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Program Announcements / 360 - Ludum Dare Entry

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ShellfishGames
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Posted: 29th Apr 2013 02:37
Hi!

I just finished my game 360. I started working on it today and worked on it for round about 12 hours. The theme was Minimalism, hence the game is extremely simple.

Basically it is a puzzle platformer that allows you to manipulate gravity. There are only 10 short levels, so finishing the game should be a matter of 10-20 minutes or so.



The screenshot doesn't really tell much apart from the fact that the "art style" is ridiculously simplistic (even in comparison to my other games, that is..), so I recommend watching the playthrough or preferably to simply try it out. It doesn't require an installation or anything, you can simply download it and run the exe without any extra effort.



In case you want to rate the game, you can do so here.

To play the game, here's the Download (1MB).


That's it for now. Thanks for your interest and have a nice day!
-Shellfish Games

Kezzla
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Posted: 29th Apr 2013 12:15
That was fun.

It left me wanting more levels. Good job. I like it.

The harder levels are definitely challenging and are achievable after some practice with the game dynamics.

You definitely succeeded in creating a very entertaining minimalist game.


I'm not a complete idiot -- Some parts are just missing.
ShellfishGames
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Posted: 30th Apr 2013 09:19
Thanks Kezzla!

I already thought about building a small, basic editor that allows me (and possibly others) to create additional levels. But I don't really know yet, so we'll see, I guess.

Clonkex
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Posted: 12th May 2013 06:49
Completed in 10 minutes. Quite enjoyable; could be expanded into a really good game. Make more levels

Clonkex

SamKM
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Posted: 18th May 2013 22:22
Brilliant, loved it!
This is probably a stupid question, sorry, but does it use Box2D for the physics?

[href][/href]
ShellfishGames
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Posted: 19th May 2013 00:01
Thanks guys.

Quote: "could be expanded into a really good game. Make more levels"


I'm glad to hear that, it's on my list. Will need a few weeks though.

Quote: "does it use Box2D for the physics?"


No, the physics are pretty simple so I coded them in DBP. It's really nothing more than standard gravity and movement with sliding collision. So basically this:



Where GravityX/Y are changed when pressing W, A or D.

I'm really interested in the evaluation.. quite a lot of people have rated it already (over 50) and most comments were surprisingly positive. I guess this won't be my last LD participation.

Indicium
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Posted: 20th May 2013 16:23
You should really think about porting this game to android or iOS, it could be a lot of fun on mobile. You could even control it using the gyroscope somehow.


They see me coding, they hating. http://indi-indicium.blogspot.co.uk/
ShellfishGames
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Posted: 10th Jun 2013 18:09
Here's the new (possibly final - this is not a WIP thread, after all ) version, including a few changes to the existing campaign as well as 7 new, more advanced levels, two of which are presented in the following gameplay video:



Also, your progress will now be saved (given that you unpack the whole game before playing) and you can access all unlocked levels from the main menu.

The download is attached (2.6MB).

I'm always open - very open in fact - for all kinds of feedback, so feel free to bombard me with your unfiltered thoughts. Thank you!

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xCatalyst
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Posted: 9th Jul 2013 01:25
This is awesome. Do you need any music created for it? Seems a little void without it; I can whip up a few tracks up for your title, gameplay, even credits or something. Let me know if that's something you're interested in, or if you want to stick solely to the minimalistic feel.

ShellfishGames
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Posted: 9th Jul 2013 13:41
Music? Why not?! Do you have anything particular in mind?

xCatalyst
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Posted: 9th Jul 2013 16:21
Minimalistic of course! I think some type of smooth electronic music would work well. Maybe some 8-bit sounds as well. If you wanna check out some samples of my electronic music, you can check out my website at the web button below. Just head over to 'My Works -> Audio -> Showcase' and scroll down to the electronic reels; I compose orchestral, electronic, rock/metal, jazz, etc. All kinds of fun stuff.

ShellfishGames
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Posted: 9th Jul 2013 20:38
Quote: "If you wanna check out some samples of my electronic music, you can check out my website at the web button below."


Guess what, I already did that beforehand.

Quote: "some type of smooth electronic music would work well"


I agree, something simple and not too fancy, rather abstract without actual "instruments". And if possible something that repeats well, i.e. without a clear intro or climax. Right?
If you want to send me a track I'll gladly put it in (given that it suits the game, but I'm quite confident about that).

