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Cave Lander

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#1 Jezla

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 02:36 PM

Download: Cave Lander - alpha

Category: Arcade Puzzler

File Size: 2MB

File Type: Windows Executable

 

Cave Lander is my take on the classic Lunar Lander, and my first foray into using physics and particles.  Rather than land a ship on an undulating world surface, you have to guide it down through a cave to land on your target.  You will start on the test level, then proceed to the first few levels.  The game will restart when you complete the last level.  The HUD has been updated to include horizontal and vertical velocities and the pitch (or yaw) of the lander.  The score is also displayed.

 

CLscreen1_zpsemp9g1vr.jpg

 

 

CLscreen2_zpsqdyjxdzf.jpg

 

Controls:

 

Up - increase thrust

Down - reduce thrust

Right/Left - rotate the lander

 

Any feedback is appreciated!  Since the last build I've greatly improved the landing detection, so now it's much more fair.  I've left the debug text on the lander for now to help acquaint players with the proper speed and attitude to land successfully.  It'll be removed or made optional in a later build.  There are now twelve levels and some new obstacles that may hinder or help you.  There is a known issue where you can get a successful landing while partially on the pad and subsequently roll off and crash, which can potentially cause problems, though it's generally not game breaking.  The best way to avoid it is wait and make sure the lander is not moving or rolling before you hit enter to proceed.  It'll be fixed, but it's kind of on the back burner at the moment.


Edited by Jezla, 22 March 2016 - 06:32 PM.

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#2 SecretMonkey

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 05:22 PM

Hey!

 

I played your game, i didnt expect much but it was surprisingly fun!

 

the controls are really simple but hard to master. After i think 50 tries or something i was able to land the lander on every red block once without it exploding. I think you can make a really fun game of this with 1 landing spot per level and then a couple of levels with increasingly harder layouts and maybe some moving dangers like enemies or something, or maybe buttons to open doors, whatever. Some points you might be able to impove upon:

 

-The fuel meter shows clearly what the meter is for (fuel), but the other things are just numbers.

-i assumed the thrust would stop if i let go of the up  button, but it doesnt. i dont know if this is a design choice but it felt a bit weird to me, i was having some trouble adjusting the thrust to slowly hover down (but i guess this is needed to keep some challenge, ok forget what i said)

-often times i would land on a red block with what looked like a very slow speed, but i still exploded, often when not the full lander was on the block but just half or something. I dont know what your algoritm is for checking if you should explode or not but it seems like it could use some work

 

apart from those things the grapics could use some work, but you mentioned that yourself also.

 

my suggestion, make something like 25 increasingly difficult levels, continuing to the next after you have succesfully landed, but cut out the lives system. I was just playing and once in a while i wouldnt respawn because my lives ran out, just mash f1 and continue. probably keeping track of how many tries you needed would be a nice highscore system.

 

I hope i was helpfull,

SecretMonkey


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#3 Jezla

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 12:12 AM

Thanks for the feedback!  I've played a few different versions of Lunar Lander, and some of them have the thrust system I've used, while others have a continuous control system.  I felt that the push to increase/push to decrease system provided more challenge.  Interesting about not using lives.  I think I'll do that!

 

How did the physical properties of the lander feel?  Gravity?  Was there too much momentum or thrust from the engine?


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#4 SecretMonkey

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 12:23 PM

the lander actually felt pretty good!

It was a bit difficult to control at first but with a bit of practice it went well. After all, the game shouldnt be too easy.

 

that said, the thrust felt hard to adjust, slightly tapping the up button to slow down a bit usually ment a lot of thrust increase, felt hard to make it slowly hover down or something, but i guess thats also part of the difficulty. And i expect you experimented with different settings and found this to be the best...

 

i think you have a good concept, dont mess around too much with it, just work on a bit of content now i would say. Its really easy to lose yourself in getting some small detail right while there is so much other work you have to do before you can finish a game.


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#5 Jezla

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 10:27 PM

There's an update!  Graphics and some sound added, and I'm also starting on the levels.  Check the top post for the new version and features!


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#6 icuurd12b42

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 04:08 AM

the increase decrease trust, that was for the original which had a throttle, a left right button and an abort which would give full thrust for a few seconds to abort a landing about to be botched. this which would play well on the gamepad. the MAME emu has translated this throttle to a increase/decrease setup if I remember right

I don't particularly like this style of up to increase and down to decrease. but it depends on the sort of levels you have in mind. I would favor a thrust system using the 1 through 9 keys. either on when down of toggle on off. again it depends on the sort of levels. the standard lunar lander setup in most tap button is simply thrust ON when down and OFF when released. some vary this by increasing the thrust the longer you hold which give a smoother but often less controllable setup...



landing away from the base could result in a fail, you are too far from the base and will run out of oxigen sort of error

If you want to keep the up to increase, down to decrease then I suggest a wider power setting. right now it's too "yoyoish" especially that the landing is a little touchy. a slight angle and you damaged the lander...

