Castermind

An occult puzzle in the vein of Mastermind (not the occult bit) with voice acting!

Controls

Mouse for everything.
Tutorial included.

Developer's comment

Pretty similar to my last LD title, another puzzle with a prominent circle, but I had a bit more time this weekend for much needed extra polish. Not that I had time for sound effects.

Wanted to use Godot, but the C# version is still in beta and lacks WebGL support so that plan had to go.

Thanks to Remco for the name suggestion.

Third party assets

Wellsley font by James Fordyce

Voting results

Overall
10th
6.857
Graphics
15th
6.036
Audio
3rd
7.036
Gameplay
8th
6.357
Originality
5th
7.464
Theme
16th
6.357

This game entered in the Solo competition (37 entries).

Info

Uncover the sigils of the circle.

Links

Jam WebGL Post-Jam WebGL

Author

HuvaaKoodia

Related posts

Comments (22)

AdroitConceptions
5 months ago

took me a momement to realize I had to click after the voice lines to continue - maybe a prompt if the user doesn't click for a few seconds (good accessability option to wait for the click)

I would have liked the red lines to be clearable… gives you more 'searching' lines on later tries. if you happen to guess 2 lines correctly at the start, you don't get as much 'search' space available each turn.

HuvaaKoodia
5 months ago

@AndroitConceptions
Usually I have a (Click to continue) label on the first screen, I forgot this time.

Yes, correct lines reduce the amount of available moves. It is at times random, but can be managed by not drawing lines when the location of a line is certain, or nearly certain.

Of course, the available move count could always be the same regardless of correct lines… Worth a test as it would simplify tries per level calculations as well.

Thanks for the feedback.

smbe19
5 months ago

Awesome game! Played it for a long time, but still did not manage to beat it, I failed in the 6 lines level (I think it's the last one…). Very nice idea and very well implemented.

I also think it would have been better if you could remove red lines again to get back those guesses. In the last level I already had 5 lines with 2 tries left. So I only had 2 tries for the last line, but if I would have been able to try six lines again per try then I would have easily solved it.

dgeisert
5 months ago

The game was very well done, and a good puzzle. I liked the hinting with the black lines. The only thing I didn't like was not getting many guesses once I had most of the lines red.

HuvaaKoodia
5 months ago

@smbe19 & @dgeisert

Thanks to you both!

It seems that the red lines eating up available moves is a bigger issue than expected. A quick post-jam tweak is in order, once the rating period ends.

inacho_
(@thesunda) • 5 months ago

Really liked it!

Loved the fact that you worked with voice, quite uncommon on any game jam entry I've seen. Tutorial already felt like the real game, to be honest, that's a positive point.
Liked also the progression even if you don't complete the unknown sigil in the amount of tries.

Overall, really good job!

Ashtrail
5 months ago

The game feels pretty complete. The graphics are simple but work well and the line particles are very nice. Also il liked the voice acting :). Some music would have been nice (but I get it, I don't have any either).

The mechanics work well but I find the game to be pretty unfair. Usually puzzle game give you at least a few hints (which is the case for the first levels) but afterward it feels a lot more like luck than anything else. The only moment when there is some deducing, is when you find a black line but then the only thinking you need to do is just try out every parallel lines until you find something. Maybe I missed something but it kind of feels the same as a game where you have to roll a dice a limited amount of time and get a specific number. Maybe giving tips each time would make it better. I have to say though I'm not really sure what could be made to improve this point.

As stated above some of the choices aren't very intuitive like the clicking to go to the next level, but that can be solved easily.

Otherwise quick tip concerning Godot : GDscript is actually a lot of fun :P. I too was a bit of a language elitist but seriously I'm going so much faster with Godot than Unity and it has a lot to do with GDScript, it's just a lot faster especially in jams. In the end the choice is yours but give it a try some day.

Anyways good job on making your game, it has a nice finish !

HuvaaKoodia
5 months ago

@thesunda

Thanks!

I do like working with the old voice box, both for voice acting and sound effects. Especially when third party recordings are not allowed, it is quite handy mouthy?

@Ashtrail

Thanks for the feedback.

Unfair due to the randomness (and the red line issue too), sure. Thinking about it now, unfairness in a puzzle (deductive logic challenge) is not a good look. Without the red line issue, the mechanics would be exactly like a 2D Mastermind, which is a simple enough premise for extended mechanics. Unfortunately, I don't have any further ideas at the moment either!

I've been using Python recently and really liking the lean syntax. As such I'll certainly give GDScript a go eventually, but I do have some C# code I'd like to use with Godot for a few projects without having to rewrite it all. I'm not in a hurry to change engines at the moment either, so I can wait.

n!ghtmare
(@josefgazdos) • 5 months ago

Clever idea, but I missed a bit of background sound. Voice acting is great, tho. I'm not sure if the Unknown Sigil was supposed to happen there and I somehow could not solve a single one of them.

undercode
5 months ago

This is a good puzzle. Very good to play. Great graphics, even if simple. The mechanics were very well developed.
I would be excited about a mobile version with many levels of difficulty.
Congratulations on the great work.

