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Iji 1.6 (updated 7 March)


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#1 Ultimortal

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 12:04 AM

IJI 1.6 :GM5:
Remar Games 2004-2010


Content: Mild animated violence, mild language, themes of war and death
Resolution: Choose between windowed and 32-bit 800*600 fullscreen
Players: 1
Does not use installer, registry, or internet browser
For full credits, see the manual

Estimated requirements:
Windows 98/NT/2000/XP/Vista (may run slowly on XP/Vista/7, try setting the detail level to Low and turning off Gamma effects if it slows down)
1 Ghz CPU
32 MB graphics card
200 MB virtual memory
Webmasters: Mirroring and hotlinking are forbidden, but linking to my homepage is not.

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This strategic platform shooter is the biggest and most ambitious game I've ever made. Updated sporadically!

Visit the game's homepage and read more about it

Download version 1.6 from YoYoGames

Download high-quality soundtrack (optional)

Watch the trailer (YouTube)

Screenshot 1
Screenshot 2
Screenshot 3
Screenshot 4

Official game guide (NEW). Warning: this guide spoils everything in the game! Read it if you're stuck finding posters or want to see the secrets you missed.

Edited by Ultimortal, 10 September 2010 - 07:54 PM.

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Daniel's Base - home of Hero Core, Iji, Hyper Princess Pitch, Garden Gnome Carnage etc.

#2 Kaminari

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 12:41 AM

Awesome. Excellent graphics, excellent music and sound effects, excellent control, excellent gameplay. Nice job. I can tell it took four years. Very reminiscent of Metroid.

The only criticism I have is that the story was somewhat weak. Not that it was horrible, especially in the context of video games, but it could have used some more development before you hit the audience with "You are abrubtly a cyborg!" I'm just saying that it's no Hamlet. Maybe a Deathly Hallows.

I didn't get very far into the game, but it looked fairly glitch-free to me. I guarantee this'll receive some attention.
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#3 Ultimortal

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 12:47 AM

The only criticism I have is that the story was somewhat weak. Not that it was horrible, especially in the context of video games, but it could have used some more development before you hit the audience with "You are abrubtly a cyborg!" I'm just saying that it's no Hamlet. Maybe a Deathly Hallows.


Thanks. I wanted to story to start abruptly so I could get it going and evolve though - I thought it would be better, gameplay-wise, than having a huge backstory which is now only implied. By the climax of the game, the player will hopefully think the same. But I'll be the first to say that I'm definitely not a writer, so don't expect Hamlet. :(
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#4 Explicit

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 12:59 AM

wow

that was like, the best trailer ever...

downloading...


umm...wow

that was probably the best platform shooter/rpg game ive ever played.

great graphics. love the story, the aliens were cool, the game was just brilliant, you took the term "nano" to its limits.

10/10

i dont see why its not commercial...(but dont make it commercial)

Edited by Explicit, 02 September 2008 - 03:16 AM.

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#5 shockedfrog

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 03:50 AM

Up to Sector 6 so far, and while I generally don't say too much about a game until I've completed it or given up on it, I feel the need to post immediately to say it's brilliant so far and I hope this topic gets a bit more attention later on.

Edit:
Completed Normal! Now for thoughts that will eventually become a review whenever my site's ready:

First things first - the gameplay is great, paced perfectly, and the story really stands out. The graphics may not be to everyone's taste, but I personally love the general style of the game. The audio is spot on, too - while I've never been one to complain about ripped music where it fits, it's refreshing to hear a good original soundtrack.

What's particularly amazing about Iji is that I actually want to replay it, on the different difficulties, trying different stat builds and such. Many games attempt this, but this is the first in a long time that's succeeded for me. I appreciated the way hints are given, both during the main game and for later plays - the Sector Z one being a particularly good example, giving the player enough info to find it but still making them think a bit.

The ending was maybe a little disappointing, but perhaps that's just to serve me right for taking the easier kill-pretty-much-everything option. I'm a bit disappointed at the lack of any (obvious?) effect of collecting the ribbons. The bosses were also a little disappointing, while there were some subtle changes between each life bar I'd have preferred some nastier twists. I'm looking forward to trying the bosses on the harder difficulties and discovering the other sides of the story, though.

