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Author Topic: 48 Hour Ludum Dare Challenge - "We Are Alone" (Version 2 available)  (Read 26574 times)
Tifu
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« on: December 19, 2011, 10:38:21 AM »

*edit 28 July 2012*
Version 2 is available! Download

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I entered my vewwy first Ludum Dare at the weekend Konata the theme was "Alone".



I created a game with a procedurally generated map for three reasons , one - designing levels is time consuming, so having the game generate the levels is beneficial for such a limited time limit; secondly - it adds a lot of replay value, in theory at least; and thirdly - it's not something I have had too much experience coding, and I want to get some experience at it for future projects.  I think the randomly generated forests, mountains and lakes really come out pretty well. There's a lot that could be done to make the generated world better, but for 48 hours I think it's ok.

In the game you play as one of six characters who find themselves lost in this environment, the cold will slowly kill you so you have to find an escape quickly (exploring caves, looking for tents that have been abandoned, gather items such as maps and  first aid kits...) if you die, you play as one of the remaining characters, repeat until you find your escape, or everyone dies trying

As you walk you leave footprints in the snow, when you die these aren't erased, so if you find your previous attempts footprints, you can follow them and collect any items you dropped when you died, or if you died at a dead end, you know not to go that way this time!

Ludum Dare Entry Page: Link!

Download Link: Download
« Last Edit: July 29, 2012, 07:38:33 AM by Tifu » Logged

Parsec
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2011, 10:18:06 AM »

Don't know if you noticed, but your entry was mentioned in this article:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12/19/they-are-all-alone-ludum-dare-picks/
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Tifu
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2011, 11:15:59 AM »

I hadn't until a little while ago, whoo Cheesy

Also showed up here: http://www.gameconnect.net/gc/indie/features/preview/42356/ludum-dare-22-preview

Feedback has been pretty good!  Only major criticism is the lack of music, I guess I'll have to learn how to do that myself if I want to take part in the next comp Cheesy
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Gen
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« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2011, 10:58:24 AM »

Hello Tifu,

I registered to Blackmoth forums cause I really enjoyed your Ludum Dare project. I already commented on your project page, but I would like to talk in person about what I liked, and what I disliked. And by the way, you have quite a good spam filter, usually I see only one of these options at a time, that's an efficient protection, ah ah.

One little question first : sometimes, trees are generated with a grey color. You screens also show it, so I guess it is on purpose ? I thought of a bug the first time it happened. Speaking of bugs, I don't remember having experienced any, you've done a good job based on the random generation of the map. The characters aren't really aligned to their footprints, but's that's not really a bug, just a tile occurence.

So, basically, We Are Alone kickassed. Let's be a little bit more specific.

The first time I played, to sum up things, I was lost. And I suffered, oh yes, that was painful, and even worse when wolves started to run after me. But beyond the blood, you managed to create a very immersive mood, with all these engravures talking about stuff I couldn't even understand at the moment. And these abandonned camps here and there were frightening, at least, I just imagined these poor people were in the same situation as me, and died of frost, or worse (then I imagined corpses burried under the snow, yeepee). After having beaten the game for the first time, I really liked how these little mysteries and clues merged together towards an end I never considered litteraly.

Another surprising thing : when I learned how to play, I managed to beat the game way more quickly, though it took me numerous tries to beat it the first time. The map generation/footprints/characters system is really well done, everytime it's a different adventure to go through, but when you know the rules, the impossible seems a little bit more actually doable, and you even start to have some skill in the art of running desperately in the snow. I really enjoy having to mind-map the place with the help of footsprints before getting the actual map, and that's something the frost and wolves won't let you do easily. Each map generation, you can enjoy quickplays, and you linked every single detail to the background, even the random map generation with a rather gruesome truth. It's really something to go out with the pendant for the first time, and see things as they really are. The ending itself was surprising, with a lovely lovecraftian mindfuckish touch. Each character is easily recognizable, and this little bit of people kind of grow attaching after a while (my personnal favourite being Jessica, don't ask me why). It's interesting how their lifebar differs, there could have been further attributes to play with (speed increase for an athletic character ? Frost hurt reduction for Andrew ?), but what you've done in 48 hours is of course already viable in itself.

As you noticed, the only thing that really lacks is some kind of music, sound of footsteps in the snow, wind, or even 8 bit wolf cries when they notice you (the stuff of nightmares...). With some kind of sound ambience, I think the game could me even more efficient in frightening the player, and making him feel alone in this harsh frozen land. You could even think of blizzard occuring randomly (some sort of texture repeating over the screen), but I'm going off topic. The basic graphics are nice as they are, though the characters kind of need a better walk animation. And the wolves could be far more terrifying if they actually turned into something else when you hold the pendant, since the game becomes easy when you acquire this item. That would also explain why an engravure talks about wolves that don't exist in the first place. Anyway, my point isn't to tell you what to do with your game, don't pay much attention to my crazy talk.

