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

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Temple Quest

by Vaiaphraim - Competition Entry

Welcome to "Temple Quest"

You will try not to crash into columns
You will try not to fall into chasms
You will try not to be burned by fire
You will try not to be cut into pieces by sawblades
You will try not to use the skip button (S) to jump ahead

You will learn to jump over gaps
You will learn to build bridges
You will learn to extinguish fires

You will find the ancient artifact - by any means!

I had a little help with the soundtrack from my friend Gercr - everything guitar and bass is him.
The tracks he's part of are "Intro Stage" (Level 1) and "Metal Guardian" (Level 5)

If you want to hear more music from Gercr and myself - why not take a look at our soundclouds? (<- that's us collaborating as a virtual band :) )

A few tips for the controls - the jump has always the same distance, and you can't move while jumping. Also, you can't use any other moves while you are in air. If the terrain is riddled with obstacles, you might want to consider a bridge instead.

You can hold down keys to do so. In fact, while you keep pressing <SHIFT>, you can't fall into chasms (provided that you have bridge segments in your inventory)

Same thing counts for fire - keep holding <Q>, and fire can't hurt you. However, if you press <SHIFT> and <Q> at the same time, only the last button you pressed will be persistent. So you can't play superman by holding down both ;)

The hardest parts of the game are the double columns/saws, I think. These sequences are the randomly generated ones. However, you can beat them, if you double tap your movement keys quickly. (It's very hard, but possible, trust me)

It's also possible to do precision jumps to conserve bridge segments in some cases, but that requires a lot of skill to pull off :)

Downloads and Links


SamuelSousa says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 10:22am

The music is very awesome. Like the feeling of the level select menu, seeing it evolve. I just had to press the S key to many times...

Some obstacles were to close to each other and ... too many keys to use...

Gameplay feel ancient :) remember playing some alike on my "30plus tetris games" handeld.

JustASHadow says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 3:28pm

The music is really cool. Other than that, not much to say, because the concept is really simple.

DiegoCTorguet says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 3:51pm

Like other players before me, I can't find the game responsive in design or art.
But the music is really good and I think you had fun doing it, and that is the most important part!

Aun says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 3:54pm

The music is just epic, I love it :) The hardest thing I found was the hole directly followed by pillars or fire, depending on how fast they arrive. You also use S for level 3 and skip, which is annoying if like me you press S multiple time to make the computer restart the level faster (yes it works , just like when I hit my keyboard to solve a bug). Using the shift key is not a good idea. I had a Windows message for pressing too often shift.

Vaiaphraim says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 4:53pm

Thanks for your comments, everyone!

Yeah, drawing isn't exactly my strong point ^_^

I had a lot of extra content planned, more abilities to use, more methods to beat certain obstacles.

@Aun: Thanks for the heads up regarding the shift-key. If there will be a post-compo release, I'll re-map that one. Also the skip key probably shouldn't be the same as the circle map :) I thought I'd use "WASD" to select levels, and, well... S for skip.

Just an extra note - no need to mash the ability keys over and over - simply holding it down will work!

videogreg93 says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 5:02pm

Nice music, wish you had made it all yourself though! Game was fun, though it was kind of hard so I had to skip to the final boss.

Vaiaphraim says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 5:16pm

@videogred93: I thought of using a MIDI guitar sound... it's just not the real thing. And I can't play guitar, soooo, I asked my friend to feature on two levels :)

onyon says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 5:32pm

Cool soundtrack, simple game, kinda fun. Thumbs up!

abhimonk says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 5:41pm

Awesome game! The soundtrack was fantastic. I also love how mechanics are stacked as the game goes on. Making the choice between using a bridge or jumping was really hard, but really satisfying when you pull it off correctly. I like the simplicity of the core mechanics, and how you built on that with the water/bridge/jump. Great game (and seriously awesome music).

rudinskiz says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 6:09pm

The game was cool! I liked the art style,It was really MS Paintish :))

Vaiaphraim says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 6:30pm

@onyon, abhimonk, rudinskiz: I'm really glad you liked it :)

Not sure how to improve my artwork, I guess I should just practice more often :D

aschab says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 6:39pm

Nice music, solid concept and mechanics, with improved graphics this game would be awesome.

mvieira says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 6:42pm

Great Game! I found it very addictive LOL. The game I played the most and would play again.
The music is also perfect and not dull.

May be I am wrong but I felt the collision was a bit off, sometimes I felt that I didnt hit or fall and still the collision detected, but I made the game even more exciting LOL.

Great Job! Would consider making a mobile with this style.