Nothing is perfect, but this is a pretty good try. Definitely the best Game Maker game I've ever played, and perhaps, after I've explored everything a bit further, I'll also consider it the best freeware game I've ever played.

Edited by shockedfrog, 02 September 2008 - 09:18 AM.

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#6 Ultimortal

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 10:29 AM

Thanks, shockedfrog. You seemed to like it despite your gripes.

As for the ribbons, their only use is to further a sidestory; the game attempts to clarify this at one point. A certain game modifier affects the late-game ribbon chats as well.

And on the bosses, I generally thought it would be mean if they pulled out their most powerful attacks by the end of the fight instead of at the beginning (which they do now), and get a cheap shot in when they're nearly beaten. :p Especially the final boss on the higher difficulties.

SPOILERS!: Due to the story though, there's not much Iji can do at the end, so there's no "perfect happy ending" to achieve by playing pacifist. Perhaps that needs to be clarified, but it's implied by the way the story begins - with the cutscene at the end of Sector 2 in mind, being a pacifist won't change what has already happened before Iji even awoke. It will change the final boss's impression of her, but not the overall outcome. /SPOILERS
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#7 shockedfrog

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 12:35 PM

I'm glad there's no perfect happy ending, I was perhaps actually a little surprised that the ending I got was as positive as it was, though not in an unreasonable way. And I guessed that game modifier would affect the messages, got the positive version first time round so I'll try it the other way next.

I agree that unpredictable changes allowing cheap shots would suck - I've yet to dodge the final boss's fancy one-shot kill, so I'm quite glad he doesn't use it unless I'm doing particularly badly anyway. :) I was thinking more about how each boss only really has one weakness, which is ok for most but seemed a little lacking for the final boss. Thinking about it, though, the method of defeating the final boss is probably the most appropriate for Iji. Anyway, when I was writing that I'd forgotten that Iosa was a two-parter, and the conclusion of that was excellent.
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#8 gamewizkid

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 01:02 PM

I want to download.

But I won't unless you tell me how big the filesize is.
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Imagine a large mansion. And imagine that it has light, reflected off of the very large moon at night. Now imagine rain. Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain. Now imagine a light flickering in one or two of the windows of the mansion. And finally, imagine a cinder block and some sort of burnt trophy, laid on the side of the house; pieces of broken metal and wiring is twisted over and under them. Then imagine that the flickering lights turn off. Now the moon turns off. Did you like that? go here to read the full story...and PM me about it if you liked or didn't like it...

#9 PurpleFuzzy

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 01:34 PM

File size = 27.2mb (yikes!)
But once I saw that you spent four years developing it, I was a bit compelled to try it out, since it would suck for someone to spend so much time on something like this and then be rewarded with nothing.

While I wait for the download, I shall continue yapping. I really commend you for being able to stick to a project for four years of your life (that's 1,460 days!) and complete it and then give it away was freeware... That's just a very impressive thing to do. A lot happens to a person in the span of four years and to be able to keep this kind of consistency is mind boggling; something I would never be able to do.

Currently the file is at 66%. I'm getting myself a bit excited here. The screenshots look great. 79%... 80%.... 81%... Okay, I'm going to stop typing until I've played the game... 84%... 85%.... Okay...

Okay... I'm playing it now and... Wow. This is a wonderful game. I think the story is a little "blah"-worthy, but the gameplay and the beautiful artwork make up for it, no doubt.

You've got a masterpiece right here.

-PF

Edit: Good to know that GM5 is still proving itself useful. :P

Edited by PurpleFuzzy, 02 September 2008 - 01:36 PM.

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#10 Dannerz

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 05:27 PM

I just beat normal mode.
The game is great.
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#11 DominicWhite

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 08:21 PM

A fantastic little game. Some of the art sat wrong with me (especially the faces, which just looked a little off), but the gameplay was excellent. My only real complaint is that the music is horribly over-compressed. Tiny bitrate, and it really hurts a lot of the tracks, especially the ending song.

