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Author Topic: Columbus Lander (June MAGS 2016)  (Read 3926 times)

Mandle

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Columbus Lander (June MAGS 2016)
« on: 02 Jul 2016, 06:08 »
COLUMBUS LANDER



This is my MAGS entry for June 2016, in which the theme was "Neglected Historical Eras".

My entry is basically the classic old game "Lunar Lander", but turned on its side and where, instead of landing on the moon, you must try to guide Columbus along the historically accurate routes of his four voyages to The New World (plus one bonus fictional fifth voyage at the end.)

Use the WASD keys or arrow keys to maneuver the ship:

* W or Up Arrow increases northward thrust/decreases southward thrust.
* S or Down Arrow increases southward thrust/decreases northward thrust.
* D or Right Arrow increases eastward thrust
* A and Left Arrow do nothing (westward thrust is the natural force of the wind...Think gravity in Lunar Lander, but instead of pulling you down it pulls you west)

Aim the ship to navigate each waypoint along the voyage (the white arrow markers) until an arrow appears on the far right border indicating that you can return to port in Spain, where a reward and a shop to spend it in awaits you.

At the end of every completed voyage you receive $1000 which you can spend on:

* Supplies: This is basically a time limit for each voyage. If Supplies run out you die at sea. The Supplies bar is at the top of the screen.
* Morale: This is basically your fuel which is consumed slightly by thrusting north or south, or consumed greatly by thrusting east. You also lose Morale each time you crash into land. If Morale runs out you die at sea. The Morale bar is at the bottom of the screen.
* Tacking: This is a bonus to your eastward thrust. You get faster eastward movement per Morale(fuel) used but fine control of the ship may suffer.
* Steering: This is a bonus to your northward/southward thrust. You can move faster up and down but fine control of the ship will definitely suffer.

You game is autosaved every time you complete a voyage and return to the shop, and can be restarted from the title menu screen by clicking on Load Game. The game will restart in the shop before any spending choices were made, meaning you can try out different buying strategies if things did not go as planned the last time around.



Game Features:

* Challenging gameplay
* Voice acting by the awesome CaptainD
* Salt air on your skin and the wind in your face
* Educational historically accurate four voyages of Columbus
* Fictional fifth voyage as the end-game bonus
* A promise from myself that a more polished version is coming soon

So...YAAAAAAR, ME HEARTIES!!! SWAB THE DECKS, RAISE THE TILLER, AND DOWNLOAD THE GAME (PLEASE? Erm...YARRRR?)


And please try to support the AGS community by VOTING IN THE MAGS THREAD HERE after you have tried this game, and all the other games on offer...

Mandle

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Re: Columbus Lander (June MAGS 2016)
« Reply #1 on: 02 Jul 2016, 07:46 »
I'm really interested in hearing a lot of feedback from players in this thread:

Who managed to complete the Fifth Voyage? (This is probably the least polished part of the game as I put it together as I was fading in and out of consciousness at some ridiculous time that should not have the letters "AM" after it)

If you did complete it then:
What is your take on the meaning of the Fifth Voyage? (Please [ hide ] SPOILER COMMENTS as it would be nice if the bonus ending wasn't revealed to everyone just yet)... I'm a bit worried about how clear the meaning was as I did not have the time to add in commentary on what was going on...I kind of like the minimalistic feel of the ending without having to add too much else, so I'm very interested to see how many people got the meaning of it...

Any other feedback is also very, very welcome...

Re: Columbus Lander (June MAGS 2016)
« Reply #2 on: 02 Jul 2016, 10:15 »
While I have played your game, I did not manage to reach further than the second voyage. It's a nice game even if the controls are a bit difficult to handle,
but it would be nice if there was a small dot or icon to mark the position of the ship, since just a red trail is easy to loose track of when you are going in circles...

I also think that the spinning letters are a cool effect, and while the game do have a nautical theme, I must admit that they left me a little too seasick for my liking. :-X
Could you maybe change it so that the letters just spin in place and then stop? It was a bit difficult to read.

Otherwise, it is a fun game, the humor reminds me of games like Goat simulator and Surgeon simulator. :)

Re: Columbus Lander (June MAGS 2016)
« Reply #3 on: 02 Jul 2016, 11:40 »
This looks really cool Mandle! Great idea, i'll be sure to check it out when I get a chance.

Mandle

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Re: Columbus Lander (June MAGS 2016)
« Reply #4 on: 02 Jul 2016, 14:07 »
While I have played your game, I did not manage to reach further than the second voyage. It's a nice game even if the controls are a bit difficult to handle,

The game controls being a bit tricky to master is a part of the game concept of "Lunar Lander turned on its side", otherwise just steering the ship normally would be way too short and easy a game...But yeah: learning to control the ship can be frustrating, even for me, but that was the way I wanted the challenge of the game to play out from the moment I thought of making it...There is a lot of room for tweaking though to make it just a tad less hair-tearing...This will be looked into after more feedback...At the moment I like the feel I have for the game where small changes in course can have a major impact on whether you can complete the current mission or not. Of course, I had a lot more patience to perfect my game skills than the average casual player would probably have... (laugh)

but it would be nice if there was a small dot or icon to mark the position of the ship, since just a red trail is easy to loose track of when you are going in circles...

I totally agree! This was one of the many things I was going to implement but ran out of time to do so...Also, I needed to make the waypoint markers stand out much better against the animating voyage routes, but couldn't get around to that either...

Now I'm just mostly writing a to-do blog to myself in this thread so...I should probably shut up...

Re: Columbus Lander (June MAGS 2016)
« Reply #5 on: 02 Jul 2016, 14:54 »
Great idea.
I think I understand how to steer the ship... in theory. In practice I keep crashing and sinking my ships. I've still to get past journey 2.