Huliandos
5 months ago

Great little game! I had a lot of fun playing it. Some background music would have been nice!

HuvaaKoodia
5 months ago

@josefgazdos

Thanks! I'm glad you liked it as it took a while meaning there was no time for other audio afterwards.

There are six unknown sigils and they are completely randomized. There are no hints so you just have to try different lines and try to find black and red lines.

@undercode

Thanks! There a few missing audio-visual assets I'd like to add to the post-jam version. Unfortunately, I won't have time for an otherwise extended version.

@Huliandos

Thanks! I agree and will conjure up an ambient loop for the post-jam version, once I can utilize third party assets.

innomin
5 months ago

So I'll be honest, after your feedback on my game I came into this pretty skeptical that you considered yourself some kind of theme expert, and possibly because of that I didn't really see the spellcasting theme in this entry. Yes, you're drawing shapes that are supposedly making spells, with a creepy voiceover telling you how magical everything is. But the effect of the individual spells isn't ever mentioned in the story, and overall the core mechanics feel very abstract and easily reskinned into any theme. Even in the final victory text, it's confusing what is actually happening.

On the mechanical side, this game is really two puzzle games in one, with some prepared tutorial spells that look like things and have somewhat obvious clues, and then randomly generated ones which only go off of the game mechanics. Each part played very differently for me, I enjoyed the early puzzles (even if a bit easy…) because the hints helped eliminate most options, and once that was removed the issues with the mechanics started to become more obvious. Like others have mentioned here, I think the lockdown of red lines made everything a bit luck-based in the later levels. I would often get annoyed if I caught a red line on the first try, because it meant all future information gathering was going to be gimped. I did beat the game on my second run through, but I think I lucked out in the last level by finding a few black lines and knowing where the reds were. Since positions were entirely random, I can't take credit for that situation happening.

I'd like to have seen more scripted puzzles like the "winding river", where it wasn't obvious what the symbol was, but you could get information (i.e. it was one continuous piece). And more like the pentagram, where the repositioned edge marks gave clues without expressly telling you any. But I think if the reds went away like everything else, and you just had to remember them, that would solve most mechanical issues for me. That's how mastermind works, after all. Possibly just draw a faint echo of found lines in the background, if you don't want it to be so memory based.

Oh, and I almost forgot. In your random generator you should pay attention to the number of lines that have the same direction, and mostly limit it to one unless you want the puzzle to be much harder. This might tie into the locking reds, but as directions had 3-4 total options, having two going the same direction meant you needed to hit the black after one red and before the second one, or you'd lose two pieces of information very early on. Black then white meant you were safe, but otherwise black-red could go either way, so the game funnels you towards hitting reds over whites unless you redraw your blacks, which wastes lines. It might be necessary to redraw black as white when a red is found in that direction and it's the last one, or you'll be living with some luck in the puzzle design.

HuvaaKoodia
5 months ago

@innomin

Thanks for the in-depth feedback, this exactly what I'm looking for in a jam! Being sceptical and critical is key when it comes to media design (and life in general) and I'm glad my comments had an effect in this vein.

I will have to defend my position by elaborating that I have never claimed to be an expert on themes, whatever that means, I've merely made it abundantly clear that I have a rating scale for themes. I also have a rating scale for graphics and that alone certainly doesn't make me a graphics expert of any kind (as you can clearly see!)

If I were to rate my own entry (impossible to do in an unbiased way, of course), it would not receive a theme rating higher than 5 and even that is grasping at straws (real life magic is about mystisism. Mystisism is "random" and obscure. Kind of fits the interactivity, eh… eh?)

I would say there is only one type of puzzle here. The tutorials are indeed supposed to be tutorials, in other words quite obvious. I would have liked to create a rule based hint system of some kind with, for instance, more varied line types indicating things other than angle (the amount of similar lines, positioning relative to other lines, etc.) This would alleviate the randomness of the levels and address your last point. Forcing some sort of symmetry (or other consistent rules) in the level generator would also help and make the sigils prettier.

There is an easy fix to the red line issue, not reducing the available moves at all, which I'll implement in the post-jam version. I would like to come up with a new design which keeps the idea of running out of options without feeling unfair or random, but so far I'm drawing a blank. Ideas are welcome!

Thanks again for the words (and time!)

devharts
5 months ago

Interesting concept! I'm not super familiar with Mastermind (looking it up after playing this made me realize I've probably played Flash game variations on it in the past, but that's about it) so I had no prior expectations for this going in.

So that being said, the systematic guessing aspect of it wasn't really clear to me right away -- based on the first few levels it seemed like it would be based more on clues of what shape to draw (horizon, cup, jewel) but as it progressed it became more a matter of blindly guessing and relying on the clues from the black vs. white vs. red lines. Not a bad mechanic once you get into it, and I like the idea of easing into the game tutorial-style, but I'd wonder if there's a way to make those earlier levels emphasize the nature of the mechanics more so as to avoid the shift.

