redder

redder

so, first of all, this game doesn’t take place underwater.

redder has been my biggest project, both in in terms of scale (it’s the biggest game world i’ve ever built) and time. it began in new york as this basic jumping game, and once i reached california i was working on it continuously. when pigs fly was the product of a struggle with a language i thought i couldn’t control (actionscript), confusion over what was and was not marketable and the need to just get the game done and get the money i needed for my move. i was terrified that this was how every commercial game i made was going to feel: fortunately, redder proved me wrong.

click here to play redder on newgrounds

most of my games tie the player to a train track: each player experiences the scenes in the same (or about the same) order every time, which makes it simple to control the pace of the game. i always know what the player’s seen, and overcome, before this situation that i’m designing right now. redder was an opportunity for me to design off of the train tracks. how do you pace an experience whose scenes can occur in almost any order?

as always, a lot of people helped make this game a reality. amon provided the music and eerie space sounds. andrew recorded a bunch of sounds, only two of which found a place in the game. my slut provided the space squeals. my playtests were invaluable. and of course, tom bought it. when i was close to the end, my terrible guildhall computer sprung like a booby trap. it at least had the good timing to be right after i started a donation drive, and thirty-five people gave me enough money to pay my rent for a month. they’ve all earned a special place in my heart, their names in redder, and a pixel portrait i will someday get around to drawing.

65 thoughts on “redder”

  1. Oh thank god finally.

    The game is wonderful, and every time I find a spot I recognize from the screens you posted I am delighted.

    The subtle floaty effect after the gems are got is cool, and I like the transition back to the marker after I die. Also,the jumps feel just right, even the little bounce after along descent.

    Wonderful.

  2. The glitches were pretty cool, still 4 gems to go…

    I’m impressed, designing an open puzzle like that must be a huge pain!
    How do you make sure you dont get trapped or something like that?? My head hurts just to think about it…

    Did it make the frontpage? Puzzle-y games dont do good often in newgrounds. Good luck!

  3. I love the jump mechanic. Sort of mighty bomb jack/jill off-ish. For a game that takes place in reduced gravity, “floaty” is not the word I would use to describe it – I know there’s a better word, but I can’t think of it. In any case, I also love the little tracks that the bullets follow. Pure bliss

  4. I beat it but am still missing 2 secrets. The glitches were super cool. At first I thought it was just gonna be like Knytt, but it was neat that the game didn’t ‘artifically hinder your progress’ (like VVVVVV) and you can explore in any order without getting powerups, and the way you get the gems are more puzzle heavy than platform heavy and yeah it is really really good

  5. Really, really great! (I’ve only collected 5 or so gems so far. I started out going all the way left instead of taking the intuitive path down first).

    My one complaint so far has to do with the music. I very much like it, but for some reason — and I can’t put my finger on it precisely, which I know isn’t helpful — it bugs me whenever it starts over upon retrieving a gem. Something to do with the mood shift. Each time that happens (and only when that happens) it makes me wish there were a way to mute the music. After 30 seconds or so without retrieving a gem I’m perfectly happy with it again.

  6. I absolutely adored this game. I think this is the best thing you’ve done so far! :) Also, this game is best experienced with multiple friends so when you get to the maps glitching out you can yell out to each other “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IS THIS GAME BROKEN?” etc.

  7. Played through this and it was a lot of fun.

    I have mixed feelings about the glitchiness… At first I thought it was a bug. When I realized it was supposed to be that way, I thought it was a clever way of telling the story–as you rob the planet of its resources, it gradually becomes unstable. Amon’s music definitely helped in that regard. By the time I got the the very end, though, it felt kind of–anticlimactic? I didn’t finish the game until I had 100% though, so maybe I missed something from the other ending.

  8. One other comment: it would be a kindness toward the careless player if *R*eturning to the ship didn’t automatically clear your previous *W*arp marker.

    And now that I’ve collected considerably more gems, I see why muting the music shouldn’t be an option. Neat.

  9. Wow. That was something else. Crazy level design, and atmosphere like no other. This was fantastic.

    Played through it all in one sitting, and got everything except for the secrets.

  10. Playing this takes me back to when I played Invader so I immediately like it. Good show.

  11. Holy crap! So I “finished” this at work today, and got a total Air Fortress vibe, but was disappointed that the game didn’t deliver on the promise it was hinting at. Came home and got the last three gems, and wow was it cool what happened. Robbing the planet of its resources is one way to look at it, but my interpretation was that the astronaut reaches a sort of stage of enlightenment, a la 2001 or the Fountain.

  12. hey whoa i am a special thanks, forgot i donated.

    i liked this a whole lot! dessgeega, i remember reading that you liked calamity anne the best of all your games, but redder is probably my favorite of the lot and feels like it incorporates a lot of your earlier work. i know the jumping of your recent games plays a more concrete role, but the atmosphere reminds me a whole lot of invader.

    i love how the jump works; timing the release just right on the harder jumping bits felt great. only thing i’d say is, it would be nice if holding down made you fall faster, which came to mind because of how many wrong jumps i made trying to get the gem in eight down, one across from the upper left.

    the twist got me good. i was trying to reproduce the wrong sprite panel appearing for the longest time. the glitchiness definitely feels like amon26’s style, but at the same time it’s such a nice hat-tip to air fortress that it makes for a great collaborative element between the two of you.

    and yeah, the turrets firing into tubes that go nowhere made me smile.

