Author Topic: Absurdistan  (Read 1259 times)

Pogwizd

  • Quidquid latine dictum sit altum videtur
    • Pogwizd worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Absurdistan
« on: 30 May 2021, 11:09 »


Link: https://lazy-squirrel.itch.io/absurdistan

Dear Comrade,
The Party needs you! You must come to Absurdistan immediately and join Leszek on his little quest to save his father's name's day! A trifle you say? Oh, Comrade, how wrong of you! Don't you forget that Absurdistan is a place where logic is nowhere to be found and that Absurdanis are reluctant to help each other out. Where keeping your profile low and showing your devotion to the Party is your bread and butter. Hope now you understand that in this place even a simple task becomes an adventure in its own right.
There is no time to lose, so get your passport ready and hop on the first train to Absurdistan!
Glory to the Party!

About the game:
Absurdistan is a partially text-based, side-scrolling adventure game featuring simplistic graphics.
You play as Leszek, a young Absurdani, who, just like his family, is fed up with the regime imposed by the Party. But, dear Adventure Gamer, fear nothing! Despite the seemingly gloomy setting, the game doesn't intend to get you down, as its main goal is to poke fun at many absurdities of the daily life in a totalitarian-communist state. 

The game features a whole variety of puzzles, which, unlike the state of Absurdistan, do make sense. Some of them may even require you to grab something to write and figure them out in real life.

Manual:
-You control Leszek with the mouse and occasionally with the keyboard.
-Left mouse click is used to BOTH inspect and interact with objects/hotspots/characters.
-Right mouse click is used only to click out of GUIs, interfaces or deselect active inventory items.


This is probably a matter of opinion but I think that due to low resolution the game looks best when played in a windowed mode in native resolution. I think it gives it a Yoda Stories vibe : )

Poster by: https://www.instagram.com/marianna.illu/








 
« Last Edit: 01 Jun 2021, 21:48 by Pogwizd »

Re: Absurdistan
« Reply #1 on: 30 May 2021, 13:38 »
Was a funny game, I enjoyed playing it. And another one with fresh, new riddles. Congratulation!
The puzzles were logical, the atmosphere good and the graphic style matched perfectly.

Pogwizd

  • Quidquid latine dictum sit altum videtur
    • Pogwizd worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Absurdistan
« Reply #2 on: 30 May 2021, 22:18 »
Wow! That was quick, sthomannch. I didn't expect anyone to finish the game within a few hours after the roll-out : )

I am particularly happy to hear you enjoyed the puzzles. Initially, my main goal was to create an interesting and "unusual" atmosphere, but the further I progressed with the game the more I realised that I enjoyed creating the puzzles.

Re: Absurdistan
« Reply #3 on: 30 May 2021, 23:00 »
The puzzles were a bit leaning on math. You would for sure enjoy Alex Bello's Monday puzzles in the Guardian (www.theguardian.com) :smiley:

And the jokes about the Party were good, especially for those who have seen Eastern countries before the fall of the Iron Curtain. Naa, a few countries are still run in this way...

Pogwizd

  • Quidquid latine dictum sit altum videtur
    • Pogwizd worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Absurdistan
« Reply #4 on: 30 May 2021, 23:38 »
The puzzles were a bit leaning on math.

True, but only few of them : )


You would for sure enjoy Alex Bello's Monday puzzles in the Guardian (www.theguardian.com) :smiley:

Funny you mention that because I remember looking at some of them.

As for the jokes about the Party, some of them are indeed a creation of my imagination (or borrowings from other content). But I also spent a lot of time watching Polska Kronika Filmowa (Polish Film Chronicle) documenting oftentime a surreal reality of the communist Poland to cherry pick the most absurd stories and embed them in the game. And I didn't even have to spice them up... they were already silly! In other words, some of the jokes were a reality at some point in the past.


KyriakosCH

  • The Eternal
    • I can help with backgrounds
    • I can help with story design
    • I can help with translating
Re: Absurdistan
« Reply #5 on: 01 Jun 2021, 19:21 »
The gfx style and feel is very nice!
Did you use any ready-made script for the SNES-style gradual appearance of the text? (since I would love to use it too) :)
I think that the first real puzzle (with the old lady that is aware of what you are doing) was perhaps a bit too obscure, which in free games can be detrimental.
Well done, at any rate  8-)

Pogwizd

  • Quidquid latine dictum sit altum videtur
    • Pogwizd worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Absurdistan
« Reply #6 on: 01 Jun 2021, 22:02 »
Thanks Kyriakos : ) I am no pixel artist, so it's always great to see that someone enjoyed the feel of the game : )

I didn't use any existing modules and I am not sure if the way I made the typing-machine effect is the most efficient one in AGS but it worked for me just fine. If you want, I can send you the code that does it. It's not a proper module but I think that with a little bit of explanation it should be easy to port over (I think, might be wrong, though).

