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eRonin

[RELEASED] A Wish Upon A Star

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UPDATE:

 

I've released the game! You can find its submission page here: https://itch.io/jam/wizard-jam-7/rate/272218

Hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think! This is only the second game I've ever made.

 

Update update: Now featuring voicework provided by coughlinjon, and also now playable in web browser!

 

Update update update: the browser version is just too hecking buggy so I've had to remove it for now. Quality of life updates and bug fixes added to the Windows version, though!

______________________________

 

Hello! I'm also making a game based on "A Wish Upon A Star"

 

It's a game about navigating across space and meeting other spaceships, to all come together to find a star, which can grant a wish to whoever finds it. Finding more ships allows different wishes to be granted, so there are different "endings" I suppose based on this. So far I've made sprites for a few of the different ships, and written the code for the player and NPC behaviours. I intend to add dialog and other systems over the course of the next two weeks, such as mining for materials, and using materials for repairs and trading for components, which can be used to build ship upgrades. I intend for the spawn locations of the player, ships, and star to more or less be random, so seeking out the other ships isn't the same every time.

 

For now, here are a few ships!

 

spr_player_ship.png spr_ship1.png spr_ship2.png spr_ship3.png

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I love the idea of having all these spaceships coming together to find the star! V into this intergalactic friendship premise.

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I like the sound of this, message me on here if you want music and possibly sound design.

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Cool, thanks for offering! My previous game jam game had me just picking a random piece of royalty free music from a website. I was planning on choosing a similar piece of music as I did last time (Gymnopedie no. 1), basically a slow piece on piano or similar instrument. I'm probably going to use bfxr.net for sound effects again.

 

Edit: I just checked your portfolio and (A Wish Upon) Some Kind of Star Drifter is really close to what I'm after! :o

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Super excited for this, it's a beautiful idea and I can't wait to see how it comes together!

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I've set up a spawn system for the star, the player ship, and the other ships more or less the way I intended. I set the star to spawn in a random location, then I set the other ships to spawn at set quadrants in the map, and then the player spawns somewhere on the map far away from the star and ship 4. Being far away from ship 4 is important, since this ship is always surrounded by an asteroid field that can damage the player. I've also set other asteroids to spawn randomly, including some that can be mined for minerals. These minerals are used to repair the ship and to trade for components at space stations, which will then be used for ship upgrades. 

 

For now, the ship upgrades I have planned are:

  • Boosters that increase the maximum speed of the player ship and friendly ships
  • Shields that protect the player and friendly ships
  • A map that shows a larger view of the area around the player

The main thing I'm gonna probably struggle with is some kind of rudimentary menu system. I might just create a series of objects that represent menu choice buttons that can be clicked on to select. I don't have too many things to make so I think it's ultimately pretty manageable.

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I've implemented the ship upgrades, and developed a rudimentary UI that allows for "purchasing" the upgrades and display whether they are online or not. Components are normally obtained by trading in minerals at the space stations, but for testing purposes, I gave myself 25 components (as you can see, the total components required for all the upgrades is 24). Space stations replenish components over time, but it's better to fly off to find another space station rather than wait. The map screen, shown below, just shows a different game view that is much larger, and hides the stars in the background and the HUD. 

 

screenshot_upgrade_offline.PNG.4c21860afbbee95a433d152febdb0e1e.PNG screenshot_ugrade_online.PNG.9c2d7dfd1d3bc0a73ad0381dc6adc613.PNG

 

Space Station and Map view:

 

screenshot_space_station.PNG.22446e65d4340c4da91ec64325fdeec9.PNG screenshot_map.PNG.93a03fc903a769bc099e854e78b022af.PNG

 

Anyway, here's one more screenshot showing the player with some ship friends they've made along the way:

 

screenshot_ship_friends.PNG.21ae85f8c5eb81d0a18aa8f272c7345a.PNG

 

For whatever reason, the HUD image can't keep up with the view scroll-speed when the ship is moving, resulting in it shaking about as the ship flies. I soooorta like that effect anyway so I might keep it in, but the downside is that the text of the HUD, which DOES keep up with the scroll-speed, mis-aligns.