Do you plan to work further on this game ? I'd be very pleased to help with walking animation, tiles or that kind of stuff if you plan to do so. I know I come out of the blue, but I still could do some tries, you'd just have to tell me if you're satisfied with it, I'd be very glad to help you improve the game, even if you have to keep it simple. As for the music, there's some random midi generators that could do great things with some tinkering, a vast majority of LD48 developers use that kind of softwares : http://tones.wolfram.com/generate/

Besides, I also talked about the game on my (french) blog : http://genstream.falena.fr/?post/Ludum-Dare-22

Have a nice day, thank you for this great time I had playing We Are Alone Smiley
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Tifu
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« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2011, 04:06:56 PM »

Hello Tifu,

I registered to Blackmoth forums cause I really enjoyed your Ludum Dare project. I already commented on your project page, but I would like to talk in person about what I liked, and what I disliked. And by the way, you have quite a good spam filter, usually I see only one of these options at a time, that's an efficient protection, ah ah.
Hi, the spam filter actually isn't that great - they keep posting even with it the way it is, I don't know how other people manage these things properly, but enough of that!  Many thanks for coming to post, means a lot!

Quote
One little question first : sometimes, trees are generated with a grey color. You screens also show it, so I guess it is on purpose ? I thought of a bug the first time it happened. Speaking of bugs, I don't remember having experienced any, you've done a good job based on the random generation of the map. The characters aren't really aligned to their footprints, but's that's not really a bug, just a tile occurence.
The trees are randomly grey (supposed to be snow covered, maybe I went too dark...) or green.  I thought it'd be more interesting if the landscape wasn't exactly the same tileset every playthrough, but I only set up the trees to change, heh.

Quote
It's interesting how their lifebar differs, there could have been further attributes to play with (speed increase for an athletic character ? Frost hurt reduction for Andrew ?), but what you've done in 48 hours is of course already viable in itself.
This is certainly an awesome idea, time limitations prevented it but it was in mind.  Didn't know if I could code and balance six unique abilities within the time limit. I did at some point have each character have a separate "max energy" and "delay between energy loss" stats - I decided it would be better, seeing as these were the only stats present, to just simplify it to max energy - as an increase in maximum energy and a delay between energy loss, both amount to the same thing - living longer.  Different speed stats and maybe some unique things like wolves don't notice the kid as easily or something.

Quote
And the wolves could be far more terrifying if they actually turned into something else when you hold the pendant, since the game becomes easy when you acquire this item. That would also explain why an engravure talks about wolves that don't exist in the first place. Anyway, my point isn't to tell you what to do with your game, don't pay much attention to my crazy talk.
The wolves do actually turn red when you pick up the pendant, maybe the effect was too subtle Tongue if they had actually transformed and behaved in some different manner, that point would have been better made, yes Cheesy

Quote
Do you plan to work further on this game ? I'd be very pleased to help with walking animation, tiles or that kind of stuff if you plan to do so. I know I come out of the blue, but I still could do some tries, you'd just have to tell me if you're satisfied with it, I'd be very glad to help you improve the game, even if you have to keep it simple. As for the music, there's some random midi generators that could do great things with some tinkering, a vast majority of LD48 developers use that kind of softwares : http://tones.wolfram.com/generate/

Besides, I also talked about the game on my (french) blog : http://genstream.falena.fr/?post/Ludum-Dare-22

Have a nice day, thank you for this great time I had playing We Are Alone Smiley

Considering all the awesome feedback I've been getting, I'm certainly considering working on it further.  Maybe I'll make a post some time of some ideas...

I can't start it right now anyway, I have two projects going on, a large project that is on hiatus until the writer gets enough free time to resume writing (the gameplay itself for Legacy of the Worms, is done, but its a survival horror/puzzle/platformer with point and click investigative and puzzle solving elements - so there is a lot of writing involved) and the smaller project is a Powerpuff Girls fangame, I started coding the last three levels of that today, after which there is just graphics/sound/music to do, so... it would probably be after those are finished before I would be able to start work on turning this into a full game.  Legacy of the Worms is my priority, the moment I can work on that again, the Powerpuff thing will be paused - if the Powerpuff game is finished before I can work on Legacy, then I could start this at that point, but then IT would have to be put on pause the moment Legacy of the Worms can be worked on again.  I've been working on Legacy of the Worms for like three years now, so you understand I am eager to be done with it release it before starting anything larger than a weekend project Cheesy

tl;dr version: Too many projects going on at the moment to start it right now Tongue

Help with art would certainly make things easier if I do redo this, I *can* do better art than is present in the game, but even so, it's not the part of creating a game that really brings me joy so that would be appreciated if you're still interested if/whenever I get the time to do this.


