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Beta Cave Lander

Discussion in 'Work in Progress' started by Jezla, Jun 28, 2016.

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  1. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    Cave Lander
    Cave Lander is a twist on the classic Lunar Lander game. Guide your lander deep into the bowels of the planet and land on the pad before your fuel runs out. Be careful! Land too rough and the lander will be damaged, leaving you stranded; miss the pad entirely and your fragile craft will explode!


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    I started working on this project a few months ago, and shelved it just before the old GMC was archived; I had hit a design wall and was unsure how to proceed. This build is the last released on the old forums, and should serve as a good re-introduction.

    What is new: The music track list is complete, and features 10 techno/chip tune tracks to add urgency to the levels. The game is essentially feature complete and is officially in the beta phase now. The goal for level 23 has been moved to make the level a little easier to complete. Menu navigation has been improved. There are new awards, and a screen to view the ones you have earned. I've also been working on some performance optimizations. Fixed a bug where it was possible to get stuck on the earthquake levels. The game now saves the progress of your previous play session, so you can resume where you left off, making it easier to play at your leisure but still achieve game completion awards!

    What to expect: All twenty-five levels are finished! Levels progress in difficulty and complexity, but it's possible to complete them all. Some of the later levels are very challenging, so easy difficulty and pilot aids are available until you get your bearings. The GUI indicates your fuel, thrust, horizontal and vertical velocity, attempts, and score. Points are awarded based on how much fuel remains when you land. Finishing the levels cycles back to the title screen.

    Controls: There are two control schemes available, select-able from the Options menu. The default, "Simple" controls are Left/Right or A/D to rotate the lander; hold Up or W to fire the engines. The "sticky" controls are more complex. While the rotation controls are the same, you must press the Up or W key to increase thrust by 25%, and press Down or S to reduce thrust. You may also use the number keys across the top of the keyboard from 1-0 to set the thrust to a specific level (10%-100%).

    What is to come: Cave Lander will be free! As in, no charge to download and play! Additionally, thanks to the recent Humble Bundle, I hope torelease an HTML5 version soon. I may upload a build to itch.io so I can see if others are having the same performance problems I'm having with html5. There is still performance optimization to be done, and I may add keyboard navigation to the menus. I've decided to scratch adding options to adjust sound.


    Any feedback is appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
  2. woodsmoke

    woodsmoke Member

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    I'm a big fan of the "sticky" control scheme in lunar-lander like games. Too bad you'll be removing it. But the thrust increments were way too big anyway, and I missed a nice bar (like the fuel bar) to see how much thrust I was using. Non-sticky version plays very well though.
    I found the danger!/nominal message a bit annoying. I would remove it and put an out of fuel in it's place.
    I really like that the levels are in a cave. I'd do the same if I made a lunar lander.
    Nice background, but maybe make the lander look a bit better. Maybe add a second colour to the jet flame.
     
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  3. iMilchshake

    iMilchshake Member

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    Uhm. Avast found something suspicious while starting your game. Gonna wait for their response before testing your game. Sorry, im really careful atm because a virus just ****ed my pc up >.<....
     
  4. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    @melerski, thanks for the feedback. The danger/nominal indicator was put in mainly for testing purposes. I'm planning to have it just on the first level so the player has an idea of the proper landing speed.
     
  5. iMilchshake

    iMilchshake Member

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    Made me Rage. Would Rage again 10/10.

    Actual Review:
    Awesome! Basic Game Idea (Would work on mobile!), smooth controlls and fancy minimal graphics. I really enjoyed playing.
    You should add some feedback if you land on a platform too fast. (That it breaks)
    Maybe add some small explosion or change it's sprite.. Just getting this text feels a bit limpy.

    -Tobi! :)
     
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  6. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    Thanks! I'll have to see about dressing up the landing failure; I've already thought about improving the explosion. Glad you like it!
     
  7. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    New update! Check the top post for details and download link. Here's a new screenshot:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. iMilchshake

    iMilchshake Member

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    Found a "Bug". Its not really gamebreaking or anything:
    If you land on the platform's edge you get the "succesfull landed message" but if you dont press ENTER fast enough the Lander tilts to the side and you get a "landing failed" message instead.

    Like the first levels beeing kinda easy. Its much better to get into the game now^^!

    -Tobi
     
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  9. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    That's one I haven't been able to figure out a good solution for yet. I tried to make sure the levels progress so that the player can get used to handling the lander and navigating the caves. I'm glad to hear it helps. Thanks for playing!
     
  10. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    Now updated with twenty levels!

    I'd really appreciate feedback at this point, as I've introduced a new type of obstacle mechanic, and I'm starting to question its implementation. On level 20, there's what I call 'earthquakes' which cut out gravity while the view rotates and then restores gravity to match the new orientation. My concern is that each shift continues in the same direction as the old one. Should the view rotate back and forth? Should the quakes be spaced farther apart? Is it too difficult? Does it cause any game-breaking bugs?

