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Cart #27352 | 2016-08-25 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Deep Within the Void
Cold and Alone
All that is Left
The Violet Signal

Hint: To skip the intro hold z+x, but c'mon, give it a watch!

The Violet Signal
A Boss Only SHMUP

A Pico-8 Game made by Jesse Bergerstock @illMadeCoder 2016

Locate The Violet Signal by triangulating signal and overcoming a space horror at each node!

About The Game

Hello Pico-8 forum, this is the first game I've moved from zero to complete after years of of making half games in Unity, I managed to get through it in the simple Pico-8 engine.

This project took my approximately three months off and on to complete, going into it with no other pico-8 experience. A successful summer project.

I think for the most part the game speaks for itself, controls are located at the bottom of the title screen. The game itself consists of three separate stages, which are all boss fights in the traditional sense.

If you'd like to help with development let me know if any of the bosses gave you a particularly hard or easy time! Each stage is inspired by some of the major SHMUP subgenres and it has been tricky to balance.

I want to thank a few people who helped with the development of this game:
@lexaloffle - For Pico-8!
@morningtoast - For a load of super valuable feedback on shmups!
@NoelFB - For introducing me to the power of Pico-8 through Celeste, and some encouraging words on twitter!
@gruber_music - For advice on music which will surely help with future projects! I had to learn music from scratch for this.
@impbox - For programming advice (specifically removal of tokens) and encouragement!
@krajzeg - For Pico-8 games to website advice. Made the playtesting a lot easier once I learned how to get my game on itch.io privately.
@thataintfalco - For the unparalleled amount of playtesting and encouragement. He must have played the game around as much as I have over the last few months.
@WazpRanger - For many years of long discussions about games as a form of art, and what could be done with this new means of expression and experience. Also for giving me cause to get into game programming as early as I did, nearly 3 years ago now.

Thanks for reading and I hope you manage to locate The Violet Signal.

Don't lose your mind to the endless abyss!

P#27267 2016-08-23 18:43 ( Edited 2016-09-07 11:41)

Glad to see this release! Great job...I know it was a lot of hard work.

And now for the bummer...it won't load on the PocketCHIP. Throws a token error: 8322/8192 tokens

Keep in mind the PCHIP is still running 0.1.7 of P8 so that's probably not helping. If you need help PocketCHIP debugging, let me know and I can load carts and send you bug reports.

P#27268 2016-08-23 19:51 ( Edited 2016-08-23 23:51)


Ah, I don't have a PCHIP. I'm gonna have to figure out how to fix this. I really wanted this to work on there, I had no clue there was different specs for pico-8.

P#27269 2016-08-23 19:59 ( Edited 2016-08-23 23:59)

Wow. A nice game. I love shooters on pico-8!

P#27277 2016-08-24 03:01 ( Edited 2016-08-24 07:01)


Hey, thanks friend!

P#27278 2016-08-24 03:40 ( Edited 2016-08-24 07:40)

I wasn't able to finish the game (I'm not that good...), but looks great, and I am always happy to try a new shooter!

P#27302 2016-08-24 16:33 ( Edited 2016-08-24 20:33)

@Ramayaben I'm not sure how long ago you played it but I've made the game a tad easier with slightly more frequent health! Anyways thanks for the feedback!

P#27303 2016-08-24 16:44 ( Edited 2016-08-24 20:44)

This is tough, but it's all really tightly executed. It has a very NES feel. I'll certainly be back to play it, because it seems like it takes some practice to beat (which is not a bad thing)! I love the theming and the look of everything.

If it helps at all, the bullet hell boss is the easiest for me on a first try, but that might just be because it's more straightforward.

P#27359 2016-08-25 17:43 ( Edited 2016-08-25 21:43)

@Sibwara Hey, yeah it is pretty tough for most people, I'm actually curious if you have noticed and been using the health that appears between phases, I'm afraid people think that it's a bullet.

P#27363 2016-08-25 19:08 ( Edited 2016-08-25 23:08)

Yeah, I did notice it. It reads pretty differently than the bullets, so I think it's good :)

P#27369 2016-08-25 21:34 ( Edited 2016-08-26 01:34)

Quite the (difficult) concept! This game definitely needs to be given a chance, as it seems impossible at first, but then you start getting better at it...

