September 2008 challenge: “The length of a piece of string”

The Space Adventures of Digby Marshmallow, Space Burglar ...In Space! - A Super Effective thank you

Posted by Chard on 2008/09/29 10:35

Thanks everyone for a great competition. The standard of games was once again excellent, which is good as it means the competition is stronger. I will admit a shred of disappointment that we didn't win, but we can never really improve unless we are challenged can we? Besides I'm still somewhat delirious about our 4.83 average production score! Seriously, I never expected anything so much. :-)

Also thanks everyone for playing our game, especially those of you who were brave enough to carry on once nausea started to set in ;-). I'm sure the motion sickness thing did not do our "fun" rating any favours, I guess that's a lesson learnt: the players have to be physically capable of playing the game.

Congratulations to the winners and to everyone really. This writing a game in a week thing is not easy but its extremely rewarding. Now we can settle back for seven months, honing our skills for next time...

Oh, and a special congratulations to Gondola and Mr Fuze: loved 'em both!

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Bell Runner - Bell Runner - Response to Comments

Posted by gcewing on 2008/09/29 00:28

Well, once again I'm blown away by the ratings I received. I never expected to get such a high ranking for what I felt was a rather minimal game. Thanks, everyone!

I know it wasn't very much like Lode Runner -- that's just where I got the name from. If I'd had more time, it might have had more Lode-Runner-like features, such as treasures to collect.

Sorry if the last level was too hard. I was worried that it was far too easy up to then, and I might have overcompensated. I was thinking of leaving a tiny bit of the rope showing, but I thought that might be too obvious. Perhaps I should have done that.

One person claimed they could only do the level with the seven bells in a row by trial and error. That's rather perplexing, since the bells are all in order, so once you've discovered which staff line one of the bells corresponds to, working out the rest should be straightforward.

Thanks again, and I'll look forward to seeing you all again next PyWeek!

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Roam Unbent, Heartfelt Nightsong - Some comments

Posted by j-1 on 2008/09/28 18:50

This has been a really fun Pyweek! Thanks to Richard and congratulations to the winners!

From what I see, most comments had to do with the following:
  • The forest is too hard Too bad... We wanted the game to be longer, and successively harder, but we had to cut some parts from the middle, due to lack of time. I suppose the contrast between the easy puzzles from the beginning and the final puzzle put some people off. Sorry!
  • Hey, in the forest if you go west and go east you not return to the starting point !!! Thats off the rules !!! Hehe! We stole it from Dunnet. It their fault! ;)
  • How are you supposed to use the gateopener? "Give gateopener" or "drop gateopener". We didn't realize that "use gateopener" would be logical. Sorry, again.
  • The fun was spoiled for the dumb input interpreter. Need to accept more variations It does actually accept variations. We are not too experienced with this kind of games, and the standard commands that they accept. The parser is pretty flexible if you have time to implement more aliases. We'll try to think it through better in the future, though.
  • I looked in the code for hints Woo! You managed to find your way through that mess? Kudos to you!
  • A baguette? What the hell? (a.k.a. fixing the ladder) But there was a bakery! Sorry :)
We will try to make an extended and rewritten version of the game (it has to be done from scratch; the code is a hack), and will take your ideas and feature suggestions into consideration. I doubt anyone of us will have time to do it in the near future, though... Maybe next summer.

Thank you all and see you in six months!


Legends of Kiralia: Shadows Dawn - Shadows Dawn - Aftermath

Posted by ServalKatze on 2008/09/28 13:52

Phew.. Our final submission was rather unfinished and buggy (sorry), so I'm glad that some people enjoyed it, anyway. Many annoyances could have been fixed within the extra-hour after the deadline but we decided to watch Neon Genesis Evangelion instead. ;)

Day 0
We wanted to do an RPG this Pyweek, although not all themes were suitable for that. Now, we had a very nice idea for Dust Bunnies and decend ones for Punk, Morning Fog and Frosts and Flat-Packed. The String-theme was our (my) least favourite because our initial idea was a platformer with a rope-throwing-and-swinging character. I had no clue where to start with the physics. In retrospect I guess it would have worked out somehow - just like so many things tend to work out somehow during Pyweek.

Day 1
We fell asleep while waiting for the theme announcement. Luckily, I woke up just in time to read... "Length.. of.. a.. piece.. of.. string.." (I could barely keep my eyes open)

Oh, great. Zahmekoses was just as happy as me.

