"Thyl's Tale" Tricks -- Speedruns from the developer's perspective 2

Laguna • 4 years ago on 2nd AKJ Tournament 

Hi there,

During August 2018 I was blessed to work with xXBloodyOrange, Thunraz and Aurvandil on Thyl's Tale. In about two weeks we created a Zelda/Hyper Light Drifter like game. I was really excited when I saw that our game is also featured in the 2nd Alakajam Tournament. In that tournament players fight for the top position in a leaderboard, which takes into account the highscores of 6 games from the Alakajam community.
This post will be a (non-exhaustive) list of tips and tricks to help you with doing a speedrun.

Thyl's Tale Tricks

This is separated into two parts, one that contains spoilers and one that is spoiler free.


The intro is skippable (but doesn't count towards playtime)

If you are tired of watching the intro cutscene for the n-th time, just hit ESC to skip it.

Manage the movement

If you want to get a good time, you need to do precise movement. The normal movement ist done by WASD or Arrow keys and the attack/dash can be used with C/X or J/K. Alternatively: If you enjoy playing with a gamepad, Thyl's Tale also supports gamepads (tested with xBox 360).

Dashing is your friend

You will use the dash to avoid enemies, to pass over cliffs and just to move faster. Therefore get a feeling for the dash and how it works.
Did you notice the timer right above Thyl? That is the dash cooldown. Once the text gets bigger in size and starts to fade, you can dash again. Try to pick the appropriate timing.

Know when to fight … and when to run

There are only some specific places where you really have to fight to proceed. In dev speak we call them "arenas". Those are the levels where you enter a certain region and wall emerge, blocking your movement. The first time this happens in the third level after leaving the city, when entering the ruins and at the boss fight.
In all other cases you can easily run through the levels and not bother with the enemies.
Also see: "Learn the levels" below.

Get some healing

The shrines can heal Thyl if he gets beaten up by the enemies. Just walk near a shrine to trigger that effect. There are some shrine on the way which you can use to refill your health.

Teleport back to the city

When you are low on health you can also teleport back to the city and use the shrine there.

Take a look at the stats

When pressing F you can see your stats. Try to get items which maximize your walking speed and dash range and also minimize the dash cooldown. Good items are the Katana, and the leather armor.






Know your enemies

There are three different enemy types (plus the boss) and all of them require a different way of fighting:

  • Slimes: They perform a random walk until they see you. Then they move towards you and if they are in charging distance, they will charge towards you. This is the only time when touching them will hurt you. After the charge hey are exhausted and need to rest a bit. This is the best time to attack them as they don't move.
  • Smasher: This big grumpy ork will do a random walk until he sees Thyl. Then he will walk towards you and start his smash attack. Try to deal as much damage as possible before the attack comes down. Shortly before that you should dash out of the white "danger zone".
  • Shooter: This cultist attacks you with a magic bullet over a mid-range distance. As he does not deal that much damage it is advisable to just dash towards him and kill him. Luckily he just takes one hit even with the starting weapon.

Of course all enemies can also be killed with the bow and arrow from a safe distance.

Easing the bossfight

The boss (called Raon) has three stages:

  • In the first stage Raon shoots 6 magic bullets in a counter-clockwise order.
  • in the second stage Raon fires three rounds of 20 magic bullets at a time
  • In the third stage Raon summons some minions and goes into invincible mode until you kill them off. Additionally he will shoot an occasional magib bullet towards the player's position.
  • The three stages loop in that order.

If possible, try to avoid the third stage as this will take a lot of time. If you bought a good weapon, Thyl should be able to defeat Raon way before that.

Learn the levels (and the world)

Knowing the progession of levels is really helpful as you can plan ahead. This image (created during development time) shows all the maps. They don't show the final version of the maps but a basic, blocked version. It might help you find your way through this adventure.

Know the puzzles

There are two puzzles levels in the game, just before the bossfight.

