Some ramblings.


This is not a devlog. There isn’t much dev to log with ‘Junk Shop Telescope’ but I did want to make a couple of notes while it was fresh in my mind – if only to remind myself what I was thinking.

There are spoilers if you haven’t played the (30 second long) game, btw.

Potential Kickstarter Idea – make the moon square so that it’s easier to include in Bitsy games.

I almost didn’t enter this jam – I was unable to think of anything to do that met the ‘Castles and Ruins’ theme. Then my brain said ‘hey, it would be cool to draw the moon in Bitsy’ – my brain often confuses ‘cool’ with ‘a massive flipping pain’ which causes me no end of bother.

And ruin-on-the-moon made me think of Lovecraftian cosmic horror. I was a big fan of the Call of Cthulhu RPG and got into H. P. Lovecraft’s work that way. A typical CoC adventure resolves around some cursed artifact which opens the door to the horrors waiting just beyond the curtain of reality – so a mystical telescope that could see inside lunar structures that those hacks at NASA hadn’t spotted seemed in order.

One of the other themes in many of these stories is a kind of inevitability, an downward spiral, where the protagonist’s actions ratchets the end of the world ever closer. Unlike the moon, bringing about inevitable doom is easy to do in Bitsy. It’s simple – in fact, it’s the default – to make a one-way exit between rooms; so past a certain point there’s no turning back.

(Aside: I actually share a birthday with HPL – unfortunately he was a massive racist and anti-semite, his cosmic horror reflecting his all too earthly horror that some people might not be white, so I make no claims to horoscopic similarity).

A pointless detail that I wonder if anyone noticed.

In the interior of the alien pyramid, the first proper room contains two large alien figures. One is broken, head on the floor in the traditional “a shattered visage lies, whose frown/And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,/Tell that its sculptor well those passions read…” pose, except that I only had like 8 pixels so he just looks a bit peeved instead.

On the throne of the other, non-fallen, figure a light/jewel/pixel blinks on and off, with the intention of implying that some sort of mystical/medical persistence was taking place, and that the creature was not a statue but in suspended animation. “That is not dead which can eternal lie…” etc.

This is to foreshadow the next room, where a massive alien jerk sleeps under a similar blinking jewel – and when the cursor (i.e. the eye of the protagonist) falls upon this jewel, by the power of psionics / plot contrivance the alien awakes.

But if that’s the case, shouldn’t the player be able to do the same thing for the blinking jewel on the smaller throne in the room before? Well, I suppose. So I made it so that if you move over this blinker it also switches to its ‘wake’ mode and stops flashing. It has absolutely no effect on the game, because – as everyone knows – smaller alien horrors take longer to awaken from occult sleep. But it would bug me if the alien magi-tech didn’t have a consistent user interface.

(Aside: a button that you activate by looking/thinking at it is a terrible idea – try to be better at UX, alien monsters.)

Inappropriate content.

In the initial rooftop scene our protagonist is next to the telescope; but in the final rooftop scene he’s gone. Where? Maybe he’s fallen with shock or horror from his roof, I guess. Or gone inside to see how much Netflix he can watch before the end of the world.

However, originally the final scene was meant to show our protagonist slumped in a way that communicated horror and despair. But, again, my pixel art ‘abilities’ were not up to the task, and it ended up looking more like he was having a bit of a wank. I’m sure reactions to cosmic horror vary, but I don’t think rooftop onanism is a particularly common one. Using all my powers of pixel arting I managed to make it look more like furtive masturbation, but that still wasn’t really what I was going for. So, showing the hard work, dedication and commitment to quality that is my hallmark, I took the easy way out and sent him inside.

Okay, at this point this non-dev non-log is longer than the actual game, so I’ll stop there. Bye!

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