    See the top post for the new download link, and thanks for playing!
     
  11. iMilchshake

    iMilchshake Member

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    Will have a look at it soon. What about adding waterfalls that push you down? and maybe some stuff that pushes you up?

    -Tobi
     
  12. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    Appreciate it. There's a level with lava flows that can get in your way. The problem is to get the particles to act like lava, they really can push the lander off course because of their density. Hmm. I've been thinking about making the gas jets with different orientations...
     
  13. iMilchshake

    iMilchshake Member

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    10(+1^-^) Stupid Thoughts while Playing:

    1. Y u export as installer ._. ?!
    2. Is the Fuel-cap the same in every level? Seems a bit unbalanced to me.
    3. looks a bit wierd that the robot explodes if he hits the ground with 0.01 speed
    3-1. Maybe you can keep playing if you only hit a corner slightly? robot could start to lurch, so its almost impossible to controll it again. But if you do: Player feels awesome!
    4. Maybe Difficultys? That set the tollerance of the speed you can land with and your fuel-cap?
    5. Raged(skipped) at lvl 7. That straight way down + the rocks are (almost?) impossible.
    6. Alternate Way at lvl 8 is awesome. Made me feel great again. xD
    7. Character has a bad contrast to the background: Sometimes its impossible imagine the hitboxes.
    8. Sticks and stuff on the ground have no hitbox?
    9. Level should restart after each death. succeding in levels like 10 is totally random without it.
    10. Level 20 is a good idea. Not that good implemented tho :D.
    11. You have really nice minimal graphics with multiple layers. Add Motion! Make the grass move. let some drops fall down(more*) . Add some kind of parralax effect to the background layers: Game will feel really smooth then!
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
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  14. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    Edit: I've replaced the link with the executable/

    Yes, the fuel cap is the same each level.

    Not sure what you mean in point #7. Is it hard to see the lander?

    Edit: Level 7 is one of my favorites, and it's not that difficult once you figure it out. Use the shape of the room and the timing of the rock drops to dodge them.

    Re: Level 8: you actually got through that hole!? I haven't been able to do that. In truth, it was intended as a 'false trail' to lure greedy players into a trap. So much the better that it can actually pay off!

    I agree about level 20. Any suggestions to improve it?

    Thanks for taking the time to play. This is good stuff, and helps tremendously!

    Edit: Regarding ground collisions. I'm using a tileset and placing tiles in the room manually, then adding collision objects to define the play area's physical space. Because of this I decided to leave the stalactites and stalagmites purely cosmetic. I may add some more collisions shapes to deal with tiles that have rounded corners. Right now it's just squares and triangles.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
  15. Kris

    Kris Member

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    I played the game and enjoyed it! I'm a fan of the graphical style (the lander's little eyes are too cute).

    Glitches that you've probably already found:
    If the player fails due to damaging the lander and exits to the main menu after, then goes back into a level, the lander will still appear damaged.
    On level 18, I hit the flying landing pad too hard and the damaged craft fell into the bouncy lava(?). It took a while for it to get bounced all the way into a wall so it would crash.
    On level 20, if the lander lands successfully at first but falls off the landing pad and crashes, then the player decides to retry, the camera stays focused on the landing pad. The rotating gravity/view probably has some bugs to iron out already, though.

    Suggestions:
    When the player restarts a level, the room itself should be reset. For example, instead of restarting after failing on level 20, I would just exit to the main menu and then go back into the level so I wouldn't have to wait for the level to rotate three times rather than once. I also crashed into falling rocks several times during levels where the rocks' positions couldn't be seen from the starting point.
    The thing about level 7 is that you have to go down through a straight, narrow shaft that a rock is right about to chase you down, then prevent yourself from crashing in the upcoming room/hallway. Widen the shaft a little bit and/or add a kink in the walls so the rock takes slightly longer to fall down it? The level isn't that difficult, but you've got options if you want to soften it.

    Keep up the good work!
     
  16. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    Thanks for the feedback @Kris ! The lander graphic bug is a new one...I'll have to look into it.

    Level 20 is still in a rough stage. I mainly wanted to gauge people's reactions to the rotating world mechanic. It'll probably be re-done soon.

    EDIT: New update coming this weekend. I fixed the bug with the Lander graphic - a variable wasn't being reset. I'm also working on revising the view rotation element. I'm trying random choosing from 90, 180, and 270 degrees, with random clockwise and anti-clockwise rotation. It's better, but still not good yet. The level rewards are working good, though!
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
  17. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    While everyone else is Jamming, I'm updating! Check the top post for the new download (.exe this time!), and the latest changes. I'd particularly like feedback on Level 20's rotating world mechanic. I spent most of this week completely re-coding the mechanic, and I think it's much improved. I made it more likely that it will stop in the right orientation for landing, and it will stay on that orientation for longer than the others. Happy landings!
     
