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Callum John

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A member registered Nov 05, 2016 · View creator page →

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So as I begin to work on my submission, I can't help but notice how familiar the player avatars look.

Search for a Star
Gang Beasts Beasts
Gang Beasts

Given Aardvark Swift's connections with the industry, I have a feeling that this isn't a co-incidence...

Hi there.

Did you ever give out those invites? I don't think I ever got them...

Yes. This clears up the issue tremendously. I am now confident that I can continue to create the game I want to make for this competition without being disqualified, so long as I keep what you say in mind. Thank you for your swift and detailed response!

Hello,

I, like a lot of my friends, use Discord for communication. The last competition I was a part of had an official Discord server for discussion, which I much prefer to forums like this due to the instantanious nature of communication , and  the ability to see what participants have gotten up to in real time. Could we have a server for this competition? It doesn't cost anything, and I think it would improve the sense of camraderie overall.

Thank you.

Why, thank you Jared! I hope everything goes well for you too. Could you post something before you're next livestream? I wouldn't mind saying hi.

As I develop my game concept, I realise that my idea may contain some themes that might be unsuitable for a general audience.

Your specification mentions that we have a lot of freedom when it comes to the game's concept, but mentions nothing about what sort of possibly mature content is and is not acceptable. I'm not planning on bringing on the next Hatred, Grand Theft Auto or Postal to submission, but I am concerned that if I overstep this currently invisible boundary, that I might be disallowed.

Here are some specific points that I would like to be addressed regarding this issue, going by PEGI standards:

  • Violence
    • Violence is a core component of many games, but how realistic are we allowed to be? Are we allowed to show blood when things get hurt?
  • Bad Language
    • Obviously our games shouldn't swear like sailors, especially without context, but it is a part of writing and life. Can we use them if they're bleeped out or fantastical? ('Oh Gods!' seems to be a popular one in fantasy nowadays)
  • Fear
    • This is perhaps the one that pertains most to me. Without giving too much away, can we create games with frightening, possibly life threatening situations? Should they be abstracted or softened?
  • Sex
    • No comment. I'd be very suprised if we were allowed to do anything related to this.
  • Drugs
    • This is one that seems to crop up in games without developers realising it. My guess would be that magic potions and floating health packs are OK, but showing real life addictive substances isn't?
  • Discrimination
    • Haven't got much of a comment on this either. I'm just putting it down because it's on the website for the ratings board.

I ask mainly because other competitions I have entered have at least addressed this sort of thing. Previous entries have of course been rather tame, possibly due to the fact that industry professionals are going to have to look at this at some point, but I feel that you need to be more up front with this if everyone's going to be on the same page.

Please respond when you are able, and possibly update the specification to reflect this. If you were to just say 'remember make your game suitable for a family audience' then I'd be OK with that too.

Thank you.

(Edited 3 times)

The name's Callum. I'm a student, independant games developer and artist who doesn't feel particularly comfortable with sharing his location online, so we'll skim over that. I got into game dev because I love video games. The playing, discussion and creation thereof. Never before in human history has art involved it's audience as much as games. Everything that I could ever say about why I do what I do comes back to that one simple fact.

I've been doing this for a long time, and though I wouldn't dare call myself an expert just yet, I hope that I am able to do this long into the future.

I'm also the guy behind RALI and Soluna's Secret, as well as some other surprises that I don't want to spoil at the time of writing...

Nice job on unscrambling the image, Edmond, but all I can think about looking at this is are her eyes open or shut?

(Edited 1 time)

OK. So it's been some time since I made that first post. It should be noted that I wrote that right after I finished the game. It was late. I was tired. I still stand by the majority of what I said, even if the comarisons to Shadow of the Colossus might have been a bit of a stretch. I guess why this resonated with me so much is because in this day and age, genuine surprise is almost nonexistant.

We all know what 'rosebud' means, who Luke Skywalker's father is and what Joe Schlubb media star had for breakfast. If you don't know those things now, chances are someone or something on the internet will be more than happy to tell you. Anything that manages to break through all that becomes special. It'll stick with you. Even if the product itself isn't spectacular, you might just view it differently, like I do.

Sure, Doki Doki Literature Club borrows tricks learned from IMSCARED, Pony Island and so-on, but it applied them in a way that I felt was new enough to warrant merit. I should also mention that I kind of wanted something like this to come along for a while now. Visual Novels are kind of a guilty pleasure of mine, and the Dating Sim sub-genre in particular often has this surreal awkwardness about it, that I feel could lead to great horror... though whether this game is an example of that is subjective.

I'd still find it hard to recommend to someone who doesn't like this sort of thing already, and I do agree that it has its problems. But when you get down to it, you could do so much worse than this.

(Edited 1 time)

I really quite liked what I'm seeing of this game so far in terms of moment-to-moment play, but there are quite a few glaring flaws that prevent me from fully immersing into it, such as the unfinished quality of the quality of the English translation:

I mean, I appreciate the effort to bring such an obscure game out there, and there wasn't a moment where anyone 'feel asleep', but I feel like I'm missing out on critical information when I can't read certain parts of the text, both big and small. Information that just might improve my understanding and enjoyment of the whole experience.

