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

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by Sean - Jam Entry

​Welcome to the DYSCOVR open beta for project LD36 on exo-planet 543.14.543T!
You (and your fellow DYSCOVRites!) will traverse the planet in your very own DYSCOVR ROVR, digging for exciting artifacts of a lost civilization.

When you find an artifact, give it a description using this DYSCOVR console. If you're not sure what to say about it, then you can see what other people wrote about the same artifact.

If you're not sure where to begin, press the help button on your console!
Made by Sean, Ian, and Ryan of the SweetHeart Squad for Ludum Dare 36 using Pixi.js.
Post-jam updates:
-​Better controller support
-WASD as alternate keyboard controls
-Better iframe support (autofocuses and prevents page scrolling)
-Bug and typo fixes

(the jam version can still be downloaded from the page)

Downloads and Links


patfran says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 12:46am

Pretty cool! I logged about 4 or 5 artifacts. I wasn't really sure what I was doing at first, but it wasn't until the 2nd or 3rd artifact that I realized other people would see what I logged.

mooncalf says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 2:34am

Loved the presentation. Every part of it was well done. Good play on the theme. I ended up just driving around randomly mashing space. Left some notes, didn't find any.

thauber says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 2:50am

I think the presentation of this game is cool, although the effects on the screen gave me a headache.

I just drove around pressing space, not sure what else to do. I wanted to visit the coordinates on the post it, but when I tried to drive to it, the coordinate UI gave me a headache trying to read the words that were moving around.

Cool concept!

Chris Bode says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 3:01am

A game where you travel around an alien world naming things. And you didn't even charge me $60! *cough*

All joking aside, this is an intriguing concept. I'd love to see it fleshed out with more mechanics. The naming system has the potential to be hilarious. Props for the presentation as well.

The only nitpick I have is that the distortion on the screen made tracking my position on the way to the coordinates on the post-it note difficult, but that's no big deal.

PeachTreeOath says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 3:13am

I also didn't seem to go to the right spot on the post it, but at least I found a few near the starting area. Interesting concept, I wonder if it can be done for themes outside of planet discovery like this and NMS.

Bobsleigh says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 3:15am

Interesting concept. Thought the ground graphic was confusing thought. Loved the idea that you can share your description. Found 3 or 4 artifact and enjoyed the tag you've thought about.

scriptorum says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 3:22am

Interesting. The social aspect of the game is compelling, but I didn't run into any artifacts logged by other players. The shader effect is pretty cool, although it makes the coordinates hard to read. Nice music. Well suited to the theme.

Aug 31, 2016 @ 8:44am

Love the design of it. I like the precise, terminal-like look of the left side, then the trippy on the right side of the screen

GrassWhooper says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 9:31am

nicely done i like the general design and layout of it, though im just unlucky that i didnt find anything :(
but yeah, i guess it can be an interesting game, i didnt play many games with this style, it was nice to see.

Aug 31, 2016 @ 11:04am

Not sure if graphics are bugging out or if it's supposed to look like this Either way it makes it kinda hard to describe the artifacts :P.

Aug 31, 2016 @ 11:11am

Ok it works better in firefox! Still pretty trippy and abstract but I assume that's the point.

Sean says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 1:44pm

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

@silkworm_sweatshop yeah, we were developing using Firefox and made sure it also worked in Chrome, but when I briefly tested it in Safari/older versions of IE and saw what you posted, I wrote them off as a lost cause. It works in IE11/Edge though!

Aug 31, 2016 @ 6:31pm

It's very interesting, a lot of points for style with the shader and the old school console, the artifacts though all seem to look the same not sure if it's a problem with me(I use firefox) or that is just the game. Music is pretty nice and sound effects match with the game.

My only criticisms are about the gameplay. I, like scriptorum was also never able to find artifacts logged by other players. After a while it got boring and all I did was ride around and spam the space bar. Also I am pretty sure you move a lot faster diagonally, might want to check that.

Anudin says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 6:50pm

UI and shader / effect design are really awesome! Although the effect on the camera could be turned down a bit. Also music is a little repeative. Besides that everything comes together nicely and the game delivers a really nice atmosphere!

Aug 31, 2016 @ 7:01pm

Nice retro effects! Love the idea here, but I only ever found one artifact that was previously logged (by the location on the post-it note). Not sure if I'm doing something wrong... Cool game though, would love to see this expanded on.

ianb96 says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 7:05pm

I don't like how the x-axis goes the wrong way and it is sometimes hard to read the coordinates.
I do like mood and the community comments thing, though having a radar or something to help you find things would be useful.

Tijn says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 7:05pm

Wow, this is trippy as hell, haha :D Pretty cool, although after a while, I'm not sure what to do. Presentation is very nice though :)

TomBuston says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 7:06pm

Graphics are just awesome, the concept is interesting but not easy to understand at first.
English not being my first language, I found the text speed to be a bit too fast and had trouble reading everything in time ^^".
Anyway, great game well done !

Aug 31, 2016 @ 7:22pm

Hey! The atmosphere of being in a tiny excavation vehicle on a vast alien planet was nicely done - the music perfectly matched the game.

