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Entropic Space


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Rating: 4/5 (47 votes)
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PatrickEntropic SpaceIn Entropic Space, no one can hear you smash planets together. It's true, sound does not travel in space. But what does travel are "fun-waves", those mysterious quanta of play that science is just beginning to understand. A submission to our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition from Studio Cypher, Entropic Space has you piloting a mega-scale space pod that can bump planets into each other, engineering parsec after parsec into entropy.

Slide the mouse to control your ship as planets fly into your parsec from the right side of the screen. Nudge them and slam them into bouncing vector trajectories, and when they collide they leave behind glowing space dust. Collect the dust to boost your meter and move on to the next parsec. Meanwhile, black holes float across the screen from the top and bottom. If planets collide with these black holes stars form, causing the black hole to remain on screen. Needless to say, colliding with a star or a black hole will destroy any space-pod, even one that can head-butt planets.

Analysis: Sure, the physics don't make sense. Planets going into black holes to create stars? Black holes moving in parallel lines? But then you remember this space is entropic, and the physics that are important here are ball physics. And it works. The increasing complexity of planets bouncing around, intersecting with black holes, increasing the volume of space that can't be touched, space that is literally decaying around your wrist, there is a real game here. The polish is solid and the implementation is as sound as a silver-backed currency. Take a trip into Entropic Space.

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36 Comments

aww....it's all over?

Oh well, I'll have to give this one a go!

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this has to be one of the simplest to play of the entries so far :)

really cool graphics and nice gameplay. Although a way to regenerate the shields and getting rid of the black holes and 'white holes' (I know Jay said they are supernovae, but they don't look like supernovae to me) would be a great addition.

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aaroncox1234 Author Profile Page October 11, 2007 8:21 PM

Nice game. The gameplay, music and sound effects made for a very relaxing game. My only complaint is that you have to start over each time you die. A "3 lives" system would have been nice, or just having the ability to continue from the start of the current stage.

In any case, this was a great competition closer.

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Wow. After the very first entry, I said there should be a game about planets spinning away into black holes and here, a mere 47 entries later, I get my wish!

A nice, relaxing game. Excellent atmosphere. I agree that it's strange to die so quickly and have to restart from the beginning. It seems like an abrupt and out-of-character way to end such a soothing, almost puzzle-like game.

But I dig it. Nice work.

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Quick note, Jay - your alt tag for this entry's picture still says "Nightmare".

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Wow, think there were enough entries?! Totally amazing turnout.

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Well, the competition is over, and Jay was wrong after all: it took 9 days to show all the games, not one week! "Cursed math!", says Jay. LOL

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very impressed with the number of entries.
Nice game, I wish there was a way to turn of the music

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A very nice finish to a great competition. I agree that a three lives system would be nice, especially if the pace was sped up just a touch. As it is, a nice relaxing game that is a fun one to play. I liked the music as well.

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I really like this one! Great interpretation of the theme! I agree that there should be a '3 lives' thing, but otherwise, lots of fun to play.

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Suggestion:The Debris change with the color of the planets being destroyed. That is pretty much the only thing I would change. Absolutely great.
Yea "lives" might not hurt, but works great as a oneshot!

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I'd like the ability to recover all the dust for bonus points rather than be limited to only picking up exactly enough dust.

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Thanks for the comments everyone and congratulations to all the entrants! I can't believe how many quality games there were.

I liked the screen in one of the earlier games that described how it was designed, so I put up a screencast about our design process.

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Nice, relaxing game. I would've liked a little bit of story about why we're defending the 5 boxes from oncoming planets etc, just for flavor. And for Astrocrash - it would be nice to have more than just four orientations for the sprite; it's kinda disconcerting having him flip rapidly between vertical and horizontal when moving diagonally. Even eight would've made it a lot smoother; more would be better. And I agree with others who asked for 3 lives - dying is rather abrupt as it is. You could even add life pickups (and other powerups) to make the game more interesting.

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I underestimated this one on a first play. Fortunately I went back and tried it again... there's some really good gameplay here. It's not until about parsec ten that the game really properly starts.

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Great audio and simple, soothing gameplay. Would've loved a pause feature.

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Bob Montgomery October 12, 2007 2:10 PM

Would have been cool if harder impacts generated more debris and/or allowing combos somehow.

As it is, nice fun game. :)

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Will Emigh: Cool. Thanks for the screencast.

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I agree that a little backstory might make the game a little more appealing. My major complaint though is not being able to get rid of the black holes or supernovas. At least let them fade out over a moment or so. Or let me feed planets or stardust into 'em to make 'em go away.

Very cool game and with only a little tweaking here and there would become an incredibly addictive distraction.

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Yeah i like the concept. the overall feel, collisions, and ethereal music remind me of flOw which i got totally immersed in. i agree that it seems a little harsh to have to start from the beginning after one mistake, just when you're being drawn in to the game.