Michael P
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Posted: 10th Jul 2013 01:27
This is very good. Port to smart phone/tablet and this could be the next big thing!!

xCatalyst
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Posted: 11th Jul 2013 00:20
Quote: "I agree, something simple and not too fancy, rather abstract without actual "instruments". And if possible something that repeats well, i.e. without a clear intro or climax. Right? "


Exactly what I was thinking, I'll begin today. I'm aiming to have something for you to preview by the weekend, so just keep an eye out

ShellfishGames
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Posted: 11th Jul 2013 01:08
@MichaelP: You're not the first to say that, I'm actually considering to buy the App Game Kit just to port the game to smartphones... however, I'm still not sure about the controls. The way it is realized now you need 7 keys. Indicium might have a point regarding the usage of the gyroscope though.. Anyway, I'll see what I can do. Thank you.

@xCatalyst: Brilliant, I really appreciate that!

xCatalyst
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Posted: 13th Jul 2013 21:09 Edited at: 13th Jul 2013 21:10
As promised, here is a quick preview of what I've been working on so far (Total time so far: a bit over 3 hours, listen with headphones to get full effect with surround). Not quite mixed/mastered perfectly yet, but that can wait until the piece is finished. I'm probably gonna change a couple things in what I have right now, but this is mainly to give you an idea of where I am going with this stylistically; I have a bunch of thoughts of just what I can write next to add to the piece, but I'd like to hear your input first. I noticed from your video that your sound effects may clash with the track, so if you're down, I'll whip up some for you that will work a little better. (I've programmed most/all of the synths your hear myself, so coming up with SFX with them should be no problem at all, just some bloops, bleeps, etc.)

Let me know what you think and what your ideas are so we can make it happen.

ShellfishGames
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Posted: 14th Jul 2013 02:34
Very nice! I like the positive mood it creates.

Quote: "I have a bunch of thoughts of just what I can write next to add to the piece, but I'd like to hear your input first."


Well, what can I say - just go ahead. I played the game for a while while listening to the mp3, and it felt quite good. A much more satisfying experience. The music is really encouraging and reduces the frustration of the harder levels, all without compromising the player's concentration.

Quote: "I noticed from your video that your sound effects may clash with the track, so if you're down, I'll whip up some for you that will work a little better."


No objections!

xCatalyst
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Posted: 16th Jul 2013 17:45 Edited at: 16th Jul 2013 18:10
So, I've added a section and made it loop a bit better. It's been quite a fun piece to work on haha, you can check it out here. I know it's probably a bit more upbeat and slightly more dramatic than what you were expecting, but I think you should enjoy it regardless. I've composed it over that youtube video to make sure it fits with the gameplay, so it should work out.

As for your SFX, what I need from you is a list of all the places you are actually using sound effects. From there, I'll create updated versions for you. Let me know what you think of the track.

EDIT: I just realized that there might be like a second of emptiness on that MP3 at the end, so I'll try and fix that so it loops better for you. I'm not sure if it is just with the audio player I used to listen to it, or something I messed up with the rendering process. I'll get back to you though.

ShellfishGames
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Posted: 18th Jul 2013 12:24
Amazing, thank you. I think it gives the game a lot more character.
I probably won't get to update the game until Sunday, but will make sure to do so as soon as possible, and possibly create a new trailer using the track.
I also thought about changing the game mechanics so that the player can only change gravity when standing on solid ground and not whilst airborne (sort of like in VVVVVV). That would require a redesign of most levels but allow more interesting puzzles.

Regarding sound effects, currently I only use them for those things:
- changing gravity
- hitting a switch
- dying
- winning
But I might want to use more, one for jumping (would have to try it out, I'm not sure if that would get irritating too quickly since you're jumping quite frequently) and one for hitting a switch that activates the goal, so the player knows the puzzle is solved and all he has to do now is get to the blue rectangle. Also a subtle sound for navigating through the menu (like a small click or swoosh sound when pressing an arrowkey to select another level) would be nice.
I created the existing sounds relatively quickly in sfxr without thinking too much about them, so I really have no idea how you'd approach it. But if it's not too much work for you I'd be really happy about a few good new sound effects.

xCatalyst
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Posted: 18th Jul 2013 17:57 Edited at: 18th Jul 2013 17:58
Hey thanks a bunch, I'm glad you like it! I've figured out the problem with the output process and checked it out. I've found that the loop seems rather abrupt after fixing it, so I'm gonna add another 5-10 seconds to it today to solve that issue.