  18. iMilchshake

    iMilchshake Member

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    Yay! No Installer this time :D

    Feels like the gravity is 0 while the screen is rotating

    What are the bandages? Why did i achive 1. 2. and 4. ?

    Still feels totally random if i can solve lvl 20 or not.
     
  19. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    The gravity does cut out while the screen rotates, otherwise you have to try and hover sideways, and then adjust to the new gravity direction.

    There is an info screen that explains the badges. Click the lander at the start menu to see it.

    What do you mean by random, and how would it be made less so?

    UPDATE: Okay, I've uploaded a small update. I decided to re-do the rotation so that it will alternate between the proper landing orientation and another, thus meaning if you miss the landing, you only need to wait out one cycle to have another go, lessening the chance that you'll run out of fuel. I've also added some extra UI elements in the menu and level end graphics.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
  20. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    New Update! New level, new obstacle, and added difficulty settings. See the top post for details and download link!
     
  21. seanm

    seanm Member

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    remove the 5 second countdown when you die and I'll give it a look.
     
  22. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    What's wrong with it? I don't want to restart the room each time, and having an automatic respawn ensures that players can gain an advantage by waiting on proper start conditions.
     
  23. seanm

    seanm Member

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    The game looks fun, and looks like something I would mess around with for a couple minutes at a time.
    But if I press Q, I want to restart the level instantly. I want to play the game, not waste 5 seconds of my life every time I die.

    Look at someone play any precision game. People want to restart instantly. Give a small countdown when the player spawns, but don't punish them with a timer when they die.

    I would look at super meat boy for how to mitigate frustration in a frustrating game.
     
  24. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    Okay, I see. I've uploaded a new version. I reduced the respawn timer to three seconds, and added back in the ability to press enter and respawn manually.
     
  25. seanm

    seanm Member

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    Awesome!
    I hate to keep throwing ideas at you, but it might be even better if enter just restarts the room at any point, and there is no timer if you die.
    So if you crash the game just says, "you died, press enter to respawn" or w.e, and you just respawn when you are ready.

    That and some music and you'll have a nice game on your hands.

    Also, are you using marching squares for the ground layout?
     
  26. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    I had it so you could respawn when you want after you die, but on some levels (like the rotating ones) it's too easy to 'cheat' by timing your spawn so that you avoid particular obstacles or can use less fuel than you would otherwise.

    All of the levels are placed tiles with invisible collision objects. Everything's laid out by hand, not procedural.

    Thanks for playing!
     
  27. mr_starfire

    mr_starfire Member

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    Simple idea expertly executed .Its very rare i play a game maker wip past the first level. and i expected this to be the same but from level one i was hooked . level 7 was quite brutal and took me 78 attempts but im terrible .. love the game and the minimal graphics all round this is excellent ..good luck with it
     
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  28. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    Woohoo, finally an update! All levels are done! The top post has details about what's new, as well as the link to the new version.

    WARNING!!!! Don't select the test level from the level selection screen! Completing it will crash the game. It's not a part of the normal level progression, so you should be good otherwise. I got too excited to upload the update that I forgot to remove the button from the room before compiling the build.

    Have fun with the new levels!
     
  29. Roa

    Roa Member

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    Its amazing how fun the little games can be. This is a pretty good version of this too, right up there with the one in timesplitters 2. I also like how you dont have to start all the way over based on lives.

    Should put this in html5 format, it would be perfect.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2016
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  30. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    @Roa , you're not the first to suggest html5. Sadly, I don't have that export module, and can't afford to get it right now. I think you're right, it would make a good browser game. maybe someday...

    Anyway, here's a sooner than expected update! I've begun adding music, and I'd like to see what you all think about a techno soundtrack. Sticky controls are also back! Check the top post for the details, and check it out!
     
  31. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    Aaaaaand it's time for an update!!!! Cave Lander can now be considered feature complete! Mostly, so, anyway. I'm toying with the idea of adding keyboard navigation to the menus to make it a little smoother starting the game, especially if you play with the arrow keys. I've abandoned the idea of adding sound options as needless bloating and unnecessary. I may add in a control to mute the game, but that's it.

    I've decided to release Cave Lander as a free title on itch.io and a few other DRM-free indie sites. I decided I wasn't ready to jump through the hoops for managing a commercial product at this time.

    So, as the title says, this is now officially in beta! Play it, find the bugs, and as always check the top post for change details. Let me know what you think!
     
  32. Jezla

    Jezla Member

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    Cave Lander is officially released for Windows!! See the release thread here.
     
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