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Procjam Review

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Looking through the entries, I could only spend a minute or two with each entry. It helped if the game ran in my browser, so HTML and Unity were big. Here are some of the games that caught my eye.

The top two


Simple instructions: “Click to move. Kill enemies by bashing them.” There may be little to JET/LAG, but its excellent stylish visuals set this entry apart for me. A CRT-like distortion bends the corners of the screen complete with scrolling scan lines, while multi-colored text oscillates above a simple square. The simple square is your character battering your way through procedurally generated maze-like levels.

There’s no fancy art in this game, all the characters are made from simple shapes. But that doesn’t stop the graphics from impressing. It’s clear that @JakeCataford turned the juice up to 11, and it works. The game feels great.

As a “rogue-like like like” you may expect it to be deviously hard, and you’d be right. But the controls are responsive and the enemies telegraph their moves, so you feel like you are learning something with each death. @JakeCataford clearly understands some fundamentals of engaging game design and I’m excited to see what’s coming up next.

DUNGEN [star]

A multi-jam entry for #procjam, #paperjam, and #7dfps by @jctwood, this first person shooter uses shuffling to generate a dynamic dungeon with each play-through. I like the simplicity of the mechanics @jctwood has designed. Stats on a 1-10 scale can be just as interesting as stats in the thousands. There are even multiple skin options for the protagonist’s hand. That’s more advanced than all three DOOMs.

I think I’m most interested in the literal realization of the procedural generation algorithm. By shuffling the cards the procedural generation of the dungeon is clear both to designer and player, and this type of randomization has been used for many years in many games with standard and nonstandard sets of cards. I’m interested in seeing how this shuffling mechanic, both literal and metaphorical, can be leveraged to encourage new avenues of play in the future. I can imagine tuning some aspects of a proc gen algorithm by exposing the contents to the player as a deck of cards, both literally as is typical in CCGs and other tabletop games and as a metaphor for abstraction of systems in a video game.

Favorite games

    • Bump or get bumped. Excellent style and great graphics. Very juicy!
  • Peregrin
    • Beautiful.
  • Nauticalith
    • Simple, but really conveys a sense of scale. Adding some mechanic like dynamic wind that affects sailing could put this over the top.
  • Forska
    • Great shader. Generate some Myst-like puzzles and you’ve got a game, here.
  • Infinity Explorer
  • DUNGEN star
    • Print and play games are great.

Favorite generators

Cool looking Windows games I couldn’t play