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

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Desperate Vessel

by mr. a - Jam Entry

A briefly-made 2-button game about surviving a hail of rubbish.**

It's kinda mean, but perhaps that makes the struggle more meaningful?

There's no tutorial, so please bear with me:


You are the little pink-ish cube.

Your controls:

- left-arrow / "a" key thrusts you forward and spins you left-ward, in a spiral-y fashion.
- right-arrow / "d" key thrusts you forward and spins you right-ward, in a spiral-y fashion.

N.B. Press both keys to move forward without spinning.

Your objective:

- Touch the little spinning circle-things before they disappear to increase your score.
- Score high enough to win.
- Move outside the screen for too long to lose.

Other bits:

1. Rubbish rains from above. Knocking into it won't kill you, but may knock you off-course.

2. You fire forward constantly and messily. Your fire can break down the rubbish.

3. Gravity drags you down. Keep thrusting against gravity to avoid falling off the screen.

4. The big drunken circle-thing in the background indicates which way you are pointing. You can look at this when you're offscreen to try to navigate back onto the screen. Watch for your fire entering from offscreen, too, for an extra clue.

5. When you lose, click the unremarkable bit of text that says "Retry?" if you want to retry.



2 buttons = 2 buttons to control the ship
Growth = Rubbish is a common byproduct of growth, one way or another.


Textures/icons are all from default Unity packages; I just tinted & scaled them. Hence the opting out of the "graphics" category. Not that it makes much of a difference.

**The game is also about having been knocked out of a time-stream and being rescued by your compatriots, but I'm afraid you'll have to engage your imagination.

[I'm looking into Unity Webplayer and WebGL builds. Looks like I'll have to make separate pages? And install the JRE for WebGL? To be continued. Someday.]

Downloads and Links




yokcos700 says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 5:47am

This is a very frustrating game. Going offscreen and not being able to see where I am means that it's basically a roll of the die as to whether I can get back on screen in time or not.

Weeping Rupee says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 6:15am

This game looked like alot of fun-- and it is! However, I literally could not figure out how to retry after I died. I started the game over every time I lost to play again :(

Weeping Rupee says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 6:16am

This game looked like fun-- and it is! However, I literally could not figure out how to retry after I died. I started the game over every time I lost to play again :(

SoulBound says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 6:23am

Insanely fun and challenging. The circle in the middle is a bit distracting, maybe if it was in the bottom left or right it would have been less so, but that is the only bad thing I can say about it. I absolutely love everything else about this game. Well done!

Chubb1337 says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 6:48pm

This game, is brutal! I couldn't even survive longer than 10 seconds :O

Wasn't able to click the retry button?

Besides that, good graphics!

MemoryLeek says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 6:57pm

Challenging and fun :D
I really like the control scheme, feels fresh, challenging and fun.
Game was made even more challenging due to some graphical glitches that seems to be a common theme among the Unity games I've tried so far.
I managed to capture a bit of it here:

zzapp says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 2:32am

Challenging game, its quite the battle to stay on the screen
and not drift off into nothingness. Navigating back can be tough once you're to far out of view.
Overall really fun once you start to get the hang of it.

Also thanks for the tip on the "Simulation Space" on my game. That changed how they reacted, Ill have to keep it in mind in the future. Cheers.

HongerTrollie says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 6:24am

I enjoyed it. Would have liked some sound :)

Weeping Rupee says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 6:01pm

This game looked like fun-- and it is! However, I literally could not figure out how to retry after I died. I started the game over every time I lost to play again :(

Ludic says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 8:08am

It is too hard,when we go out of screen is impossible to get back. The game can be good if adjust some variables like the damage of shots or force of the ship

Dec 17, 2015 @ 5:39pm

Very difficult game, yes, but it is a great idea with a fun concept. Nice entry!

Oye Beto says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 4:51am

I like the idea and I think it can be developed further to get its full potential.

My suggestion would be restarting the game a second later you get off screen. Also being drastically rotated by hitting obstacles makes it extra difficult, if it could be a more controlled/less random rotation, the challenge would be more acceptable.

Another suggestion could be making some change in the player's cube so we can easily know the current orientation (I focused more on the cube than in the big arrows in the background).

I don't know why you disabled the graphics rating, honestly I liked them.

keep it up and thanks a lot for your feedback on my entry :)

Joror says ...
Dec 20, 2015 @ 6:00pm

Interesting mechanics, but the game could really benefit from starting out slow (less debris), and then ramping up.
Some powerups falling down would be cool too.

Aaranos says ...
Dec 22, 2015 @ 12:30am

The title of your game doesn't match the exe window. I really like the game though. I find it very difficult but also not completely unfair as to make it frustrating. I will say once you go down below the line you pretty much never come back up.

Based on comments from my own game, excellent job with the arrow in the background, it is insanely useful.

sonelliot says ...
Dec 22, 2015 @ 1:38am

Bit too difficult at the start. Once you've played through a few tries it goes a lot better. The controls are a bit wonky but you couldn't really change that and stay in theme :P. Fun game overall though.

OberynMartell says ...
Dec 22, 2015 @ 2:25am

Very cool use of the physics! Despite being a little hard to recover when outside the screen, the game is very challenging (in a good way). Well done!

eric777 says ...
Dec 22, 2015 @ 2:31am

Took me a few plays to get the hang of it, but once I got it I really liked it. The use of the big arrows in the center of the screen was a great idea, it helped me get back into view most of the time when I drifted off screen. Controls felt good. After a while I felt I was able to stay pretty close to the center without too much trouble. Ran well even on my super-old laptop. Nicely done!

Drauthius says ...
Dec 22, 2015 @ 8:55pm

It would have been really nice with sounds in this game. Kind of bold innovation I think. Although it's frustrating when you loose your little cube when you try to navigate amongst the debris, I think I can also understand why you chose not to have the screen follow the player vessel... an interesting design challenge. Perhaps having the screen centred on the vessel could be doable if there were a bg following the view? ...

kmakai says ...
Dec 26, 2015 @ 7:24pm

This concept was simple and a great choice for the theme -- I like the execution a lot, and I would love to see the game expanded upon, if you decided to work on it more in the future! The direction indicator in the background, the light the ship casts on debris, and the way they break apart are all really great flair that go a long way. I think an indicator for the ship while off screen (or even just drawing the radius you need to stay in on screen, and keeping the ship in view while zooming out) would help quite a bit.

Overall I thought this was quite fun!

ViKing Games says ...
Jan 5, 2016 @ 1:41am

The arrow in the background was super helpful whenever I fell off screen, that was a very good idea. The controls were strange at first (especially because I hadn't looked at the game description, haha), but I was able to get used to them, and found them to be original and interesting. Sounds/music and a more noticeable change in difficulty would make this game a lot funner. Your explanation for the growing theme is a bit of a stretch to me, but the 2-button control is still fine.

Also, the retry button worked fine for me.

YinYin says ...
Jan 5, 2016 @ 1:51am

Using that preset touch button graphic as a helper to get back on screen was smart. Unfortunately it distracted me from what I was controlling at first (pink square went off screen faster than I could notice it being relevant and all my inputs did was spin the circle).

A better solution would've been adding a marker/arrow ad the edge of the screen when going off that way. Perhaps with a little cut out bubble showing your pink cube so you still see what you are controlling.

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