Once Upon A Time In Outer Space



During a routine trek through the stars,

your ship has been crippled by a magnetic ion storm! Unfortunately,
the automatic charging array on the Interstellar Plasma Drive (IPD)
has been damaged beyond repair.

You must maintain a constant vigil using the Control Panel of the IPD in order to
manually make the necessary charging calculations to keep your ship alive.
All the while, the ship's main systems keep breaking down
and demand your attention as well.

Can you keep the engines charged up and your ship's systems repaired, or will you end up lost in space?

No one knows for sure how it ends, but it all started...

Programming and Art by Marc Hickey
Music by Marty Leahy

Most Recent Gif

Accepting playtests, comments, and constructive criticism.

Available Builds:
GMC Jam XXX Submission (sorely unfinished) 2018_08_27
AlphaBuild_2018_08_28 (Improved game functionality and graphical feedback.)
AlphaBuild_2018_09_03 (Graphical and sound features added, minor fixes)

Most Recent Build:
AlphaBuild_2018_10_03 (Fixit Meter, Control Panel, Nebula)


Arrows left/right: run left or right
Arrows up/down: use elevator
Spacebar: Use charging panel, repair malfunctioning systems.

Pressing "Control-R" at any time restarts the game.
Pressing "Conrtol-ESC" at any time exits the game.​

Next build release date:
Holidays are falling upon us. I might have another update soonish, but if not, we're looking at mid-November.


The Backstory:

This game started out as Jam idea for the GMC Jam XXX at the end of August 2018. The idea was originally inspired by a Ludum Dare 42 entry. I had stumbled upon "20,000 Leaks Under The Sea" just days previous and I found it incredibly charming.

(Click the image to go there.)

I hope my version ends up looking and playing half as good as this.

So anyway, "Once Upon A Time In Outer Space" is basically the same kind of game as "20,000 Leaks Under The Sea", except you're in a spaceship instead of a submarine, you're in outer space instead of the ocean, you're fixing malfunctioning technology instead of patching leaks, and punching buttons on a control panel instead of pulling a mysterious lever.

Of course, I'm compelled to give a few nods to the world of Star Trek. A fan's gotta do what a fan's gotta do.

I have transferred all of the info from my Jam DevLog to the OUATIOS WEB PAGE. If you want to go read it, please be my guest. I will be continuing the DevLogs on that webpage and linking to them in these comments below in hopes that someone may find them interesting and/or entertaining.
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Seems interesting so far, looking forward to seeing the progress! I also really like the music, reminds me of the really old school games like Simon the Sorcerer haha.


Thanks, @SoraNgin! However, I'm not totally sold on the music as the final cut. It was great for the jam, and don't get me wrong, it's a well-made piece, I just don't think it's exactly what I want in the end. I'm thinking of something with the same sort of styling, but a different melody.

Anyway, so... since my last jam log I've done quite a bit, as you can probably tell by the gifs I've posted.

Oops, I don't have a gif of my jam entry. Maybe I'll make one and edit it in here later. I'll just go ahead and continue with the DevLog then...

Captain's Log, DevDate 20180830.3
So the Jam was over and I submitted my awfully unfinished game without remorse. I submitted it 20 minutes late, even. And then, I continued to work on it because I think I'm in love with it. I'm okay with that and you should be, too.

Here's what I did after the jam...
  • Added larger explosions to the malfunctioning systems equipment.
  • Tied in the IPD Control Panel to the malfunctioning equipment.
  • Added the Red Alert light and the blinking red splash on the Control Panel.
  • Added pulsing to the plasma tube orbs and made them move a little slower.
  • Fixed issue with character depth after using the elevator.
  • Maybe some other stuff - - can't remember.

I ended up with this gif afterwards.

Then, I did some more work...
  • Made the charge meter sprites and added it's functionality.
That was a fun for-loop to figure out. Took me a few tries to get it working. It's still slightly buggy - - an extra column lights up when it reaches max level (210, for a buffer zone to the player) while the spacebar is being held. I don't understand why, but I'll figure it out eventually.
  • Made Target "Selection" and Distance (A destination - works kinda like a level timer.)
For this, I made two arrays: target_name[ ] and target_number[ ]. For target_name I used the letters of the Greek alphabet (alpha, beta, gamma, delta, ...) and for the target_number I used Roman Numerals up to 18 (because 18 wheels on a big rig, of course). I then randomly pick from each array and slap 'em together to get a name like "Delta V, or Gamma XIV. Each successive level should end up with a new, random star system/outpost destination. The distance is randomly obtained as well, with weighting in relation to the level. So at the beginning of the game on level 1 the distance is short, but as you beat levels, the distance gets longer and longer. I may have to put a cap on it or something, or we'd end up with hours long distances. Though I'm hoping this will be a fun game, that would be... not fascinating.
  • Tied the Target Info in with the game.
Now the game is actually, somewhat, a real game. Kinda sorta almost. Except, there's only one short level, there's no intro, there's no win or lose confirmation, and lots of other stuff. In other words, there's still much more to do.

