by JoshDreamland

Posted on November 10, 2014 at 1:33 AM

Themes: Broken, Alone, Possession

Well, this is it. The extension gave me another two weekends to work on this (up from the original two I invested), but unfortunately, I spent too much time on each mechanic instead of throwing together a loose plot, LD48-style.

I'm about 90% done, if we falsely assume that level design is 10% of the work.

Oh well. In the spirit of the competition, here is my entry, as-is! I'll continue adding things to it in my spare time. Consider it a WIP. [;)]

I'll be spending the rest of the night throwing in an actual combat scene.

All the freshest code is up here:
The game builds in ENIGMA; you (probably) won't have much luck building it in GM.

Design overview When I enlisted in Scary4D, it was at the prodding of RC, who basically asked that I spend ten minutes gluing together a text adventure. I eventually agreed to do this, despite knowing that I've never made a text adventure and find the majority of them excruciatingly boring. Lack of gusto and lack of experience are a winning combination so long as the goal is totally blowing at something.

Anyway, about a month ago I set out to make a simple platformer instead. A wise man once told me (and the rest of the free world), "Open your ass, and your heart and mind will follow." I never did figure out what the fuck he was talking about, but I imagine it had something to do with my decision to focus on animation instead of color, and the best way to do that is to make everything a silhouette, the style for which this game is named. Originally, I had intended to do some shape-shifting magic behind the scenes, but unfortunately, that didn't end up panning out, mostly due to a lack of creativity on my part.

Shitboatloads of time went into the design of the opening scene, where you were supposed to be acquainted to your nemesis for the game, a spirit which possesses and transforms things. Unfortunately, I only really got as far as that and some polish.

At the time of submission (look at me, writing as though I'll ever fix this!), the platforming was fine, except I did the collision checking from the center of the player instead of the feet, which adds exploits for wall-climbing. These are trivial except they allow the player to complete the level without unlocking the player's hidden ability.

The second room was meant to contain a cemetery where players would be pleasantly surprised to find something other than zombies, because zombies are too old-hat for this shit. Didn't get that far for release one. Oops.

I had also intended to have sirxemic write some music for it, because I believe music makes a world of difference in high-mood games. Unfortunately, he took one look at the game and said, "SHIT, SON; THAT'S THE DUMBEST GAME I EVER DID SEE. I WAS JUST WANDERING AROUND MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS ALL CHAINED UP 'N SHIT, AND THEN SOME SHIT HAPPENED AND I WAS FREE 'N SHIT, AND THEN I RAN THE END," and then I told him, "oh, well, that's okay; I'm going to go lie down in front of a rocket." (Note: conversation may be approximate or completely made up).

Eventually I decided that hanging around was getting kind of boring, so I cut the noose off of my neck and resumed development without him. It was around that time that the original deadline was approaching, and so I began the process of bugging RC about it. It sounded something like "WHAAARBLARGLBLARGL I NEED MOAR TIME ARSEY"; "I DON'T CARE IF YOU NEED TIME MY ASS WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT OF KUWAIT"; "WELL THEN LONG LIVE THE KING AND ALSO GIVE ME MORE TIME"; "WELL MAYBE THERE'D BE MORE TIME IF YOU WEREN'T STEALING MY SPORKS"; "WHERE AM I"; "I DON'T KNOW BUT I JUST EXTENDED THE DEADLINE" (Note: conversation may be approximate or completely made up).

This bought me two additional weekends of time to work on the game. So about a hundred years later (or one weekend of free time), I made an introduction to the introduction sequence to help gain the player's attention. I also polished up the ball-and-chain physics a bit and fixed some wonkiness with the running animation, because after all, open your ass, etc, etc. That was about it for that weekend, unfortunately, as a lot of other time went into fixing the nuclear warzone that was LGM's code editor (I wrote it, so I can call it whatever disaster I like. Except probably the holocaust. Erm. Anyway...).

The following weekend (which includes today) was spent making the rougher edges of what I had less obviously broken (I assume that wasn't what was meant by the theme "broken").

Today (submission day) was a quick hackaround to get messages working and add some more particles. Because obviously, when the deadline is just around the corner and you have basically nothing, the answer is to POLISH THE SHIT out of what you have. Unfortunately, polishing the shit out of shit leaves you without a release, so I had to cut my shining a bit short in some places.

Eventually, I looked down at the clock and noticed it was 7PM EST. My first though was, "what if this daylight savings shit means that I'm already late?" And sure enough, it did. So I spent the next hour and twenty minutes scrambling to get a build environment up on Windows so I could prepare a release, since no one was around who has a Windows install ready on the platform. Meanwhile, I remained completely calm while screaming horrifying obscenities at RC's operating system of choice, RC's innards, and RC. He then started screaming back at me, though all he said was "AFK," which I assume to mean "AWW FUCK KILIN," but that's confusing because I figured it was me he should have been screaming at.

