The Final Frontiersman

The Final Frontiersman

  • illdie
  • 6 months ago
  • 7th

It's a lonely road out there in space, but that don' mean a self-respecting space cowboy's lookin' to get all buddy-buddy with the local ruffians.

Take the fight against these ne'er-do-well bandits, slimes, and fish-with-legs on their own tiny turf! When you can walk around a planet in only a few seconds, it makes for a great circular shooting range. You know what they say: What's radial is what's radical!

Navigate the menus with the mouse, use A/D to move, space to jump, and click to shoot.

This is my first gm48, I'm reasonably happy with how it turned out!

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  • Eric
    Eric Eric Level 12 Patron

    If this game were in an arcade, I could see myself pouring countless coins into it until I coould beat it!

    Challenging, but not frustrating. A good variety of content, all very well polished. My main feedback would be that I would have preferred a different control scheme, perhaps being able to use W to jump as well, or arrows keys and to shoot like many old flash games.

    Really well made game, good job! :D

    • illdie illdie
      Level 7
      Developer

      Alternate control schemes are definitely coming when I get a chance to update. Thank you for playing and for the feedback!

  • Tero Hannula

    It was well polished game and had lot of variety. But I didn't like clicking my mouse without really using it for aiming ^^" I think the slime planet 2nd wave was way too aggressive, flying slimes which shoots at you, and as you need to jump to hit them, other slimes are bouncing around. Ooh no :v It was well done and had good music and transitions between scenes.

    • illdie illdie
      Level 7
      Developer

      The slime planet is interesting because some people say it's too hard while others say it's too easy. I think it just comes down to finding the right strategy. I still do want to make some tweaks, maybe add a power up or health drop to make it feel a little fairer. I also plan on adding a keyboard binding to shoot, that's something I just never got around to. Thanks for playing and for the feedback!

      • Tero Hannula Tero Hannula

        Well first wave was easy, but second wasn't :D Yeah, maybe I just didn't find right strat. (I like the banner, fish with legs zooming past x) )

  • Fachewachewa

    This is such a cool game, and nice title too!

    Honestly my only complaint about it is that each wave is a little long. The water planet felt ok, but maybe that's because the verticality requiered more actions from the player.

    Oh and shooting with the mouse but not aiming with it was a little weird at first. But that's a really small nitpick, and I'm sure it's better to shoot by clicking than using another key.

    • illdie illdie
      Level 7
      Developer

      Yeah I actually agree with wave length, it feels just a tad tedious at times. I was going to add a keyboard binding to shooting as well but I ended up not getting to it, I noticed that the mouse was a little weird to use.

  • Veralos
    Veralos Veralos Level 33

    Great game! There seems to a lot of content here with a good amount of variety and three different levels. I particulary liked the water planet - the swimming was an interesting twist. The game is a lot of fun to play too. I think the difficulty might be a tad high though. I did complete it, but not easily. Perhaps enemies could occasionally drop health pickups?

    The presentation is very well done. The pixel graphics are appealing and the enemy designs have a lot of charm. The music is great and the sound effects are good. It feels quite polished with some nice extra details like your character landing on the planet when the level starts.

    • illdie illdie
      Level 7
      Developer

      Health pickups are a good idea. At the very least, I've been thinking about adding an Endless Mode that would probably need them. Thanks for playing!

  • Megan
    Megan Megan Level 7

    That was really good! Love the different levels and the 'lone cowboy' theming worked really well, particularly with the music. Cool how the bullets arc with the planet. I found it pretty challenging haha - I think because the shooting was erratic when holding down the mouse. Power-ups would be cool or extra lives you can pick up. Nice job!

    • illdie illdie
      Level 7
      Developer

      The bullets feeling erratic was probably a result of the game only allowing three bullets on the screen at once. Arcade games often have a limitation like this, but I could definitely have had some indicator or something to help the player know when they can shoot as it was a little unintuitive regardless.

      I'm glad you enjoyed it, thanks for playing!

  • Panda-K
    Panda-K Panda-K Level 16

    I had so much fun with your game :) The slime level was really engaging and surprising (with having to deal with the new slime in wave 2.

