Ben X

[RELEASE] Baboo!

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It's an itchio!

 

Should work for Windows, Mac and Linux.

 

 

Original post:

 

For various reasons I haven't been able to do anything for this jam... UNTIL NOW! I've managed to put aside the final weekend and I've made enough progress today to know that I will definitely have something to put out in time. So, Ben X Games proudly announces:

 

BABOO!

 

A text adventure with a difference, it is controlled with mouse look and left-click. So you look around a 3D space but only get text feedback (with some colour and audio).

 

I'm writing it in a beta engine by an internet friend (again) and has been pretty easy to put together quickly. I've leaned heavily on the shared universe diversifier, because I didn't have time to come up with my own story. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to nab some audio from other jammers and add some extra polish. It'll be very short but I think the engine will make it a different enough experience to be a nice entry for the jam.

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It will be a lot better if @BigJKO @atte and @Synnah check the Jam slack >:(

 

EDIT: Jon checked his Twitter, hooray!

 

EDIT: David checked Slack, hooray!

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I whole-heartedly endorse this product and/or service.

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Hoorah, all three jammers have now responded! To celebrate, here's some (misrepresentative) box art:

 

 

Baboo cover.png

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Released! https://timegentleman.itch.io/baboo

 

Should work for Windows, Linux and Mac. Let me know if there are any issues, I'll speak to Cheeseness who is writing the engine.

 

I'm waiting on some assets from one more jammer but I'm too ill and tired to stay up so I've gone with placeholders for the time being. I'll update with the proper assets as soon as I can, hopefully tomorrow.

 

Hope people enjoy it!

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Interesting control mechanism, I didn't quite understand it at first, but then it hit me. Using the trackpad was kind of finicky (although it could just be that I'm in windows via bootcamp on a mac), I'd bet a mouse works a lot better. 

 

I ran into what I think is a bug where in the city, if you try to enter the labyrinth, you just enter the city again?

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Ah crap, I'll have to go fix that bug then update. Will be five minutes, thanks for pointing it out. [EDIT: done. Have also updated from last night with the correct Shared Universe assets]

 

You should be able to run the Mac version straight, rather than the Windows version via bootcamp, if that helps? You can also use arrow keys and enter instead. The mechanism does take a little while to figure out, but I like that.

 

Thanks for playing!

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This was excellent! Only played it for a little while, (gonna try it again with a keyboard) and I love the way this engine works and all the little WJCU references. It's really cool. :tup:

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A really nice experience, I've had an idea to do something like this floating around for a couple of years now, a text adventure with multiple dimensions, lovely to see it realised! The refs were also on point, that horse bag!

 

The only thing is the directions were slightly off, I had to go a bit pass the direction given say north to find the path or item there but that's probably an Alpha engine thing?

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Thanks both!

 

Mythalore, the directions are slightly off on purpose a) to give the player something to do, sunglasses) for 'realism', and c) so the player isn't immediately looking at something every time they enter a new scene. It's something that apparently initially throws many players of any game written in this engine, but I decided the slight confusion outweighed the negatives.  I added in the "by your reckoning" line in an attempt to acknowledge it!

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The background audio atmospheres worked really well. I don't know if this is a common thing in IF/ text adventures, but with the soundscapes it felt like I was narrating some kind of a radio drama in my head. The volume levels really varied between the areas (castle loud, labyrinth very quiet) and some audio in the plains (even just a wind) would be nice.

The length and puzzles felt appropriate and while being a collage of references it still was suprisingly cohesive in the end.

 

And here's some engine thoughts: The default mouse sensitivity felt too slow so instead of taking a second to change it, I first played through this with keyboard controls which felt a bit cumbersome. But I played again with mouse and increased sensitivity and the unusual navigation worked nicely. The big range of vertical looking felt strange, I kept expecting there was some hidden layers between the three heights, though this was probably mainly because I was using arrow keys at first.

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Interesting feedback, thanks!

 

I didn't have tons of time to balance the audio (and there's no in-engine functionality yet) but I did intentionally make the labyrinth sounds quieter just because it's rather non-diegetic! I probably should have toned down the castle a bit, though. I did consider wind for the plains, but worried the game audio would become overwhelming if I had non-positional stuff in every scene. Perhaps if I quietened down the castle and added some to the plains it would be okay. I was happy with the levels and directional placement for the sounds in the labyrinth and the city, though.

