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

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Agent Shift

by Jolly Serpent - Compo Entry

I uploaded the Post-Compo version to itch, if anyone is interested. Sadly, itch.io doesn't allow for multiple web versions of the same game, so the newer version will be standalone-only until this LD is over.
Please drop me a comment if something's broken!

Agent Shift

A minimalist card strategy-puzzle game inpired by boardgames. You play as a shapeshifting spy, your goal is to pinpoint the location of a certain facility in a foreign country. Use your Shapeshift ability to drop enemies off your tail and accomplish your mission.

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Tools:
Unity 5.3
Photoshop
Audacity
Abundant Music
Fonts:
- Courneuf family (https://fontlibrary.org/font/courneuf-family)

Special thanks to Tom Hutchinson for beta-testing!

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Controls and tutorial

Controlled entirely via mouse clicks. There is an in-game tutorial explaining the mechanics of Agent Shift.

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Feedback

actualserpent@gmail.com

Downloads and Links


Ratings

Coolness100%
#119Humor3.24
#135Innovation3.74
#152Overall3.66
#177Mood3.40
#220Audio3.26
#246Fun3.44
#380Graphics3.23
#383Theme3.49

Comments

Apr 17, 2016 @ 9:51pm

Nice game! Simple, intriguing and fun!

Apr 17, 2016 @ 10:34pm

Congrats On First Ever Finished Game!

TheCain says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 2:32am

I seemed to lose every time I 'Checked'. Am I missing something?

jollyserpent says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 7:01am

I am pretty sure the game works as intended! Are you sure you had enough clues to be 100% correct? Sometimes it's really hard, because some regions have very samey statistics.

Steven Miller says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 7:08am

This is amazing. I had a lot of fun with this one. There was a lot of card variety and the gameplay was entertaining. My one complaint is that the clues repeat quite frequently, but that certainly won't stop me from giving this five stars.

jk5000 says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 7:09am

Super idea, and great music. I would like the cluess to be a bit more helpfull.

jollyserpent says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 7:16am

Thanks for all the feedback! I agree that clues can be kind of frustrating, but that was my way of making the game at least somewhat challenging, as I didn't have enough time to properly balance cards and events.

Reis Mahnic says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 7:44am

Woah! Of all the games I've played so far this one definitely stands out as the most complex.
I had a good time with it once I figured out what I was doing.
Your presentation stands out as being very strong. I loved the visual style, character portraits and music.

undefinist says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 7:52am

Actually spent some time playing this. Well done! I wish the clues given weren't completely random, it gets frustrating when the clue given works for every state.

Souperstrawer says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 8:38am

Nice game. Music was really enjoyable and graphics looked nice. Gameplay was simple but interesting nevertheless. I would have liked to see more different kinds of cards.

nopogo says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 8:42am

Very fun game, like the randomness of the card draw combined with puzzling mechanics reminiscent of cluedo.

What would help is numerical values over at the stats, since you have actual values on the cards this would help decide.

Also maybe a way to mark areas as "cleared", but maybe this would make it too easy.

Very fun game!

HawkSandwich says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 8:55am

It had a great feel to it, kind of reminded me of Papers, Please!

Apr 18, 2016 @ 8:57am

Loved it. At first I was like OMG all this text... but once you get to the game itself it's quite fun to play. Great job! :)

ziege says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 9:01am

Great game!
The tutorial seemed a bit overwhelming but the gameplay is simple enough (in a good way).

Tygrak says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 9:06am

Awesome game! Played through 3 games of it and would still play more! Awesome replay value.

norseware says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 9:31am

Okay, this was quite interesting! But in a good way! I really enjoyed this style of gameplay. Complex, but engaging. Nice work :)

mazhem says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 9:51am

Very fun! I really enjoyed it. The only thing which felt odd was when you click shift and then immediately die. I know the reason why after playing longer, but I think showing the detection bar increasing, then the player dying, would feel a lot better.

mutonizer says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 9:53am

Very cool game, love the presentation and concept!

