Ludum Dare 34 — December 11th-14th, 2015 — Theme Tied: Two Button Controls, Growing

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ZORC

by Andrew Deem - Jam Entry

In this short game, you control a dual-tasker named Zorc. He can only do two things at a time. But don't worry! With your help, I'm sure he'll get to where he needs to be.

This is my second time doing Ludum Dare (first was LD 33). I was trying to finish this for the compo, but I had to work so I'm submitting it to the jam instead.

I'm a bit of an audio guy, so that's where a lot of my focus was spent in this game (especially the sound design). Platformers are what I know when it comes to code so I just went with that again for this jam.

CONTROLS: LEFT MOUSE BUTTON to grab mechanics, SPACE BAR to open up mechanic menu and progress through story, 'Z' and 'C' keys to use mechanics, ESC key to restart level and quit the game.

I'm opting out of graphics. They're obviously not good and I didn't have a lot of time to work on making them better. If you want to comment about them though, I'd love to read it.

Hope you enjoy my game!

***DISCLAIMER***
A lot of players have mentioned that the mechanics should automatically snap back to their original position, of which I totally agree! I WANTED so very badly to add this in, but I did not have the time. I had to focus it elsewhere or I might not have even submitted this game to the Jam at all. I'm sorry that it is a nuisance, but I hope you can over come it and enjoy my game nonetheless.

Downloads and Links


Ratings

Coolness82%
#42Audio(Jam)4.11
#151Innovation(Jam)3.69
#200Mood(Jam)3.63
#435Theme(Jam)3.76
#446Overall(Jam)3.39
#536Humor(Jam)2.62
#783Fun(Jam)2.82

Comments

bazz_boyy says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 11:06am

Hey, this game is phenomenal. I've never played anything like it. I love the idea of building together and pulling apart the abilities to solve the puzzle. The narration and music/ sound effects are also superb. I also liked how all the pitch of each sound fits together melodically.

I hope more see your game because it's very unique. You should take this idea further in the future perhaps.

Nicely Doneee

Provocator says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 11:09am

Great sound!

Taffaz says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 11:53am

Really enjoyed playing this. Had great audio which gave the game a great mood. Great job.

rosden shadow says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 12:23pm

nice game but the game does have the same feeling as put iron boots on link in the water temple.

BUNN1E5 says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 12:42pm

really unique idea but having to switch is very tedious. But I can really feel what the dual tasker would feel.

djfariel says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 1:10am

Unfortunately I encountered a bug where a platform moved in to me and I became stuck. I enjoyed it quite a bit. :)

AM_Games says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 1:15am

Nice game with good audio! Innovative mechanics too, good job!

Soka says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 1:18am

Seems like a super fun game but the fact that you have to enter to the menu each time is a bit, well :3

Andrew Deem says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 4:07am

@Soka: what do you mean enter to the menu? You mean to select mechanics?

Donar says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:34am

First of all, I disliked the keybindings a bit. As a German, the position of the Z and Y keys are switched, so controlling it with a German keyboard layout feels a bit weird ... but I'm not rating that, just noticing it. There are also other layouts that might have problems with A and D and probably you wanted to avoid problems with those layouts.

Anyway, since it's necessary to open the menu and drag and drop icons around to progress, I would say that the "two button controls" theme wasn't well implemented here. It would've been better if you had one action key and one key to switch actions. Also a keyboard controlled game feels weird, when you have to use the mouse in the middle of the level - that might be the keyboard layout issue again, though (since I used two hands on the keyboard).

It's a nice little game though. Nice audio, which creates a nice mood. For a Jam entry probably a bit too less but as it seems you worked alone on it, so it's totally fine.

kmakai says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:36am

I really like this. First I would say great job on the sound, it gets left until the end and slapped on for many entries (my own included!), but yours was fantastic and really brought the game together. I enjoyed the simple graphics as well, they fit nicely. Great use of the theme, and developing mood for the experience. I would love to see more of this!

P.S.: It took me way too long to get the joke with the name of the game... >_>

AboLD says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 11:27am

Nice Idea and nice implement. the mechanic menu is a great idea to map more than 2 mechanics on 2 button. sound effect are great, the way they mix together is awesome
Great Job.

Nega Drive says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 2:27pm

Great take on the theme, a clever way of getting around the two button limit, even if it does get a little tiresome sometimes. Wonderful audio atmosphere!

Jace239 says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 8:01pm

Genius concept. I love the idea of swapping out what your buttons do. I originally had a similar idea (for a completely different kind of game) but ultimately scrapped it, so it's nice to see the concept in a working game.

I think the music, sound-effects and narration all set the mood and that mood in turn really makes the game enjoyable to play. I plan on completing the game fully when I have more time. Good job!

HuvaaKoodia says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 8:50pm

The audio is soothing, I give you that.
Everything else.... Oh boy.