  • The first puzzle level is easy: just activate the first trigger (best: shoot it with an arrow so you don't have to walk there) then walk up the bridge towards the second lever and activate that one. Then go back towards the first platform (the one in the south west with the wall) which is now reachable through a second bridge. Activate that third lever and continue to the north of the level.
  • The second puzzle follows right after that but requires some tinkering. The combination is as follows: Left Trigger, Right Trigger, move towards the (now reachable) platform, activate that trigger, go back to the south and activate the middle trigger. Then move towards the top platform and fight with the boss.

The 5th Kajam is over 0

Laguna • 4 years ago on 5th Kajam 

The jam is over

You all did an awesome job! Thanks to all the great devs who took part in this jam, by creating a 'retro' game during August 2018 and especially by playing and rating other games. Telling the creators of a game what you feel, like (and perhaps dislike) on a game is super valuable and will create a huge amount of motivation! We are especially happy that we have a new submission highscore for a Kajam.

Of course we have some shiny medals to show! The games were rated on a single 'retro' score. While createing a game on its own is an awesome achievement and everyone can be super proud of the games, some were worth mentioning far beyond the other games. So without further adue:

Here are the results

Long live the jam

Of course we all get a sort of past-jam-blues after such an awesome event. But fear not! We have some awesome events prepared for you:

2nd Alakajam Tournament September 8 - 23 2018

During the tournamet you can compete in games created for the 3rd Alakajam or the 5th Kajam via our highscore system, either for the fastest speedrun or the highest score.

4th Alakajam October 12 - 14 2018

The next regular Alakajam will take place in October 12-14. This is a big, weekend-long event for you to take part in!

6th Kajam November 2018

The next month-long event will be run in November by @DaFluffyPotato . If you enjoyed doing this Kajam, save the date and clear your calendar as it will be equally awesome!

We've made it! 3

Laguna • 4 years ago on 5th Kajam 

Congratulations to everyone!

During the month of August you managed to create a game! But we have another reason to celebrate: This is the Kajam with the most entries! Keep up the spirit and spread the word!


During the next week (from 3. September to 9. September) you will have the chance to play and rate all the awesome games, which have been created for this Kajam. There is only one voting category, called "retro". And of course you can give comment on everybody's game and give them a lot of valuable feedback!

"Help, I am late!"

Don't worry! Submissions will stay open until the end of the jam (until Sunday, 9. September). However, it is recommended to submit as soon as possible. This will give other jammers time to give feedback and also give you the time to comment and rate the other entries.

5th Kajam - August 2018 - Theme is "retro" 0

Laguna • 4 years ago on 5th Kajam 

Audio Keynote

Listen to the keynote on soundcloud Thanks to xXBloodyOrange for helping me with that!

The theme for this Kajam is “retro”

By definition “retro” means to consciously derive from or imitate previous creatings.
In gaming, everything started with retro games. Games like “Donkey Kong”, “Pong”, “Pac Man”, “Sonic”, “Super Metroid”, “Zelda: A Link to the past”, “Tetris” or “Super Mario Cars” are inherently linked to gaming.
Lately “retro”-games and consoles are having their rennaisance. Companies like Nintendo or Atari create new versions of old consoles, like the “NES Mini”, “SNES Mini” or the “Atari Flashback 8”. Original consoles and games can be found on almost every flea market.

All of those games feature a unique art-style or a piece of music that sticks in our heads forever. However, from the developer’s perspective, retro games are not just about art and style. They have one thing in common, which is a clear, simple mechanic. Because of the limited features of old consoles, the games had to focus on simple mechanics and tricks.

This Kajam is all about Retro games!

Make a game that derives from a previous creation!
Make a game for an old console!
Make a retro game!

For this Kajam you can work solo or as a team. You have the complete month of August 2018 to create and submit your entry. Every Framework or Engine is allowed. You can even use third party assets.

At the end of August you will be able to rate other participants’ games based on one single “retro” score.

So start your engines and join this Kajam!


  • 1. August - 2. September: Develop your games
  • 3. September - 9. September: Rating Phase
  • 9. September: Results

And the winner is ... 8

Laguna • 4 years ago on 2nd Alakajam! 