Many thanks for the detailed post and mentioning the game on your blog, much appreciated Smiley
Also thanks for the link to the midi thing, I had no idea such things existed!
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Tifu
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« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2011, 04:41:27 PM »

Oh yeah. I put together a video/timelapse this morning: http://youtu.be/470se-5AP7o
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Gen
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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2011, 05:26:57 PM »

Quote
The trees are randomly grey (supposed to be snow covered, maybe I went too dark...) or green.  I thought it'd be more interesting if the landscape wasn't exactly the same tileset every playthrough, but I only set up the trees to change, heh.
I see, it almost had a world-without-colors psychological effect (even if water and rocks had colors), si I guess the idea isn't that bad. Desaturation is probably a quick way to put snow on trees :p

Quote
Different speed stats and maybe some unique things like wolves don't notice the kid as easily or something.
Kid not followed by wolves, a hint to the true meaning of the Little Red Riding Hood tale ? You can imagine other interactions with wolves : a steak item that you could use as a decoy to walk away, but it's getting too complicated.

Quote
The wolves do actually turn red when you pick up the pendant, maybe the effect was too subtle  if they had actually transformed and behaved in some different manner, that point would have been better made, yes 
Ah ah, I noticed they turn red, yes, but I was expecting something more horrendous and tentacular based on the writings found earlier. When you find the pendant they're the only thing that can stop your run to the endgame, it would be fair to overpower the lads a little bit, or just make them immune to the gun.

While we're talking about endgame, I actually had a little bug : sometimes when entering the final cave I managed to shoot the heart while I was entering the place, before I could even see it, that felt quite unfair for the poor defenceless thing.

Quote
I can't start it right now anyway, I have two projects going on, a large project that is on hiatus until the writer gets enough free time to resume writing (the gameplay itself for Legacy of the Worms, is done, but its a survival horror/puzzle/platformer with point and click investigative and puzzle solving elements - so there is a lot of writing involved) and the smaller project is a Powerpuff Girls fangame, I started coding the last three levels of that today, after which there is just graphics/sound/music to do, so... it would probably be after those are finished before I would be able to start work on turning this into a full game.  Legacy of the Worms is my priority, the moment I can work on that again, the Powerpuff thing will be paused - if the Powerpuff game is finished before I can work on Legacy, then I could start this at that point, but then IT would have to be put on pause the moment Legacy of the Worms can be worked on again.  I've been working on Legacy of the Worms for like three years now, so you understand I am eager to be done with it release it before starting anything larger than a weekend project

tl;dr version: Too many projects going on at the moment to start it right now

This sure sounds complicated :')

Well, I'd enjoy to give a hand anytime, I just don't know if we can still contact each other when the time comes. Maybe I'll wait by looking at this three year project you're talking about, from what I've seen it was interesting, Flashback is some good inspiration, and I like your art style.

When I talk about helping with graphics, I don't mean replacing your artworks, I think they're just fabulous as they are, you created a few pictures that say everything (and even took the time to do variations for each character), it's perfect like that. I enjoyed your drawing style, simple and right to the point, just like the game. I guess you can indeed do better in more than 48 hours, and I understand what you mean by the joy of creating a game from scratch Smiley

I don't think We Are Alone would need a lot of improvements anyway, you've already achieved a really good job here.

(Nice timelapse and game preview Wink )
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Tifu
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« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2011, 04:52:34 PM »

Quote
You can imagine other interactions with wolves : a steak item that you could use as a decoy to walk away, but it's getting too complicated
Nah, that's exactly the kind of thing I would have had to consider if I had had time to make the wolves smart enough to run around obstacles Cheesy Parsec also had the suggestion of making the wolves go through a kind of pounce animation when they close in on you that could be dodged with good timing, this would also work well for when you can't find any meat.

Quote
While we're talking about endgame, I actually had a little bug : sometimes when entering the final cave I managed to shoot the heart while I was entering the place, before I could even see it, that felt quite unfair for the poor defenceless thing.
Yr, Parsec had that too. I assume it occurs when you enter the end room facing up and the game just registers that you held A too long.  Would be simple to fix, just needs a check in place to make sure you released the button before firing again or such...
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Gen
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« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2011, 11:10:13 PM »

Another detail I noticed about wolves : their walk animation seems like they're flying (or swimming through thin air), quadruped animals don't exactly move that way, just look at a leopard running after its preys. Had a little time to kill, so I tweaked the sprites around to give you an idea of what I mean :



Also, I've had a look at the Legacy of the Worms demo, it's pretty nice, I didn't expected it to be so hard, dying numerous times from height or killed by the weird things. I didn't reach the end yet, but I like it Smiley
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Tifu
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« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2011, 03:24:27 PM »

Yeah, I'll blame the walk  animations on time restrictions too =P
Though that doesn't work very well when you can watch the timelapse and see I spent a lot of time on youtubes.... anyway, yesh, looks better =D

Thanks for checking out the demo, I should really make an update video on the status of Legacy... that demo, and the vids I have of gameplay on youtube, are all from a long time ago when I was coding that game in Playbasic, which I had to stop using due to technical problems, so its been through a huge overhaul getting it into Blitz3D and such.  Its the same basic gameplay, but... yeah.  Better.