Any chance of a release later on with higher quality audio?
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#12 Carnivac

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 08:44 PM

Yup, fantastic. Good graphics with smooth animation, excellent sound effects and superb music (the first game in ages where I don't mind it's mp3's mainly cos the tunes are just so good and really add to the game). It's got a story I'm actually interested in (a rarity for me in video games). A little too much text but it comes up fast and I can read quickly so that's not an issue. Controls are responsive. Great action too and I love the boss battles. The characters are charming too. And the little details like smashing the crates or hitting your head on the lights shattering them, and I love the feel of the speeder bike things especially as they leap over the gaps and plough through enemies. Oh yeah the cutscenes are great too.

Think the only thing bugging me is trying to map this game to joypad. Seem to be too many controls when getting all the weapons, but the majority of it feels great with a console style controller.

Already spent more time than I should have playing the game today (darn college stuff starting up) but every single minute of the game has been a joy. I can see this being a keeper even after finishing it the first time. It's already a fave of mine.

Indie game of the year for me.
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#13 Ultimortal

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 09:07 PM

Thanks everyone.

Any chance of a release later on with higher quality audio?

Yes, hopefully an optional download consisting of the full-quality soundtrack will be up in a few days or so.
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#14 dimitri

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 10:21 PM

Great game. I loved the animation style, it was very fluid and nothing looked too shabby.
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#15 Tahnok

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 11:54 PM

Really slick game! One of the few GM games that has actually kept my attention for longer than 10 minutes. I plan on actually playing all the way through (just beat sector 4). Definitely stands out as one of the most polished GM platform games out there. I highly suggest posting this on the YYG site, as I think it could become a front page feature and get a ton of traffic that way (or at least a staff pick).
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#16 Necromian

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 02:38 AM

I wanted to point something out -
I'm not sure if this is supposed to happen, but some of the sprites (explosions, shells, bullets) show up as just black boxes.

I'm using windows vista service pack 2.
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#17 shockedfrog

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 02:46 AM

Finally got the posters and went through Sector Z, fun little place :)

One oddity - I played through Normal again and ended with 7 kills, which was considered 'Killer' rank. Seems a bit inconsistent with the way the other two rank tables work.
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#18 rinkuhero

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 07:42 AM

I'm at sector 5 or so right now. Probably the best GM platformer I've played since Seiklus. Everyone should try it out!
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#19 dimitri

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 10:23 AM

I wanted to point something out -
I'm not sure if this is supposed to happen, but some of the sprites (explosions, shells, bullets) show up as just black boxes.

I'm using windows vista service pack 2.

Forgot to mention that. I too am using Vista with service pack 2.
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#20 Ultimortal

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 11:55 AM

I wanted to point something out -
I'm not sure if this is supposed to happen, but some of the sprites (explosions, shells, bullets) show up as just black boxes.


Does this happen as soon as you boot the game, without alt-tabing? In either case, go into the pause menu by pressing Escape in-game, then go to "Options" and use the "Reload Graphics" command. Does that fix the problem?

One oddity - I played through Normal again and ended with 7 kills, which was considered 'Killer' rank. Seems a bit inconsistent with the way the other two rank tables work.

This is indeed a mistake; the game internally used the number 5 instead of 10 to decide if you exceeded the "Innocent" rank. Thanks for pointing it out! There's no gameplay impact or unlockable for getting "Innocent" though, so luckily this wasn't as serious as it could have been.
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#21 Tobias(NL)

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 01:30 PM

I don't play much GM games for a long time, but this game my friend, this game does it.
it's amazing. simple sprites, but with very nice and smooth animations. great presentation, cool guns, and i'm in love with the kicking from that girl... what a power muaha. the music is very cool too, it fits the game perfectly. you used it well in the conversations. you worked for 4 years on this, well it was worth it. gratzz!!!
9/10.

very good work, go stand before a mirror and give yourself a thumbs up :lol:
greetz,
TobiasNL

Edited by Tobias(NL), 03 September 2008 - 01:30 PM.

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#22 Elmernite

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 01:37 PM

Everything Tobias(NL) said!

very good work, go stand before a mirror and give yourself a thumbs up

Do that one for sure!

Great game, I'll most likely post again once I beat it.

-Elmernite

Edited by Elmernite, 03 September 2008 - 01:37 PM.

