[SA Game Jam 2018] Aster

-SA Game Jam 2018
-Aster
-Hobbyist [ @luigi_weo & @vince ]
-48hr Entry

image

Synopsis:
You play as a little critter wishing and trying to retrieve a special flower for your loved one from a top a spiraling plant. However, as you near the top, things get harder and harder...

Builds:
Play on itch.io!
PC Build

Some Controls
Esc/Enter -> Exits to main menu
Num-[0 to 7] -> Skip to checkpoints (use it only if you are stuck)
R -> Respawn to last checkpoint

Disclaimer:
The particle effects and sounds are from free online sources. The rest of the content was made during the jam.


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Post Jam Update
PC Build
Mac Build
itch.io: I am too afraid to upload again to itch, as the in-jam version will be lost.

Changes:
  • Increased width of ground check - should be more lenient when trying to jump close to edges
  • Doubled gravity - now much less floaty
  • Reworked jumping - you can now tap space-bar for a low jump, or hold for a higher, longer duration jump.
  • Tweaked peak-ahead cam to be more useful - can now be used to actually assess and plan next move
  • Pimped start scene to be a little prettier
  • Added a model to show where pollen balls will drop from
  • Added audio and visual feedback for when successfully doing a a boosted leaf jump
All in all I hope and believe this version to feel more fair and enjoyable. The doubled gravity increases fall speed drastically, and the new jump mechanic allows the player to more accurately plan and execute his jumps.

Comments

  • Looks interesting, what's the final scope of your plan looking to be? I already see a frame for something simple and effective!
  • The death heart is so cute it breaks my heart :')
    Great juicy leaf movement also! its looking great!
    It will look even better when it has some plant texture :)
    Looking forward to playing it!
  • Looking really fun! looking forward to this one!
  • This is so cool! I really like the leaf animations, they feel so organic!
  • edited
    Thanks guys! Hopefully we will have a build out late tonight or early am.

    @Nandrew I've updated the original with a short overview of the general idea of the game.
  • image

    Some awesome models, textures and animations courtesy of @luigi_weo!
    WebGl coming soon!
  • You can now play an incomplete build on itch.io! (Added to original post as well)

    There is a sign when you reach the current top, since we do not have an end in place.
    Please give us some feedback on what you feel needs the most critical attention (changes) and what you would like to possibly see added.
  • Wow. Nice idea... escalation upwards, or downwards if you miscalculate. I want to play this just to go right to the top and see how far I can fall down. The trampoline / dodging gameplay looks like it will be a lot of fun. There's already a lot of polish there. Going to watch this entry again tonight when you're done. :)
  • Really cool. The leaf spring feels really nice. Controlling the character in the air is a bit difficult. Too much drag I think.
  • So cool seeing your progress shots! Polish is looking good. Will definitely give this one a play.
  • The cuteness, precision and simplicity is shaping up so well! It's been really nice to see how steady and considered your process has been. Great jamming!

    For the latter part of your jam, I would dedicate the most time to the following:
    (A) Polishing controls. With the core game in place, I think you have a bit more time to iterate on this. Making some things more generous to the player (like jump timing on subsequent leaf leaps, I have been finding this challenging) will help the experience feel smoother and more under the player's control (while still being hard).
    (B) Jam theming. I'll sound like a broken record across threads here, but what I'd like to see is a bold mechanical step that really shows us the game was made for this competition in particular. I'm seeing the escalation theme, but I'd also like to see how "possibility space" increases as you go up. A permanent jump boost? New abilities (rather than new challenges?)

    Great stuff and good luck for today!
  • Thanks for the feedback guys. We will try to improve the character movement feel. There is currently no drag, and air movement uses the exact same values/code as ground movement. Currently sideways movement is velocity based (i.e. keypress and set the velocity directly) using GetAxis.

    I'll try a force based input as well as experiment with GetAxisRaw, as I know Unity does some smoothing on keyboard inputs when using GetAxis.

    In regards to jam theming, we likely won't get to or add character upgrades in the jam. Our escalating possibilities will be that as you escalate, the possible combination of hazards goes through the roof. So the current build teached only a few hazards in isolation. As you go higher, a few more will be introduced, and then mixed until you get a fly trap snapping at you, while a pollen ball falls on your face and you try to jump on leaves that give way underneath you.
  • This is really cool! I really like that you have constrained it to left and right movement, there's less room for error. I found it quite difficult to jump across from leaf to leaf because they're quite far apart, have you considered doing a more spiral like layout so there are leaves all around them stem and not just on the sides? I'm not sure if this will work too well with your movement but maybe you can try it out. Also I think the player's jump is a bit too floaty, would be good if it goes back down slightly faster after jumping up.
  • Haven't had the opportunity to play your game, but im loving the visuals!
  • Hey @kirtsy_lee0, thanks for the feedback.

    Noted on the floaty jump, this is something I am going to try and adjust. I also feel it is a little floaty at the moment. It does make it more forgiving I think though.

