2017 OSP Contest Review

Table of Contents

In this document I will be evaluating each entry to the 2017 OSP Contest. Author is the SBS user who created the program. Size is measured in characters, minus embelleshments made by the author in free space, the theoretical maximum being 1334. Basically if it's not in use in your program I don't count it.

Do keep in mind that I only have three five votes, so even if I like your program you might not get a vote. Don't be offended or anything.

ALARM

Author
Imasheep
Size
458

A very simple alarm program with background music. Also it shows you what model 3DS you're using, for some reason. As told by the size this program doesn't really make incredible use of the space, but it does totally work… with one exception. The instruction to "LEAVE BLANK TO SET OFF ALARM" doesn't actually work. It does show you the current date, but doesn't specify the option to set a future date to go off on, which is a bit weird but understandable. Furthermore I find it odd that you would give an alarm background music, but whatever. Style is subjective.

ASTEROIDS

Author
12Me21
Size
1330

12Me21 is, of course, one of the undisputed kings of SB micro-optimization and golfing, so it comes at no surprise to me that he managed to pull off a clone of the classic game Asteroids. It's a simple game, sure, but replicating it in SB is a bit of a challenge in a tight space. It's a very smooth and polished clone as well, making incredible use of space. I would have preferred using the stick to control it, though. The graphics are a mostly spot-on replica of the vector original, but minus rotation of the asteroids, which is a reasonable omission. One thing I found odd is that you lose a point every time you fire. Maybe the original game does that, I don't know. Regardless,I'm very pleased with this.

AVOID

Author
kantackistan
Size
736

Avoid the monsters for as long as possible. The trick is that you can't see anything; you can only hear them. This program is a very cool and potentially very spooky concept. However, since you're just walking around forever in an empty void, it is pretty easy. Of course, the binaural sound design is very nice, but not really scary. I think a better application of this concept would be having to navigate a spooky not-so-open level (that you can see) to achieve some goal, but you can only hear the monsters until they're on the lunge about to kill you. That would be scary. Doing this with the raycaster would be awesome, but unfortunately something like this wouldn't happen in one screen unless you made a really small raycaster. There is about half the screen worth of code space available though, so you could possibly do something close.

BALL0ON-BIRD

Author
chicken
Size
1286

Another avant-garde joke work by chicken. You play a bird who flies around looking for balloons; but of course, this being chicken, there is no way to actually win. You just fly around the blue grid world forever. While I do like the bizarre presentation and the title screen actually looks kinda cool, the gameplay is nonexistent. There's also a bug: if you fly out from the black void too far you see more weird grid. Odd.

CALC

Author
TheV360
Size
1324

For this contest TheV360 decided to make a reduced version of his graphing calculator. (Not entirely sure if this is in the spirit of the rules, but alright.) Overall the program is pretty good and full-featured. You have all of the basic graphing features present on a calculator like the 84+ (which this immediately reminded me of,) such as Trace mode and the function table. I especially like that the coloring of the line changes based on the rate of change of the function. However, you have to write the code for the function in slot 1. You're provided a template, but for functions like SQR which have to do error handling it's a bit frustrating. I also think it's a bit out of scope of this challenge, since there's satellite code outside the main screen, but maybe it counts. I don't make the rules.

COLOR_VIRUS

Author
Simeon
Size
874

Simeon made a weird GFX demo, and had enough space to fill half of it with cool-looking comments. The program itself looks pretty neat too, but I have no idea how to explain it. He earns mad points from me for checking EXTFEATURE and enabling ARYOP for a speed boost. Unfortunately though, it's still quite slow on O3DS, and perhaps due to my system limitations I've been unable to get results quite as cool as that screenshot. Sad.

CONVERTER

Author
Warrior
Size
124

It's just a text-display miles-to-kilometers converter. I can't say I'm incredibly impressed, but I can't blame someone for lack of programming skill really, and this is also one of the few contest entries that provides a useful function. It's also the shortest.

DEFENDER

Author
brilliance360
Size
852

Tap the space ships as they fly across the screen. When they reach the edge you lose health. When you run out of health you lose the game. Very simple, has a decent amount of free space, but well-executed. Difficult for the less dextrous. I think it's interesting that the ships slow down as they reach the edge, and I really do appreciate the hit marker.

ESCAPE

Author
miwa
Size
1030

You play a young girl, wandering about in a dark log cabin or something. Climb your way out by finding the ladders using only your peripheral vision, but avoid the ghosts! Unfortunately, the game is pretty much trial-and-error since you have to just walk around in an empty space with limited vision to find the ladder. Also, ghosts sometimes spawn in very inconvenient places. There's a decent amount of code space which could have been used, since everything is pretty much on its own line. Plus, this is probably the O3DS talking again, but it's a bit slow. From the looks of it this entry was the first to be submitted, written within some hours after the contest was announced and released immediately. I guess that's worth something.

FLAGTHROWERS

Author
kitesinpowerlines
Size
1191

Essentially Simon Says. Hit the button when it says to, otherwise don't. First to 10 wins. Bizarrely enough there's no flag throwing to be seen; the characters just bow to each other repeatedly or something. There's enough free space to add in flags too I think. Maybe it's a "no GRPs" issue.

