Flotsam

Flotsam

  • Matt L
  • 3 weeks ago
  • 22nd
FLOTSAMDEMO.gif

Flotsam

Flotsam is a game about crossing a river with strewn debris.

A Game by Matt Lempitsky Most Art by Yossarian

Controls

  1. WASD to Move

  2. Space to Pick Up/Put Down

  3. Q to Rotate Left

  4. E to Rotate Right

  5. F to Untoggle/toggle Fullscreen 6 .ESC to Quit

The game takes roughly 20 minutes to complete. There is an ending.

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  • baku
    baku baku Level 45 Patron

    Great concept. I guess it's "relaxing" at first, and pretty fun to plan out how you're gonna build your bridge, and when I first started seeing land on the other side I was excited to soon be done - but got pretty upset when I realised it was just a small island and I still had a way to go. Sooo much backtracking which got quite annoying >.>

    That dog sound effect when you win was a pretty hilarious "reward" though LOL

    There's a bug with the movement/collisions where you can walk onto the water if you approach it "diagonally". In the gif below I set up a random example to show how you can use it to cross small gaps, if you plan ahead and build your bridge in the right way you can probably exploit the bug to cross certain gaps more efficiently.

  • Lee
    Lee Lee Level 5

    Really nice relaxing game. I enjoyed my time with it. I felt like my bridge was really inefficient but definitely improved over time. I was really curious to see what was across the water, the description was (I believe) intentionally vague as to build the tension. I thought the payoff was quite nice! Yip yip!

  • Fachewachewa

    Loved the game. The atmosphere was great, and even with such big pixels there was enough details so that it felt good. And the whole idea is a really nice interpretation of the theme.

    That being said, I think it's a little too long. I know the small island act as a checkpoint / bonus piece, but at this point the back and forth takes so long that even getting two pieces doesn't feel that good. I think the main issue is that there's an optimal way to build the bridge, to the point that the games doesn't really let you deviate from that. You can use rocks but it often takes even more pieces to connect them in a useful way. So IDK, that wouldn't make a lot of sence, but even changing the way the water went at some points would have made this a little more engaging I think.

    Also, while playing I wondered why the music would end and restart so abruptly, which took me out of the experience every time, but I guess the fact that it's a premade piece explains it. On that note, I think the way it ends and starts, while lasting a few minutes, proves it's a little more than an instument loop / sample 👀 I usually don't care too much about the royalty free sounds & stuff, but here since it's such an important part of the game it's a little harder to judge :/

    • Matt L Matt L
      Level 3

      Thank you for playing and thank you for the feedback!

      There’s definitely a lot of room to make the main gameplay loop more engaging. This was valuable feedback. The idea of changing currents came up, but it was never implemented. I think that’s a very good idea.

      Regarding the free Creative Commons music; I think I may have interpreted the “loop” exception of the rules more liberally. I’m not sure if there is an agreed upon definition of where a piece is no longer a loop? If it was against the spirit of the jam, then I apologize.

  • Tero Hannula

    It was pleasant and relaxing game, luckily there was no timer although my dog was feeling ill.

    Gameplay here: https://youtu.be/QJG0bZJKyJU?t=50

  • Pixel Pincher

    What a nice and chilling game! :-) Very well done!

    • Matt L Matt L
      Level 3

      Thanks for the feedback and thank you for playing!

  • Heather
    Heather Heather Level 7

    I really enjoyed the loop of this game. The music was very fitting and added to the atmosphere. I enjoyed the little yip sounds too!

    Building the bridge was a lot of fun. I liked thinking of ways to maximise the bridge and also just to try out different things as well as try building something cool rather than the most efficient way. I definitely felt the discovery and exploration vibe as I went to a different island. I can see that if the game was expanded, it would be really cool to check out other islands and interact with other NPCs. Giving the dog the flower was really enjoyable! I think additional ways to interact with the world would go really far. Though I honestly enjoyed the loop of collecting wood and seeing how the bridge was built out, the slow walking speed definitely made it stretch out just a little longer than it needed to. That being said, it wasn't a boring game and I liked building out the bridge. I also thought the little touches you made like the wood sinking in the water a little when the player character stepped on them very satisfying.

