4k review swap?

I was thinking we should do a “you review my game and I’ll review yours” thing so we can all try new things and get feedback on our works. Anyone in? (We’ll be using the Java4k site’s review system and such)

Here’s mine: http://www.java4k.com/index.php?action=games&method=view&gid=256

I know this board is only for the contest, but I don’t see any kind of “General 4k” board.

Sure, I’ll give it a go. But I prefer answering here instead of using the Java4k comments system. I’ll assume you’re looking for both comments on both the positive and negative aspects of the game, for some constructive critique.

First, I’d like to point out that this game has far too many buttons for me. I don’t have enough hands! It’s just not reasonable to expect me being able to aim, turn, walk forward, hold the “fast” button, and shift+space-fire at the same time. I’d suggest having constant walk speed. Alternatively, walk speed could use a toggle button as opposed to one you have to hold down.

For the weapons, I’d suggest much the same thing; toggle buttons for which one to use (1, 2, 3?) and then mouse button to fire. I know this is a remake and I admit to not having played the original, but I really do think the controls are overly complicated.

Another issue is that the enemy can make a full 180 degrees turn instantly, while you have to turn around painfully slow. A few additions to the enemy code (including slower turn rate and some simple “AI” (don’t move into walls, try to shoot in front of player with some randomness)) would make this game a lot more fun.

Now, on to the positive aspects. I like the meters in the top of the screen; they’re very clear (although a text string to say which weapon is which could be useful). Also, I think the gameplay is pretty cool. A suggestion regarding that would be to have a chain of multiple enemies that get progressively harder (“levels”, if you will).

I hope this didn’t come out as too negative - as far as I know, this is your first java4k game, and as we both know, making them is not trivial. I can assure you that this game is far more enjoyable than my first 4kb games :wink:

Looking forward to your next game! :slight_smile:

Morre, which game of yours should I review? You didn’t leave a link.

I was thinking maybe somebody else was supposed to do it so we get sort of a circular review pattern, but if you want to do it, then go ahead. :slight_smile:

As for for which game, it doesn’t matter. I know Splosh4k is kinda “unfinished”, so I’d encourage you to pick either of the other three (Pixeloids4k, Bridge4k or Tekicars4k); whichever you feel could be improved upon the most, and where you can think of constructive criticism. They’re all available on the contest web site: http://www.java4k.com/index.php?action=games&cid=5

Also, I’m open for dialogue. If you agree or don’t agree with any of the points in my review, feel free to let me know why. :slight_smile:

Pixaloid didn’t work for me. I just got a blank screen. Not even an error message. Tekicars4k seemed like it would be a Chu Chu Rocket clone, but it was something else, and wasn’t too fun. I couldn’t seem to pick up the speed up tiles after I laid them, and had to exit out the window to replay. Bridge4k wouldn’t start for me, same as Pixaloid.

Tekicars4k is a challenging puzzle game. It has an impressive amount of interactivity for a 4K game; namely, the right panel full of the tools that you can drop onto the playfield. The graphics are primitive, but sufficient to understand and solve the puzzles. The graphics probably could have benefitted from the application of gradients. I seem to solve these puzzles with a bit of luck. I can’t predict the effect of the speed up roads until I experiment with them. It’s also difficult to remember which block indicates a speed up and which indicates a wall. A distinct icon is really necessary, not just a color difference. Nevertheless, I kind of like the challenge. I’m stuck on level 3.


zeroone: Once you place the roads they have different icons, and it should be fairly obvious.

CyanPrime: You can delete placed tiles by right-clicking on them; you do not have to restart the application. It’s weird that neither pixeloids or bridge worked; can you get an error log? Nobody else has had problems as far as I know. Did you try both webstart and applet versions?

Here are a few short reviews. In return please don’t review my own game anymore - I think I have already annoyed enough people with it these last days !

***Virtual On 4k

  • the program is unfriendly to no qwerty keyboard users;
  • it seems there are too many keys to handle, the worst is being obliged to combine some of them to perform some actions;
  • the map and mechs graphics are too simplistic.
  • shots and explosions are well done ;
  • the gameplay seems fun ;
  • your game allowed me to discover the original Virtual On, that is really great. With more work, Virtual On 4k may have been some instant hit game - at least for me !


