Orbit


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JayOrbitYou sit yourself down in front of an odd looking, dusty old monitor that displays what appears to be a radar screen with a few colored markers and controls along the outer edge. There are no instructions to be found anywhere, just the thrill of discovery by pointing and clicking with the mouse. You can do no harm to it; nothing is going to break or send you whirling into space without a helmet. So leave caution to the wind and boldly go into Orbit.

Designed and developed by Sean Hawkes for our 2nd Flash game design competition held a couple weeks ago, Orbit is the quintessence of what we were hoping to see in the entries submitted. It is a simple puzzle game with no instructions, one in which discovery is integral to its charm and appeal.

There is indeed a solution, perhaps even three solutions, but you must first determine what is required of you. And even when you know what you need to do, the puzzle is still a challenge to complete.

Analysis: The design and implementation of this puzzle is very nice, apart from the performance issues it causes on slower computers and the total lack of sound—the background music loop that you hear is actually the main menu soundtrack from the competition. It fit so well that we left it like it is.

When running on a super-fast computer, this game is gorgeous with its particles all flying around while getting pulled into the central star of the solar system, and the decaying trails that the planets leave behind. Unfortunately, the game runs very slow on my Mac and I found that I had to reduce the quality using the right-click context menu for the game to move as it should. However, keeping it at the slower speed actually helps by giving more time to complete the puzzle, since there's a time limit involved.

The grow theme is present here, and it becomes integral to the gameplay as you progress. And when completing the puzzle, the player is rewarded with a nice display of thanks. All things considered, Orbit is an excellent entry and a fine puzzle game experience for people of all ages.

Play Orbit

zxoThe atmosphere is great in this one, and the pure experience this game provides outweighs the fact that the gameplay is not too terribly difficult (once you figure out what the gameplay actually is). I'm still not sure why the buttons on the right are necessary—maybe so that it's more difficult to win by accident?

49 Comments

I am so confused on what to do!!!

I think it has something to do with

levels of color.

Just a guess.

Finished! Cute game with lots of different ways to go back and try it:)

i seem to grasp what im supposed to do....but im not sure HOW!!

That meter is somehow critical to your success....i think

Done. Very pretty, and somewhat difficult to figure out at first.

Thanks Jay for adding the quality menu.

Another note on cpu... the particle and 'growth control' toggles are there for performance concerns, so be careful turning off growth control especially. My hope is, however, that you decide to be daring.

Also a note for people who have completed it:

You may notice that the solution to the puzzle is a random choice between three whenever you load it. Pressing the reset button more than once should change the solution for a little added replay value

Erm..

So I have made it look like this:
http://img119.imageshack.us/img119/1282/solutionst6.png
Now what? Am I not supposed to be told that I've solved the puzzle? :D

Wow, I'd just uploaded pretty much the same picture as RiNSpy when I saw their comment. This has gotta be the solution, no?

I did notice one way to get a 'Puzzle Complete' screen: tab to the first control after 'Growth limit' and select it...

Anyway, my favorite of the entries so far.

Looks like a bug.. im sorry for that.

Oh right, tried it again and it worked.

Looks like my bug checking wasn't as thorough as it should have been, I've fixed the bug and the exploit found by foo has been remedied ;D

You may not see the fixed version immediately.

Thanks

Another fabulous game in this contest...
How do people come up with such great ideas??

Anyway, now i've ocmpleted it a couple of times I'd say:

the key to success is keeping a hand on small planets...

I cannot for the life of me

Get the bars to line up with the dots

Can anyone offer help?

Bug fix has been uploaded. Please empty your browser cache to get the new version.

I turned the growth limit off and my computer froze.

If I could understand what to do, I'm sure I would like it :P

I think this was a great take on the "grow" theme, but I just don't get it. I managed to make the "planets" big, really big, and then it wouldnt let me click on anything. I'm not sure thats what I was supposed to do though. :(

That was incredible! I really enjoyed playing this one, took me about 15 mins to understand and beat. Good stuff!

I tried it with sort of a vague semi-idea on what I might be doing. I still had fun & the music is perfect. :o)

A beautiful looking and sounding game, to be sure, but I never did like the games which give no instruction or notice that what you're doing is wrong. I just like games with a plotline or system to them, where I won't have to rely on trial and error. Don't get me wrong, I do like this game, but I just figure I'm going to get frustrated or confused easily.

