Pioneer Peril

Pioneer Peril

  • Mcwequiesk
  • 2 years ago
  • 7th


Life for a pioneer certainly isn't easy... as you will soon discover! In this strategy game, you must manage your resources and family members properly, or put everything at risk! What must you sacrifice to reach your destination?

Here's a new thought for you... as if pioneer life was already difficult, did they have to face trolls?

Your ultimate objective is to last for either 1, 2, or 3 weeks in the wilderness, while avoiding death by troll, starvation, or other events. Your final score is calculated by a combination of how many family members are left, how many days you lasted, the decisions you made, and your remaining supplies. My highest score is about 22,000... can you beat that?

I would personally recomend getting on your knees, right now, and praying to RNGesus. You're gonna need it.

HELP ('cause you probably need it)

The game is split up into days. Each day is 3 random events, and then a troll bridge.

At troll bridges, they will demand tribute from you. You can either pay it, make them another offer, or try and fight your way past. Even if you lose the fight, though, you can slip by as a family member sacrifices themselves.

After the bridge is nightfall. When it is night, you must decide which of your family members gets to eat and drink. Eating or drinking keeps their health level constant (indicated by red hearts next to their name), not doing either will make their health fall, and both eating and drinking will recover their health. If their health drops to 0 hearts, that member is dead. If you lose everybody, you lose the game.

On the other hand, if you happen to feed and water a family member who already is at the maximum 5 hearts... then they get to feel fantastic!! Which has its own benefits I won't go into detail here ;)

You run into random events as the rest of the game plays out. These events either grant you supplies, or require them to avoid losing health. Your family can't die from most random events, but there are some where you can lose them. You need to do your best to keep a steady stock of supplies, because you'll never know what you need, or when you need it!

You can play the game on one of three difficulties:

  • Easy: The game lasts for 1 week, or 7 days. You begin with 3 family members, each at 4 health. You also have 12 of each supply.
  • Normal: The game lasts for 2 weeks, or 14 days. You begin with 2 family members, each at 3 health. You also have 10 of each supply.

  • Hard: The game lasts for 3 weeks, or 21 days. You begin with 1 family member, at 2 health. You also have 7 of each supply.


  • Mouse: Select event options.
  • F10: Hold to force-restart.
  • F11: Toggle fullscreen.
  • Escape: Hold to force-quit the game.


You'll notice that trolls have different sizes pretty quick. The size is dependent on their strength, which is the value your family has to beat to defeat the troll in battle. The outcome of the battle is also influenced a little bit by RNG, a bit by your health, and a bit by how fantastic your fighter feels.

Things heat up the longer you play for. You need and obtain more resources, and trolls become meaner and stronger. In addition to having a random demand for their tribute, they also have biases towards each of the other supplies. One troll might hate cloth, but love wood. You never know until you try to offer it.

Another fun tidbit, is that each day is either lucky or unlucky. You'll have mostly positive or negative events occur on each day, but not always. There are also some rare events, that you have to be more lucky to encounter. There are lucky uncommon events, and unlucky common events, etc. The only way you'll know the events is if you play the game!

I encourage you to download the source for the game and pick around in there. You'll discover a whole lot of inner workings that are very specific and hard to explain easily!

Good luck partner!


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Well, my experience this jam wasn't... horrible. It definitely could have been worse, but it could have been better as well.

I avoided doing any brainstorming before the jam, because I didn't feel like wasting creativity on anything that wouldn't be created. So when I saw the theme was "sacrifice," I just drew a massive blank and had no clue how to go about making a game.

I thought, maybe I could do a strange story-based game? Where you have a grandma and she sacrifices herself or something, to teach a moral to the player? I brainstormed for a while, and eventually thought of the Oregon Trail game and the pioneers, and decided I could make a game based off of traveling west and managing your supplies and family members. But I wanted to throw in a twist: you have to pass by troll bridges, and either pay or fight them.

So on the first day, from the start of the jam for about 7 hours, I worked on the infrastructure and HUD, mostly. I drew up the box, wrote a few scripts, and got the animation of the wagon moving. I drew the wagon, tried drawing horses for it, and gave up. I didn't want to waste time on horses, because then I'd have to account for them in the gameplay, too...

The entire first day, I was afraid I was biting off more than I could chew. I was hypocritical, because the previous day I had made a reddit post along the lines of "What to do to succeed in the gm48" and I wasn't following it very well myself. One of my points was to NOT make that super-complicated strategy defense RPG, and of course... that's what I ended up making.

My fear got so bad, that about nine hours in (after drawing some stuff and animating the wagon and the HUD) I went back to the drawing board and sat there, for about an hour. An hour of wasted time! I was trying to hard to think of something different, something fast-paced and exciting, something deep and replayable yet fun at the same time... and I was dumbfounded. I didn't want to make anything stereotypical, but I didn't feel so good about the pioneer idea either...

But then I thought about how much I had already made. I made the framework for events, the trolls, the bridges, the wagon... and I didn't want it to go to waste, so I kept working. I had made games this complicated in the gm48 before, like Floor 62, although I would say this one is considerably more complex. And like Floor 62, this game was just as heavy on the storytelling. But the event system, which I had never really made in a game before, took a lot of effort and thought to create it in a way that I would only have to add a new object and script for each event.

I eventually went to bed, and slept for too long. The next day, I got back to work. I made all the events now, and by the end I was so sick of doing it. I was super bored of making all these events, but I did my best to make them all as unique and fun as possible. I also made my sounds this day, which also made me nervous. It took a few tries to make the noise of the bugs at night, and hoo-ing for the owl, and the wagon sound is actually me shaking a box of candy, but it does sound like a wagon in context.

By the end of the second day I was very happy with how it was coming out, and realized there was no turning back and I had to submit it eventually. That was when it really got intense.

I woke up after too long (again) and got back to work, for about 7 hours on the last day. In this time, I made all the menus, the victory and game-over screens, the rest of the music and sounds and graphics, and I also made the event selector script, which took a lot of thought, because there are some events where you need more than 2 people, some that show up more depending on how healthy your family is, and how lucky you are that day. The final algorithm works pretty well, and avoids duplicate events in one day.

And then, I submitted my game literally 1 minute before the deadline, because I couldn't seem to zip it properly and spent a good 15 minutes in TOTAL PANIC. I got it in the end though, and I couldn't be happier with the final result.

Result 7th