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Callum John

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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?

Look, deipfei, as much as I appreciate you fixing the issue so I can install the game through the Itch Client, this is a hot mess. There's no other way of putting it.

Well... I suppose I could say that the art is dark, low contrast, and has noisy pillow shading all over the place. You can barely see a thing. The foreground and background don't scroll when you move, so it looks like you're stuck in place. You jump like you're made out of tissue paper, there's no audio at all to set the mood or signify a hit or anything. Level design is nonexistant and just makes you wonder what's the point of it all? But perhaps that wouldn't be concise or polite enough.

Also, a little tip. It says in the description for the game that you made the art in Photoshop and scaled it up so you could see it properly.

That's not the best way of sticking to the rules.

I have a hunch that this may have been made in Game Maker, and if it is, there are options in the room settings that allow you to upscale a low resolution game so that the user can see it. Look into game views and viewports, and hopefully no-one disqualifies you this time or ever again.

If this comment was too harsh, I'm sorry. 

I criticise because I care.

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.

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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.

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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.

Itch says it's Mac OS only... Now there's something you don't see every day.

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.

Well, if that's your only problem with it, then I must have done a pretty good job.

Thanks for playing!

Hey, deipfei!

Itch says your game isn't available on Windows? Could you look into that for me please?

Thank you.

I'll be honest, I'm struggling to put this one into words. I'll get back to you eventually.

Aww rats.

Itch tells me that Super Dead Mall isn't available on Windows. Could you fix that? I'm... dying to play it.

In f r u i t s a l a d, you collect fruit.

In the first person.

With tank controls.

Forever.

I'll be honest, not my cup of tea.

Great job, Sumyjkl!

I could see this being a fantastic little timewaster. The 'aha' moment when I figured out this game's prime gimmick was quite a memorable one. Though I never could figure out how to get out of the airship when I embarked, I'd be more than willing to learn.

The graphics and visual aesthetic are also great. Clear and concise with a precise use of colour to set a mood. It's very easy on the eyes.

I could certainly see myself reccomending this to someone.

Oh dear.

I couldn't get this one to work, unfortunately.  At least on my desktop. That sucks. Seems like this might be a decent one.

Now this is what I like to see.

Tonnes of options, it works with my reproduction SNES controller out of the box, as well as suitably squishy sound and music that only comes through to my right speaker for some reason?

This game has quite a few bugs. OK, a lot of bugs, but they didn't really get in the way of me stomping around the dungeon and slashing away at bad guys. I love the aesthetic. 

I'll have to keep an eye on this one.

Hey there.

I want to play your game, but it says it's not available on Windows? This is especially odd since when I click download, I get a zip file. Mind fixing that? All you have to do is go into the edit game menu on Itch.io, then under the files tab, ensure that the correct platforms have been ticked.

Thank you.

OK, so I actually kinda liked REPEAT, despite the fact that there is a lot of work still to do.  Moving whatz-iz-name is stiff, slow and bouyant. His double jump and wall jump are necessary to beat the game but are never explained to you, and when you do figure it out, both abilites feel kind of random and unenjoyable. 

Somehow I stuck through to it until the end, which means you must have got  something right. I'll give you props for trying to build an atmosphere through sound and environmental cues, but it's just not polished enough to really hit home.

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MAKE IT FAST is a game that could seriously do with some kind of tutorial. Sure, I found out what I had to do soon enough, but I feel that just playing it blind isn't as fair as knowing the rules first.

There's a overwhelming lack of visual and audio cues, too. It's difficult to tell when something is burning, and by the time you figure it out, it's too late. Thus, I could only cook one thing at a time.  How about some smoke, steam or fire billowing out of the breakfast items? Some chatter in the background?

A lack of complexity of mechanics doesn't help either. I just don't feel there's a lot to learn in terms of getting a high score. Not great, in my honest opinion.

I thought Parallels was all right. 

A simple concept for a puzzle platformer that I might want to see again in a future installment, but as it is now, I found it too difficult. Movement is very fast and tight, which normally would be great, but when I you're contolling two characters at once, it feels like I don't have enough time to glance over at what the other one is doing. 

Most of my complaints could be fixed with the addition of sound/music, and perhaps a button to switch the focus of your character so that the bottom avatar's controls become uninverted for when I need to focus on what they're doing. and vice versa. In my short time with it, I just never got used to that. 

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Soluna's Secret

Challenge Accepted:

Yin-Yang

  • You literally use light and darkness as part of the core gameplay.
  • The game is also dark. Both in its themes and lighting.

At the time of writing, the game is not currently finished, but I have linked to my devlog in the time being.