Aug 29, 2016 @ 6:46pm

Cool game! I got a bug though, where I could just run through a whole level and I didn't collide with anything :P

Vaiaphraim says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 6:57pm

@aschab: Thank you for the feedback! I already talked to a few friends, considering a jam entry - so that everyone does what they can do best (music, graphics, coding...) Or actually, I was approached by them "Say, what about me helping you out with the artwork" :D

@mvieira: I'm glad you enjoyed it! Yes, the collision detection isn't perfect. The way I approached it - making it tilebased. So, if the tile in front is an obstacle - you get hit. The quirky behaviour is when switching lanes or jumping - since you can still get hit while being half on that tile. I think I should have moved the player model a bit to the left so that it's not as obvious (however, then you'd get hit *before* actually hitting the wall >.>) In any case, thanks for your feedback!

@Misspeld Games: Now that's very interesting - I can imagine the first level being created in a way that nothing blocks the center lane, but other than that... You mean you could just walk through columns and fire without being hurt?
If so, it might be a problem with my event handling... Funny enough, it never happened to me while playtesting ^_^
Thanks for pointing it out!

lordvorath says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 7:00pm

Nice game with cool music! I found the control layout to be farily uncomfortable, making an already difficult gamme even more punishing. I approve the skippable nature of the levels because of the difficulty but i believe that making certain obstacle combinations more forgiving would have been a good thing, possibly rendering the game more "challenging" as opposed to "somewhat frustrating".
Overall very good job nonetheless!

Aug 29, 2016 @ 7:04pm

@Vaiaphraim I got the bug on the Circle level

sn0uk says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 7:06pm

I can tell you aren't an artist, but you did a good job

LCMW_Spud says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 7:12pm

Love the programmer art, the game in general is great

Vaiaphraim says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 7:41pm

@lordvorath: Thanks for your feedback - yes, the random generator sometimes creates almost impossible combinations (double pillars bottom+center to top+center and back) You need to be almost pixel-perfect to beat that at the current stage. I'm sorry for your frustration, but I'm glad you tried to beat it anyway :)

@Misspeld Games: I really wish I could fix that one, but I can't find the source. Maybe I didn't map one of the tiles correctly. I'll check the code of the level again - thanks for your help!

@sn0uk: Thank you, I tried ^_^

@LCMW_Spud: Much appreciated, thank you :)

g_o says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 9:39pm

Haha the sounds of the character are hillarious
I can't help but press spacebar according to the bit.

Vaiaphraim says ...
Aug 29, 2016 @ 10:06pm

@g_o: I thought exactly the same thing - I also tried to jump in rhythm, which got me killed more often than once during playtests.
I think it might just be a candiate for a rhythm game - with some serious reworks.
Thank you for your feedback!

Teekeks says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 12:44am

This music <3

dwhiffing says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 12:56am

I like the music :) Very strange little game, nice job

austintradr says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 1:36am

I really like the music, but the gameplay seemed fairly lacking. Certain parts in the levels were very difficult and precise and no checkpoints was unforgiving. The intro text was also at a hard to read angle.

Sorry for nitpicking!

johnbjuice says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 1:37am

Wow, great game! I love the mix of mechanics - its a really cool spin on the 3-lane runner game. I've got some more feedback for you in a moment, but I'd just like to let you know that technically you aren't supposed to collaborate for the compo - it's supposed to be solo only! But that's not a huge deal in my mind - your game is really great and you should be very proud of it!

The music is superb, and really drives the game forward. I also enjoyed the plot and the big boss fight at the end. Plus, it was really great that you allowed players to replay sections or skip forward.

Some criticism!

The art is a bit rough, but it works pretty well! My only real complaint for the art is that the hitbox for the player isn't very clear with the current asset.

The controls could have been better laid out and consolidated - why not use the same button for bridges and water, since they're never used at the same time? Also, try to keep your main action buttons grouped together - my left hand got a cramp reaching the shift, Q, and space keys all at once!

Finally, would have loved to have seen more feedback when I died instead of the game jumping straight to black. Perhaps you could animate the character falling into the hole or catching fire? Or a sound cue? Your call!

Regardless, very good job, it's a wonderful game!


lCira says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 1:46am

Nice music!

Skye says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 1:56am

This game is quite fun, though it can get frustrating when you start over again and again, so it is a good thin it has skip functionality!

The music is also really good, and it made me enjoy the game even more, however the fact that the music restarted after every time I died was annoying. But I didn't mind, it was still good music!