That leads us to this gif.

So, what's next? How about some more bullet points?...
  • Red Alert! messages, for when things break down.
  • Background stars to simulate travelling through space.
  • Add a "fixing" time and meter for when the character is repairing a broken item. (I'll also make a "fixing" character sprite, but probably not until later.)
  • Start , win, and lose screens.
I don't know if all of this will make the next alpha_build (in fact, I know it all won't - might get one of them), but I'm still planning to release the next version on the 1st of September. Thanks for reading!
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C'mon, @BattleRifle BR55! I provided pics! :p (I'm sure there must be a joke there, but I'm at a loss as to what you meant. Sorry, probably my oldness.)

Anywho, I'll take advantage of this opportunity to reply and address the issue of music.

Captain's Log, supplemental
I talked with Marty today. He sent me a game loop to use during the gameplay. I had made the mistake of using the theme song for the game loop in the jam version, being rushed to finish and at least having some sound in the submission. I've been contemplating using some different music because it didn't sound quite right, but then I realized my mistake. The theme music wasn't meant to be a game loop.

So the original theme music will stay. I'll be using it to compliment the intro cutscene and such, and adding in the game loop music for gameplay. Should work out well.
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Then, it's definitely staying in. :D

EDIT -- besides, if you watch the numbers counting down, you can see it's taking that much time to get to where you're going. Lightyears -- the amount of distance it takes to reach a target. I'm not measuring it in time, I'm measuring it in distance. There, now it makes sense. ;)

(It's not a mistake, RHC. Just shut up, you stupidhead. :p)
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It's cool that you kept working on this! I downloaded the alpha, but I'll wait until I'm done playing and reviewing the jam games before I get to playing this one.


New Build Released! AlphaBuild_2018_09_03 (Graphical and sound features added, minor fixes)
(see gif in post # 12 ^)

NOTE: Pressing "Control-R" at any time restarts the game.

Captain's Log, DevDate 20180903

Tasks completed:
  • Added stars.
This was planned from the beginning. I wanted the ship to appear to be travelling through space, naturally. The implementation of this was quick and crude, but at least it's in place. I may change its appearance at a later time and will definitely change the abrupt stop when the mission is complete, and make it slow down to a stop instead.
  • Implemented the "Red Alert" messages.
I was able to put the "offline" messages into a ds_list as the various systems break down. If more than one system is malfunctioning, the game will cycle through the messages at 3 second intervals. When one of the systems is repaired, that system's "offline" message is removed from the list.
  • Fixed the charge meter graphics.
The charge meter's background was 2 pixels wider than it should have been. Easy fix. However, the meter notches (that designate the amount of charge) were displaying a 21st column when the charge was completely full (210). Since it's a two-part for-loop, I forgot it would display the 21 columns. (I apologize - this isn't a very good explanation. Words are hard.)
  • Added the game-loop music.
  • Added a game-loop ambient background sound effect.
  • Added a classic "Red Alert!" sound effect.
When I added the game-loop music, I started looking for other sci-fi spaceship sounds. I wanted to be able to cycle in and out of the music, in order to break it up. I got lost looking through a bunch of sounds for over an hour, I'm guessing. I'm not sure, but it was a long time. I found several different ambient sounds and I was thinking of using different sounds for the different rooms the character would be in. However, I think that might be overkill for this project. I'm trying to keep things minimal and relatively simple. Perhaps in "Once Upon A Time In Outer Space 2".

The "Red Alert"" sound effect added so much character to the game! It amazed me how much difference it made. Now that I have a few sounds implemented, it's making the lack of other sounds really stand out. I can't wait to get more sound effects in place.
  • Shirt color
What's this? A red shirt? Is something bad about to happen? Of course it is! Haha!

Well, not really. I was just experimenting with making different shirt colors. I have it set up so I can choose the shirt color from gold, blue, or red. I may implement a feature that lets the player choose the shirt color at a later time.

