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Stand Off Software

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I'm getting closer to finishing my somewhat absurdist comedy fantasy point and click adventure game Unicorn Dungeon! I figure I will attempt to keep a dev log until release.

Here is the trailer I just made which is really just the opening scenes of the game with a splash screen at the end:

Story:

The game follows the adventure's of Sir Typhil of Creulor who sets out in search of a unicorn and become king.  What actually happens turns out... a bit different. Unicorn Dungeon is the first of a planned series of games following the adventures of Sir Typhil, which will become increasingly more absurd as time goes on.

Comedy:

The game features my own brand of comedy, which may or may not be a good thing... It's not slapsticky silly or filled with one liners but the humor is derived from a story that takes itself very seriously (thus the narrator can even be seen as a primary character), and characters who largely fail to notice the completely absurd and surreal world and situations around them. Thus the comedy often ends up quite dry and takes some turns toward dark.

Trailer:

This trailer is actually the entire opening cutscene of the game with a splash screen at the end.


Gameplay:

The game is a point and click adventure game with all that entails. However, I'm not great at sticking to only one genre in games. There will be a few scenes that will be in a completely different genre (one rogue-like scene in Unicorn Dungeon, for example). This might not be the case in every episode, but I certainly don't shy away from suddenly changing genres mid-game from time to time ;-)

Timeline:

With most of the framework in place, I currently expect to have the first three episodes out before GDC in March. This first episode, Unicorn Dungeon, should be out within the month. Episode two has already been completely designed, and some work has already been done on it.

With that, here are a few more screen shots:



Thanks for the additional info. The overwrite warning is a very good idea! I find a good strategy when fighting (especially in the first fight level) is to jump over the enemy and attack from behind before he can turn around, then get out of the way before he swings at you.

Thank you very much for the comments.

  • I will look into this problem. To give me a clearer idea where to look, did you exit the pause menu by clicking the "resume" button or by pressing the esc key? (btw, the game autosaves, so you should be able to load and get back to where you were without completing the first section again.)
  • Are you completely certain that you had to jump way high like was it the same as if they were standing? I'm trying to figure out if this is a collider bug that is keeping the collider in the standing position, or designed behavior. It was designed so you have to jump over dead bodies, but the collider should be pretty low, matching the body on the ground.
  • I will consider putting a parry in. I'm a bit concerned this would make the fighting sections too easy if instead of avoiding the attacks, you could just press a button and block them.
  • You can skip dialog after 1 second. The first time you click LMB it completes the scrolling dialog and the second time it skips it. This is to avoid people accidentally skipping dialog which happens all the time in game that don't have a skip delay, and can be quite annoying.

Thank you for your comments so far. I look forward to reading what you have to say when you have had a chance to play it.

I just hosted the $101 Adventure Game Challenge jam which will be a yearly event, and I wish to use all of these features for the next one, but that's about a year away since the first one just finished. I may host other jams in the meantime though which would use these features, and I'll let you know if so. Also, feel free to contact me any time about them as I would love to be involved.

Thanks!

Thanks for the feedback. You are right that it is somewhat odd in that it doesn't fit neatly into a particular genre. Although it is primarily in the point and click adventure game genre, it has elements of other genres that may turn off some hardcore adventure fans. If this were the nature of comments I had gotten, I would completely understand that. Thanks very much for taking a look.

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Hello folks. I couldn't figure out where to put this post, and here seemed like the best place. It is a finished game so not technically a dev log, but what I'm looking for is not to announce its release (it was released 4 months ago) but to try to get feedback and understand some of the scant feedback I have gotten.

It has been like pulling teeth to get feedback on this game, and I haven't really gotten any, but I have gotten a few comments, and I cannot understand what they mean. From the comments I have seen, it sounds like the person is playing a completely different game. And they never provide any details about what they mean. I won't print the comments I have gotten here just yet since I don't want to influence anyone who wants to help me out, but I find them truly baffling.

Can some people *please* play this game and tell me if it's actually horrible and I'm somehow not seeing it? It's free to download. Sure, it's not a AAA game or anything, but it's pretty fun... I think?

It's primarily an adventure game with a few side-scrolling action segments. If you love adventure games, I especially want to hear from you, but feedback from anyone is very much appreciated.

Anyway, I would really really love to hear any feedback you have, the more detailed the better.

https://stand-off-software.itch.io/youre-my-hero

Thanks!

