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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsFREEDOM: Diegesis - v1h Released! (updated April 11, 2016)
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Author Topic: FREEDOM: Diegesis - v1h Released! (updated April 11, 2016)  (Read 9752 times)
Quicksand-T
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« on: December 30, 2014, 10:33:03 am »



Now released, finally! http://freedom.quicksandgames.com
(last updated April 11, 2016 - fixed save/loading issue, fixed bugs, added secret)

About:

FREEDOM: Diegesis is a free 2D side-scroller with puzzle, adventure, and horror elements. It weaves a mysterious "show, don't tell" story through-out its gameplay mechanics.


STORY:

This world was once a predictable place, where heroes stomped minions and rescued damsels. But now everything is changing: The heroes are missing or unwilling, and the villains have huddled away searching for more from life.

The protagonist, a disgraced prisoner, finds himself in over his head amidst these changes. He's tasked with infiltrating the Eastern Lands and rescuing his kingdom's princess in exchange for freedom. But he's no warrior, and the world's mutation is spreading...



HOW TO PLAY:

Arrow keys to move, climb, or push.
X to jump (or to let go of a ladder).
C for actions/interactions.
R to reset a level if you get stuck.
W to switch toggle fullscreen (letterboxed).
M to toggle muting of all audio, L to toggle half-volume mode.
P to pause or unpause (this also opens a list of controls).
F4 to exit the program.

Progress is auto-saved at title-cards between levels.
Touching any enemy or hazard will kill you and reset the level.
Watch out, its easy to get stuck in pits or puzzles. Look before you leap!
You can try to collect all the coins and treasures, but why bother?

WARNING: Game contains mild strobe effects and possibly disturbing content.

See the included readme.txt for credits.

Download: (last updated March 29, 2016)

http://freedom.quicksandgames.com

More Media:









The soundtrack can be streamed or downloaded from the Game Jolt page: http://gamejolt.com/games/freedom-diegesis/135029


Thanks for checking out my game! Let me know if you experience any bugs pr other issues with this release, please.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2016, 02:22:36 pm by Quicksand-T » Logged

Quicksand-T
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2014, 01:04:40 pm »

(this was originally the first post for the devlog)

Hi! FREEDOM: Diegesis is a short sidescroller with puzzles, horror, and a focus on implied storytelling. The main inspirations for the game have been Cactus' Psychosomnium and, later on, Space Funeral. Also SMB2 (the American one) and the expanded version of the original Donkey Kong for GameBoy.



Story Set-Up:

This world was once a simple place, where heroes jumped on minions and rescued damsels. But something has gone deeply wrong, shifting everything: There are no heroes anymore, and the minions are more interested in religious explorations than in being jumped on.

The protagonist, a disgraced prisoner, finds himself in over his head amidst these changes. He's tasked with infiltrating the Eastern Lands and rescuing his kingdom's princess in exchange for freedom. But he's no warrior, and the mutation of the world is spreading....

Old playable preview (updated August 28th, 2015) containing the game's first three worlds:

(old link, see http://freedom.quicksandgames.com instead)

Controls:

- Directional arrows to move, climb on ladders, or push some objects. Try a running start to push slightly faster.

- X to jump, or let go of a ladder.

- C to pick up, throw, or interact with some objects.

- R to reset a level.

- W to switch between screen modes (default or twice the size).

- M to mute or unmute all audio (not recommended).

- ESC to skip cut-scenes.

The game auto-saves your progress after each level, although saves may not be compatible with the next release.

Warnings:

This demo contains flashing lights in two parts, and may not be suitable for people suffering from photo-sensitive seizures or migraines.

This demo contains NSFW content.





This game has been in development on and off for a while now. In fact, I posted some preliminary mockups way back in 2009, when I first joined here:





From a little later, when we had an engine test working in Game Maker:



The newest version of the game is being developed in Construct 2, to be released as a free stand-alone Windows game. I'm now doing almost all of the content myself (before fellow forum poster Quicksand-S was developing the game with me, now he's helping with playtesting and suggestions mainly).

A few more shots from the upcoming playable preview:



« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 09:26:43 am by Quicksand-T » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2014, 04:19:39 pm »

I really enjoyed Space Funeral and can see the visual similarities - The graphics have this whole minimalist/disturbed touch to them which flows well together.