However, after some more sleep and a rather disturbing dream (a rottweiler mauled one or two poodles) I came up with a story-fragment that Zahme could turn into a little story. The "collect all pieces of string"-part was not too original, but acceptable. The map-editor was basically finished that day.

Day 2 to 5
We made.. stuff. I wasted some time on features that were never used later (character conditions) or tried to fix things repeatedly (inventory, battlescreen). Although the map-editor and the first tileset were done we didn't create any maps. By the end of day 5 we had some disconnected parts of a game. We were rather unproductive..

Day 5 to 7
Zahme finally finished the character images so he was free to create some content. So we added items, monsters, worldmaps, dungeonmaps and towns. The intro, start-, and gameover-screens and save/loadgame functions were all squeezed in two hours before deadline. So I never got to use the sounds included in the game.

So in the end..
We never got around to do some testing. Or I didn't manage to write error-free code. Yeah, that's the problem - just don't put any bugs into your games! ^^

We could claim that we've bitten off more than we could chew, but that wouldn't be true. The game content was created too late so we didn't have enough time to test and balance everything. The final submission was almost finished... it just didn't work properly.

Well, I've fixed most issues, so all that is left to do is add sounds and create 2 tunes. Zahme should do some sort of outro. So, this time we'll really upload a post-pyweek final. Really. Soon.

Next Pyweek I'll be a lot meaner, ruthlessly cut features (instead of worrying about something that won't be used, anyway) and poke Zahmekoses to do more content early on.

See you next time! :)

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P4 - Well - wow!

Posted by RB[0] on 2008/09/28 01:45

I actually am quite surprised - we broke a 3.0 rating on this games O.o
I can't for the life of me figure how this game got higher ratings than our previous - but I guess it was that most people liked our idea - just couldn't find the fun.
Which is not very surprising as, well, there wasn't anything. We ran out of time and there were no directions - not even in the readme - at least we maintained our tradition of no DNW's or DQ's - so that is a plus XD

Most of the comment we received concerned the gameplay - or lack thereof - or the UI.
The UI was not explained well - as we figured it would be fairly intuitive to those who had played this type of game before - but a lot fo people are not as big of fans as we are - which we entirely overlooked, as well we did add a lot of oddities for a TBS - so I am not surprised - pleased would be more accurate :)

For the questions on gameplay - we didn't finish it - so it is not just you LOL :)

For the UI - I will try and explain a little...
To start drawing new territories you hit the expand button - then you click around the map to make the territory.
If it was a valid territory then a new border will be drawn in your player color, with boulders at the points and a name by the capitol island.

To build a new ship - click anywhere in one of your territories to select it - then hit the build ship button.
You should then come to a menu where you can select the type of ship - there are four kinds - scrolling over the ships a pop-up with their stats/costs should appear as well.

To control a ship, left click on it and you will some lines. the three non-solid lines show the range of attack of the ship - any enemies inside this can be right clicked and you can fight them - with different attack types and outcomes based on the distance.
There will also be a green shading around the ship indicating where the ship can move to (assuming it has not yet moved and that it has speed - which can be removed in a fight). Right clicking anywhere in the green will move the ship to there.

To gather more resources, when you have a ship selected, you should see a button that says "Trade" or "Raid" or "Gather" or something - forget the exact details - if it is not there then that is a big thing we missed in the end rush O.o

That is about it - hit end turn when you are done - if you can beat the enemies you win - though the game itself won't acknowledge it ;)

Thank you everyone for playing the game rating so highly this demo!
Cheers - and well done to the winners!

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Lunar Delivery - Thank you and replies :)

Posted by bencoder on 2008/09/28 01:34

Hi everyone, thank you for all your comments and ratings, I was surprised that there were so many quite positive ones. I really enjoyed my first pyweek, finally "completing" something and playing all your games :) well done all.

Simply a fun game. Adding some music or more art wouldn't hurt it though.
Thank you! You're right, more artwork and more sounds and music would be good

it reminded me of Lunar Lander, which is also a frustrating and not very fun game.
Hmph! I like lunar lander, and was(fairly obviously) what I based the initial idea from... But I do think the lunar lander physics concept doesn't extend so well to the huge world that I create... I will need to think about that.

would have liked it more if it had some sort of goal, maybe something to do with your money or a target amount of money to pass a level.
Yes, the money to upgrade your ship idea was an original feature that got scrapped at the end due to time (and possibly programmer lazyness.. but I was pretty ill all week and was feeling very worn out by the end) and it was my intention to eventually add a storyline as well... like you pick up a certain box and it would trigger the start of a little story arc, requiring you to pick up boxes and deliver them in time limit and such, but again, that was beyond my ability for the week.