The installer and game both worked.

It works now! :-)

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I did a bit more research and apparently there is something called Smartscreen that some people have enabled on their computers. I still don't completely understand it, except that it's nothing but a huge nuisance and should be turned off as soon as possible. Are you using Explorer/Edge by any chance? It seems like most results I found in my search related to people using those browsers. Or maybe you're using Winows 8? (the worst operating system ever made) I see a lot of issues with that related to Windows 8 as well. In any case, rest assured that it has to do with settings on your own computer, and it's Microsoft's fault. I don't know how many people have this thing enabled, but I haven't heard of any problems with people trying to play my games yet, so probably most people know how to shut it off or get around it or don't have it active. (it's deactivated in Windows Defender settings I think)

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I just downloaded and unzipped your game. I am running Windows 10. It gave me the same old message "The publisher could not be verified. Are you sure you want run this software?" message. I get that message pretty much every time I run an exe file. All but the biggest noobs to Windows will be used to that message by now. They just decide if they trust the source they downloaded it from, and if they do, they click the "run" button. Nothing out of the ordinary. Is this something different than you are seeing?

P.S Your game didn't work for me. it's just a black screen after the Made with Unity splash screen.

P.P.S. Please go back to Inno Setup. Your Winzip self extractor didn't even give me any options of where to unzip it to. I still don't know where it unzipped to. It looks like some kind of temporary folder or something. So you want people to unzip it every time they play it? Inno Setup has been around for 20 years and is very trusted. In fact I dare say it's the best install program out there and I've tried quite a few.

I suppose I should jump in here and introduce myself. My name is Vance. I am the programmer and game designer for Stand Off Software. I have been making games for quite some time but haven't been on itch.io all that long. I guess my first relatively successful game was a MUD in the late 90's called 'Epic of Krast." Successful in that it got a lot of players, not that it made me any money... My recent success has been with a trilogy of adventure games within Second Life called Lutra City Mysteries which also gets lots of players but doesn't make me any money. One of these days I'll figure out this money thing. For the last year, I have been working on adventure games including a stand-alone Lutra City Mysteries series which failed on Kickstarter but I will figure out how to fund it somehow. Meanwhile I am concentrating on a different series of adventure games that are sort of absurdist comedy fantasy.

I currently have two games on itch.io: You're My Hero and Novelist Simulator, both free.

I also write music and play in two rock bands. Since everyone else mentions it, I suppose I will too :-)

Happy to be on this great site!

My Twitter

My Discord Server

bumping this back to the top because it's important, and I see from another thread that some people aren't seeing it.

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No, people who aren't interested in your games are not "trolls." You asked why you are not getting downloads. I am trying to help you figure out the answer. After watching the gameplay footage you provide on the pages, I am fairly confident that a large part of why you are not getting downloads is that the games don't look fun. One appears to be a cheap bejeweled knockoff, and the other you just shoot people coming through a door over and over. Congratulations on completing some games. That in itself is a great accomplishment and you should be proud of it. A few people might even think these games look fun? But my opinion is that not many will, and that's likely part of the reason you are not getting downloads. Other reasons are what I stated above which are that you are limiting your audience substantially by making VR games, and that marketing is really really hard. Soul-crushingly hard.

I watched both of the videos for your games and, if I can be completely honest with you here, neither of them look very fun. I don't have a VR thingy but if I did, I highly doubt I would download those games. In fact, after seeing you post above that you make "amazing things" and then seeing those videos, I'm kind of starting to wonder if this thread is even serious.

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For a variety of reasons, I prefer this site to other similar distribution platforms, but I think we all know there is another site that is beating the pants off of this one when it comes to game jams. Having run two game jams on this site, I have a few suggestions to bring itch.io up to the best of the best when it comes to game jamming. Some of these are things the other site already has that this one is sorely lacking, and others of these ideas are my own ideas from my experience running jams.

1. Custom pages - Be able to add pages to the jam that have separate tabs across the top. Right now the jams are all on one page and if you have a lot of info, the description gets quite long-winded. Jam organizers should be able to add other pages to categorize the content.

2. Awards - Right now there is a rating system that ranks games by voting criteria, but you can't single out games for specific awards. Example of awards might be a "judges choice" award for each of the judges or "smallest file size" award or any number of things a game could be recognized for that makes no sense to be a judging criteria.