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Looking good so far mate! The HUD shaking issue sounds like it might be an order of operations thing (like it updates at a different time to the movement of the ship maybe?) but if you want me to take a look just hoik me a *.gmz and I can check it out over the next few days.

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Here's a gif showcasing the different upgrades in the game (booster, shields, and map), as well as the feature for joining together with other ships in the game. The light beam that shoots out is a repair beam that your ship can use to repair other ships. Otherwise, when you right-click on another ship, it'll simply start following the player ship (working on some short dialogue that plays whenever a new ship is recruited). This particular violet-coloured ship is also equipped with a repair ability, but it affects only the player ship, in a small radius, so repairing other ships is still the player's responsibility. The violet ship slowly makes its way towards the player ship from the start of the game, which I decided to do because 1) it guarantees the player meets at least one other ship without much effort, 2) the ship can repair the player ship, meaning if the player gets "stuck", they can recover from that state, and 3) the four different ships all have different initial behaviours before meeting the player, so I thought it would be good if one of the ships simply just sought out the player ship anyway.

 

Anyway, so:

  • the booster increases maximum speed by 100%, and is highlighted by the orange glowing border around the (new!) speedometer 
  • the shields reduces damage taken by 90%, indicated by the blue glow around friendly ships
    • damage taken reduces a ship's maximum speed. Ships can't be destroyed or completely incapacitated just because that's not the kind of game I'm trying to make
  • the map toggles to a different, zoomed out view, with a red blinking dot indicating the player's position

 

 

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I like it when things follow other things in video games. 

Game looks :tup:

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I'm more or less done with my game! I'm missing music and voice-over though. (Worst case scenario I voice every single character. And...hum the music?) I'm also concerned my game will take too long to complete (I want it to be done in 15-30 minutes), and it doesn't currently have any kind of save system. The player might also go long stretches of time without anything interesting happening, which might get boring real quick. I can finish the game in that time reasonably well, but I'm not sure how other players would take to it. If anyone would like to playtest my game, please message me here or on slack!

 

About the game itself in its current state:

Your ship has found itself stranded in an unknown solar system after emerging through a wormhole, with some of its instruments damaged. The captain and navigator of the ship will set up some exposition, and also inform you of some of the controls (which are pretty basic). The main gameplay loop will be to collect minerals from asteroids, trade minerals for components, use components to upgrade/repair the instruments, and find other ships that also emerged from the same wormhole. There are three endings, which are unlocked depending on how many ships the player has encountered. Players are free to choose from any of the three endings if they have recruited all four friendly ships. Generally speaking, choice number 3 is simply better than choice 2, but choice 1 is a very different outcome. Choice 1 allows the player and any ships they have recruited to return through the wormhole, back to the solar system they escaped from. The game continues until the player has "fixed" the situation here.

 

Anyway, I do have a few other things to work on for now. I want to add something to make navigation a little easier, without outright telling the player where things are exactly.

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I've added a few new features to my game. One of them was something I actually wanted from the beginning, but didn't know how to implement. Someone play-tested my game and said she couldn't find any space stations while she was playing. I knew people would have trouble finding space stations, since even I couldn't find them reliably, and I'm the one who placed them on the map. So I basically just put more and more space stations in without trying to make it feel overcrowded. Anyway, the actual feature I wanted was some kind of range indicator to the closest space station. I discovered that game maker has a function called "instance_nearest", which solves my problem of trying to find a distance between the player and one of many identical space station objects. So there's that.

 

The other, more superfluous feature is an indicator of the path the ship has traveled in the last 3 minutes. I took inspiration from Breath of the Wild's map feature that shows where the player had traveled in Hyrule. I wanted to find a balance of being able to show the path without cluttering up the map too much, hence why the path disappears over time. The path changes colour from red to orange, to yellow, etc. as time passes for that point in time, although thinking about it now, I might change that to simply fade away by adding an alpha layer over time. I'll see what feels better.  In any case, this is a pretty useless feature and I added it simply to see if I could implement it.

 

Also I had a placeholder timer that just counted up in seconds very crudely, but now I have a timer working that shows minutes:seconds, so I might just leave that up since it's not ugly anymore.