I'm really liking the aesthetic of this one. Though I'll be a little be cautious around this one when it comes out. I've never been the same after playing SkiFree all those years ago...

Hey there. I caught your announcement over on the Discord, and reading your blog, it seems like it has potential.

I'll be sure to play it once it's released.

Much obliged, Lepidus. Though please keep in mind that a lot of this is programmer art and is subject to change. I'll be sure to clarify this fact in future posts to avoid disappointing people who think the game's gonna look like this up until launch.

Thank you for your feedback, crabmusket.

The next update should come this evening, as I write this.

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DISCLAIMER: The following devlog features images and writings representative of the discussed game before its release. All content is subject to change.

Introduction

Hi.

My name is Callum, and I'm making a  game called Soluna's Secret. It's a first person mystery puzzler about light and darkness being developed in Unity with C#. Each day, I try my very best to update this post with the most intreguing news about my project. All in the hope that I have something to show before the deadline. Here goes nothing!

Day 1

So I'll be honest: I'm technically starting this jam three days late. I feel that this puts me at a disadvantage when it comes to the other participants, but here goes nothing. When it came to choosing the technology, I originally wanted to go with PICO-8 for the sake of variety, but after getting a more solid grasp on my idea, I felt that it would be much more economical do to it in Unity.

Are you ready?


Bam. After a whole day of work, here's where I'm at. Two cubes on some giant chessboard. Though this doesn't look very exciting, there's a little going on here than meets the eye. Most of it is framework and setting up project management tools to help speed things along, but some of it is in fact visual:


By looking at and clicking on the cubes, you can get them to display text on the screen. Sure the text doesn't display within the pixel grid as much as I'd like, and there are some other quirks with input I haven't worked out yet, but hey. It looks OK so far. Baby steps.

I hope for this to eventually give puzzle hints and small amounts of exposition.

There are also some interactable cubes as a different class, and graphics for a hand used to indicate such objects. These things all work but don't do anything visually interesting enough to warrant showing off just yet.

Day 2

I'm writing this segment prematurely, because I have matters to attend to that may prevent me on working on this at that time. Sorry.

                                                                                                                                                    ***

So yes, my entry has a devblog now. I'm very glad to have finally got this out for you to keep an eye on. New posts will be sent as edits to this initial post, as suggested by Jack. Be sure to let me know what you think. My sincere apologies if this has so far been rather awkward and self-depricating. I'll fix that at some point.

Bye.


Day 3

Third day in, and I'm just starting to get into the really interesting stuff. Most of my progress can be summed up in the following image:


Most of what I've done has involved improving the 'inscription' system and adding the really important thing: the Pilgrim's Lantern (working name). Represented by this lovely yellow cylinder.

I hope for the Pilgrim's Lantern to drive many of the different puzzles in Soluna's Secret. It's a magical artefact that burns without fuel, and it's light may have some interesting effects that I'm not willing to spoil. I've added a pickup for this item, which adds the lantern to the player's inventory when looked at and clicked. Right now, this exchange is one way, but I may consider letting you drop the lantern on the ground as well as toggle it on and off.

Any appearance that you can drop the thing from the provided image is just editing trickery.

Much of the code has also been cleaned up, but I'm sure you care little about something you won't see when it's done.

Finally for today, I want to mention a feature I tried to add, but didn't yet have time for:


Doors. What puzzle game, or game in general would be complete without doors? They're everywhere! Though I must admit: building them out of solid stone was a stupid idea. One that I'm kind of regretting, but hopefully will look much better once it's done. Until next time!

Day 4

You know... I learned something today. And that thing is that 3D modelling is much much  harder than it looks.

I'm, uh, getting there slowly. And no. I have no idea how this happened. It's supposed to be a lever, by the way.

Regardless, other improvements include better animations for doors, as well as the associated framework behind them to be expanded upon later. All in all, kind of a slow day, I must admit, but even though some of the assets aren't done, the individual parts - such as the tiles you see above -  are complete and saved, so I can always use them later.

This means that, fingers crossed, tomorrow will be more productive. Now before this update begins to look like an apology, according to this here hit counter, this thread just hit 100 views! Thank you so much. Hopefully I can give more exciting updates for you all in the future. Until next time!

Day 5

A much, much  better effort all around today, though I must admit that the ending was a little rubbish. Kind of like the film adaptation of Life of Pi, actually. Doors are almost finished, and I have added support for unlocked doors that can be opened and shut just by looking at them and pushing the 'Use' key to pry them open and shut. Complete with pretty animations! (Not at all diminished by the strict resolution.)