Also, I can't ignore the horrid, unalterable smoothing filter smeared over the otherwise remarkable pixel art. I understand that it may have been a deliberate choice to make it blend better with the handdrawn art of the foreground, but I'd rather have it be an option I can turn off.

From the launcher, I can tell that the game was (probably) made in Unity. Next time you're in touch with the developer, could you politely ask them to at the very least turn change the filter mode of sprites and textures from 'Billinear' to 'Point', as well as disabling Mip-Mapping? That should make the sprites look sharp. This can also be changed in code.

Thank you.

First of all, thank you.

Thank you so much, Team Salvato, for making this game. I haven't felt this genuinely satisfied since I finished Shadow of the Colossus for the first time. Yes, really. I mean it. Your stupid little game about some candy-haired, anime schoolgirls and their book club tea parties turned out to be one of the most heartfelt, suspenseful and gut-wrenching gaming experiences I've had in years. There's so much I could discuss, but I feel I should keep it simple for now.

Going in, I knew by the way that everyone was praising it to high heaven without giving any details that this would be something special. Even though I've played games in a similar vein before, yours still managed to keep me guessing right up until the very end. Even when I thought I had figured out what was going on, the game always had just one more surprise up its sleeve. It made me care about a cast of characters that - at first glance - I wouldn't give two ticks about. Heck, even the minigame where you have to make a 20 word poem by picking from a random list of words ended up winning me over.

I must confess that there are some things I don't like, however. It takes an agonisingly long time to get going, and hearing one or two very similar songs throughout most of it without a break was irritating, even if both of these things are done on purpose. It could have been worse, though, and I wish you luck with your future endevours.

I'll be sure to throw you some cash your way, if I can. You earned it.

Hey there!

I heard about your game through one of my tutors. Congratulations on the win!

As arcade action games go, it's all right. I've seen worse.

It does have a few problems that I struggle to overlook. The graphical style is unappealing, if cohesive. Weapons feel weak, movement is just a little too slippery and I feel that there just could be a lot more polish put into it.

Oh, and music. Music adds a lot to the whole experience. Simply putting on Andrew Hulshult's cover of 'At Dooms Gate' made it way more entertaining for me. There's a whole host of public domain and creative commons music out there. Just find a track you like, credit the artist and slap it in. You'll thank me later.

I also found it difficult to read dialog in the corner of the screen when my eye was focused squarely on the action. Dynasty Warriors has the exact same problem, but it's more to do with translation costs than a lack of voice acting.

Functionally it's fine, but I just feel it needs something to make me remember it by.

Hi GrannyJo.

Your critique does indeed help. I'm glad you liked it.  I do agree that there is a long way to go with this project, but first, a slight rebuttal:

  1. The lantern being on or off doesn't affect anything, only if it's light is touching something or not. I'll need to find some way to clarify this somewhere. Perhaps by having one or more puzzles that specifically require you to get close with the lantern on.
  2. Those 'fizzing' lines are actually z-fighting between meshes. I didn't place them correctly in the demo, and now Unity is unsure which one of the overlapping objects to draw first. In this case, it draws both of them, making it flicker as you move. No excuses here. It's entirely my fault for not measuring in whole units. It's a common mistake.
  3. The diamond thing is a crystal. When all of the crystals appear, the door opens. No-one has figured this out without me telling them, so there are things to clarify here also. They do emit a small glow to let you know where they are, but it's almost invisible. A hint wouldn't go amiss, eh?
  4. Did you double click on the door in the second room? I included an animation and sound effect for it shutting, but it's supposed to be impossible to trigger once it's opening/open. This was supposed to be for future levels, but never got used.
  5. You said it lacks visual feedback. Got it. I'll keep what you said in mind.

Thanks for the let's play! I do hope that you can stick with me while I make this idea a reality...

Hi, MikeyBlighe!

I also got your comment on GameJolt, but I prefer to reply here because I get to use Itch's client software.

I don't mind my game being shoved on the back of your vlog, actually. Gameplay's a bit too short to fill up one video anyway, and I think your content (from what little I've seen so far) is good enough to make me want to see the whole thing.

Regardless, I'm glad you enjoyed the demo to Soluna's Secret. Be assured that I am working on a follow up, and that there will be more game available some time in the future.

In case you were wondering, the tall, slim objects that kept appearing in the lantern's light were crystals, powering the mechanism that opens the door. Don't feel bad about not figuring that out. Nothing in the game so far tells you this. It's honestly something I slapped together at the last minute, and is on my to-do list to spruce up.

I'm also surprised you brought up the story blurb I put in the description. I was starting to think no-one would. It will probably be fully implemented into the game's final version.

Finally... no.

 Soluna's Secret is not that she had indoor plumbing. Sorry to dissapoint you. Kudos for making me smile.

I would be very surprised if this didn't win.

I'm strongly considering it.

