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TIGSource ForumsCommunityTownhall5 Colors Pandora: an exploration game about colors and their consequences
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Author Topic: 5 Colors Pandora: an exploration game about colors and their consequences  (Read 4769 times)
Jordan
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« on: August 24, 2010, 08:33:21 pm »

5 Colors Pandora

An exploration game about colors and their consequences, originally made for Ludum Dare 16 (theme: "exploration" - came in 9th). Since then I've mainly added sound.

Not particularly long, but a bit more difficult than my usual offerings. Hints are included in the download, and a complete video walkthrough (with massive spoilers) is available on

.

Download Windows Exe:
http://www.necessarygames.com/weblinks/goto/132


Download Source (Game Maker):
http://www.necessarygames.com/weblinks/goto/133


Screenshots:







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ortoslon
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2010, 04:20:54 am »

new playthrough, with sound and better framerate

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ஒழுக்கின்மை
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2010, 09:42:29 am »

pretty good overall.

my only criticism / suggestion would be that there's nothing particular that distinguishes this game from other indie games that did the same elements but were more polished or used them more extensively. for instance, it has similar exploration and graphics to 'small worlds' and 'darkfate' (even having identical player graphics to those games), but those were prettier. still, it's a good genre and good to see people making games in it.
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Jordan
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2010, 06:27:28 pm »

@Aleksey:
Thanks for posting the new playthrough video! Much better than the other one.

@Paul:
Thanks for the constructive criticism. Interesting that you should compare the game to Small Worlds, as they seem different in almost every respect to me, except for low resolution. I haven't played Darkfate, but thanks for pointing me to it: will definitely give it a try.

Anyway, I certainly agree with you that both those games are much prettier, and that this one could be a lot more polished. In fact, I would like to make a more polished version at some point in the future, from the ground up. I didn't feel that the LD version was going to get further than this though, which is why I'm releasing it.

Cheers.
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ஒழுக்கின்மை
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2010, 06:52:59 pm »

for specifically what i found in common with small worlds / dark fate, yes the resolution, but also the movement. you are basically one pixel wide and 3-4 pixels tall in all of these three games, with the top pixel colored differently than the other pixels. this isn't just graphical, but also influences movement, movement animation (or the lack of it), collisions, and controls. all three games are platformers, and you are basically trying to 'get somewhere in specific' in all three games. the challenges are also similar: navigating over pixel blocky terrain, jumping, and suchlike.

but i just used them as on example of an element, i didn't mean that it was similar to those games in all ways. i'd say the games closest to this game in terms of gameplay would be eversion and time f*ck, both of which involve puzzles based on different layouts of a level which can be switched using particular switches, and which can often be seen in a way from the other level. but again, i felt that the eversive (for lack of a better word) puzzles in time f*ck and eversion were more varied than but similar to the ones here.

but again, i don't mean to sound negative, i think the game is pretty good and enjoyable to play, certainly considering the time constraints of LD, i just didn't feel that it stood out from similar (to me, anyway) games. the most memorable thing about the game (and probably the part i most liked) was the ability to transform into a flying square at any time, although i don't think the game took advantage of that feature enough (there aren't very many puzzles or challenges that require creative use of it, i mean).
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Jordan
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2010, 07:48:18 am »

All good points Paul--I pretty much agree with you down the line--and I much appreciate your taking the time to discuss/give feedback.

Also--this is unrelated--but I've enjoyed following your updates on Saturaded Dreamers, and am very much looking forward to playing it.
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ஒழுக்கின்மை
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2010, 12:20:13 pm »

thanks; i may ask for new closed playtesters for that game eventually, since the ones i have (except for a few people) aren't very active lately, and it's hard to find bugs on such a huge map without a correspondingly huge number of active playtesters

congrats for getting this game mentioned on timw's blog today, btw
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mikewest
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2010, 07:10:53 am »

I thought I'd bring my opinions over here instead of the comments section of the indie games blog.

You asked about disabling n and p keys over there.  I think that depends on your intent.  If you were trying to create a more contemplative atmosphere, then I'd say yes.  Forcing the player to backtrack gives them downtime that allows them to ponder what you wanted to communicate with the game.  You should also keep in mind that I can be absolutely inept at times on my keyboard, so I may be the only person who did accidentally cheated throughout the game.

