not an action game.

p.s. you mentioned not using audio because of browser issues and i recommend howler.js for handling those. i am not a guy who uses a lot of libraries but that one has worked well for me multiple times. i believe you would have to write haxe bindings for it however (or port it to haxe).

spotco says ...
Aug 28, 2015 @ 5:12am

Neat particle effects, would have liked to see those bullet hell elements you mentioned.

OmarShehata says ...
Aug 28, 2015 @ 7:17am

When you said "I'm a programmer, not much of an artist", I was not at all expecting that the game would look so beautiful! I can definitely see that with the right music, this could have a very nice atmosphere.

I know you said there was supposed to be a bullet hell but, I think this game would work much better as the adventure of an angry and lost god trying to regain his memory and atone. Maybe the bullet hell could be a small section, like reliving some of his past, but the main draw for me for this game is the adventure, discovering and talking and finding things out. Great work! And love that it's made with Haxe!

Aug 30, 2015 @ 1:21am

What a interesting take on the theme! Pretty atmospheric - I could only imagine how great it would be with audio.
Beautiful graphics - Michael Bay approves ;) (*sparkle* *blaze* *shimmers)

Aug 30, 2015 @ 4:11pm

Beautiful! Though (as you note) there is not much gameplay.

Funny how the gradually appearing centered text is not at all annoying, and actually makes it pretty easy to read. Reminds me of that speedreading thing that would flash one word at a time.

Regarding cross-browser audio: I strongly recommend Howler.js -- assuming you can talk to JavaScript from Haxe. Been using it for all my past LD entries, works flawlessly on any browser I or anyone else threw it at.

Sam Twidale says ...
Aug 31, 2015 @ 4:09am

Thanks all. I will look at Howler.js, as it's Haxe it's simple to generate externs if nobody has before.

Agree the particle effects were a little basic, simple graphics and basic physics. Would have used noise or some sort of flow field with some more time.

randomhuman says ...
Sep 3, 2015 @ 9:16pm

I was a bit confused initially but once I figured out what was going on I quite enjoyed it. Very pretty skies.

6DownStudios says ...
Sep 6, 2015 @ 4:19am

Visual style is fantastic, the vivid colors and fading gradients of the skies, scattering of stars and smooth camera panning past the silhouettes of landscape and architecture, all combines to stunning effect and works really well with the theme of the narrative. The text interface could certainly be improved as others have suggested, but the rest other visual aspects are so exceptional that it still gets a 5 in Graphics from me.

Even though the physics of the engine is superficial, the bouncing is a nice touch, showing off the effects of the trailing god-particles (which quite appropriately defy gravity).
If you decide to do a post-jam with dodgeables/catchables, I think you could definitely stick with bouncing movement (always on, sort of an "even-gods-must-follows-rules" thing), just a tad of acceleration from the up/down arrow keys for more motion control. Stick in some pixel-sized people subject to divine wrath (smite via squashing?), a bit of alternate dialogue if you can avoid squashing them (something about resisting the urge to punish one's subjects), maybe power-ups to increase/decrease size and an alternate ending for the skilled pacifist?
Bottom line: Despite your disclaimer, it seems to me this is just a few tweaks from being a complete game! Well done!

Gamepopper says ...
Sep 7, 2015 @ 8:19pm

Really good particle engine, and the silhouette art style!

nassi says ...
Sep 9, 2015 @ 7:18pm

Can't really say anything that hasn't already been said. It looked good and the narrative was interesting, too bad it wasn't a complete package. Nice compo entry though.

Sep 10, 2015 @ 6:36pm

Great mood, story, and atmosphere. I do wish there was a little more interaction though!

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