My approach to SFX design is to actually just keep the harmonic sounds (That being, the ones that actually have an understandable pitch. Chords, small melodies, bleeps/bloops, etc.) in the same key as the music; inharmonic sounds are just the opposite (Swords clashing, metal, wind, etc. for example), and don't necessarily matter where they are placed. To get the sounds, I just program one of my synths. I have a pretty thorough understanding of them now after several years, so I can create/re-create just about any sound.

And I'd more than happy to carry out those sounds for you. I think that would be quite an interesting mechanic, definitely making it more difficult for sure. Have you thought about adding other modes to it? Such as maybe a time-trial mode where you race against the clock, for example. You've definitely got a great head-start for an exceptional puzzle game. And, as always, if you were to do that, I'd be happy to make more music for this.

Oh, quick question, after this project is completed, would you mind if I actually made a post about it on my website? I'm trying to show off some projects I've worked on to actually gain more work, and this is an awesome one. Just let me know

ShellfishGames
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Posted: 18th Jul 2013 18:51
Quote: "And I'd more than happy to carry out those sounds for you."


I like your attitude.

Quote: "Have you thought about adding other modes to it? Such as maybe a time-trial mode where you race against the clock, for example. You've definitely got a great head-start for an exceptional puzzle game."


So far - not really. I'm still not sure where to go with it. Whether it's worth investing a lot of additional work to make it a better game, or leave it small and simple and focus on other more complex projects. Not the easiest decision...

Quote: "Oh, quick question, after this project is completed, would you mind if I actually made a post about it on my website? I'm trying to show off some projects I've worked on to actually gain more work, and this is an awesome one. Just let me know"


No problem at all. I guess your long term goal is to actually earn money as sound designer? Or are you just interested in participating in cool projects in your spare time?
While my games until now were all free, I plan to work on a few ~5$ titles in the future. If you're interested I might come back to you. A good original soundtrack is always a great bonus to a game, as are high quality sound effects, and you seem to be quite capable of handling that.

xCatalyst
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Posted: 18th Jul 2013 22:12 Edited at: 19th Jul 2013 02:26
Quote: "I guess your long term goal is to actually earn money as sound designer? "


Ultimately, and yeah, sound designer/composer is the dream. I've looked up to Nobuo Uematsu (FF series) and Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono series) for quite awhile, so they are very much my biggest inspirations. I'd love to create some notably meaningful and memorable soundtracks for bigger games in the future. I'm also always trying to help people in terms of creativity, so when I see a potentially great project that is lacking in, say, audio, I'm always trying to assist in any way I can; Such as what I've done here.

Quote: "If you're interested I might come back to you. A good original soundtrack is always a great bonus to a game, as are high quality sound effects, and you seem to be quite capable of handling that."


Absolutely. I love experimenting with all sorts of different styles, to cover the broadest spectrum I possibly can. I believe versatility marks a great composer, so I'm incredibly open to all sorts of projects; whether it is electronic, orchestral/classical, jazz, even metal/rock. Whatever is needed, I've done all that so far and then some, and I'm always learning new things (ie. I'm only nineteen and self-taught, so I have a whole lifetime of learning ahead of me)



xCatalyst
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Posted: 20th Jul 2013 18:04 Edited at: 21st Jul 2013 00:48
I've finished everything you requested, as well as refined the loop so it flows appropriately and sounds good on anything you listen to it with (Everything is inside the attached zip). Let me know how everything sounds, if you need anything else, etc.

The contents:
-Switch (Normal)
-Switch (Final)
-Player Death
-Player Win
-Player Jump
-Menu Click
-Updated Theme Song

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ShellfishGames
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Posted: 21st Jul 2013 12:46
Music and sounds (had to convert them to WAV first because DBP's load sound only loads wav files) are in the game now.
I'm very satisfied with the music and the menu "click" sound - which is obviously very simple but makes the whole menu feel much more responsive than before. However, I think the jumping sound is too obtrusive. After a while of playing I tried to avoid jumping because the sound effect got on my nerves. Something shorter and more subtle would be nice. On top of that I prefer the old switch sound to the new one because it actually sounds like the effect of the player hitting the switch instead of some kind of detached sound that just so happens to be emitted by switches changing state. If you know what I mean.