Played exactly like it should and was interesting all in all. One negative is that I got the same clue (religious under 75%) twice during a run, which seemed a bit wasted, but could be working as intended and didn't alter my fun in any way.

Cool graphics, slick presentation, groovy concept and execution. All in all, one of the best entries I've check so far.

Nice one!

TideS says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 10:05am

Really well made. But it seems like im too dumb to play something that non-generic.

amras0000 says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 11:59am

Very nicely done. An interesting take on the theme, good execution, plenty of amusing content.

Kinda surprising to use Unity with this particular art style. Don't think I've seen that done before.

Initially, I was fairly confused why my cards were being reset, and often didn't notice they were. It's not obvious or stated that shifting/getting a clue ends your day.

At one point I got the clue "highest point is >1000m" and then next "highest point is > 500m" - not sure if you wanted to prevent redundancy like that or not.

Some potential improvements, if you ever build a post-LD version:
There should really be a better indicator of when a day ends and how many cards you have left to play. Possibly some animation to show the cards being reshuffled, maybe a stopwatch with 5 states, with the end-day actions being nearby?
It's also fairly difficult to read how much HP/Detection/Awareness/Progress you have, and there were many times when I thought a card would push me to 100 progress but it didn't. That may be intentional, but it'd be nice to have either a numerical indicator or some markings along the various lines every 10 points or so.

The chuckle (I think?) sfx on the main menu is a nice touch.

jollyserpent says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 2:43pm

Again, thanks for all the feedback. I appreciate it a lot, as it sometimes gets hard to properly assess your own game! I think I'll do a post-LD version to try to incorporate this feedback, which is a nice skill to have.

BarkingCat says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 9:47pm

Fascinating, awesome music, ESPIONAGE. I can't find a single flaw in the gameplay, the only thing is the font being a bit blurry sometimes. PS: can I has music? too good to not be a ringtone!

Danman9914 says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 9:50pm

The wall of text at the beginning was heinous but once you're past that, this is a pretty interesting entry. I'm a sucker for card mechanics and this delivered interesting ones. Cool theme, cool game.

monkeybit29 says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 9:54pm

cool mechanics, music and graphics were great!

Apr 18, 2016 @ 10:08pm

Very good music art and gameplay, but getting the same clue twice is annoying.

Apr 18, 2016 @ 10:20pm

Nicely done, I always enjoy a good spy theme. :) Thought the card descriptions could've been a little more informative or tied into the gameplay, but otherwise I had a good time. Well done!

I'd love for you to check out my game, Tito's Revenge!
http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-35/?action=preview&uid=65699

TheCain says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 10:40pm

I hope there will be a post-Compo

CMLSC says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 12:07am

Very unique! :D
I did notice a few cards had text misplaced.

Matzigon says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 12:31am

Nice and simple. Also a different take on the same theme, which is good. I really like that there is a decent tutorial. Good job!

vini60 says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 12:47am

Reminds me of papers please. Music is great and gameplay is varied. Great submit!

Flygamer101 says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 1:00am

Nice fun little game. Great job, and great graphics!

aegypticus says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 1:39am

This was really fun! A game right up my alley. Great job, this was entertaining enough that I'd love to see this made into a full game... to be quite honest!

AlmightyTuna says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 2:39am

Fantastic entry, can't find a single flaw with it

kestrelgames says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:39am

Very impressive concept. Definitely coming back to play post-compo version!

Apr 19, 2016 @ 3:23pm

Such a nice game!

redwizard says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 4:53pm

Well done. Very good gameplay idea.

arzi says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:12pm

I really like the idea of the game, although I didn't fare very well :) Boardgame-likes are always nice, but the game take quite long to learn for an LD game!

Per says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:18pm

Great interpretation of the theme!
Fun and humorous game. Was a bit much info at start, but it all made sense when starting the game.

Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:39pm

I loved this game! Nice mix of strategy and random chance.
I do think, however, that perhaps it would have been better to show the actual numbers instead of bars; you can get fooled sometimes on how much more you can push your luck... for it will need pushing.
Now excuse me, I have a secret facility to find...
Cheers,
Matei (BananaHammers Team)

DivineOmega says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:43pm

Great idea and well executed. A tricky game to get to grips with but works very well.

sndr says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 8:16pm

I simply loved it! I played for quite a long time and I enjoyed every minute. It still needs some balancing, but you're getting five stars anyway.
Also, I loved to see that Drive reference in the intro. :)

joemid says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 8:29pm

On Web, MacBook Retina- Safari- I really can't consistently apply the cards to the player portrait. Have a feeling this isn't an issue in the download version! Trying that next. Great look, nice pace- reminded me Gunpoint and Papers, Please! Awesome job!

jollyserpent says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 9:05pm

@joemid Sorry to hear about the issue you encountered! I'll try to reproduce the issue and fix this, but that might be due to some weird stuff with Unity WebGL export and Safari or something like that. Thanks for the info anyway!

lkr says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 9:06pm

Very fun game and concept!

Won my first game on day 2 where my first clue only left one possible state :) The other games went on longer, and I won some and lost some.

Two suggestions:
I'd like to know what my current and max stats are so that I can better judge whether I should play a given card or not.
I'd also like to be able to mark a state as "safe" to make it visually easier to see what states I have left to consider for the remaining clues.

Would love to see a more fleshed-out post-compo version.

cakeknuckles says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 5:04am

after going through the tutorial, i thought this was going to be a confusing and frustrating experience, but i found it well designed and easy to pick up, as well as kind of addictive. great job with the mechanics, i thought this was extremely fun!!

kostasvs says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 11:13am

In love with this game, very well made and great jokes! Congrats!

EdoCreate says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 12:11pm

Very nice...

timeshapers says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 3:37pm

Had issues understanding the game. I got progress to 100% and didn't get a clue.

Jolly Serpent says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 4:13pm

@timeshapers Sorry to hear that and I understand that the game might be a bit too demanding for a jam game in terms of attention and time investment! Once you get your progress bar to 100%, you have to press the clue button to get a clue, which gets logged to the, er, log.

PinkIndian says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 6:09pm

Easily one of my favourite. Loved the theme and humor, and the music was amazing. One complain though, in my first try I suddenly died, I guess because of a event, and I couldn't read the log. The 'lose' window should be smaller so that the log is still readable.

Obvious_San says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 7:10pm

Great game! Keep up the good work :)

cynicalmonkey says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 8:15pm

would consider making the tutorial a bit more interactive by the time the game started i had half forgotten what i was supposed to do

celia14 says ...
Apr 21, 2016 @ 12:48am

Wow, nice job! Looking at the screenshots, I was worried it might be too complex - but once I started playing, the tutorial was helpful and the game was simple but fun! It was engaging to balance the different stats and I thought the shapeshifting aspect was cool. There was a great sense of humor throughout, too.

A_Cupcake says ...
Apr 21, 2016 @ 1:40am

This was fantastic. I played multiple times until I managed to win. I really felt like I was being strategic and was in control of the outcome. Art style is well implemented and the play through really gave me a pang of Carmen San Diego nostalgia!

mitya1234 says ...
Apr 21, 2016 @ 6:31am

They found me. Nice entry!

DuckTieTeam says ...
Apr 21, 2016 @ 9:54am

Amazing game! Loved the system, very ingenious to come up with) The mechanic seemed very interesting, but if you would complicate it a little bit, I think it might be even better =)

Weeping Rupee says ...
Apr 21, 2016 @ 1:34pm

This is VERY original while still using old conventions from things like Clue, where in the world is Carmen Sandiego, and even has slight hints of that kind of social commentary aspect more modern things like Papers Please use so effectively to make thier world engaging.

This is the best use of familiar conventions to make something totally original I've seen yet. Aot of people really have been stretching the definition of "shapeshift" but you managed to actually use the theme in a totally novel way without being cheaty about it.

Not to mention you actually did a tutorial! This game really needed one so thanks for that.


