[SA Game Jam 2018] Negative Space

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In Negative Space you play as an astronaut, isolated on their space station with minimal possibilities to interact: there is the fridge, the bathroom, the bridge - when you try to interact, you experience a flash back and find yourself trapped in a feeling. You have to work through it before it will let you escape. You keep exploring different feelings - the more you explore, the deeper each feeling space gets, until you emerge on the other end as a new person, profoundly touched and changed.

Controls
move - arrow keys
interact - spacebar

itch.io
Post Jam Builds

SA Game Jam 2018
Negative Space
Profesh, Diversity
72hr entry

Team:
Henrike Lode
Tim Harbour
Your boy, Sugar ;)
Mockup-SpaceGame.jpg
1920 x 1080 - 59K

Comments

  • This is so pretty :')
    I love where this is going. I love why this is here.
    Thanked by 1SUGBOERIE
  • something nyana ;)

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  • edited
    Love the art!
  • Can't wait to see what you bring out, I'm sure the storytelling will be great. :)
  • I can already feel the isolation just by looking at the animated gif. LOVE that art style BTW. :) Cannot wait to progress through the different locations and learn what, where and why. If you can find a way to escalate the power of how I feel over the course of the game, then it's a win for me.
  • Thanks everyone. We've got a build up in the OP to mess around in. :)
  • Loving it!

    I neeed the start field on the first screen to have the slightest parallax to it pleease! Already looking great otherwise.
    Once I enter the fridge-zone, is there anything more there to look out for at the moment?
    The escalating possibility I found, was that once in the fridge space, I could draw some male genitalia. 10/10
    Thanked by 1SUGBOERIE
  • I'm adoring the style already! It's still early for me to me to do anything but speculate, but I'm looking forward to a meditative gaming experience here.
    Thanked by 1SUGBOERIE
  • Looks pretty good. Good questions to ask, especially if you're isolated on a space station. Time to make my obvious song dedication for this entry. My song choice is of course, "Space Oddity" or most people are more familiar with "Ground Control to Major Tom"
    Thanked by 1SUGBOERIE
  • Fresh new builds. :)

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  • Nice, you've packed in a great story experience already with such minimalism in the right places!

    My only issue is initial disorientation at whether or not I had to trigger any events. The dialogue in the Fridge of Infinite Adventure would come by really slowly sometimes, such that I wasn't sure if I had to be doing anything in particular or if my response to the situation was actually open ended (I enjoyed the little things in this regard, like sitting down after you stop walking, or just looking out windows).

    Looking forward to final build!
  • I can only go into the fridge? The door doesnt seem to do anything. The footprints are really cool....I totally did not draw any rude shapes.
  • Gave it a go, and I must say I loved the art and the sound. The simplicity and responsiveness of the controls makes playing it feel really natural and unhindered, which is great! The only thing that created some confusion was the initial feeling of not knowing whether I should be doing something or nothing in order to progress. Maybe add a sit key to it? Because I only realised I can sit down after walking around for quite a while trying to figure out what I was supposed to do. Definitely keen to see where this goes though, and overall, great job!
  • OUT NOW!

    Thanked by 1Sigh_Leeeee
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    Lovely aesthetic, great audio!

    It takes a while to recognise the thrust of the narrative, in the meanwhile giving the player increasingly more points of interest to interact with is interesting. But then it hits a point where you're not sure if you're supposed to do something or nothing. "Artistically" I understand that's the point, but then the narrative tension between "being in character" and "playing a game" breaks down as the player increasingly feel pressured to "figure it out", otherwise the game "stops" - either mechanically or in a way intended by the designer, or not intended by the designer.

    I guess that ultimately in giving the player the freedom of agency, the game has a job to do too in pre-empting that agency and showing the player that it (the game) knows what they're doing. In a narrative game, at least. If emergent mechanics isn't the point, then a continual thread to pull and unravel would be. Or some kind of self-expression. In this case I think it's the thread, and the thread lost me a couple times, either through pacing, or just not giving me enough to go on.

    On the theme, I don't feel like it fits. And that's alright as I don't think you intended for it to fit.

    There are a handful of graphic bugs that I'm sure you already know about and doesn't need to be brought up.

    It's an interesting and beautiful experiment, as narrative games go, but it was too high on the frustration scale for me in terms of the game leading the player into more narrative.
    Thanked by 1SUGBOERIE
  • edited
    Yo this is a cool little experiment! Love the name and how it matches up to the gameplay. The minimalist aesthetic and audio make things feel very peaceful and mysterious too.

    In terms of feedback, it's always hard to give feedback on high-concept pieces like this! For one, you need to know the goal of what sort of feeling you were trying to achieve, and secondly, perhaps feedback isn't even desired.