 

I'm glad the structure came out okay - I scoped surprisingly sensibly this time!

 

That's a good point about mouse sensitivity, there's probably a setting there that I didn't get round to looking at. The vertical range is also something that I was vaguely aware of needing to be tweaked but didn't have the time to pin down what the issues with it were. So you think the sky should have been 'lower'? I did actually hide some stuff at mid-height in a couple of places - some graffiti, some billboards and a rat. But I think with a more planned game I'd have to either lower the sky or have a hell of a lot more mid-layer items...

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Hello!

 

My name's Cheese, and I wrote (or am writing) the engine that Ben X used for Baboo!. First up, I wanted to say congratulations to Ben - releasing something is always an achievement, so well done! It's also be absolutely wonderful to see a non-Cheese-made Icicle game out in the wild, and witnessing its development has contributed some valuable new perspectives that will benefit the engine and its toolset as I move forward. Woohoo!

 

Secondly, I wanted to take a moment to respond to some of the comments on the engine (thank you for these!) and its "nuances".

 

22 hours ago, rzbone said:

Interesting control mechanism, I didn't quite understand it at first, but then it hit me. Using the trackpad was kind of finicky (although it could just be that I'm in windows via bootcamp on a mac), I'd bet a mouse works a lot better.

It's definitely more awkward with a touch pad than with a mouse (which the engine has been primarily designed for). I'm not really sure how to address this beyond experimenting with a "joystick" mouse mode where the distance you are from the origin of your touch determines how fast your turn, maybe?

 

 

11 hours ago, BigJKO said:

This was excellent! Only played it for a little while, (gonna try it again with a keyboard) and I love the way this engine works and all the little WJCU references. It's really cool. :tup:

Keyboard controls are super rudimentary and the step distance can big enough to "skip over" some in-game objects. I'll be improving this in a later engine build.

 

 

11 hours ago, Mythalore said:

A really nice experience, I've had an idea to do something like this floating around for a couple of years now, a text adventure with multiple dimensions, lovely to see it realised! The refs were also on point, that horse bag!

 

The only thing is the directions were slightly off, I had to go a bit pass the direction given say north to find the path or item there but that's probably an Alpha engine thing?

As Ben mentions, exit alignment is something that has some unexpected side effects. It's not an engine limitation, but it is a design decision that makes some sense. I have a few things I'm planning to implement that will make aligned exist less problematic, but they're still a little way off.

 

If you end up exploring your own multi-dimensional text adventure concept or want to investigate using Icicle for something, get in touch. I'd love to chat :)

 

 

6 hours ago, atte said:

And here's some engine thoughts: The default mouse sensitivity felt too slow so instead of taking a second to change it, I first played through this with keyboard controls which felt a bit cumbersome. But I played again with mouse and increased sensitivity and the unusual navigation worked nicely. The big range of vertical looking felt strange, I kept expecting there was some hidden layers between the three heights, though this was probably mainly because I was using arrow keys at first.

Default mouse sensitivity is super tricky to balance. The majority of feedback I've had so far is that it's too high. When I get around to adding a settings menu and in-game controls for adjusting mouse sensitivity, I expect all of that feedback to go away.

 

Keyboard controls are definitely awkward to use at this stage and will be improved in future engine builds around the same time that I add gamepad support.

 

The vertical view range is currently 120 degrees (or full 360 if you're using a HMD - I don't see any value in limiting things there), which I'm making use of in the game that I've been writing the engine for. I hadn't really thought about exposing that as something that developers could customise, but that's definitely an option. My only worry is that with a narrower field of view, it could start to become easy to interpret scenes as some kind of wrapping pannable surface than a 3D space. If it's something you'd like to investigate Ben, it's trivial for me to add it in.

 

Edit: Ben, did you still want me to help you out with getting a build with a better binary name/custom icon together?

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9 hours ago, Cheeseness said:

The vertical view range is currently 120 degrees (or full 360 if you're using a HMD - I don't see any value in limiting things there), which I'm making use of in the game that I've been writing the engine for. I hadn't really thought about exposing that as something that developers could customise, but that's definitely an option. My only worry is that with a narrower field of view, it could start to become easy to interpret scenes as some kind of wrapping pannable surface than a 3D space. If it's something you'd like to investigate Ben, it's trivial for me to add it in.

 

Edit: Ben, did you still want me to help you out with getting a build with a better binary name/custom icon together?