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Powerups are a cool idea and definitely something that would go into a sequel, I think. Same with many of the other ideas posted. There's lots of possibility for tweaking...

Valarauka: originally, we had Astrocrash rotate as you moved him, but we ran into a problem computing his direction so we did a quick-and-dirty 4-direction version for the competition.

smjames and Aaronzdad: The black and white holes should disappear in the explosion between parsecs... unless you've lost your batteries on the left. For every battery lost, 20% more of the black/white holes and planets hang around between parsecs. If that's not working with you, let me know and I'll try to track down the problem.

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Truly excellent game.

Effectively a tetris-type endless sorting game. It's endless, it gets faster, harder, more crowded, and more chaotic as you go along.

The implementation of ball physics in this way adds a certain uniqueness to it, and I like the way that the black hole elements are useful as well as deadly.

I do have a few suggestions for it:

This is very much a game of skill and planning, I think the random chance of dying when you move the ship to the top or bottom of the screen should be eliminated; you should always be able to see the black holes to avoid them.

Although I liked the concept of protecting the bumpers, I felt it was a little too hard to lose them. I got up to parsec 23, and when I died they had neither been touched or looked like they were ever going to be.

With a few tweaks to it, (Will suggests a sequel, which I think is a very good idea) this could be one of those basic, highly addictive game concepts which proves very popular and gets copied (with slight variations) by everyone.

All in all, one of those rare games which is both truly original and highly playable. It's hard to choose with so many extremely different and well written games, but I think this one's the best in show.

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Sure Will, they disappear between parsecs but in later levels when you still have a ways to go before that change sometimes the supernovas really get in the way.

I got to thinking... how about if you could create a connection right over the supernova feeding stardust into it and collapsing it that way. Of course you could set later levels to need more and more stardust to eliminate 'em.

Then again you could add that to the Powerup list. Two special planets that when collided and collected gave you a missile to finish off a supernova or black hole.

Still a fun game overall.

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Another top notch game, though at first I wasn't sure about it. It wasn't until the meteors/black holes started persisting over the different levels that I really got what was going on here, and it was very fun and addictive. The comparison to tetris felt inappropriate though, because while tetris generally rewards those with extremely fast fingers, this is more of a precision avoidance/deflection game where a steady hand wins out over the quickest. This is another of my favorites that I will probably return to frequently. Now I need to go back and figure out what is my number one out of all the great ones!

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WHERE IS THE PAUSE BUTTON?!?!?!

Yeesh. Right in the middle of level 10 and I have to answer the dang phone.

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You can always right-click the Flash context menu for a quick pause in the action on most any game.

Yes, it's kind of a hack, but it works in a pinch. :)

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Oh yeah... Dinna think of that one.

Is it just my system or does the action get all herky-jerky around level eight or nine? By level eleven it was so bad I couldn't tell where I was moving anymore and had to shut it off.

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Rebooted and tried again. Same thing.

I made it to level 17 this time but the freezing and jumping movement drove me crazy and made gameplay nearly impossible.

Oh, and right-clicking doesn't stop anything. Darnitall anyway.

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That sounds weird. Right-clicking definitely pauses the action for me. And I haven't encountered the issue you're seeing, though I've only made it to level 10.

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Well I set the quality to low and it seemed to help just a teeny tiny bit. The herky-jerky stuff didn't start until level ten or eleven instead of nine or ten.

Maybe I just need a faster system huh? But it's a 2g processor... hmm...

And nope, right-clicking doesn't stop anything.

I'm running firefox 5.0 (thanks to the urging of someone we all know well) would that matter?

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Thanks again for all of your comments! It's incredibly gratifying to have sent our game out into the world and gotten such incredible feedback.

I have a new version up that includes a properly rotating Astrocrash, advance warning of black holes, and (just for you, AaronzDad) you can hit any key to pause!

I developed on a 1.5g machine, so 2g should be plenty. However, I'm doing some profiling on the game which should help me make it even faster.

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Well that's strange indeed. I played the updated version on your site Will and made it to level 16 running smooth all the way.

Pretty cool game.

And THANK YOU for the pause option. I used it three times getting to level 16. :)

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Anonymous October 24, 2007 7:25 AM

the cursor is sometimes stuck and then it jumps suddenly. guess its a compatibility bug between the game and the display card.

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Wow, a highly engaging, stress-free game. I got to 14+ parsecs, but then my stupid football mouse pulls a laser wander on me and I die. Anyhoo, thanks for this one, it is an instant favorite.

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Um, AaronzDad, there's no such thing as Firefox 5.0.

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No offense, but I remember playing this around october/november last year... I.e. this game was made a while ago - not for the competition.


[Edit: No offense taken. The competition was in October of last year, and this game was indeed made for it. We are just now reviewing the competition finalists since we only just introduced them during the competition. -Jay]

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