  • a very simple first level or a short intro demo, in order to learn the game mechanics, is lacking - actually I never found the patience to pass the first level ;
  • a key to restart the game fastly is missing.
  • a very original concept related to the problems of bridge architecture ;
  • the simulation mode is really a cool idea ;
  • the interface between the game and the player is almost perfect ( but for the key to restart the game… ) ;
  • some really great physics are implemented into it, and the graphics fit perfectly with them.


  • being a direct sequel to Squarius, originality is not its best feature ;
  • player and standard enemy ships graphics are too simplistic, although they present an important change since Squarius ;
  • is the autofire the conclusion that shooter game players are lazy and mindless ?
  • the game is simply huge with its eight different and long ( but not too long… ) levels ;
  • the explosions and landscapes are very well done ;
  • the gameplay is almost perfect, and also not discouraging for the player when he/she looses her ship ;
  • the end level bosses are really cool, although no one matches Squarius last boss ;
  • the spirit of the original R-Type is really inside this game - it may be well my favorite game among the 67 of this year !

***Gravitational fourks

  • too bad the game is for two human players only ;
  • some levels are very hard to achieve, unless you take the time to destroy a whole planet. Or maybe the only problem was with my poor judgement when it comes to ballistics ? This is very certainly possible !
  • very nice graphics ;
  • the interface with the players is very good and explanatory ;
  • a great remake of Scorched Earth and of the elderly Artillery Duel ;
  • an original remake too, with its use of impressing physics ;
  • it makes me wished some action game using the same physics - maybe some interplanetary travel game with very limited fuel, and with each level driving you one planet further ?

Bridge4K is a cool puzzle game. It would be nice if the anchor nodes were a different color than the nodes that I can introduce. Making functional bridges is difficult. I only got up to level 3 after a lot of trial and error. There should be ridged edges and springy edges. The physics engine is impressive for 4K. I like the concept of constructing something and then watching the outcome. Is this based on an existing game?

They’re generated at random with very few constraints. I think that at least 90% of the levels are completable without chipping away at a planet more than 3 times, but the “New level” functionality was added so that players could agree to skip past the others.

It’s not actually based on Scorched Earth or Artillery Duel at all, but on an Archimedes game whose name I can’t remember. The mechanic was very similar to Gravitational Fourks, but the physics was much simpler - it did a single step of whatever quadrature algorithm it used, and then checked whether it was colliding, so you ended up with holes in the middle of planets.

Your idea for evolving it is interesting, and I’ll have to think about it. I must confess that I don’t see how it could be an action game, but there could be a puzzle game there.

Stephr: I think “R” resets the level. It’s standard procedure in any game I make, I just forget mentioning in the controls description sometimes.

zeroone: Yes, it’s more or less based on Pontifex II (a “Bridge Construction Set” sequel, I believe). My physics are somewhat flawed, and I had to remove a few features because of lacking space. For a way better bridge game, I strongly encourage you to try Pontifex II.

A quick mention about Gravitational Fourks - I started a very similar game (although with mobile player positions) but gave up on it (mostly because I couldn’t get player movement working well). The point is, I know that making gravity like this can be tricky, so the game is a nice achievement!

(Mine was a 4kb version of mine and a friend’s still unfinished Polybombs project. Feel free to try the current tech demo if you like)

EDIT: The link seems to be broken for me, but perhaps it’s just my connection. If it doesn’t work, there’s a video here. We had a few network issues while recording the video, so the second half or so isn’t a lot of fun to watch.

No, it opens the window and immediately crashes. Unfortunately the console window vanishes too so there’s no log of what happened.

Weird. I’m afraid I can’t do much about that from where I am right now, though. Sorry!

We’re not actively developing Polybombs at the moment (although we hope to return to it). The webstart was more of a test to use internally than something to showcase.

