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

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The Cube of Zanigriv

by anarbitrarymustache - Compo Entry

You use "A" and "D" (or the left and right arrows).
"A" (or Left) will "Charge" the cube.
"D" (or Right) releases the current charge as a defensive measure.

-The floor indicator (blue) shows your charge.
-The bottom of the pedestal (red) is bad. This means you are charging too fast and overloading the cube.
-Try to fill the blue meter without overloading.
-Overloading will cause all mobs in the room to rush the cube.

-If a mob is almost to the pedestal (ie. they braved the light) they will attack.
-The pedestal/cube has 3 shields, that will trigger automatically and absorb the mob.
-The 5 squares on the top rim of the pedestal will glow showing your remaining shields.
-On the fourth hit, the game is over.
-You can release your charge to let out a light blast that will consume all mobs in its radius.
-The higher the charge, the larger the blast radius. Be careful, there is a cooldown (plus you lose all of your charge).
-The more charge and faster the cube is going (you will hear a hum when at top speed) the more likely the mobs will come into the light.

-Charge the cube fully and it will clear the room and a new wave will spawn.
-Each will will get larger and gradually faster/braver.

-The game will just end (gameover screen) at a 100 souls. This was due to the fact that I had issues when there were that many mobs, so instead of dealing with it, I just end the game. I had meant to create a "You Win" screen, but didn't have time. So The game didn't break at 100, that's just the end.

BUG LIST: (what I've found so far)
- There is some weird transparency glitch with the Web versions. The mobs will sometimes "disappear" when close to the cube. Doesn't appear to happen on the Windows version.
- There is a collision issue on the Windows version (though I haven't seen it on the web - go figure) where the mobs will sometimes get stuck on each other. Not game breaking.

The Cube of Zanigriv is hungry for more souls. Will you feed it?

So for my second entry, I was determined to prove to myself that I learned something from my last attempt. My goal was to "right-size" the scope of the project and maintain a more functional schedule to allow me to at least touch each part. With that said, I'm not terribly happy with my finished game hook, but there are some individual items that I'm pleased with.

The controls are "two-buttoned". You use "A" and "D" (or the left and right arrows). "A" will "Charge" the cube. "D" releases the current charge as a defensive measure.

You charge the cube fully and the cube will consume all of the souls in the room ("growing" larger in the process <-- heh?). However, charge too fast and you may draw unwanted attention before you are ready.

The interface was designed into the game elements itself. I never like looking at HUD screens, so I experimented with providing all the necessary information through environment and prop cues. I guess we will see how successful I was. I also did something new by going with a portrait view instead of the typical landscape. I'm not sure how practical it is in the end, but it's done now.

The enemy AI needs some work still. It keeps teetering between too hard and too easy. I haven't found the happy middle yet. Right now, I'd say it's on the too easy side. Like I mentioned above, the game hook could use some work.

Credits and Details:
I used Game Maker Studio as my game engine (this was also my first attempt experimenting with the HTML module - thanks to the timely sale). and MilkyTracker for sounds and music. I made sure to leave room to play with the audio portion as it wasn't something I was able to do last time. NOTE: I am not a musician and I spent about 3 hours following some YouTube tutorials on MilkyTracker before the start of the Compo. So please be gentle. You can check out the tutorials by I used here:

Photoshop for the art work. I forced myself to not touch the pixels until Sunday. I'm never happy with my artwork and so I am never done with it. If left unchecked, I could have spent 48 hours on an few sprites. There are still some missing sprites and animations I didn't make it to (there are 3 mob types, but they all use the same death animation - which is weird consider one of them is 3 times the size of the others).

Unlike last time, I think I got all of the major, game breaking bugs <knock on wood>. I guess we will see.

Hope there is least something here for you to enjoy. Thanks for reading and playing!

And don't forget to comment! The more pixels on the screen the merrier!

Downloads and Links




tuben999 says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 9:43am

Really liked the artstyle and audio great job! :)

danbolt says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 4:36pm

The style was great! For such little time spent with MilkyTracker, you make me want to do the next one with a musician like yourself.

The portrait orientation of the game would make great for mobile devices. If you want to continue further with this game, consider polishing it up as a freeware portfolio piece!

BuffaloPhil says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 4:38pm

Really pretty graphics and driving sounds. Nice!

freddyw9 says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 4:39pm

It looks and sounds great.

rogual says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 4:42pm

Beautiful art. I never did quite get the hang of it, and maybe it could have been clearer what to do & what causes game-over.

Dec 14, 2015 @ 7:10pm

@rogual - I agree, the concept is not very intuitive. I think when I got started the concept seemed so simple to me that it wouldn't need an explanation. My final design however did not work that way. Next time.

mukult says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 7:40pm

The art is great...
But i got confused in the gameplay... had no idea what i was doing!

Dec 14, 2015 @ 7:42pm

Wow, really sharp game. Took a second to figure out, but it's pretty fun. Music and art look amazing. Also, bonus points for incorporating both themes. Great job!

deadpixl says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 7:42pm

Great art and sound! Game-play is pretty cool but I wasn't sure exactly what was going on.

