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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsCavehook - Grappling hooks, lava and fungus
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Author Topic: Cavehook - Grappling hooks, lava and fungus  (Read 3401 times)
ghosted
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« on: August 13, 2015, 02:03:49 PM »


Cavehook is a simple score based game built around swinging on a grappling hook across procedurally generated caves. I fuggin love grappling hooks.





PLAY IT HERE
Chrome and Firefox should both work

The controls are...
ARROWS - Movement
Z - Jump
X - Grapple
C - Throw Explosive
V - Look Mode

It'll work with a 360 pad too. I can't guarantee other brands but they should be ok.

Oh and there are just two high scores to aim for.
1. Furthest distance travelled
2. Most money cashed from collecting rare cave fungus and exiting the cave with it.


What's it made with?
It's all pure javascript and my best attempts at pixel art.

What's left to do on it?
I've been making this on and off for yonks now. After shelving it (and the engine underneath it) last year I recently took a look back and realised I was being a right donkey. I reckon the grappling hook implementation is pretty fun to knob about with so I might as well share it. So, I've trimmed out some of the cruft, hacked in some menus etc and it's ready to be played right now. I'll add some bug-fixes, customisable controls etc and then put it to bed.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and please let me know what you think.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 09:08:17 AM by ghosted » Logged
GekidoRising
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2015, 06:03:45 PM »

Alright, I have to admit, you had me at grappling hooks. I've always adored grappling hook mechanics in games, especially ones that are more physics based. I remember having tons of fun in these sorts of games, or really, any game that had a swinging mechanic where you could build up momentum and get into a rhythm. I don't know if going on a tangent about other games is a keen idea but it totally brings me back to Spiderman 2 on PS2, being able to build up crazy speed. I was so pro at that game, haha.

Anyway, if there's anything that needs to be said about your demo, it's that it is nearly impossible to put down! In its current incarnation, it definitely has a fair level of challenge! I think I ended up actually ended up putting about 20-30 minutes in just playing it. Hell, if this was the Playtesting board, I'd be working on a full write up about it now, but we're not, so I'll just assume whatever issues I had with the game are probably being worked on! If you're interested though, I could send you one in a PM though (or I could just write it here but it seems kind of weird just dropping a fat review right in the middle of the devlogs board)!

One quick note that I probably should inform you of though. As far as I can tell, the game doesn't work in Firefox, it just loads to the ditherworks logo and stays there forever. Works fine on Chrome though!

Anyway, hope you have fun working on it, and I look forward to seeing what changes :D
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bencelot
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2015, 06:30:32 PM »

Had a quick play and it was good fun! Reminds me of Worms.

Might wanna chuck the controls up on the main page so they don't have to reference it in this thread (also as a lefty I found WASD very weird to use, maybe some options to rebind keys?).

Some sort of top score leaderboard thing would be sweet too. Still looking great!
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ghosted
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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2015, 12:16:51 AM »

@GekidoRising
Any comparisons to Spiderman 2 are much appreciated so thanks. The fact it doesn't work on firefox is a big problem so I'll have to get that installed this weekend and I'll absolutely prioritize that. Ta for the heads up. If you've got a list of issues you want to PM me I'm certainly up for taking a look at them.

@bencelot
Glad you enjoyed it. I've no idea how to do a leaderboard so that won't be appearing any time soon but you're right about the controls on the main page. I'll get those added asap. As for customizable controls they're now on the top of the todo list along with the firefox compatibility issue.

Update:
- Firefox issue is now fixed (my bad code).
- I've switched the controls to the more standard ARROWS and ZXC.
- Keyboard controls are now shown on the site page.
- Full control customisation options will be added in the near future.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2015, 09:24:19 AM by ghosted » Logged
ghosted
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2015, 09:06:22 AM »

UPDATE


  • Firefox fix is in (as mentioned above)
  • Added instructions page
  • Added a separate grapple button
  • Added option to disable grapple activation via jump button
  • Added option to bumslide on ground when still on grapple
  • Removed cheat/glitch caused by holding jump button
Thanks to GekidoRising for the bulging PM of feedback that spawned these additions

UPDATE update
  • Added configurable key controls

Latest build
« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 02:03:42 PM by ghosted » Logged
queasy
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2015, 06:58:23 PM »

Hi!  I'm hooked (har har) on your game!  I've been playing this quite a bit and each time some new aspect of it opens up to me.

I have so many questions!

Are you planning on updating it any further?  What are your plans?

Also, what is the purpose of wall jumping?

Is there a way to save a local copy of the game just in case you change it and I want to play this earlier version?

Thanks for making this.  It really is quite amazing.