Ah, I’ve found an hs_err file. The most important section is

siginfo:si_signo=11, si_errno=0, si_code=1, si_addr=0x00000004

EAX=0x00000000, EBX=0xb0dd77c0, ECX=0x00000001, EDX=0x00000001
ESP=0xb133865c, EBP=0xb1338674, ESI=0xb0f44de0, EDI=0x08c79e78
EIP=0xb0cd3b7b, CR2=0x00000004, EFLAGS=0x00010206

Top of Stack: (sp=0xb133865c)
0xb133865c:   08d6f930 00000001 08c79f38 b0dd77c0
0xb133866c:   b0f44de0 08c79e78 b1338694 b0d5ef25
0xb133867c:   08d6f930 00000001 09241000 8cdc1348
0xb133868c:   b0d5eef9 8cdc1348 b13386b4 b1144815
0xb133869c:   00000001 09241000 8cdc1348 8cdc1348
0xb13386ac:   8cdc1348 08c79e78 b13386f4 b23164ab
0xb13386bc:   08c79f38 b13386fc 00000001 b1338710
0xb13386cc:   00000000 b0f44de0 ffffffff b13386d8

Instructions: (pc=0xb0cd3b7b)
0xb0cd3b6b:   ff ff ff ff 83 c4 0c 5b 5e 5f 5d c3 90 8b 40 20
0xb0cd3b7b:   8b 50 04 85 d2 89 55 f0 74 e5 8b 40 08 31 ff 8d

Stack: [0xb12b9000,0xb133a000),  sp=0xb133865c,  free space=509k
Native frames: (J=compiled Java code, j=interpreted, Vv=VM code, C=native code)
C  [i965_dri.so+0x122b7b]  _mesa_get_uniform_location+0x3b
C  [i965_dri.so+0x1adf25]  _mesa_GetUniformLocationARB+0x35
C  [liblwjgl.so+0x20815]  Java_org_lwjgl_opengl_ARBShaderObjects_nglGetUniformLocationARB+0x35
j  org.lwjgl.opengl.ARBShaderObjects.nglGetUniformLocationARB(ILjava/nio/ByteBuffer;IJ)I+0
j  org.lwjgl.opengl.ARBShaderObjects.glGetUniformLocationARB(ILjava/nio/ByteBuffer;)I+29
j  Shaders.uniform(Ljava/lang/String;)Z+24
j  Polybombs.init(Lorg/newdawn/slick/GameContainer;)V+15
j  org.newdawn.slick.AppGameContainer.start()V+170
j  Polybombs.main([Ljava/lang/String;)V+64

So a bug either in my video driver or lwjgl. I can send you the whole thing if you want, but I doubt you do.

Shader-related, it’d seem. Yeah, our game requires shaders, so it might just be your shader-support isn’t good enough (intel integrated chipset, for example). I thought we had configured it so it’d just skip the shaders and run anyway, but perhaps not. In either case, this is all off-topic, so let’s call this discussion finished.

You can always send me a message if you have any further questions or comments. :slight_smile:

4K Maze

When I launch the game, the window opens much larger than the play area. The left and bottom of the window is white empty space. This resize issue does not affect game play. It seems a tad easy to win this thing. If I lose, it feels like I only lost because the randomly generated maze happened to start me out surrounded by red squares. There are way too many exits (win points) and the enemies are way to aggressive. I like how the player attracts the blue square instead of controlling its position finely. The graphics are really primitive.

Beez Helper

I can’t launch the game! I get a Security Alert that says, “Your current security settings do not allow this file to be downloaded.” I’m not sure what classes this entry depends on, but it’s probably breaking the rules as is.

In cases where the game doesn’t launch, I think the author should be notified and should be given a second chance to fix it to allow it to be judged. In fact, if a judge finds a minor bug, I think the same should apply.


This is a block puzzle game where time is your enemy. I like the 3D shadow effect. I won the game really easily. All I did was left-click like crazy all over the place. There’s not much game play here.

Crack Tower Defense

This is a really strange puzzle game. I like the concept that you have to set something up and then let it run to see what happens. But, I can’t seem to figure out exactly what you are supposed to do here. Why do I only have a certain amount of time to setup the guns? Why can I reposition them? What is that glowing circle around the guns that appears when I click on it? When do I get more money? I just don’t get it.

Crimsonland4k version 1.001

I like that you have 2 different weapon types and you have to conserve the better weapon. Very primitive graphics. Is that EGA? The player has no way to move and hence he can’t escape the enemies. The play field needs to be larger and there needs to be walls and a more advanced goal to accomplish. I got up to level 2 before giving up. It just seemed to become too impossible.