    The only suggestions I have are standard arcadey enhancements like a combo system or power-ups. That said, it feels really complete and polished as is. If you were going to do a post-jam version it would be great to see level unlocks as well as maybe different characters with different weapons and movement.

    • illdie illdie
      Level 7
      Developer

      I'm glad you enjoyed it! I didn't think about power-ups or combos, those could be a great addition. Maybe I should add an endless mode or something to complement them too...

  • Nick
    Nick Nick Level 4

    This is probably the most 'complete' and polished game from the jam that I've played so far. It might not be the most original concept, but that doesn't matter because everything about the art, sound effects and overall presentation seems 'right' somehow. The mechanics of each planet are well tuned for something made in such a short time. Fits the theme well too. Good work!

    • illdie illdie
      Level 7
      Developer

      Thank you for playing and thanks for the feedback! I'm glad you enjoyed it

  • Grunlock
    Grunlock Grunlock Level 4

    This game is absolutely incredible - everything is so polished. I love the graphics, menus, transitions, music and sounds. Most of all though, the gameplay was perfect. Every planet was mechanically interesting and challenging but fun to beat. Each new wave brought pleasant surprises and fresh new twists. The flow was great, beating a planet always felt rewarding. As mentioned previously below it would be cool to have heart icons so health is more visible. I'll be looking out for the deluxe version if you do decide to make it (a boss would be epic). Highly enjoyable experience. I think this game is my favourite so far :]

    • illdie illdie
      Level 7
      Developer

      Wow, thank you so much! I kind of don't know what to say to all that praise, haha

      Smooth menu/game flow and varied gameplay were my two main goals, so I'm really glad that those elements have gotten especially positive reception. I'll def let you know if/when I release an update!

  • 89o
    89o 89o Level 19

    I really enjoyed the amount of content, it's rare to see more than one arcade level in a jam game (that includes mine). I especially liked that different worlds have completely different mechanics. I would like to see some screenshake and particle effects, though shooting already felt quite punchy. I'd also move the health bar to somewhere near the player, so you can always see it, and maybe I would make getting hurt more noticable, sometimes it felt just a bit unfair. Finally, don't start your game in fullscreen mode, because in the off chance that the player focuses another window before the game loads, it will be stuck in a weird "quasi-fullscreen" mode that can only be alt-f4ed.

    • illdie illdie
      Level 7
      Developer

      Thanks for the feedback, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Some more effects would definitely help, I'd probably reserve screenshake for taking damage, but some particle effects on hit with the gun would definitely give it even more punch. And yeah, a more noticeable life counter is definitely a good idea (I was going to use an icon like hearts but I ran out of time.)

      I also made the game start in fullscreen to encourage fullscreen play (otherwise accidentally clicking outside the window would probably be a common issue) but I didn't know about that bug, I'll have to keep that in mind in the future. Adding a keyboard binding for shooting would probably have been a better solution to that problem.

      I'm thinking I want to make a deluxe edition post-jam to clean it up/add in a boss fight that got cut, so I'll definitely note these suggestions if I get around to it!

  • Atomic
    Atomic Atomic Level 15

    This game rocks. You can definitely be happy with it. The art is spectacular, but what really stands out is the clever game design. Most everything feels fresh, and I couldn't put a finger on anything I dislike. Maybe the difficulty, but hey, some games are supposed to be challenging.

    • illdie illdie
      Level 7
      Developer

      Balancing was a bit difficult, I probably did make it a bit too hard in some areas (but hey, we'll just say it gives the player more opportunity to sink their teeth into the game :P)

      Thanks for the glowing feedback, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  • dev_dwarf
    dev_dwarf dev_dwarf Level 7

    Really solid game, slime world was hard.

    • illdie illdie
      Level 7
      Developer

      Thanks for the feedback and for playing!

  • Heather
    Heather Heather Level 9

    Really solid game, felt the concept was very well fleshed out. Easy to understand and get into. Planet enemies also made thematic sense and I liked the different mood each planet gave. Felt the controls were a bit uncomfortable. Would prefer being able to hold down a button to shoot as I'm not sure if clicking added much to my experience. Art, sound, and gameplay elements didn't feel disassociated from each other and all fit each other very well!

