Ludum Dare 36 — August 26th-29th, 2016 — Theme: Ancient Technology

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Modus Catapultus

by invader - Jam Entry

=== Modus Catapultus Controls ===

Movement: WASD or Cursor Keys
Shooting stones: E or SPACE
Selecting stone: Q or SHIFT

* Create and rebuild forts by throwing 'build' stones
* Spawn new catapults by throwing 'catapult' stones

Fall back to friendly forts to resupply stones.

Made in 72 hours in JavaScript

Downloads and Links


caryoscelus says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 6:39pm

Pretty fun game when you understand how to play it. At first, i thought it was multiplayer and i think it would be really great to implement it.

There is a little glitch when sometimes after you go into free space pressing "shoot" shoots immediately with smallest force.

Bogden says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 8:02pm

Nice little game here. I like where you're going with the aesthetic. Nice job getting sound effects in there too.

On the critical side, I think the gameplay is a fair bit too slow given how action oriented it seems to be. Would also be great to get some sense of progress, either through a score which gives you points for dealing damage or destroying things, or just a simple kill counter.

There's a few glitches too around trying to fire while moving, but those types of things are pretty par for the course in a jam. Well done!

SkullPixel says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 10:07pm

I really did think this was a fun game. With a few tweaks to speed up shooting a bit it would make a great real-time strategic version of worms. This is probably the most successfully innovative game I've played this round of LD. Have a trophy.

HeliosStudio says ...
Sep 15, 2016 @ 10:28pm

Nice game, I actually spent some time playing after learning how it worked, simple but entertaning

Chaoslab says ...
Sep 16, 2016 @ 3:51am

That was some fun. Hope you are going to expand on the idea some time. Thanks.

NIGIC says ...
Sep 17, 2016 @ 4:43pm

Took me a while to figure this one out. First time through, I shot down both my ally and my base fort before getting destroyed myself. Also had some issues with stones not always spawning for me to shoot (though that seems to have been fixed in the post-jam version).

It's an interesting old-school type of game. Once you've grasped the mechanics, they work nicely and make for an entertaining experience.

Visuals give all the necessary information effectively, though a sharper contrast between friend and foe would be great. Sound effects give a satisfying weight to your attacks; you may want to add some to the shooting action itself. Pretty good overall.

Good work

Sep 17, 2016 @ 9:12pm

I think this has a great concept, but I think some aspects of the gameplay may need to be re-thinked.

The main thing I think is that although the not-firing-while-intersecting-something is an interesting strategical mechanic, it made the game much slower as all the catapults would get stuck inside each other and be in a stalemate until some moved away.

There also needs to be some disadvantage given to retreating players, as otherwise it is basically impossible to catch up with them in time.

The other two big issues I had were that the camera did not try to center on the player, which made the field of view very restricted when on an edge, and also that sometimes when waiting to get a rock after intersecting it would immediately fire with lowest strength.

I also think it might be beneficial to increase the speed of all the tanks, at least slightly, as movement is very cumbersome.

Overall I actually do think it is a very fun little strategy game, but I think it's simply too slow due to the factors I mentioned above.

invader says ...
Sep 18, 2016 @ 10:33am

Thanks for the feedback. Valid points.

I've removed the restriction on fire-when-intersecting in the Post-Jam version. It happened to be quite annoying in the retrospective. The pace is also a big issue - in Post-jam version I've increased the rate of fire. The catapult speed should be increased as well.. Probably that would work for the player one. Other can be slow.

amras0000 says ...
Sep 18, 2016 @ 1:58pm

I'm playing on the Post-LD version.

This is certainly something new.
The graphics are clean, with a very pleasing color pallate. So great job there. I'm not sure that tanks fit in with the "ancient technology" theme but I get what you're going for.

I like the integration of the healthbars and charge meters into the designs of the catapults, adds to the cleanliness of the whole game.

The gameplay itself has a large number of issues but at its core it's very well designed. I really like the idea that a lot of the time you have to aim in a way that you'll miss the enemies to get your walls and allies in. I like that the more allies you have the harder it is to place anything down. I like that the game forces you to account for every shot and every improvement you build because there's a very real chance it'll screw you over more than it'll help if you don't get it right. All this came together to make me want to keep playing for far too long. It's a fabulously addicting game, despite what at first glance seems like repetitive gameplay.

But it does have issues. The first thing that becomes obvious is that the movement is extremely floaty. This is supposed to be a piece of heavy machinery, but it behaves like I'm on an ice rink. In almost every scenario you want to have the player character stop moving the instant the player releases the movement button, and this is no exception.
It also would have been helpful to have a very basic background so I could see where I was moving when there wasn't anything else on screen. But that's just a nitpick.

The actual shooting arcs felt very unpredictable at the start of the game. Over time I realized that the direction I was moving influenced the velocity of the shot. This did lead to some nice moments where I can move back and forth to make my shots go further, but with the movement controls gets a bit irritating and hard to understand. I do like the mechanic, quite a bit, but it should be better communicated. Also, it felt like I could influence the shot by moving after I'd fired it. Don't know if that's part of the mechanics or I was imagining it, but it's something that didn't feel right.
I would have liked to see some sort of aiming hint, a dotted curve to show where I'd be launching. I realize it might be out of the scope of an LD, but it would have helped a lot. If you only showed the start of the arc it'd still leave a lot of challenge without obscuring the mechanics.

The damage model I've got very mixed feelings on. It didn't take too long to understand that only rocks travelling downward interacted with anything, and that they'd interact with /anything/. And more often than not this just got me frustrated since I'd be sitting in my wall trying to fire at something close to me, and the rocks would just get stuck in the wall I was occupying. There was a deadzone in front of me where I couldn't hit any enemies that got too close because the arc would end up peaking while still in the wall. But at the same time, the friendly fire mechanics added a lot to the game. I couldn't tell you how you could improve this system to make it less irritating, without losing the challenge and artism of the friendly fire aspect. But it could use a bit of touching up.

Something that's /definitely/ out of the scope of the LD, but which did get me a bit annoyed, is the AI, especially of the friendly units. I'd have 20 of the buggers out and about, but only 2-3 were actually helping me fire at the enemies. The rest would be holed up two towers behind me taking care to rip apart the wall I was standing in. The firing mechanics of the game require careful control and a lot of thought, and the AI just wasn't up to the challenge. I'd have honestly liked them to just stand in front of my furthest tower, tank hits for me, and fire without an obstruction.

Do note, I only get this in-depth on the issues of games I really enjoyed. So please take this rant in the best way possible, I had a ton of fun playing this title. Keep up the good work!

joe40001 says ...
Sep 18, 2016 @ 7:51pm

Interesting game, I had to play the post Jam version to get it. It's a kinda innovative/fun idea, I just wished there was some win condition or sense of progress. I got to like 165 advanced or something and stopped. I like the mechanics though they made themselves evident pretty fast without needing a tutorial or anything. Overall neat idea, not bad.

Score: (because I like scores)
Overall 3/5
Innovation 4/5
Fun 3/5
Theme 2/5
Graphics 3/5
Audio 2/5
Humor 0/5
Mood 2/5

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