Vaiaphraim says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 8:59am

@Teekeks: Thank you :3

@dwhiffing: I'm glad to hear that :)

@austintradr: Oh, the intro text... It was a quick and dirty method to make it fit between "the wonderful graphics". I kinda liked how it turned out and didn't really think about readability at that point - Sorry about that!
Yes, I know that there are a few hard parts - you can always skip the level, though, if you just want to see the ending screen ;)
As for checkpoints - the longest level is where you need to find the circle... which lasts for 1min 25s. For longer levels with more contraptions - checkpoints are definitely the way to go! Thank you for your feedback!

@johnbjuice: First of all, thank you for the compliments! Yes, I know that it's supposed to be a 100% solo thing, and for a compo with voting, I would have opted out of the audio rating with a bittersweet tear. I was ready to make that sacrifice, because no virtual instrument can get close to the real thing. The way it ended up - I don't regret anything :)
Yes... the hitbox... there actually is none. The tiles at a certain x-coordinate are checked (only y being controlled by the player). Would I restart the project, I'd definitely give the player more leeway, or a thinner hitbox, technically.
Controls could have been better, too. A better way would have been to use Q, W and E (Water, Jump, Bridge respectively), I think. I went with SPACE for jump (somehow, it felt like a jump key :P), but the shift key was uncalled for :D - it was not supposed to make it harder to play, though, so I'm sorry about that. I don't really agree with using the same button, because you could just hold it down without thinking about the actual level. Maybe that would work for an "easy mode" or so.
When the game is jumping to black... there are SFX, depending on your type of death... an echoing yell, a grunt, even a real sampled sawblade for the final level's traps. Maybe I should have made them louder... I would ask, if you unzipped the file before starting, but failure to do so, would have killed the audio entirely, so I'm a bit at a loss here. In any case - with more time, I would have faded out slower, letting the player see WHY they died - both to avoid confusion and to encourage learning from the situation.

@lCira: Thank you! \o

@Skye: Yeah, quite a few people seem to have problems with the difficulty. I'm sorry for your frustration with the level generation. Incidentially, the skip function was actually designed to prevent boredom in the first level (*yawn* :P) - but I decided to expand the usage to the other levels, since there's no save function, and to try to prevent frustration on a certain map. Yeah, I probably should have kept the music running - also, not send the player back to the temple grounds each time. I *thought* it would be a good idea to let the player chill at some ambient music, thinking about their mistakes, before jumping into the fray again - it might not have been the best choice, but it's what I went with in the end :)

Have fun, everyone!

Amine Tcherak says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 1:24pm

Great games i like it good works

TeamEagle says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 1:29pm

Funny art and sound effects. I also like how simplistic the game is yet it is engaging!

kingpirux says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 2:00pm

i liked the old style you used on it, it could be a lot better if only ASCII graphs were used :D

Kazik_210 says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 3:21pm

Simple game but really addictive, and really good soundtrack!

stenol says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 5:27pm

The music is just awesome ! The game is simple but it's good.

Aurel Bílý says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 6:16pm

I think you've heard it enough – the soundtrack is pretty nice :)


I think (next time or whenever else) you should try to get out of your comfort zone a bit. It feels like you spent 95% of the time on making the music, and it's good, because you know how to do it, and you made 5 solid tracks in 48 hours. Then the 5% on the rest … The graphics and some parts of the gameplay hurt the overall experience, obviously.

And I feel an unrated LD jam could have been the perfect occasion to try new things, getting into graphics, focusing on pixelart, hand drawn, vector, whatever. Trying to make the gameplay have that really satisfying feel to it, with screen shakes, good hitboxes, good feedback, on-cue sound effects, score and reward systems, etc. Polishing the menu system, investing time in having a nice layout for the menus, a nice layout for the controls (it is a bit all over the place).

Just recommendations and nitpicking, I guess. :) Still, good job!

Sanart says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 6:23pm

Really good music !

Aug 30, 2016 @ 7:28pm

Basically what @Aurel Bílý said.
The music was awesome/epic and I somehow also liked the art. but the gameplay really could have used some more effects or feedback in general.

Vaiaphraim says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 8:21pm

@Amine Tcherak: I'm glad that you enjoyed it :)

@TeamEagle: Thank you! o/

@kingpirux: I take it that you meant it as a joke mainly - but I do love ASCII games, so I might just make one at some point :D

@Kazik_210: Thank you! Cheers :)

@stenol: I'm glad you enjoyed it!

@Aurel Bílý: To be honest, I did get out of my comfort zone a lot. I wasn't sure I could pull it off to deliver a decent game with a decent soundtrack. I searched for online composition communities for one main reason - to make good music for my LD games.

I had a bit of extra content planned (not only more levels, and more variation of tiles, but also more abilities) Better graphics wouldn't really have been possible for my skillset, not even with an extra 24 hours of time, just more variation. If I wanted to use pixel art, then I should learn it before - not during the development phase. Which is, as stated above, just what I did for the soundtrack.