Maybe some sort of visual aid would be good to have. With the lunar lander you could see what way the lander was pointed and how much trust was applied. I believe something like that would be helpful for me in this game too.

Mandle

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Re: Columbus Lander (June MAGS 2016)
« Reply #6 on: 02 Jul 2016, 23:54 »
Maybe some sort of visual aid would be good to have. With the lunar lander you could see what way the lander was pointed and how much trust was applied. I believe something like that would be helpful for me in this game too.

Cheers for the feedback, mate! And for trying the game out!

Yeah...I was going to have a little sprite for the ship but ran out of time. Hopefully in the next, non-MAGS version.

And actually, the "Lunar Lander" I had in mind was the very, very oldschool one where the lander doesn't actually rotate: It stays upright and you have a bottom engine for upwards thrust and seperate side thrusters for left and right movement.

That's how the physics in this game works.

(I'd forgotten that later "Lunar Landers" relied on the bottom engine and you had to rotate to get left/right movement...Or just flip upsidedown and plow into the ground at full speed for the chuckles... (laugh) )

EDIT:

A further hint I would give is to allow your ship to just drift whenever possible without holding down any direction keys.

This is easiest done when heading west of course, but also when heading north/south: Get a decent north/south boost happening and then let go of that key. Then just briefly use the east boost (right arrow or D) every so often to avoid "falling" to the west too far.

This will save a LOT on the amount of Morale (fuel) you use during voyages as it is only subtracted while you are actively boosting by holding down the keys.

Yeah, it really needs a sound effect feedback so you can tell when you are burning Morale (fuel) and when you aren't, like the "whooshing" noise of the engines in Lunar Lander...Added to "to-do" list for the next version...


Oh...also...not sure if I made it clear or not that when returning from a voyage after the arrow appears on the right border pointing east: You don't have to steer perfectly into the arrow...anywhere along the right-hand border is fine for returning to the shop after a voyage is finished
« Last Edit: 03 Jul 2016, 02:32 by Mandle »

Mandle

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Re: Columbus Lander (June MAGS 2016)
« Reply #7 on: 07 Jul 2016, 15:23 »
So...nobody had managed to complete the first 4 voyages and then do the fictional 5th?

I do it all the time...

I know the game is very hard in its current state, but I'm just trying to judge exactly how hard for future revisions of the interface/physics...

Has anyone at all out there completed all five voyages?

Re: Columbus Lander (June MAGS 2016)
« Reply #8 on: 07 Jul 2016, 22:51 »
I just played it again, determined to finish the 4th voyage to reach the 5th, and did it - by the skin of my teeth!

Then the 5th voyage... well, I don't want to spoil it for anyone else, but all I will say is... that was unexpected!!!!! (laugh)(laugh)(laugh)(laugh)

(Oh and I will also add that, when I managed to sail a near-perfect 2nd voyage, it was more gratifying than I'd expected it to be!)

Mandle

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Re: Columbus Lander (June MAGS 2016)
« Reply #9 on: 08 Jul 2016, 01:09 »
YAY! At least I know now that it's not impossible for anyone except myself!

I dub thee Captain CaptainD!!!

And cheers for the other kind words. I also love completing a perfect voyage, but I have never completed all the voyages without any crashes.

Those are some achievements I'll have to put in the finished game!

Haggis

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Re: Columbus Lander (June MAGS 2016)
« Reply #10 on: 08 Jul 2016, 23:49 »
Bravo! :-D I don't know how accurate the voyages were but after I got used to the controls I really enjoyed this game. Leaving the trails from the previous voyages was a masterstroke - the wilder your routes the more cluttered the map became during the latter cruises making it harder to spot the waypoints. Being a non coder I can only imagine how difficult it was to get this to work. And that 5th voyage... DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES HAHAHA!

Mandle

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Re: Columbus Lander (June MAGS 2016)
« Reply #11 on: 09 Jul 2016, 02:27 »
Bravo! :-D I don't know how accurate the voyages were but after I got used to the controls I really enjoyed this game. Leaving the trails from the previous voyages was a masterstroke - the wilder your routes the more cluttered the map became during the latter cruises making it harder to spot the waypoints. Being a non coder I can only imagine how difficult it was to get this to work. And that 5th voyage... DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES HAHAHA!

Cheers for the nice words, mate!!!

As for the accuracy of the voyages: They were as accurate as I could make them given the scale of the map, and some rather spotty intel on the voyages themselves (for example: it is still unknown exactly what island Columbus first landed on)...There were no GPS systems at the time, and Columbus was...well...not one of the world's greatest navigators...considering he massively undercalculated the size of the earth and thought he was in or close to India...

The lines for the voyages were not too difficult to do: It's a pretty basic built-in function in AGS:

The trick was getting them to animate in the forward direction of the voyage...Can anyone guess how I did this?

(I discovered how to do it completely by accident (so me and Columbus have that in common), and decided to improve the effect and leave it in the game...I plan to write a short tutorial for anyone who wants a similar effect in their own game, and because it's just such a neat trick...)

selmiak

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Re: Columbus Lander (June MAGS 2016)
« Reply #12 on: 10 Jul 2016, 12:48 »
YO-HO I made it through the game! *sings* 8-)


nice one. If you ever change anything to it, please make the waypoints stand out more, I had some of them appear over the moving dotted lines and they were really hard to spot when over an old line.
Also photoshopping the map a bit more, like removing island where there is no blocking area in the game and so would make it a bit more obvious where to sail, but considering this is the mags version it's alright ;)
Fun game!