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    Ludum Dare 25

    December 14th-17th 2012 :: Theme: You are the Villain

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    Phaedra - Trigun7000 - Jam Entry

    Description:

    You are the evil overlord of a dungeon fortress and adventuring parties are raiding your dungeon for treasures and ultimately are attempting to slaughter you in the name of their king! To keep yourself safe while your army die horribly for you (as any good villain would), you stay in the luxurious heart of your fortress, watching over the battle with your seer's magic. You decide that without your brilliant command, the battle will be lost, so you use your magic to control your minions from afar and control the tide of the battle against the onslaught of heroes.

    Running:

    On Windows you can simply download the .zip file labeled Windows and run the executable inside.

    For Mac OSX and Linux users, unfortunately due to packaging issues, you will first need to install love2d (http://love2d.org) either through your package manager or the website. Download the link labeled Linux or OSX and run the shell script run.sh to launch the game. If you need more information, see here: https://github.com/centhra/ld25/blob/master/README.md

    If you are on ArchLinux you are in luck, because we have an AUR entry here: https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/phaedra which will install the game with a .desktop entry which you can find through your desktop environment or run it directly in a terminal by typing "phaedra".

    Gameplay:

    The game blends the action and strategy genres by allowing you to control a minion directly with the WASD keys and attack, or select a group of minions using left click and drag and then right click to direct them towards enemies.

    The aim of the game is to prevent all of your minions from dieing, as they are the only thing stopping the heroes from getting to the heart of the dungeon, slaying you and stealing all of your treasure. The top left of the HUD shows a progress bar, which at the start of the game has a red bar and a blue bar which are of equal length. The red bar represents how close the minions are to killing all heroes (i.e. how close you are to winning) and the blue bar represents how close the heroes are to winning (i.e. how close you are to losing). There are four waves of heroes (the next wave starts after you kill all the alive heroes, an exclamation mark is shown on the minimap where the new wave spawn is). If you kill all four waves of the heroes and have minions left, you win and get to keep all your treasures and life!

    Controls:

    left mouse - clicking on a minion (your evil servants fighting the invading heroes) will select it
    left mouse + drag - select a group of minions and then right click somewhere to direct them towards it
    right mouse - direct your selected minions to move to a position
    w, a, s, d - movement when a minion is under control, otherwise moves the camera
    shift - faster camera movement
    space - attack in the current direction when a minion is under control
    arrow keys - move the camera
    escape - stop controlling any minions

    Issues:

    We felt that game was moderately polished but there were definitely things we wanted to add but couldn't due to lack of time:

    * Attack animations
    * Cosmetics, such as fading in after the loading GUI, fading out on death, fading into red and out on damage instead of flashing, etc.
    * Stairs for where heroes spawn
    * Cooler dungeon decorations (we had torches, tables, roast food, etc. that we ran out of time to add to the generator)
    * No tutorial / instructions in-game

    There are also definitely some bugs here and there but nothing urgent; weird flipping in animations and such.

    Development Notes:

    This was Centhra's fourth attempt at the Ludum Dare jam and first 2D game submission. As always, we have learned a lot from participating in the competition. Many of us feel that it was our best yet and we look forward to participating in the next one!

    Github: https://github.com/centhra/ld25

    We will be continuing to develop this game after the competition so watch the repository if you're interested in more updates.

    Contributors:

    - Billy "Trinick" Fallon (Code - Characters)
    - Christopher "Dr. Calamity" Hall (Sound)
    - Devon "Kheyre" Chenard (Art - Roof Tile, Concept Critique)
    - Johnny "Trigun" Patterson <http://centhra.com> (Code - AI)
    - Shadowbeing (Dev Party Host)
    - SolarFlare (Art - 2D)
    - Zack "z0w0" Corr (Code - Level Generation)

    View Trigun7000's journal. | View all entries by Trigun7000

    Ratings

    Coolness62%
    #46Audio(Jam)3.53
    #65Mood(Jam)3.38
    #69Graphics(Jam)3.88
    #80Overall(Jam)3.41
    #88Fun(Jam)3.18
    #106Theme(Jam)3.56
    #159Innovation(Jam)2.91
    #177Humor(Jam)2.52

    Comments

    DaGamesta says ...
    Dec 18, 2012 @ 4:53am

    Very good game in my opinion, surprised there aren't many other comments yet. I'm definitely digging the jammin' music, and the images are better than decent I'd say. I love how well done the RTS gameplay is. I enjoyed quite a bit, even though I got creamed. If I had more time, I get the feeling I'd be able to develop a strategy, and that this is what it's all about. Overall, very good.

    Dec 18, 2012 @ 5:08am

    Very well done. Great artwork and fun gameplay, though it took me awhile to figure out the gameplay with no tutorial.

    blob says ...
    Dec 18, 2012 @ 5:20am

    Cute little game! Its possible to abuse the system by controlling one pumpkin and taking knights one by one and waiting for him to regen after a few fights.
    Is there an end ? Knights kept coming but my pumpkin was so lonely he killed himself.

    A little FX animation or something visual when you attack with space bar would help, I wasnt sure if I was doing anything in the beginning.

