BEACON

An astronaut is stranded alone on a distant planet in an isolated star system and doesn’t know why.

Windows: Beacon_v1_1_win.zip
Mac: Beacon_v1_1_macosx.zip (requires Mac OS X 10.6)
Linux: Beacon_v1_1_linux.tar.gz (see readme.txt)

“Beacon” is a sprawling adventure-platformer involving SAD THINGS and MYSTERY. It also has a jetpack. It’ll take you about 15 minutes to play.

If you’d like to download the soundtrack, read this!

PRESS:

“…a lovely bit of work, with some happy platforming and a touching ending”
Rock Paper Shotgun

“…a minimal yet alluring platformer with a surprising amount of emotional depth”
Play This Thing

“What really makes the game is the music — it’s awesome”
Dig Boston Indie Game of the Week

“…surprisingly touching”
PC Gamer

DEVELOPMENT:

Beacon originally started off as a Ludum Dare 48 game in December on the theme of Discovery. The wonderful people who took part in Ludum Dare voted it second best out of the 242 entries! I spent a few weeks polishing it after, making it FASTER and STRONGER and BETTER and adding things the original version lacked, like “music”.

If you’re interested in Beacon’s development process, I wrote a postmortem about making the game for the LD48 site back in January and I blogged my progress on the new version approaching launch. If you’d like to know what I’m getting up to next, please follow me on Twitter.

But most importantly, please download the new version and try it out! I hope you enjoy it. ♥

118 Comments on “BEACON

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention BEACON » randomnine -- Topsy.com

  2. Pingback: Shine A Light: Beacon | Rock, Paper, Shotgun

  3. I’d second the demand for a linux build. Something like a .deb perhaps?
    Pretty pleeeaaase?

  4. Very, very nice game. Does so much with so little. I’m really looking forward to seeing what else you come up with. (Found this via the RPS blog, btw).

  5. I really enjoyed your game! The music is lovely and fits well with the story and environment. Platforming was fun with the jetpack boost thingy ^_^

  6. OK then! I’ll work on a Linux build after I get the Mac build done. It’ll be a few days, I’m afraid, but I’ll post here and tweet about it when it’s ready :)

    Thanks for your comments, everyone. I wasn’t expecting this little platformer to get so much attention, so this is really awesome!

  7. Hey – I’m trying to play 1.1 and I can’t! I’m on Vista. I try to run the game and it closes instantly and windows gives me a DEP error. :( I tried to turn DEP off for beacon.exe and it says DEP has to be on for it.

    Soooo … it’s sad! I want to play this game.

  8. 15 minutes? You lie, it took me aaages. I suck at jumping, which is a slight problem playing a platformer ;)

    It means I got to appreciate the thoughtful placing of the respawn points. It was nice not to have to redo the difficult bits on finally getting through one only to die on the next section.

    The only criticism I have is that the camera drifting while the character was standing still was making me feel slightly motion sick. Other than that, it was great. The feet kicking through the credits was a nice touch.

  9. Loved the game, great work. Almost poetic.

    You should set up a paypal account or some such for people to give you donations.

  10. Tried to run it on my Mac but it crashed before starting up. Running 10.5.8… any suggestions?

  11. Saw this on RPS and knew I had to try it as soon as I got home. I just finished it in a little over twenty minutes and enjoyed everything about it: the great pacing, intriguing environments, right amount of challenge, excellent music and story that kept on gently suggesting to explore a bit more, jump a little higher, and think about the player’s situation. Congrats on making a great game.

  12. Ian: I hadn’t even considered that! It’s OK, I’m planning to make some bigger games soon, and buying them will kind of be like a donation you get more stuff for :D

    Chris: Sorry to hear that. What was the error? Would you mind emailing me the crash report?

    Matt: Thanks! I hope I can live up to this with my next one :)

  13. No joy for me on OSX, unfortunately:

    Date/Time: 2011-02-15 17:53:50.635 +0800
    OS Version: Mac OS X 10.5.8 (9L31a)
    Exception Type: EXC_BREAKPOINT (SIGTRAP)
    Exception Codes: 0×0000000000000002, 0×0000000000000000
    Dyld Error Message:
    unknown required load command 0×80000022

    Please don’t make me boot into Windows :)

  14. Was wondering what program you used to make the music for this game? I’m trying to get into developing games for the Android and possibly move up to bigger quality games like this bud sadly I haven’t touched an instrument since 7th grade. Great game.

  15. Lloyd: Maybe my build only works on 10.6? I’ll try fiddling with compile parameters this evening.

    Benjamin: I wrote all the music in Propellerhead Reason 4. A MIDI keyboard (or USB MIDI keyboard) and Reason can take you a long way :)

  16. Thanks, I actually used MIDI a bit when learning Java by designing a MIDI music player but it actually hurt my ability to learn Java because it used too much code that I had to pull from libraries or that I didn’t understand yet, and the book I was reading just said, “Ignore this,” but I couldn’t even try to write my own code lol.

