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A jam entry

PropelView game page »

Shoot to move, get in harm's way to recharge, hurry to survive
Submitted by terrapass with 3 hours, 41 minutes before the deadline

Results

CriteriaRankScore*Raw score
Theme#524.1674.167
Innovation#1513.5833.583
Overall#1633.5333.533
Overall#1763.5003.500
Feel#2113.1673.167
Aesthetics#2673.2503.250

Ranked from 12 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

How does your submission match the theme?
The player's aim in the game is to survive for as long as possible in the arena. In order to incentivize the player to take an aggressive approach for achieving this goal, a timer, which can only be increased by killing enemies, was introduced. Instead of a separate concept of health, the game directly uses this timer: successful enemy attacks take away precious seconds from the player, while kills add a bit of time.

Movement and shooting are the same action: there is no way to control the player's vessel other than by propelling (or slowing it down) with its own shots.

Shooting takes energy from a limited pool, leaving the player with no attacking capabilities, if they exhaust it. The player is not defenseless, however, as they can turn their shield towards opponents' projectiles and use it to replenish their energy pool: if a projectile hits the shield, it causes no damage and grants the player a bit of energy. The shield has a dual purpose for the player, since it both offers protection and gives a way to recharge their weapon. Additionally, since for the shield to absorb anything it actually has to be in a way of an enemy's projectile, the player is forced to take risks and potentially put themselves in harm's way in order to get back their ammo.

Third-party resources
Game engine: Unity 5 Personal
3D modeling: Blender
2D graphics: Pinta, Spacescape (skyboxes)
Sound effects: BFXR (http://www.bfxr.net/)
Music: autotracker.py
Font: Ubuntu-R (Canonical Ltd., http://font.ubuntu.com/ufl/ubuntu-font-licence-1.0.txt )

Contributors
Taras Denysenko (terrapass)

Source Code
https://bitbucket.org/TerraPass/gmtk-propel

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Comments

(+1)

Nice use of dual purpose design, with the back shield absorbing projectiles into ammo, protecting you, to feed into your shooting, which propels you back. Unfortunately, even the easy difficulty is gets too hard quickly. Would like to try it out with a more fair challenge!

(+1)

It's a bit hard to stay alive long but you hit the theme pretty well with this. The energy shield was a great way make the gameplay unique and meaningful. Nice job!

(+1)

I made a video review which is available here: https://youtu.be/ItIP4pU81xA
It's uploading now, but should be online in about 10 minutes or so. Thanks a lot, and well done!

Developer(+1)

*gasp* A video review?! I'm speechless... I'll watch it as soon as I get the chance.

Developer (Edited 2 times) (+1)

Thank you so much for the effort you put in for this review. Really didn't expect someone to play my game for almost half an hour. Your commentary was spot on and I'm grateful for your suggestions and advice, I actually took notes when watching. 

I completely forgot to confine the  cursor to the screen despite knowing about that feature of Unity, since I always playtested in fullscreen on a single monitor. 

As for the parallax effect, the further background is actually a skybox, so that's why it's static. I've never actually done parallax before, so I wasn't sure how to go about it and decided to just make a skybox and then put a semi-transparent plane at some distance behind the action. I'm going to try your advice on how to make it look less like dust on the screen in a future version.

Now to answer your questions. The soundtrack consists of 4 tracks, which are picked at random, regardless of speed or time left. Whenever one of them finishes playing, another starts (though due to the difficulty, it's rare to  actually hear this happen, and since you did, you're now officially gud™ at this game :) ). The key of the no-energy sound matching the music is a complete coincidence.

As for enemies, several of them are pre-placed (that's why the game starts in the same way every time), then, every 20 seconds a bunch of enemies of both types is spawned at some distance outside of the circular border and they fly into the arena to get you. So, it isn't actually safer near the border. The spawning mechanism is a bit random and can be problematic: it consists of a number of spawn points around the arena, each of which has a small probability of spawning one of the two enemies every 20 seconds. So, it can be very unfair if too many enemies spawn near the player (in which case the player will be horribly murdered) or not enough (in which case the player will die from timeout).

Thank you once again for your video. I've uploaded a postjam build, which fixes the bugs with highscore and time being counted even while the game is paused. It also features difficulty selection (though it simply affects the max number of bullets and the time given), confines the cursor to the window and incorporates your suggestion to make the smaller enemies' hitboxes a bit bigger. Do check it out, if you'd like.

The player still looks like a hair dryer though. :D

Haha awesome that you took notes! Makes me feel important. :)

I think (but I might be wrong) that parallax effects are usually done either using a perspective camera and putting things at different distances for away (so you get a natural parallax effect), or by making multiple orthographic cameras. Or an additional perspective camera that only renders a background layer, or something to that effect. Hope it helps! I'll be waiting excitedly for the new version.

I'm gud! And you know, never underestimate the power of serendipity. The key is to make the most of it.

I'll have to check out the new version as soon as I get the opportunity!

Nice of you to make such a thorough reply, it made me happy to read it :)

PS: Hair dryers are great. :D

(+1)

Feels like we are getting a lot of these shoot to move games here, but I like the nice addition of absorbing energy with the shield. However, the controls are quite clumsy and the difficulty is very high already in the beginning. I couldn't last more than 20 seconds.

Developer

I really appreciate your feedback!

You're right, the controls definitely need work. Difficulty was kind of an accident and is, in part, a by-product of imprecise controls. Anyway, difficulty settings are close to the top of my list for improvements/fixes for a post-jam build, which I'll make when I have the time.

(+1)

The mechanic is fun to use, but can feel a little awkward to control.  I would love a button that flipped me 180 degrees to block.

Developer

Thanks for taking the time to play my game! I'll experiment with your suggestion.

(+1)

I'm having a feeling that a lot of the games are using similar mechanics (similar to mine anyway), but that was very smooth shooter action!

Would be cooler if there was some more feedback on when you have limited time left as now you just poof and die. The action is too fast and furious for me as well (bad reflexes).

Developer

Thanks for checking out my game and leaving feedback!

I like your idea with giving a warning when the time is about to run out - I'll implement something to that effect in a post-jam build. Maybe some kind of a sound clue or a countdown on top of the player ship will do the trick. It's definitely too hard to keep track of the time left in the heat of battle currently.

The crazy difficulty was not entirely intentional on my part: during the development I tested the mechanics with several pre-placed enemies and everything seemed okay. And then, as submission deadline approached, I placed some more enemies, added an automatic enemy spawner and ran out of time for playtesting. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