April 20th-23rd 2012 :: 10 Year Anniversary! :: Theme: Tiny World

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Pale Blue Dot

by KevinWorkman - Jam Entry

The Earth is sick of being a pale blue dot! Collect smaller space objects to grow, avoid larger space objects!

Sit back, relax, click the mouse every once in a while, and mostly just listen to Carl Sagan talk, and reflect on how insignificant we are.

I'm entering this in the jam because I didn't create the images (NASA helped) or the sounds (Carl Sagan helped).

Downloads and Links




nushie says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 11:44am

Carl Sagan <3

tompudding says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 10:27pm

"click the mouse to move". Great instructions. Very enjoyable, and obviously the soundtrack is perfect!

Hume says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 10:33pm

This was fun. I did have a control issue with clicking (dragging works much better), but not so much that I didn't play all the way through.

I really like the sense of humor here. And I'm a sucker for the fact that your different celestial categories had names of real items that you drew attention to. Pleiades! M31! Awesome!

Kvisle says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 10:35pm

The DNS-entry for the webserver I'm downloading this from is wrong;

s3.staticvoidgames.com is an alias for http://s3.staticvoidgames.com.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com.

It shouldn't have http:// in it. That's probably why webstart / applet loading fails. Downloading directly from AWS works.

Adding the following line in my hosts-file: s3.staticvoidgames.com

Fixes a lot of problems with that website in chrome. This probably affects other people too - you should check that out.

The game:

A nice prototype - would be nice if the camera could show a bit more of the surroundings as well.

KevinWorkman says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 10:43pm

Thanks guys!

My original intent was to overload it with real pictures from NASA and to make it slightly scientifically accurate, but I had to settle for just giving the names of things you run into.

I wanted it to be casual, mostly just listening to Carl Sagan and looking at pretty pictures, so I probably should have made the controls less sensitive. So if you're having trouble with the controls, try clicking closer to the Earth- the closer the cursor is to the Earth, the less of an effect clicking has on your movement speed. Slower is better for this game.

Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to play it!

KevinWorkman says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 10:48pm

@Kvisle, the site seems to work fine in Chrome for me? I think the http:// is required, otherwise the url gets resolves as a relative path. Can you elaborate more on what you mean, if you have the time?

Andrew says ...
Apr 23, 2012 @ 10:56pm

My system sounds are messed up right now so I didn't hear anything butwas definitely nice ramming things with the planet.

oldtopman says ...
Apr 24, 2012 @ 12:57am

Webstart is a bad link, and the applet crashes for me. Slackware Linux 13.37x64. FF11

KevinWorkman says ...
Apr 24, 2012 @ 1:01am

Ack. They both work fine for me so I don't really know how to debug that! I know "but it works on my system!" isn't a valid excuse, but the game doesn't include anything that shouldn't work with linux. I'd be curious to hear if anybody else is having issues.

kutuup1989 says ...
Apr 24, 2012 @ 1:03am

Cool idea! Pretty fun to play too :)

MurrayL says ...
Apr 24, 2012 @ 1:30am

And there was me thinking my game was the only one to include Carl Sagan!

Apr 24, 2012 @ 1:40am

Neat concept (Katamari Damacy with with planet earth!) but I found the mouse control to be a bit awkward.

TyrusPeace says ...
Apr 24, 2012 @ 1:45am

Thanks for making me listen to A Pale Blue Dot again :).

The game's a bit frustrating because of how little you can see, but that's also the main gameplay hook. The sounds are kinda rough and I feel like I started ping ponging between different celestial bodies a little too easily sometimes. I think that having the "character" move around rather the scene rather than stay centered in the view the whole time would make things easier.

angrygeometry says ...
Apr 24, 2012 @ 2:11am

great stuff. i eventually gave up after bumping into too many wandering M53s but i enjoyed it until then!

zzzev says ...
Apr 24, 2012 @ 4:46am

At first I just played the game, and found it a little frustrating, but after reading the author's advice it was a much more enjoyable experience, as a sort of galactic sightseeing/slow motion katamari. And, of course, Carl Sagan.

bburbank says ...
Apr 24, 2012 @ 4:09pm


ChrisWhitman says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 12:52am

I won! I'm not going to lie. I could listen to Sagan talk for hours. I had some graphical and sound issues (screen kept flickering and some of the sound levels were really low while others were really high). Fun, though, and totally worked as advertised!

MadGnomeGamer says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 2:04am

I won! Awesome game! A very cool but simple implementation. The mechanic itself is kinda repetitive but the graphics, general idea, and audio make it quite compelling.

doowttam says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 3:21am

Pretty fun. The crashing sound effect kept it from being soothing for me, but other than that I really enjoyed the experience.

jrasmussen24 says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 4:35am

I love the inclusion of Carl Sagan-- provided a hilarious juxtaposition to the bashing of celestial bodies.