What's next?:
  • Fixing "offline systems".
It was always intended for there to be a "fixing time" when the character is repairing an "offline system". In fact, I just noticed I mentioned this for the last update. Time got away from me, so it didn't happen yet, but it will be in the next update, for sure. As I said before, I'll need a new animated character "fixing" sprite, a "fixing" meter (which will include sprites as well) to show the progress of the fix, and a bunch of code wedged into the proper places, of course.

This is going to be fun - seriously, I've been looking forward to it. I'm just hoping it won't be too hard to balance the gameplay. With the way the game is currently running, I'm thinking it will fit right in to place since the gameplay feels a touch too easy at the moment, even for the beginning missions. Of course, it might just seem easy to me because I'm already a pro at the game. Hopefully I can fool convince a few poor shmucks willing participants to do some playtesting for me when the time comes.
  • Frontend and Menu.
I really need to get this going. I want to make a cool, dynamic menu and a fun cutscene intro, but just to get things started I'll just be making a few simple splashscreens for my frontend and a basic menu, unless I get really ambitious.
  • Level advancing.
I haven't fully decided how, exactly, I'm going to go about this. But for demo purposes, I guess it's a pretty necessary evil to let the game be able to advance past a single, quick and easy mission, eh? I will at least implement this, but it may be pretty rough, lacking transitions and such, if I even get this far.
  • Start, Win, and Lose screens.
The game needs a "Mission Briefing" screen before the gameplay, and a "Debriefing" after a success or failure. I still need to decide exactly how I want these to work as well, but I just came up with some insight writing this just now. These probably won't be in the next update.


At some point, I either need to update my website or create a completely new one. Not sure when I'll do this. It could happen in this timeframe (I tend to flip around from one thing to the other so it's hard to say for sure), and if it does, I probably won't get as much accomplished on the game as I would have liked to. OR -- I'll extend the next update's release date. We'll see how it goes. No stress, just progress.

The one-man dev show is a tough gig.
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The Shatner

HayManMarc, your game is AWESOME! It has a lot of potential (at least for Trekkies like me). The Redshirt thing scared me at first, but soon I've realized I was an engineer, and not a security officer :p. However, playing as an Engineer and not yelling "CAPTAIN, I DON'T THINK SHE CAN TAKE IT ANYMORRRRE!" was challenging. lol
Jokes apart, I've enjoyed how you have to be constantly running around to keep everything up and running. No time to rest, and random, unpredictable events happening... That's my type of game.
I've also enjoyed the music, which is somewhat reminiscent of old Star Trek videogames (or the nostalgia ears kicked in, I dunno:)).
I've noticed, however, that the "red alert round red light object", or whatever you call it, is above the character (that is, it probably has lower depth), which will undoubtedly get annoying people annoyed.

All in all, I'd certainly recommend you keep it up. It's fun, it's addictive, its graphic style is consistent with the rest of the game... With a few more features and maybe some more eye candy, that will become a solid competitor in the indie market.

Thanks for sending us the link. I hope it becomes a huge success and gives you a lot of fun.



I finally got around to playing the latest 2018_09_03 build. I see there's still a ways to go, but it's certainly shaping up. It's hilarious to me that the beverage machine is somehow linked to the hyper drive being able to charge up or not. :p
I'll have to keep my eye on this. It's very charming.


Copied from the OUATIOS web page:

DevDate: 180929

I've been killing myself trying to find and implement a simple commenting system to these web pages over the last few weeks. I found one that I almost got to work, and another that I think will work but has become unavailable. I've sent out some correspondence to both parties. If they reply, perhaps I'll have a comment section down below for viewers of the page. Until then, I'm giving up on that for now.

So now, because of all the time spent away from the game, I'm kinda cold with my dev on this game, which kinda sucks. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to get back into the thick of it.

To start things back up, I decided to make a nebula background for all the empty space flying by as a way to break up the plain-ness of it. I followed a tutorial I found and after messing around with it in my own way, I came up with this little gem...

Now, I need to read thru my own devlog and catch up with myself to figure out what I want to do next! :p


Well then! Seems I was able to jump back in pretty nicely. Here's a peek at the log and there's a new build available in the original post. Hoo-ray!

( EDIT: sorry, this gif sucks. I might have to start making videos. :/ )

DevDate: 181002

I'm discovering that my code is kinda all over the place as I'm jumping back into this. That's the trouble with game jams -- the time crunch pressures you into making bad code decisions.
After implementing the nebula background without too much effort, I went on to create the "fixing" game mechanic. This entailed creating.... (Read more)