In any case, the first day, and more than one half of the second day were dedicated to designing the game, the final 8 hours or so went into sfx, music and "polishing" (such as making keys work while keeping them pressed, rather than tracking only on release, etc.)

Sound effects *are* on cue, you're the second person pointing that out though, so I'm a bit puzzled (maybe a bug on some systems?). There's a sound for jumping, building, extinguishing, and all variations of death. Check the sound folder and see for yourself!

I tried to keep the control layout consistent between the levels - but it seems like I failed that. As for the respawn screens, they *were* rushed, since I usually sent the player right back to the temple grounds after death. The reason I added these screens - audio cues for death - no less, no more. So yeah, the text inside wasn't planned or aligned too well, sorry about that ^_^

Thank you a lot for recommending the screen shake, by the way - I never tried to implement such a feature (nor did I actually think of it). Yeah, the "hitbox" is a known problem. I probably got used to it while playtesting, which is why it never felt "off" to me.

I'm sorry that I couldn't provide a better user experience, but even with that extra 8 hours, I couldn't have added much. What I had in mind was adding a lighting system, so tiles could fade into black, depending on the distance to the source. Also, more tiles, like an icy floor, or maybe grappling hooks. Maybe I could have done it in that time, but it would definitely have resulted in no music at all - which was planned to be one of the key "features" before the theme was even announced :)

I don't want all of this to sound like an excuse - you're making a lot of valid points, and I'll reconsider my design choices in future projects!

@Sanart: Woo, thanks :)

@MaximumIllusion: Thanks for your feedback - yes, more effects would have been great. Like the screenshake mechanics mentioned above, or particles for smoke/fire and more. I hope to do better next time :)

jeremyfa says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 8:30pm

Needs some improvements to make the gameplay smoother, but not bad for a compo entry!

metalhaze says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 8:37pm

I was a little skeptical at first because of the art but man did this game grow on me.

I found myself replaying levels just to hear the awesome sound track. The controls were smooth however some of your puzzle blocks were almost impossible to get through, having bridges and fire extinguishers helped but it was mainly jumping over a gap into immediate stone dodging which was quite hard.

I want to stress how awesome your music was, it was definitely what kept me playing when i was frustrated at some parts. In the end though i had a blast juggling all the options i had and tackling the boss. Good job!

Aug 30, 2016 @ 9:40pm

Out of force of habit I initially tried to use WASD for the commands and it kept saying 'level complete' instantly - not sure what's happening there! My character was moving too quickly before I could read the instructions to see what 'jump' was.

Overall I liked the music but the art style was a bit difficult to look at. It's impressive you made all your own assets but more practice is needed.

- Vicky

Lon says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 9:53pm

I found Temple Quest rather challenging: requiring good timing, pressing several keys together or back to back, and later managing resources/bridges; I did not complete the game, so unfortunately I did not see all the content; fortunately we can skip parts if we get stuck. I found that there seemed to be new mechanics each level and plenty of game to play! Nice work!

paruthidotexe says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 10:01pm

A game with good game play and music.
I was thinking what is this art soo mspaint -ish. But yea i end up playing many times, the game play which makes this game awesome.
Art : player is like 2d left-right view but Levels are in top view which confusing.
Level design : It felt very hard jump and move and at sometimes between too much of pillars.
Nice gaming experience, still playing not completed the game.

mihaivdev says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 10:45pm

Very simple but quite fun, although really difficult! Great job on the gameplay!

simple_blue says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 11:12pm

made in paint? looks neat :)
we did not get any explanation or time to figure out the mechanics so it took me a good 20 seconds just to get the hang of it, but once i understood it it was fine.

all though, i dont see how this has anything to do with ancient technology, and the game is also really repetetive, try adding more to it.

good start tho. :)

Decentsauce says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 11:19pm

Very good entry! Especially liked the level of polish.(For example the skip level button and all the sound effects) My only issue with the game is that the scrolling isn't very smooth. Don't know if that was because of the .swf version but it made me a bit dizzy. Still, well done!

Pickens Inc. says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 11:29pm

Man, this game ended up far more complete an experience than I thought. The first level disarmed me somewhat, because then I had a hard time making any more progress! I really like the boss at the end, too.

Insanely hard for me, so I'll probably have to go back. Very nice music too. I like the first track best.

Vaiaphraim says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 8:27am

@jeremyfa: Thanks for your feedback! I'm not really sure, why the scrolling doesn't seem to be really smooth - maybe I should have went with more than 24fps :)

@metalhaze: That's great to hear :) About the puzzle block difficulty - a bit more leeway for the players would have been great indeed. Some combinations are insanely hard (especially at faster speeds). I'm glad you didn't give up despite that!