Definitely worth exploring and developing further.

My only note:
-I was surprised tho when spreading rumors about shifters raised by detection score, thought that would throw them off the scent.

Jolly Serpent says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 12:23pm

I uploaded the Post-Compo version to itch, if anyone is interested. Sadly, itch.io doesn't allow for multiple web versions of the same game, so the newer version will be standalone-only until this LD is over.
Please drop me a comment if something's broken!

Fabraz says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 2:12pm

Rare to find a game with this sort of pacing in a LD, enjoyed giving it a shot!

KairosXIII says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 11:46pm

Love the concept. You really hit the board game type feel. The music really sets the mood on this one.

LinealGames says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 5:03pm

Really fun although I got the same clue multiple times and some of the clues I got didn't help but other than that I thought it was very fun and loved the music!

Apr 23, 2016 @ 6:46pm

Oh, that was a nice one ! The game system is spot on and really interesting for a 48 hour work ! The music fits the mood perfectly. I read on one of your post that this is your first finished game and it blown me away ! Wish I made games of this quality when I started gamedev 2+ years ago. You have to continue and you'll become super good quite fast I think. Keep it up !

KunoNoOni says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 7:30pm

This was a very captivating game. I really enjoyed playing this. Is this really your first game? Then congrats on making a well done game you did a superb job!

PowerSpark says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 8:26pm

Nice game :D It's not too grindy or difficult to finish, which is good.

jhell says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 10:03pm

Extremely interesting! Explanations at the start are too dense IMHO. You've done a great job customizing the abundant music stuff, I almost didn't recognize it :). Tooltips would have been a must, but then again time was short...

Rakowu says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 12:26am

Really good game. You made a good work. The logic and random shuffle should have taken you a while. Good job.

TheMeorch says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 4:11pm

This is so great. One of my favorite games this LD!
I really hope you keep working on this even beyond the post-compo version, because it's seriously fun and addicting.

MementoGames says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 8:49pm

This is the best I played so far! (52 rated entries)
I loved it. Simple as that. Please continue to work on this. It's kinda of a mix of "Papers, Please" and Carmen Sandiego series.

I tried to ignore the tutorial and got screwed. Then I read it and it made more sense, but I was still kinda lost.
I hated the font :( It's stylish, but too hard to read.
My suggestions are to improve the UI, improve the tutorial, more balance, add more scenarios and more cards. Then release for Android and send me link. (I mean it).

bazkur98 says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 9:19pm

I kept winning but I have no idea why or what I was doing :p

namrog84 says ...
Apr 26, 2016 @ 5:06am

i lost

EvoGenGames says ...
Apr 26, 2016 @ 3:27pm

5 across the board, very well done game in just a weekend! Love to see card games!

Apr 28, 2016 @ 2:05am

VERY well done game

APantaloni says ...
Apr 28, 2016 @ 3:28pm

One of my favorite entries so far! Iteresting and unique card game. It took a while to pinpoint the correct location, but I don't think I was ever in real danger to lose. Maybe I was just lucky, I'll play again later. I had a lot of fun anyway :)

dcolgan says ...
Apr 29, 2016 @ 1:09am

Impressive to make a full board game type thing for an LD! Pretty cool idea.

MrPhil says ...
Apr 29, 2016 @ 6:55am

This is a cool game, I haven't won yet, but I like it.

Good: Haven't multiple things to track and focus on made me strategize and focus on a couple to manipulate, made me feel scheme-y.

Meh: I feel like the colors and music didn't lend to the feeling and mood of being a shapeshifting spy.

Cherry On Top: I like the cards that are weird, random and made you wonder about story elements and secrets.

Alphish says ...
Apr 29, 2016 @ 5:16pm

I quite enjoyed that detective game; it incorporated the theme quite well, too. The game seemed rather well-balanced overall, except for one thing: the clues were often redundant (sometimes even repeated, word-to-word) which was way too luck based; when I get the precious progress bar to 100%, I expect at least a reasonable chance it'll advance me somehow.

