Title screen

Nashes to Ashes

Retrieve the Doomsday devices before the world is reduced to rubble.

Awards

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Scores

Ratings (show detail)

Overall: 4.2
Fun: 4.2
Production: 4.2
Innovation: 4.2

8% respondents marked the game as not working.
Respondents: 11

Files

File Size Uploader Date
Title screenshot.png
PyWeek 23 Screenshot
541.9 KB paulpaterson 2017/04/15 22:37
pyweek23.gif
PyWeek 23 Game Showcase
7.1 MB paulpaterson 2017/04/15 22:34
small-screen-2.png
Small screenshot of the cut scene art
56.2 KB paulpaterson 2016/09/11 17:45
small-screen.png
Small screenshot of the cut scene art
56.2 KB paulpaterson 2016/09/11 17:45
nashes-0.1.1.zipfinal
Minor update for missing dependency
32.6 MB paulpaterson 2016/09/11 04:55
nashes.zipfinal
Version 0.1 of the game
32.5 MB paulpaterson 2016/09/10 23:50
screenshot-3.png
Title screen
944.2 KB paulpaterson 2016/09/10 23:49
screenshot-2.png
Second screenshot
540.3 KB paulpaterson 2016/09/06 03:31
screenshot-1.png
First screenshot
12.8 KB paulpaterson 2016/09/05 04:53

Diary Entries

Post-mortem

Theme

When the themes came out I took the opportunity to watch the "Dr Strangelove" movie. I knew about it but had never seen it. I thoroughly enjoyed it and really wanted to try to incorporate that tightly into my game. This turned out to be double edged. Some ideas came easily from that theme but it also felt a bit constraining as well.

Gameplay

I set out to make a stealth game, with you creeping into the facilities and trying to avoid detection. I spotted on day two that this is hard to make fun. Stealth tends to imply a lot of watching and waiting which is hard to make fun!

When I took a break for the night I thought of the "swapping" mechanic (yep, stolen from "the swapper") and suddenly I saw this was a good way out. Now when one guy is waiting you can be doing things with the other guy. Also, the you have to consider the inactive guy because he can sometimes be in danger of being discovered.

This opened up the game and allowed me to find the fun parts. It also changed it into a puzzler rather than a stealth game. That worked well and allowed me to experiment with level design so I was happy with that.

Graphics

I found the fabulous war and destruction pictures on Deviant Art. I knew I wanted to incorporate those but they were too serious for my overall theme. Happily I found a way to switch that also with the sudden jump to Dr Strangelove!

I totally underestimated the time needed to develop the level graphics. Generating tilesets and dynamic objects takes a long time. The door alone took well over an hour and that's a lot for a single item. The tileset is nowhere near polished enough but I suspect there's another week in there just for that!

Title and Story

There was a much bigger story element to the game that I never added. The overall idea was to echo the Dr Strangelove theme of the futility of the mutally assured destruction (MAD) strategy.

The name comes from the "Nash equilibrium", which is a specific state in game theory where both players know the strategy of the other and know that there is nothing to be gained by changing strategy. This is the stable state for MAD and so I wanted to play with that idea.

The story was supposed to be relayed by Strangelove and also by having snippets of speech from the guards. However, I didn't write Strangelove's text until late in the day I was simply too tired to add the creative part (lesson learned - do creative work up front!). So I just ommitted that.

I also ommitted the guards giving story hints. I discovered early on that I needed to use the guard's speech to let the player understand the guard's "thinking" and therefore understand the model of how they would operate. I realised that if I peppered in random story bits then it would hide this so I just kept them talking about what they were doing or thinking

Level Design

I worked on this a lot. I wanted each level to have a couple of elements that the player would learn about the puzzles. I took this from "The Witness" game. This worked well but meant that it took a long time to design and tune each level, so I didn't get many of them done.

It also meant that I had additional aspects that I built but never added to a level. The guards will actually get tired and go to sleep. When they do they call in someone else to "swap" out their patrol. This is fully implemented but I could not easily think how to teach the player how it worked and also generate a meaningful puzzle out of it.

I know if can be done but I think I would have needed several additional levels to introduce the idea properly so I left it out in the end.

My Two Favourite Bits

1. I love the hat switching. I'm so glad I found that approach.
2. The guards saying "Keycard!" when opening a locked door. Helps the player to understand why the guard can open a door that they cannot and also adds a bit of character.