    Great engaging game with an effective atmosphere!

    • Matt L Matt L
      Level 3

      Thank you very much for this detailed feedback, Heather.

      I am glad that you enjoyed building the bridge and experimenting with the system. That feedback makes me very happy! I totally think there would be room to make the exploration/discovery more engaging.

      Yeah, the walking speed could definitely be tweaked, I definitely see how the longer and longer walks could start to feel a bit tedious.

      Thanks again for playing!

  • JesusAcHe
    JesusAcHe JesusAcHe Level 4

    I'll echo the sentiment of it being a meditative game, but there's also a really engaging little loop of maximizing the effectiveness of your bridge so that you have to backtrack less. It's not the most fun loop ever but for a short calming game I think it fit pretty well. I also think the little pieces of feedback like the subtle camera shake when dropping a piece of wood, and the bridge slightly sinking under your feet were really well done, specially for a game with simple graphics were usually visual feedback is less of a priority. I'm happy I got the true ending. :p

    • Matt L Matt L
      Level 3

      Thank you very much for the feedback.

      Yeah, that loop, while very straightforward, was something I found interesting. The longer the bridge became, the more cumbersome actually creating it became. I also liked how it encouraged optimization as a by product.

      If I ever added more to this idea, I would definitely think of ways to make the main loop more engaging/expressive.

      Thanks again for playing.

  • Megan
    Megan Megan Level 6

    lmao the yips! That's exactly how our coder makes sound effects too (you can see that in his No Death State entry, Oproto). Nice meditative game. It's nice to see a slower-paced game in the jam. I only wish I could pet the dog.

    Also saw below that you mentioned the music in After School Afterlife -- as the composer, I really appreciated that!

    • Matt L Matt L
      Level 3

      Thank you for the feedback and thank you for playing.

      I guess it's not explicitly petting the dog, but you can press space when standing over him and he makes some whimpers (so basically just a sad pet =) )

  • Naxos
    Naxos Naxos Level 7

    Very meditative game. The music was just perfect for this chill experience. The island in the middle was a welcome addition right at the point that backtracking was becoming an annoyance, so that was well considered!

    I'll echo that the grid based movement was a little weird at first, but I got used to it, and I think I understand why you did it.

    I wish you could step on the stones!

    The yips at the end XD

    I also appreciated the small detail of walking over the flotsam caused it to dip down visually, very nice!

    The view felt pretty claustrophic, but that may have been intentional. I would've preferred a bit more 'room to breathe' so to speak.

    Really nice entry!

    PS. I uploaded a video of my playthrough

    • Matt L Matt L
      Level 3

      Thank you very much for this feedback.

      Regarding the view; it's restrictiveness has been common feedback. I knew at the outset of beginning to actually create the idea, I wanted to the view to feel cramped so that progress and discovery felt a bit more deliberate, but after making it the initial size, I never gave it anymore thought, but I am sure there is definitely a healthy compromise there.

      Also, thank you very much for attaching your playthrough, it was great to see and much appreciated.

  • Zen00
    Zen00 Zen00 Level 8

    The fact you have to state "There is an ending!" probably means something. The music was great, however for something that's supposed to be meditative, it really needed a proper loop. In fact this game is so simple it should have had time to make several tracks and loop them together for a much better experience. Lastly the controls were fairly poor, locked grid movement just didn't feel right.

    • Matt L Matt L
      Level 3

      Hey, thank you for playing; I appreciate the feedback.

      I think your feedback regarding the main gameplay loop is valid. It's very simple: scavenge for wood/add to your bridge.

      As your bridge gets longer and longer, so too does the time spent carrying the wood. It is inherent in the mechanic. I thought this was an interesting idea/side-effect to explore.

      Regarding the locked grid movement; that was a by product of the implementation of bridge building (e.g. all boards were locked to a grid) I think there's room to reevaluate that design decision though.

      Not sure I entirely agree with this (for multiple reasons) "In fact this game is so simple it should have had time to make several tracks and loop them together for a much better experience."

      Again, thanks for the feedback!