Controls: I played it on my laptop, but I think it would have been much better on a touch screen and being able to swipe across the screen to draw the lines rather than using a trackpad. The particle effect based animations moving across the screen in the path of the lines, while quite visually appealing, felt a little too slow and kind of at odds with the desire to draw lots of guesses quickly. But I think a mobile version with more responsive animations would have a lot of potential if you wanted to take this further.

Audio and visuals: I thought the voiceovers were excellent, to the point of sounding like they belonged in some kind of fancy big-budget production rather than a weekend game jam. The minimalist visuals felt clean and cohesive, and fit well with the subject matter. Music, sound effects, and maybe some kind of background image would make it feel even more polished, though I totally understand the limitations of how much a single person can do in a single weekend, heh.

Nice job overall and congrats on the submission!

HuvaaKoodia
5 months ago

@devharts
Thanks for the feedback, it is always appreciated.

Yes, I kept touch controls in mind from the get go as they do nicely mirror mouse movements by default. My very first idea was to replicate the magic system from Arx Fatalis, which has actually been done in a few mobile titles, then simplified to drawing straight lines from arbitrary positions on a circle, and lastly added in the control points.

I also wanted to implement a simpler input option of clicking two points in sequence to draw a line, but it seems I forgot! An easy addition for the quick post-jam version.

I addressed advanced systematic hints in my previous comment to Innomin. All of the levels could be designed manually of course, something I did with Building Buildings last year, but I like the idea of generating levels for a puzzle as deductive logic lends itself well to procedural generation.

"I thought the voiceovers were excellent, to the point of sounding like they belonged in some kind of fancy big-budget production "

Please, you are too kind!

Aurel300
5 months ago

Interesting take on mastermind.

The game felt quite polished – the voice acting was a big factor in that. Perhaps the transitions could have been a bit faster? The tutorial was quite intuitive, at some point I realised the black / white lines map to mastermind pegs.

Nevertheless, I felt frustrated with the actual game, especially since most of my attempts failed because I couldn't get the (one) last line right. If I happened to guess a line correctly in some of the initial attempts, I was not happy – because I had fewer guesses to work with for the rest of the level. In this way it seems luck is still a deciding factor. Additionally, since the non-tutorial levels are all randomly-generated, there is no satisfaction from getting the sigil right, since it usually has no interesting symmetry, no symbolic meaning, etc. I know you addressed this in a comment before, but even so, I would personally enjoy (more) hand-crafted levels, perhaps with additional difficulty introduced in other ways.

The theme use is a bit dubious, and some simple mystic ambiet audio (candles burning? eerie melody?) would help a lot.

thomastc
5 months ago

Great game! I failed the first time, but won on the second try, after I realised that (just like in Mastermind) you should refrain from filling out what you already know, until you know everything. The directions are a nice alternative for colours.

Mainly what I'm missing is the ability to see past clues, but it's not overly hard to remember (though I almost took notes for the last one). The balancing (number of turns you get) seems good.

It felt very satisfying to see the red particles stream out when I got something right. Would have been even better with an added sound effect.

I liked the voice acting, although it was never quite clear to me who the voice was, or what I was doing or why. Feels like a missed opportunity to create, or at least hint at, a bigger story. Some ambient sound effects would have added even more to the atmosphere.

A minor nitpick: the mouse cursor becomes invisible when on top of a white circle.

HuvaaKoodia
5 months ago

@Aurel300

A big yes on everything, and a big thanks for playing!

@thomastc

I liked the voice acting, although it was never quite clear to me who the voice was, or what I was doing or why. Feels like a missed opportunity to create, or at least hint at, a bigger story.

I didn't have a specific story in mind, just a few cultists trying to summon something nasty. The narrator is your tutor and probably a wee bit power hungry. Maybe just crazy, who knows!

We were up to the same schemes at the same time it seems.

Thanks!

killerrabbitt
4 months ago

Great game, super well finished! And the voicing is so good, very on theme! :) Couldn't finish the game, even if I tried couple of times… I did get better every time, but I couldn't figure out any other logic besides the dark line/white line "hints". Is there a relation between the voice over sentences and the figures (or sigils) we are supposed to draw?
In any case, I still think it's a very very good game!

dwemthy
4 months ago

Really good atmosphere created with the basic graphics and audio. Great idea and execution for gameplay too. Couldn't complete most of the no-hint puzzles, could get a line or two but then would run out of retries, often without getting even another black line.

legends2k
4 months ago

As many montioned before me, nice voice work, ups the production quality a lot; makes the game feel like a well-rounded, polished one. Congratulations on this entry!

The gameplay was farily confusing to me in the beginning, in the tutorials. In the crossroads tutorial, I kept trying a + instead of a x and didn't know what I was doing wrong after 10 trials, I realised that it should be an x. I was thinking of the hollow circles as a hint and didn't think they can be end points too. Perhaps a hint there might have been good.

In the beginning the hints were very good, but as the game progressed it was just random trials and that isn't very motivating. With more clues, this would make a fun game! I can understand the lack of clues since it's a game jam.

Nice work! A very good example that technically too challenging is not required to make a good game.

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