Odysseus And The Sea
May 28, 2014
Odysseus And The Sea is a sailing simulator based on the Odyssey and released under public domain. Sail from Ogygia to Ithaca using the stars and knowledge of Greece to navigate.
Project took 7 days to develop.
So yet another game jam, this time it was a week long event, and alongside school. I learned about this game jam from the Idle Thumbs podcast. Well, they just mentioned it. But I thought it was an interesting idea. The idea of this game jam is to find something in the public domain and make a game about it. And perhaps give back to the public domain again.
Knowing about this game jam a month ahead of time gave me the opportunity to actually read something. I have not read any literature since high school (and I barely read back then). But I always wanted to read the Odyssey. I also thought about reading some Poe poems or some Ludvig Holdberg. But after reading those I felt the Odyssey would be the best for a game. I did not want some text adventure when I am making a game from a book, I feel like that dooms itself because most books were written as a book. That said I have seen some interesting twine games, just not any made from a book.
I really wanted to do this game jam alone, since I have tried making a game alone and I wanted to see how much I could do on my own. Because of this I did not think I would need any form of source control. I was wrong. Very wrong. There were so many times where I would wish I could just jump back to an earlier revision. 40 minutes before deadline Unity3D replaced my main scene (and saved it and crashed), And I had not saved the objects as prefabs. So all the settings and positions was lost. Luckily 10 minutes later the host of the event announced the deadline had been moved 2 days. So I was somewhat saved.
The game jam was 7 days long (9 after the deadline had been moved), and the others I were at were just a weekend. On one hand I had more time than I usually did, on the other because I had school at the same time, I had to hold focus on both things, so it actually felt as if I had less time. I think I prefer weekend jams.
I think it was a really interesting game I ended up with, but I am afraid it requires an explanation to understand, and probably very good understanding of the odyssey or/and Greece’s geography.
The game starts you out a little outside of Troy, just enough so you cannot see where you are exactly, and then you see the wind. If you move the mouse you will see the sail move towards it. And the natural instinct of most people who play games is to check if WASD does anything. This is explained just under the game on the games itch.io page. But I do not think enough of the people who played it also read it.
It also tells about the other mechanics of the game, like; you know what direction you are going by looking at the stars reflected on the sea. You get speed by following the wind (but you are still able to go forward when going against the wind).
I think the sailing was really solid it was just the challenges that were lacking. The game takes about 15 minutes to beat (if you know exactly were you are going) And in those 15 minutes the only challenge (besides navigation) is sirens popping up of the sea (which is cool just repetitive). When I planned the game I thought I would make more rouge-like elements to the game.
The cool thing is that it is easy to make the game better by adding more stuff to it. I got a lot of feedback on what people thought were missing, like adding names on the islands to make it easier. Adding a tutorial before you are set out to sail, having an in-game map over Greece that only shows were you are (and maybe what route you have sailed) when you are at port.
The game were #35 (out of 61) so it was not that popular with people. Still, I like the idea, and I think others would to if there had been more content and if the game was explained to them first.
In summery: I prefer shorter events, I game I liked (and people might not have understood), And I will never not use any type of source control again.
The game is released under public domain.
The Odyssey by Homer – Project Gutenberg – The book version I read.
The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy – LibriVox – The audio book I referenced.
Public Domain Jam entries – Public Domain Jam – All the games submitted.
Jupi Plays Indie Games: ALL THE INDIE GAMES [Public Domain Jam] [Part 2] – Jupiter Hadley – Lets plays all the games from the competition.
Poems About Games: Odysseus and the sea – Poems About Games – They did a poem about the game (I was very excited when I first saw this.)
Tags: Adventure, Browser, Experimental, Game Jam, Unity