3. Weighted Criteria - The jam organizer can weight the criteria as to how much they will contribute to the overall ranking. If a jam is very story-focused, the organizer will want to weight the "story" and "characters" criteria higher than "graphics" and "sound." This can be done by having a multiplier for each criteria that defaults to 1.

4. Multiple Voting Systems - Each game could receive a community vote and ALSO a vote by the judges that are counted separately from each other. Both systems have their good and bad points, so why not be able to have both.

5. Manuel Ranking - An additional ranking system is added which can be enabled and then ranks are entered manually by the jam organizer. The organizer gives each game a rank by hand based on either his sole discretion or any other way of judging that takes place off the site such as in-person discussion with the panel of judges.

6. Back Bin - This is an area in which games are put that are disqualified from the jam because they did not follow the rules. Many jam organizers, including myself, don't want to wantonly toss games out of the jam entirely if they failed to follow one or more rules, but they should be excluded from the primary ranking system. This is important because people who come to the jam after it's over to play the games, are going to lose interest pretty fast if they keep running across games that didn't follow the rules. After all, they chose to play games in this jam for a reason, presumably because they are interested in the theme or rules. They don't want to find games in there that didn't follow them. On the other hand, people did work hard on those games, and it doesn't seem completely in the spirit of a game jam to just toss them out.

Thanks for reading my suggestions.

Ooooohhh. All you have to do is promote the games. Gee why didn't we think of that.... (e_e) Or I suppose you may be right that free is too overpriced.

Thanks Negativo!

This thread should be pinned in my opinion. Half of the inspiration and motivation that comes from game jams is due to chatting with and sharing with the other participants. A Discord server is a must-have.

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I understand your pain. I have two games up on this site and they get few downloads, the more popular one has 30 downloads total. And my game doesn't require additional hardware. Your VR game is going to have a much smaller potential audience. The issue isn't the site, it's the fact that games need promotion. There is no magical place to put your game that's going to make people aware of it. The easy part of indie game development is making games. The hard part is that you also have to be a marketing expert or it's all for nought.

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Just went back and listened to the music again. It looks like there are three pieces of music. The one at the intro screen is interesting. I really like that one. Also one of the two that play during the game is quite interesting as well, but the other doesn't really stand out much. It's fine background music but just doesn't really stand out and that seems to be the one that plays more often than the more interesting one. Also it seems the music stops playing after a while and is completely silent until you do something that makes it start up again. I suppose those are the reasons I didn't notice the music very much. The more interesting piece plays more rarely and a lot of time there is no music. But yes some of the music is quite interesting.

The amount of effort put into this game was not lost on me. It's quite well made as I say in the first line of my review below. I think one of the main things provoking this reaction is that the pointer itself is a cock. Since you use the pointer to do everything, this paints the entire game with cocks despite there being other things going on. I suspect just changing the pointer would tone it down enough for a lot of people.

But yes, it is a good quality game that is quite complex and I had fun playing it.

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The rock was the main one. I didn't see it there cause it just looked like a blob of grey. But I don't know how you do a rock any better really. And like I said it wasn't really an issue cause eventually found it since the words pop up.

What's a rock doing inside on the floor anyway? :-P Well, it's an adventure game. Rocks are all over the place.

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I eventually figured out how to win but the game play made no sense to me. It's just random trial and error to see what things do. Like interacting with a crate makes an orange move... I couldn't make any sense of any of it.

The interaction method is pretty strange. Why do you have to hold the mouse and wait for a circle to fill to interact?

no audio

The graphics are ok.

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The art seems to have nothing to do with the story. It's just platforms.

There's no audio at all except a boing noise when you hit a trampoline.

The game play has nothing to do with the story.

Also, it's not an adventure game. It's a 3D platformer.

This game is kind of confusing without much to do. The protagonist is apparently famous, but it doesn't make it clear why. Also why did they knock him out and take him out onto a boat just to try to kill him? The story didn't make much sense. It wasn't until the second time playing that I even realized how he got on the boat. At first I thought it was a dream he was waking up from and he was on the boat all along.

The graphics are very nice. There isn't really much to the game though. Didn't make sense to me why I couldn't jump over the rocks to the boat, and also couldn't pick up the bucket. Eventually found that I had to go down another path, see some fire, then go back and it would let me get the bucket.

No story or character development.

This seems to me like a game that was supposed to be a lot longer and then got cut down due to time constraints. There are many rooms but only 3 that are good for anything. There is hardly anything to interact with, just people (most of whom are useless) and one object.

