Weekend Download №95


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Weekend Download

JohnBIt's TOJam time! The Toronto Independent Game Jam #4 was held May 1-3, with participating teams producing 37 games! Below are just a few of our favorites. Be sure to check out the TOJam 2009 games page for other unique titles!

spiritguide.jpgSpirit Guide (Windows, 17.2MB, free) - A wonderful 3D platform adventure by Michael Todd, Spirit Guide gives you a jetpack and standard first person shooter controls and sends you on a few simple missions. Collecting gems and bringing them to a character is pretty standard, but how about finding a physical manifestation of "hope" and returning that to someone? There are only three levels, making it a very short experience, but the environments look great, movement is fluid and sensible, and the artwork nothing short of superb.

alpinist.gifAlpinist (Windows, 1.4MB, free) - A short platform adventure game by Superbrothers that reminds me of Knytt Stories or Seiklus combined with a little Out of this World/Another World. Explore the snowy summits of the Alpine mountains with the [arrow] keys, holding [shift] to build running/long jumping momentum and tapping [ctrl] to leap. You are very much limited in how you move (hence the Another World reference), but that limitation is what sets the pace and allows you to drink the game in. The artwork and atmosphere are beyond stunning, and even without sound, you'll experience a great deal of immersion. It's painfully short, however, and after less than three minutes, you'll be done. More is in the works, however! Another build of the game is available at Artsy Games Incubator.

category5.gifCategory 5 (Windows, 21.6MB, free) - Katamari Damacy meets a hurricane. Seriously, that's the premise behind this quirky little arcade game by Team AnyKey. The hurricane spins slowly at first and can pick up small rocks laying around the field. Spin the mouse, however, and it gets some oomph, allowing you to pick up larger objects without losing speed. Gather items from smallest to largest until you're blowing through the whole screen, devouring everything in your path.

theascent.gifThe Ascent (Windows, 7.8MB, free) - A "keep climbing up" platformer from Team Jimmy with excellent pixel art and a thoughtful storyline. You begin by leaving the attic that specifically says "do not go out". So much for that! Climbing the tree is a precise exercise of avoidance and careful jumps, and if you get hit, you have to start over at the ground.

Note: All games have been confirmed to run under Windows Vista and are virus-free. Mac users should try Boot Camp, Parallels, or CrossOver Games to play Windows titles, Linux users can use Wine. If you know of a great game we should feature, use the Submit link above to send it in!

22 Comments

category 5 can be fleshed out and made into an online game.

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would like to try Category 5 but whenever i start the game it immediatley says that I lost. -.-

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Would like to try category 5, but whenever I start a new game or load one, it immediately says that I lost.

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None of the links worked for me... Either the TOJam server is down, or my computer is the problem. Guess I'll just try again later.

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I downloaded Category 5. When I open the file after extraction, Windows (Vista) immediately says that the program was cancelled and looks for a fix. I tried redownloading but still can't play it. I'll try with one of the other games.

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Hi. I'm one of the TOJam organizers (super thanks to JIGs and JohnB for posting about the games).

Just spotted this posting. Sorry for the troubles some people are experiencing. I double checked that all the TOJam links are working and that "Category 5" downloads and runs properly. I'm using Windows XP.

"Category 5" does require the latest .Net, latest DirectX, and latest XNA installed (see the page for installation details). I'm not sure if that will solve the problems, but it just might.

Thanks so much, and sorry for any hassles.

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The controls in Spirit Guide seemed very awkward to me, as I had trouble flying and looking around at the same time (although that might be because I was on a laptop). Because of that, I felt that some of my landings were more due to luck than any real skill.

Also,

I felt that the ending to the third level was a little rushed, since I never actually finished the quest/got all of the goats. I know this game doesn't really focus on plots, but I was just confused by the 'fatman.'

That said, the art was very nice, and the artist was able to create a convincing atmosphere out of very little.

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yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy August 2, 2009 10:09 AM

tips pleezzz!

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I found some of the jumps in Spirit Guide a little frustrating. When I finally got them, it seemed more like luck. It had a nice atmosphere going, and I would love to see it fleshed out into a larger game.

Alpinist was incredibly, incredibly, short. It had the start of a great game going for it, but then it ended. The mechanics would make for a fun exploration game, would be cool to see.

Maybe it's my wrist, but after a few minutes, Category 5 got tiring. I really wanted to play through to the end, but I couldn't...keep...spinning. Really fun though. Perhaps an option for an "always-on" spin for the weak of hand?

Despite some frustrating jumps in The Ascent, I really wanted to keep playing. Maybe an expanded version would lose that quality, but maybe with a few added goals (instead of simply going up), it could turn into a full-fledged platformer marathon.

They were all really fun this time around.

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Seán O'Callaghan August 2, 2009 3:06 PM

I also can't run Category 5 on Vista. The same goes for The Ascent, as well. Any ideas what could be causing this? I know I'm up to date on all the required software.