-j
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ghosted
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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2015, 09:38:44 AM »

Aww cheers dude. I coincidentally stumbled on the youtube archive of your stream in my lunch break today and it's been great watching you go through the gamut of emotions. The general feedback I had so far was that it's quite hard and my next update was going to introduce some change to make things easier (despite my personal opinion being otherwise). However, as you've been playing, it looks like you've enjoyed the learning process and it seems to be more rewarding as you start to wrestle your greed and learn how to avoid deaths before they happen - which is what I really wanted out of it. The satisfaction of personal improvement and learning to play smarter to beat something that seemed ridiculous at first.

You've mentioned loads of things while playing that are actually quite true to the development process. There was going to be a shop and upgrades but I binned them as it was a bit feature creep. I've had enemies in a previous build (wasps, porcupine things, flame vents, steam vents and horrible bastard caveworms) but they all made things even harder and frustrating (even with a lazer pistol) so I stripped them out.

Things that made it too damn hard...


As for the wall jumping that's only in there because I could. It gives you enough of an extra push that sometimes it's what you need to make a larger jump but 99% of the time it's not much use. How much more work I do on this kinda depends on the response. I've been dithering around with it for so long that I did decide to just fix up the version I had and then leave it to float, forgotten into the vast internet seas but I'm always open to suggestions. I reckon I'll be creeping in a few little bits here and there but I can't promise any huge updates.

I'll sort out a zip file with a version that will work locally for you this weekend. In the meantime, if you've got any more questions or suggestions just fire away and thanks so much for playing it, let alone streaming it.

Cheers.
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lululuprimal
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2015, 01:30:15 PM »

Played it a bit, liked the controls and sound effects!!  Cool concept!
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queasy
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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2015, 07:22:49 PM »

I only started streaming but I actually stream this game a lot.  I've got so much to talk about with this game!  Here's all the videos of cavehook.  You can see me getting a lot better!  And I'll be adding more as I stream them.  (My twitch channel is queasy00).

Anyway, I really hope you don't change anything just to make it easier!  I actually wonder if it's just a couple very minor details that make it feel hard when really it isn't.  I remember when I first started, it took me a long time to get over how you grapple straight forward when you're not pressing any arrow keys.  Even now, I'd much prefer if it grappled straight up.  I found I died a lot because of this miscommunication between what I wanted to do and what the controls were.

There was also mechanical noise introduced because the same button to jump is also the button to grapple and that caused some confusion, making it a bit harder.  The confusion happens when running towards a cliff and then pressing the jump button a bit too late.  Instead of falling, the grapple comes out and my mind instantly thinks "what just happened?" instead of "oh no! I missed the jump!", which should be the desired result.  I actually like the grapple and jump on one button, but it is kind of confusing for new players and I don't think you lose anything from veteran players by making it two buttons.

Similarly, when jumping up a staircase-like formation of terrain, it's easy to suddenly go into wall jump mode which again is confusing and adds mechanical noise.

So these simple changes:

-remove grapple from the jump key
-if grappling when no arrows pressed, grapple straight up
-remove wall jump (though I am curious to find a use for it)

I wonder if these simple changes might make the game easier to get into.  And I think there's a subtle nuance here: it's okay for the game to be hard as it's easy to get into.  It's funny that we both talked about a shop and upgrades, but really there already is an upgrade system happening, but it's all in your mind!  It's really cool, because as I learn new skills, it feels like I did a mental upgrade.  Anyway, that was a bit of a tangent, but where I was going with that is there are elements in the game that either seem too hard or questionable to use.  For instance, making it through to the end of the cavern is actually quite hard.  That's great, because now it becomes a goal for the player.  After, making it to the end of the cavern while getting mushrooms is hard -- yet another goal.  Learning to get those upside-down mushrooms is also a sweet little puzzle.

The bombs are interesting too.  At first their usage seems obvious, but then you end up bombing yourself half the time.  So you forget about them.  Then as you get better, you remember "oh yea, those bombs..." and you start incorporating that into your play again.  At that point, using the bomb feels completely different, yet the code is the same.  I just LOVE it when games do that.

Anyway, I think about this game a lot.  I love how that how I perceive the terrain changes as I get better.  It's kind of like Tetris where you see the blocks and its possibilities in different ways.  I think that is a super powerful result of this game, a sign of truly great design.

I'm hesitant to suggest anything without more thought because it's so great already.  It's easy to get carried away with it, especially when you have stuff like LAZER PISTOL!  You are a very mature designer to be able to walk away from that one!  I know I'd be super tempted to keep that in Wink

I do think that some accessibility work is in order, but I don't think it should be at the expense of the game.

If you're not interested in working on it anymore, would you be willing to put up the source?  Depending on what it's written in and how easy the codebase is to work with, I'd be interested in contributing to it, even if just a little bit.  I do have other projets on the go right now so realistically I probably won't do too much to it, but I kind of want to tinker with it.

Anyway, thanks for replying and showing the other features you stripped out of it.  Pretty cool seeing those.

-j
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Moth
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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2015, 10:46:56 PM »

Adore this game! Played it for a while, got a score of 120 and max distance of 833. It does seem like a really fun game for streaming.

