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 Post subject: Gruniożerca 2
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:09 pm 
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(Includes basic English and Polish Manuals as well NesDev Comp. version of ROM)

Pronunciation
/ˈgru.ni.oʊˈʐɛr.t͡sa/

Overview
Gruniożerca 2 is a puzzle-platformer for the NES developed by Łukasz Kur & myself between November 2017 and January of 2018.

In it, you control Grunio, pet and guinea pig mascot of arhn.eu, on a quest to find his owner, gaming personality Dark Archon, who has gotten lost in the depths of their overly complex cellar.

Luckily, Grunio’s chew toys have been strewn all throughout the house, the cellar being no exception. So, help this piggie place blocks, swing squeaky hammers, push stools, press switches, collect keys, devour carrots, leap, climb, teeter, and tumble his way through 24 dark, dingy, and drab basement doors.

Objectives
  • Collect keys to open doors.
  • Consume a carrot before leaving each room.

Guinea Pig Controls:
Control Grunio Directly
Left / Right: Move Grunio
Down: (while in front of a switch) Press Switch
A: Jump
B: Enter Cavyvision
Start: Pause

Cavyvision Controls:
The World Through Heightened Guinea Pig Senses
D-Pad: Move Cursor
A: Place or Use Toy
B: Exit Cavyvision
Select: Cycle through Toys

Play Tips
  • Take control of the stool: Jump to get past it, or push it against a wall and jump into it to make it bounce back.
  • Keep a satiated guinea pig: To see the full ending, complete the game with all 24 carrots.
  • Stuck? There's neither penalty nor shame in restarting a puzzle from the pause menu.

Background
We initially began development on this for the Gramytatywnie annual charity event (for which Emunes.PL produced three physical copies of a special version of the game). With permission from the folks at arhn.eu, we decided the NesDev Competition seemed like the best opportunity for digitally releasing it.

We hope you enjoy.

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Last edited by M_Tee on Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:31 am, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Gruniożerca 2
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:32 pm 
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Formerly WheelInventor

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:55 am
Posts: 1608
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Story leak: contains an adorable protagonist.

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 Post subject: Re: Gruniożerca 2
PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:18 am 
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That is very true. :)

OP updated.

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 Post subject: Re: Gruniożerca 2
PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:38 pm 
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I really like this game! It's really cute and I love the mechanic of having to strategically place down level pieces to get where you want to go.


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 Post subject: Re: Gruniożerca 2
PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:55 pm 
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Thanks. I'm glad you're enjoying it. When Łukasz came to me with the game idea, the block-placing mechanic was the core of what he had in mind. It made for some interesting challenges in puzzle design, as we tried to find a good balance between the number of possible solutions each puzzle has.

Anyway, OP updated with download link (of the comp. version) if anyone needs it.

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 Post subject: Re: Gruniożerca 2
PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:46 pm 
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This game's really cool! It might be my favorite of this year.

I can't get past the functional shelving level though. It doesn't seem like I can do anything on that level.


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 Post subject: Re: Gruniożerca 2
PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:18 pm 
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What a compliment. I'm glad you're enjoying it.

That stage is my attempt to force the player to learn how to get a stool off a wall. Jump straight into the stool, it'll bounce off the wall.

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 Post subject: Re: Gruniożerca 2
PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:43 am 
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Download link updated with some art assets. I figured they could be helpful to have for folks playing on a Raspberry Pi or through some arcade front-end or whatnot.

Current Download Contents:
  • ROM (Nesdev Version)
  • Manual (English)
  • Manual (Polish)
  • Cover Art (English)
  • Cover Art (Polish)
  • Icon (In case I'm not the only person who creates shortcut links to ROMs and associates custom icons with them)

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 Post subject: Re: Gruniożerca 2
PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:41 am 
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This is the entry I played the most so far, very cool! The presentation is spot on, and the puzzle platforming is pretty fun!


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 Post subject: Re: Gruniożerca 2
PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:45 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:55 am
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Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Quote:
We hope you enjoy.


I certainly did!