The art is good enough to see what's going on but not great. It's so scribbly that it's kind of confusing to the eye.

The music is not particularly noteworthy but at least it has music and that's something.

I found the puzzle unintuitive, and eventually just solved it by dumb luck going around and clicking everything.

There isn't a whole lot to this game. It has an interesting concept but doesn't really follow through with it.

The art is good, it's a minimalist style but works well. The music is decent as well.

The game play consists of two puzzles both of which I solved before I even knew they existed. I got the key before I knew the door was locked, and I got the shovel before I knew I needed to dig a hole.

What little story exists is told completely through the radio, which you never need to click on so you could miss the story entirely. Neither of the characters are developed at all really.

This game gives some interesting history in the context of a single family, including the dangers they faced in this place and time as well as superstitions.

The Art is very well-done, although I do wonder why the mosquitoes don't look anything like mosquitoes. Maybe because it's a dream I guess.

The music and sounds doesn't seem to fit the time period and setting. They are fine, but it would be really cool if it was traditional music from this time period. This just sounded like generic RPG music.

The gameplay itself is rather uninteresting. Just eat onions, hit monsters repeatedly until they die, eat onions, repeat. Even if you die, there doesn't seem to be any consequence. I found myself kind of wishing I was playing the story that was being told in the flashbacks.

The most significant negative factor about this game as far as this jam is concerned, though, is that it is not an adventure game. It's an RPG. Which is a bit of a shame because I think this story would have been better told as an adventure game.

I like that there are a few different styles of challenges in this game. The story and characters aren't all that fleshed out though.

The art and animation for the game is not really fancy but it certainly good enough.

The background music doesn't really fit the setting but is better than nothing. Sound effects are ok.

Although deficient in story and character development, the game play is quite fun and varied.

The most significant negative factor about this game as far as this jam is concerned, though, is that it is not an adventure game. It's a platformer.

The art for this game is pretty basic but it gets the point across. There are some flickering issues with intersecting hallway pieces on the space ship that are a bit distracting.

The music and sound is very minimal. It works ok, but it seems like there should be more audio.

The story is told well although choosing different options only changes the most superficial of things most of the time. Would have been nice to have a few more story branches even if they all rejoin the main branch before the end. The inability to skip through some of the dialog can be annoying at times when replaying the game. There are two unique endings, although the outcomes of each choice is precisely what you expect it to be, so the choice isn't really hard.

I was drawn into the atmosphere, especially at the beginning. The most immersive part of the game is when you're still on your space ship. Once you get to the space station there isn't much you do and the environment is pretty bland.

I had fun playing this game.

I really like the art in this game. It's absurd but gives the game a really interesting feel.

There is only one actual puzzle in this game, but it's an interesting one. Audio based puzzles are not seen very often in adventure games. I really liked it, and it had a lead-in from the cow conversation.

The audio sets the feeling of atmosphere very well. Although minimal, it works perfectly to set the tone.

Speaking of tone, the weird pink cow kind of breaks immersion. Up to that point, the game was very immersive drawing the player into its world and then suddenly a slang talking pink cow appears and takes you right out of it.

The ending is kind of disappointing. There was no set-up for it, and so it didn't really make sense. Seemed like a tacked on "I can't think of an ending" ending.

All in all a good game. I had fun playing it.

This game is cool. It's like a story book.

The art is simplistic but it fits with the style. It wouldn't have the same feel if the art was more elaborate.

The puzzles are so obvious they can't even really be called puzzles, but that actually works. this is more of a story than a challenging game, and the tasks you have to accomplish are to draw you in with interactivity rather than tax your brain. It works well.

The music fits the game well. It has a few sound effects but probably could have done with more.

All in all, this game is a nice experience that outlines the basics of Anne Bonny's early life. The transition from the house to outside is a bit jarring, though. It looks like you're outside the house you just left but it's actually many years later.

It plays like a fairy tale book experience, and was enjoyable.

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This is a nice little game with some cool art.

The art is really very well done and the highlight of the game. Unfortunately it's often far too dark. I get that it is actually dark in the trunk and before she lights the lantern, but the backgrounds are so dark it's barely playable. The first time I played I saw the arrow to the lower trunk but didn't see the one back up so was completely stuck for a long time. There are ways to portray darkness without actually making the pictures so dark that the game is difficult to play because you can't see anything. Just giving a blue tint to everything is one of them.