My Two Regrets

1. Missing the story in the main game. I've since written this and it only took an hour but I learned that I really need to do this at the begining
2. The pymunk inconsistency! Aargh! It's not even used but my serge engine will try to load and initialise it when it finds it is installed.

Thanks again to all for playing and rating my game!

1 comment

Congratulations!

Congratulations to the winners and all the participants. A great showing with many amazing and inventive games. The standard of entries just keeps getting higher, which is tremendous to see.

I always enjoy participating and value the great feedback. Thanks to all who played my game and a special thanks to those that worked through the pymunk issue, which I totally missed!

See you next time!

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Nashes to Ashes - Walkthrough

Here's a complete walk-through in case anyone is having difficulty running the game or needs help getting past a level. Since the levels are puzzles its also a big spoiler, although there are other ways to solve the later levels!



Full walkthrough (spoilers)

Teaser trailer

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Nashes to Ashes - Trailer

I made a small trailer (no spoliers!) for "Nashes to Ashes".



I have a complete walkthrough (with puzzle spoliers) that I will post later in case anyone is having difficulties running the game.

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Nashes to Ashes - made it

With a mad scramble I made it under the finish line!

I think the game came out just how I wanted it to. Some of the later levels are really nice to play and experiment on. I wish I had time to do more. I actually implemented one in the last hour, which was pretty hairy! I was a bit afraid I would make the game unwinnable!

Anyway I uploaded a version. I have only tested on OSX. If I can resurrect my cable modem (which mostly played ball today!) I can try testing tomorrow on Linux in case there is any weird show-stopper bugs.

Looking forward to playing everyone's submissions!



2 comments

Nashes to Ashes - Day 6

The game is going well. The cable model is limping along meaning I have to keep waiting for it to spring into life to go and download some sounds for the game!

I spent today on the ancillary screens and adding music so most of those are done. That leaves the final push tomorrow for a few more levels and some polishing of the earlier levels that I completed.

There's still more to do than hours and energy left but let's see where I get to.

Good luck to everyone down the final stretch!

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Nashes to Ashes - Day 5

Got some more levels built today but I hit a bit of a speed bump as I seem to have lost all web access at home. Looks like the cable modem might have died! That's going to be a distraction but hopefully I can get it fixed tomorrow ...

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Nashes to Ashes - Day 5

Today was polishing a couple of the initial levels and adding sound and animation. I'm pretty happy with how it is coming out. Tomorrow is adding music and hopefully a couple more levels.

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Nashes to Ashes - Day 4

I had a breakthrough in the gameplay today as I found a way to make the levels much more fun.

The issue with infiltration (stealth) games is that "waiting" is a key mechanic ... and waiting isn't much fun. I thought of a way around this. I wont let the cat out of the bag yet. See if you can spot it in the final game!

The new idea took some more work to the engine. I also started doing some level design and in order to make interesting levels it required another change, this time to how the "pressure mat" item worked in my levels. It was too similar to the "camera" item. I made it more distinct and I'm quite happy with how that change came out.

Tomorrow I will try to get a few more levels working to keep polishing the gameplay.

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Nashes to Ashes - Day 3

A lot of progress today with the core engine being complete and the main game structure in place. I have tried to do a bit of tuning on the first levels and started to replace some of the placeholder graphics. The key is really going to be spending enough time to polish the graphics and levels so that it is an overall fun experience!

I had problems posting a screenshot yesterday as the pyweek site kept on deleting the image link. Let's see if I have more success today!

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Nashes to Ashes - Day 2

Spent most of the day today working on the core engine. The game is about infiltration and so a key part of that is the enemy AI. That took most of the day. I had a behaviour tree implementation but I couldn’t get my brain around it and had to abandon it in favour of a hacked up monster function!

I have that working quite well now and so that should be the bulk of the technical complexity behind me (hopefully!)

Tomorrow will be working on the full gameplay. I still just have placeholder graphics in there for the moment and so I might start to work on those tomorrow also.


1 comment

Nashes to Ashes - Day 1

I had a few hours to work on the design today as the start time is 7PM in my time-zone. I have most of the game planned out and a basic story structure. I’m using the Dr Strangelove movie as an overall inspiration along with the infiltration interpretation of the “you can’t let him in here” theme.

Tomorrow will be a full day so I hope to get the engine built and a first stab at a playable level.

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