But enough of my perculiar fetish for increasingly functionable gateways, here's the thing you've all been waiting for:


The lantern finally has a purpose! Other than lighting your way through the dangerous depths of the tomb, the lantern's light can reveal hidden objects and make them tangable, or do the opposite, as in this example.


With this knowledge in hand, I hope this will lead to some very interesting puzzles in the near future, as very soon, this won't just be bound to how far away the lantern's light is, but also if it's on or off. Though unfortunately a few hiccups in the workflow pipline (or a flipping annoying bug to you non-marketing folk) meant that I couldn't get that done today. Something for tommorrow, one would hope!

Any feedback is most welcome. Until next time!

Day 6

I'm nearing the end of the first week, and I'm starting to feel the crunch. A lot of progress was both made and lost today, paradoxically.

Part of this comes from the fact that, while I have improved Soluna's Secret in a few rather significant ways, I have just come to the most startling realisation; I don't know how to texture models properly. And yet, somehow, I have made this:


That's the work-in-progress model for the Pilgrim's Lantern, sans handle. Would you like to know what it looks like in game?


Are you sure? Because this one's a doozy...



...That. 

It looks like someone vandalised the top of the TARDIS. I have done as much research as I can on this, and it turns out that making models for video games is not as simple as slapping the model together in the modelling program, saving the file, then dragging it into Unity. Oh no, that would be far too easy, and who doesn't love a challenge? Definitely not. Rather Blender (the program that I use for this sort of thing) has a materials system that was developed on the opposite side of the universe to Unity. They're 100% incompatible. 

Not to worry though, after you've swallowed your tears (and your pride) you learn that there is a solution. And that solution is done via the process of Baking and UV Unwrapping. Anyone reading this that actually does this sort of thing for a living probably just let out an uncontrollable shudder... Or not. I wouldn't know. I've never done it before. But the long and short of it is this: If I wanted to make a texture for a cube, I wouldn't draw like this...


I'd instead draw it like this:


That's because the computer needs to know what each side of the cube looks like laid flat, so it can do some maths in order to wrap it up again and draw it to the screen correctly. Now you can imagine that as models get more complex, the net of the shape will too, and very quickly it becomes unfeasable, so we need to turn to the computer once again to do it for us. A lot of software simplifies this whole process by allowing for texture painting. Literally, you can paint texture directly on the thing - kind of like airfix - which is pretty much what I've ended up doing.

The problem is when you have your model all painted up and ready to go, you need to blast it back to its basic bits for anything else to use it. This is where I am right now. Nearly halfway into the jam and I've found something I don't understand at all. Yet. Tommorrow will almost certainly be a crash course in this sort of thing so I can fart out all of the necessary assets as quickly as I can. and get on with building the rest of the game.

But enough of that, let's have a look on the lighter side. The lantern itself has seen some noticable improvement:


The lantern's light is now much more even; it's much easier to tell where it's influence stops. Initially, I fretted over this problem, and tried many half-hearted solutions, until someone pointed out that spot lights give off a much more even glow than other kinds of Unity light. This gave me an idea:


Instead of having the light come from the lantern, have the light come from the light. It's a cheap hack, but one I find amusing. Sure, it's nowhere near as drastic as flipping the whole game horizontally , but I thought it was cool.

In addition to this, switching the lantern on and off affects both Lunar and Solar objects. If I ever get this UV unwrapping problem sorted in time, I'm sure I'll have a better way to show this off soon.

Until next time!

Days 7, 8, 9 and... 10?!

It's been a long time. How have you been?


I've been just fine. You know, after I spent two days learning UV Mapping. I've been working my socks off to get as many art assets as possible finished  before the deadline in the hopes that I can go on to making some nice environments to walk through, if not a whole game.


I'm going to be honest with you and say that the odds of me finishing this within the deadline are starting to look slim. Never fear however, because even if I miss the deadline, I hope to continue on with this project until it becomes some form of  small prototype, at the very least. It's funny how something that seems simple can suddenly slip away from you into reams of complexity that you can never fully realise. Throughout this whole process I've been buzzing with ideas, many of which will have to be cut from the final product. Especially ones that require more art assets (I enjoy the process, but it's very time consuming).


Additional features thus far have been slow, achingly so in my opinion. To the point where this latest update doesn't really have that many improvements over the previous version in terms of mechanical content. This is entirely my fault for not finding my minimum viable product early, something I am usually diligent about, and also because this puzzle game about light, darkness, and a helluva lot of doors actually started as a Tomb Raider demake. I might write about this more in my planed postmortem after the jam, so stick around for that.

