August 24th-27th 2012 :: Theme: Evolution

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Soul Jar

by farmergnome - 48 Hour Compo Entry

Hi guys, first time Ludum Dare entry, hope you like it, its about evolving AI. A robot that collects and imitates lifeforms, a "soul jar" from space, crash lands and must return to his ship. Along the way you teach it how to behave and depending how you influence and evolve his AI will result in several different endings.

His AI will develop based on your actions, as he learns from you. If you become aggressive shooting your way through the enemies the robot will take on aggressive traits, eventually even targeting you, if you heal, carry and protect him he will learn to protect you also, if you are greedy and consume all the food and liquids and items he will adopt those traits also. There are lots of possibilities with how he acts though I kind of ran out of time as the list is still largely unimplemented. Future version maybe?

Short Trailer here:

Downloads and Links




Porpentine says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 2:03am

I like this a lot! The increasing sense of danger approaching the crash site, the cute little robot, helping it out of pits, the production values are all great.

When I get near the end I'm not sure I understand what's damaging me though, I seem to die just for being near the site?

nosfer says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 2:31am

nice mechanics, innovative and on theme :)

farmergnome says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 4:57am

The sandstorm will damage you over time Porpentine. Thanks guys.

farmergnome says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 5:07am

But on that note, if you evolve his protection AI by lifting him over ledges, feeding him water, etc he will create a force-field that protects you from the sandstorms/weather.

Follett says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 5:46am

Loved the mood and graphics. The shotgun was really fun to play with and incorporated the theme well.

Cell says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 5:51am

Really cool and atmospheric, the only -'es is the never ending sandstorms and somewhat clunky controls. :)

farmergnome says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 6:33am

Thanks guys, yea I pretty much had to knock the platforming together pretty quick since there is a fair amount of detail that went into the droids behaviors and all that, would have liked to adjust the wall climb a little more but o well...

Nick Knowlson says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 7:33am

One of the best I've seen so far!

BMacIntosh says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 7:42am

This game looks great. Great sound, great mood - I love the reactions of the bot and the sounds associated with it, especially. One big thing that bugged me, though, was that I had no goals. I wasn't really sure whether I should be running left or right or how far or if there was any kind of progression to the thing.

farmergnome says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 7:53am

You at some point will reach a spaceship, and the droid will drop some hints how to get inside.

madpew says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 8:25am

Great game, nice graphics. I got a little lost and died somewhere on the left side. Some more sound-effects would have been nice but the wind/storm adds alot to the athmosphere. Well done.

TinyHat says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 10:15am

Awesome. It's a bit confusing but very nice :)

amidos2006 says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 1:26pm

Nice game I like it :)

NostraDamon says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 7:43pm

That's a lot of work!

codesavage says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 10:55pm

Beautiful look to it, a very interesting game.

vigrid says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 12:55am

One of my favorite entries so far - I love the graphics, and I love the theme. The only downside I see are the controls. Please definitely explore this concept further - I love the learning AI.

flyingbear says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 12:55am

Love the atmosphere you set up. I didn't understand what some of them were supposed to represent, due to some of them being so small. I really enjoyed witnessing my robot friend learn new skills.

thewiseguy99 says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 3:28am

Nice feel and particle effects. Amazing entry in such little time

farmergnome says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 4:23am

Would anyone be interested in a expanded version? Possibly with all the mechanics/more content/better controls and a bit more refined?

Alface says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 5:00am

Very good!

v3n0m says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 5:29am

Just awesome, would definitely be interested in an extended version.

michax says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 5:44am

I would be interested in extended version for sure. Has this nice Limbo feeling. But as you said controls must be refined a little. Good luck!