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#23 shockedfrog

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 07:15 PM

Possible glitch in Sector Z while testing in single play mode: If you hold left when falling from the first ghost area, or whatever they are, then walk left until you fall, you end up at the last bit of the sector. Maybe this is an intended shortcut, but when taking that route, the platforms in the last section don't fade in and out, they're just there all the time.

Also in Sector Z in single play mode, the Enemy Information option in the menu goes weird, choosing it shows blits with no description and using left/right on the menu option seems to allow any number, positive or negative, though they all ultimately lead to the same blits/no description screen.

Haven't tested if these apply in a new game.

Edited by shockedfrog, 03 September 2008 - 07:32 PM.

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#24 lum taylor

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 07:44 PM

My god that was brilliant. Probably my favorite gamemaker game, well, ever. Everything was awesome, the animations, the graphical style, the programming, the gameplay, I could go on and on about how much I love this game

I have to commend you for such a brilliant effort to make this, hope it doesn't go unnoticed. I recommend posting this on Yoyo games, because more people need to hear about this awesome game, plus the staff pick that I'm almost sure this will get would be a nice thing to have.

Overall, love this game, this is one of those rare GM games that I actually keep on my computer to play in the future. Great job!
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#25 House

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 09:25 PM

Stunningly, amazingly, stupendously, righteously good! I went through on Normal, racking up 300+ kills with pretty much just the kick, and I'm already looking forward to playing through again and actually trying out all the weapons and ammo that I couldn't pick up.

I really liked the music, the story, the characters, and the cutscene art. The animations for Iji are tight. I was really drawn into the world, and [spoiler removed].

So, how do you pronounce "Iji"?

Edited by House, 04 September 2008 - 12:40 AM.

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#26 [M]edieval

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 09:35 PM

Dan, I always loved your work. This is no exception.
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#27 Necromian

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 10:17 PM

Yep, that worked :lol:

Thank you for making this epic masterpiece.
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Grid Defender 2 Sequel to the staff picked game at yoyogames!

Sig Maker V.5 "10/10","Products match Photoshop CS3, take less time and effort"

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Super Big Gun Adventure! The self-proclaimed cult classic!

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#28 I.Q. of Spam

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 11:27 PM

Absolutely amazing. You can always tell when people spend a long time working on a game - it really, truly shines through in the overall quality.

Let's see:

- The cutscenes were very well done.
- The game had a great story (and I didn't think it began too abruptly at all, though it did remind me of Inspector Gadget at first).
- The in-game graphics, though somewhat simplistic, really went very well together, plus there were lots of them to prevent repetitiveness.
- The music went just about perfectly with the game. Custom-made soundtracks really help the game atmosphere.
- The cracking skill and numerous weapons, not to mention the other skills, were pretty cool. I thought the Resonance Deflector was sweet, and I owned General Tor with it.
- The end credits were actually worth watching, I thought it was funny to see the kids using one of the Annihilator Komatos' corpses as a playground (er, well actually that sounds rather sick).

The only thing I didn't like so much was that the various skill upgrade stations were not combined into one. You could have perhaps made it so that certain stations in an area could only upgrade certain skills, but make it so that which one is chosen from a menu when you try to upgrade. This would also prevent any accidental upgrading on a skill you didn't want. I didn't have that problem, but someone else might.

Also, I think you should bold-face the part in your OP that states that you spent 4 years on this. That sold me into trying your game without even looking at screenshots, and so I think that this is pretty essential if you want to get the fame you deserve, since the OP itself is rather plain and boring - a shame since it seriously doesn't do the game justice.

Plus, if you get lots of attention, then you might be nominated for a Cage Match - then the road is paved for you to get into the Hall of Fame, remembered for all eternity. ::lmao::
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#29 Ultimortal

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 12:24 AM

Thanks for the comments everypeople, but please refrain from posting spoilers about the game in the thread, such as the ending, the names of bosses or secret areas. Thanks. ::lmao::

Possible glitch

Thanks, I'll fix those in the next version. I must say I am amazed you found that place within a day of the release, though!

House, Iji is pronounced something like "ee-gee", or "ee-dji".

For various reasons the game won't be posted on YoYo, but has appeared on TigSource and the Indiegames Blog among others. The best way to spread the word of a game you like is simply to tell your friends about it. :(

Edited by Ultimortal, 04 September 2008 - 12:30 AM.