 

One thing I've been considering is whether or not to alter the random spawn behaviour of the game objects. I made things random so that people would have a different experience to one another, give a little spice to replays (since there are multiple endings), and because story-wise, it sort of makes sense for everyone to appear in a random spot. But part of me wants to see speedruns of the game, so making it less RNG-heavy might be more conducive to that. But I very much doubt anyone will be speedrunning this game besides myself ^^;

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I had been meaning to add a little easter egg object into my game from the start. Something inconsequential and one-of-a-kind that's also a little out of place. My original thoughts were maybe a derelict space ship, but that's a bit too spooky, or maybe an active space ship, but I wouldn't know how to justify that existing without it being able to fly around all over the place. So Joel W in slack said something that made realise the perfect easter egg to hide away. A space diner on a floating asteroid:

 

space_diner_unlit.png.818616cae3a9e2637717b8a791c2f063.png

 

The Diner sign lights up of course.

 

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I went and added both the derelict AND active space ship to my game anyway. Surprise! They're the same ship; its state is dependent on the context that you find it in. I did this because the B ending felt really lacking to me, since it was strictly worse than the C ending (I still consider ending C to be the "best" canonical ending). So now hopefully eager players will want to try to see all three different endings. :)

 

also small updates I made to the game:

  • map indicator is now blue, because blinking red lights are usually reserved for alarms
  • map path marker is also blue, and fades over time instead of changing colour
  • the HUD indicates which ships have been met via those 4 little dots 
  • allied ships no longer destroy rich mineral asteroids, and just pass through them harmlessly. The player ship can still crash into these asteroids
  • booster can now be toggled off once obtained, and the jet flames of the ship now change colour if the booster is active
  • the player ship's maximum speed is capped during the introduction, and certain events won't begin until after the introduction ends, to minimise clashes between the opening dialogue and other events
    • the introduction can be skipped with a button press 
  • the ship stranded in the asteroid field gives the player a bunch of minerals when met, because 
    • it ensures everyone can get back out promptly
    • it makes up for the added trouble of reaching this ship
    • it sort of makes sense for the ship to be near the asteroid field to have been mining minerals
    • it just speeds things up a little

 

 

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Update: 

 

Game is released! https://itch.io/jam/wizard-jam-7/rate/272218

It's still missing the voice work, soon to be provided by coughlinjon, but for now, all the systems are in place and fingers crossed there are no major bugs I might have missed. Hope y'all enjoy the game :)

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Just had a go at this video gam and really enjoyed it. Only problem was when I found a third ship the framerate took a huge dive for some reason. I kept playing and found the star but didnt have enough companions and the frame rate was really low so I finished there. Still I enjoyed just cruising around looking for minerals, I managed to unlock the map but couldnt seem to find another station with components to get the rest. Anyway great job, really solid Jam. 
:tup:

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23 hours ago, infamous space turtle said:

Just had a go at this video gam and really enjoyed it. Only problem was when I found a third ship the framerate took a huge dive for some reason. I kept playing and found the star but didnt have enough companions and the frame rate was really low so I finished there. Still I enjoyed just cruising around looking for minerals, I managed to unlock the map but couldnt seem to find another station with components to get the rest. Anyway great job, really solid Jam. 
:tup:

 

Thanks for playing my game! The yellow number next to the system online/offline indicator is your distance to the nearest space station. It's a bit subtle but the opening dialogue does tell you that your ship is able to detect nearby "artificial structures in the vicinity". Sucks about the frame-rate though; I never encountered that through all my play-testing.

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Just played it and it‘s really lovely! I like the beginning a lot with the music and voice actors and then you are just there in space. The atmosphere is really good, I think, especially when you meet another ship. Well done! :tup:

 

I assumed pressing the escape key would pause the game and not quit to the main menu, so I think I lost my progress. But I managed to find a ship, mine a few asteroids and explore the map a bit. I wonder what lies beyond that asteroid field! 

 

On thing I noticed is that a few dialog lines triggered twice for me.

 

Will probably come back to this later!

