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 Post subject: OSC's Failed/abandoned projects
PostPosted: April 8th, 2011, 10:31 pm 
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I dabble a bit in Game Maker every now and then (I also had a brief stint with interactive fiction some years ago... the less said the better). I've made a couple of games, and more failed attempts at games than I can recall and I thought I'd share. I'm desperate for attention like that (even though I barely ever post on this forum).

Deep Cave 2009
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzTkC5l ... sp=sharing
Oh boy, what a mess. My first real attempt at making a game in GM. The physics are buggy, the music is stolen (Rygar on the NES) and it ends in limbo.
Arrow keys to move around, Z to jump.

Jetpack Adventurer 2009
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzTkC5l ... sp=sharing
Probably the best game I've made yet(sadly), and it's also the first one I ever finished.
It was made on a tight schedule as a secret santa gift back when I was in school. The little time I had forced me to come up with a very simple concept and simply finish it up before it was too late. There was no worrying if I was heading down the wrong path, no agonizing doubts about anything.

Umbrellas 2010
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzTkC5l ... sp=sharing
This was my final project for this visual art school (I have no idea why they let me go through with it) I was attending 2009-2010, and it is by far the most artsy fartsy game I've ever made. It was a lot more fun trying to do something that actually meant something (however small the meaning and however pretentious it may have been) than I thought it would be.
I approached the design of this game with the knowledge that it would be showcased in a gallery over a few days (along with all the other students' final projects), so I tried to make a world that was large enough to allow many different people to each choose their own path. However the process I was using to make all the different "rooms" was far too slow and I simply ran out of time. The world in the game ended up small, monotonous and claustrophobic. But I did manage to add a feature that I felt would improve the game for the gallery setting, something that would benefit from multiple playthroughs by many different people. It's similar to stuff that's been done before in other games, and better, but I thought it was a good fit (and just getting the feature to work in the first place was a major achievement for me).
I set up the three different powers in the game to allow for different playstyles and paths, and although I tried to strike a good balance between the three different powers, looking back I can't help but think one of them is way underpowere and the other two are too much alike.
The music and some of the sound effects were made in Warioware DIY for the DS.
For keyboard controls check the readme.

Untitled arcade game 2010
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzTkC5l ... sp=sharing
Man, I had big things planned for this one. I was going to build an arcade cabinet to house the game and I was even going to buy a USB coin acceptor to put into it.
The finished game would start off easy; plenty of time for first timers to learn the controls and easily finish each new room and collect the gold, then the difficulty would ramp up more and more and finishing quick and collecting gold (which adds time to the counter) would become ever more important.
Each new room would be randomly picked out of 100+ (split up into difficulty levels so you wouldn't be getting the hard-as-nails stuff at the beginning, or the simple and easy stuff later on).
It happened almost by accident that it became pretty much an N clone (though once I realized it was happening I took some steps to set it apart. I'm not sure it was enough though) The big difference is that collecting gold does not instantly give you extra time, rather it gets stored until you reach a deposit box (and the choice is yours whether you give it all up or keep on going). Should you die though? All that gold, along with the multiplier, is lost.
Unfortunately I lost interest in it a few months ago and haven't made any progress since. The code is a mess and I just couldn't be bothered either fixing it or trying to work around it.

The controls are a little too responsive and too often even I will die just because the controls are so shit, but I still like how it feels to move around.

Left+Right arrow keys, Z to jump.
F4 for fullscreen.

---

I'm curious to know if people have any thoughts on these. Do you notice any design mistakes that are shared by some or all of my games? Any criticism and/or suggestions?

I'm also curious to know if anyone else has dabbled in making games on the side, whether it's Game Maker or something else.

Edit: Replaced dead Megaupload links.


Last edited by OldSoulCyborg on August 24th, 2013, 9:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Failgames - The collected works of OldSoulCyborg
PostPosted: April 9th, 2011, 12:20 am 
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fail


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 Post subject: Re: Failgames - The collected works of OldSoulCyborg
PostPosted: April 9th, 2011, 4:38 am 
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MegaUpload wrote:
Please wait
31
seconds


I can't deal with this stress, man.