  13. Goodness, I love the whole thing.

    I seem to have interpreted a bit differently the connotations of both the ending and the glitchiness, but I view that as a huge positive rather than a problem. It’s heartening to see a game that leaves some wiggle room available for player interpretation.

    The ending came as no surprise, but it was all the more interesting for that, honestly. It may be a bit contrived, but nevertheless it was successful in forcing me stop and question why exactly I had willingly plunged in to such destruction.

    The best part, however, was undoubtedly the sound effect used for the laser bullets.

  14. I second everyone else’s comments about how wonderful this game is. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that you also hate people with deuteranopia. Those guys are jerks.

  15. Btw, the above was very much a joke. The game does seem like it is accessible, though marginally more tedious w/o differentiation between the different types of blocks.

  16. Very nice. Seeing a lot of ‘exile’ in it.

    One tiny tiny complaint – if there’s anywhere that explains that you use the arrow keys, I missed it.

    A bit of experimentation worked, but still slightly annoying.

    Other than that – nice. Good slow introduction to different game concepts as you head into different directions, nice slowly expanding architectural elements.

    Did NOT like the marker. You touch it! You get a sound effect! … nothing else happens. You have to die to find out what they do. Not cool.

    Looking forward to finding the inevitable puzzle where you have to use the marker after pressing a switch.

  17. My friends pegged it next to Knytt and VVVVVV, and I can totally see why they would, but the thought that came most clearly to my mind while playing was Metroid, and in particular Metroid: Zero Mission on the GBA. The large, cohesive world, the general feeling of trespassing in an environment that some other entities originally designed for their benefit and not yours, different areas having their own distinct tile-sets and level design, even little things like the automap being kind enough to mark when a screen contains a treasure that hasn’t been collected yet.

    The only things I found frustrating (in a bad way – there was lots of exploring and split-second platforming that was frustrating in a *good* way) were the fact that the automap didn’t indicate which rooms had doors to which other rooms (admittedly, that could be a design decision to make navigation more challenging), and the glitchiness (I got a real kick when I noticed the corruption was growing as I played along, but it seemed like it was foreshadowing something, and I never discovered what. Maybe if I’d put up with the navigation a little more and gotten the last three gems I’d find out – but my lunchbreak was coming to and end and I had to get back to work).

  18. “Maybe if I’d put up with the navigation a little more and gotten the last three gems I’d find out”

    You answered your own question admirably.

  19. It actually seems like you went out of your way to make the rooms and puzzles non-palindromic.

  20. Hmm, I guess if we count the game’s development period too, then the whole thing is a palindrome.

  21. I still love the cosmonaut sprite. :) Though for something wonderful like this, I prefer a downloadable version, I don’t mind Newgrounds… except that there’s no fullscreen option. This is a ‘kick back in the lounge chair with a game controller’ game, a pity I am stuck in a tiny little window.

  22. After one day as the featured game on Newgrounds, REDDER gets knocked off the page. Usually games are featured on there for a week or more. :/

  23. I found this game on one of the flash games sites today and I really enjoyed it. I love how at first it’s just an action adventure collect items type game with an astronaut, but then by the end it becomes something more.

    The difficulty is perfect, the items are cleverly hidden, and it’s just one of those games that has its own unique “soul.” I’m really glad there are people like you making games.

  24. Hey, uh … I started playing this on a crappy computer, and the performance slowly deteriorated as I visited new rooms. Is there a cookie somewhere on that computer that I can copy to a faster computer to keep my progress?

  25. QRL: If you close the game and reopen it that should get rid of the lag (and you can continue playing from the last checkpoint you hit). I had a similar problem on my crappy computer.

    Unfortunately there’s no simple way to transfer flash cookies between computers.

  26. Two secrets left, but I just wanna find my way back to the surface at this point. That ‘return to ship’ key was a blessing I did not appreciate when I had it.

  27. pretty impressed that you had the guts to let the glitch escalation actually mess with your carefully assembled tile maps.

    not sure if it’s intentional, but i like that careless checkpoint usage can work against the player in some places.

    those bullet tracks are also beyond wonderful =)

  28. Thanks Hunty.

    Really good job with the map layout. I like how the key to making progress is to just scrutinize the surrounding environment.

  29. Liked how it is subtly demonstrated that the map actually wraps around. If I interpret it correctly, it’s how the text message is ‘decoded’.

    I’m guessing that Bennett’s theory is the correct one. I liked how subtly the glitches were first introduced, to the point that most people thought they weren’t intentional. The progressive deconstruction of the game is to me, rather than strictly palindromic, a reflection on how the player acts within the game world to deconstruct the illusion that the author carefully crafted, understanding the puzzles and their solutions behind the veils, in order to progress.

    You lied about the underwater thing.

  30. Nice game. I agree with Screwtape about the automap, though I was grateful enough that it was there at all.

    The map wraps around?

  31. I just finishing redder, that brings me to your name and your name to this site…

    it was so much fun to play redder and remember me the old good C-64 times when i grow-up. I love such simple but really playable short little games with no tutorial on which you have to find out on our own how the things work, solving mini puzzles keeping me in challenge but never so hard that it takes hours or even days to get through.
    and how far you go, there is always something surprisingly. thanks for that beautiful little game!

    greetings from swizerland

  32. It was really good meeting you at GDC this week Anna, and I’m happy I managed to help you in a small way! Plus I get a portrait AND Redder, so in the end I come out way ahead.

    Now to play Redder!

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