If I were to implement a game like that, I probably would make it in such a way:
- determine variables involved and divide into slots (e.g. highest point into 501-749, 751-999, 1001-1249, 1251-1499; population into 10k-20k, 20k-30k, 30k-40k, 40k-50k; %water into 1-24%, 26-49%, 51-74%, 76-99%; has port into YES or NO, has airport into YES or NO)
- when generating the states, I'd make sure no two states fall into the exact same set of slots
- when giving the first clue, I'd pick an incorrect state at random, compare it with the correct state, randomly pick a property where the states fall into different slots, and make a clue based on that property, making sure that it eliminates the incorrect state
- once the first clue is provided, I'd eliminate all other states that don't meet the condition in the clue (mark them internally in the game; the player wouldn't have it explicitly told)
- once another clues would be needed, the procedure would be the same; except the random incorrect state would be one of those that hasn't been yet marked "eliminated"; that'd guarantee that at least one state would be ruled out by the clue, making it useful

You might want to refine the algorithm to your needs; also, if you want to guarantee that all clues bring you at least one step closer to solution, you might want to increase the number of states (or maybe even have different difficulty levels with different map).

That's it, your friendly neighbourhood mathematician is out. Really cool and enjoyable game, overall~! (I rather liked cards descriptions, too)

Jolly Serpent says ...
Apr 30, 2016 @ 11:52am

Hey Alphish, thanks for the lengthy run-down! I've actually implemented the difficulty settings in the post-compo version already. :P As for your other points and the solution you propose, that is indeed quite clever and logical. The only reason I went with the system presented in the game is because I found it kinda too easy when beta-testing it myself, but I didn't have much time to properly balance the game, so I just took the easy way out and made it kinda unfair and frustrating. Now that I think about it, it didn't necessarily make the game much harder, but, well, what's done is done! I would like to come back to this game after some time and expand on it, so I'm saving your generous comment for that. Thanks!

Also, thank you everyone for the great feedback, I was kinda scared to participate in LD, haha, but seeing the way people react to fellow LD folks' games (and my game as well) makes me super confident and excited for the next one.

TheCain says ...
May 3, 2016 @ 10:37pm

I've already rated, but came back for the post jam.
You made some nice improvements, and I'm glad I came back.
I'm not changing the rating, but still, good job.

Aaranos says ...
May 4, 2016 @ 1:35am

I did nothing, clicked Check, and won. What is the chance of that?

marvalgames says ...
May 5, 2016 @ 1:00am

This is an outstanding game. A little complex but a fun challenge. Going to try out the post version now. Very original for me anyway. (Not sure about other games like this? )

Hectigo says ...
May 5, 2016 @ 6:24am

Fun game, but the difficulty is pretty random - in one game, I got around a dozen clues, and still didn't know the answer for sure - in another just two clues were enough to pinpoint the location.

The feedback that Alphish gave was good, that would improve the game a bunch.

Getting more info about each bar / action when hovering over them would be a great addition, and reduce the need for the long tutorial.

Liked the music.

abuzreq says ...
May 7, 2016 @ 6:49pm

Amazing!
I loved it so much that I am blinded to what could be added but would give it a try.
There are aspect that is hard to rate based on one game play like how the cards are generated and how much interesting are they when combined,how helpful should the clues be.

If you want the audience to get wider,the map could be redrawn and the text conveying the information about each province could be supplemented or replaced with images.

I also saw the post-compo version and although having the polygons as hexagons might have gave you as easy way to increase\decrease difficulty as measured by number of provinces but it lacks the aesthetics of a map with more smother edges.(Which could be procedurally generated)

Hope that helped :)

Would be glad if you can give my game a try
(Double Army)
http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-35/?action=preview&uid=17923

hazzahazzam says ...
May 8, 2016 @ 2:08am

I love the simple colors and you balanced the difficulty well!

Acuity says ...
May 9, 2016 @ 7:14pm

Pretty interesting game. Took me a while to get a good grasp on the objective, but the tutorial sure helped! Nice to see another card game!

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