RMXP Macademica (No Travel Game Jam)

astrobunny

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Macademica

SYNOPSIS

A group of adventurers stumble upon a mishap while approaching the final village on the way to the Outer Realms. One of their own has fallen into a hole, and they need to get him out so they can go to the village, resupply and continue on their adventure! Our hero finds himself in a cave which he fell in to from a hole he didn't notice. Frustrated that his adventure was interrupted by such silly circumstance, he decides to try and get back as quickly as he can.

Unfortunately it seems, he is stuck, and a golem blocks his way. He has to figure out the puzzle that stands between him and his fellow adventurers, so they can go back to their journey again!

This is a puzzle game written in RPG Maker XP. The player will have to interact with his/her surroundings to figure out how to get themselves out of where they are, execute their plan and finally continue on their quest! The game ends when the player reaches the bridge to the village.

GAMEPLAY

  • Go read the book in the tent!
  • Talk to the golem blocking your way
  • Go back and read the book again!
  • Then try and put the shiny items you see on the floors and put the items on the pedestals in the temple!
  • Once you get your wand, see what the golem does!
  • Now figure out how to get the golem to do what you want!
  • See if you can make the golem do the entire run in just one go

SCREENSHOTS

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CREDITS

A big thanks to RPG Maker Forums for organizing this game jam! After just fooling around in RPG Maker XP for ages, I finally felt there was a project I could target and do!

Also I would like to thank all the past users of the RPG Maker Forums whose posts were invaluable to helping me learn about the intricacies of the game engine, and helped me devise ways to do what I needed.

Finally, thanks so much to eyalmazuz, KuroMocha and Asiel for taking their time out to debug and playtest my game for me, and kept me encouraged. I would have been totally lost without them!

DOWNLOAD

https://astrobunny.net/labs/downloads/Macademica.zip
 
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Zliryu

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Nice puzzle, was rly fun to play this. To be honest, took me 2 tries. First time I played I didn't look at the notes.
 

astrobunny

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Thanks so much! You can be honest and say its a terrible game. I wasn't sure how to go about anything in RMXP and just fumbled around like a blind duck.
 

Zliryu

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nah, i'd say work on world building if you really want a critique, too much "open space" but other then that, was a nice idea with controlling the golem.
 

Aerosys

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Hi astrobunny,

first, your idea is great! Well, I have the feeling I saw this game mechanic a few times in other games, but hey, we cannot reinvent the wheel all the time :p Also, i really liked the idea with the marker-gems.

Unfortunatly I haven't reached the finish. I got the gem within the maze, and I reached the middle of the first loop, but then I stuck.

Gameplay
I have some ideas for you. Of course, the time frame was very short, so I understand that some things were not as intended, but maybe it helps you. I did a lot of swapping between notes and inventory menu. Maybe it would be better to put the command description directly into the item descriptions; but not before you got the book obviously. But maybe you intended it like this, because you want the player to read everything carefully, so it's up to you.

Then I needed some minutes to understand the sapphires/emerald begin and end of mechanic. It could be because I'm not a native english speaker. First, I thought the golem should "jump" and I should mark it's target position somehow.. but well, after 3 or 5 minutes I fully understood how it should work.

Maybe you can change the ordering of the notes, so the explanation of the pedestals comes first? Maybe the loop-gems mechanic becomes more clearer because you already did some explanation here.

The puzzle works really well with some sheet of paper and a pen next to the screen. But still, I haven't found the solution yet :(

Mapping
The maps look very plain. I just wonder, I see that you put a lot of effort into the gameplay, programming.. although if you just would have picked some finished scripts for the golem, and menus, still, I think you put hours and hours into it. So, why do the maps look so empty? Just spend another 30 or 60 minutes into the mapping and the result would be so much better.

Bugs
Some blue gem always re-appeared when I re-enter the Main Map.



Last but not least:
Is your golem really a 3-headed wolf? I was a little bit confused.
And I like the Title screen, it was very adorable! :)
 

astrobunny

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V_Aero, thanks for playing! And thanks for the bug reports. I had spent a bit of time learning how to build the game so I really was quite burnt out at the time, and I was trying to do some more worldbuilding but I think I will need to try harder next time.

Thanks for your feedback about the notes menu, I agree I should have put the pedestal notes at the top.

