Empty Nester

Empty Nester

  • ZedSquadron
  • 4 months ago
  • 12th

Description

How to Play:

  • Move with WASD or Arrow Keys.
  • Eat any birdseed you find for a quick boost.
  • Grab those sticks and drag 'em back home.
  • Avoid the forest lurkers trying to keep 'em for themselves.

Credits:

  • Programming & Art: ZedSquadron
  • Palette is "Journey" by PineappleOnPizza via lospec.com
  • SFX via ChipTone by SFBGames
  • Music is "Ancient Path" from Pace's Music Store on Gamemaker Marketplace
  • Fonts: Blocked by Protractor Ninja, ArcadePix by Reekee of Dimenzioned

Feedback
15

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  • Jupiter Hadley
    Jupiter Hadley Jupiter Hadley Level 11

    Very cute and fun game. I included it in my GM48: Collect! compilation video series, if you’d like to take a look. :) https://youtu.be/7cH9DVFtgzM

  • Nyveon

    Pretty fun! I felt all the elements (art, music and the main gameplay loop) fit very well together, making the game "feel" good overall.

    My main feedback would be regarding the variety within the game. Being simple isn't necessarily a bad thing, but maybe giving the birdseed or baddies some more variety would have added to the experience.

    Now I'm too young to remember arcades, but from what I've played on emulators and seen on TV I feel like you've truly captured the essence of a good arcade game, so, very good job :)

  • Fachewachewa

    Really liked the artstyle, and the game is simple but still fun. But the grid based movement is a little weird. Like, I wish there was a small window where you could "cancel" a move. I was often going past a ladder or something like that because I released the key too late.

    • ZedSquadron ZedSquadron
      Level 6
      Developer

      Thanks for the feedback Fachewachewa. I think that's a really solid idea! Going to look into implementing that.

      Ladders have been kinda tricky for me. I think if I could figure out an elegant way to snap the character to the center of the ladder without it looking janky, I could get rid of the grid-based movement altogether.

      Thanks again!

  • baku
    baku baku Level 40 Patron

    Neat little arcade game. Does it just go on forever (until you die), or am I missing something?

    • ZedSquadron ZedSquadron
      Level 6
      Developer

      Hey Baku! Yea, you just collect sticks/birdseed until you get caught. There's a few levels it switches between randomly every time you get a game over, but that's about it. I wanted to make sure I could get something finished in the time allotted, so I kept the scope really small for my first attempt. Hopefully I can speed up my workflow, and make my next entry more substantial. Thanks for playing!

  • AtomicDouche
    AtomicDouche AtomicDouche Level 14

    I was surprised by a few things playing this first hand. I'd already seen played on stream, so I had some sort of expectations. One was the soundtrack, super calming and not annoying at all. Another was the AI, which had been dunked on a bit, but I think they did the job. My blood pressure certainly raised when the inevitable was about to happen, making the game challenging enough for a novice. The seeds gave good variety and were good additions to the game play, I thought, but the effect seemed counter intuitive occasionally. The double speed felt too fast, while the normal speed felt too slow. The design of it all was also very nice. Maybe an extra level (sorry if I just didn't get there), would be neat, but the arcade experience was executed well.

    • ZedSquadron ZedSquadron
      Level 6
      Developer

      Hey, thanks for playing and the feedback! I think you touched on the three biggest lessons learned I've received so far.

      • The AI is too basic. I'm hoping to update it with some actual pathfinding post-jam. Mostly just as a learning experience for me. Right now, there are a few ways where you can trick the enemies into standing still or doing something goofy. Would love to change that.

      • Gameloop is lacking variety. Maybe some other power-ups, larger levels, different enemies. Just need more "stuff" to do. Lots of things to think about here.

      • Fine-tuning the player speed so that it's less laborious and/or finicky. I think i would have benefitted from a longer play-testing phase here.

      Thanks again for checking it out, even after seeing it getting dunked on via stream :)

  • Naxos
    Naxos Naxos Level 5

    Simultaneously a very chill and then occasionally intense game :D The first time I saw the 3rd ghost I thought, "oh **** they go fast now!". The sounds fit perfectly and falling has a nice plop with screenshake. The music was a good pick for this, really sets the atmosphere. The pixel art is great and fits together very well. I'm surprised no one has said this yet, but this game gave me definite Pac-Man vibes -- running away from ghosts that reset when you achieve your goal. I wonder if you were going for that? It was fun trying to outsmart the ghosts. This could also be called "Pac-bird and chill" :)

    When I first started the game I thought as we collected things that the eggs were going to hatch one by one until our little birdy was left with an empty nest. Needs more baby birdies ;)

    Good work!

    PS. I thought it would be fun to upload videos for games that I'm rating in this jam. Here's the one where I play your game

    • ZedSquadron ZedSquadron
      Level 6
      Developer

      Hey Naxos, thanks for the feedback and video! That was an awesome thing for you to do. Really appreciated. I was kinda going for a Loderunner feel, but Ms. Pacman has always been one of my favorites. Cool that you thought of it.

      Thanks again!

  • Chris
    Chris Chris Level 13

    I liked the art and simple gameplay. The gameplay of Empty Nester kind of reminded me of Burgertime. I think Game Over is pretty harsh for getting hit a single time though, I would have liked to have 3 lives or something like that.