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#30 DominicWhite

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 01:23 AM

Any word on when you plan to release the higher-bitrate soundtrack will be out, Ultimortal? I think I'll hold off any replays until I've got hold of that. I'll definitely be replaying for sure, especially as someone told me about a certain major plot element about two-thirds through can be changed dramatically, if you have a little foresight.

128kbps would be nice on everything. It's such a shame that the game has such an amazing soundtrack, but it's all fuzzy-sounding to save space.

Edited by DominicWhite, 04 September 2008 - 01:25 AM.

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#31 Alert Games

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 02:00 AM

amazing game. the simplistic style character design adds a nice touch. the story is in depth(even though i only made it to level 2 so far), the music is good sound effects are good, gameplay is good. just everything. very nice work. im glad there is some high quality work to play. im glad i played this game ::lmao::

so far no suggestions besides maybe making the level 2 a little shorter, but its not too bad. and there is a checkpoint. ill have to get back to you when i finish more of the game.
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#32 Falk Flyer

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 02:06 AM

This game is gripping, suspensful, well drawn, awesomely programmed, and quite possibly probably the best Game Maker game I've played since Whee!.

I highly recommend that people who skip this game for whatever reason give it a chance. This brings to mind the great 8-Bit classics, most notably the Metroid series. With a well-designed combat and skill system, almost more plot than one can handle, and incredibly fluid level design, an all-around win. This coudl go for at least $30 as a Gameboy Advanced game, though I'm glad it's not.

One flaw I must point out, however, is that in one of the early conversations with Dan or a log book (sector 1 or 2), there's an "is" that should be "us". Other than that, up to (and not including) Sector 7 at least, the game was perfect. No glitches, no mistakes (other than upgrading this instead of that), nothing but sheer awesomeness.

I have a few ideas about what was going on, though I didn't expect that log about Dan; I may be in the right direction with Mia's stuff, but we'll see as I move on. I'll definitly play on a harder setting with better combos; I've only died twice, and one was because I didn't like my choices.
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#33 Dannerz

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 07:06 AM

Finally got the posters and went through Sector Z, fun little place ::lmao::

One oddity - I played through Normal again and ended with 7 kills, which was considered 'Killer' rank. Seems a bit inconsistent with the way the other two rank tables work.


I have beat normal and hard now, once each.
I only found 1 poster.
How did you get to Sector Z ?
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#34 davidp

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 09:53 AM

Awesome game, I'm on sector 5 atm. So long everything is superb, I would only suggest using "Synchronization to avoid tearing" as I can see line going up and down on upper side of the screen.

Other than that, this is a truly awesome game. You've done a GREAT job.
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#35 Ultimortal

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 10:28 AM

Awesome game, I'm on sector 5 atm. So long everything is superb, I would only suggest using "Synchronization to avoid tearing" as I can see line going up and down on upper side of the screen.


When I was working on this game two computers ago (when I was running Win98), vsync worked perfectly. On my last computer it did too. Now however, on every computer with a more modern graphics card I try it on, it doesn't work.
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#36 davidp

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 01:46 PM

Ye. But it's okay, you get used to it, many users won't even notice it.

But meawhile i found very interesting bug/software issue. I'm using ATI Radeon X1250 (laptop) 8.342 drivers (Catalyst) and i it crashes Catalyst control centre and opens 100+ instances of CLI.exe process (for me unknown Catalyst process), uses all CPU sources and brings laptop to it's knees, where i can only hard reboot. sucks :/ I'll try downloading new drivers and report back later.
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#37 thelastdefender

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 02:12 PM

Best GM game ever made. Also best song I've heard in any game (end credits)...sounds like Radiohead, although I know a woman sings. Can you tell me more about it? Working on Ultimortal now...
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#38 davidp

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 02:59 PM

Best GM game ever made. Also best song I've heard....


The more I play it, the more i feel the same way. Just pure awesomeness, i've been thinking about music before and how cool is it. Not to mention cut scenes, which are pure gold. Reminds me of Cleaner for a bit, must admit, but so totally different (and i think better).