  17. Well, fortunately you don’t need to know how MIDI works to make music :D Plug in a keyboard and Reason will synthesize and record the notes you play. I just recommend getting a keyboard because Reason’s not very usable without one – it’s the best way to test out different sounds, and of course coming up with riffs is quicker if you can play them immediately and experiment.

  18. Chris, Lloyd: I’m afraid I can’t see how to get it working for 10.5. Sorry :( I’ve clarified above that it’ll only work on 10.6… not much help, I know.

    Nathan: I can’t think of what to suggest except looking round for how to turn DEP off?

  19. I also found this on RPS, and it’s really well done. Design, music, controls, story all very good.

  20. 10min30sec.. I like it, music added a lot, but I was expecting something a bit longer. (PS. Came here from RPS as well!)

  21. Very nice. I want him to explore the desert at the end! Maybe there’s a race of survivors or some working spacecraft prototypes!

    Are there alternate endings?

    PS: simple yet infuriating turrets :) How come all the other turrets in games are so stupid and don’t lead you like that :) Nice touch.

  22. beetlefeet: There aren’t any alternate endings. You’re right that there’s plenty of potential for a sequel!

    Drew: As far as I know the Mac version is working for most people, so long as they’re running OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). Unfortunately I can’t support older versions right now. If you’re running 10.6 and it’s crashing, please email me the error report and I’ll look into it! Thanks :)

  23. Pingback: tickticktickboom | brot und spiele

  24. I absolutely love the game. And the music, especially. It played in my head for the whole rest of monday (where I went through the game). Excellent.

  25. I’d love to play this. I’m running OSX 10.6.6 but when I download the mac file it says it’s not supported on this kind of mac???

  26. Pingback: Indie Game Links: The Rise of the Indie Developer | All PC Games Site

  27. Pingback: Whoa! and reptiles « Jonas Kyratzes

  28. NOTE: GENERAL SPOILERS BELOW

    Nice little game, very to-the-point about its concise/meager plot’s progression. Yeah, again, our-possible-future-takes-place-on-alien-world hubbub, but the little quips from about midway ’til the ending, particularly about the defense systems, was probably the nicest touch about the writing, along with the final line (which can be taken as either humorous or sad…or both, if you’re into black humor). As I find all-too-important for games, this has some nice music, with noises that don’t irritate (a pitfall for some chiptune music, especially back when that was the best games COULD do). I like that the jetpack mechanic isn’t put in your face (another merit and result of the writing’s punctuality), but rather it’s tacked on to the jumping instructions and, at least for me, it’s out-of-mind after the first simple jumps, and then re-enters either through accident or necessity, with in-writing nods at times (“This could be tricky…”).

    All in all, though it doesn’t blow minds or churn tears, this is a fast and complete little ride, with some extra questions to ponder once you’re done, since you certainly don’t have time during gameplay. I might come to appreciate the journey more in retrospect, if my mind wanders to think about what happened to get you to that planet, about what all you were seeing in those caves, and about how all that came to be before their end.

    Also: Thanks for making the jumping around interesting without making it too hard or anything (that would have definitely ruined the pacing!). Perhaps another rumination would be on what I was hoping (or what could be) down those dead ends and narrow passageways.

    Now, about copying those music tracks to iTunes…

  29. Rumination Number Whoscountinganyway: “Beacon” (Was there one? Are you the beacon? Is the game itself a beacon? etc., etc.)

  30. TJF588, the main character mentions that he and Ellen had heard a beacon, which is somewhere up the cliff. It’s implied to be the installation that he explores.

    Thanks for the game! The difficulty curve was just right, for the length. The sound and graphics and all really lend their support.

  31. Gene: Oops, all my testers with 10.6 said it went OK! Would you mind emailing me the error message? I’ll dig into it.

    TJF588: Thanks for your comments!

    If you’d like to get the music out, I put a separate blog post up about this here.

    POSSIBLE SPOILER — I should probably let the work speak for itself, but: the ‘beacon’ is the radar dome-like structure towards the top of the mountain which emitted the signal that led them to this location.

  32. If you are looking for improvements, one thing that I would like to see is the possibility to have localized versions of the World.map.zones file. Or atleast the strings extracted into it’s own file i.e “en_string.txt”.

    I have already translated the file into Swedish so that my kids could enjoy the game ;)

    Oh and many thanks for the Linuxbuild!

  33. Since it is freeware anyway, would you mind releasing the source code? Especially then it would be simpler to install under Linux (and other Unices).

