Following Footsteps


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Rating: 3.9/5 (66 votes)
| Comments (10) | Views (36)

followingfootsteps.gifzxoFollowing Footsteps is a unique and oddly charming game created by Ming-Yee Iu for our recent Casual Game Design Competition 6. While the game didn't win any prizes, it set itself apart through its creative take on the "explore" theme and innovative gameplay.

You play the part of an intrepid explorer ‒ or rather, you play the part of a weaselly scavenger following in the footsteps of an intrepid explorer, hoping to get your grubby mitts on the gold he lost over a century ago. Armed with the explorer's diary and a map of the area, you must track his progress across a wilderness of woods, rivers, lakes and swamps in search of the lost treasure. You start in the city of Compton; use the [arrow] keys or click on the on-screen arrows to move. When you think you're near a site where Emerson might have camped, click your character or press [enter] to explore that square. Use the map and the diary to help you pinpoint the location. Once you've found a campsite, the next diary entry will give you clues to the next location. Keep on exploring in this fashion until you've found the missing loot! If you get lost, head to any city and visit the library for a hint.

Analysis: Following Footsteps looks and feels like a prototype for a great game. I don't say this to criticize Ming, quite the opposite, actually, because when you get right down to it, the underlying mechanic is not only rock-solid, it's at least two steps away from any other casual game I've seen. People dig the idea. You can tell by the feedback that they care. At least half of the game's comments on the competition page read something like "Great idea, but here's how it could be better". Games based on mediocre concepts just don't get that kind of feedback.

What makes it so appealing? It speaks to the explorer in us, the part of us that's saddened just a little when the entire world is revealed in a game like Civilization. We like to climb mountains and ford rivers and track through forests, and Following Footsteps lets us do just those things.

Unfortunately, the illusion suffers a bit since terrain has no effect on the way you can move across it. Look everyone, I'm walking on water! Making the terrain interactive with the exploring character would go a long way towards turning this game into a real adventure. Incorporate some of the same challenges you might run into if you were actually out in the wild ‒ storms, fords, boats, bears, carrying supplies, wagons, oxen... OK, I stole those last two from Oregon Trail, but you get the idea.

So, cheers to Ming for creating Following Footsteps with its innovative core gameplay mechanism. We hope to see a more fleshed-out version in the future, hopefully incorporating some of the great ideas suggested by fellow JIGsters.

Play Following Footsteps

10 Comments

Keith Yeager December 17, 2009 9:49 PM

Gah! Most of the game is logical, and finding the campsites is fun, but the LAST part is so frustrating.

The treasure must have been swept NE? Find where the current let up? There's no way to tell what the current is doing, other than that one path to the east. Even a narrowing down of which kinds of spaces to explore would be nice.

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Its nice to play a game that has a something different about it. I played this game from start to finish a few days ago. Sure, it has a few rough edges but so what. The framework for a nice variation on explore / escape games is here.

Look forward to seeing how this game and its genre develops.

E.G.

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Janice in GA December 17, 2009 11:01 PM

This is one of the few games that didn't fit comfortably on the screen of my netbook. :( I had to keep scrolling up and down for it to fit.

I got all the way through, which means it's pretty easy. I'm crap at most of these "find the object" games. :)

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I'm glad this is getting featured here, it was one of my favorite games in cgdc6.

I thought it was was fun and had a lot of charm. I would love to see more like this.

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Billy Nitro Author Profile Page December 17, 2009 11:39 PM

The city of Compton is where it takes place so I'm a ask your attention...etc.

I 'gree, I really liked this game, but the hints made it so easy to find the right spot, and the library just pointed you to it if you turned yourself around. 'Course, I haven't played since the competition, there might've been a few updates here and there since then.

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Reminds me a little bit of EA's Heart of Africa from 1985 on C64:
http://markus.brenner.de/ea/africa.html

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I thought this was an interesting idea, and quite fun and "rewarding" to play. I do agree with the comments in the article - it would be great to see a little more polished version.

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That was a fun game! However, I agree with Billy Nitro in that the library makes many parts too easy, assuming you can find it! I must admit I had to resort to it many times, particularly at the end, where I took the river much too far.

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Honestly the game was fun but I didnt enjoy the quality much. I belive the character could have been made a little better. The little roads were cute but not the cities.
I enjoyed the begining story though

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I had no problem with the ending. Found the gold at my first try.

To find the place where the current lets up, you're looking for a swamp.

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