Will the player have any specific abilities? I can't really tell how you're supposed to attack from the screenshots. Looking forward to playing this though.

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Quicksand-T
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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2015, 08:15:17 am »

I'm currently working on the camera system for world 2. The camera will trick the player into thinking some levels are smaller than they actually are, but when you get to certain points the constrictions will be broken and the camera will swing over to reveal the rest of the areas.

Quote
Will the player have any specific abilities? I can't really tell how you're supposed to attack from the screenshots. Looking forward to playing this though.

Good question. Part of the story is that you're not really a hero, you're just a guy who finds himself as the last resort to try and infiltrate an entire nation of monsters. So at first you're quite vulnerable, slow, and weak.

You can jump on some enemies' heads or push blocks onto them, and you also can pick up and throw certain enemies and objects. Also lot of the puzzles, especially in the second world that I'm working on now, involve manipulating the levels to kill or block the enemies that you're unable to attack directly.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2015, 08:21:26 am by Quicksand-T » Logged

Quicksand-T
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2015, 07:59:56 am »

The playable demo is now available. It consists of the title screen (sans full menu), introductory cut-scene, the first world of the game, and the first boss fight. Its just a taste, but I think its enough to get a feel for the game and where the story is headed.

WARNING: The game contains flashing lights in two parts, may not be suitable for people suffering from photo-sensitive seizures or migraines.

Download:

(old)

Controls:

- Directional arrows to move and push, Up to climb ladders.

- X to jump.

- C to pick up or interact with some objects.

- R to reset a level.

- ESC to skip cut-scenes.

Still Unfinished

- The rest of the planned levels.

- Saving and loading, and the full menu.

- Relative volumes of the sound effects (needs feedback).

- Probably many bug-fixes.

- Other polishing, especially making sure its not too hard for players to figure out what to do next.

If there's interest I can upload Linux and/or OSX builds, but they're untested.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2015, 11:40:16 pm by Quicksand-T » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2015, 02:55:51 am »

This forum moves too fast. I didn't even notice that you'd released your preview. Congrats on finally getting it out. Beer!

I think it might get more attention in the Playtesting forum, though. Things move a little more slowly there, so it would be more likely to be seen and played.
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« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2015, 03:29:04 am »

HOLY SHIT WAS I MISGUIDED

I thought this was going to be some averge boring platformer game. But damn you took my expectations and you fucked with them. Damn.

when the game flipped into the monster world that was an amazing experience. It gave me chills down my spine.

basicly from my perspective you are showing the game in a very tame way on this forum, which is tricky because the game works that you think its a normal platformer then flips you on your head thats my thoughts so far.

//
as for the game
I dont know where to go from here

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Quicksand-T
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« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2015, 08:36:10 am »

I'm glad that moment worked for you. It's hard because like you said the game is playing with expectations, so I can't show too much of it here without spoiling the fun. Yet I have to show enough to get people interested.

I dont know where to go from here

Use what you learned in the first half of the level to get past that part.

If that's too vague, or maybe that part is being buggy again, you can ride on the heads of purple enemies (highlight to read the spoiler).

I think it might get more attention in the Playtesting forum, though. Things move a little more slowly there, so it would be more likely to be seen and played.

Ok, good idea. Thanks.
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Quicksand-T
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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2015, 06:03:01 pm »

The Temple - What if Goombas developed religion?

For the last few days I worked on the beginning of the second world, the temple, based around the idea of your character being initiated into the religion of the Goomba-like enemies (the Eastlanders). Each level is a puzzle of getting a carryable key to a locked door, like in the Game Boy's expanded version of Donkey Kong. Here is a very zoomed out mockup of the second world in its entirety:



The first level of World 2 is meant to be an abandoned entrance to the temple, but I still wanted a certain sense of activity and atmosphere even in the relative emptiness.





Last of all, I finished the camera system for this world that allows the camera to obscure certain areas until a condition is met. The camera then swings over, revealing more to the room than the player realized was there at first. At first the motion was quite lurching, giving a seasick feeling, but it seems to be fixed now.