But I managed to land all 3 levels. so.
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#7 Jezla

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 01:55 AM

I hear what you're saying about the thrust controls.  While I don't think an abort option would work for the type of levels I have planned (it could shoot you into the ceiling!), I decided to try an alternate control method.  I personally prefer it as it is, but I've added a start screen which gives the player the option to pick from the current control scheme (called 'Sticky'), and a scheme where "left/right" controls the pitch, and "up" fires the thruster, and releasing turns it off (called "Simple").  The thrust level in the "Simple" scheme is the same as the lowest thrust level in the "Sticky" scheme.  Try both out and see what you think.  The link in the top post has the latest build.  No new levels in this build; as before, just exit when you get to the empty room.

 

I've also added an explosion sound effect!


Edited by Jezla, 12 March 2016 - 01:57 AM.

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#8 icuurd12b42

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 02:24 AM

whoever designed those landing gears should be fired lol. I like the new setup.
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#9 Jezla

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 03:38 AM

Lol, thanks! That's the next task, working on the landing detection. And level building.

Btw, any thoughts on the graphics? I'm thinking about keeping the minimalist look.
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#10 SecretMonkey

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 10:02 PM

hey again! 

I played again

 

i love the simple mode, feels more natural to me. The power level is a bit low though,  you cant ever save yourself if you have fallen a bit much. Experiment a bit with some higher thrust levels?

 

I also tried out sticky mode, here it felt like i either had to go full throttle or no throttle. My W pressing skills arent timed to the nanosecond, it seems a bit sensitive

 

I loved the artstyle on  the tittlescreen, was a bit dissappointed to see the level didnt recieve the graphical overhaul but i assume you will do that sometime? 

 

But the biggest problem i had with your game, by far, is that i havent been able to land it undamaged in over 50 tries....


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#11 Jezla

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 11:45 PM

Thanks for following the progress, SecretMonkey!  I've just uploaded a new build, with improved landing detection.  It's still difficult, but it's now more predictable and much more fair (I think).  I placed some debug text on the lander to tell when the conditions are nominal for a safe landing (based on speed and rotation), and it's still present in this build.  Don't worry about the number it displays; if you see white text that says "nominal" you'll land safely.  Danger means...well, you know.  I'm thinking of using the debug text on the first level as a sort of trainer, and removing it for later levels.

 

Thanks for the compliment on the art!  it's a minimalist tile set I found on opengameart.org by Blarget2.  It's used on all levels after the test level.  Once I get more levels done, the test level will either go away or get the same overhaul and become a training level.

 

Thanks for the feedback on the controls and thrust levels.  I'll see about trying different settings.  Give the new build a try and see how you like it!


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#12 SecretMonkey

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 05:32 PM

Hey mate!

 

Great to see you are still enthousiastic about the game, and keep developing it!

I played and I managed to beat all the levels! I dont know what you did to the landing detection but it greatly helped.

To give some difficulty numbers for you I needed 11 tries to beat the 3 levels and the test level.

 

On one level i saw you already experimented with  some falling rocks and stuff, which i think is very good and is probably needed to keep some later levels interesting.

 

Oh and ofcourse you know this but you need an end game screen with your highscore and stuff, maybe a button back to the main menu, since looking at an empty room with a lander is a bit anticlimactic  XD

 

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with in the future!


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#13 Jezla

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 06:29 PM

Thanks! The landing fix was absurdly simple once I'd torn all my hair out. It was just a matter of calculating the force. I'll post another update once I get some more levels done.
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#14 Dylzer98

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 10:42 PM

Hi Jezla,

 

This game looks very pleasing, given only one picture but a lot of information. I would be happy to play this game and get back to you. I am guessing that since it is only 2MB that it is a standalone exe.


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#15 Jezla

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 01:39 AM

Dylzer98 - That's right.  Installers are frowned upon.  Just click the link to download.  Give it a go and let me know what you think!

 

UPDATE:  I've added a few more levels and another obstacle.  Some of the levels are tricky, but they can all be completed.  As an aside, the simple control scheme is growing on me;  I may get rid of the sticky controls or leave them in as a challenge mode or something.


Edited by Jezla, 16 March 2016 - 12:40 PM.

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#16 Jezla

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 06:38 PM

I decided to release another update today, because I've hit a bit of a design snag that is preventing me from doing any more levels.  I'm trying to decide on a new obstacle, and I'm not sure if I want to add man-made elements such as girders, switches and gates, alien creatures (jellyfish) that will capture you for a short time (thus potentially putting you in a more challenging position), wormholes (teleportation), or liquid (lava).  The teleportation and switch/gate scenarios seem most attractive, but I'm a little reticent to go industrial or sci-fi.

 

Anyway, enjoy the new levels, and let me know what you think.  They're pretty challenging, but it's possible to land them all.  No changes to the mechanics at this time.


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