Re: Absurdistan
« Reply #7 on: 03 Jun 2021, 13:10 »
Looking forward to giving this a play through!

Re: Absurdistan
« Reply #8 on: 03 Jun 2021, 14:42 »
I really enjoyed playing this! The strengths of the game are the story background and the puzzles. I don't remember any other game made to highlight how ridiculous life is in the communist regime. The puzzles were a real delight and well designed. I would have liked to see more definition in the graphics but that's a personal preference.

I've actually never heard of wuzetka but online recipes make it look really good!

Some comments on the puzzles:
Spoiler: ShowHide
I don't think I would have solved the TV/distraction puzzle on my own if someone hadn't provided the answer. As far as the mailbox number puzzle, was the direct answer to the puzzle provided somewhere (i.e. what apartment number)? The division clue narrowed it down but I kind of guessed my way through this and I wondered if I missed something


Good job

Re: Absurdistan
« Reply #9 on: 03 Jun 2021, 17:00 »
Shadow
Spoiler: ShowHide

About the mailbox: The two women in seventh floor (outside) talk about neighbors, just listen often enough. You'll learn about a newcomer x floors down from the old lady's appartment and y doors left

Look also at the appartment numbers in the seventh floor, your own and of the lady with the broken TV. Somewhere, you also get the information that the appartment number without floor number must be a multiple of three.

Two doors left means: subtract 6 from 730, the floors I do not remember if it was 3 or 4 floors down. If it was three floors then you end up with 424.

So you can easily calculate the number.

Pogwizd

  • Quidquid latine dictum sit altum videtur
    • Pogwizd worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Absurdistan
« Reply #10 on: 03 Jun 2021, 20:22 »
Matt, please do play it and tell me if it's better than Good God ; )

Shadow1000, reading comments like yours is the biggest reward for spending so much time on the game, as you seem to have enjoyed all the aspects of it I cared most about. I wish the graphics would be a little bit better, too, but since drawing is not my forte I found such low resolutions to be much easier and safer to use.

Spoiler: ShowHide

As for the mailbox puzzle, in my mind it was supposed to be solved just like sthommanch has described it. So, the first step would be to check the plates in front of Mrs. Szczypiorkiewicz's and Leszek's flats to learn that the first digit of the flat number stands for the floor number and that numbering goes up by three. And then to overhear the two ladies gossiping in the hall about the new neighbour that leaves his locks open. The mailbox parser, on the other hand, would accept any number and if it wasn't right it would just say that the mailbox is locked.

In my initial design, this was all that there was to that puzzle. And I was happy with that until the very last moment before sending the game out to the testers. I realised that the world I created didn't add up because the flat numbers were supposed to go up by three and yet if the Player typed in a number that is in between (say 301) Leszek would still say that that mailbox was locked, implying that it exists. To work around it and to give the game's world more credibility I had to refactor the parser and to check if the provided mailbox actually "existed" in the game (so to check if it is divisible by 3 and in the range of 00 - 57). The "funny" thing about it is that I never really wanted the Player to try solve the puzzle by checking the feedback from Leszek when keying in different numbers. The information about a certain numbers being divisible by three was supposed to be just a clue hinting at the fact that the numbers go up by three, but I see how some people may think that that was the way the puzzle is supposed to be solved. I did think about omitting the info about the numbers being divisible in order to put players off from brute forcing the puzzle, but on the other hand that gives you some sort of a backup if you get stuck for good.

I rambled a bit but that's because today I got my first covid jab and I am not feeling well... Hope this still makes sense, though : )



Re: Absurdistan
« Reply #11 on: 03 Jun 2021, 20:59 »
Shadow1000, reading comments like yours is the biggest reward for spending so much time on the game, as you seem to have enjoyed all the aspects of it I cared most about. I wish the graphics would be a little bit better, too, but since drawing is not my forte I found such low resolutions to be much easier and safer to use.

It just shows how you can make an awesome game without getting EVERY aspect right. Maybe for your next game you can recruit someone with the drawing skills so you can have the best of all worlds?