    And yes we want to expand this to a spiral game where the camera follows you around the plant. But don't think we will have time.
    Thanked by 1kirsty_lee0
  • Soo cute! And so fun to play from the very start of the game :)
    The one thing I noticed whilst playing is that the escalating jump mechanic doesn't feel very intuitive. I know you say in the game that you can use the leaves to escalate your jump, but how? Perhaps I'm missing something, but this is something that I just noticed on my first try :)
  • We absolutely love the art style. It is so simplistic and yet so charming!
    Cannot wait to play your game!

    (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧
  • edited
    Hey guys. So time has come to an end, we ran a little short on time, as one does in a jam. With some weird bugs coming to say hello close to the end as well.

    We really wanted to add a little cut scene at the start of the game to tell a little bit of a story, and we pushed and got it done. Hope you guys like it, we really do!

    We slightly tweaked player movement, but I want to explore this more. Especially the possibility of jumping in a spiral around and up the flower.

    Available in-browser on itch.io!
    Windows build coming up right after
  • This game was absolutely adorable!! The cut scene at the beginning was great. I loved the story and the art style. The controls were a little bit floaty, but I think that added to the charm of the game. That little broken heart during death was a nice touch. I also liked that you introduced the controls in a way that fit into the game without really detracting from it. I loved this game.
  • Thanks @CurtisBetz!

    To anyone looking to play, some cheats/helpers are in-game, use Num-0 through 7 to skip to various checkpoints, 7 being right before the end.

    Also, at the end, just take the leap!
  • Latest gif from the build:
    image

    Also here is a link to an imgur album of the game with some more gifs and images.
    Thanked by 2Sigh_Leeeee konman
  • Oh this is so adorable.
    The floatiness of the jump made the venus flytraps feel a bit frustrating even if it feels like I've timed my jump well I'm in the air so long by the time i come down i get eaten.
    When I jump off a bending leaf i dont get the boost that i expect (this may be my own error) but a nice boing noise and a floaty jump would feel super good when that happens. The bendy leafs and art alone make this is a really great entry though but I really like the mushroom with zelda-esque particles ,this game better find it's way to the switch.
  • This game is insane! ... wow. Well done
  • Haha! I won!

    This is just great. What a well-executed and polished little jam game!

    I still wonder if it really strikes at the heart of what this competition is trying to create, but there's little else of concern. The whole thing is just so neat. I would continue to refine the movement scheme (and perhaps that could have been done instead of the cutscene -- although it was really effective!). That said, I felt a noticable improvement from previous version so I'm really glad that was put into the priority queue.
  • I'm on a Mac so I could only struggle with lag on the WebGL version, since there's no Mac build...

    I enjoyed what it is, it's really quite well polished, I always felt that jumping outwards and back in between platforms in any platformer game because there's no one-way platform felt like cheating, but this felt okay as it's basically central.

    I didn't feel like there was an expansion of possibility space as the theme was asking for, though that was not a big issue.

    Using physics in the puzzle of the game (was it physics or hard-programmed as how close to the edge the character was? It felt like a physics implementation) was smart, I enjoyed that.

    I feel like the "peeking ahead" was important though not the right implementation - I feel like the camera could/should adapt to each "section" so that the looking ahead was more fluid and automatic. Having to fiddle with camera controls while trying to fiddle with real-time controls was not ideal.
  • edited
    @tasty_jose thanks for playing our game! Check the Post-Jam version in the original post, I've implemented your suggestion of some feedback when successfully doing a jump of a bending leaf. There is now a (subtle) visual feedback that it was a boosted jump as well as an audio queue.

    @Nandrew Haha glad you enjoyed it! Did you get the credits screen? (Just want to see if people find it easily enough) Please do try the new pc build linked in the OP. I've implemented a better jumping mechanic as well as made some other movement changes. I feel this should be way less floaty and allow more precise user control.

    @Tuism Mac build now available! If you could please check if it actually works since I couldn't test it. I've adjusted the peaking ahead method to be quite a bit better I believe. It is still a hold, however, I like it that way since you can view and plan the puzzle ahead, then execute your plan. And yes the leaves are entirely physics based.

    Then regarding the theme, yeah we feel we didn't quite hit it as close as we initially planned. However we did from the start decide that we did not want to do an escalating possibilities where it is directly the player escalating and tried to think of different ways to interpret the theme. Our conclusion being the environment escalating in possible ways it can kill you as you go higher. Just didn't come across quite as hoped/planned but was a good time none the less.
  • Congrats on a really cute, polished and great looking game! I played the itch.io version and as I understand it does not have all the feedback based changes.

    The bouncy leaf mechanic works great! If I missed the boost it felt clear to me that I didn't time it correctly.

    I noticed the shadow of the whole the plant on the wall. I found myself looking at it to figure out what's coming next. I'm not completely sure how you would do it, but it could have been a interesting way of presenting what's coming next instead of using the look up and down controls.

    I must admit, I didn't finish the game. Got to a section with two wilting leaves and a venus fly-trap that I couldn't get past and I didn't want to cheat :P
  • I loved the beginning cutscene and I loved the art style. The broken heart made me have my own little broken heart. I absolutely adore this game!
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