The Most Popular Scene Games
Written by Adok
Game development is the profession of many sceners. This is how they make their living. At the same time, demoparties have been having game development (gamedev) competitions for several years. Originally these compos had a size limit of 32 kb, later this was increased to 96 kb and now it is usually unlimited. The games entered to these competitions usually do not match commercial standards, but they are often based on interesting ideas. This especially gives newcomers and beginning coders a possibility to participate in demoparties and perhaps even achieve good scores.
In the following article I am going to introduce some of the most popular games made by sceners according to pouet.net.
Do it yourself demo
This is an interactive demo made in 2008 by Limp Ninja Kids. It was released at the Outline party. First there is a loading bar. You have to keep hitting Space at a very fast rate to move the bar. Then comes the rotozoomer. You have to keep rotating the image with the mouse so that it fits. Next is the image part where you have to move the mouse to all parts of the image in order to make it appear. And so on. In short, it is an interactive demo in which you have to accomplish tasks in order to advance. If you fail, you have to repeat the current part. Great idea! The only problem is that national keyboard layouts are not considered - on a German keyboard you have to press Z when you should actually press Y.
This game was coded by Pap and released at Breakpoint 2004. It is a first-person platform game, which somewhat reminds me of the old games for Nintendo 64 such as Super Mario 64 and Donkey Kong 64. You control a character that has to jump, run and fight its way through a level. It is a bit difficult to estimate how far you have to jump due to the first-person perspective at first, but you get accustomed to it. The fights seem to be difficult to control, sometimes I won very quickly, sometimes I lost... Visually it is certainly good. The game participated in the 96k game competition and placed 2nd.
This game placed 5th at Breakpoint 2005. It was made by Metalvotze and is based on their dirty humour. You play a man who is doing his business at the toilet. You have to alternately press A and L, and the faster you do that, the more you will ... do your business. No screenshot due to tastelessness...
El Loco Megabus
This is a 3D racing game by Calodox. Nice idea, but unfortunately the space ship is a bit hard to control. The game won 1st prize in the 32k game competition at Mekka & Symposium 2002.
This game resembles the game Tempest for the Atari Jaguar console. You control a space ship that has to shoot other ships, moving around a circular playfield. The game won 1st place at Breakpoint 2003. The code was done by Toxie of ainc.
Rick Dangerous 32Kb
This is a conversion of the classic game Rick Dangerous for Windows, released in December 2002. The code was done by Leonard of Oxygene. Compared to today's standards it is a very difficult platform game.
This game placed 1st at Breakpoint 2004 and it is probably the best known scene game outside the scene. The coders of Farbrausch tried to implement a first-person shooter in the style of Quake in just 96k, and succeeded.
Rumour has it that the 32 kb size limit for game compos was abandoned and changed to 96 kb especially for this game.
The code was mainly done by Chaos and Ryg, and the work on this game was supposedly quite heavy. When the game was finally ready for release, the coders were very exhausted and determined to never create anything like this again.
After creating a 32k version of Giana Sisters, Myth remade another C64 classic, the platform-shooter Turrican. Well done!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Puppets
This is quite a strange beat-em-up game in which you only control the movements of the head of your puppet with the cursor keys. As a consequence the puppets behave in a rather awkward manner. Very funny! The game was developed by Hikey and ranked 2nd at Breakpoint 2007.
Porrasturvat (Stair Dismount)
This game, coded by Tonic of tAAt, is by far the most popular scene game at pouet.net. It is a physical simulation of a person that is dropped from a staircase. You can choose position, angle and force, and the more damage you inflict, the higher your score. Very innovative and interesting.
A 32 byte (!) game by Rrrola - what could that be? It is a game for two players, one uses the left and the other the right shift key. You simply have to press the key faster than the other player. By pressing the keys the borderline between the territorities of the two players will be moved, and as soon as one player owns all the screen space, he or she has won. Nice idea, great implementation!
The winner of the 96k game compo at Breakpoint 2010 is a rather difficult game involving four characters in elevators. They must always turn in that direction that makes them avoid being smashed. Turning is done using the keys 1 through 4.
This is a game coded by hitchhikr with a size of less than 3 kb in which you play a man who has to grab treasures. The levels feature ladders, movable blocks and breakable blocks. It requires some brainpower to find out how to solve the puzzles. Very nice game, a lot of fun!
Based on a true story
This little game was developed by Gargaj on the occasion of Leia's birthday. There are several ducks and you have to pay attention to the movements of one of them. Several ducks are exchanged with their neighbours several times, and at the end you must click at the new position of the duck you were supposed to follow.
This is a variant of the Taquin puzzle game. Instead of static images it features demo effects, which makes it a bit harder than the usual Taquin game.
While some games, such as Porrasturvat and "Do it yourself demo", exhibit interesting concepts, others are only impressive for technical reasons. Some of the games are hard to control and thus not really playable. However, I think the gamedev compos at demoparties are worth following and should be held more often.
Please note that this was just a selection of games which, according to pouet.net, were among the most popular ones. The selection did not follow the list straight since I was not able to run all of the games. There are also many other great games made by sceners. One which I would like to mention is Giana's Return by a group around Kojote; this group created an entirely new game in the style of The Great Giana Sisters, the C64 classic, with modern look and feel, and in my opinion it is really great.
This article was written before Revision 2014. Revision 2014, which took place in Saarbrücken, Germany, from April 18 to April 21, 2014 (also read CiH's party report in this issue of Hugi), was a party that brought us a couple of very nice games. This article would not be complete if these games were not mentioned in it.
The winner of the gamedev compo at Revision 2014 was Dynablaster Revenge by the demogroups Titan and Haujobb. A marvellous remake of the classic Dynablaster game (also known as Bomberman) with very modern 3D graphics. The team worked on the game for three years and the result is absolutely awesome. Like every Dynablaster game it, of course, also supports a multiplayer mode. The development team is hosting a server for that purpose. Well done! Congratulations!
Another game worth mentioning that was presented at Revision 2014 is Trip to Breakpoint - The Game. Made by novel of Moods Plateau and his team, the work on this game took more than 10 years. The result is a very nice, refreshing point-and-click adventure game that is really fun to play. It has a great story, great graphics, great music and great handling. An absolutely fine piece of work. Also congratulations to you!
Worth mentioning as well is Sqrxz 4 - Cold Cash, the fourth instalment of the Sqrxz series. This series was initiated back in 1994 by developers Marcus Vesterlund and John Holmvall. In 2010 Kojote of Speckdrumm decided to create a remake of the first Sqrxz game. After that, his team decided to continue the series and, so far, released three sequels. All of the three games are very difficult platform games that pose a great challenge even for experienced gamers. This makes these games especially attractive for hardcore gamers.
The other games released at Revision 2014 can be found here. For a complete list of games available from pouet.net (including every single game mentioned in this article), check out this link.