EDIT:
Okay, I made it through.

Man what is it with you and time limits?

I'd like to see umbrellas developed more. It's an interesting concept but the puzzles are rushed/halfassed to the point of not really... er... existing? You could create tension with that balancing act of powers by only giving the player the one needed at the end at the beginning and making it a struggle to keep it all the way through instead of with a timer that's always ticking down for no obvious reason.


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 Post subject: Re: Failgames - The collected works of OldSoulCyborg
PostPosted: April 9th, 2011, 2:26 pm 
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Outlander wrote:
Man what is it with you and time limits?

I just noticed that myself when I was making the post. I think it's because it's an easy way to add challenge and I'm just lazy like that.
The timer in the first game however doesn't really affect the game in any way. I think I put it there to see how long it would take me to beat the game.

Quote:
'd like to see umbrellas developed more. It's an interesting concept but the puzzles are rushed/halfassed to the point of not really... er... existing? You could create tension with that balancing act of powers by only giving the player the one needed at the end at the beginning and making it a struggle to keep it all the way through instead of with a timer that's always ticking down for no obvious reason.

Most of the time I spent on the game I was just fighting Game Maker too much to actually get the damn thing to function how I wanted it to that I didn't find the time to develop the puzzles. For example I wanted to have the threats be more numerous and varied, but it took me until the final day just to get the one already there to move around on its own in a random fashion. Or just getting the player "character" to absorb the colour of whoever is closest to him.
The 'key' power was initially going to be a 'force push' allowing you to move boxes out of the way, but I couldn't get it to work.
Eventually I settled for something that would allow the player to traverse the world no matter which abilities he had (and without ever locking him in if they all ran out)
The timer for the game actually served a purpose for the setting it debuted in; namely to prevent people at the exhibition from hogging the one computer it was running on. I hoped to keep "the line" moving at all times like that, always someone new playing every few minutes and placing their mark on the game.
If I were to develop it further I'm not sure if I'd throw out the timer or not. Thematically I think it needs to be there, but the giant hourglass in the corner is probably way out of place. I'd like to have something simpler, like in Jason Rohrer's passage where at the start you're way to the left on the screen, but at the end you're all the way over on the right. That exact thing wouldn't work so great with this, but something along those lines.

My biggest regret is actually having a win condition in the game, or not tracking the wins like I do the losses (the grave stones that you leave behind when the timer runs out).


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 Post subject: Re: Failgames - The collected works of OldSoulCyborg
PostPosted: April 9th, 2011, 4:51 pm 
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Deep Cave: Nice enough introduction, I always like that sort of reverse room trick. To be fair though I must confess I just can't swing these types of games personally. I played Super Meat Boy for about 5 minutes and never really got to the point of saying "I definitely want to keep doing that." This game is similar without being quite so unforgiving, but it's close enough to the same mechanic I can't stay too invested. Music started overlapping itself in a weird, kind of interesting way.

Jetpack Adventure: Good work, a cute little Froggerish game. All the better for tight delivery. As humorous as it is to have chainsaws and such up in the air, why isn't the screen scrolling up so that I can try my luck with all kinds of more dangerous fare, like airliners? It doesn't feel as though there's an actual higher risk/reward scheme evident for trying to stay alive up higher. I also think the form language is a little mixed, I didn't read the sharp-bladed, red-flashing flower as a positive pickup until I hit one accidentally. Since everything else that can hurt you is sharp, I think the flower ought not have the same form language (sharp, red).

Umbrellas: oddly compelling, the umbrellas... but nothing connected up, and the presence of each umbrella seemingly telegraphs what's about to be needed. No real puzzle gameplay; having to load up on one power to get across, all the umbrellas just sort of roam around in their spots and can endlessly resupply you, why am I playing this mooch umbrella with no powers? Is this umbrella's power free travel? :)

Arcade: Funny about the story of it, indeed you were making your own version of N. Despite not going for these kinds of games I think it's clear how markedly improved the control scheme is from Deep Cave.