  • Chris

    I zoned out and blissfully played this game for a long while. The music was perfect and combined with the gameplay I was totally immersed in the tranquil world of bridge building. I thought the end game was nice too.

    • Matt L Matt L
      Level 3

      Thank you very much for playing and thank you for the feedback

  • Patrick
    Patrick Patrick Level 11

    Very peaceful, atmospheric. Loved it :D

  • Tydecon Games

    I really liked the calming vibe of this atmosphere, this is exactly the kind of game I can picture just zoning out to on a calm evening one day, the slow pace is different to what I usually expect in a jam game which I definietly wasn't expecting, but you've got a great core gameplay here and an insentive to carry on - I would've liked to have seen some menu rather than jumping right in to the gameplay, but I get the time restrictions, I hope you carry on with this and turn it in to the chilled zoner kind of game that this is the great foundation for :)

    • Matt L Matt L
      Level 3

      Thank you for this feedback!

      I’ll be honest, even though I didn’t the have time to put in a menu, I never really considered it. I was hoping the player could just kind of stumble into the world and poke at it to figure out the mechanics, part of the whole experience/atmosphere. I really appreciate the feedback and if I ever expand this game I will definitely take it to heart.

      • Tydecon Games Tydecon Games
        Level 8

        I think it depends on if you need one or not really, this doesn't tend to need one :)

  • Luke No Further

    Very calming and satisfying - throughout I was very excited to see what was on the other side. It really drove me to keep playing despite the longer and longer walks back to fetch the pieces of wood.

    The viewport was very tightly cropped - I think I understand why, as it made it more challenging to plan your route and made just peeking the green of another piece of land more exciting. That being said, it did make it harder to find good piece of wood, kinda like stumbling around the dark for a while each time to find one of those super long pieces. Plus it would have been nice to have been able to see the full bridge you made at the end. Not sure what I'm suggesting, just an observation!

    Reminded me of making dams in rivers on the beach as a kid, looking for good rocks to serve as anchors and finding bits of wood and other junk to block the path. This really captured a lot of the aspects of that experience, so thank you! and well done!

    I don't know how I should rate the audio, as a key component of it was the music track, which was from freesound. I don't know if that's super by-the-book in terms of the game jam's rules - I suck at sound/music so it would be great if I could just find some Creative Commons or Public Domain stuff and put it in my game, but since audio is a ratings catagory it makes it a little more complicated since you're up against people who have made entirely bespoke audio in the 48hours. Just curious really, I really like the track in the game and it was clearly carefully selected to create a certain atmostphere in the game which the art and gameplay very much compliment.

    • Matt L Matt L
      Level 3

      Thank you very very much for this detailed feedback.

      I am really happy to hear you were able to reflect on something from your childhood because of playing my game.

      I understand your point about the audio. Regarding the rules, I read this exemption (specifically loops): "Generators, fonts, logos, brands, brushes, loops, drums and instrument samples" as a green light regarding the BG track.

      But, I do agree there has been some standout music generated for the jam proper. If you haven't, you should check out "After School Afterlife." The music is phenomenal and the composer created each track during the jam.

  • PineTree
    PineTree PineTree Level 6

    LOVE the atmosphere, the ambient noises and the calming music. It took me quite a while to understand the mechanics of plunking down the logs, so the first half of the river ended up looking like a wood floor lol- I think I would have preferred the camera to be zoomed out a little bit more to allow me to see more of what is around me.

    • Matt L Matt L
      Level 3

      Thank you for playing! The camera was deliberately close cropped to make discovery feel more impactful but I think there’s probably a happy medium I can find that makes wandering a bit less frustrating.

  • SpritePainter

    I adore this game! The atmosphere is so calm and inviting as soon as you enter the title screen.

    That said, the controls feel quite strange, as the character is very floaty and sometime feels unresponsive. I also found that the movement collisions may have had some issues at times. Still, it was a very enjoyable experience.

    • Matt L Matt L
      Level 3

      Thanks for playing!

      I think the controls felt strange because everything was technically locked to a grid and I couldn’t quite make everything as smooth as I had hoped. If I ever work on this some more this something that will get ironed out first.

      Again, I really appreciate the feedback