This doesn't work as a game because there's no way to lose.
This doesn't work as a puzzle because there's always only one thing to do at any given time and the two actions required to do that are obvious.

Here's a short example:
There's a locked blue door to the right and a blue lever to the left.
What to do?
There's only one thing to do -> hit the lever.
Which two actions to choose to do just that?
It's obvious -> Go right action & Activate lever action.

Every level is like that, apart from the "guess the two actions required to activate the exit" level, which is not obvious, yes, but rather arbitrary.
When it comes to puzzles arbitrary is even worse than obvious.

To make functional and interesting puzzles you need to:
- Have more than one possible action to do at any given time.
- Have a system that encourages thinking about which actions to do to solve the puzzle, rather than spamming every possible action.

Keeping those things in mind, here are a few things you could try out:
- A variety of interactable objects in the levels. Every area should have multiple levers, keys, hazards, doors, etc.
- The objects could have interconnected effects e.g. opening a door creates a hazard somewhere else.
- Limit the amount of times the player can change the two button actions, this forces them to think carefully about their choices before acting.
- More actions e.g fly, shield, dash, teleport, shape-shift, travel back in time, etc. Go crazy with these.

Andrew Deem says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 1:56am

@HuvaaKoodia: Thanks for the critique! It's great to get differing opinions on my game. :)

I don't think you need to have a way to lose to have a game. That doesn't really make sense nowadays. There are many games nowadays where you don't lose. Stanley's Parable, FEZ, Thomas Was Alone, I could literally keep going on and on here. These games are more experiences to be had rather than an objective to beat.

With that in mind, we get to your second point. At no point in the development of this game did I want to make this a puzzle game. I even admit that these levels are not puzzles, even if others refer to them as such. The "guess the two actions" level was just meant as a fun relief from the usual stuff in the game. But, like I said, I wasn't intending to make a puzzle game here. I was trying to make a gaming experience instead of an objective to beat. I like objective games, don't get me wrong. But the games that stick with me the most are the experience games. And I wanted to share that with others.

I do think adding more actions is a must. I originally had 6 planned, but had to scrap 2 due to time. I like your other suggestions too, except the limiting of changing actions. But it's certainly something I could try.

Thanks for the input.

Andrew Deem says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 2:02am

@Donar: I was actually wondering how international keyboards would impact the experience in the game. I'm sorry that it was so awkward to play. I'll have to take that into account next time.

I don't think having one key to do actions and the other to switch actions would have worked quite well in *this* game, but it would work well in something with less physics. Because the player will need to jump and move left or right at the same time in multiple parts of the game, it would be very hard to do so with the method you have mentioned. And yes, I think your keyboard issue made the mouse play feel weird. It feels very natural to me to play it like it is. But I'm only using on hand on the keyboard. :P

Thanks for the input sir.

Henez says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 6:25am

The idea is clever but I don't think the implementation does it justice. It feels like a chore to continually open and close the menu to move keys around. That being said the sounds and consistent visuals make for a nice atmosphere. Well done.

Acuity says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 6:30am

Pretty neat idea! The gameplay was a bit slow due to having to switch back and forth so often, but I like the concept!

HuvaaKoodia says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 12:30pm

@Andrew Deem
Fair enough, I made my own assumptions there.

I'm going to open up a can of worms and delve into definitions. Historically speaking there is no such thing as an objectiveless game. Every non-digital game has a way to win and a way to lose. The usage of "game" as an all-encompassing short-hand for all forms of interactive digital media is an unfortunate side effect of language usage, i.e. laziness.

It is useful to use precise language. I, for one, would not have made these assumptions about your title if it was labeled as an interactive short story for instance.

Here are some labels I use for all kinds of interactive digital media:
- Digital Game (rule-based system with objectives which requires decision making to win)
- Digital Puzzle (rule-based system with a predefined solution which requires logical deduction to solve)
- Interactive Simulation AKA Simulator (rule-based self supporting system which can be interacted with. e.g flight simulators, first person walking simulators, etc.)
- Interactive fiction (general purpose term for interactive forms of fiction)
- Interactive movie (type of interactive fiction)
- Interactive story (type of interactive fiction)
- Interactive short-story (type of interactive fiction)
- Interactive poem (type of interactive fiction)
- Interactive multimedia (when in doubt this one always works. It is very general, but also not misleading)

As for the examples given here's a break down:
- Stanley's Parable - Non-linear first person interactive story.
- FEZ - Digital puzzle
- Thomas Was Alone - Story driven digital puzzle

LittleThor says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 1:02pm

Nice mood, nice sound, nice gameplay. Very innovative and well made! Good job!
Try to train your art skills for next ludum dare and you will make a perfect game!

someone says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 10:17pm

Very cool idea. The text between levels was a nice touch.
The menu could have been better if you could swap in mechanics without having to manually remove the old one first.
Also the level that has the hint seems to arbitrarily change the established rule of get to end = win. It could be a good mechanic but should be introduced differently.