Overall I hear you about fighting the system just to get results out of it, it's one of those lesser understood (from outsiders' perspective) issue with games. You are overjoyed when it simply works, to say nothing of works as intended.

Like Outlander I think Umbrellas would do well to be expanded upon. And what I really want to see from you now is a game without a timer. [-]r


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 Post subject: Re: Failgames - The collected works of OldSoulCyborg
PostPosted: April 9th, 2011, 8:50 pm 
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gauss wrote:
why isn't the screen scrolling up so that I can try my luck with all kinds of more dangerous fare, like airliners?

That's a very good question, and I really wish I'd asked it of myself when I was making the game.
Better late than never? (I really should get myself a personal website)
Quote:
It doesn't feel as though there's an actual higher risk/reward scheme evident for trying to stay alive up higher.

Score accumulates quicker up high, but it's not really made clear. I think the flying objects also come at a higher frequency.

Quote:
I also think the form language is a little mixed, I didn't read the sharp-bladed, red-flashing flower as a positive pickup until I hit one accidentally. Since everything else that can hurt you is sharp, I think the flower ought not have the same form language (sharp, red).

You're not the first to point this out. I made the flower red for a thematic reason, but I really should have realized that red + sharp + flashing is not exactly an invitation to touch.

Quote:
Umbrellas: oddly compelling, the umbrellas... but nothing connected up, and the presence of each umbrella seemingly telegraphs what's about to be needed.

The colour of each umbrella is set randomly (though their placement is not), but I can definitely see how it might feel that way. I think there's always at least three ways forward, and the odds are very much in favor of one of the umbrellas having the right colour for one of those paths.

Quote:
why am I playing this mooch umbrella with no powers?

The game is a metaphor for my life. :mameshiba:

Quote:
Like Outlander I think Umbrellas would do well to be expanded upon. And what I really want to see from you now is a game without a timer. [-]r

I'm making a game now where you play as a timer! [-]r


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 Post subject: Re: Failgames - The collected works of OldSoulCyborg
PostPosted: April 9th, 2011, 10:20 pm 
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i played "arcade" on an actual arcade stick (not as an experiment, that's just how i play 2d games normally -- yeah, i'm one of those guys) and the "way too responsive" controls were actually pretty much perfect. so you got it right without meaning to i guess

game had potential but the time limit was way too short, it was a struggle to even get through two levels in the time you gave. i suppose "platformer with old-fashioned graphics that kills you a whole bunch" is a pretty crowded field these days so i don't blame you for quitting on it


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 Post subject: Re: Failgames - The collected works of OldSoulCyborg
PostPosted: April 10th, 2011, 9:21 am 
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BDA wrote:
game had potential but the time limit was way too short, it was a struggle to even get through two levels in the time you gave.

Not the first time I've heard this. I guess that while it's just a test version I should still be focused on balancing the difficulty for people other than myself. My thinking was: If I can keep the timer running high and rack up a high score, then it's too easy.
But the more I think about it the more I feel like the timer needs to go, but then I'm not sure what would replace the timer running out as a 'game over'. Lives?


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 Post subject: Re: Failgames - The collected works of OldSoulCyborg
PostPosted: April 10th, 2011, 1:48 pm 
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You can still have your blessed timer, just treat it like Doom did: have level pars for the folks that enjoy that kind of time pressure, with an attendant score multiplier for making par. But the rest of us slowly slow pants it's cramping.


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 Post subject: Re: Failgames - The collected works of OldSoulCyborg
PostPosted: April 10th, 2011, 7:41 pm 
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gauss wrote:
You can still have your blessed timer, just treat it like Doom did: have level pars for the folks that enjoy that kind of time pressure, with an attendant score multiplier for making par. But the rest of us slowly slow pants it's cramping.