Feedback and Fixes

Today I got some awesome feedback from ThemsAllTook in video form, here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n78K_wUMKKk&feature=youtu.be

I fixed and rearranged a few things to be clearer based on the feedback so far (though I have more to do). Mostly I'm trying to strike a balance between giving players enough information to get through the game without hand-holding or spelling things out for them.

Here is the newest version of the demo (edit- updated again January 7th)

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2688057/freedom%20demo%20win32%20d.rar

Next: Figuring out an ending level animation for the player, more bug-fixes and polishing, and the second Temple level.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2015, 12:01:37 pm by Quicksand-T » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2015, 06:17:16 pm »

This art style is crazy and interesting. I really love the color choices and animations.
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2015, 10:23:23 pm »

So I got a chance to try the demo. So far I'm really liking it. The game has an Eversion-like atmosphere, and I think the music helped set the mood quite well. I was especially fond of the tune in stage 2. Stage 2 in general was pretty amazing, I did not expect that transition with the monsters and music.

So far I'm still stuck on stage 3, but I'd like to give it another try later and see if I can progress. Also, I noticed a possible bug for stage 3: sometimes when resetting the level, the block puzzle at the start doesn't reset. I'm not sure if this could lead to a situation where the player hits the first one out of reach and makes the level unbeatable or not.
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Quicksand-T
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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2015, 06:03:33 pm »

I'm glad people seem to like the music and aesthetic so far.

I'm quite happy with how the second world has been progressing. I'm hewing quite closely to my design proposal document from way back in 2012, but updating the puzzles and little atmospheric details to be a lot more interesting.

So far I'm still stuck on stage 3, but I'd like to give it another try later and see if I can progress. Also, I noticed a possible bug for stage 3: sometimes when resetting the level, the block puzzle at the start doesn't reset. I'm not sure if this could lead to a situation where the player hits the first one out of reach and makes the level unbeatable or not.

Thanks for reporting that, but its intentional. I added a few thing like that throughout in response to early playtesters elsewhere, to make dying and having to restart the level less frustrating. It's also foreshadowing later developments in the story.

The way it works is that it only saves the position of those blocks once the player has gotten up top sucessfully, so barring weird bugs the blocks should never get stuck in a way that makes the level unbeatable.

Were you playing the latest download (freedom demo win32 d.rar)?
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Quicksand-T
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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2015, 06:48:21 pm »

The second world is going quite quickly, about one level basically finished (besides bug fixing and polishing) every few days. Which is an order of magnitude faster than my progress before.

Here is an in-editor picture of the latest WIP level's beginning, which is giving me a bit of a headache:



And another gif:
« Last Edit: January 13, 2015, 06:58:00 pm by Quicksand-T » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2015, 07:50:51 pm »

I finished that level the other day:



Today I worked on the game's sex scene.

Implied Storytelling

So far I've mostly been posting pictures and gifs, but now I want to talk a little about my thinking and goals behind this project.

With our first game, We Want YOU, my former dev partner Quicksand-S and I focused a lot on what we called "implied storytelling". What this means is that the story and setting are developed for the player through all aspects of the game, from the raw gameplay to the menu screens to the scenery, but rarely delivered through exposition or a traditionally structured plot (and then this happens, then that happens, and so on). Although I look back on WWY and see a lot of flaws or things I would do different now I'm still proud of how we handled that aspect, and it will likely be a part of any project I work on in the future.

When I was very young I mostly watched my brother playing games, rather than playing myself, and I think that's where my passion for this comes from. Because back then the games we played didn't have much exposition or directly delivered plots, but to me watching every single thing seemed imbued with meaning and implications. The example I always go back to is this King Slug statue from Commander Keen 4:



In the game it was just a throw-away bit of scenery in one area, with no bearing at all on gameplay or the main plot. Yet to child-me it suggested that the lowliest enemies of the game (these slugs) had their own whole social structure, culture, maybe even religion.

So that's one of the main inspirations for Freedom, and especially the world I'm working on now where you are shown the developing religion of the lowly Goomba-like enemies as you navigate their temple. Everything in the game is designed to fit together to suggest the story of this world, without ever directly telling it to the player. It's my hope that as the player is forced to consider and experiment with the puzzle-elements of the levels in order to progress they will also be piecing together all the little details of background imagery, bits of dialogue, allusion/homage, menus, music, and so on.