I think I will work on a few more little features that I had in mind for the rest of the day and see how the restricted gravity changing mechanics work.

xCatalyst
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Posted: 23rd Jul 2013 00:20 Edited at: 23rd Jul 2013 00:58
I'll take your suggestions and rework those few sounds for you (And I do feel you on the normal switch sound, though, how do you feel about the final switch sound?). I apologize for the format issue, when I send you the updated sounds I'll be sure to just export them all as WAV to save you that hassle.

Let me know how the gravity restriction is working out. I'm excited to see/try the composite product with everything in place!

EDIT: Done and done. New sounds attached, hopefully a bit more satisfying!

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ShellfishGames
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Posted: 23rd Jul 2013 00:48
I sent you an email xCatalyst.

And to everybody who's still interested in the game, I guess we'll have the final (and this time final could actually mean final, you never know) version including soundtrack, new sound effects, updated gameplay, a few additional features and even more levels than in the previous version ready to play within the next days.

ShellfishGames
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Posted: 20th Aug 2013 18:36 Edited at: 20th Aug 2013 18:38
You know, sometimes time is just faster than me, and suddenly "within the next days" becomes "a month from now". Anyway - we worked on the game in the meantime and got it to a pretty polished state.

As announced in the last post, the game now includes a soundtrack, new sound effects, improved graphics, modified gameplay, a few additional features and challenges as well as new and improved levels.





You can download the game here if you like.

Chris Tate
DBPro Master
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Posted: 20th Aug 2013 23:33
Quote: "DBP's load sound only loads wav files"


It can load .ogg files too.

Clonkex
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Posted: 2nd Sep 2013 10:37
Woh, cool! My mailback address erased itself and I've missed so many posts recently, but I'm gonna download this in a minute and try it!

thenerd
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Posted: 2nd Sep 2013 16:52
This is super good. The gameplay is really smooth and fun, even though the graphics are simple they still look pleasing. Nice job to xCatalyst too, the music is great and fits in perfectly with the game.

Clonkex
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Posted: 4th Sep 2013 14:46 Edited at: 4th Sep 2013 14:48
I played the first version of this game just after it was first released and quite enjoyed it. Now it has evolved into a seriously cool game, just oozing with polish! Many thanks to xCatalyst for creating music that suits the game perfectly!

I really think you should expand this game even further, polish it more (for example, the tutorial texts don't always appear because players don't always jump to when you expect them to and they miss the text) and sell it. It's that good

The only real bug that I found was that the rewind feature can be used to cheat (particularly in the platforming levels) because it doesn't record momentum. That means if want to leap onto a narrow platform, you simply jump further than necessary and tap Tab as you fly over it. Also, if you actually miss the platform altogether, you can just hold Tab until you're over the platform again and let go, and because you then have no momentum, you fall straight onto it.

Otherwise, it's a properly fun game that I would happily pay for if it were expanded upon

EDIT: The fact that the character blinks every so often is just brilliant

thenerd
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Posted: 5th Sep 2013 18:39
Quote: "The only real bug that I found was that the rewind feature can be used to cheat (particularly in the platforming levels) because it doesn't record momentum. That means if want to leap onto a narrow platform, you simply jump further than necessary and tap Tab as you fly over it. Also, if you actually miss the platform altogether, you can just hold Tab until you're over the platform again and let go, and because you then have no momentum, you fall straight onto it.
"


I found that I was using the rewind feature to help compensate for the fact that it was really hard to land on a platform because of the sliding. I think a good way to fix the balance of both of those elements would be to decrease the amount the character slides a little and then fix the rewind.

Clonkex
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Posted: 6th Sep 2013 10:43
Quote: "I think a good way to fix the balance of both of those elements would be to decrease the amount the character slides a little and then fix the rewind."


I agree 100%. He's walking on ice the whole time.

ShellfishGames
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Posted: 7th Sep 2013 02:20
I've been so used to the controls that I didn't even realize there was something wrong with the sliding. But you're right, I will change it.

Thanks for your feedback!

Clonkex
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Posted: 7th Sep 2013 04:39
Quote: "Thanks for your feedback!"


No problem

SamKM
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Posted: 9th Sep 2013 23:42
This is an awesome puzzle game you've made, really engaging! It engaged me for over an hour until I realised I should be doing other work... xP

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