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I downloaded Ascent, but when I try to run it, it keeps going "an unexpected error occured whil running the game" right before it finishes loading and then closes.

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I'm also having a problem with the TOJam games. I get the classic "Address Not Found" page. I use Mozilla Firefox, maybe Firefox has a problem with this website...?

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Aha! Yes, it is Mozilla Firefox having a problem with the website. I tried loading the webpage using AOL and it worked fine :)

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I tried downloading the games again and... nothing. The page doesn't even load. I tried going straight to www.tojam.ca , but I keep getting an error. I use Mozilla Firefox, too, but I tried it with IE and it didn't work either... I'll try going to my friend's house and downloading it there, and bring the game home using a pendrive or something. I'm not giving up that easily!

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Hello, it's Jim McG (one of the TOJam organizers). Once again, sorry about the troubles. I just retested the site and tried downloading some games and everything still works correctly for me :(

www.tojam.ca was tested against PC IE6.0+, PC Mozilla Firefox 2.0+ and MAC Safari 1.0+. Hence, I'm not sure why it works in AOL and not Mozilla Firefox. The website is heavily reliant on Javascript, but I don't think that would cause the classic "Address not found" page. I wish I knew what was causing this. Feel free to e-mail me jim@tojam.ca and (depending on size) I can simply e-mail you whatever games you want.

With regards to the Ascent not working, I have confirmed that it downloads and plays properly on Windows XP and Vista. The game was built using "Game Maker 7.0" which means you shouldn't be having any problems. I wish I could be more help.

Last Gasp Idea

Are people downloadin games from the History section of the pages? Do NOT download these versions, use the main "Download Game" instead. The versions in History are older and sometimes have problems. We keep them as the "official record" of what was completed in 3 days, we don't want the public to actually play them :)

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I can't download the last thing needed for Category 5. It needs something that I don't know what it is. It's such a bummer. I LOVE the Katamari series, and I'm getting the PS3 basically only for Katamari Forever and another game.

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@Alex: You've caught me. The ending was going to be a larger boss fight, with more meaning, after a more complete goat finding quest. But I ran out of time and brain power to make a good boss quest, and after failing twice, I simply stuck in the lever, and it killed the boss.

@INL: Yes, if I made this into a larger game, I would make it third person.

However, I didn't want to deal with a character, since the game was based on an 'experience', and I wanted the player to imagine the character, instead of just defining it for them. In a larger game I would, because that would allow me a character to work with, but in this short game, I would not have been able to use the character to increase the experience very well.

Working for 72 hours on 2h15m sleep is a bad idea, just for the record. The abrupt ending is a direct result of that.

Also, if the link is not working, you can get spirit guide from my site, www.spyeart.com.

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Alex: You caught me, I was going to make the ending a larger boss battle, and the goats a more fleshed out quest, but I ran out of time and energy, and decided to stick in the lever instead. This is the reason that 72 hours of work, with 2h15m of sleep is not a good idea. That, and how many days of sleep it took afterwards.

INL: Yes, if I made this into a larger game, I would use a third person camera. In a longer game, a character would allow me to do more, but in this short game, it would have been done badly, with little context, and would have decreased the experience.

But a third person camera would allow me more freedom in level design and improve the jumping mechanic.

If the link's are not working for you, you can always click on my name (links to my website). Spirit guide's direct download link is on my front page.

- Michael

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@Jiggler

Hmm... can you detail what you have done to produce this an exact trace from the menu system to game including what level you choose
would help.

we have not encountered your instant lose in any of our testing sessions including the arcade.

@fsjd

Category 5 was originally concieved as a multi-player capable game but we ran out of time. We thought the mechanic of stealing other people's junk was humorous.

@johnB

Interresting suggestion if we make another version we will incorporate the ability to reverse the tornado direction just by mouse spin movement.

@Reese

Hi, FanFan from Team AnyKey here (Dev for Category 5).

Category 5 requires:

.NET 3.5 Framework: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=333325FD-AE52-4E35-B531-508D977D32A6&displaylang=en

XNA 3.0 Framework: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=6521d889-5414-49b8-ab32-e3fff05a4c50&displaylang=en

DirectX 9c: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=2da43d38-db71-4c1b-bc6a-9b6652cd92a3&DisplayLang=en

Random Tip:

- No one at the arcade was able to get big enough to see lots of flying saucers. On the final level you should be dodging them before the end.

- Airplanes and Hot air balloons are a significant boost if you can get them (take very little energy to pick up but can deal a lot of damage)

- When objects are spinning too slowly in your tornado they deal less damage to objects you are trying to pick up, but are still destroyed on impact. (make sure your spinning at max speed before you try and grab the next biggest item).

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Really liked ascent, but seriously? No checkpoints? That basically makes it the most frustrating thing ever.

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