In that regard, I'm happy how much I've managed to do, and how far I've come. I could have given up much sooner, but I didn't. This fact comforts me, and looking around and witnessing the honest efforts of others really helps.

Now let's get down to specifics:


The lantern's light now flickers at the edges. Mostly an aesthetic detail, but the script is more than recyclable, so you should be able to see this elsewhere in the project. The rest, as previously mentioned are art assets. I have two planned features in the work to round out the core gameplay that I hope to have done soon.

The only really bad news is that I have more personal matters to attend to that will prevent me from 'jamming' tommorow.

My humblest apologies for the absence, and stay tuned!

So I've just finished playing the entire series up until this point, and while I wouldn't personally consider them "good", they are certainly interesting. The fact that I was engaged enough to keep playing must mean you were doing something right.
Complaints are mostly minor; things such as punctual errors, pacing and level design quirks that don't harm the experience too much. Larger issues, mainly do with the finer details of the writing are present, however, and do take me out of it sometimes.

like the central conflict. I get that this world is full of human-like animals, that some are predators (wolves, foxes, bears) and some are prey (rabbits, mice and cats, apparently), and how the predators eat the prey which causes them to hate each other's guts... but hang on a second!

When have we ever seen a predator kill and eat another character? Not to my knowledge they haven't. Treat is perfectly happy living off of pot noodles and curry, Moxie claims to like the taste of rabbit to scare people but has never actually eaten one, Trick flat out says she's a vegetarian, and everyone else sustains themselves on magic meat bought from witches. Sure, characters talk about it endlessly, they build walls and lock their doors more than once, but as far as I know, this whole thing's a sham. Some crazy rumour spread initially as a joke, only people were dumb enough to fall for it.

Does this world have the internet? All joking aside, this is so distracting!

As the series (at time of writing) isn't finished, this may be addressed at some point. You could also argue that as a series of mostly family-friendly slice-of-life stories with almost no violence (save a single, optional punch) it may catch people off guard, but you don't have to show it directly. The whole conspiracy aspect may also be, in fact, something you intended. In which case I just... ahh I don't know. Show don't tell, do don't show, I guess. I never figured I'd get so worked up over something like this, so let's go back to the positive.

Humans. Trick mentions she had a human master, and instantly my ears prick up. I start to pay attention and all sorts of intriguing questions spring to mind.

If there are humans around, where are they? Where'd they go? How come the animals all have towns and villages and yet there's not a single human settlement to be found? Can the humans see the animals the same way we see them, if at all? On and on and on.

I've always liked the idea of a fantasy world where humans, not orcs or elves, are the minority. The ancient ones spoken about in hushed tones in bars and around campfires. If I were to do a game in this series, it'd be one where you play from their perspective.

The art was sweet, one or two jokes made me smile, and I liked the bit in Clever Fox Moxie where you had to search the lodge for various knick-knacks to put on a show.

Though I must apologise, I never expected to write an essay on this (I have a habit of doing that), so I bid you good night and good luck. If not at the very least to allow other users some room. 

Keep up the good work!

I had a much longer comment planned, but then I accidently clicked your Patreon link in the same tab and lost it. I don't want to repeat myself too much, so...

Something something nice art, something something negative possibility space, something something Wolf Weekly.

I think that was the gist of it, anyway.

Have a nice day!

A solid puzzle platformer with a few rough edges.

The idea of changing your weight to solve puzzles  is a novel one, and I easily lapped up the first eight levels, but after that it just... stopped. I'd found all eight doors, defeated all of their fiendish brain teasers, but to no avail.

None of the hooded figures seemed to care, I couldn't see a way out and just closed the game. It's a shame really, shouldn't I get a credits roll or something? Very odd.

Finally, consider researching your titles in future. Where I'm from, Dyson is a rather famous brand of vacuum cleaner--

[Tries to Find a Link as Evidence]

...Oh.

"A Dyson sphere is a hypothetical megastructure that completely encompasses a star and captures most or all of its power output". You learn something new every day.

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I adored this demo.

Though the amount of health on the bosses was almost ridiculous at times, the atypically melancholy music score, surreal backdrops that actually force you to watch where you're flying and the teleportation gimmick were all wonderful.

I'd love to see how this develops, should you get funded, though I've noticed rather a large amount of spelling and grammar issues in the description.

Otherwise, good luck!

I really enjoyed my time with Idra and the Little Fish. I loved the environmental design, the lighting and the fact that both characters in the story are co-dependant on each other. If I had one gripe, it'd be that the crystal puzzle feels a little cheap. Trial and error with a bunch of dead end doors wasn't very fun.

More please!