I've been thinking maybe rather than remaking/tweaking this game I could work on something that is in the same spirit but on a larger scale... I saw this video, and the image used as the background filled my head with ideas about an individual stuck in a dark lovecraftian dreamscape made of explorable islands, a small rowboat can be used to get yourself from island to island, all kinds of things lurking around... randomly generated world of course.  Still basic idea of finding items that will help you find an escape/solution/whatever. 
It would mean losing the snow and six lives... which is a large part of We Are Alone, so that's... an issue Tongue
*ponders*
« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 03:26:20 PM by Tifu » Logged

Gen
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2011, 06:22:28 AM »

Yeah, the timed survival from frost and wolves was a big part of We Are Alone, though you can apply that to starvation with your explorable islands idea. But the environment itself is less terrifying and harsh. You can keep the six lives system, characters would be survivors from some kind of shipwreck, waking up along beaches. The setting of the picture reminds me of China Sea's Ha Long Bay. The interesting thing is there's plenty of legends around these islands, based of their geological morphology and China's ancient mythology. Imagine this kind of scenery at 479′S 12643′W in the Pacific Ocean, and you'll have a good lot of interesting ideas to work on Smiley

I'll sure keep in touch with Legacy, I'd really like to see how it works on a full length game, the demo is already interesting and fun to play.
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Tifu
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2011, 02:49:12 PM »

Well I wasn't thinking so much a regular island survival thing, I was going with more the tone of the last act of We Are Alone - the whole lovecraftian angle, the environment would therefore be much harsher with all kinds of horrible things going on - also a starvation meter wouldn't realistically go down all that fast, but in an eldritch dream world your life force could just be getting slowly sapped away, or your sanity Cheesy


I just found out there was an extra challenge going on during the Ludum Dare - Kitten Challenge - which explains why so many entries seem to be about cats... I could have easily stuck a random cat somewhere on the map and no one would ever have find it Tongue oh well!
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Gen
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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2011, 06:40:51 PM »

I just found out there was an extra challenge going on during the Ludum Dare - Kitten Challenge - which explains why so many entries seem to be about cats... I could have easily stuck a random cat somewhere on the map and no one would ever have find it Tongue oh well!
Yeah, that would have been a nice little hot spot in a frozen hell :p

Part of the "magic" of We Are Alone comes from the fact that you think something is wrong... before everything goes wrong in any possible way. I think it will get far less mysterious and obsessive if you get rid of the dive-deeper-and-deeper thing.

As I said before, your game reminds me of Yume Nikki and alikes, the major problem of these game being that they're a visual experience first, and secondly a video game. There is no challenge, nothing technically menacing (the worst thing that can happen is being teleported to your starting point and having to explore everything again), therefore you can easily get bored and decide to not dive further in the experience. That's kind of a waste, We Are Alone managed to be heavy on both sides, that's why I like it. If you'd like to try one of these games, maybe you should try .flow, it's Yume Nikki with way more dark and violent undertones, maybe you'll like it. You should really see the hospital and its slaughterhouse hooks hanging on the ceiling, that's... unique.

Instead of starvation, some kind of day and night system where you must campfires before it's getting too dark to survive the night (> darkness/madness factor replacing lifebars, growing up instead of reducing) ? Campfires remnants being conserved through different lives just like footsteps in the snow (well, it could also be footstep on the sand near beaches), but it's once again getting very complicated !
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Tifu
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« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2011, 11:25:11 AM »

Yume Nikki is a game I've meant to try for a while, I'll add .flow to the list (it's a huge list D: )

The game could potentially still start off without much horror, you start off thinking you're just on a regular island, but as you explore the islands to find escape, further from your start place you can find creepier and creepier things Cheesy Night cycles are good, night time can be scary in games.  Especially if things change, monsters come out etc..  The scale I'm thinking off for these islands would probably necessitate a save system (at the least a quicksave, like roguelikes tend to have)... maybe it is too different a game idea.  I'll rethink rebuilding We Are Alone - I'm climbing a snow covered mountain tonight, no wolves or lovecraftian life forms though, might give me ideas anyway %D
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« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2012, 10:13:24 AM »

It's quite hard to find the time to play games when you barely have time to create one :p

no wolves or lovecraftian life forms though, might give me ideas anyway %D

Oh, don't be fooled. They're here, lurking in the darkness, hehe.
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