  34. Pingback: ‘Beacon’ Is a Platformer Lost in Space | Finding Out About

  35. Pingback: ‘Beacon’ Is a Platformer Lost in Space | Boomeroo Web Resources

  36. Pingback: ‘Beacon’ Is a Platformer Lost in Space « Products & Tech News

  37. Pingback: ‘Beacon’ Is a Platformer Lost in Space | The Vocal Majority

  38. Pingback: ‘Beacon’ Is a Platformer Lost in Space | Tech News Daily

  39. Pingback: ‘Beacon’ Is a Platformer Lost in Space | Death By Cucumber News

  40. Pingback: ‘Beacon’ Is a Platformer Lost in SpaceWifi Onsite | Wifi Onsite

  41. Pingback: ‘Beacon’ Is a Platformer Lost in Space | BuyElectro.com

  42. Hey, I loved the game! How did you program it? I’m really unfamiliar with game programming but have been interested in getting into it. Platformers like this one seem like a good place to start (as opposed to, say, 3D games). Did you just program straight from a raw language, or did you use some kind of engine or development kit? (Ha – this question alone will surely demonstrate my ignorance of the subject matter…oh well.)

  43. Pingback: ‘Beacon’ Is a Platformer Lost in Space | Right Wing Nut Job

  44. Henrik: Nice one. I’ll remember to do that next time :)

    dasuxullebt: Sorry, I don’t want to do that just yet. I appreciate it’d make things a bit easier!

  45. Josh: I programmed Beacon from scratch in C++ in Visual C++ 2010 Express using a few free (or free for non-commercial use) libraries: SDL, OpenGL, DevIL and FMod. SDL can create a window and handle keyboard + mouse input. DevIL will load images as OpenGL textures, which you can then render on screen in OpenGL. FMod will happily play .wav and .mp3 files on request, pan them around, add reverb, etc.

    This isn’t necessarily the easiest way to get started, it’s just what I’m familiar with as a long-time C++ developer. :D I’m not sure what to recommend as an easy way into game dev, but Flash+flixel, Flash+flashpunk, Unity or Python+pygame could all be good frameworks in which to get started.

    I drew all the graphics in Photoshop CS5 and GIMP, made a few data files in notepad and generated all the sounds with the free app sfxr. I wrote the music in Propellerhead Reason 4.

    You’re right that 2D games are easier than 3D. A lot of the old arcade games (from Asteroids to Tetris) are reasonably easy to knock together, too – back then they just didn’t have the resources or tools to do anything complex! Good luck :)

  46. Pingback: ‘Beacon’ Is a Platformer Lost in Space | Foxy News

  47. @randomnine: Awesome! Thanks for the advice! Congrats again on a wonderful game.

  48. Wonderful game, I enjoyed it a lot, and I can’t thank you enough for the linux build. I look forward to future games from you :)

    As an aside, after the credits roll, the window didn’t close. Not sure if that’s what it’s supposed to do, but killing the process was easy enough. Again, thanks for the great game.

  49. Pingback: February’s Best Free PC Games : Test Drive

  50. Clear time 19:14. I really struggled with a few of the jumps… figuring out that I could hold C for a longer burst of help from the jetpack really helped out with a few of the longer jumps. A couple of the turrets were cheaply placed, offering “damned if you don’t, damned if you do” situations that you pretty much had to be lucky to get through. To its credit, the gameplay was simple and easy to learn, and the music was hauntingly beautiful.

    Found this via Maximum PC, by the way. They ran an article today (or maybe yesterday) about good free games. Yours is the only one that appealed to me, and I’ve been a gamer for 25-30 years. Again, it needs work, but your basic formula is good, and for free, one can’t really complain.

    I’ll promote it a bit on Facebook and Twitter.

  51. This game is amazing! So simple, yet so beautiful. And the soundtrack is beyond awesome.
    Really looking forward to future games of you!

  52. I suck at platformers usually, but this I thoroughly enjoyed; the music is great, the pixel art is great, the plot is good, the list of good things goes on.
    You, sir, deserve a large cake, which is not a lie.

  53. Pingback: February’s Best Free PC Games - TechFreq News=- | TechFreq News=-

  54. Pingback: Best Pc Games 2010 | February’s best free PC games

  55. This is so epic. I appreciate the newness you added to an old concept. This game has lots of potential for story expansion too!

  56. NOOOOOOT !!! this game is so awesome :) great job .. and the music is ooooo

  57. This game would be double awesome if the visor of the astronaut reflect the color of the pixels in the environment. You see, now it always reflect in yellow and seems like dunes are waving in the visor as we move. Wouldn’t be awesome that initially the visor would be red?, and when entering the metallic construction, would be grey, and near lava, yellow.

    How many endings, variations the game has?