 

Cheeseness has now made me a build with an icon and proper folder/binary names! I've updated but it's not worth a re-download.

 

Re. the view range, I suppose it's always good to have the option. I would probably still keep my settings as is in future games, though, for the reason you give about losing the 3D space. I think the key is to teach the player rules about where they should look for things (eg if I hadn't wanted to hide the billboards, I could have had supports for them at ground level, or I could have filled the sky with stuff to look at so players knew it was always worth checking out). 

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Having never seen anything on this engine, I really enjoyed this original take on text adventures. Also, "Horse Bag" is one of those Idle Thumbs things I've always adored but has seemed to fall out of meme favor in these game jams, so that was nice.

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Whoa - I love this concept for the engine and game. Really cool idea. It might benefit from some way to know how many objects / interactables are in a scene (like a minimap, or slight glows in the FOV, etc.)

 

...that said, I really want to make a game about a blind protagonist using this engine.

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I've never really enjoyed text adventures as a visual person, but this is the first one I liked! The navigation is really cool, and I like that you can also look up and down. It gives me the feeling of looking around in a 3D game, but still allows the mind to wander into fantasy. Good stuff. Nice diversity of environments and mint sound design. I'd love to see more people use this engine - a blind man's adventure seems like a perfect fit yeah.

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Thanks all!

 

I feel like having an interactables highlighter might compromise the feeling of 3D exploration - it's better rather for the designer to make sure they lay out and size their objects to avoid (unseen) pixel hunting. Still, it's certainly an option something that some designers might appreciate having included in the engine...

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On 07/12/2016 at 3:10 AM, Patrick R said:

Having never seen anything on this engine, I really enjoyed this original take on text adventures.

Thanks! It's hard for me to see the general concept it as original - I've drawn inspiration from and iterated on a bunch of sources and influences ranging from early text adventures to stuff like Myst and even modern adventure games to a small extent. It feels like a natural answer to "What would a VR friendly text adventure look like?" and I've always been surprised that I've never been able to find anybody who's done anything quite like this.

 

On 07/12/2016 at 3:54 AM, GammaBit said:

Whoa - I love this concept for the engine and game. Really cool idea. It might benefit from some way to know how many objects / interactables are in a scene (like a minimap, or slight glows in the FOV, etc.)

 

...that said, I really want to make a game about a blind protagonist using this engine.

Cheers! Since I'm primarily making the engine for my own game(s), I am placing lower priority on features like object indicators and maps that are likely to undermine the type of experience I'm trying to create. That said, when the engine is ready for release and use by others, I do plan to spend time expanding the feature set to accommodate other developers' needs.

 

The engine (and games using the engine) definitely seem to spark the imagination for what a game about being blind could be like. It's the most common thing I hear people talk about being inspired to make. It's something I've considered trying myself, but it's not something I'd feel comfortable exploring until after I have screen reader support, etc. in place (a game that aims to explore what being sight impaired is like that isn't accessible to sight impaired people feels super inappropriate to me).

 

2 hours ago, hedgefield said:

I've never really enjoyed text adventures as a visual person, but this is the first one I liked! The navigation is really cool, and I like that you can also look up and down. It gives me the feeling of looking around in a 3D game, but still allows the mind to wander into fantasy. Good stuff. Nice diversity of environments and mint sound design. I'd love to see more people use this engine - a blind man's adventure seems like a perfect fit yeah.

It's super nice to hear that the game has been accessible to you when other text oriented games haven't been!

 

So far as seeing more games goes, I've got "good" news and I've got "bad" news. The bad news is that I'm not expecting to have the engine ready for release within the next 6 months. The good news is that as part of a small focus group/game jam that I ran earlier this month, I gave a few people (including Ben) early access to the engine and plan to showcase Baboo and the other games that were made soon.

 

If you are looking for more experiences like Baboo and haven't seen them, I've made/am working on 4 games that use this engine, including a demo for Winter's Wake (the game that I started writing the engine for, and at the moment is probably the best demonstration of the engine can do even though it's way overdue for an update to the current engine version). They can be found on the showcase section of the Icicle Engine web page.

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I am 100% on board the idea for this engine. Really enjoyed it! The game itself is perfect Wizard Jam: nice length, scope and humour. 

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Awesome, thanks! People who enjoyed the engine should check out the showcase games that Cheese linked to above, especially Winter's Wake.

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