I think there needed to be more sense of reward in logging artefacts - it didn't feel like that part had been gamified enough (collect 5 breakers, do something, blah blah) to fun.

Relaxing, good looking, great atmosphere though. Good job!

Allthebees says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 9:06pm

This is super cool! I really love it. Only fun for a brief amount of time but there was something very cathartic about wondering around categorising things. The ui, and graphics in general were superb and added to the feeling of being distant from what I was observing. You definitely nailed the feeling.

Cliff Lee CL says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 10:15am

Interesting graphics and atmosphere!
It will be funnier if the player can leave their own messages instead of templates.

n42k says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 6:00pm

This is a work of art! Graphics and music are extremely fitting, felt amazing to play even though there wasn't too much to do.

Great job!

Gipzo says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 6:29pm

Feels like no man's sky with multyplayer. If it had multiplayer, I guess it would be something like this.
Just roam around,dig some spinning stuf out, leave your mark on it and go on. No sense, no direction.
But the visual style is really neat. And the soundtrack is atmospheric. Next time add a story to it and the top spot will be yours.

stenol says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 7:10pm

Very good game. I love the graphic style and the presentation in general.

joemag says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 7:17pm

Very neat and cerebral, and yes basically all the gampeplay of No Man's Sky. Would be nice if there was some directed goal but a neat experiment regardless.
Aesthetics and music is really cool. I would tune the distortion on the screen down a touch, it's a little distracting.

asyzruffz says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 7:20pm

Love the concept and design.. Nice game!

sftrabbit says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 8:32pm

Interesting! Also, the effects are really cool (maybe a little over the top!). I was a little bit confused (even after the help), but I understood when I read the description and a few of the comments. Neat idea and interesting aesthetic!

Sep 1, 2016 @ 9:34pm

Graphically impressive. Would be more fun if there was some way to search for devices instead of randomly hitting search, or some sort of puzzle the players had to work together to figure out.

David Cookie says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 12:08pm

Once again, you've made a really polished and original game! Really don't know how you can possibly accomplish this in 3 days. The graphics are a little strange but merge perfectly with this cool interface. The discovery and renaming system is really well done!

Just huge respect for making a multiplayer sandbox :o Add a few objectives/narration and it would be more interesting than No Man's Sky hands down. The music is really nice btw!

local minimum says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 10:06am

Absolutely stunning visuals. Those glitch effects that relate to movement are just superb. The game mechanic is also very cool. To go around cataloging things you find and get to see what others have called it. I went to where the post-it directed me as a first stop, quite the trip. And had to do some trial and error before I realized space is digging. It would have been nice to be able to click on the selected tile as an optional dig action.

It was a bit overwhelming with everyone that had logged that one and here I think it would be nice if the output only followed the schema '[Date] has been logged as [Description]' when there's only one log. If there's more than one, it would be cool if the most frequent description presented first as 'The consensus hypothesis is that this is [Description]' followed by 'Alternative hypothesis [Description]'. These should in my view only show unique description and show them in descending popularity.

While constructing the descriptions yourself it would have been really nice if one could just hover the mouse and scroll to toggle the options.

Once I had logged the first find (and that I traveled that long before noting a find also supports this suggestion), I kept hammering space to find stuff for quite a while until I realized that there was in fact an indicator that told me when I could dig and not. So since you are masters of cool camera effects I think you should have some effects on this UI so that the user's attention is drawn to it. Possibly also really add effect if this is a novel find.

Then of course I would have liked to see many more naming schemes. And thus get the ability to make goofy descriptions. In fact, while I really like the open exploring system with very little gamification, it would be interesting if one did unlock new naming patterns with increased logging experience. Give the first after naming something like 3 artifacts to let user know there's a progress.

So to sum up: really very well made and interesting game!

Sep 3, 2016 @ 7:28pm

What a beautiful game! It took me a while to figure it out too, but once I did I spent a fair amount of time filling in artifacts I found. Hopefully whoever comes next can find more artifacts that have at least some logging on it!

Apart from maybe some more direction, just to get more players to start logging artifacts, I can't point to anything I disliked! A absolutely sublime game!

Sean says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 8:52pm

@TomBuston sorry for the text speed being too fast, but you should be able to scroll back up and re-read things once it's done ticking everything in.

@local minimum thanks for the detailed review! Your suggestions are all spot-on and would definitely improve the experience. The idea to have players unlock new words was actually in out original plans but got cut for time (it was going to be that as you discovered other players' logs, you could incrementally learn new words from them). We also had some ideas for a rating system which would help to sort descriptions by popularity sort of like you suggested, but again, cut for time :P

Thanks again for all the feedback everyone! I agree with the overall consensus that it would have been more interesting with a bit more incentive/narrative attached to the exploration, but I'm glad so many people enjoyed our little game as-is!

Sep 5, 2016 @ 6:42pm

Came back to fill in some more artifacts, and I feel I should mention I actually kinda enjoy the differing opinions on some artifacts. It really reminds me of real crowd sourced projects, and how they always have a few trolls and the like. ; )

Sep 13, 2016 @ 10:40pm

Lovely, interesting game! I included it in my compilation video series of Ludum Dare 36, if you’d like to take a look :)

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