Drifts


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DriftsPhilipp Seifried sent word of the new casual game he has just released on his website, RepeatWhileTrue, among an array of multimedia experiments that use technologies such as Flash, Shockwave, Processing, and Quicktime.

Drifts is a Flash action game based on a very simple idea: collect the green bubbles while avoiding the purple ones. Using the mouse, move the red bubble around the play field. Coming in contact with a green bubble will cause it to stick to the red one and any other green bubbles already collected.

Convert the green bubbles to points by collecting a blue bubble, but you will need to collect at least three (3) green bubbles before you can 'cash' them in for points. Three (3) green bubbles will earn you one (1) point, however the more green bubbles you cash-in at once the greater the bonus points awarded.

Beware of trying to collect green bubbles that are floating either over top or underneath a purple one. Wait until the green bubble is free, or else the purple bubble will prevail.

Analysis: The gameplay is very easy to pick-up and get started with playing immediately. Moving the red bubble around with the mouse to collect other bubbles feels natural and intuitive. And yet the simplicity of the game is deceiving: underneath the surface lurks a challenge that is difficult to master. The reasons for this are several: (1) the game is unforgiving. Touch but one purple bubble and it's game over. There is no concept of extra lives or second chances. (2) The fact that three bubbles equals only one meager point will force you to create large clusters of green bubbles in order to make any significant progress with points. This also makes you more vulnerable. A third reason is a bit more subtle.

As you move the mouse around gathering bubbles, you will begin to acquire a feel for just how close you can squeak by a bad bubble without touching it. When you get close to a green bubble you will notice that it almost 'leaps' toward the cluster as if by an invisible attractive force. You will also notice that this attractive force exists for the purple bubbles as well, and therefore the margin to squeak by may not be as small as you might think at first. Remember: just one purple bubble and it's over.

On the downside, the game will remember your highest score for only as long as you keep the game window open. Reload the game and any previous high score is lost. By saving a player's score in a cookie or by using Flash's local storage mechanism, a game can easily get around this limitation and enhance the user experience significantly.

The pretty floating bubbles and attractive scrolling background contribute to a mesmerizing effect when playing for a while. The simple and yet deceptively challenging gameplay has addictive qualities that will have you coming back for more. Drifts is an exceptionally good game that is fun to play. Click.

If you're feeling adventurous, why not spend some time perusing Philipp's other experiments on his site. There you will even find a few mp3 files containing music composed with fractal algorithms that are astonishingly melodic.

With thanks to Andrew and to Philipp for suggesting the game. =)

25 Comments

Great game. I like the way it says something different based on how many bubbles you cash in at once. very good, amazing, DANG! etc. The biggest I got was 125pts which was around 17 green bubbles or so(i lost count).

I think the key is to NOT just *let* the bubbles attach to your red bubble. Instead if you move your mose INTO the green bubble very quickly as you attach, you can make a MUCH tighter cluster of bubbles. I've had clusters of 4 or 5 bubbles barely larger than the original red bubble, and the 125pt one that I turned in was no bigger than the ones I was making to start with 5 or 6 bubbles.

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Excellent strategy, Joe. I just got 232 total, with one 91 point combo ("OMG!"). Yes, the little words of encouragement are a very nice touch.

Similar to, though not exactly like your strategy, I choose a particular place within the cluster to attach new green bubbles to. This allows me to keep the cluster a bit more dense.

I do like your idea and will have to give it a try!

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Great little game. I feel a little silly mentioning this, but since people talk about color-blindness ... when the scrolling background gets too busy, particularly when the cricket on the water plants comes up, and then the sun-thing moving at a different speed than the rest of the background, it actually gives me such bad vertigo I start to tip sideways in my chair.

I kept dying because I had to close my eyes or look away from the screen to keep from getting sick!

I wish there was a way to turn it off because I really like chasing the green bubbles around!

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After a bit of playing around I came up with a list of the scores and phrases up through 16 so far. I'm putting it under spoiler tags because I like to find this type of stuff out myself, but I'm sure some people would like to know

point values:

0 = 0pts
1 = 0pts
2 = 0pts
3 = 1pt
4 = 5pts
5 = 11pts
6 = 17pts
7 = 25pts
8 = 33pts
9 = 41pts
10 = 51pts
11 = 61pts
12 = 73pts
13 = 85pts
14 = 97pts
15 = 111pts
16 = 125pts

phrases:

0 = "collect some green bubbles"
1 = "more green bubbles"
2 = "more green bubbles"
3 = "alright!"
4 = "not bad"
5 = "pretty good"
6 = "nice!"
7 = "great!"
8 = "impressive!"
9 = "awesome!"
10 = "amazing!"
11 = "Incredible!"
12 = "shocking!"
13 = "Woah!"
14 = "OMG!"
15 = "Insane!"
16 = "DANG!"

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scramble125 November 28, 2005 7:48 PM

This game is one of those really frustrating ones that I can't stop playing...unfortunately it moves kind of slow for my taste so it didn't quite hold my attention like some of the orisinal games or other bubbly-based games i've played. still, i enjoyed it!

and Jay -- lovin the santa hat, whoo hoo!

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517!

I have to admit Jay, when I first saw this post I was unimpressed. However, after playing it for awhile I couldn't stop. The force with which you slam bubbles together definitely affects the size of the cluster, to the point where bubbles practically overlap. Patience is key to this game. The overal sound of the game is perfect for its style. If I were to change one thing I would maybe change the background into more of an expanding world - starting from ground level and maybe floating to the stars and beyond? Just a suggestion. Keep up the good work Jay.