  58. Pingback: INDIE GAME OF THE WEEK: BEACON | DigBoston

  59. Hi Ruber! That’s a cool idea and I’ll try it out when I do something else in this vein. The reason the astronaut’s visor is yellow is because his suit is based on NASA’s suits, which have a thin protective layer of gold over the visor.

    Beacon only has one ending.

  60. Nice mini-game. I hereby demand expansion.
    Now I am left wondering who or what actually downed the protagonist’s survey craft, and why.

  61. You should definitely change flickering screen after each dead of hero. It has frustrated me. Anyway you game’s worth try if i dare to write something like that in the face of mainstream and free mmorpg titles.
    Thanks for nice entertainment! Do not stop coding games!! I’m looking forward to see finally games from you what are crushing most of the big, overpriced games!!!
    I think you know, that i was joking :D but not about you short greatness, underrated game, which is really addictive in my opinion. Thank you i must say.

  62. I love this game so much :) Is there any other awesome 8-bit games like this?

  63. This is not a 8bit game. 8bit hardware is not capable of games like this.

  64. Thanks Amatour!

    Ben: Off the top of my head, you should totally check out Cave Story, Spelunky and Super Crate Box. They’re all amazing.

  65. hey randomnine, this is an awesome game you’ve made here. super music, charming, a bit touching. thanks! it puts me in mind of a few other “small games” i’ve played which are similarly moving. like terry cavanagh’s ‘don’t look back’, but a little less bleak. way to go!!

  66. Just finished Beacon, and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. I hope to see more from you in the future!

  67. I seem to be getting this weird glitch where everything starts up purple and the guy is a turret, don’t know what to do.

  68. Hi Xenovia!

    I don’t know what’s causing that bug, but I know one person who had it found updating their video card drivers did the trick. I hope that helps.

  69. Pingback: Please Welcome – Mainly About Games « Scottishgames.net

  70. Pingback: Beacon: Ένα απλοϊκό παιχνιδάκι, διάρκειας 15′ λεπτών (Linux-Windows-MacOSX)

  71. Looks interesting, sadly it doesn’t work too well for me.

    The rendering flickers and doesn’t sync correctly to the screen. There’s also something strange with it drawing above other windows even when not focused.

    I’m on a amd64 system which may have something to do with it. So, seconding henks request in hope that it would solve the problem.

    Still, thanks for what looks like an interesting game. o/

  72. Hi,
    I just played Beacon. Great work, I loved the music and the atmosphere of the game. :-)

  73. Decided to give this one a try after enjoying FiV, and was not disappointed (thanks for the Linux build, by the way!)

    You have evident talent in all aspects of game-making. Please continue!
    (Also, is there some kind of donation option that doesn’t involve PayPal?)

  74. Pingback: Beacon

  75. WTF, got “CPU Over Temperature Error” after about a quarter, restarted and shut down, waited a while and checked in the BIOS that the CPU temperature is 44 degrees Celsius which I suppose is normal.

  76. Pingback: Nano Theme » Sweet Games on 15 min for Linux » Nano Theme

  77. MAKE A SEQUEL OR I SHALL BE FORCED TO DESTROY YOU! Just kidding but seriously its a great game that deserves a sequel.

  78. Thank you for making this game, I really enjoyed the narrative and the music. I look forward to your future work.

  79. Just want to say your article is as astounding. The clearness on your submit is just nice and that i could suppose you are knowledgeable in this subject. Well with your permission let me to grab your feed to stay up to date with forthcoming post. Thank you one million and please continue the enjoyable work.

  80. Squandered Cambridge Satchel Bag Usually are this type of patients breathe a water vapor to cigarette smoking that residing in a beige colored ink cartridge.organizations announced machine can more reassured besides real smoking cigarettes since it doesn have threatening element.though, assert officials disagree while having brands remarks and also call us at any form of nicotine “seriously uncontrollable,and some marketing and advertising tactics circumstances imply that e smoking cigarettes are a safe replacement for puffing, The fact would certainly health involving e smoking cigarettes have not been sufficiently researched, exclaimed Jepsen in an announcement.

  81. порно онлайн горячие девушки
    Горело много свечей.

  82. [u]порно русский институт 2 онлайн[/u]
    Всех троих.

  83. Some of these stricken might interact with counseling. They really are awarded conservative medication as treatment plan. Others still, their covers are much more ” severe “, would need high tech treatments to be treating the company’s disorders.

  84. Guys you should try Dzaine money making system – brings me some good cash, just search it in google

  85. I noticed that it’s hard to find your website in google, i found it on 26th spot, you should build some quality backlinks to rank it in google and increase traffic. I had the same problem with my website, your should search in google for – k2 seo services – it helped me a lot

  86. And additionally at this point is additional. You sling plastic carrier bag is really placed on in just two ideas. You could wear it on a stand-alone method in. kimaira.net

  87. Really appreciate you sharing this blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>