You've done a great job with this game.
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#39 Ultimortal

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 03:12 PM

Also best song I've heard in any game (end credits)...sounds like Radiohead, although I know a woman sings. Can you tell me more about it?


You mean the song? It's originally Further by Victory Not Vengeance Nation, covered by LifeForce which as far as I know was a non-commercial indie band consisting of Mithra Sedaghati and Kahl (he later became part of Machinae Supremacy). Their songs include Breed, Prey, Forgotten Futures, No Regrets and Dread Joy Sorrow. In Iji, I edited out the later parts of Further in order to end it on a more positive note.

It's difficult to come across LifeForce information or songs now, but try searching on the Machinae Supremacy forums (searching, not asking, they seem to be pretty tired of that ::lmao::).

Edited by Ultimortal, 04 September 2008 - 03:14 PM.

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#40 lum taylor

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 10:28 PM

Ok I finally beat the game, just got better and better. Loved it as I said in my first post and I hope that this game gets all the attention it deserves and more!
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#41 Shadow Link

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 11:09 PM

I beat the game on Normal yesterday, but never got a chance to say nice things about it. ;)

The work put into the game clearly shows, and I'm amazed at the results. Even if it wasn't freeware, I'd still buy it. I'm a fan of these types of games.

The graphics were awesome, especially the background. Iji and the aliens could use a tiny bit of work, but you get past it, so it's not too big of a deal. They kind of have that old school feel to them. The music suited it perfectly, setting the right mood. The story was awesome. It stayed away from the norm, and went pretty deep. I especially like how the logbooks add on to it, kind of like the logs in Metroid. The unlockables are also a great way to add replay value (seeing as how I'll be replaying it myself on harder difficulties).

Hardly any downsides to it. I, too, saw the grammar error in a logbook on Sector 2 (I think an Tasen Elite? The red.. or yellow ones.. I forgot what I saw down there). I kinda feel bad for going through and obliterating everything (especially on that one sector which I will not name. I kinda killed someone I wanted to meet). I had a feeling after watching you "spare" aliens on the trailer that I'd have to at some point. Oh well, I'd love to replay just to see alternate endings.

Overall, I'd have to say this game is nearly flawless. All the terminology is a bit too much at first, but not all that bad (I think I was just too tired to even think). I say this is one of those rare games that I can call a work of art. The story just goes so deep, it kinda gets to you. The gameplay connects you, almost making you Iji. Though being in her position sucks, it really makes you feel bad for her sometimes, which is one of the reasons I love this game so much. That's what all good games just like this one should do. Props to you and all who helped, Ultimortal. Your hard work payed off!
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#42 Ballista

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 11:52 PM

Wow, haven't used my GMC account in like two years...

A friend linked me to this game the day of its release. First and foremost, I want to say that, at least in my opinion, this is an amazing game, and I do not throw that term around lightly. In fact, I'd go as far as to say it's one of two or three freeware games I've ever played that actually managed to impress me. The gameplay and controls were superb and the storyline hooked me in. I've never before seen a platformer that allotted such freedom to the player; I beat it with something like 14 kills and never once picking up an ammo-using weapon, and have already began a second playthrough, this time as a heartless, homicidal maniac.

However, there were a few aspects to the game I felt brought it down. Hence, the rest of this post is probably going to sound horribly negative, even though it's just an in-depth analysis of a few small aspects. For the record, I am an incredibly critical person who always feels like almost everything could be improved

The dialogue - beautiful towards the end - felt forced or awkward in some places. In particular, I'm not sure I liked the way in which the features and controls were explained in the first level. While breaking the fourth wall is clever in a few places (that logbook where the alien wonders what a pause menu is comes to mind), being told "Press Z to kick" does not help the game's immersion factor. Up until the first boss or so it's even somewhat unclear whether than game is even trying to have a serious plot or whether it is just trying to be a standard jump-and-gun with an "aliens are attacking" premise.

The player does need to be told how things work, but in my personal opinion this works best kept out of dialogue. A lot of games get around this by showing a small image of the proper key to press, or a tiny bit of text like "Z- kick" while the dialogue says something realistic that still explains the connection (such as "kick this door open"). While I can't speak for everyone, I personally found it odd how the opening bits were a mix of realistic, even dramatic dialogue, and things that openly acknowledged that it was all just a game.