    • ZedSquadron ZedSquadron
      Level 6
      Developer

      Thanks for playing! I think you are on point with the lives recommendation. It was originally planned that way, but I wasn't happy with my dying animation, and I was worried that there wasn't enough going on gameplay-wise to justify multiple runs on the same level. If I end up finding some ways to make the game more interesting post-jam, I will definitely add this to the to-do list.

      I appreciate the feedback!

  • havik
    havik havik Level 15

    Really nice looking game, the colour pallet and art itself was very clean. It's a very simple game but the way the sticks make you slower solves that to some degree as you have to try and play a bit more tactfully with the birdseed.

    The sound fit the game too! You could easily expand this with a slightly larger level and some different power ups and things.

    Good job!

    • ZedSquadron ZedSquadron
      Level 6
      Developer

      Thanks Havik. I appreciate the kind words and feedback. I am hoping to flesh this out into something more replayable post-jam. Tried to restrain from over-scoping for my first entry, but the game definitely would benefit from a bit more depth.

      Thanks again!

  • Seltzy
    Seltzy Seltzy Level 24

    Cool little project. Not a ton of staying power though.

    Inspires deep, thought provoking questions about life. What is to die but to return to what there was before living? Should we be reincarnated, it is all the same, despite the differences in scenery. Do we collect sticks until our inevitable demise just to do it all again? It's easy to understand this nihilistic view, but there is another consideration. We work for sticks and we dodge shadowy harbingers of death, but along the way we can collect birdseed. It is in those moments of speed that we realize this life, cyclical or not, is worth living. Live not for the sticks we gather, but the seeds we enjoy.

    10 in theme.

    good job! :)

  • Tydecon Games

    I like the idea and the simplicity of it - it's got a really nice chill vibe about it, especially with the use of sound and art. The only problem I would have is that it all feels rather slow. I get that's good for a nice, chill game, but I could've stood to go a bit faster, or maybe have an "slow, medium, fast" kind of option first. Either way, it's a great start and there's a lot of potential to build on to this, great job! :)

    • ZedSquadron ZedSquadron
      Level 6
      Developer

      Thanks for playing and giving your feedback! That was one of the hardest parts of testing the game for me. I wanted to make the weight of the stick noticeable to really emphasize the impact of picking up the speed boosts. I do think you are right though...it's tuned too much toward the slow side that it becomes frustrating. The way it's currently programmed, I had to keep the speed evenly divisible with the grid size, so I kinda boxed myself in.

      Thanks again :)

  • MintyPython
    MintyPython MintyPython Level 7

    Nice simple game, very clear in what it wants to be, which is good. I like the ladder climbing animations! The music is chill and kinda eerie, a good vibe for being chased by shadow monsters.

    I'd say the one problem I have is suddenness of the speeding up mechanic with coins, sometimes if a coin spawns next to you as you're approaching a ladder you'll speed up and fly off a ledge instead. Makes the game's controls a bit unpredictable.

    • ZedSquadron ZedSquadron
      Level 6
      Developer

      Thanks for the feedback! I'm really enjoying hearing what others have to say.

      I think, in general, I should have put more thought into how/where things spawn. Sometimes the sticks spawn too close to the nest, sometimes enemies spawn too close to you (that's the one I did try to fix, but I didn't seem to take it far enough), and the birdseed/coin thing.

      I appreciate you giving it a try!

  • g0ldent0y
    g0ldent0y g0ldent0y Level 4

    Pretty decent entry. Concept is good, graphic style consistent, sound is decent. Reminicent of some really old school C64 games. Got a huge nostalgia flash there. I think the randomizing of the levels was good. Could use a bit more of a variety in the game loop itself though, got bored quite quick, since you just run around and collect sticks. But thats a normal game jam issue, so i dont blame you for it.

    • ZedSquadron ZedSquadron
      Level 6
      Developer

      Thanks g0lden. I'm gonna try to add some secondary gameloop ideas to keep things interesting after the jam. Appreciate the feedback!

  • BitRapture
    BitRapture BitRapture Level 6

    This game was simply just fun to play! I'm quite the casual when it comes to games so it was a very relaxing game session. The pixel art and sounds were done very well too.

    Good job!

  • TonyStr
    TonyStr TonyStr Level 10

    Cute and concise! It's quite fun to dodge the dark shadow figures, but sometimes feels a bit unfair when the fast ones spawn right next to you. I like that the game is randomized! That's a very cool feature

    • ZedSquadron ZedSquadron
      Level 6
      Developer

      Thanks for the feedback Tony! I programmed it so that they never spawn closer than 5 (I think) tiles away from you, but I'm noticing the same thing. Since I made the spawn points appear only on empty ground, I think if you leave a lot of birdseed lying around, the issue gets more noticeable. I appreciate you playing, and that's something I will look into if I take this concept any further.

  • Omar M. Yousef

    Not bad !, i liked how simple the graphics is, maybe adding more space in the level or more stuff to collect would be better !. Enemies AI is beautiful but a little bit simple, i liked the overall idea too !, good game bro.

    • ZedSquadron ZedSquadron
      Level 6
      Developer

      Thanks for the feedback Omar. I think if I did it over again, I would make the game more than one screen wide/high. I also want to implement better AI. I started to change it late in the jam, and had to revert it as I was running out of time. I appreciate you checking it out! Let me know if you get your entry modified so that I can try to download it again.

Post-mortem

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