We have had an awesome 2nd Alakajam! We want to shout out a big "Thank you" to everyone who made this jam that great, being it submitting/rating theme suggestions, creating games, rating games and giving valuable feedback. You are awesome!

71 Games were created during a very limited time and that alone is a great achievement. So congratulations to all solo or team devs who took part!
But of course Alakajam wouldn't be Alakajam without ratings and winners. So let's crown our winners!

Champions: Solo | Team

We hope you had a lot of fun, learned some new skills or found some new friends. As we try to make the event even more pleasing to you, we would also like to ask you for your feedback in this 2 minute survey.

Next Events

Of course we have the next jams ready for you. Mark your calendars!

3rd Alakajam: June 22nd to June 24th

4th Kajam: April 1st to April 30th hosted by Toasty (What is a Kajam?)

Behind the Scenes

The 2nd Alakajam was not run by a single person but by a growing group of enthusiastic people:

Also, thanks to all the streamers, youtubers and speedrunners who covered the event!

We hope to see you all for the next event!

Rescue Phase 0

Laguna • 4 years ago on 2nd Alakajam! 

A total of 71 amazing games were created for the 2nd Alakajam. You have until Sunday, Mar 11th to rate the games. Please do so, to ensure that all games get a final score.
The game view has switched to rescue mode (displaying the entries which desperately need some ratings) to ensure that all of the games get a final score.

The rules for rating, scores and the feedback score can be found at the Rules and the FAQ

2nd Alakajam is over - voting phase has started 2

Laguna • 4 years ago on 2nd Alakajam! 

Congratulations to everyone who took part in this event! You have (solo or team, ranked or unranked) created a game in a very short timeframe! That is a good reason to tap your shoulder and get a big smile to your face!

The 2nd Alakajam is now complete with over 72 games!

The next step is the voting phase. Go to the games listing and play (and vote on) those awesome games. The creators are definitely also interested in some feedback, so if you have the time, write them some lines what you like, what could be improved and where you would have taken this game. The voting phase runs for two weeks until 11th March. This is also the date where the winners will be announced.

The Jam has ended, submission hour is on 0

Laguna • 4 years ago on 2nd Alakajam! 

After 48 hours the 2nd Alakajam has ended (for ranked submissions).

Stop writing code, painting graphics or composing music now. Starting from now, you have one hour left for submitting your game. If you haven't done so, you can do this here.
Around 8pm UTC submissions will finally be closed for ranked entries. Unranked entries have 24 hours extra, but for them there will be no submssion hour.

Rating starts directly after the submissions are closed and will stay open until Mar 11th.

Ranked: final hours & submission 0

Laguna • 4 years ago on 2nd Alakajam! 

I like the wooshing sounds deadlines make when they pass by.

Douglas Adams

The time to work on your game ends tonight at 7pm UTC for ranked entries. After that time, stop adding features to your game.
However, as we know that the final hours of a jam can be quite stressfull, you have one additional "submission hour". So the submission of ranked entries is possible until 8pm UTC.

At this point, solo and team submissions will be locked. As literally everybody is trying to submit in that timeframe, traffic issues might occur.

Voting will start right after the submission hour, so if you are looking forward to play some games, you can do so right away.
Unranked jammers have additional 24 hours ( + submission hour) so for them the doors close on Feb 26th at 10pm UTC.

Bugfixes, Levels, Menu, Music, Playtest 1

Laguna • 4 years ago on 2nd Alakajam! 

Hi there,

So, the final hours of the jam. This is where dirty hacks appear. ;) But first, let's do an update here!

A lot of bugfixes and features made it into the game. Now there are powerups, three different levels and we now even have music. I also worked on the main menu. As graphics are coming in (wall tile, player and powerups still missing), the game is more and more polished and I feel that we will be ready to submit in time. I also did a playtest to check if gamepad controls are working correctly and that the game was fun to play. And I have to say: yes, it is.