There was one bit of text at the beginning I definitely didn't like: "These guys have also gathered stolen Komato weapons, for which you need 'Komato', but that's for later". Acknowledging the existence of control buttons is one thing, but here he is openly showing knowledge of future plot events. Saying something about how Komato weapons are mostly stored in other sectors or she isn't yet strong enough to handle them would accomplish the same thing without having your characters knowing more than they should.

My main criticism of the game, though, is its color usage. With all graphics, your goal is to convey as much information to the player as quickly possible. At the most basic level, your graphics do this fine; bigger enemies are tougher, leaner enemies are faster, and so on. While you didn't necessarily use color wrongly, it definitely wasn't used to its full potential.

For instance, a game I feel has excellent color use is Half-Life 2. In Half-Life 2, explosive barrels, hopper mines, activated grenades, and gun turrets all have one thing in common: the color red is somewhere on them, bringing attention to their danger. While the player doesn't actively think "I see red! This must be dangerous", the lack of red elsewhere in the environment means when the color red DOES appear, it grabs the player's attention. When you see a crowd of zombies and one pulls out a grenade and rushes at you, the red light from the grenade separates him from the rest of the crowd and lets you know that HE is your number one priority. Likewise, when you are hiding behind a barrel for cover, you instantly know that you shouldn't hide behind the red ones, because they will explode as soon as someone fires at them.

For comparison, here is a screenshot of an explosive from Iji.
Posted Image
At a glance, the first things that stands out in this screenshot are the orange crates, which do nothing. The explosive has some identifying characteristics, such as the yellow caution tape, but gray and yellow do not significantly stand out from the platforms that make up the rest of the environment. I didn't even know that it was an explosive until Iji outright said something about it and referred to it as such.

Now, imagine if the explosive was colored differently; maybe it was a brighter yellow, or maybe the caution tape was red. All of a sudden, it stands out from everything else in the environment. I'd probably shoot it right away just because it looked so different from everything else. This may also lead to me using them more frequently to my advantage, such as shooting them when an enemy is by them, and less frequently hurting myself on them when I think they are just a regular decoration block. While blending in with the environment might make it FIT better, it does not emphasize its importance. There is an important middleground where things fit together nicely, but the important bits are still more obvious.

Color use could also help better differentiate the alien races. For instance, here's a shot with two races of aliens fighting:
Posted Image
Looking closely, it's pretty easy to tell the two types apart: their anatomy is entirely different. However, at a glance the one that stands out as different from the rest is the purple alien. Similar colors and shades are used on the armor, skin, and weapons of both alien types.

Also, there is an aspect of using color for setting the mood that I feel was only partly taken advantage of. When it came to lighting there was no problem at all; the way the screen darkened at certain parts added a HUGE emotional impact to them. However, I didn't particularly like the way hues were often indiscriminately mixed. Like, on the screenshot on the first page you have cold shades of blue inside the building, warm, dry oranges outside the building or on the crate, and a somewhat warm, dark maroon making up the walls. While it doesn't look bad, it's not entirely clear what impression the colors are meant to convey overall.

Not to say you should stick to one color, such as falling into the "brown = realistic" ideal of most modern games. Rather, it's important to be conscious of the dichotomy you create between various colors and shades in an environment; much like how a less common color can be used to draw attention to important items, mixing two colors will emphasize their differences. Half-Life 2 used incredibly conflicting colors in the environment; warm, natural shades on the run-down earth buildings looked nothing like the cold, dark, metals that made up the alien structures, but this only helped to demonstrate the way the aliens had been replacing the buildings that were originally on earth.

Of course, I'm no professional expert in color use, these are just my personal observations and opinions (I'm busy trying to convince all my friends to play this game so I can see if they agree with me or not). However, if I had to pretend I was an expert and give advice, I'd say it's important to at least consciously pay attention to how you use colors and what they make the player think or feel.


But yeah, those are my only real criticisms. This game is amazing, and I would pay money for it if it was being sold for money. Is she actually saying "sorry.." the first few times she kills enemies? That's awesome. And the credit music is PERFECT; it is the perfect closing to leave the player with a good aftertaste.