    Looking forward to your updates.

    z0w0 says ...
    Dec 18, 2012 @ 7:30am

    We were planning on adding attack animations, but we ran out of time, sorry. Yes, there is an end game. You have to kill all the heroes alive and then a new wave will start. The progress of killing all heroes is shown in the progress bar (top left). The blue bar represents how close the heroes are to winning (i.e. how close you are to losing) and the red bar represents how close the minions are to winning.

    I'll get Trigun to add more information tutorial-wise, but the controls pretty much explain how to play anyway -- but I definitely agree that it's vague.

    z0w0 says ...
    Dec 18, 2012 @ 1:06pm

    Also just a note, this should run on FreeBSD if you install the love port from here http://svnweb.freebsd.org/ports/head/devel/love/and run `love phaedra.love` after extracting the Unix tarball, but I'm not going to add it as an official target because I haven't tested it.

    Peping says ...
    Dec 18, 2012 @ 7:20pm

    Superb graphics. I like the concept. Moving troops over longer distances is too difficult, troops also shouldn't stop when selected. Very good game nevertheless.

    dek says ...
    Dec 19, 2012 @ 4:53pm

    One of my favorites so far. Very polished, fluid, sweet music, and good controls! Nice gfx.

    Dec 19, 2012 @ 6:51pm

    This is a great job. Why yes, we're all running away from you, ha ha! I've found my friends! I felt like a pro starcraft player.

    frosty says ...
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 2:13am

    Really polished entry. Nice work. =)

    odrega says ...
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 2:26am

    Really Good! I enjoyed it quite a bit, and the whole style of the graphics and music seemed to work really well.

    aeveis says ...
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 6:56am

    well polished, though usually i would end up controlling one unit and spamming space bar in order for kill the soldiers really fast. I like how the different units have sort of different properties (different speeds and health). Where are the soldiers going? Just to kill everything? maybe if there was a goal for the enemy to reach?

    mcc says ...
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 8:03am

    Hm.

    In this post, note I consistently use "enemies" to describe me and "heroes" to describe the CPU.

    Initial impression: Like a lot of LD stuff, this felt like a really great prototype for a game not actually present. Loved the visuals, LOVED the sound, loved the "feel" of the dungeon and the interface. Kinda rocket slime-y. I wasn't really sure what I was supposed to be doing. The fact that the CPU had many purposeful heroes at once whereas you could only control one "enemy" at a time seemed kinda unbalanced, until I realized that one enemy could kill a swath of heroes just by jamming spacebar... This sets up a kind of nice symmetry (uncontrolled heroes or enemies kill slowly, a "player" controlling either a hero or an enemy can tear through a swath), but it still felt odd.

    Starting up was REALLY disorienting, the game just plain started with me watching a bunch of enemies getting killed by heroes, I couldn't tell if I was controlling anything, I couldn't tell if I was in danger or supposed to be doing something. Once I got past that and got a handle on basic movement, I still couldn't work out what my overall goal was-- if there was a way to "defeat" the heroes and make them stop respawning, if they had an objective they were working toward, what. I couldn't figure out what the bar in the topleft did, it never seemed to move no matter how many of me they killed or how many of them I killed. I killed tons of heroes and it had no apparent effect. I got down to 1 hero multiple times, more eventually just respawned. I found I could select multiple enemies at once but it seemed impossible to do anything, having selected them.

    I then came back here, read the instructions, tried again. Second time, armed with new knowledge-- mostly, the knowledge that there WAS AN ENDING, and my goal was to beat 4 waves-- I was eventually able to get down to the point where there was 1 skeleton and 3 heroes, who I picked off, slasher-movie style I guess. With that experience under my belt I guess here's what I'd say:

    You could do some things to make what is happening here more obvious, even without a tutorial (screw tutorials). The dots on the mini-map could be larger. It is usually not obvious to mac users that right-click would do anything (sure wasn't to me); you could avoid use of right-click or have an on-screen "RIGHT-CLICK TO MOVE". Or just have the next click after selecting be a move. The bar in the corner was near useless; it basically never left the center. if I'd just had two bars, one counting-down enemy "life" one counting-down hero "life", I would have found the game playable the first time (because I'd have been able to figure out what my goal was, or whether I was even making progress!). It would have been helpful for some kind of in-game indication of whether some enemies were had better offense/defense stats than others (it was clear some had better speed stats, but not if they were different in any other way).

    Maybe waiting to respawn until the entire last spawn is dead is a bad idea. I spent most of the time playing this game falling into a single pattern: I would wear the heroes down to one hero; this hero would be wandering around in a part of the map totally depopulated of monsters. I would then select a monster nearest by, and begin the arduous process of S L O W L Y trekking across the map to where the one remaining hero was. This took forever and was really boring.

