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    Original author here; happy to answer any questions. Working on part 2 which should be up in a few days.

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      late to the party on replying here, but this looked stellar. Congrats on the win, and thanks for introducing me to Fennel, hadn’t heard of that one before.

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      Just published part 2: https://technomancy.us/188

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        Love and appimages

        The copy of Love in my repos was too old and I had never used an appimage before.

        I was very confused. “There’s nothing for appimage in my repos. Where do I download the tools to mount this?”. Eventually I twigged:

        $ file EXO_encounter-667-x86_64.AppImage 
        EXO_encounter-667-x86_64.AppImage: ELF 64-bit LSB executable, ...

        Love looks interesting, I might give it for my next little project. My self-written ASCII engine became a small nightmare when I ported to Windows, the fact Love takes care of the cross-platform bit is enticing.

        Sidenote: 12 - 35MB for your game is a sign of the times. Have you ever played Goldeneye 64? It worked with something like 4MB of ram total (including the framebuffer too IIRC). One of these days old crumpets like me will open enough holes in the atmosphere so that all games and programs over a certain size get statistically lost due to solar radiation. We’ll be the ones running around holding floppies and chanting.

        Understanding the game

        I was completely confused by the door graphics.

        All I could see were blue squares with a gap next to them. One that looked like a rover could fit through, but this never worked.

        It turns out these ‘gaps’ were piston bits holding up the blue ‘floor’ of the doors. It took me well until the end of the game to work this out. Even then things still looked confusing – I had to look for indirect clues like the location of the strange dark bit (above or below the blue bits) and the relative positions of other nearby doors (for multi-door segments).

        I would have really appreciated a colour difference between ‘up’ and ‘down’ doors. It would have saved me using the Doom “UNGH” method to determine door states.

        Fun with the game

        Yes :)

        For the first half of the game: I felt my every move was ‘correct’ because of the constant text prompts. I’m glad this ended.

        For the second half everything I did felt like I was breaking the puzzles or perhaps doing things out of order. This felt good.

        I didn’t use your son’s solution for the last puzzle, instead I drove a rover into the base from the SW corner and shot a laser through a gap in the wall.

        Tone of the game

        Held together very strongly by the front, music, story and graphics; as well as other bits of your presentation (eg camera animation). Let down by the gameplay seeming unrelated to all of this, but that’s a hard one to solve.

        Resizing the window would also break the tone for me because the HUD text and camera were no longer centred.

        End story was appreciated. Felt rewarding.

        Misc notes

        Bug I only noticed at the end: you can warp rovers through walls by ejecting them from the temple when you’re butted up against a wall on your north side.

        Less fun: camera slower than the rovers. Turn it into a feature, weave it into the story, something about photonics being slower on this planet :D

        I found that having my kids playtest continually as the game evolved meant that they didn’t see certain flaws; things that were clear to them weren’t obvious to first-time players. (Of course, as the author I expect to be blind to many flaws myself.)

        Ooh yes, I know that one. Not just games too, all GUIs. I’ve been on both sides of this divide.

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          Thanks for your feedback! I added a note about needing to chmod the AppImage to the downloads page.

          12 - 35MB for your game is a sign of the times.

          I know! I realized 2 hours before the jam ended that the song I chose for the endgame scene was 10 MB on its own! I’m going to replace it but didn’t have time during the jam. I appreciated the fact that I could just eat the size problem since I had bigger problems to deal with at the time, but it was a bit embarrassing.

          I was completely confused by the door graphics.

          You’re not the first to say this. I’m going to try animating the opening of the doors as well as adding sound effects; we’ll see if that helps. But I might need to replace the sprites altogether or at least alter them. Maybe as you suggest changing the color would be enough; I’ll see.

          I also definitely need to work on the scrolling logic for the post-game-jam edition, especially the logic for when it stops scrolling because you reached the edge of the map. I tried making some tweaks to this during the jam but all my “fixes” made things worse in other ways; it’s more subtle than it looks.

          Glad you enjoyed it!

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            I know! I realized 2 hours before the jam ended that the song I chose for the endgame scene was 10 MB on its own!

            Hahaha, that explains it. Glad to see that the rest of the love code and graphics are ~2MB then. I was worried that there were massive overheads.

            I’m going to try animating the opening of the doors as well as adding sound effects

            This will work if I’m near them and pay attention to them at the time, but I’ll most likely be somewhere else directing beams. A static descriptive component (eg colour) would still be as useful as a dynamic (sound/anim) one.