D: Shift

Okay, so I wasnt going to post anything until I actually had a working demo, but since the deadline is looming and my pedantic nature has got the better of me, there's a good chance I wont finish anything playable by Friday.

But I dont want my efforts to be in vain, so lets see what you guys think of the concept:

Shift - Pilot the escape pod out of the mine/spacestation that is currently blowing up by "shifting" between predetermined paths.


V0.2 - Play
**Competition submission** - The ship now runs away from a wall of flame, has randomly generated levels and the ability to shift between paths.


Older Versions:

V0.1 - Play
V0.1 doesnt really do much other than show the ship travelling over a path.

The highly sophisticated escape rail system means you dont have to worry about steering the ship - mostly. There's a lot of debris and stuff (ahem nasty traps) that you need to avoid by jumping between nearby rails.


The escape pod / ship thing:



  • edited
    This seems as though it could be fun!

    Heh, it reminds me pleasantly of a game that I remember playing as a child: Tunnels of Armageddon. In that game you flew down tunnels in a first-person perspective, dodging obstacles and making quick decisions regarding which tunnels to take.

    That's a rather cool ship, by the way. ^_^
  • That ship looks really good. But I just want to point out that if you're stuck for time, your game will play just as well with a triangle zooming along ;)
  • @dislekcia you have no idea how badly I fall for this pitfall! I wasted a whole day of this project trying to make a t-rex eat a man for the preloader :/

    But thats the point of these competitions, to stop trying to make everything perfect and to just make SOMETHING. I'm still learning this.

    @Thaumaturge - Cool find! Hmm, different coloured tunnels are quite a good idea! I was struggling to think of how it would work when the player only has a couple of seconds to choose the correct path. With colours, you can rate the danger level of each one instantly.
  • Nitrogen said:
    But thats the point of these competitions, to stop trying to make everything perfect and to just make SOMETHING. I'm still learning this.
    You should try some Ludum Dares ^.^ ludumdare.com/compo/ The next one's coming up soon. They're fantastic for organising your priorities.
  • @welshpixie I've been eyeing them for some time, I wish they'd have them more than once a year!

    They obviously get very very many entries and some from very well known sources (Wolfire, Notch). Do you know if a lot of the other games just fall by the wayside and are not even judged because of the sheer volume of entries?
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    Looks like a great variation on what's otherwise a super saturated market of three-lane infinite runner clones. :)

    Nitrogen said:
    I wish they'd have them more than once a year!
    They do. ;) (Mostly.)
  • edited
    super saturated? I wasnt even aware there was a genre for fixed-lane racing games?

    Re Ladum Dare: You talking about the mini LDs and other stuff, or have I been under the false assumption it's only once a year?
  • edited
    3-lane infinite runner = stuff like Temple Run :)

    I love the design! It looks like it could be lots of fun, if the levels work out well :)
  • Sweet! I didnt even know this was a thing! Going to have a look at Temple Run now, and Cubed Rally looks awesome!
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    afaik, in the past several years LD's been every 4 months. Which is why they're on something like #26 or something, when it only started a decade or so ago. :P (I could totally be wrong though.)

    Temple Run (2), Subway Surfers and Agent Dash are the most popular ones, I think.
  • I really like the idea you got here though, it could work very well in a very different way :) Looking forward to you taking it forward! :D
    Thanked by 1Nitrogen
  • @Elyaradine No, that makes sense, it's probably once every couple of months. I've just been oblivious to it this year for some reason.
  • Nitrogen said:
    They obviously get very very many entries and some from very well known sources (Wolfire, Notch). Do you know if a lot of the other games just fall by the wayside and are not even judged because of the sheer volume of entries?
    The judging is community-based and works on a rating system. When the compo ends, you submit your game and have a 'coolness' rating of zero. Games are served up randomly to the front page. You play other submissions and rate them, and that pushes your 'coolness' up. A higher coolness increases the chances of your game being shown nearer the top of the list. Leaving comments on other games you play with feedback of course means people will return the favour and play and rate your own game, and other commentors frequently click through names they see on entry comment threads and play those games.

    We've entered a few jams and Jaco (@RustyBroomhandle) has entered solo a few times. One of our jam entries got into the top 100 in more than one category and was ranked #58 of some 1,500 entries overall. You can see it here, and scroll down a bit to see the eventual scores we received - http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-24/?action=preview&uid=10871. And if you click 'view all entries by Rustybroomhandle' at the bottom you can see the other stuff we've done and how they scored.

    If you submit a game and then leave it there without interacting with the other games, you won't get noticed, won't get rated and your game will pretty much slip by the wayside. If you're prepared to play the other submissions and to feedback on games, you'll get yours noticed, and rated, more. I think it's worth it. :)

    And yes, they run every few months. ^.^
    Thanked by 2Nitrogen Tuism
  • I think Ludum Dare's intention is to run every quarter, but I think it mostly turns out to be about 3 times a year.
  • @WelshPixie - Thanks for the insight, I'm definintely more keen to get into it now! Also, Minecraft as an asset creation system - who would have thought!
  • Nitrogen said:
    Also, Minecraft as an asset creation system - who would have thought!
    Easy to build with, looks good when it comes out the other side, and our server full of kids of all ages LOVED being involved with making a game and being able to see, and play, the outcome of their labour. Wins all around!
  • V0.1


    So I got the player running along a randomly generated set of tiles so far.
    There are 5 different tiles, each with an image and a predefined set of points making up a path.
    The paths are laid out end to end to make a continuous line of random tiles.

