Pod Dwellers [MAGs March 2024 ENTRY]

Started by Mandle, Thu 04/04/2024 03:39:09

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Escape the doomed Starship Voidlight before it is split asunder by a giant asteroid. Then try to survive, and perhaps escape from, the hardships and dangers of an uncharted alien world.



This is basically a proof-of-concept for a larger, more detailed game I plan to continue working on.

Building the 'game engine' inside the AGS game engine to handle an unlimited number of missions for the Pod Dwellers took me muuuuuch longer than it probably should have, so time ran out for writing a large number of missions. This means not a lot of variety once the player is stranded on the alien planet but I was sure to include everything needed to complete the game.

Some people may notice a similarity between my game and the popular game "60 Seconds". This is no coincidence. 60 Seconds was a big influence on me in making this. I thought "What about a game like that but set in space?". What WAS a coincidence was that the developers of 60 Seconds came out with their own take on the genre set in space while I was making mine: 60 Parsecs. Haha, oh well.

Anyway, game notes:

* It is not transparent in the game in its current form, but every type of person DOES have their own particular skill set. There are 20 skill stats for each character and each "class" is unique. Basically, if you assume a particular character is good at a certain challenge, then they probably are. Need to pew-pew with blaster pistols? A soldier is good at that! Or maybe a lovable space-rogue pirate who may or may not shoot first?

* You will notice that the storage area of the pod has a LOT of empty slots. Those are all for the future.

* The number of items brought on a mission cannot exceed the number of people on the mission. If you get a red flash and a buzzer then you are already at the limit and can swap some out if you like. Sorry there is no counter to show total people/ total items. There was no time.

* Yes, it is annoying that mission equipment is always returned to the storage area after each outing. Sorry about that. It was a workaround for an issue I knew how to fix but would have needed major time I did not have to do so. On the plus side, it IS good to think about your mission profile of people and equipment each time, so this "feature" kind of forces that.

* Almost every character consumes food and water every game day. If they are active on a mission that day, THEY WILL CONSUME MORE than people sitting around doing nothing in the Living Space. This is a VITAL thing to consider to survive long. Spamming every mission with all available people will get you killed pretty fast.

* If you see a quick red flash and hear a slight buzz out of nowhere, this is your people dying from starvation and/or thirst. Sorry that this flashes by too quickly to notice who exactly died.

* VERY IMPORTANT: Medkits brought along on missions have the potential to save a person who would have otherwise died. This also depends on the total medical skill of the team so a doctor or two along on missions with medkits are great medic backup if possible. If the person's life is saved, the medkit is consumed. (You will see a green flash when this happens)

* That being said, most characters have at least SOME skill in every area. You might not HAVE a doctor but someone else might know a little more about that stuff than the average joe. No miner in your pod? What's the next best thing?

* In the same vein, other items brought along on missions are also useful. This is not transparent but is pretty much common-sense rules. If you want to do some mining, for example, what do you bring? If you want to impress someone brainy, what do you bring? And so on.

* Monks are copyright-safe Jedi.

* Yes, there are SUPPOSED to be laser swords in the game. The sprite for them is already in it, but not utilized yet. Time ran out.

* Science level is NOT SUPPOSED to show up (in this version). It's an amorphic amount of knowledge, not an inventory item. Although I will probably add an indicator in future versions. Just another thing where time ran out.

* There IS a way to win the game. For now, I will leave that as unclear as the game itself does as I think part of the fun may be figuring it out. In the full game I envision, there will be multiple possible endings. But for this MAGs version there is only one. Well, apart for various ways to die along the way. The good news is that the limited resources and options in this version make finding the win conditions fairly easy I believe.

* Have fun I hope.


I left a comment in the game page, let me just say I found playing this intriguing and I see a lot of potential!


This looks truly intriguing! All the best with developing the bigger game. I love it when people do stuff completely outside of what's expected with AGS. (Albeit that's quite hard these days because so many non-adventure games have been made with it.)


I'm playing this, and I don't think I'm very good at it... After going back to read what @Mandle had written, I think my failings may be due to not using the equipment enough.

Trying to figure out the win conditions, here's what I've found (?) so far:
The items in the right column turn purple at a given number. I guess by then I have enough to build an escape ship. So, enough Fuel, Carapace and Engines. I can't recall if there's been more stuff in that column.

Of course, I may be wrong and need a set number of stuff in the left column, too, like food/water, toolkits, blasters and books, but I don't think so. I believe these are meant to be used for task success.

My guess after reading the release notes here, is that what I'm missing probably has to do with the science level, because it's mentioned (that it's invisible). If there are other means of improving that than studying the metal for science, I don't know. Book count? Could also be that I need to recruit key personnel/roles before winning, which would make this even more difficult.

I spend a lot of time ignoring the other possibilities and scavenging for food or water instead. I managed to keep my crew alive for 92 days at the most so far. I'm excruciatingly bad at recruiting more members, and I don't always understand what category the people fall into. I mean, to my great surprise, I recruited a cook from the burly section?

The game is fun and interesting, but the lack of information about stats and goals make it hard as well. I can certainly understand why there's no save option, but on the other hand, dying after 100 days and having to try again from scratch may also be a tad frustrating.

That said, I'm impressed by the mechanics and the author's ability to think outside the adventure box when it comes to game design.

EDIT: 174 days is the longest I've survived now. I discovered
that there are messages that says +x in science. Will need to work on that, too.



Sounds like you have gotten very close. Yes, science is needed. But you don't need much. Also, when researching the glowing rocks, throw as many people at it as possible given your food and water supply (People on duty consume 1.5 as much as people at base). Everyone has some research skill, even if it's only 1. Also use any books you have. There is no possibility of death or equipment loss while researching.

If food is in short supply, maybe don't use people like convicts and janitors for research. Basically, if it seems like a certain profession should have some knowledge of science, then they do.

I do wish I had put another way to earn science, but time ran out. In the updated version(s) there will be. So yeah, it's frustrating waiting for the glowing rocks, especially when that asshole in the mech keeps showing up.

Also, yeah, cooks are scary in this universe haha. NO METALOID SOUP FOR YOU!

Cheers for the good word on the game btw! Glad someone got some playtime out of it! More to come when I improve it to my full vision of how it was supposed to be!


Quote from: heltenjon on Sat 20/04/2024 14:43:40174 days is the longest I've survived now.
I don't think I ever managed to make it past 50 days, so this is way better than I did! (laugh)
They/them. Here are some of my games:

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