A lot of things i like here. Let me list the most significant ones to me:

-Extremely charming graphics and animation anyone should be able to enjoy, young or old.
-Moreover, the animation informs the player what Grunio is able to do.
-Good use of pastels
-Proof that a good idea can make a good game. If this game had just placeholder block graphics (which isn't to say they don't contribute because they most certainly do!), it'd still be able to be fun on its mechanical merits.
-Great music, and it's not just because it's a song. It creates an interesting contrast between its action packed, adventurous air, and the existential stipulations of a guinea pig (especially a pet one having a trip through the house).
-Personally, i'm not too great at puzzlers, but they're almost always enjoyable. So is this one. So it's great that it has a short password system for someone like me who'd like to do a few levels here and there.


Some nitpicks and ideas:
-I feel exiting the level should be the players' option. This is trivial in almost all levels, but there was one (#11) where i touched the door and lost my chance going for the carrot permanently for that session. I recognize that introducing such a choice poses the a new problem to the designer: how to make a voluntary level depth-axis exit an intuitive experience on a d-pad in a 2d platformer? So i'm not too convinced of my own nitpick unless there's a good solution on how to do it.

-Sort of to mitigate the above "problem" with loss of agency in a few corner cases: How about being able to revisit earlier levels from the level screen? Keep track of what carrots are collected and that might interesting. Also helps against difficulty spikes getting certain carrots. The player doesn't need to feel compelled staying on the level until the carrot is gotten this way.

-The cavyvision interface could be a bit more "tolerant" of varying user input methods. For example:
--Pressing start (which does nothing at the moment) could confirm and exit, just like A. This helps when playing in an emulator via keyboard especially, but would matter less with a NES pad in hand.
--EDIT: Or, alternately, and maybe even better, start could access the "restart menu", even while you're in cavyvision. I find that it is while inside this mode that i figure out if i need to restart or not, most of the time.
--Maybe, holding b (which at least i did intuitively) when entering cavyvision could allow the d-pad to two-way select the item. Releasing b and you get to select where to place it.


Also... Nov 2017 - Jan 2018?! :shock: That has got to be the quickest complete-feeling homebrew to this date. How did you manage that?

EDIT2: It failed to comment on this tiny miny detail when we exchanged tips & tricks last time: The animation for the haulm of the carrot could perhaps benefit if it was delayed a bit more as to be more of a reaction to the movement of the carrot itself.

Ie: Carrot is forced upwards - haulm bends in response (not quite simultaneously) to this movement. Carrot is forced to stop. Haulm moves toward an unstrained position; maybe overshooting it. But carrot is dragged downards around this mark, so the haulm is stretched out in consequent response.

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 Post subject: Re: Gruniożerca 2
PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:20 pm 
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GUINEA PIIIIIIIIG!!!

My greatest weakness!


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 Post subject: Re: Gruniożerca 2
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:49 am 
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Posts: 747
This was totally my favorite this year. The only things I noticed as off:
- sometimes when walking over the line of two placed blocks side by side, Grunio started the edge teetering, even though it wasn't an edge
- can't press down after a fall, you have to move left/right before the switches accept a down press


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 Post subject: Re: Gruniożerca 2
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:32 am 
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FrankenGraphics wrote:
-Extremely charming graphics and animation anyone should be able to enjoy, young or old.
-Moreover, the animation informs the player what Grunio is able to do.
-Good use of pastels
-Personally, i'm not too great at puzzlers, but they're almost always enjoyable. So is this one. So it's great that it has a short password system for someone like me who'd like to do a few levels here and there.


Thanks. Since we didn't have any enemies or other characters during gameplay, I wanted to go a little Prince of Persia with the player animation. Something that'd be enjoyable to watch and would show personality. I'm glad you found it successful.

As for colors, we tried a few different visual themes early on. Having a nearly all black protagonist brought with it challenges, especially with the setting (being a basement).

Image
Grunio's particular fur pattern made showing clarity and contrast with the background particularly challenging.

So, the light color palette came about from necessity. Initially, the blocks had no particular theme. They were just gameplay blocks (maybe bricks, I don't recall). While doing my initial guinea pig research for the project, I noticed a lot of their chew toys are similar to those for birds, very brightly colored, so having colorful blocks became a goal. That, along with the cute player animations, I hoped would make for some interesting contrast with the setting.