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Ah yeah. Implementing a pause in game-maker isn't something I've ever tried, though it sounds like I could really use it in my game. You're not the first person to assume ESC is pause. I suppose at the very least I should make ESC do nothing until the credits (I left it in there for me to debug things. Fun fact, pressing home and end takes you back through the wormhole, and to the credits, respectively. I left those in there for debugging purposes, too). Also I should definitely implement a check to stop dialog lines repeating themselves. Shouldn't be too difficult, just something I looked over for one or two of them. Thanks for playing :)

 

EDIT: I've implemented pausing! I've made Esc pause the game, except during the credits, where it will still send you back to the title screen.

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I loved the beginning of the game - very cinematic! I like the small touches like the shaking UI as well.

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This was really surprising. Such a lovely atmosphere! It has the feel of a children's story or something - wholesome, slightly melancholy, very sweet.

 

There were some frustrations gameplay-wise, though. I somehow missed the fact that you had to right-click on ships because the text of the repair ship implied that it joined me automatically (and though it was slower than me, it seemed to catch up with me every once in a while, so I didn't realize it hadn't). Text prompts for space stations also seemed to disappear and selling minerals was also finnicky (it seems I have to click one specific, nondescript part of the station). Some text prompts would also overlay over each other, preventing me from enjoying some of the nice writing. And finally, I wish the main view were a bit more zoomed out - it's very claustrophobic. Once I got the map, I played the game almost exclusively in that view.

 

But again, the atmosphere and story here are really lovely, and carry the game despite those minor frustrations. Good job!

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2 hours ago, pdotjpg said:

This was really surprising. Such a lovely atmosphere! It has the feel of a children's story or something - wholesome, slightly melancholy, very sweet.

 

There were some frustrations gameplay-wise, though. I somehow missed the fact that you had to right-click on ships because the text of the repair ship implied that it joined me automatically (and though it was slower than me, it seemed to catch up with me every once in a while, so I didn't realize it hadn't). Text prompts for space stations also seemed to disappear and selling minerals was also finnicky (it seems I have to click one specific, nondescript part of the station). Some text prompts would also overlay over each other, preventing me from enjoying some of the nice writing. And finally, I wish the main view were a bit more zoomed out - it's very claustrophobic. Once I got the map, I played the game almost exclusively in that view.

 

But again, the atmosphere and story here are really lovely, and carry the game despite those minor frustrations. Good job!

 

Hey just wondering if you were playing on web browser or if you downloaded the exe? The browser version is very buggy and I can't do anything about it. Game Maker 1.4 support for HTML just seems to not be up to scratch. If you were playing the download version though, then I'm not sure what's up with the space stations. They're one of the objects whose interaction box is just a square around the entire image, instead of the ships and asteroids that follow the object's shape. 

 

The opening dialogue tells you to right click a ship to hail them, but I guess that's easy to miss among all the exposition dump. I could put in a prompt to right click unrecruited ships next to them.

 

Thanks for the feedback, and thanks for playing!

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This was really nice and engaging! :)

 

Spoiler

I restarted the game after 15 mins because I wanted to map and had damaged myself too much to make flying worth while. 

 

BUT, then I hoarded minerals, got the map, then found my pal and got more minerals and the shield then found the rest of the ships and flew to the star and made my wish.

 

I found the game endearing, and kind of cared about the other ships. I felt bad when the purple buddy got damaged and couldn't keep up any more. Like, "Why did I behave so recklessly and waste their shield healing and now they will be stranded, oh noooo".

 

I noticed a small bug where when you skip the intro (it was me restarting the game), it was not clear how to "turn on the screen" (press enter). I also tried pressing escape in case the skip took a few tries to skip dialogue or something, but then the skipped music seemed to go a bit wonky. I restarted the game and pressed escape then enter and all was well.

 

Nice work by the VO and music contributors, too. A charming and fun game :)

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Oh boy it just occurred to me that I never made any indication that you can repair a friendly ship by right-clicking on them. You can also repair yourself by pressing R. Both these actions cost 1 mineral, so maybe you knew that and you just didn't have any minerals left. 

 

I should also make skipping the intro automatically open the viewport, yeah. Music, timers, and audio in general get really buggy on the web version. If you were playing the downloaded version though, then I'll have to look into what could have caused that.

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