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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingOn the Shoulders of Ancestors
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jarnik
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« on: September 21, 2009, 06:03:23 AM »

On the Shoulders of Ancestors
 


>> PLAY IN BROWSER <<
 
GOAL: Survive and reach the obelisk.
 Features 6 introductory levels.


 The game is a personal experiment in a few ways:
  - death of your character is a natural mean to progress forward in a game
  - though it's a platformer, there's no score
  - persistent world (the world remains the same until you complete the level)
  - procedurally generated world
 
 I'm OK with a fact that it might not be fun in common terms. I just think that the continuous rebirth cycle is an interesting game mechanic.
 
Feedback request:
  - found any technical issues (controls) ?
  - what about gameplay (improvement proposals) ?
 
 Don't mind the graphics too much, there's a lot ofwork to do on introductory screens, character, music and overall atmosphere polishing.
 
If you can spare a minute and help me create something new, I'd be most grateful  Wink
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PsySal
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2009, 06:41:43 AM »

I liked it a lot. It reminds me a bit of this other evolution-themed platformer, I think it was called Dino Run. It would be interesting to see the creatures evolve; I made it only to the level with seed planting.

One thing I do feel a little bit is that the levels are a little bit on the long side. I feel like maybe the levels could overall be shortened by 1/3rd and it would sit about right. But that's my $0.02c.

Since you are telling your story through understanding the gameplay mechanic, once that mechanic is understood, it doesn't need to be told again. Does that make sense? It takes a certain amount of time as a player for the game mechanic to sink in philosophically, but after that it starts to feel repetitive and loses effectiveness.
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William Broom
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2009, 06:57:57 AM »

I don't know if it's intentional or a glitch, but the fact that you can respawn right on top of your ancestor, even if you run out of eggs, is quite detrimental to the game's quality. It removes any form of challenge from the game, and this accentuates the repetition to create boredom.

If I were you I would make it so that 'Failure' means restarting with a clean slate, but to balance this out make the levels about half or a third as long. I really like the idea, keep working at it and you could make a really good game.
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deathtotheweird
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2009, 09:27:49 PM »

Yeah, I felt the levels were too long. The last level I didn't even bother planting the seeds, as it didn't feel it was necessary (it felt easier to just die and progress that way).
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John Nesky
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2009, 10:04:23 PM »

This is an idea that should be pursued more.

Some inspiration (watch in high quality, full screen, volume up):


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Kaworu Nagisa
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2009, 01:29:37 AM »

That's very interesting piece of art.
I like it.

You already got some quite nice feedback. I also believe that FAILURE should mean repeating whole level again (and probably decreasing the difficulty as planting/ripping is not that easy; and here comes a question if you prefer this to be an experience or a matter of fast running/jumping/C-key clicking).

Personally I think that game requires some kind of short introduction. Something to let player jump into this little world of creation and generations; hatching, growing and dying. To make it smoother. From click on the button "Let's play this game" to reaction "Yeah, I understand what's going on here". That's what I usually find as a problem, to let one emerge into a creation. To seduce a player Smiley
Also, game definitely needs music and looking at your main post I see that you understand that very well. Good, it will improve your piece of art greatly and add very needed depth to it. And one little detail, I don't like the sound that appears after level (when the information-introduction to next level appears). It's a matter of taste but to me it sounds too artificial and I consider the game as something more natural, more organic, something that should scream "I'm alive!". Because everything that is alive will at some point be dead.

These are my 2 cents Gentleman If you would need some music please let me know, I can try to compose it for you. Not sure if I can satisfy your taste, though.

P.S. The Cathedral is a wonderful animation movie and it, indeed, can inspire you Smiley
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jarnik
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2009, 12:01:22 AM »

Thanks for your ideas, everyone! That's exactly what I needed  Grin

See you later with another update.
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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2009, 01:02:18 AM »

well each time you fail an different species pop from the heavens. so in terms of play-through it's easy but trying to keep the little buggers race alive is worth the challenge. also those ancestors can really kill you if they croak on a 1 tile stair.
worst would be having one drop an egg 5 miles back then die creating a fifty tile wall made of corpses that fail to jump it... now I think on it any one up for seeing how many dead bodies they could pile up?
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jarnik
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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2009, 03:06:06 AM »

I put a simple tracking into the game to help me fine-tune level length and difficulty in future updates Smiley



Built using AMFPHP and Googlecharts.
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mgatland
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« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2009, 11:45:41 PM »

That was interesting. I played through twice, but got stuck under a shell the second time.

The seed-planting level felt a bit finicky, with much more going back and forth than the previous levels, but overall I thought it was a satisfying game. Great title screen too.

Those charts are cool, I'll have to take a look at the tools you used for my next flash game.
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tim_the_tam
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« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2009, 12:27:07 AM »

this is cool concept to expand upon

first of what kind of game is it going to be?

the way im interpreting it it could be a puzzle plat-former or a race to the end game

imo puzzle pat-forming is more suited with your mechanics. but what you must do is design the levels to get a healthy balance of planting, collecting and dieing. use the death mechanics in interesting ways to platform. like for example building a bridge with the dead to get across a gap or even a pyramid thing like in the intro video reach higher locations.

how about also adding more flowers that produces different ancestors (or whatever the character is called) with different life spans and abilities.

but yeah.. nice concept you got there so keep working on it.

btw this game reminds me of SeppuKuties. play it. it uses death mechanics as well
http://www.kongregate.com/games/ArmorGames/seppukuties
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Xion
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« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2009, 08:42:45 PM »


I pressed down to age just as the screen started to fade after reaching an obelisk and the screen stopped fading and all the rest of my guys died and I kept trying to get it to refade but it never did and then when my last dude died nothing happened. No restart or anything.
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Ed
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« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2009, 04:05:12 AM »

Hey, this is nice! Starting with a creature hatching out of an egg on a mountian-top gets big bonus points from me :D I especially enjoyed (kind of) the feeling of what to do after the creature lays its egg and can only hope to make some kind of useful block for the next one.

I agree with some of the earlier comments - levels feel a big over-long and seed planting is tricky. In fact, maybe there could be a slightly kinder introduction to seeds rather than level 6 which felt like a big difficulty spike to me.

Thinking about the levels, I think it would be nice to have (some?) levels that are just on a single screen and require some building to get to the obelisk, which would be visible from the start, but unreachable.

Accelerated aging felt a bit glitchy. It seemed to be very easy to accidentally start aging the child, which was occasionally very frustrating. Maybe there could be a short pause or maybe just cancel the aging-accelerator until the player lets go of the button and presses it again?

(also, I thought "here comes the illustration" meant that I was going to be shown a tutorial image, until I realised it was referring to future artwork)
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jarnik
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« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2012, 12:26:15 AM »

This prototype has evolved into a full game (ft. Stephen Hawking, dancing scientists and death), check it out:

http://www.jarnik.com/on-the-shoulders-of-ancestors

For sale now on Desura, Indiecity and Indievania.

 
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PsySal
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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2012, 08:08:58 PM »

Congrats! I remember playing this and really enjoying it.
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mihai
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« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2012, 03:38:05 AM »

Congrats, the concept seems very interesting.
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