Liliaze says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 11:48am

The sound is very well done and puts us in the mood. I like the principle that matches the theme. However, the game length is too short, no challenge. With the score would be perfect.

KunoNoOni says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 10:33pm

LOL! What an AWESOME game!

Milo says ...
Apr 25, 2012 @ 10:49pm

This is a cool thing to do while listening to Carl Sagan.

firstrowgames says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 1:00am

Fun and relaxing game with a Katamari concept.
I enjoyed the game, good work!

KevinWorkman says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 4:16am

Thanks so much for the kind words, guys. To be honest I wasn't very pleased with the result at first, but I'm glad that at least part of my goal was accomplished!

To further explain where my head was at when creating the game, part of the "goal" of the game isn't to finish it as fast as possible, but to just sit and listen and think about what Carl Sagan is saying, maybe look at the pretty pictures. I imagined the player spending the first minute or so just watching the earth drift slowly through space, listening to the beginning of a pale blue dot. Then maybe a large object would appear that would cause the player to avoid it, then a small one appears.. but instead of just crashing into it, the player could try to get it to orbit earth or something.

I know that slower games aren't very easy to portray in contests like these where we're trying to play as many games as possible, and I know the control sensitivity and top speed should have been toned down a little to encourage a slower, more "casual" experience. Lessons learned! But perhaps it's better to leave both in there- casual players are more than welcome to dive into the atmosphere by clicking closer to the earth (which results in smaller changes to the speed), and players who really care about winning can still do that as well?

Anyway I'm just rambling and thinking out loud, but my main point is THANK YOU for playing and THANK YOU for all the encouragement! This and The Carl Sagan award that MurrayL gave me pretty much made my day, haha.

Kassoon says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 4:28am

I never realize Solar 2 would have been improved with a Carl Sagan voiceover. Until now.

namuol says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 4:56am

Very Osmos-like. Also, you can't go wrong with Sagan.

Drabiter says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 2:18pm

It's fun :)

raarlac says ...
Apr 26, 2012 @ 5:51pm

Best "grow like theres no tomorrow" game in this LD

ahm99 says ...
Apr 27, 2012 @ 2:56pm

Cool idea and pretty fun too : )

Rabbits... says ...
Apr 27, 2012 @ 2:58pm

moving is kinda difficult...but great game...

Qaterknan says ...
Apr 29, 2012 @ 11:07am

It was difficult to play because I am used to click in the reversed direction in this type of game.

Birchmountain says ...
Apr 30, 2012 @ 10:08am

I really like the concept of this game! But i did end up trying to avoid everything because the sound at collision made it hard to hear Sagan! ;)

ilo says ...
May 1, 2012 @ 3:21am

Take that, Jupiter!

Lovely take on the theme, I must say.

Zythiku says ...
May 1, 2012 @ 4:33am

Fun, reminded me a lot of Osmos. And Carl Sagan is always great to listen to.

Jojo says ...
May 2, 2012 @ 10:06am

It doesn't work for me. I tried in Chrome and IE, in Chrome as an applet and in IE as an applet and webstart. As an applet, it keeps loading for very long and than it gives an error. As webstart, it just does nothing.

KevinWorkman says ...
May 2, 2012 @ 12:27pm

Jojo, that's strange since it seems to work for almost everybody else, and I just checked it and it hasn't gone down or anything. What is the error?

May 3, 2012 @ 4:49am

Kinda like Osmos, but with cheesy graphics and a cool soundtrack.
Good job, I had fun!

Datamosh says ...
May 3, 2012 @ 6:08am

Creative idea! Kudos for Carl Sagan, LOL!

rvmook says ...
May 4, 2012 @ 5:55pm

Nice concept and cool take on the theme. Would've liked some bigger transitions (shrinking/growing stuff or something) through the stages though.

Jiddo says ...
May 4, 2012 @ 10:11pm

I can't seem to load the game. The webstart link appears to be dead and the applet version gives me the following error (on Linux):

ExitException[ 3]java.io.FileNotFoundException: JNLP file error: http://s3.staticvoidgames.com/games/PaleBlueDot/applet.jnlp. Please make sure the file exists and check if "codebase" and "href" in the JNLP file are correct.
at sun.plugin2.applet.JNLP2Manager.loadJarFiles(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager$AppletExecutionRunnable.run(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:722)

Indeed it would appear that the "s3.staticvoidgames.com" domain itself cannot be resolved. A DNS query for the domain confirms what @Kvisle mentioned earlier, that the DNS entry for the domain is wrong. It should indeed NOT contain the "http://" part. The "http://" part is just a protocol specifier and has no place at all in the DNS entry. I recommend that you look into that.

