Ludum Dare 35 — April 15th-18th, 2016 — Theme: Shapeshift

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by mikeware - Jam Entry

Mazelessness is a shifting labyrinth game made with C#/SFML/Qubicle/Paint.NET.

Your objective is to escape the maze before your hunger runs out. You can collect steaks to replenish hunger. However, you are normally ‘dashing’ around the maze, and the maze only generates as you move. So, you can dash over an area that later may not be accessible in the same way.

Thus, the shape-shifting labyrinth around you is your enemy especially as you move yourself around it.

You can use QWAS/QEZC or the arrow keys to move. Hold Shift to move one square at a time (but depletes the same amount of hunger).

Note: Dashing will cause you to move in a direction as far as possible; however, if you dash into a location which you know is a canyon (already generated as a gap), you will dash off the edge and perish.

You can hit D to enter Debug mode and see the partial generation as well as the actual pits you've discovered. It can help to understand what's happening.

Doesn't work in WINE on Linux, but may work on Mono? It's a .NET game using the SFML library, will investigate more if I have a chance.

Downloads and Links




hugheth says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 1:47pm

In theory I am a massive supporter of isometric, but I find the controls difficult to get to grips with here and feel it doesn't add much to the game. Despite that, this is a solid adaptation of a traditional "escape" mechanic and the random generation definitely adds fear!

batmanasb says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:25am

Doesn't work in WINE on Linux :(

broknecho says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:31am

The vision limitation and revealing adds a pretty neat mechanic. Especially since you can fall off the roads :)

I found that the dash movement was pretty disorienting though. It almost seemed like it was warping instead of dashing. Either animating the movement and/or a warping visual cue could help with that.

Nice idea and good start for 14 hours of work!

icefallgames says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:32am

Seems like it has potential, but I was never able to escape the maze, even in easy mode. I suck :-(. Sometimes I dashed myself to an isolated island from which there was no escape. Without knowing beforehand where I'll end up, how can I manage to avoid that?

wg_phancock says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:33am

I'm can't quite decide if the "box" control scheme is good or bad. I mostly got the hang of it, but regular old arrow keys might work just as well or better, even with the isometric view. It would be worth trying out in any case.

Other than the control questions, the game is pretty solid. Not knowing how the maze is going to play out adds an interesting twist and makes it pretty difficult.

eymrich says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:34am

Nice concept! Also the graphics get his job done. The major problem are the controls. While they are manageble it's hard to understand for example how much you can dash. Sometimes you dash to your doom and you can't guess why!
It's a little bit like a ragequit festival for me!:D

Still... overall nice job!

mikeware says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 8:20am

Thanks everyone for the comments. Are the controls more about the dash or the QWAS vs. Arrow keys? Arrow keys are supported and the orientation for NW vs. NE as 'Up' is configurable, but I find the QWAS matching the orientation of the isometric worked best for me.

I didn't do a great job of explaining the dash on the help page. You can hit 'D' for debug mode to kind of cheat and see how the squares get labeled though. The Gray ones are the 'Canyons' (i.e. Pits) that you've actually seen and they become 'real'. So, if you try and dash and hit a real pit, you die, but if it's just ungenerated, you can dash over it.

Unfortunately, you can get stuck in a 'island' that is inescapable, sometimes you can dash back if there's enough space behind you if you feel you can get stuck, otherwise I was thinking of later adding a 'jump/hop' mechanic which would deplete more hunger (but I thought of it too late to implement for the competition).

I'm definitely continuing this game post-competition this summer, so appreciate the feedback. I'm glad that my initial concept came together and looks promising.

mikeware says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 8:21am

@broknecho Animation and Better Camera Panning were on my todo list, but got chopped. :P They'll be a future task for me. :)

Apr 19, 2016 @ 5:04pm

Ohhh, that's clever. Unfortunately, it's possible to get stuck on an island without a way off (except down). For a game without sound or fancy special effects, this is surprisingly tense :)

mikeware says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 12:20am

@FrozenFractal Thanks! I realized the maze generation created islands mid-way through, I plan to address it later when I continue development with better maze generation and some form of limited 'jump/hop'.

Special effects for better animation/camera movement got left on the cutting floor too. Glad you found it cleverly tense though! :)

Horsed says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 7:16am

I like the idea of a shapeshifting maze but I just died after the second or third turn all the time. It almost felt like the movement direction was inconsistent. Don't know what happened.

DeltaNegative says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 8:04am

Quite unintuitive controls and overall game mechanics, sadly, which make the gameplay rather irritating...

nickavv says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 3:03am

I was pretty confused but re-reading the controls /after/ playing it it makes more sense. Very tough

BrainSlugs83 says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 6:47am

Had a lot of trouble trying to figure out how to play this. The game didn't explain itself very well IMO. Controls are all fine and good but not knowing how the game works makes it kind of un-fun.

monkeybit29 says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 11:05am

Pretty cool concept and really nice style. It took me quite a while to understand the mechanics in the beggining, I died over 20 times lol

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