The first time I thought I was stuck but managed to pull some wild grapple maneuvers and climb to the top was an amazing moment.
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queasy
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« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2015, 07:34:39 AM »

people!!
check out this highscore!



725 points, 1886m!

in one of the caverns i found a TWO HUNDRED POINT mushroom!

also, i take it all back!  wall jumping is actually really cool!
although, most times i accidentally wall jump and then it's annoying.

anyway... WOO!

-j
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iammonshushu
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« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2015, 01:58:20 AM »

I am really really enjoying this! I think its a really neat idea, but I feel like your movement is really letting you down. Everything except the grapple feels a little too stiff IMO; I got stuck with things like this a little:

That being said, I really like it. Its a lot of fun, I think the procedural generation is generally good, although sometimes I couldn't go forward without being able to climb up ropes.
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ghosted
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« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2015, 03:13:22 AM »

@zigzag
Hmm, it does seem the walljump is causing some issues so I'll look at fine-tuning the logic on it. I'll certainly prevent it happening when you're low to the ground so it doesn't get in the way while climbing steps. In the gif you posted it looks like you were just pressing jump a bit too soon (before the ledge has been grabbed) but I can see the frustration. I'll see if I can add a little logic to help out in these instances.

@Queasy
Holy crap, I think that distance beats my best. The wall jumping does prove useful on rare occasions once you get a bit more comfortable with your rope. Climbing and getting out of scrapes is always easier with more speed and momentum so the walljump followed by an upwards grapple can do well for launching you upwards. As for your other points...

-remove grapple from the jump key
There's already an option for this in the control options screen. Or do you mean I should change the default?

-if grappling when no arrows pressed, grapple straight up
I can see where you're coming from on this. It's currently set to go horizontal because that's actually one of the most useful tools for climbing and I use it a lot. Here's an example...



By using the horizontal shot you can convert more gravity into upswing on the other side and climb higher. Pro skillz. However I think you're right about it being weird for those getting started so I'll change it to a vertical shot. I think I should be doing more to make it more comfortable for newcomers.

Oh and you wanted an offline version so here's a limited edition zip version. It's just the game files and the html file, no exe, no installer or anything and it should work on Chrome and Firefox (not IE because...well, IE)
Local Version

@Moth
Thanks dude. I definitely want this to be about learning to level yourself up and the satisfaction from beating something that previously felt so difficult. It sounds like your doing just that so Yay!

Thanks for all the feedback everybody. I'll definitely be adding some more stuff (along with the suggestions above) in the near future.
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iammonshushu
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« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2015, 08:24:46 PM »

Hope you're still working on this. I've actually sunk some serious hours into it now - wondering if there is any logic to mushrooms spawning - the delicious red ones seem to spawn closer to lava correct? It seems that if you are going for distance, stay high, and for score stay low?

I have grown used to the movement engine now, definitely an inital challenge but the suggestions here should smooth that transition. I am yet to find a use for the wall jump though.

Weighing in on the other issues: I am using separate Jump and Grapple option, and grapple turns off when you land on the ground. Interested to hear what other people's preferences are though - I like this because I feel like all my mistakes are my own, not a result of unexpected movement.
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« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2015, 11:28:22 AM »

So glad to hear that you're still playing it. It's definitely found a 'one more go' attraction with some people but that's only when you've pushed through the initial difficulty.

You'll be pleased to hear I'm still working on it though it's not at a breakneck speed as my day-job project is ramping up a bit. A few weeks back I added a randomiser to the player character so you got a different looking hero (victim more like) each time you started a new game. You can see some of the variants here...



However, I stripped it back out as it seemed to take some of the charm away from your character as it made the player feel more disposable. I'm probably over thinking it and I may stick it back in but there are other things planned.

The latest version has a number of fixes and tweaks that were requested but I've got a few more significant items on the way. I'm going to try out some upgrade pickups that can be found around the caves. Things like a rope extension, knee braces, revival kit, spike protection. They'll either be a crate with a random item in or perhaps something more like a shop where you spend some mushrooms on something from a limited selection. I'll see how it goes.

I'm also going to try make the world a little less repetitive, this will involve some twiddles on the worldgen knobs along with different tilesets as you venture further along with more distinct features.

As for the mushrooms themselves you're absolutely right, the more profitable mushrooms are always lower down (but riskier to get) and the better option for distance runs is staying high. However, once upgrade crates go in that might change the tactics somewhat. Likewise, if the world changes as you get further, I might start mixing the mushrooms up a bit too. Plenty of possibilities.

When it comes to controls I have jump and grapple on the same button as it feel natural to me. I have UngrappleOnGround off because it is annoying if you clip an edge on a downswing and then fall to your death. That option is mostly down to my failure to have the right system when I first released it but it's nice to ensure people have an option.
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