Oh; I beat it as I was writing my vague congratulatory complaint. Looks like I was right after all. I won't be so pessimistic next time, I promise!

you people are better at this than I am, I got the same results lab_brat did...... Am I missing something?

I really loved this game, especially the particles and the growth of the rings. My one complaint is with the end screen. Because the "Puzzle Completed" text is so small I spent about 5 minutes clicking around the screen trying to figure out what to do next. Other than that it was a great game.

dixiepixie -

notice when the planets grow so big that the reset button turns red. That's an indicator that you need to reset the game since the solution is no longer possible for you.

Wow. This was great fun, and an impressive challenge. Probably my favourite of the contest entries posted so far.

this is really a great game. And the fact that I completed it without spoilers gave me even more satisfaction =)

Definitely the easiest puzzle of this competition yet for me. Finding what was required took just one shot, reset, finding a simple method to get there took one more. Very good design, fun idea, didn't seem very slow for me either.

It's Faaaabulooouuuuuussss... nice replay value, i bet. Fits the grow theme. Visually pleasing. And... it gets my vote out of the current entries!

I actually like Gateway II better as a game... but this is the type of game the contest was meant to be about. Gateway II is still in second though.

I am amazed by the quality of the games that have been entered in this contest. There has not been a bad one yet.

So far, there are no real hints here on how to start.
I would like one, please.

Ok, tankgirl, here is your first hint:

Click something, then note what happens. :P

Pay particular attention to the outer rings that circle around the play field.

Welly well well... I don't get it. The discovery process is fascinating and everything, but it looks like I'm about to generously give that discovery process to the non-casual gamers.

Oh come on serts, don't give up so easily. The objective is not complicated at all. Doing it is another matter entirely.

Do you really want to know? It's so much more rewarding to figure it out on your own...

Do you see those colored dots on the left outer edge of the solar system? That's how many you need of each color. Does that give you that little inertia-ending "push" to get you started?

spoil

those images people put up are wrong, just means you used up your time

beautiful

Sorry I wasted your time... I just opened it again and it moves and makes noise (and this is new).

For some reason, nothing-- and I mean NOTHING-- happened when I clicked the circles the first time I looked at this puzzle. Only the play, pause, and skip buttons worked.

Now I'm interested!

You should really make your own CDT-collection! Great atmosphere!

Excellent puzzle. Got it in three tries. Fun use of the grow theme, I think.

Awesome. I love the lack of instructions. It's like two senses of accomplishment- one for figuring out what to do; one for finishing the puzzle!!

It took Jay's double spoiler for me to figure out what the pooper was going on. Now that I get it, I really hate this game. I'm sorry, but I do.

Will - "hate" is a pretty strong word to use without any reason to back it up. Constructive criticism is always so much better than merely voicing a like or dislike because it gives the designer valuable feedback about what might be done differently.

I had to use the "double spoiler" by jay myself to even understand what i was supposed to do, and when i finally did it, i was so dissapointed by the ending..
I'm not sure what could be done differently, but hey the others here seem to like it so guess I'm just an idiot ^^

A little colorblind unfriendly? I'm not sure how much of an advantage being able to see which color is which would be, but trying to count in by ring ... when there is a =timer=... is difficult at best. If there were no time limit, it would probably be fine.

@Phoenix:

You should be able to solve it even while color-blind, however I imagine it would be more difficult. On the other hand, this puzzle could have been made in all black and white and still could be figured out. The only thing color helps you with is correlating the meters to the orbits more easily, but they can still be correlated based on distance. All color talk aside, there is a pause button that should allow you time to count and plan if necessary.

Hope that helps.

Oh, I loved the ending. Took me about five minutes to figure the game out--even if I couldn't go about doing it. Took a while and had to change the puzzle but I eventually got there. Great game.

When I finally figured out what to do here, I tried it two times from the outside, then from the center, on the second try I got it. Cool concept, though a bit easy once you know how to do it

I break the game every time. The "planets" merge with each other until one fills the whole screen. Then you can't click on any of them anymore. Or at least, nothing happens

tsuken - then you're doing it wrong. =)

Managing growth size is integral to solving the puzzle.

I suppose you're right, but the text said:
"You can do no harm to it; nothing is going to break..."
But I kept breaking it :P

Well, I guess you got me there. :x

Actually, what I meant by that was that you can't irreplaceably break it. A simple reset gets you back on track again. =)

I figured it out...

not really

I acually need serious help

Seriously

Someone?!?!

PLEASE?!?!

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