    The RTS mode seemed mostly useless. If I sent a wave of enemies at the heroes via RTS mode, they'd attack SO much slower than the attacking in "avatar" mode that the RTS mode approach was *worse* than useless-- directing a wave of enemies at some heroes would basically lead to the minons all being instantly slaughtered, whereas if I'd done nothing the heroes might not have reached them and they at least had a chance of surviving. RTS mode only seemed to make sense to move enemies around to position them & set myself up to enter avatar mode. When I first started my clued-in playthrough, I settled on a strategy: I want to have enemies in place and ready to select to meet the heroes when they come out, so what I want to do when a spawn point opens is mass-select some enemies; then point them at the general direction of heroes; and then run around avataring one enemy at a time and blasting through the groups of knights, selecting a new enemy each time the heroes kill the previous one. The interface prevented me from doing this. First off, there was some weird thing where once an enemy had been drag-selected as part of a group, it seemed to stay as part of its green "group", and sometimes I couldn't individually select it later or enter avatar mode until its partner had been killed? Second off, the fact you could ONLY rts-mode by selecting MORE THAN ONE enemy destroyed its usefulness-- what I'd want to do is go, oh crap, spawnpoint, and then move the camera around the spawnpoint grabbing enemies and directing them toward the hero wave. I couldn't do this-- because once I got past the very start, the enemies were diffuse enough there would usually only be one to select per screen, and a group of exactly one enemy could ONLY be moved via avatar mode, which is very slow and time consuming. (Again: long hikes in avatar mode are BORING.) Of course, I am completely locked out of RTS mode while in avatar mode, so once the heroes killed my forces down to a one-per-screen density I simply couldn't do what I wanted (queue up some RTS-mode "go here" commands, then start avatar-mode-ing while I wait for my minions to hike into place). Aside from finding some way to make RTS-directing a single enemy possible, maybe what you actually want here is to instead of the RTSy select/direct just allow you to place "go here!" or "avoid here!" (because I might want to keep some enemies *away* from the heroes in order to keep them alive longer) markers. Is that something a game has done before? Is the game just a typical tower defense game at this point? I don't think I've ever played a tower defense game.

    ANYWAY, denied use of RTS mode, what I wanted to do was surf around and opportunistically select enemies near heroes to avatar into. The interface didn't make this easy either. If I'm playing this way, the large pool of enemies I start with is basically a resource to use up-- avatar-mode candidates-- and what I'm basically trying to do is stay alert for conflicts between enemies and heroes, and once the heroes start a conflict (because without RTS mode, I can't easily) jump to that point and start avataring like crazy. This could potentially be fun and interesting once the heroes start spreading out a bit-- watching multiple points on the board and making decisions about which conflicts to intervene in and which to put off for a bit (since any conflict not blessed with your playerly sense of purpose means the heroes are just slaughtering your minions). But, because the map points were such tiny red dots, it was kinda hard to see where conflicts are happening. Larger dots might help, something I think would have been kinda cool and helped a LOT is if there was something magic on the map to indicate "conflict happening here!", like maybe every time a hero killed or attacked an enemy there'd be a flashing skull or a "poof!" expanding circle on the map at that point.

    Overall this was a very *promising* game, and the problems seemed like "LD timeframe game, not enough time to master play control". But the play control was sort of a fun-killer. I expect if you spend some time thinking about and experimenting with how you control your forces and how information is presented to the player you could make something super cool out of this.

    One last thing. I found that on some runs-- randomly-- the game would work, and on some runs-- randomly-- the LOVE player would freeze, forever. I would have to force quit it. I am on a Snow Leopard mac. When I beat the game, it froze while trying to start my next game. I feel like maybe one out of four launches would let me through.

    How many songs are there in this? Sometimes it seemed to be playing a different song on startup.

    Eniko says ...
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 8:15am

    Pretty fun game, though the RTS aspect of it is as others said kind of pointless. I tried winning focusing on that more one playthrough and it was basically impossible to win.

    Trinick says ...
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 9:15am

    I'd like to note that we tried to avoid RTS playstyle in this game because that simply wasn't the direction we wanted to go in. The 'RTS mode' you guys have been referring to is pretty much entirely for the purpose of repositioning sets of your minions, not to attack.

    On another note, we would have added play instructions, but there simply wasn't enough time. MCC, your issue with the top-left bar not moving is strange. It's a progress meter that shows the ratio between minions to heroes. At the end of the game, the bar will be entirely red for there are no heros left and some number of minions left.

    amidos2006 says ...
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 9:50am

    nice art style :)

    Dec 24, 2012 @ 9:56am

    Solid foundation for a wave-based RTS.

    I found myself letting the game sit after finishing playing just to let the music ride out, haha.

    raincole says ...
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 10:43am

    It's one of the few really playable RTSs.

    littleball says ...
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 11:20am

    Confusing at first, but once I got the hang of it, it became addictive.

    I missed the end screen, because I clicked to quickly. Maybe you should not skip than unless you press a specific key, such as 'return'

    Dec 24, 2012 @ 12:32pm

    Good job. Dungeon building would be nice.

    Trigun7000 says ...
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 2:02pm

    I'm planning on dungeon building for the recode.

    Dec 24, 2012 @ 3:19pm

    O.O wow great job!!! nice game! nice graphics! i like spiders >:D xD

    Dec 24, 2012 @ 4:01pm

    One of the more ambitious jam entries I've come across. Good work.

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