It seems like all the packages are either pretty easy (like the first two) or next to impossible. Not much of a middle ground, so it was hard to get into.
I added 6 packages around the starting position that should have been quite easy and were way over-priced, so you can build up some money for fuel and repairs, but after that you have to search for the easier packages that you can do... I think another feature I should have added is more feedback about the packages (i.e. ones of bigger mass should have been bigger, and if they are really fragile they could have a red outline or something) so that it's easier to see what the package is like without having to stop and read every one.

It could have been great a pause key!
There is one! It's undocumented though, forgive me... it's escape, it pauses all the physics, although the sound and graphics still change when you use the thrusters(oops)

Fun game! I enjoyed the mechanic of the game, and had a good time with it for a few tries. I really enjoyed the premise of the game -- it made me want it to be better, but not because I was disappointed so much as I wanted more of it. I wanted to be able to have more powerful lateral control over my ship -- decelerating takes soooo long. Either stronger default thrusters or a shopping interface to spend credits on upgrades would be /sweet/. I also found some of the long deliveries to be... well... long. Especially with fragile packages, some of the tight squeezes make it nearly impossible to complete some of the tougher packages, since a certain amount of damage is guaranteed. Issues aside, it was a *really* well done and creative game -- great job!
Thank you very much for this comment! I've commented on a few of the points above already. I agree that the world is probably too big, or at least, the maximum distance for the package is too big. I just increased the lateral thruster strength, interesting effect, the game feels a lot(!) faster, but it makes landings and precision much harder... it probably needs some tuning to get that working right, but I guess I have to agree that lateral control was too weak.

This was an awesome game! The only thing i actually disliked were the controls. I felt kinda annoyed when trying to move my direction when in full speed. I know it was realistic but well, that's me :D I loved the way i shifted to another "level". Or at least that's what i felt it was :P. I moved all the packages when suddenly there was one which had a distance of 23k or something. Then at the end there were new packages. That was cool!
Hehehe, everything is randomised apart from the 6 packages that are closest to you when you start the game... I guess it was just luck that it worked out well for you :) In terms of the controls, I know they were difficult, I should experiment with them and see if i can find anything which feels "right" to me, but also makes for more fun and less irritation. Thank you very much for the kind comments.

Again, thank you all for your comments and games, hope to see you next pyweek :)


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People and Planes - People and Planes: Reply to comments

Posted by Tee on 2008/09/28 01:20

Wow. I'm quite happy. I wasn't expecting such a high rating (at least for this game). Thanks to everyone who played and voted on my game. :)

Here's a reply to the main points of the comments (not going to go through one by one this time):
  • String physics: Unfortunately, I know nothing of rope physics. That string was the best I could do in roughly more than one hour. I had a cool looking string using Box2D, but, like I said in a previous post, I ended up not using it. One comment liked the physics, thanks. :)

  • Plane hitting the cloud: Actually, I thought that was a nice challenge to the game. You not only have to put people in planes but also dodge the planes, thought that would be an interesting challenge, turned out a few people didn't like it much. I still like that challenge.

  • Lack of sounds, music and polish: Yeah, sorry about that. Would have put them in if I had the time. Although I am guilty of having no sound/music in 4 of my 5 Pyweek entries...

  • Colored people appearing without warning and no indication of stun time: Hmm, didn't think about that, actually. To the person who wrote this comment, I guess I need to have people like you around as playtesters. :) To be honest the game was very little playtested. I'm quite happy you said you'd keep this game on hand when you need a few minutes diversion from work. :)

  • Last level is hard: You're absolutely right. I only had time to test it after the deadline and I too had a very hard time with the last level, but I managed to beat it with some luck and effort.

  • Terrorists entering the planes: (original comment: "This is totally irresponsible. You're letting the little coloured people get on the little coloured planes without having to pass through little coloured metal detectors and having their little coloured tweezers confiscated. You're putting the world at terrible risk!") Uh oh. Should I discriminate them by color?

(There was one DNW due to lack of pyglet, which is odd, because the main package had pyglet in it.)