Yes I wanted the golem to be something else for a while but it seemed like the 3-headed wolf started to make more sense and I was running out of time to draw it.
 

hiddenone

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I gave this a try, it's an interesting take on a puzzle game but I wish there had been more smaller puzzles rather than the one big one.
⦁ These notes are taken as I'm playing:

⦁ Cute title screen picture :)

⦁ Interesting idea to have the menu options unknown at first, while I'd like to be able to save right away it is nice to not be overwhelmed with info at the start of the game

⦁ The map seems a bit big and empty, it could've been cut in half and still worked fine. If you did want it to be large, then try to decorate with flowers and different grounds so that it's not so much of just grass and cliffs

⦁ Why would the book in the tent tell me about the Cerberus? I had already checked it, and it didn't seem to be important at that time. Unless you want backtracking to be a major part of your game, don't be afraid to reward players who explore early by giving them the info they'll need

⦁ The puzzle with moving the Cerberus (I know it's supposed to be a golem, but Cerberus is just a cooler name ;P ) out of the way was pretty cool, it would have been nice to set the crystals up on the same map but it's short enough that I'm okay with having to go into the building

⦁ Oh, I just got to the gate... Oh no. ;_; I'm assuming this is the only puzzle in the game, but it really throws the player in to the deep end. I wish there had been a smaller 'tutorial' puzzle to help the player learn how to use all the items well

⦁ I have to admit that being able to use myself as a blocker to get the Cerberus to go where I want is a cool idea, it made it a lot simpler to get it to go where I wanted once I realized that

Overall, this was a pretty good puzzle but it does suffer from having to learn a lot in a short period of time. If you want to use similar puzzles in future projects, try to include a few small tutorial ones so that players can feel fully ready for 'boss' puzzles like the one in this game. Good luck with your projects! :rwink:
 

EuphemiaArtoria

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I enjoyed this! I particularly liked that this game basically has one central focus, a big puzzle, and not too much in the way of that. For the game jam particularly I like when you pick one thing to focus on and do a good job of it, and the end result is concise. This game did that very well, I was able to finish it in a single sitting.

The central conceit of the puzzle is also pretty fun and reminds me a lot of an old programming language called "turtle" they used to teach us in school where you would program a little turtle to draw a picture. Oops, I hope I haven't just dated myself badly there ^^;; It's a very cool concept and the implementation is pretty good. There are a couple of things I'd like to be a little different:
  • Some sort of more basic introduction, like a short puzzle where you have to make the golem walk around a single corner, or similar, just to introduce the idea better
  • More clear feedback of what commands the golem is executing at any given moment, and some indication of why it's stopped. I found that sometimes it would stop and I wasn't exactly sure why, and I had to just re-activate it with the wand
  • Maybe some checkpoints or just break up the big long puzzle into several shorter ones. Luckily I was able to get to the end and activate the switch in one go after a couple of false starts, but the area after the maze is very wide and open, and it was easy for the golem to just wander off into the middle of nowhere. It would suck to get it to go through the entire maze just to get lost on the other side of it and have to start over
Also, I'm not sure if this was intended or not, but in the end I completed the puzzle by blocking the golem off with my body. It had a script that was basically "turn left, walk forwards as far as you can" and I was able to just repeatedly activate it to get it to move. At the end I got it to walk down towards the switch, then stood on the other side and stopped it from proceeding past the switch.

Overall, it's a very strong concept and I think you could expand it into a larger and more elaborate series of puzzles, maybe even the central mechanic in a 2-3 hour game.

PS I was convinced for the longest time that the title was "Macadamia" like the nut!
 

astrobunny

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Thanks so much hiddenone and EuphemiaArtoria for playing! Also thank you so much for the extremely high quality feedback! I think I have learned so much more than I expected to from this game and part of me wishes I put more time in to make it better.

Why would the book in the tent tell me about the Cerberus?
As part of the worldbuilding I had originally intended for you to also discover the remains of someone who was trapped there before you. Unfortunately I had to cut it out of the game. He was going to spiritually guide you to help you make your way out.

Also, I'm not sure if this was intended or not, but in the end I completed the puzzle by blocking the golem off with my body
Yes, I wanted to make it so the highest difficulty setting would be to finish the puzzle in one run without using your body but using your body to stop the golem is completely kosher.

PS I was convinced for the longest time that the title was "Macadamia" like the nut!
You are close to guessing the origin of the title. As you probably know, the Macademia nut is literally a tough nut to crack. The name alludes to the fact that this is a tough puzzle and is somewhat academic in nature as you may need a pen and paper to solve to your own satisfaction, so I named it Macademica.
 

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