I'll give my feedback on the rest of the game anyway (bearing in mind that my experience is colored by not having to really backtrack at all).  I really like the style of presentation.  It reminded me of small worlds like Paul already said.  What strikes me as similar between the two is in atmosphere- this tone of mystery.  That's exactly what kept me going through the game, but it's also why I felt a tiny bit let down in the end.  I loved how restoring/interacting with the color changed the world and you definitely made me invested in the world you created, but I was hoping for something at the end that brought it all together a bit more for me.  I felt like there were these really interesting fragments of storytelling that I wanted to piece together, but couldn't quite get there.  It's also entirely possible that I just missed the point here.  I'd love to hear what you were going for.  Leaving things open ended is wonderful when trying to instill meaning into something, but I just needed a tiny push to get there.  It's hard for me to give an example of what a tiny push would be without knowing what you wanted me to take away from the story.  It felt like the colors were revealing some future apocalypse.  IF (and I'm sure this is a big if) that is what you intended, maybe when the credits rolled you could have shown a tiny cut-scene giving a hint about any of the whats, whys, whens, hows, etc. of the apocalypse.

In any case, I liked the game. I checked out your website and I dig your ideology, so I'm planning on playing your other games.
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Jordan
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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2010, 05:13:02 am »

Thanks for the detailed feedback Mike: much appreciated.

Quote
You asked about disabling n and p keys over there.  I think that depends on your intent.  If you were trying to create a more contemplative atmosphere, then I'd say yes.  Forcing the player to backtrack gives them downtime that allows them to ponder what you wanted to communicate with the game.  You should also keep in mind that I can be absolutely inept at times on my keyboard, so I may be the only person who did accidentally cheated throughout the game.

I'm thinking I should probably disable those. I definitely didn't intend them for normal use, but had some people complaining about getting stuck irreversibly (in walls and such), which is why I added those. I think I've fixed those issues though...

Quote
I'll give my feedback on the rest of the game anyway (bearing in mind that my experience is colored by not having to really backtrack at all).  I really like the style of presentation.  It reminded me of small worlds like Paul already said.  What strikes me as similar between the two is in atmosphere- this tone of mystery.  That's exactly what kept me going through the game, but it's also why I felt a tiny bit let down in the end.  I loved how restoring/interacting with the color changed the world and you definitely made me invested in the world you created, but I was hoping for something at the end that brought it all together a bit more for me.  I felt like there were these really interesting fragments of storytelling that I wanted to piece together, but couldn't quite get there.  It's also entirely possible that I just missed the point here.  I'd love to hear what you were going for.  Leaving things open ended is wonderful when trying to instill meaning into something, but I just needed a tiny push to get there.  It's hard for me to give an example of what a tiny push would be without knowing what you wanted me to take away from the story.  It felt like the colors were revealing some future apocalypse.  IF (and I'm sure this is a big if) that is what you intended, maybe when the credits rolled you could have shown a tiny cut-scene giving a hint about any of the whats, whys, whens, hows, etc. of the apocalypse.

First, thanks for the compliments. As far as the ending goes, I do think it is quite weak, and would like to rectify it. The basic idea of the game is that by bringing color into these different worlds, you essentially destroy them. So in terms of story/theme, I was going for a variety of stuff, most of it revolving around the basic themes of Pandora's box, but I tried to give things a bit of a twist, because I don't particularly care for things that are obvious, or designed to be interpreted in one particular way. People tend to think of color as a good thing, so part of my idea here was to use Pandora's box, but mess with expectations, and see what happened. So apocalypse is somewhere in there, as well as causality, and motivation, and will to continue. I wanted to explore the idea of complicity--see if people would keep going and feel guilty about it after they saw what they were doing, even if the results of their actions went contrary to their initial expectations--but that didn't end up working so well, because most people don't really seem to see what's going on, or it's not that affective, if they do...

Anyway, I'm rambling here, but the game is definitely designed to be open ended when it comes to interpretation, rather than allegorical or something (I tend to dislike allegory because of its forced nature).

Your comments, as well as others, basically bring home the fact that the game could have been presented in a much stronger way, and had a much stronger conclusion.

Like I mentioned to Paul, I would really like to make a follow-up project based on this some day, with a proper development cycle. I essentially made this in 48 hours for LD, and though I intended to go back and improve it, it ended up being too much of a mess to really do much more with, in its current form, which is why I eventually just released it.

Thanks again for your thoughts.
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Jordan
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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2010, 05:18:13 am »

As a PS, the "intention" behind the current ending was to leave the most subtle destruction for the very end, on purpose, and so the last thing you see is also the first thing you see (a flower), and at the end you see yourself kill it... but clearly this subtle approach just came off as anti-climactic (and I don't think most people probably even realized what the flower was supposed to be).
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mikewest
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« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2010, 02:48:50 pm »

Okay, that clears up a ton about the game for me.  Since I used the n/p keys, I played the colors out of order (starting with the blue/flower and ending with purple), and I thought the flower was actually a key.  I definitely get the ideology now.  Thanks for explaining it to me; I really wish I hadn't played the game out of order now.  In any case, still an impressive result for being finished in 48 hours.
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