I think that could work really well, and tying the score multiplier to finishing levels under par is a fantastic idea.
Setting each level up to have a par time completely changes the timer's role of course, and I guess I'd have it count upwards from 0 (starting fresh every new level (but probably not on respawning)) with the level par shown above or below the counting timer. I think I could probably get a nice balance going with this; finish quick and get a score multiplier (but risk dying from a hasty, mistimed jump), or take it slow and plan your every move (lose out on the multiplier, but much higher chances of making it to the exit in one piece).

Man, I'm really excited about this game again!


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 Post subject: re: OSC's Failed/abandoned projects
PostPosted: August 23rd, 2013, 2:02 pm 
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OldSoulCyborg wrote:
Man, I'm really excited about this game again!

I never worked on this game again.
But playing it today I'm thinking I actually like the timer, or at least how it forces the player to move quickly. Maybe instead it should have something like the ghost in Spelunky, or more active hazards like an enemy who can chase you around the level, or maybe the lava keeps rising or something.

Anyway, here's the latest failed/abandoned project:

Climber
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzTkC5l ... sp=sharing
(music by Kevin Macleod)

Press F1 to rebind the controls (keyboard only)

It's another platformer because... eh, I like platformers. Originally it was intended as a sort of Metroid-like game with a big map to explore, several different items/abilities to help with exploring the map, enemies and a simple story. I made numerous changes and cuts over months of development and eventually realized it was never going to be simple enough for me to be able to finish without drastic changes. Big, open worlds: apparently really complicated no matter how simple you make everything else. In the end it was just a little too big of a project and I lost interest.

I like what's there though. The one ability that you do acquire, awkward though its implementation may be, I feel like it's interesting and has some potential.
I actually figured out how to make a minimap that tracked where you'd been and connected rooms together.
I tried to make the world as compact as possible and have it sort of guide the player and let him figure out the game by himself and not rely on the game telling the player what to do and how. Not sure if I succeeded at that at all, but it was a fun exercise.
And I think some of the puzzles are kind of neat.


I'll go back to lurking now.


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 Post subject: Re: re: OSC's Failed/abandoned projects
PostPosted: August 24th, 2013, 9:15 pm 
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OldSoulCyborg wrote:
Here's another timer game


Yeah, the grapple mechanics are infuriating. Like I'm one to talk, though. I was working on a similar project, spent months working on just the grappling hook and gave up when it wasn't perfect.


I really like how puzzles span multiple rooms, though.


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 Post subject: Re: OSC's Failed/abandoned projects
PostPosted: August 25th, 2013, 8:08 am 
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Damn, I was not aiming for infuriating. Did you at least get the exit on the upper left of that image?
And in what way is it infuriating? I can't tell because I made it and controlling it is like second nature to me.


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 Post subject: Re: OSC's Failed/abandoned projects
PostPosted: August 25th, 2013, 5:13 pm 
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Couldn't reach the grapple point on the left, so I never got anywhere but spikes. There are a few rooms like that. Looks like it might be possible if your timing is perfect, but...

The other thing that bugs me is that I keep expecting to be able to stay attached to something instead of falling instantly to my death, but that's probably just me.


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 Post subject: Re: OSC's Failed/abandoned projects
PostPosted: August 25th, 2013, 6:42 pm 
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Outlander wrote:
Couldn't reach the grapple point on the left, so I never got anywhere but spikes.


Did you not realize you can move while grappling up? I can see that causing a lot of trouble if I've failed to communicate that properly in the game, especially in that room.


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 Post subject: Re: OSC's Failed/abandoned projects
PostPosted: August 25th, 2013, 9:24 pm 
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I eventually noticed, but either it's hard or I'm terrible at it.


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 Post subject: Re: OSC's Failed/abandoned projects
PostPosted: August 26th, 2013, 6:14 am 
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You are terrible at it, but it's my fault. I forgot to implement any kind of difficulty curve for the grappling hook. For some reason it just did not occur to me that that might be important. There's a couple of rooms that teach you the basics right after you get it, but after that all the challenges are about the same difficulty.


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