The challenge for me is to maintain some delicate balances: Too much ambiguity makes for a confusing mess that has no impact or meaning to anyone but me, but not enough means losing the charm of the "show, don't tell" approach. Trusting the player to solve the puzzles without any hand-holding could be rewarding, but it could also make the game too frustrating. On the other hand too much explanation means the player never has to consider the puzzle, they just have to go through the motions of completing it (which is a feeling I hate in game puzzles).

Since the first version of the game I've had to change the puzzles a lot to make them clearer to playtesters, but I think every change so far has made them better. Turns out there's a lot of wiggle room between hand-holding and leaving everything up to a confused player's trial and error. I'm hoping the same goes for story, and I can find a happy balance between ambiguity and clarity.

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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2015, 09:27:02 pm »

The latest level is hurting my brain to keep straight what goes where.

Today I redid an old mockup, about to become a level soon (once I design some new enemies for this world):



Some random bits:




« Last Edit: January 24, 2015, 09:34:57 pm by Quicksand-T » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2015, 12:07:13 am »

I've now finished the whole temple world, minus a couple of pernicious bugs I have to work out. Next world is an intersection between purgatory and a lush garden.

« Last Edit: February 10, 2015, 12:12:23 am by Quicksand-T » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2015, 09:13:05 pm »

I gave the demo another playthrough and actually beat it this time. Whoo! Here's my thoughts.

  • The boss at the end of world 1 was pretty challenging and fun. It seemed like the intervals the torches lit up slowed down and sped up at different phases of the fight (e.g., at the bottom of the tower they took a while to alternate, while at the top they were a lot faster.) Or did I just imagine that?
  • After hitting the boss twice, the laser took me completely by surprise. I guess I didn't interpret those '!' marks near the side of the tower I was on as an indication to climb. Maybe you could have an arrow pointing upward accompany them? Actually dodging that attack and getting to the exit was enjoyable though once I figured it out.
  • The final stage of the demo was interesting. I was hoping that something would happen once I removed all the purple blocks connecting the girders underneath the Donkey Kong wannabe. After that, it took me a while to figure out that the purple key opened the door to the exit as well. Maybe it was because the door was yellow, and I kept trying to find some sort of secret exit that I thought was implied by the stage name? In the end, I discovered where to push to princess statue and made it to the flagpole.

I appreciate all the little details in this game that add to its ambiance. The flies in the dungeon, the lost and found section... they're all neat additions that subtly worldbuild. Great stuff.
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« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2015, 01:46:59 pm »

One of the promises I made to myself at the start of this project was that every single area would have its own music, a unique look, and unique enemies/npcs. To that end here are some new entity designs/redesigns for the current WIP level:



Also I added a new story synopsis to the top of this page:
 
Story Set-Up

This world was once a simple place, where heroes jumped on minions and rescued damsels. But something has gone deeply wrong, shifting everything: There are no heroes anymore, and the minions are more interested in religious explorations than in being jumped on.

The protagonist, a disgraced prisoner, finds himself in over his head amidst these changes. He's tasked with infiltrating the Eastern Lands and rescuing his kingdom's princess in exchange for freedom. But he's no warrior, and the infection is spreading...

I guess I didn't interpret those '!' marks near the side of the tower I was on as an indication to climb. Maybe you could have an arrow pointing upward accompany them?

A few people had the same confusion, so I'm just going to change them to green arrows pointing upward. Thanks for the feedback Smiley

I appreciate all the little details in this game that add to its ambiance. The flies in the dungeon, the lost and found section... they're all neat additions that subtly worldbuild. Great stuff.

I'm very glad you appreciated those details. To me the settings, and implied story of this world, are the main focus of the game.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 02:19:45 pm by Quicksand-T » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2015, 01:56:41 pm »

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Quicksand-T
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« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2015, 05:29:42 pm »

I've been getting ready to release a new demo/preview of the game soon! It will be the whole second world, plus improvements on the already released first world.

Today I made this rudimentary menu, a placeholder until I make a more comprehensive menu system:



Now I just have to test these options and the saving system some more, fix a few little bugs and issues, and the new demo will be ready.

Also, fruit brainstormin':

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