-Alex

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Holy cow! This music is almost as addicting as Zelda's!

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Good fun, very nicely put together, however I felt it really frusterating that sometimes you'd pick up a green bubble JUST as it overlaps with a purple bubble and as soon as you pick it up it pops. It's like to safely pick up a green bubble no purple bubbles can be anywhere near it, which kind of defeats the purpose of the game.

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I really like this game Jay, and I just switched to Firefox, I thought you'd be pround of me! =)

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Good job! I am very proud of you, Paul. =)

Now if only the other 65% of the people who visit here would be as smart.

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Safari is good too! (though I use both Safari and Firefox ^_^)

I actually like how touching a green bubble isn't always safe (if it's to close to a purple one), it adds an element of danger! (ha! dangerous bubbles!)... XD
but yeah, if it didn't do that, I'm not sure the game would work as well o_O

The music and scrolling background are great.

...
there's no spoiler here... O_o

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I also stumbled on Joe's strategy of ramming green bubbles. Got as high as 15 this way. Patience is definitely key, as you need to wait until you can ram a green bubble without any danger of overshooting and hitting a purple one.
*POP*

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Managed to get on the highscores list.
Here are the points and messages for groups of 17-21. With groups this big I found myself avoiding blue bubbles as well :)

17 -- 141 points, message: 31337! (a bug?)
18 -- 157 points, message: 31338!
19 -- 173 points, " "
20 -- 191 points, " "
21 -- 209 points, " "

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Nice going, Jeff.

I know that Philipp is going to revisit his code to implement saving the user's personal best in a cookie, so maybe he will address the missing words in the next version as well.

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Jeff, 31337 is Leetspeak for "Elite" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leet

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Monimonika December 2, 2005 12:52 PM

Before I email Philipp about this, I thought I should ask here.

I think this game is addicting, and could actually be sold for profit. For the 'deluxe' off-line version, the author could impliment not only a "save personal best score" but also have a keyboard key assigned to pause/unpause the game.

I know I would pay to play off-line and have a pause key. What does everyone else think?

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Hi everyone,

First of all, thanks for all the comments and feedback. I'm especially pleasantly surprised about how many people appear to like the music, since I couldn't play the keyboard in a "live" situation to save my life.

I have just updated "Drifts" to store personal highscores. I have also made the collision detection slightly more forgiving, and I've looked into the bug about the missing words...

Actually, it was supposed to just repeat the final statement if anyone were to exceed 18 bubbles at once. I didn't expect anyone to go beyond that. Congrats!
When I play it in "God mode", it does repeat the final statement (see spoiler above) as intended, and I can't find anything in the code that would make it come out empty.
Jeff, when you listed " " at 19 bubbles and up, were you in fact saying you didn't get any message at all? Or were you using some type of notation for "same as above"?

Monimonika, I'm currently planning an offline version, which I hope to be able to work on while the current flood of visitors lasts.
I've been thinking about a fullscreen-capable standalone version, with a few remedies to issues not easily fixable within Flash, such as the slow performance some machines seem to experience, improved graphics and a bit more variation in the soundtrack and scenery. Much the same gameplay, but a bit more polished and nice.
I guess, if I can get that done, it will take about three to four weeks, though. I'd like to shoot for somewhere in the range between 5 to 15$, preferably in the lower range. However I can't presently say if that's feasible at all, what with bandwidth cost, shop software, tax and what have you.

All in all, I must say it took me by surprise how quickly the game is getting popular. Had I known, I'd probably have made more elaborate plans before. :)

cheers,
Philipp

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Nice job, Philipp. =)

You have made it better without affecting the gameplay that made it such a delightful game to begin with.

I just played again and managed to get lucky by amassing a cluster that awarded me with 229 points, and received the 31338 message for it.

But I still couldn't get on the high score list. Oh well, some things I guess are just not meant to be.

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KumikoDee Author Profile Page January 10, 2006 4:54 PM

ahhhhh I was having a blast with this before, but now I can't play it b/c flash 8 is required. I guess I still have home... ~sigh~ =p I'll be waiting for the stand-alone version, though! Mebbe you should make CDs an option for a little more (shipping and making the effort) of a price so you can offset at least a wee bit of the bandwidth. ^_^

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AWESOME!! The music puts me to sleep... duhh, doo duh doo do duhhoo... so relaxing... I love it!! but i suck at it... -_-. Haha, my max xombo is 5! Boo-yah! LOL, i suck!

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Perhaps you should get rid of GOD mode, I see 18,000 and 20,000 scores. We all know that's not possible! It would take weeks!

Scott

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my mom is crazy about this game

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You've posted scores for cluster sizes 0-21. Here is the rest:

It goes 1 5 11 17 25 33 41 51 61 and so on.
The differences are 6 6 8 8 8 10 10 12 12 12 14 14 16 16 16 18 18 20 20 20 22 22 24 24 24 and so on going in alternating groups of 2 and 3.

I managed to get a cluster of 24 worth 269.

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Very fun game. Might I suggest, for the offline version, that the user be able to choose the speeds? I had a lot of fun with this but it just seemed a little slow and there were a lot of points where I had to wait quite a while for a green one.

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I love this game. It feels so peaceful.

The music's definitely great.

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