As for the password system (just 4 numbers), it's carried over from our last project, and is pretty much inspired from Bubble Bobble: a short, simple system that only controls starting point.

FrankenGraphics wrote:
-Proof that a good idea can make a good game. If this game had just placeholder block graphics (which isn't to say they don't contribute because they most certainly do!), it'd still be able to be fun on its mechanical merits.
-Great music, and it's not just because it's a song. It creates an interesting contrast between its action packed, adventurous air, and the existential stipulations of a guinea pig (especially a pet one having a trip through the house).


Lukasz had the main gameplay mechanic ready when he contacted me, so credit to him for that. Also, the main music selections were mostly his as well. When he proposed the title screen and main gameplay track, I knew we had something special going, so I'm really glad that contrast is noticed and appreciated. Also, it should go without saying, we're lucky that such high quality music as Shiru's is available for use.

Anyway, was finally sitting down to respond to these points, but it's bed time. Will continue responding tomorrow. Thanks again for such detailed feedback.

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 Post subject: Re: Gruniożerca 2
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:16 am 
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FrankenGraphics wrote:
Some nitpicks and ideas:
-I feel exiting the level should be the players' option. This is trivial in almost all levels, but there was one (#11) where i touched the door and lost my chance going for the carrot permanently for that session. I recognize that introducing such a choice poses the a new problem to the designer: how to make a voluntary level depth-axis exit an intuitive experience on a d-pad in a 2d platformer? So i'm not too convinced of my own nitpick unless there's a good solution on how to do it.

-Sort of to mitigate the above "problem" with loss of agency in a few corner cases: How about being able to revisit earlier levels from the level screen? Keep track of what carrots are collected and that might interesting. Also helps against difficulty spikes getting certain carrots. The player doesn't need to feel compelled staying on the level until the carrot is gotten this way.

We had discussed using UP to open the door (and end the stage), and ultimately decided that requiring the player to get the key(s) and carrots in a specific order would be an intentional design choice. In one stage late in the game, it's very intentional, as a key is in easy reach right away, but the player must pass the door later to get the carrot (forcing the player to resist the urge to get the key, our twist on the key-grabbing mechanic.

...but I think you're right in that allowing the player to re-enter stages to acquire carrots would be a better solution. Punishing the player by forcing them to restart to get the full ending is too strong. Likewise, I could have designed a very early stage that forces the player to learn the mechanic.
Quote:
-The cavyvision interface could be a bit more "tolerant" of varying user input methods. For example:
--Pressing start (which does nothing at the moment) could confirm and exit, just like A. This helps when playing in an emulator via keyboard especially, but would matter less with a NES pad in hand.
--EDIT: Or, alternately, and maybe even better, start could access the "restart menu", even while you're in cavyvision. I find that it is while inside this mode that i figure out if i need to restart or not, most of the time.
--Maybe, holding b (which at least i did intuitively) when entering cavyvision could allow the d-pad to two-way select the item. Releasing b and you get to select where to place it.

We had a lot of discussion on button assignment. I think we might allow some of the unused buttons to duplicate some of the functions of others when we update the game.

Quote:
Also... Nov 2017 - Jan 2018?! :shock: That has got to be the quickest complete-feeling homebrew to this date. How did you manage that?

Basically, we cut a lot of stuff very early in development: a 2-player (alternating) mode, a second guinea pig, reflex-necessary mechanics, some animations (walking out the door for instance), a second half to the game, more ways to die (water, spikes, lasers, etc.). We had a lot of discussion early on as to what we wanted the game to be and what we didn't, and then removed everything that we felt didn't directly strengthen the core concept.
calima wrote:
This was totally my favorite this year. The only things I noticed as off:
- sometimes when walking over the line of two placed blocks side by side, Grunio started the edge teetering, even though it wasn't an edge
- can't press down after a fall, you have to move left/right before the switches accept a down press

We have an updated version with some bugfixes in it that we'll release for the cart. Nothing major so far, but we can probably get those things looked into.

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 Post subject: Re: Gruniożerca 2
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:54 am 
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I think the teleporter was a reflex-needing mechanic? I had to try it dozens of times before I could get the jump timing right, to get Grunio up to the top right.


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