I tend not to like the context pop-up interaction style, but that's just my personal preference. One issue with it though, is that it would often pop up partially off the screen. Nothing that you needed was ever obscured this way but it gives the impression that something might be.

The puzzles themselves were good, well integrated into the story, and made sense. Although don't know why I had to get the knife from the man when there was a drawer right over there that kept telling me it was full of cutlery but wouldn't let me get any of it.

Audio would have added a lot to this game. The lack of it is very noticeable.

The only really negative thing is how dark many of the screens are. This made the game very difficult to play at first before I could get the light on.

Good game.

This game has a great art style and concept.

The art is really great and fits the game perfectly. It really feels like a high tech, luxurious new transport. It's absolutely spot on.

The background music is good,  catchy even. The lack of any other sounds brings it down a bit though.

There is really only one puzzle in this game, but it is done well. I do wonder why I can't buy drinks from the bartender though. I have to steal drinks from the bar instead. The other people and terminals in the train giving additional info is a nice touch.

The story is a bit lacking. I don't really know why I am trying to blow up the train. Some more backstory would go a long way. Also clicking seems to quickly skip past dialog before I can read it sometimes, and it keeps moving me around the train when I am clicking through dialog.

Despite the playable content being minimal and a very sparse story, the game was quite enjoyable.

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This is an interesting subject and approach and makes for a fun game.

The art is quite good and does the job. It really shines when he looks in the mirror though. Those depictions are excellent.

The puzzle solutions are all pretty obvious, but they make logical sense and are tied tightly into the story. Perhaps if there were a few more red herrings it could make them more satisfying.

The music and sparse sound effects work well enough, although it might could do with a bit more sound design.

I can't think of anything major negative about this game. You might make the inventory more obvious though. It was a bit hard to find. Someone with less experience with adventure games than me would likely have even more difficulty with this. A bit more intricacy and fleshing out of the story may be called for, but it works as it is as well.

Although it was very short, this game was certainly fun to play.

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Well... what to say about this. Despite the fact that much of the content is a bit off-putting, it's a surprisingly well made game.

The art style and animations are goofy, but well within the bounds of acceptable, especially since it's consistent.

The game design is well done. I like that you have to spend your money wisely or else you fail, and then you have to figure out for yourself that you failed and decide to start over. I like games that allow you to fail. It kind of sucks you have to watch the relatively long intro every time you restart though. The brief action sequence is well-placed also.

The voice acting is actually pretty good and adds a lot to this game. It's a bit jarring that the protagonist isn't voice acted though. He's the only person in the game who speaks silently. Other than the voice acting, though, this game is pretty sparse on sound. Some more sound design would help it a lot.

The primary negative aspect of this game is its over-reliance on dick jokes. I'm no prude, and even enjoy blue humor probably more than most, but the one-note writing just made an otherwise quality game seem cheap and half-assed. There are a few moments in this game that are actually funny, like the crack dealer selling cameras instead of crack because crack hasn't been invented yet, and then the Russians steal the camera because they're trying to fake the moon landing before the Americans do. Now that's funny. I wish there was more of that kind of writing and fewer penises.

The story you've chosen is very interesting. Your main character has a distinct personality that gives him character, livening up the game.

The art style is great, and it's not even jarring at all that the character doesn't move around the screen. Some things are so low rez that you can't tell what they are, but you find out when you hover your mouse over them so no problem there.

The puzzles are relatively easy, but are logical and consistent with the story. I love that there are messages for lots of things that aren't even part of a puzzle just for flavor text, and they even change when you try it again. This fleshes out the world and character quite a bit.

The music sets the atmosphere perfectly, and the myriad sound effects really bring the world to life.

The only significant negative aspect is that the interaction is confusing. Standard point & click adventure game interaction is left click to interact, right click to either examine or cycle the cursor. In this game, right click to interact, and left click to examine which is quite confusing at first. This is made even worse by the fact that when an inventory item is selected it switches to left click interact!

This game was quite fun.

Created a new topic It's Over!
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and the jam has ended.

Congratulations to everyone who finished and submitted a game. Now we get to play them! Don't forget to leave feedback for the developers if you have any. Game developers love feedback, and usually don't get enough of it.

Yes. It is free. There's a trailer on youtube linked to from the page on. If you mean are there are any playthroughs, there is one I found that goes through the very beginning.