That is indeed an interesting side note, GojiraPrime. I guess that people (myself included) have this somewhat nasty habit of making games for themselves. How someone with impaired vision might react to playing it was never really entered my mind, as have a lot of things that people have brought up.

I'm glad that you enjoyed it however, and I hope that you stick around for the full release.

Thanks for the let's play!

While I'm not sure it's personally to my taste, I appreciate the coverage. You made me notice a few dodgy seams in the level design, and I'll get on with fixing those for the post-jam version of the demo right away. 

In the mean time however, the game doesn't seem to be running so hot, does it? At least from the video?

Thing is, I don't know if it's actually my spaghetti code, or just some dodgy rendering on your end, but I'd hate for someone to not be able to run my game smoothly. Would you mind telling me if you actually experienced problems like that? If so, having your PC specs may help in me researching the problem.

Have a nice day.

My code is available via GitHub, but it is entirely unlicenced; if I decide to move forward with the project, I may consider making any future changes on a private repo. I haven't decided yet.

Interesting... Thanks for your swift response!

Thanks for the let's play, Jupiter! Watching you run all the way game was really helpful, and I've taken notes. Though I hope you wouldn't mind answering a question for me... and that is this; why did you look up at the lanterns hanging on the wall? I'd love to know.

Have a nice day.

Thanks for your feedback, Steven. Now here's a fun fact: the held lantern is a 3D model, and not a sprite. It's the same one as if it was sat on a pedastal. If it was a sprite, I'd have most certainly cleaned it up a lot, but I can understand your confusion. At the time of writing, the thing doesn't animate at all, and doesn't react to lighting or shadows, making it hard to tell. I'll be sure to look into improving this in the future.

I'm only too happy to help, Max!

Downloaded the executable version through the cient and it crashed. If you could look into that, I would be most appreciated.

I'll be honest, this one made me laugh. Not a bad feat, all things considered. I'll be honest and say that my main gripe is that the tutorial tips are a bit too numerous. Most of the mechanics are self explanitory, and each level is only one screen long, building on the mechanics introduced in the previous one. The only thing that really needs a heads up is the powers menu. That's what I think.

Hey there!

I tried downloading and playing your game through the Itch client, but It crashed.

Could you look into that please?

So when I start up Shooting Marathon, my first thought is: 'this looks OK'. I hit new game, and all of a sudden I'm in a room and some pretty awesome chiptune music graces my ears and I think 'I'm glad I did'nt discount this thing'.

Visuals are basic, but clean and give you all the information you need within the 64 square space. There's multiple weapons, enemies, and stage themes to keep you entertained, and I feel that the only thing missing is an aiming reticule. That wouldn't go amiss.

A solid job otherwise. I'll be sharing this one around.

Thanks for fixing that up.

(Edited 1 time)

So this is your first game huh? Congratulations! The fact that you finished something and you took my criticism in your stride means you're better than 90% of the hacks out there. I can respect that. In the meantime however, I suggest you watch the following Youtube video. It might help you out in the future.

Keeping individual puzzle rooms clean and concise was a symptom of working in such a low resolution, i think. If the rooms were too detailed, you wouldn't know what you had to work with and thus the game would feel unfair. One has to be mindful of these things, and I hope I can keep it up for future installments and projects.

Thanks for your support!

Thank you, NPJarcade!

Putting this demo together was quite the journey all right. Writing in that devlog was a great way of keeping me on track through the most difficult aspects of the project., and I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. I've got one more post planned for tying up all the loose ends, so keep an eye out for that.

I think I got to what looked to a title screen and it kind of froze. I'm not entirely sure.

No error messages were given to me on the user end. I tried moving the mouse, mashing buttons and nothing seemed to happpen. I'll be sure to pick it up again later.

(Edited 1 time)

BLAMDODGE! You can BLAM, but you can also DODGE. At the same time. This is the kind of game that's gonna take a few hours to master, and I'm going to have fun doing it. It successfully combines the dual-purpose design of Downwell with it's own original ideas and I think that's cool.

The visual aesthetic and audio are basic, but they work just fine. A sterling effort overall.

You click on cardboard ducks to shoot them as they appear. That's uh... All she wrote I guess.

I like the different toned beeps that signal the arrival of the ducks? Not at all sure whether I like this one or not.

This game so awesome, it literally blew itself up.

That is all.

Ooh. So close!

I played this one solo, but I might actually invite others to play it some day.

When it's not broken.

Animations are slow, and attacks don't occur until they're finished, which makes you feel like you're slicing through jelly. I also managed to get stuck on an enemy, too. And when I died the game crashed.

Oh well. I'll certainly keep an eye out nontheless.

For an unambitious retro platformer, it's all right. Controls are tight enough, and the movement speed is two notches above just right... but come now.

Not having checkpoints isn't a feature. That's a stab in the back.

At least send me back to beginning of the level or something? I'm sure I could crack it eventually, but I don't want to get too frustrated.

A solid effort!

The art animation, and music were all appealing, and once I got used to the jump, it started to become quite fun indeed.

Yeah, I'll be sure to pass this one on.