Scattered Song is my first game of 2013, and it’s my January game for One Game a Month. It’s also also the first game in a long while that I have made entirely by myself.
It is a 2D adventure puzzle game. To me, it has an old-school Pokemon and Zelda vibe.
You can play here:
I knew I was going to have a lot of free time this month, so I didn’t need to impose as many restrictions on myself as I usually need to.
I managed to get most of the game’s functionality finished in time to have a couple weeks for level and general game design. This was the longest I’ve ever had to design things, other than initial brainstorming and quick, on-the-fly decisions.
I wanted to keep explicit tutorials to a minimum, and I was able to do so, having only the movement and shooting controls displayed outright. Anything else the player needs to learn is taught through level design, through puzzle-like drawings (similar to what Braid does), and (hopefully) through intuition.
I also wanted the player to be able to choose how they want to play, to as much of an extent as this simple game allows. Each level can be completed using arrows or without using arrows. For the most part, the game is much more difficult without arrows. Later in development, this gave me the idea of making an optional “Hard Mode”, where you have to play without arrows.
“Speedrun Mode” came about when I fixed a bug that I found interesting. It had to do with teleporters, and you were able to get to areas earlier than you should, skipping large parts of the level. It was rather silly, but I decided to keep some non-gamebreaking glitches such as this, and include them in a separate “speedrun mode”. I threw in a timer and time record system, and it was done. You can even do Speedrun Mode and Hard Mode combined, with a different set of record times.
Music & Audio
I wrote all of the music in the game. You can listen to or download the soundtrack here (pay what you want, no minimum): Scattered Song Soundtrack
The idea for collecting pieces of a song came pretty shortly after I created the orb and pedestal graphics. Each part had to be sparse and not make a whole lot of sense by itself, while also feeling complete when they were all together.
The music in each level came rather late in development. Things felt uncomfortably empty, so I decided to add something to fill the void. I wanted to keep them as rhythmic and non-melodic as possible, so that the home world had all the harmony, and truly felt like a relaxing home area.
Most sound effects are panned according to the player’s position on the X axis, relative to the center of the screen. I also set the volume of certain sounds according to the player’s distance from the source of the sound. I decided that these two techniques combined, with the camera angle taken into consideration, was the most natural-feeling audio solution.
Almost all of the sound effects were acquired from Freesound.org, a great resource. I tweaked them slightly to fit my needs.
I used FlashDevelop, Flashpunk, and Ogmo Editor to make this game, all of which are free, open-source, and 100% awesome. If you have never used Ogmo, you absolutely need to check it out. My friend Jake made some sweet classes to connect Flashpunk and Ogmo. I used Inkscape and Photoshop for graphics.
If you’d like to view the source code, check out the project repository here: Scattered Song Repository
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This game was great fun to work on, and I am proud of it. I hope you enjoy playing it, and I would love to hear feedback. Drop me an email, a tweet, a comment, or whatever else.