    • illdie illdie
      Level 7
      Developer

      I'm not sure if this is what you were talking about, but you can hold down the left mouse button instead of repeatedly clicking. I was going to add a keyboard binding but it ended up on the cutting room floor. Thank you so much for playing, and thanks for the thoughtful review!

      • Heather Heather
        Level 9

        Oh maybe I should have restarted the game. Holding down the button did not continuously fire for me.

  • Tydecon Games
    Tydecon Games Tydecon Games Level 11

    The transitions and menus were very smooth and well put-together - plus the gameplay itself was well executed. This is a great game, I had a lot of fun. I would've liked an indicator when I ran out of bullets since you can only shoot 3 at a time but beyond that, I have no complaints. It's fun, it's polished, it's well made and it's a little silly too, which is great!

    • illdie illdie
      Level 7
      Developer

      Thanks for playing, and thanks so much for the feedback! I was thinking an indicator would be a good addition as well, its just one of the odds and ends that didn't get in on time. Glad you enjoyed!

This was my first GM48 (though, not my first jam by any means), and I had a blast working on it! Development had a few ups and downs, but I ultimately ended up with a product I am very proud of.

When it came to the theme of "Small World", I was actually rather disappointed with how limiting it is as a theme, and was unsure of what to do for a long time. Still, there are a few very obvious base ideas that came to mind immediately, of which I eventually selected "game where you walk around a small planet" when I thought of some cool methods of presenting (and programming) it, figuring an arcade shooter in that style would be cool.

I've gotten a lot of compliments on the smooth menu transitions - they were among the first ideas I visualized and documented when I was initially developing the concept, and a big part of why I got so excited about making this game. Since the actual gameplay would end up being contained within this menu system, I actually got to making these transitions before anything else in the game; that way I can just make a state machine for the whole thing and slot the actual game into its place later. Most of the first night was actually spent on this, and in the end it was definitely worth it; working on a game with polished menus is way more encouraging, and if I pushed them later into the jam they would probably end up getting rushed.

In terms of making the actual game part, one of my proudest achievements is actually the player sprite and animations. The small pixel scale and large hat left me with very little space to communicate all the information necessary for the body. I spent probably an hour tweaking this sprite the first night, and I barely squeezed a really strong, striking pose into that handful of pixels and 4 different frames.

By the end of Friday night, I had the menu transitions and player sprite/movement implemented. Saturday began the implementation of enemies and systems, and was probably the hardest day of the jam. I had only mostly finished the enemies of the Bandit Planet by evening, and I had gotten so fried that I was somehow forgetting how to implement a wave-based spawning system. The game had no sound, tons of programmer art, and not even a finished level, and I was starting to feel very dejected. I actually considered dropping out of the jam altogether.

Let this be a lesson: ALWAYS PERSEVERE. I decided to work extra hard for the rest of the night before deciding whether to quit or not, and the game rapidly transformed from a depressingly incomplete demo into something fun and exciting. I implemented the wave based system as simply as possible, and I rapidfire banged out some tunes and sound effects. Let this be another lesson that you should always develop sounds/music alongside the rest of the game, it feels way better to have them in than to work on a silent project! Reinvigorated, I decided to keep on trucking to Sunday.

On the final day, I had to create the next levels and touch up much of the art. The Slime Planet ended up being far simpler to implement, and the Water planet was largely copy-pasted from the Bandit Planet's functionality. I decided on the title "The Final Frontiersman" since the player plays as a cowboy (frontiersman) in space (the final frontier)! Making the title art was one of the more fun things to do, as I designed it around the vibe of schlocky black-and-white movie titles.

In the end, the game was very successful, and received a ton of glowing feedback! Still, there were some criticisms, and some quality of life changes or other content I had to cut for time. But I truly love the game I made, and I'm very glad people are enjoying it - so much so that I'm currently planning to create a Deluxe Edition to flesh out the gameplay and the vision as much as I can (Follow me on twitter for updates huehue the link is on my profile page) I really am grateful to the GM community for giving me this opportunity, providing such great feedback, and, of course, playing my game!

Result 7th
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