Geti says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 7:38am

Gotta say (as I did on TIGS) that this is fantastic. Keep it up man, I always enjoy your work.

kodguaxinim says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 8:21am

One extended version for the trip, please.
Anyway, great work, really enjoying...your are already been featured in haha

Jiggawatt says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 3:24pm

This is adorable. 5 stars for mood. The controls were a bit clumsy at times but the basic mechanics are nice.

ratking says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 7:27pm

Totally enjoyed the game. Beautiful graphics and intense kood. Helping the robot was sweet, although I never got this far that he evolves a protection field (red it in the comments).

Aug 28, 2012 @ 7:38pm

This may be one of my favorite comp games so far. PLEASE extend it, the atmosphere, controls and idea behind an AI companion are beautiful.

I'm still in the process of playing it, actually, and I'm having a lot of fun. My little guy fell down a pit and I needed to rescue him but I didn't feel annoyed but sympathetic.

Aug 28, 2012 @ 10:49pm

Great idea! Love the presentation too :)

I think the characters and instructions are a bit small though, you have to squit to make them out well. And using the Z-button (different spot in int. keyboard-layouts) makes conrolling it a bit painful.

sPe says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 12:31am

Simply love the visual style, it all fits together pretty nicely. Also can't see anything wrong with the controls, except the climbing behavior is a bit strange at times.

The only downside for me is that after some time it feels kind of repetitive (or I totally missed the point at using that spaceship). I just kept running, finding food, enemies and edges to climb :). Also found these red things and some hats I couldn't really use. Hope that doesn't sound too negative. For 48 hours there is a whole lot of nifty details in there.

farmergnome says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 12:59am

I did a bit of a writeup on what went right and wrong:

Aug 29, 2012 @ 1:31am

Not sure why, but I get a small white window, and it gets stuck before it starts every time.

farmergnome says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 1:55am

hmmm might be a driver issue or something, what sort of graphics card and direct x version do you have Sgt Squrrelly?

Kassoon says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 2:43am

The minimalist art style and parallax are great! Also really clever idea to have a companion that literally follows your lead. Mine left "unchanged," probably cause I carried him around so much.

Oreganik says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 3:41am

Amazingly atmospheric little game for 48 hours. Well done.

isengero says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 4:41am

My fav so far.

sfernald says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 5:01am

Wow, what a great art style this game has. I love the use of the sun in the background and the way it colors everything. And the sand storm is a wonderful effect. Looks great, and it shows that native apps are still worthwhile, because I don't think this would have been nearly as smooth in flash or html. Great job.

moonmagic says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 5:08am

I really love how the robot reacts to everything, possibly before the player has time to consider the ramifications of an action. I found myself picking everything up, only to realize that I had inadvertently taught the robot to collect things before I could use them (at least I think that's what happened). Seconding some other opinions about the need for some impassible obstacle after the spaceship, although I rather enjoyed the futility of just pushing into the sandstorm, forever; my robot was very protective of me, though, and I couldn't die.

I think the ideal ending for players (like me) who ignore the spaceship and travel too far away from it would be to run out of food and die while the robot makes confused, cheerful noises, and then maybe it lays down beside you.

This was really lovely.

davisan says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 5:14am

Wow! Impressive!

farmergnome says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 6:18am

Well, long story short, I am working on a longer version of this right now, so keep the suggestions coming! I will add anything that makes sense :)

recursor says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 12:53pm! Yeah. I think that about covers it.

Puzzlem00n says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 5:57pm

The first time I played this, I didn't get that I was influencing the robot. I died. Then I paid attention to the messages popping up. OH. I died again. I still haven't gotten an end, and I haven't rated it yet, but I'm loving this.

You wanna know what's funny? The art style is so oddly familiar, because it is almost exactly how I internally imagine how my games should look. It's like, when I imagine a new game idea, the graphics are really similar to yours. Capturing subtle beauty in a broad and unknown landscape... It's fantastic. Unfortunately, I can never get it to look like that in real life like you.

