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Autumn Willow

A topic by Jackalsoft Games created Feb 09, 2018 Views: 158
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Autumn Willow is an action-based puzzle game, similar to classics such as Boulder Dash, Chip's Challenge, and  SubTerra. The goal of the game is to collect enough gems to open the exit, while avoiding traps, monsters, and other hazards.

Early artwork for Wick and Wisp


I went to school for programming quite a few years ago, and worked on very crude, unfinished games on and off for the last few years. I figured that if I actually wanted to finish a game, I'd have to cut the scope down significantly and make a clone of a simple game that already existed. I began working on this project in earnest around October 1st, 2017, so it's been about 5 months of work. 

I used the Microsoft XNA Framework for a number of years, and eventually moved over to FNA when it became deprecated. More recently, I started the coding aspect over some time in December when I moved to SFML, as it was more lightweight, easier to distribute, and more suited to the scope of the game I was working on. I didn't lose much progress at the time, since most of my work had gone into the art assets. I did, however, fall into the trap of making my own engine from the ground up, so progress on the gameplay has been excruciatingly slow, but it's there.

Right now, the game is barely interactive. With XNA, I had basic collisions and behavior set up, but now I've gone a step lower with SFML, so I had to implement a number of systems myself, such as time step and input tracking. It's more work, but I feel a lot more confidence with the results now.

I am tentatively hoping to show off a demo as soon as early May, if all goes well.

A picture featuring some of the core objects in the game.

For the art, I use Aseprite with a (very heavily) modified NES palette as a base. It keeps the regular 48 colors, but I extended it to include color ramps, so I can make use of gradient effects, etc. If something is animated it usually has about 16 frames of animation (though these tend to be very simple changes).


The premise is that you are Autumn Willow, the titular witch of the game. Grabbler Goblin needs her help sorting out his treasure vaults. For whatever reason, things went wrong and he needs you to recover all his precious gems for him.

Gameplay consists of collecting enough gems to open the exit, while avoiding monsters with various movement patterns. There are also keys, tools, that let you bypass certain objects (locked doors, water, etc). A partial list of objects includes:

  • Falling rocks (which can roll off ledges)
  • Gems (which can roll too)
  • Keys and doors (as well as gates, which aren't removed when you pass them, but neither is the key)
  • 1-way ports
  • Fire, water, and ice tiles
  • Moving floors
  • Machinery such as conveyor belts and toggleable walls
  • Bombs and explosives

Ideally, the game would also feature 80 puzzles and a level editor.


The few videos I have are in .mp4 format and contain no sound, so I could only really host them on Imgur (eg instead of Webmshare or YouTube). Anyways, there's a few select animation loops if you care to take a look:

Stress-testing various effects, such as opening doors, removed dirt, and explosions.

An earlier build of the game, with falling gems and removeable dirt tiles.

The very first draft of the game was going to be a puzzle platformer, inspired by the NES title Fire n' Ice.


I welcome all feedback and look forward to what you guys have to say. I'd love to work tirelessly on this project, but life has to come first. I might only be able to thoroughly update my this thread a few times a month, but I will try my best to read and respond to all posts.

Thanks! :)