ObsessiveNerd says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 3:23am

Very cool. I loved how the sounds were worked into this. I just wanted to let you know about a bug I ran into. I activated a horizontally moving platform (on around the 4th or 5th level I think) and ran toward the hole I needed to jump up and onto the platform to get through. Well I timed it perfectly and the platform collided with me and more or less stabbed my character all the way through and I couldn't move and neither would the platform. Anyway, just wanted to let you know! Good job!

Dec 17, 2015 @ 7:46pm

Simple but cool!

Dec 17, 2015 @ 9:09pm

Great sound and mood!

One tip if you want help players from europe: On the keyboard (except french keyboards) here the z and y is inverted.
So A and D instead of Z and C would be nice.

commodoreKid says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 12:28am

I was excited when the game told me to think outside the box because I like that kind of puzzles but it was not what I expected. I think mechanics are great, it could be developed to a more advanced system with more puzzles. I guess you already know graphics need work. Oh, and sound was soothing, good job with that.

ChromeWisp says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 1:54am

I really like the detail you put into the sound. I was pleased to be met with harmony rather than discord when pressing two buttons simultaneously (: Having to go to the menu so often was a bit tedious, but it was definitely a creative take on the two-button theme.

Oh yeah, and love the name. Z or C, very clever!

Jace239 says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 6:49am

I included your game in my Let's Play Ludum Dare series as thanks for commenting on my game!

You can check out the details here: http://ludumdare.com/compo/2015/12/19/lets-play-ludum-dare-34-episode-01-is-now-uploaded/

Dec 19, 2015 @ 7:38am

The sound effects in this game generate a really cool atmosphere. I like the base idea of switching your controls but I think it would work better if I could drag a control over one currently equipped and the game would automatically switch them.

spotco says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 8:13am

Nice sound design, but felt the core mechanic (manually switching in and out skills) didn't add anything to the base puzzle platformer (other than frustration). Got stuck in one of those moving platforms.

fullmontis says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 12:06pm

TO be honest the process of swticheing the tasks is a little tedious, but the idea behind it is great, and well developed. It is an original idea that has a lot of potential in it.

commodoreKid says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 2:50pm

Thanks for playing our game, camera could be rotated by right mouse button and dragged or zoomed in by middle mouse button.

Jwatt says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 3:43pm

Captivating audio, and I guess including bits of narrative adds some level of charm.

But ultimately I'm with HuvaaKoodia on this one, the levels themselves are more of a chore than anything. Everything's already been conveniently settled for you, every step of the solution is in the right order. Despite all the stuff you've gone out of your way to introduce, there's no assembly required.

Just by seeing a level, it's like you immediately know what you gotta do, and then you just have to do it with no surprises or depth ahead. It's endless exposition with no resolution, and once I realized this is how it's gonna be, I didn't bother playing till the end.

Besides that, there's something very repetitive about the basic interaction that peeves me. For a bit of automation, you should be able to drag a new mechanic over an old one. I mean, instead of dragging the old one out of the way first. That alone would go a long way.

commodoreKid says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 5:24pm

I thought you meant dragging the camera because you can do that by holding down the middle mouse button as I said in my previous comment. Otherwise you cannot change the angle of the camera. I think it's okay because of orthographic view.

Andrew Deem says ...
Dec 20, 2015 @ 2:40am

@Jwatt:

I agree that you should be able to drag a new mechanic over an old one. I actually wanted to put this in the game, but I couldn't get it to work just right and had to remove it to focus on other things. I'm sorry it's a nuisance, but the whole click and drag system was something new for me in terms of code. I had never done it before this game, which means I spent an already large amount of time on it compared to an experience dev.

Are you siding with HuvaaKoodia by saying you think my game is in fact not a game? That's fine if you are saying that, but I will have to disagree with both of you. Since HuvaaKoodia's original comment about it, I have thought a lot about the issue. And I've come to the conclusion that it is still a game to me. But, like I said, that's fine if you don't agree.

I'm sorry the levels were not more interesting or challenging to you. I did want to create a more challenging experience, but time got in the way again and thwarted my efforts. I'm still very new at this, and I feel it's a huge enough accomplishment alone that I made a working, functional game in 48 hours. And there's absolutely no reason why this game or a game similar to it shouldn't have more challenges in the future. I'm new at level design, and with the time restraints that unfortunately resulted in boring and linear levels.

Also, a video that sums up my opinion on the "language" issue here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgu76ql6FSo

LukeZaz says ...
Dec 22, 2015 @ 2:23am

Interesting mechanic, but the puzzles were either too obvious or too hard to be enjoyable. As others have mentioned, this game could be quickly improved with more potential actions, as just moving around and hitting switches doesn't leave a lot to consider.

Jan 5, 2016 @ 12:40am

Lovely sound, cool concept. I included it in my Ludum Dare 34 compilation video series, if you’d like to check it out :) https://youtu.be/R1E0Ch1WcpU

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