Puzzlem00n says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 6:10pm

Alright, I finished with unremarkable changes to its behavior. All in all, very nice game you have here. 5 stars, and please, stay around here a while for the MiniLD!

pighead10 says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 11:21pm

Great entry, brilliant graphics.

mes says ...
Aug 31, 2012 @ 1:19pm

really nice. improve the controls though.

TobiasNL says ...
Aug 31, 2012 @ 2:19pm

Good stuff man, very strong atmosphere. Loved your gfx as well.

BNeutral says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 1:49am

Lovely! Although at first I went left after getting intimidated by a sandstorm, so I didn't find the crash site until I read in the comments there was a crash site, and played again going right.

joeguy3 says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 6:12am

The game looks great! i would really like to do a lets play with your permission. Here is my channel->

PapyGaragos says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 11:03am

I had an annoying bug ( but was able to play it anyway.

I was aiming for the mood category this time, but I think you will beat me to it

Still, one of my favorite entries :)

farmergnome says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 11:11am

Hey Papy, that would be your video card bro, either no direct x9 or no pixel shader support, the game requires both or it will bone out hard.

sPe says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 2:06pm

Well, I was motivated enough to just come back and give it another try. Of course with the knowledge from the comments I was finally able to finish the game, but I noticed 2 things that could be helpful to comment here.

1) I believe the most noticeable issue with the controls is not really the climbing behavior (which just takes a bit to notice that its hard to climb while a sandstorm hits you). But it is kind of unexpected that you lose nearly all your running speed when jumping. That makes reaching some cliffs hard in a "frustrating" way.

2) Maximizing the window makes observing the game mechanics so much more feasible. It's surprising how much accessibility of all the small details you can observe increases when the small symbols and movements are actually visible :).

MrDanH says ...
Sep 3, 2012 @ 12:30pm

Brilliant concept although when I got the robot to the spaceship it said he hadn't learnt anything in particular, had I been too hasty in getting him to the ship?

goerp says ...
Sep 5, 2012 @ 3:56pm

Wow! Really feels you have a companion. Looks amazing, atmosphere is the best I have seen yet. I didn't really know what to do, I walked for a very log distance with the robot, but after half an hour ended the game, it seemed endless. Now I read that going right was the thing to do. Will try again, but already very enthiousiastic. No wonder you were mentioned on IndieGames.

Cake&Code says ...
Sep 9, 2012 @ 4:40am

Momentum loss when jumping is frustrating at times, but the cute robot mechanics and the visuals are simply wonderful. Makes me wish I had my own little Johnny 5 running around.

p.s. Loved what you did with Under the Garden! We're followers of Under the Ocean too, hope to see it keep getting better! Cheers :)

Kmad says ...
Sep 9, 2012 @ 10:19am

Wow, the atmosphere, sound and visuals are superb. The game is lots of fun too. I hope you develop this further.

chuchino says ...
Sep 11, 2012 @ 10:52pm

Cool idea and really nice aesthetic. The first time I played I ran to the left for a really long time and the game never seemed to end, and the next time I ran to the right and found the wreckage fairly quickly. I think it should have been possible to reach the wreckage by travelling in either direction (or there should have been something stopping you from going too far too the left).

axcho says ...
Sep 13, 2012 @ 6:22am

Awesome art and mood. It's some of the most inspiring pixel art for a game I've ever seen, 48 hours or not! I liked the beginning few minutes but I couldn't seem to get very far...

lekochen says ...
Sep 15, 2012 @ 10:31am

So beautiful, for both graphics and mood.

rubna says ...
Sep 17, 2012 @ 4:29pm

I really love this! The graphics are great, the robot is cool and has a great AI for it being made in 48 hours! Only thing is that it's hard to understand, but maybe that's for the better. Really nice job mate!

csanyk says ...
Sep 17, 2012 @ 11:19pm

Incredibly beautiful.

farmergnome says ...
Sep 18, 2012 @ 3:03am

Thanks everyone who voted for the game, you can check out progress of the improved version here:

Cheers guys!

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