    Having said that, here are some thoughts I had while playing:
    - On the main screen, you can walk super far past the doors. Considering most of the game is about walking and exploring the areas, this felt like something that might have interactions. I think you could have blocked off the sides to keep players from doing this

    - The feeling and effect of walking through those doors is great - feels very mysterious. The shadow not fading breaks the effect a bit of course
    - I like the way you develop the interactions over time. It's a bit slow in the beginning, but it is an existential game. The point where I got to the expanding desert (?) was a nice interesting touch. See the circle move away from me was neat, and again broke my visual coherency, which feeds into the game's name
    - Music doesn't match the tone in places? Bit too upbeat in places
    - I like the words on screen as emotional anchors to what's happenning! I think in some places they can be a bit on the nose and heavy handed though - like it says "are these doors a metaphor?" Which is a bit on the nose considering they are of course metaphors. In this section the heavy handedness continues a bit with the whole "what does it mean to step through a door etc." I think it's fine and effective to make reference what's happenning in that section, but I think it could have been done a bit more subtle :)
    - I love how you develop the mechanical motif of the doors over time, it's great! Would have loved to see the walking itself also develop, as it's your main interaction. It could have nicely entertwined with the emotional arc of the game.
    - Overall the game reminds me a lot of Pol Clarissou's work, particularly Orchids to Dusk
    - Final point is that I think an allusion to the depth , both narratively and mechanically, at the beginning of the game would go a long way to draw you in. The beginning you are exploring and trying to figure stuff out for sure, but I think that feeling could have been heightened if there was some mysterious effect or something. When writing Science-Fiction they talk about making your reader feel like they're in a different world very early on, from the first line even: "I turned the vacuum cleaner on, and the small little ecosystem of tiny men heard the sucking call of the cleaner, and crawled down the cleaner's hose and set to work cleaning the dust. " A simple, silly example, but this first line of a novel immediately alluded to the context's varied, different setting

    - Oh and also, I don't think I 'finished' - got stuck in a white room with an expanding circle that didn't seem to ever stop expanding and sitting for a while didn't do anything either.

    Great job on making this thing! Experimental narrative games are hard to make in jams, I imagine :D
    Thanked by 1SUGBOERIE
  • So...
    It was interesting at first.
    And I mean that. The premise and the beginning filled me with curiosity and the art style was unique and fresh. The animation was a bit slow, but as long as I didn't have to do a lot of walking, then it was fine.
    Over all I was geared up for an interesting adventure...
    With this I feel there is a lot of positive traits to focus on and gives the end result a lot of merit...

    But

    I hated the pacing.
    The way the message was ultimately presented, left me with a lot of negative after taste.
    Literally walking a mile in those shoes made me forget about having sympathy for the character, and had me feeling negative and annoyed with the designer instead. You lost my immersion at that moment.

    Once I started feeling that the experience was intended as a bad one, I just wanted to quit and stop. I lost interest.

    my humble recommendations :
    - Increase the pacing,
    - allow players to skip narrative (especially if it is repeated) or at least speed up the delay.
    - Reduce the distance between everything.
    - Add imagery that convey our position and movement in the world.
    - Speed up the animation.
    - Over all just speed everything up.
  • We go mentioned in a small media outlet as a free game you need to play

    @Bensonance & @Tuism. Thanks for the feedback all of which is clear and concise. I appreciate your understanding of what we were trying to achieve with the game. We are looking into the fixes you mentioned big one being pacing
  • beautiful art beautiful music beautiful message beautiful concept.

    All hidden underneath an endless walking sim.
    I was about to give up so many times the in-between bits are too long which gives an impression that mabey its buggy and the next level hasn't spawned.

    other than that this is a solid abstract Indie game! great work
    Thanked by 1SUGBOERIE
  • The art style and music is great. Very polished. I couldn't finish it as the sense of isolation and being trapped weirdly enough made me quite anxious - but I guess that is the sign of an immersive experience!
    Thanked by 1SUGBOERIE
  • Since @Tuism, @Bensonance and @Pierre collectively covered everything and more than what I was planning to say, I guess I'll have to nitpick.

    The walking animation when moving up has the left arm moving with the left leg and vice versa, which makes the movement look unnatural.

    Still one of the most visually polished games to come out of this jam though
  • Really felt the mood with this one - got soo anxious at some point when I was really far from any of the doors. Overall a cool experience!
  • We made a some tweaks to pacing and a lil more juice. Here are the post jam versions.

  • (Jam version)

    You did a really great job on the atmosphere, with an overall really polished experience. Aside from the footsteps sounding like a limp and not matching the character's animations, it did a great job of making the eerie, lonely kind of feeling. The minimalist art style was a great choice for jam scope, and the character animation, with a nice walk cycle and even sitting during idles, was great!

    I found some of the writing to be a bit repetitive, without really conveying new information or new thoughts to contemplate. "Where am I? Why am I here? Where is everybody?" These are good questions to get the player to ask, but I feel that it's not as satisfying if you're telling the player so directly to think about them. I realise that these are thoughts that the astronaut is thinking, but it clashes somewhat with the popular rule of "Show, don't tell!" It might help to be more specific about the experience you wish the player to have rather than a general contemplative experience, because it allows for more colour in the narrative content.

    I also found it frustrating to be walking sideways sometimes with apparently nothing new to see. I wasn't sure if there was just a very large gap between pieces of content, or if I was walking out into infinity and staying for much longer than I needed to. If I was going somewhere I shouldn't have been, I would have liked to have been blocked off by a wall or some other obstacle, preventing me from walking too far off of the path that had content.

    I realise that with a game name like "Negative Space", both of these things could well have been intentional design decisions, but in an ideal world you'd be able to communicate that feeling while keeping the player from experiencing unnecessary frustration or boredom. It's still a great jam game, and I look forward to playing the post-jam version soon! Congrats!
    Thanked by 1SUGBOERIE
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