a jam from 25 september (21)


  • circles and squares
  • must use A* in some way
  • maximum 6hrs work
  • must use this thing: http://quil.info/ (a new tool)

how to play

  • clicking somewhere in the frame applies thrust towards the cursor

what is this (spoilers)

  • the universe: a collection of gravity wells ("planets")
  • you: a much smaller chunk of mass. essentially all of your mass is fuel. if you expend fuel by applying thrust, your mass will decrease. when there is no fuel left, you lose all control and become a drifting body.
  • you also passively lose fuel over time.
  • "fuel" occasionally spawns on planets. the more fuel, the greater your mass.
  • other chunks of mass are out and about as well. if one grows too large, you might find yourself hopelessly under its influence.
  • the most efficient way to move is probably in a minimal way, using gravity to your benefit whenever possible. this was one of the core feel goals I was exploring. 'orbital mechanics as twitch', I suppose.


  • I ended up dumping the A* requirement, and let the breeze carry me instead
  • I tried 'impro' -style ideation. the idea is to accept immediate normative creative outcomes without any deliberation. I did this, and ended up with a kind of webcore, antialiased gametoy.
  • the topology of the space is technically a torus, but the gravitational forces do not take this into account. also, I may have sneaked a damping factor into map crossings. you have been warned.
  • embarrassingly, this took 24 hours to make. most of that time was spent familiarizing myself with lisp in the context of graphics. just a failure to properly estimate that requirement on my part. at the 6 hr mark, I felt kind of terrible (up until that point I had mostly just been grinding against quil / clojure), so I decided to just finish my spec from the design phase. this isn't something I would usually advocate, but there you go.
  • quil has (afaik) terrible window handling, so as much fun as I think this would be with a huge universe on a massive display, we're all stuck with 800x800 for now.

future work

  • the original idea at one point was to embed a sort of supply chain sim or cargo delivery mechanic on the core (orbital) movement mechanics, with the cargo modeled as a verlet chain. so you would be fighting the gravity of all your cargo (and its attraction to various bodies) as you struggled to efficiently deliver stuff from planet to planet.
    • yeah, I do still want to see what this feels like
  • this would be exponentially more fun with the parameters exposed in gui. there are plenty of strange and interesting emergent outcomes when you mess with the universe setup. I would like to see long-distance travel, for instance. and 10x the number of other agents. there are 16 or so constant parameters in the current build.
  • if fuel was spawned on planet rims rather than internally, you could build a neat competitive movement mechanic where fast players "chain" orbits.
  • tuning. my final tune on the params was intended to make this feel casual and fairly slow. with high fuel decay, large cell bonus, and strong attractors, this could put more of an emphasis on rewarding skill.
  • currently you can "land" on planets, but it's frictionless. there might be a fun transition mechanic there.

source: https://github.com/acgaudette/jam20

Leave a comment

Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.