Link Dump Friday №359


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Link Dump Fridays

DoraWith fairytale clicktoys, surreal and transcendent interactive art, rage inducing arcade avoidance games, and soothingly simple puzzle games, this Link Dump Friday might be the Frankenstein's monster of game compilations, but you can put away the pitchforks and the torches. It's just here to be loved. It doesn't want to eat the townsfolk. ... just... maybe... gnaw on 'em a little.

  • GatherXGatherX - For some reason, whenever my mother read me the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, she left out all the clicking. Probably because it would have taken her fifteen years to tell it otherwise. Adam Vierra, Diploms1, and MB throw their hats in the clicktoy pool with this resource-gathering spin on the classic fairytale where you must mine and fish in addition to taking whacks at the beanstalk in order to afford upgrades to work faster and more efficiently. Maybe the cow was the better deal... ?
  • GlimpseGlimpse - Can a game be both mellow and make you want to throw your computer off a bridge? If it's Hybrid Mind Studios' imminently stylish and simple avoidance game, then the answer is a teeth-gritting yes! Try to navigate yourself through a maze avoiding the walls that only appear when you click, which itself incurs a small penalty, so the object is to try to memorize the layout of the level to get through with your highscore intact. And your computer.
  • Shape Fold 2Shape Fold 2 - Bikas serves up some soothingly simple puzzling where all you have to do is click and drag hinged shapes to make them fit together according to the design. If you're looking for something low on difficulty but high on curiously cathartic atmosphere (what is that music? Am I drinking tea in Saturn Valley?), this is the game for you to set your day off on a calm note.
  • Scaling the SkyScaling the Sky - Created in just 48 hours, Michael Molinari, Chelsea Howe, and William Felkner's platform game/loveliness generator is as surreal as it is soothing with its dreamlike gameplay and visuals. You play a young girl who literally has her head (and everything else) in the clouds as she climbs higher and higher using rainbows and waterfalls. Simple? Sure. But more accurately, simply beautiful.

13 Comments

f.lynxpardinus Author Profile Page February 14, 2014 8:30 AM

I can't nail it down, but something seems funky about the GatherX upgrades. I haven't paid enough attention to be certain, but they seem to jump around in price and level. Is anyone else encountering this?

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Fair warning for all players. Reload often. The game is supposed to save on the run, but doesn't appear to be a 100% thing.

In my case I was playing for about 3 hours and had a flash crash. Reloaded to find all my data was gone and I would have to restart again.

For the devs I would recommend a manual save option so correct this issue b/c it's a potential game breaker for a game that is quickly set up to be played in the background.

Except for that I really did enjoy it though I'm not going to lie. Wish I could have finished (1/2 done on that stupid vine)

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Slightly late edit. That was directed towards GatherX.

Using Firefox and had no issues with the load.

Tried again with a few clicks and reload and it caught the data that time. The trick seems to be when you flash crash you aren't saving, and it only saves when you exit the game.

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cyberphlash Author Profile Page February 14, 2014 2:04 PM

I like idle games, but gave up on GatherX - it's just endless make-work clicking for small upgrades with no strategy or payoff. How could someone even play this game without an autoclicker? You'd break a dozen mice... :)

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Hi, this is the programmer for GatherX. Thanks for including the game in your article Dora!

For those concerned about the crash-save issue, I'm trying to work on a fix for it. I apologize for any inconvenience.

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Scaling the Sky - very impressive for only 48 hours, and a beautiful game.

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cyberphlash Author Profile Page February 15, 2014 6:36 PM