Are there any tokens left to add something to it? Because it's a shame to get pretty far into a boss battle and then get killed and you didn't know how well you did. It'd be nice if the boss damage chart was still on the "game over" screen along with the words appearing that wouldn't go away until you pressed the action key. Because glancing up at the boss info area can be hazardous, even pausing the game can throw off your timing and then you get nailed once you unpause it again.

P#27404 2016-08-26 15:51 ( Edited 2016-08-26 19:51)

This game is great and hard as hell, took me a while on the boss of isolation, but as a suggestion, could you add a weapon system where we could get a new weapon for beating one of the bosses? Could make our lives easier, but awesome experience I had with this game.

P#27470 2016-08-27 10:19 ( Edited 2016-08-27 14:19)

@Vectorguy Yeah, I think it is a game that once adjusted you can get into the motions for sure, but that adjustment period can be rough. Unfortunately, I actually released this game because I really couldn't find any good place to optimize tokens without making the code silly or recoding the whole thing in a different style. So I have to sort of deal with a minimalist game set, in the expense of making all the fights unique.

P#27500 2016-08-27 21:51 ( Edited 2016-08-28 01:51)

@Urbanlight2000 I would be interested in playing with that idea, but I've been at the breach for tokens, and it takes me a very long time to find any room for fresh code. At this point the guns can be used in different ways to be optimal against different bosses, ie Terrore you want to charge shot into fast burst into charge shot into fast burst and so on. I tried to make each fight unique in the way you have to use the weapon.

P#27501 2016-08-27 21:52 ( Edited 2016-08-28 01:52)

Great music, theme feels tight and the puzzle of each boss is interesting and fairly grasible. The way the gun has lends itself to different strategic approaches is good and it's impressive how much you've made it work as a mechanic.

That unskippable intro though...

Also is ship faster with a control? It just feels slower than it should be , maybe that's just the keyboard though. The fear boss just destroys me in its second stage with the walls. I literally can't move out of the way even if I'm reacting appropriately. Maybe there's a pattern or strategy I'm being too dense to notice?

It's great , solid game though. I've yet to kill any boss though but I keep coming back, Rage is the only one I've come vaguely close to defeating.

P#27828 2016-09-01 08:16 ( Edited 2016-09-01 12:16)

That unskippable intro though...

It's not, just press x and z. It's in the first post.

P#27829 2016-09-01 08:34 ( Edited 2016-09-01 12:34)

@scrapprincess Hey thanks for your comment, I really appreciate your thoughts! I did make the intro skip-able but I didn't put the instruction in the game so that I wouldn't encourage first time players to skip it. Simply hold z+x during the intro as @Vectorguy says.

I'm very happy you noticed the way the gun lends itself to different approaches in each fight, I put a lot of time in thinking out how these 3 fights would work together in such a way that they feel very different, although the central mechanics are fairly minimalist and similar.

The ship's speed has been a problem since the beginning, I think it should go about 15%-20% faster but I have no good way to do that because if I make it so that the ship moves at 1.2 pixels per frame instead of 1 you will see jagged pixel movement. If there is a solution to this problem I'd love to see it!

I would really like to know in more detail how Terrore is killing you in the second phase, by walls do you mean columns or the collapsing top and bottom sides? You should be able to dodge the columns, although it is not easy, I don't think there's necessarily a trick.

Thanks for your input, I plan on putting this game on different websites in the coming weeks and any input towards an update prior to that is very useful!

P#27851 2016-09-01 15:50 ( Edited 2016-09-01 19:50)

Oh yeah totally missed that instruction about how to skip intro, oops.

Terrore was killing me with the columns , but then I realised I was trying to dodge the edge of them rather than aim for the gap, if that makes sense, and I managed to defeat them.

Still being savaged by the other 2 but making progress on Ira.

P#28136 2016-09-07 07:41 ( Edited 2016-09-07 11:41)

Good game. Terrore is the easiest, Solum is the hardest, but Ira somehow knows our number system XD

P#59550 2018-12-01 21:23

Wow. I thought I was better at shmups. Guess I was wrong. P.A.T. Shooter spoils you i think.

P#59593 2018-12-03 00:16

Help, Terrore won't let his eye hurt (I think it's a bug)
Edit: Oops, I needed to use big blasts. Beat him and Solum

P#63215 2019-04-03 15:12 ( Edited 2019-04-03 15:30)

This game is pretty addictive. Only one I haven't beat is Ira. Terrore is the easiest and Ira is the hardest.

P#101549 2021-12-05 14:25

beat all

P#109037 2022-03-23 08:45

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