Skywilly says ...
May 4, 2012 @ 10:56pm

Marvelous. I love this game !

KevinWorkman says ...
May 5, 2012 @ 12:14am

Okay, I updated the applet and webstart jnlp files to take your advice. I'd love to hear from some linux people about whether or not that fixed it, as I have no way to test that. Thanks for taking the time to let me know what's up.

Jiddo says ...
May 5, 2012 @ 9:37am

Hum, I'm not sure about what you changed, but I've tried querying several DNS servers for your domain, and it still seems to have the "http://" part in the DNS entry. It could just be a caching issue tho, so I'll could try again a little later, but I doubt that waiting will solve the problem. Here is the current result of a DNS query:

Additionally, I can now not load your main website at all. (The website itself worked fine yesterday.) I get the following response:
HTTP/1.1 503 Service Unavailable: Back-end server is at capacity

If you want you are free to contact me by email at: jiddo.lua [at] gmail.com for further debugging of this issue.

Jiddo says ...
May 5, 2012 @ 3:19pm

The DNS issues are all fixed now, so the game works perfectly on Linux as well (and probably on other platforms if anyone else had any problems before).

I really like the idea and the game mechanics. It feels sort of like a more personal take on Solar 2. I wouldn't mind some keyboard controls tho. I keep accidentally clicking outside the screen making the window end up behind something whenever I panic and try to steer away from something at high speeds. It would also be nice if you could zoom out, at least when at high speeds so that you can see stuff coming and react to them before it is too late.

The voice in the background was a very nice touch as well. Great work!

KevinWorkman says ...
May 5, 2012 @ 3:27pm

Awesome. Thanks again for taking the time to explain the issue to me!

ratboy2713 says ...
May 6, 2012 @ 3:41am

I would have given the audio a five, but the collision sound effect just ruined the mood.

Scott Baker says ...
May 6, 2012 @ 6:05am

As soon as I saw "Pale Blue Dot" and Carl Sagan, I immediately knew you hit the theme perfectly. I was so glad to hear Pale Blue Dot again.

spiral says ...
May 7, 2012 @ 8:16am

Potential here! I'd like to have a larger field of view and higher momentum on the earth perhaps.

madflame991 says ...
May 11, 2012 @ 7:54pm

Really cheesy - I like it! Twas a quite nice way to learn of new space objects

azurenimbus says ...
May 12, 2012 @ 12:45am

This has to be the best game over screen in the history of video games.

nornagon says ...
May 12, 2012 @ 5:14am

Love listening to Sagan, but the controls weren't very good :( half the time the planet didn't move towards my mouse, but away from it instead.

machinas says ...
May 12, 2012 @ 10:15pm

heh. sagansploitation! not too shabby. i clicked through the victory screen! oh no! i wish the screen was zoomed back just a touch. or maybe zoomed out as you grow. background changes with your scale would be nice too.

Pitoum says ...
May 13, 2012 @ 12:16pm

Nice game ! Like the gameplay event if the tiny screen make difficult to really anticipate bigger "stuffs". A widescreen version would be perfection.

Oye Beto says ...
May 13, 2012 @ 5:46pm

I won :)
Playing a simple game while listening to the Carl Sagan's speech was interesting. It was wise to use the narration because if the game didn't have it, it might be a little boring.

The sound effects are too loud compared to the narration volume.

AirRider3 says ...
May 13, 2012 @ 7:01pm


I laughed my ass off (literally) after the first two seconds of the game, when I had already taken down Venus and Mercury. I wasn't expecting what the game was really about. Thumbs up!! (For my, you'd be the winner of the 'fun' category ;D)

Oh, and great narrator :P

Raptor85 says ...
May 13, 2012 @ 7:43pm

I have java installed and updated (All other java games play fine) but both of your links when I attempt to play the game try to take me to java.com to download an installer, a downloadable version would be nice, it looks interesting but not much I can do as you're site won't let me play it :/

Make A Game says ...
May 13, 2012 @ 11:26pm

Oh man, we we're going to make something similar to this. I really enjoyed it but a bigger viewport would be appreciated. I could barely see what was coming from the sides. Loved the names poping up when hitting the objects, but the Carl Sagan speech just made the game way more hilarious than I was expecting.

chambers says ...
May 14, 2012 @ 12:43am

It took me a while to figure out how the controls worked, but it was fun nonetheless =P

I loved the idea of using spoken narrative to set up the mood. I have a criticism about that though, parts of the game are funny (I lol'd at the title, ending and game over screens) while the main gameplay part has a dense, serious mood. I found that kind of inconsistent, the game could have easily been one of my favorites in the "mood" category due to the audio, but the fact that you chose to use a lot of jokes made the otherwise beautiful mood less intense.

Anyways, congrats on your game, I had a good time collecting other planets =)

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