@AdamV - I love seeing developers come into the comments thread. It's very easy to dole out criticism, like I did above, so I'd like to take a step back and first thank you for being a developer and creating games - I know it's difficult. Please allow me to explain my original comment. Recently there was a game called Idle Farmer on JIG and Kongregate that I think perfectly illustrates the wrong way to create a game. Someone put a lot of time into creating a stylish interface, and then, seemingly as an afterthought, added terrible game play rewards/strategy/outcome. (Why this was featured on JIG completely baffles me - come on JIG, you can do better!!!) There's basically no action or strategy except watching your farmer rack up points quadratically towards exponentially increasing milestones that quickly take days to reach. The primary goal, marrying the Mayor's daughter, results in her doing exactly nothing for your farm! This game completely wastes the kernel of a good idea that a farm simulator could be interesting or entertaining, leading to the worst possible outcome - a developer spending a lot of time creating a game that nobody enjoys. And that is the same frustration, to a lesser extent, that I felt with your game. I like your graphics and concept - and the kernel of your jack and the bean stalk idea is solid. However, I think the key mistake is to think that having the player keep clicking is a good idea. The most successful idle clicker games, like Cookie Clicker, start out requiring clicks to get going, but quickly transition to the game doing the clicking from the purchase of interesting/entertaining upgrades, and game play re-focuses on the player's decision to keep buying upgrades vs. reach ever-increasing milestones. After this point, what keeps play interesting is the ability to achieve the upgrades or milestones in a reasonable time and the entertainment value of watching your clicks per second go up from a lot of available upgrades. In your game, the fishing / mining requires the player to just keep going back and forth to earn/sell fish or minerals to earn ever-increasing amounts of cash (and physical clicks) - and it just takes too long to earn the next upgrade / milestone. Your upgrades have 20 levels each, with each increment costing a lot but resulting in only a slight click gain, which drives player frustration. By the time I quit, I hadn't even got half the upgrades for fishing/mining, let alone started cutting down the beanstalk - and this is after using an autoclicker. In designing games, I'd urge you to re-think what's really compelling and entertaining about about the game play. Don't worry about graphics - the best games are super simple but highly entertaining and/or intellectually challenging - a stylish interface is just a bonus. Idle clicker games should be relaxing and rewarding, so focus your design on creating interest and eliminating frustration. And even clicker games don't need to be that long - I think game designers are too tempted to keep extending things indefinitely. This is all very long winded, but I hope it gives you some constructive feedback on the way to developing your next game. -M

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@AdamV -- a "sell all" button would be a really, really helpful addition, especially after you have a few upgrades in place that considerably up the intake.

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All of my "work" on GatherX is gone. :( :( :(
Really bummed my progress and upgrades did not get saved when I exited the game.

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notawebmaster Author Profile Page February 16, 2014 3:20 AM

I beat GatherX in about 15 hours (2/3 of which was letting it idle overnight) and got the remaining upgrades after another few hours. Cute and entertaining enough for an afternoon.

AdamV, the big thing that struck me is that the balance of elements really seems to be off in this game. There's really no incentive to manually going after the beanstalk or the fishing (and to a lesser degree, their upgrades). Because the energy per fish is so small even with the larger fish, they don't really pay off until the endgame, with the combination of such a high max energy that there's significant recharge time, and the fisherman pulling in sufficient fish. As for the beanstalk, the repeating arrow upgrade pretty much obsoletes the lumberjack and any upgrades - once you get it (and its price is really quite modest compared to the last upgrades - there's probably something close to 30 that can match or outprice it!) it'll have the stalk down in a matter of hours with no effort.

Somewhat related: The 50,000 clicks achievement might be a bit excessive. I 100%ed the game otherwise in only about 35,000. No point in clicking at random another 15,000 times just for one last achievement.

Of the upgrades, I really did like the outfits and hats. It would've been fun to be able to pick and choose which ones to wear somehow.

Hope this feedback is helpful to you. :)

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extending on what cyberphlash said
if you look at other click games like candybox or dark room, what makes them work well is the expansion of new content and mechanics. you build, adn the game escaltes, and you end up with more resources to master, more mechanics to do, and everything flows into more complex gameplay. you actually acheive something beyond bigger numbers(though there is a certain satisfaction to be found in them)

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bluegriffin18 Author Profile Page February 19, 2014 12:40 AM

I'll agree with most people. While a "sell all" button would be great, the scales let you sell more ore per click speeds up your selling. I often energy chained by buying a energy upgrade once I used up all of it to refresh it and then by the time I used it all up I had enough money to buy the next upgrade.

I also agree with the "useless" upgrades as I didn't really need to get them until the end game. I finally broke down and decided to get the as upgrade and pitch in on the bean stock, but there is a lack of flow that makes the game drag on too much.

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LightWarriorK Author Profile Page February 19, 2014 3:45 PM

AdamV-

I will echo what others have said, plus....I was sort of disappointed with the end of the game. The beginning had promise, with a nice artistic intro and a good setup, however once the beanstalk hit 0 HP....it was just over. And we didn't even cut down the stalk....you can keep whacking at it after it says "you won." The stalk didn't fall down, we don't see the giants plummet to their deaths, nothing. It seems like there the ending could have used a bit more TLC. If we're going to spend hours clicking for an end result, that result should be impressive. This was, sorry, not. Best of luck with your next game.

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