Thanks for all the comments and feedback! Overall, I'm happy with the comments and the ratings. I don't think I'm making an updated version but learning what I could have done better certainly helps me make better Pyweek games in the future. :) Congratulations to the winners, not only both winners had awesome games but also there were a lot of other awesome games. In fact, congratulations to everyone who finished it. Thanks to Richard once more for hosting it.

I have to admit even though I wasted 6 days on a totally different game that didn't work, I learned a lot this time and this was a great Pyweek (not to mention I surprised myself at how fast I made this game, considering I've tried a few LD48s and never managed to finish them).

See you next Pyweek. :)

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Roam Unbent, Heartfelt Nightsong - Walkthrough

Posted by j-1 on 2008/09/28 00:45

Here's a walkthrough for the game:

t box, t food, n, se, ne, ne, u, t gas, nw, sw, nw, n, give gateopener, n, n, nw, t ladder, nw, nw, t branch, n, w, t leg, n, n, t pipe, s, e, t light, w, s, s, se, se, se, n, e, e, e, s, enter, talk, exit, n, w, use pipe with ladder, use branch with ladder, use leg with ladder, use baguette with ladder (yeah, sorry. We thought it was funny :)), use ladder, u, d, n, n, use light, d, n, n, n, e, t compass, w, w, n

Now, the forest is a bit strange. Without the compass, all paths leads to the first screen. With it, you can make your way through to the ravine, but the paths are still not logical. This is intentional.

ne, sw, w, t scissors, read tablets, talk, cut string (for ending 1), climb down (for ending 2)

We'll respond to some of your comments tomorrow.

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Mr. Fuze - Reply to comments

Posted by pymike on 2008/09/28 00:39


First, I wanna thank Richard for an AMAZING pyweek (waits for the round of applause) and 2nd I want to thank everyone for rating Mr. Fuze. Third, I want to congratulate the winners, and last but not least, I want to reply to the comments made on it. I won't reply to all of them, just each one that touched on different points in the game.

"The bombs were defused before the levels had time to start. This seems to be the same as the error I get when playing Milkers game: All objects just pile up in the top left corner."
Ah, sorry to hear it. Not quite sure what was going on there.
"Great game. I only wish that you could fire your fuse in mid-air. I was also a bit curious about the music; has the copyright holder really given permission to use those scores?"
I got the music off of, and I didn't recognize any of the tunes I used (though some sounded vaguely familiar), so I thought they were just spin-offs from some old games. And if they are, they're mods (which I converted to oggs with timidity), so they're not direct rips anyway.
"Well, it's not 'cheated', but even though the game looks nice, I just can't find any relation to Pyweek's theme. If there's a chosen theme I think I should be used for inspiration. That's the whole thing, get different views of the same idea. Ok, you may say that the length of the string is the fuse... but... It's way too easy adapting a platformer to any idea just like this. Sorry."
Ah yes, I was worried some people would not see the theme incorporation. I actually included the theme in the game a few times, like the time limit is a bomb's fuse that's gradually burning, so that counts as the length of a piece of string. Also you can only shoot as far as your electrocuting string reaches, so that counts also.
"Nice style. Everything was pretty well-polished. Later levels just got really hard to complete before time ran out. Not very creative, but fun!"
Thank you, and yes, the game did get pretty difficult. Maybe I'll tweak things in the future.
"Great job on the game! I love the retro feel, the dialogue, and the gameplay. I think that your take on the "length of a piece of string" being an ever-shortening bomb-fuse is just genius. If you mash "jump" at the beginning of the level, you can get a jump in. I was able to get on top of the screen on level 8 and run all the way to the end, but sadly, there was no place for me to drop down. Foiled! :-D Nicely done on level design -- it was a lot of fun.

The ending boss was challenging but fun, and all of the portmanteaus in the dialog were fantastic. Well done! Or, perhaps I should say, Splenderiffic!"
I appreciaficate the best comment on any game I've ever made. ;-D Thanks a lot!! :-)

Again, thank you richard and you fellow pyweekers for another great three weeks!

1 comment

Mr. Fuze - Plea to contestants

Posted by pymike on 2008/09/26 16:09


Quite a few times, when I run the entry games, they load in fullscreen. And most of the time it flips out my monitor (gives me an "out of range" message) on Ubuntu, so I have to reboot my computer. It's a bit cumbersome having to check all the files to make sure the games aren't starting in fullscreen, so by default can ya'll start your games in windowed mode, and just add an option for fullscreen or something?

Also, am I the only one getting this error?