Shine A Light: Beacon

By Quintin Smith on February 14th, 2011 at 1:31 pm.

Our Jim's a spaceman, you know, in the way that some men are 'breast men' or 'leg men'.

Thanks to everybody who sent this in! Beacon by indie dev randomnine (who quit his job as a paid-up developer back in November) is a 15 minute freeware game that pits you as a crashed astronaut on a miserable planet, alone and far from his home. Overall it’s a lovely bit of work, with some happy platforming and a touching ending that I think might get you lot talking. Go play, then read randomnine’s post-mortem of the game here. Or just listen to Shine A Light by the Stones below.

You know, this isn’t even one of my favourite Rolling Stones songs. I’d actually take Shine A Light by The Constantines over this, but whatever. Are you going to play Beacon too? You should. It originally came second out of the 248 entrants to Ludum Dare 19, and since then he’s tightened it up and added music.

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46 Comments »

  1. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    Isn’t the first rule of indie games development “Don’t quit your day job”?

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      And that was not a question.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      You know, I’m not sure that’s the first rule of indie games development.

    • randomnine says:

      Nah. What with the success of Steam, Flash games and iOS games these days, I only think that applies if you start making freeware.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Oh no, it can’t be a rule after all. It assumes you had a job in the first place!

    • Ian says:

      The first rule of indie games development is you don’t talk about indie games development.

      EDIT: Damn it, this is what happens when you don’t read all the comments before replaying to one.

      *shakes fist at Thirith*

  2. Thirith says:

    The first rule of indie games development is <insert lazy Fight Club reference>.

    (That should’ve been a reply. Did I click on the wrong button? Erm.)

  3. Wilson says:

    Fun game, nice atmosphere. Would have liked it to be a bit longer.

    • Dozer says:

      I was expecting to run into the Grinning Colossus. But with this ending, that spaceman chap is not the hero we all wish we could be!

  4. Nogo says:

    I finished over an hour ago, but cannot bring myself to close the game.

    Thoroughly enjoyed!

    • JFS says:

      So do I. My god, this is beautiful.

    • rivalin says:

      I found it affecting enough that I woke up this morning thinking about it, which I guess tells you all you need to know about the strength of its narrative, however seemingly slight it may be.

  5. maktacular says:

    fun wee game. good jetpack, solid tunes. nothing better than a good solid 8-bit explosion sound too.

  6. MadTinkerer says:

    Not shocking, but not bad.

  7. Coins says:

    Oh, that was nice. I liked the music, too.

  8. Paravel says:

    Shine a Light by Wolf Parade is also a good song.

  9. Mister_Inveigler says:

    This ending was moving, and I don’t think it would have worked as well if it had been done in a different style. There’s just something about the loneliness throughout the game, the sparse environment and simple nature of it all. The graphics and music captured it wonderfully.

    Once I’d finished it, I couldn’t help but imagine his final months, alone on a desolate planet, just staring into the void. Kind of a scary prospect.

    Anyway, nice distraction from work. :)
    Good job!

  10. Bilbo says:

    I was expecting more. Wasn’t really anything to write home about. Badum tish.

  11. Gpig says:

    That was really good. I wish every day there was a new 15 minute game that did that good of a job of creating an atmosphere and letting you explore it.

  12. brulleks says:

    Hmmm. All I get when running it is the music and a purple shaded screen without any text. Anyone know what the problem might be?

    • randomnine says:

      @brulleks – I think you’ve hit a super rare graphics bug!

      Would you mind telling me your OS and graphics card? In fact, would you mind slinging me an email (randomnine at wootfu dot com)? That way I can send you a new version when I think I’ve got a fix :)

    • brulleks says:

      Randomnine – email just sent. Cheers for the response.

  13. siread says:

    Absolutely loved that. Can’t wait to see what he does next. :)

  14. CMaster says:

    Well, that was entertaining.
    Double jump, so Jim should like it.
    Have to say I was ahead on all the revelations, although I suppose that is fairly typical. Erm, what else to say to avoid spoilering? This should be long enough right?
    About the ending though – couldn’t he have gone and lived in the forest room? Or at least investigated it? Sure, it may have been set up for life that wouldn’t work with him. But it had life support and maybe something that would be useful as food. I suppose perhaps that would be a little pointless as he’d be alone all that time though.
    Also, I thought the impact of the ending was a little undermined by the fact that the main character had already died many, many times to the automated turrets.

    • SamC says:

      ***SPOILER***
      I actually thought the same about the forest, so you’re not alone. I sort of teared up, but the kicking feet animation at the end makes that dude seem pretty nonchalant about the whole thing. I guess that keeps it from just being a completely downer ending.

    • KingMudkip says:

      Now, see, I thought that the kicking feet made it sadder somehow. Like, “This is all I have to do until my food stores run out.”

  15. LoveIsGood says:

    That was rather depressing, but good.

  16. faelnor says:

    Somehow I expected a last minute reveal that the planet was actually our ravaged and desolate earth and the main character – taking his helmet off – would show the face of an alien species on the lookout for inhabitable planets.

    Shows how conditioned we are by videogaming/moralistic tropes.

  17. Scandalon says:

    Pretty good. After reading the post-mortem, it’s more impressive. (Written from scratch in 48 hrs (mostly), not having done tile-based platformer before, etc.)

    Which does bring up my main question, which I tend to ask repeatedly around here…why did you feel the need to start from scratch?!? I’d love to see some LD’s (or similar game jams) where everyone starts with the same engine, maybe allow engine tweaking, maybe not, but just keeping the focus on creating a game with time/tools/theme being the main constraint.

    Also, I’m amused at how his jetpack boosts him maybe 1/3 of his natural jump height. (Though maybe it’s a low-gravity planet, so that could explain it.) It’s the little extra character animations (squat/stun after falling far, sitting on the edge kicking his feet) that made it for me.

    • randomnine says:

      Honestly, I was just way too busy around that weekend in December, so I couldn’t find the time to learn my way around an engine or prepare some base code. A lot of people do use things like Unity and flixel though, and they get you off the ground much faster.

  18. torchedEARTH says:

    Lucky Ellen.

  19. GreatUncleBaal says:

    Nice little game – it managed to conjure memories of Jetpac and also a bit of Nodes of Yesod. I now want a 2D game based on the film “Moon”.

  20. Theoban says:

    I really, really enjoyed that. Short and sweet. Lovely ending. Lovely sense of discovery in it.

    • KingMudkip says:

      Yep, it hit all the right buttons as far as the story and length went. Games where you feel like you’re discovering the world instead of having it presented to you are the best in my book.

    • SackManDoo says:

      KingMudkip said it

  21. wisnoskij says:

    Looks neat.

  22. JFS says:

    deleted

  23. JackShandy says:

    Um.

    So, what actually DID shoot them down?

  24. chakraist says:

    Anyone having trouble getting this to run on OSX? Instantly crashes on startup for me. :(

  25. Hypocee says:

    It’s a good thing randomnine put a timer in, because I was going to call Quinns a liar after I died a pathetic, embarrassing number of times to the turrets-that-were-designed-by-competent-people. I figured I’d wandered into ridiculous half-hour territory, then at the end…14:53. I guess time crawls when you’re having twenty years’ platforming paradigms ripped out of you.