Quote
Spoiler: ShowHide

As for the mailbox puzzle, in my mind it was supposed to be solved just like sthommanch has described it. So, the first step would be to check the plates in front of Mrs. Szczypiorkiewicz's and Leszek's flats to learn that the first digit of the flat number stands for the floor number and that numbering goes up by three. And then to overhear the two ladies gossiping in the hall about the new neighbour that leaves his locks open. The mailbox parser, on the other hand, would accept any number and if it wasn't right it would just say that the mailbox is locked.

In my initial design, this was all that there was to that puzzle. And I was happy with that until the very last moment before sending the game out to the testers. I realised that the world I created didn't add up because the flat numbers were supposed to go up by three and yet if the Player typed in a number that is in between (say 301) Leszek would still say that that mailbox was locked, implying that it exists. To work around it and to give the game's world more credibility I had to refactor the parser and to check if the provided mailbox actually "existed" in the game (so to check if it is divisible by 3 and in the range of 00 - 57). The "funny" thing about it is that I never really wanted the Player to try solve the puzzle by checking the feedback from Leszek when keying in different numbers. The information about a certain numbers being divisible by three was supposed to be just a clue hinting at the fact that the numbers go up by three, but I see how some people may think that that was the way the puzzle is supposed to be solved. I did think about omitting the info about the numbers being divisible in order to put players off from brute forcing the puzzle, but on the other hand that gives you some sort of a backup if you get stuck for good.





So here's my thing:
Spoiler: ShowHide
You did give enough info for the puzzle to be solved correctly. I'm glad you made the numbers divisible by 3 for people like me to be able to guess with enough patience. HOWEVER, the reason I didn't get this one is because this is one of those puzzles where you literally have to read a TON of irrelevant information (probably randomly generated?) before hitting the one bit of info that will solve the puzzle for you. I did listen into their conversations for a while till I realized they were cycling through dialogues and lost interest JUST in case a bit of info materializes.

This reminds me of a game from a few years ago where the player is reading messages on a message board where a game clue exists, but you have to keep clicking and reading until the right message came up. I got bored reading the jokes and moved on.

So, I am sure some people solved this one correctly but it's not my cup of herbata...



Re: Absurdistan
« Reply #12 on: 03 Jun 2021, 22:04 »
I playtested on this one, and we did have some discussion about the mailbox puzzle. I was uncertain about it, but ultimately landed on that the puzzle was hard, but fair.
Spoiler: ShowHide
I think it's a good puzzle, particularly in this setting. This world of absurdities and imperfection is largely about finding ways to cope, and gathering information is a big part of that. To find the truth, one had to see it through the propaganda. And I feel this puzzle, and the street name puzzle, is about combining pieces of information into something useful. (Just like combining two items to make a third.)

Re: Absurdistan
« Reply #13 on: 03 Jun 2021, 22:10 »
I playtested on this one, and we did have some discussion about the mailbox puzzle. I was uncertain about it, but ultimately landed on that the puzzle was hard, but fair.
Spoiler: ShowHide
I think it's a good puzzle, particularly in this setting. This world of absurdities and imperfection is largely about finding ways to cope, and gathering information is a big part of that. To find the truth, one had to see it through the propaganda. And I feel this puzzle, and the street name puzzle, is about combining pieces of information into something useful. (Just like combining two items to make a third.)


Spoiler: ShowHide
Street name puzzle was GREAT! I also LOVED the TV repair puzzle and when the guy directing you fizzled out and you had to solve the rest on your own was EPIC!

Pogwizd

  • Quidquid latine dictum sit altum videtur
    • Pogwizd worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Absurdistan
« Reply #14 on: 05 Jun 2021, 22:10 »
Spoiler: ShowHide


So, I am sure some people solved this one correctly but it's not my cup of herbata...


This actually cracked me up. You won't believe how often me and my wife say things like that.

I understand your reservations about the puzzles that require going through an awful amount of text. In the case of Absurdistan, however, this solution seemed appealing to me, because it let me tell a few absurd stories in one go.

For some reason this discussion reminded me of Neverhood, which featured 8 or 9 rooms that had the story of the game's universe written on the wall. I didn't like it at all to tell the truth, because it was taking an awful lot of time to read just to find out it wasn't relevant to finishing the game. But that's me, I appreciate there are players who enjoyed it, though.

Also, I don't want to repeat myself too much but I truly am flattered to see that people enjoyed my puzzles - it's really nice.