As prior posters have said, I hope this game gets the attention it deserves. I'll definitely spread the word to people I think would be interested.

Edited by Ballista, 05 September 2008 - 04:08 AM.

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#43 Explicit

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 07:17 AM

i couldnt pay attention to the specific background colors...
i was busy blowing things up, dodging missiles, kicking aliens, , taking cover, and finding ways to heal after doing all of that.

it was fairly easy for me to tell things apart. i knew important things floated or were animated or were multicolored somehow. for instance the explosives, which have a distinct darker outline with multiple colors (gray and yellow caution tape) stand out. and those umm, cases that you hack open , they were blue and had lights on them, which sorta stood out to me also.

the only downer i could say about the graphics is that the tileset greatly contrast the quality of the animated sprites, such as the character or the aliens.
as you can see from the screens, the have no outline, no shading, and plain blunt colors, but looking at them in game, its evident you made them this way to make up for them in the character animations(which were cool to look at)
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#44 Jenner

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 10:02 AM

I like everything! The animations are wonderful. Sometimes I just stay still for a while to see her throw her hair around. Looks amazing.
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#45 Ultimortal

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 02:17 PM

Those are some interesting insights Ballista, I don't know much about color theory though. I mostly went with what I felt like, to be honest. ;)

As for the tutorial intruding on the dialogue, some people like it, some don't... I was unsure of which direction to go with it, but eventually I decided to use it only in the beginning, and in the "hidden skills" logbooks.

the only downer i could say about the graphics is that the tileset greatly contrast the quality of the animated sprites, such as the character or the aliens. as you can see from the screens, the have no outline, no shading, and plain blunt colors, but looking at them in game, its evident you made them this way to make up for them in the character animations(which were cool to look at)

Yes, considering there are 1377 animation frames, it was unfortunately too much work to shade it all for me. Enemies get temporarily shaded while firing, though.
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#46 Black-Hawk

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 02:26 PM

Wow! This is, to put it simply, a beautiful game... I don't even know how to describe it.

It took me a while to figure out that you're supposed to feel some sort of remorse for killing them, my only thought was "hey these *******s attacked my planet so I'll kill every last one of them!" all I upgrade is strength, attack, health and the 2 weapon types and I'm extremely un-strategic. My strategy is stand in front of him and shoot till he dies.

I really love the combination system, it allows for such diversity in the amount of big guns I can use. The storyline is nice, not very complex but you said yourself, you're not a writer. That didn't matter too much because it works well and gives me more reason to continue other than the sheer joy of blowing aliens to bits. One of the best things I noticed was that when you stumble upon a fight between the 2 species it doesn't feel like they are all going for you suddenly like I've seen in other games, you really feel like you're part of a bigger fight.

I give this a 10/10 for being simply wonderful.
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#47 novaz

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 10:47 PM

very good game ;) it's like another world and flashback.

Edited by novaz, 05 September 2008 - 10:48 PM.

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#48 cow in a tub

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 12:21 AM

i just finished the game its very emotional.

#49 cow in a tub

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 12:41 AM

i like some of the humor in this game like risk number 4. the triple alloy cups are running out do you know how strong they are they make komoto armor out of that stuff you haven't had real flavor until you cant tell the difference in having a hot drink or being shot in the face with a plasma cannon.
i also like how you can mix together the nano weapons i was disappointed how it didn't tell you how to make the big yellow beam of death gun but i eventually figured it out.
also the bosses seem all a bit pointless and easy once you figure out how to beat them especially the last all you have to do is doge the projectiles and then bounce them back and most of the bosses when you die once it gives you what to do i found myself purposely dieing to find out.
apart from all that it was a good game i would rate it a 9/10.

#50 Drewdelz

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 01:25 AM

This is by far the best GM-made game I've seen, ever.
It's even the only PC game I "own" that I've actually spent more than and hour playing.

Kind of reminds me of Metriod(2D), but with RPG elements. I actually like this better.

Huuuge props for completing this and not giving up on it over the years.
Playing this game really motivates me to not slack off, and to do the best I can do on all of my projects. Really proves that GM can do something amazing if in the right hands.

10/10 Simply amazing.

Still haven't beaten it yet, but I plan to beat it on all difficulties.
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