@Whitepot Studios: Thanks for your comment - I can tell you, why the levels ended for you that quickly. The reason is that the "S" key is mapped to skip a level at any time.
I chose to use the arrow keys for movement control.
I fully agree with you on the instructions, by the way. I also think that there's not enough time to read all the commands, before the level already expects you to know them. I probably should have paused the game, until the player confirms that they're ready. (TODO: Learn how do draw :D)

@Lon: You're correct - one extra button per level (apart from the final one, where you 'put it all together'). Thanks for your feedback!

@paruthidotexe: Actually, my crude attempts at art came from Flash's internal vector editor - not that I would have done better in paint :D. Thank you for pointing out the perspective problems between left/right and top/down by the way! It really is something I could have solved better :)

@mihaivdev: Thank you, I'm glad you had fun!

@simple_blue: Paint would have been the alternative^^ I used the vector editor in Flash for this project. Yeah, there should have been more time to read about the mechanics, before the first obstacles appear - I'm glad you made it nonetheless.
As for the theme... the plot device is an "ancient fireblade", which might or might not count. Let's say I took the easy way here. ^_^ Also, yes, more varied contraptions were planned (maybe also some really ancient ones :P), but I wasn't fast enough.

@Decentsauce: Thanks for your feedback! The .swf version is the standard thing, the .exe is only for people without flashplayer (the .exe has the player embedded). I don't really know where the smoothness problem comes from, since there are never more than 50 objects being drawn and updated at a time. It runs at 24fps - which is what I set the player to. Maybe a higher value would have been better?

@Pickens Inc.: Yeah, after the deadline I noticed that the difficulty scales maybe a bit too fast. The second level isn't only faster, the columns are also closer together - so it's getting harder in 2 ways.
Thank you for your feedback!

mennchen22 says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 3:43pm

Played the Game and loved it! The Jump gets useless when u can build bridges but that is OK^^ The music is great and the screens between the levels with the animation on the object look good. Nice Work !

Zeriver says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 9:02pm

Fun game. The best part was definitely music but gameplay was also okay, challenging levels that you can't just memorize (fire level). About controlls, first off key s just wins the level and i pressed that instinctively at the beggining before i read controlls. Let's say i was confused a bit :P Also having to press shift, q and space with my left hand was not very intuitive and comfortable. Other than that game is pretty cool and fun to play. I liked between level screen where you have kind of temple overview and game gives you a feeling of free choice what you want to explore next.

Vaiaphraim says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 3:13pm

@mennchen22: Thanks for the feedback! Yeah, I probably should have reduced the number of available bridge segments to make it more tactical (or prolonged the level duration, which was the initial plan :P)

@Zeriver: Thanks for your comment; I'm glad you enjoyed the game! The fire-level is the longest of them all, and quite fast, too^^ Memorizing does only work partially - the segments themselves are repeating, but in a random fashion. The columns are never in the same spot - neither are the fire segments :)

Yes, I totally agree on the controls. Using "S" to skip wasn't the best decision, especially, since I already used "WASD" for the level select keys, so it was mapped twice with a different function. Also shift, q, space are hard to reach with one hand. I'll make sure to go easier on the controls next time, since that's definitely not how I wanted to increase the difficulty!

AnaGF says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 1:15am

Concept is simple, but it is not bad, in fact it is pretty funny. Art could be better (ok, it is a jam, it is not that important). Audio is great, really makes you getting in the mood. Nice job overall, and congrats for making it in 48 hours :)

Somehow I imagined this as a music game, I think it could work awesome that way.

tedajax says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 5:57pm

The programmer art is great! Like the music too. The gameplay is simple but works well. The later levels definitely have you juggling decisions a bit more than you'd expect and it can be pretty challenging. Kind of wish the different actions were centralized a bit more. Stretching between space, shift, q is a bit much. Anyway I had fun and thanks for your feedback on Hand Cranky!

Vaiaphraim says ...
Sep 8, 2016 @ 3:58pm

@AnaGF: Thanks for your feedback! Yeah, I'm aware of my lack of drawing skills ^_^
I definitely agree, it could work as a music game with some changes... I actually thought of adapting the level speed to make it work, but the time ran out, and it wouldn't have been possible to scale the difficulty properly anymore :)

@tedajax: Thank you, I'm glad you had fun! The controls were a bit of a stretch (pun partially intended), and could have been easily fixed... But, alas, the time ran out and I didn't think of it anymore. I'll make sure to solve it better next time :)

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