    An interesting mechanic came up while I was doing this - and that is to slow the player down depending on the sharpness of the turn. This will prompt the player to choose a faster path over a slower one.

    You can see how it runs here:


    You will have to click on the Flash once it loads, before it will accept keyboard input. Right and left arrows thereafter.
    You can also press tilde to see the log.
  • Runs smoothly! Can't wait to have multiple tracks to jigger between. :)

    Something you may want to consider, based on what I see here and your intended mechanic, is pulling the camera out a little bit to allow a bit more preplanning of which tracks to flip to. Unless, of course, twitch play is the plan. ;)
  • Hmm, I did mess up the scale right from the start, as you can see from the player ship graphic being resized smaller.

    I've just increased the play area to 640x700 so hopefully this should help a bit.

    I've also got a random level generator going. It's not perfect, but at least there are other paths to jump onto now :P

    Now to make some decent paths.
  • So right now there's no point in pushing left or right during the game, right? No tracks to jump between?

    It feels there's too much penalty on the slowdown - the ship is constantly just slow, and the game doesn't pick up pace. I guess you just need more straights later to jump onto, but the sense of speed this game needs isn't there yet :)

    Good progress though :)
  • edited
    Yeah I'm still working on the jumping mechanics.

    But I get what you're saying. The level design is what really will make or break this game.

    Unfortunately the random level generator is not the best thing for this, and right now I only have a very basic set of tiles to play with.

    That said, I've switched out the tiles to new ones which are smoother to fly along.
  • edited
    V0.2 so far:

    Got the DeathWave(tm) working, and added some hud design, and the possibility of death by explosion.
  • edited
    Deadline submission:


    The level generation seems to be the worst part of this version of the game. You get brutal dead ends, lots of kinks and bends and not a whole lot of satisfaction. However it is possible to make it to the end if you are careful!

  • edited
    Nice! Yeah, the procedural generator needs a little work to ensure that there's always a valid route to switch to with enough advance warning to avoid doom. Also important that the critical path actually does allow you to outrun the shockwave. In one session, I quite literally could not escape on any of the paths presented to me. So cruel. ;_;

    You will carry on working on this, right?
  • Haha, I'll definitely work on it, but I'm a bit blinded by familiarity at the moment - played it waay too much to judge if it's a decent concept or not.

    It's strange how I had such a sure idea in my head of what would be fun to play, but once you actually have a working prototype in your hands, you realise that there are tons of things that add up to make that idea fun.

    A prototype is not good enough - it needs awesome graphics, sound, music, and tons and tons of "juice" and polish. These are the things that take a passible concept to success.
  • Conversely, a prototype that's fun without all that extra stuff seems like it's got a much better chance of becoming a wonderful game. I mean, we know that's possible ;)

    I'd argue that discovering why a prototype isn't fun is just as useful.
  • Yes, I love this concept, if you don't want it I'll take it :P Just saying :P

    I really like the mechanic, here are some input on what I think is fun and not about it:

    1) The fact that you can insta-die from a dead-end I think isn't cool - you could slow down a lot and therefore get swallowed, but if you insta die it's not fun. You should be able to get out of it.

    2) The slow-down penalty is a bit to heavy - the game feels like it chugs along instead of zipping along.

    3) Definitely give players the opportunity to build up a lot of speed first before tossing them obstacles - this probably has to do with the difficulty curve - if you can die instantly from the starting position (I have a few times), it doesn't feel fun.

    Good luck! :D
    Thanked by 1Nitrogen
  • edited
    Haha okay okay, I like my concept :P

    A lot of what you say is directly attributed to crappy level design.

    Part of what I was talking about above - that the concept alone is not enough - is emphasised here: You imagine up a concept and think 'oh, well we'll just plonk a level down and the concept will make it awesome'. Not so fast!

    You have to sit down and think exactly what elements you're going to have in a level and how they interact. I never intended the dead ends to be unavoidable - it's just the random level design that gives you a raw deal.

    In my case I originally thought of the lanes as tunnels through a large mining facility, with the beginning being a large open hangar bay with straight track and a few scattered crates and boxes to block your way.

    I need to start making some decent artwork for it and a proper level editor.
  • Nooooo, no no not artwork :P Forget artwork for now :P

    And level editor I guess is good - but I'd say rather create level segments - so it's not the same level over and over again so you can read it - you can algorithm the level so that it has a selection of stuff to choose from throwing at you - the easiest segments have easier parts to choose from and occur less frequently, later stuff more and hard,er etc.

    Anyhoo enjoy figuring it out :) It'll be fun :)
  • Well thats was I meant by artwork - creating level tiles. We need hangar bays, pipes, tunnels and corridors no?
  • I guess, but do you need ART for it to work? Even if you made different coloured blocks, or just stole stuff off the internet. The point is to spend the least amount of time on the superficial and get to the meat and bones :)
  • You don't need artwork, you need tracks that don't get too far away from each other to jump. I keep dying and there's nothing I can do about it because no jumps are possible.
  • I was thinking that the artwork in the level would dictate the tracks - It's hard for me to come up with tracks that are just grey lines - I need something to help the creative process along.

    On the other hand, you are right that you get the gameplay down first then worry about artwork later.
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