2011petia says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 7:42pm

I like it !! everyng
Everything is good

kepons says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 7:43pm

I couldn't quite figure out what had to be done in order to score as high as possible. Other than that, it looked and sounded great.

et1337 says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 7:44pm

Echoing everyone else, fantastic art, sound, and music, but confused by the gameplay. Love the diegetic UI as well.

SayRafon says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 7:45pm

The pixel art is really beautifull :D
The game itself is cool but hard : the cooldown is too long ^^

pkenney says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 8:33pm

The art style is a highlight here, I love the shadows with monsters lurking at the edge and it works with the dark theme of a strange cube absorbing souls.

I had a hard time really getting the mechanics down. I would charge, and absorb. And that would go okay. But then it wouldn't, and something different would happen, and it would be game over. I absorbed 45 souls, and it seemed like I was making progress around the circle underlying the cube... but I don't really understand even after playing and dying several times.

Dec 15, 2015 @ 12:12am

I tried to clarify the instructions at the top of the description. The fact that I couldn't easily do it in like 3-4 bullets shows just how badly I failed at the overall design. Hope this helps at least a little.

Thank you all for the kind words so far and thanks for playing!

SkullPixel says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 3:17am

The art is beautiful. Nice idea and great polish too.

MakerArt says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 4:33am

The picture is perfect!!!!\
Gameplay need to be tuned, but it is ok for jam!

Fathom says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 5:23am

Man, there is some amazing art and sound design in this. You are really good. I want to play more of your games.

Please make more games.

BigAnt says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 5:38am

Nice entry, good graphics and gameplay.

GagaPete says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 12:11pm

Nice game, the graphics and the audio are awesome. But ven after reading the instructions and playing for a few times, I'm not entirely sure about how to play. But may that problem is caused by the disappering enemies.

Dec 15, 2015 @ 12:30pm

@GagaPete - yeah, the disappearing enemies are annoying. I haven't had a chance to really look into yet, but it appears to only happen on the web version. I'll see if I can find a fix.

Chubb1337 says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 6:29pm

Very nice artstyle! The sound effects get a bit annoying after a while though.

It doesn't seem that difficult though once you just slowly go full charge. I really never had to press the D button.

Good background music!

_HopFrog says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 5:12am

Art and audio are king for sure, but I find the gameplay a tad dull. Overall, I had some good fun! Good job!

Lullaby says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 11:20pm

Very very nice graphics, loved it, I think the game idea is really cool too, music is cool, I don't how but I feel the gameplay could be a bit smoother, well done anyway! :D

Dec 17, 2015 @ 10:38pm

Fairly original concept, and I like the graphics (especially the sprites, and the very satisfying blast effect when you kill them). However, the actual gameplay didn't really grab me. It felt a bit too static. The sound is very nice, though the sound effects are a bit too loud compared to the music.

A weird bug: when I try opening the "web" link in a new window, the game shows up far too big to fit in one screen. (Playing the hotlinked version works fine, though it's very small.)

fluidvolt says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 8:46am

Really cool! Love the little details -- the cube spinning faster and faster, the shadowy figures. Art is great, and the music was fine, especially if you're not a musician! But I really love the sounds. Especially that gong sound when you're charging. Good work.

scorched says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 7:44pm

Nice graphics, but the sounds run into loop eventually :-/

markusfisch says ...
Dec 28, 2015 @ 1:16pm

Cool idea and great graphics.

FiSilva says ...
Dec 30, 2015 @ 4:26pm

Nice graphics and audio! Very pretty game. It's a nice concept but was hard to understand at what I was supposed to do.

Jan 2, 2016 @ 3:11pm

Really liked the art style and music, was a little confused by the game play. A very polished entry with great style.

Jan 4, 2016 @ 9:06pm

Really liked the artwork, pixel art is fantastic. Had to go back and read your explanation on the entry to understand what was going on. Even a couple one word cues could have helped to let me know when I was "absorbing" a bad guy or when I got hurt. Neat idea though!

Kerdelos says ...
Jan 4, 2016 @ 10:19pm

The graphics are amazing and the gameplay is fun and promising ( it would beneficial for a bit of polish and feedback though ) There is not always visual feedback of a charge and it is not always clear what the range of the attack is. Great job anyway ;D

ViKing Games says ...
Jan 4, 2016 @ 10:56pm

Hahaha, you've already said a lot of what I was going to say in your description. Thanks for the info on how to play, it explained the game very well.

The art is fantastic, I especially loved the shadows behind the enemies and the colors. Good job with the interface, it made sense (after the instructions, of course) and was easy to see.

The gameplay was interesting at first, but got stale after a little while. I'd love to see an updated version of the game with more content, and more of a difficulty curve. One of the other comments said it would work well on mobile devices, and I completely agree. If it was done right, infinite waves and an online leaderboard could make this game even better.

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