After that blew over, I sat down, made some pasta, and began typing this. At the conclusion of my typing this I had finished most of my pasta, but the rest was kind of dry and unappetizing. I figured I would give it to RC. He did not respond to the invitation, presumably for strategic reasons, which is when I typed one last sentence and then hit the

Ferret commented November 10, 2014 at 1:32 AM
Haha that was a really cool way to open the game! Please finish :P
I got up to a blue room but I don't think I was supposed to be there.
JoshDreamland commented November 10, 2014 at 1:50 AM
Blue room was added by accident while scrambling to throw together a game. It's actually a default room, which is why the size is wrong and the framerate is halved.
Nopykon commented November 10, 2014 at 1:27 PM
Very dramatic dev-time. ^^ Initial reaction of the game. Very cool, smells like Limbo. I'm going to play more later.
thehood commented November 10, 2014 at 4:04 PM
Cool style, cool beginning! And also the controls feel good. Too bad that the missing 10% of the game are the levels ;)
armaldio commented November 10, 2014 at 10:51 PM
Really cool stuff, I want to plaay more and not go to blue room xD
Mataguiris commented November 11, 2014 at 12:58 PM
Tremendo, me gusta mucho la idea, es una lástima que solo se puedan jugar 10 minutos, juego bonito y divertido, y con muchas posibilidades, enhorabuena...
Kasmilus commented November 11, 2014 at 8:03 PM
Oh, what an amusing wall of text. Sweet. +1

I just played first 2 levels than I jumped into blue room and game froze. My computer too. So it looks like you managed to crash my high-end machine. -1

When the voting period will begin I will try to play it on another comp. For now I can only say that it looks lovely, I like that art style. And the first level. Even there's-nothing-just-pass-through level(aka da second one) felt nice.
pizzadude223 commented November 14, 2014 at 11:05 PM
I thought the concept was really cool. Cool way to describe the teleport ability. I want to see more.
Alert Games commented November 16, 2014 at 3:09 PM
I like particles
Castypher commented November 21, 2014 at 12:33 AM
Not much to this game, is there? It's very...short.

I was actually pretty impressed with the mechanics you had in place, especially considering that it was made in ENIGMA (and all the glorious development hell that must have been). I almost want to rate the game based on the capability of ENIGMA itself. The physics were interesting, as was the (what appears to be) skeletal animation system. The concept is also interesting and has a lot of potential for puzzle and horror elements. Unfortunately I didn't think the teleportation mechanic fit into this at all, unless it was seriously dumbed down and even more specialized than just turning on godmode.

I will be the first to say this, but I have issues with the silhouette graphical style unless it's earned, and I have to say it wasn't in this game. You have to have a serious sense of style in order to pull this off well, and blocky pixel art on a gradient background isn't particularly appealing. If your pixel art was smoother and more refined, you might be able to pull it off. But despite this, I was pretty impressed by your effects, mostly the waving grass, and I think this could potentially be a very pretty game if you put more time into the art.

The narrative was pretty dull, though maybe I'm the only one who's tired of "What is this place?" when the character wakes up in some surreal setting. Related to narrative though, I have to say you handled the tutorial bit pretty well by having the player witness for themselves what works and what doesn't, and you could easily do away with the narrative entirely with more cues like this.

You've set yourself up for quite a bit of potential, even if you weren't able to really get into it with this demo. To say your game engine is 90% complete would be a bit of a stretch for me though, because it feels weak in the core mechanics department and I'm not sure if you have other things you weren't able to show. The physics engine, for example, does nothing but control the ball and chain that you're stuck with for only a few short minutes of the game. That's a lot of time spent on a system that sees little use.

Also, I would spend more time with the opening scene to make sure you set the atmosphere as well as the mechanics. I didn't get much atmosphere from this but I think it'd do a lot for the game.

JoshDreamland commented November 21, 2014 at 2:15 AM
The 90% estimate was a bit of a joke; level design is more than half of any game. In fact, I'd say level design is the ninety percent, unless you're using the same stale elements in every level.

I don't understand your blocky pixel art remark, though; I don't use any sprites. Oh, I think you're referring to the line aliasing. Yeah, actually, that was a product of me designing on Linux and then distributing for Windows.

I had hoped to assemble more of an intro in which the player actually woke up in a dungeon, and then freed by a "mysterious force," which would have explained the ball and chain, and then lead up to the possessed fountain. It didn't come to be, mostly due to my weekday focus being on my job and other projects.

The teleportation mechanic was supposed to be part of a puzzle mechanic. I wanted to have the rematerialization be somewhat of an art to control, with precise control of it being crucial only for recovering optional pickups. Unfortunately, yeah, I didn't get very far—slapping it in to complete the demo was basically the last thing I did before I submitted the game.

I'm more of a fan of puzzle games, which is why I wanted movement to be a minimal part of the actual game. It's quite difficult to actually get killed in the first level, which doesn't do much for justifying the time I dumped into that stupid death animation. I figured dying would eventually be something that happened in the game; I was just having trouble being clever about how to kill you.
death commented November 22, 2014 at 11:34 PM
After holding D key for about 60 seconds and pressing Space a few times, the game crashed on a lovely blue screen (of death?) The teleporting mechanic could be more interesting, right now it feels more like air dashing. Anyway there isn't much here, so not sure what else to say. 2/10
JoshDreamland commented November 23, 2014 at 2:12 AM
If you need an example, you can try looking at what Kilin said.
s commented December 23, 2014 at 2:43 AM
It feels like you put more effort into the description than the game, tho that's not considering the physics & graphical systems which the game never really let's the player observe. In short, you'd be better off thinking up "How can I show off this cool engine?" than what you currently have

I know you know this, but now you know that I know. Which I know you know that I'd know this when I come to know this, but this is more letting you know that I now know this as this hasn't slipped through the cracks like other things you'd know I'd know if only I knew but I don't
mazimadu commented December 10, 2015 at 5:07 AM
It has been a while since I played an artsy game made with GM, much less GMS. Reminds me a bit of the cleaner. Good job
Anzhelion commented May 01, 2016 at 1:35 PM

There are a lot of bugs in the example