FLANTAPSIM.OSP

Author
SomeThing
Size
710

A simple clicker in which you "tap" a flan. In reality, there is no tapping involved. You just press A instead of actually tapping the flan. Disappointing. The program is relatively unpolished, with flickery lower-screen text, and has enough free space to add all of these improvements. Absent from this is also upgrades to earn money automatically, which is a basic feature of most clickers. I'm also a bit lost as to why the money earned per tap is called "TAP DAMAGE." Either way, I guess I can't be too upset because I began this contest making a clicker, but quickly abandoned it realizing I don't like clickers that much. Oh well.

FROGGUY

Author
calc84maniac
Size
1330

SBS celebrity-but-not-actually-very-active-user calc84maniac brings you this definitely legally distinct and not-a-clone frog game: Frog Guy. Hop across the road and into the pond to reach your lily pads. The experience is pretty solid all-around, playing very much how you would expect. The road graphics are just solid colors; he could have used a BG layer maybe, but the objects are all sprites, drawing from the built-in set. I do like that the trucks are a piece of the spaceship graphics. Movement does feel a bit odd and exact at first. Maybe this is because everything is based on SPANIM and Frog Guy is the only thing aligned to a grid, but you get used to it. Except for the lily pads. Getting that exact is pretty hard. Overall I'm very impressed, and it plays almost exactly like the classic Frogger– er, it's Frog Guy. Yeah.

HUGE_PLT-OSP

Author
Nathaniel
Size
1334

Navigate a cave-or-something, collecting keys and power-ups. The actual design and gameplay is very solid; the double jump works in air, and the wall jump feels very nice. Level design is quite good too. I have one big problem though: it's not really a one-screen program. The program you get is basically just a loader for a larger game; it decompresses a data string into source code and runs it. To me, this is really just an uninspired way to get more screen space and break the rules. The real game's source code is about 40% above the space limit in total. Considering his original Platformer OSP he intended on submitting fit within a screen, I think with a bit of optimization and potentially some scaling-back we could've had a proper Huge Platformer OSP (not that this game is actually much larger than the other one anyway; the code is just more complicated.)

LAZY_SHADOWS

Author
Autz64
Size
1149

This is a GFX demo for a method of drawing sprite shadows, as well as some dynamic light. As the demo runs on, more and more light sources are added, they move around, and the demo compensates by adjusting the light and shadow automatically. While something like this has been done before, this is a very well-presented application of the tech and is fun to stare at for a little while. The least impressive part is the way the light discs blend together, since it leaves seams and each disc is at a low res, but it's some of the best you can do with just sprites. Perhaps, though, using something like skeletons instead of strawberries would have been better for the theming.

OSP_WACKAFISH

Author
seggiepants
Size
789

Another tap-these-things-while-you-can game. This one is a fair bit easier as the fish don't move; they simply appear, and then disappear after an amount of time. Miss too many fish? You lose. While everything does work, the code is hardly shrunk at all and there's lots of potential space to make the game more interesting. Though perhaps a condensed program with even more potential space to use would've been worse than it being perfectly readable as it is now.

PLANT.TXT

Author
Lumage
Size
1325

This is a Lindenmayer system implementation for drawing plants (but I suppose if you edited the ruleset it could draw anything.) I was surprised at the quality of this entry considering that Lumage doesn't even own SB and had to rely on emulators and online docs. It tends to generate wispy, fern-y fractal plants, which do look nice. The swaying after the draw phase is very nice as well, though the later drawing phases do take very long. The inclusion of seed entry is also a bonus, since you can use this to draw the same plants repeatedly; it would be even better, however, if the seed for the current plant was displayed as the program was running, so you can repeat random plants by saving the seed. Overall, this is a quality entry that makes very nice use of its rather dense source code.

ROC6

Author
Giant_Gamer
Size
1271

It's a textmode Rock Paper Scissors game. There isn't much you can say about it. It keeps track of wins, losses, and ties. First to 10 (you or CPU) wins. Source code could've been shorter, since there's long variable and label names, but the use of text to show what you picked is kinda neat (especially the scissors.)

SATURATION

Author
NateDogg1232
Size
941

Another GFX demo which redraws the built-in sprite GRP with adjusted saturation. It's interesting, but there's a fair amount of space left in the code. I do like that you can go above 100% though.

SLOTS

Author
JustGreat
Size
1027

A simple slot-machine game. Press X to spin the reels, and then press Y/B/A to stop the associated one. It is quite simple, but it works by virtue of its presentation. However, it is not entirely mechanically accurate to a real slot machine, due to how stopping is implemented. It is done in such a way that stopping a reel at any given time doesn't guarantee it will actually stop where you want it (like a real slot machine) but the method used is deterministic and if you have impeccable timing (within a tenth of a second) you can get the reels to stop exactly, unlike a real slot machine in which your timing has absolutely no effect on what the reels are; where they stop is determined entirely beforehand with a random number generator. Of course, the average person wouldn't be able to tell the difference (it might feel a bit unresponsive) because the average person doen't really know how a slot machine works, or knows how to read source code. So I don't really dislike this program. There is enough free code space to make such improvements possible, however, as well as add things like sound effects and button labels.

SNL_PAINTOSP

Author
snail_
Size
1331

This is my entry, so I find it a bit silly and disengenuous to review it for you here. I will, however, give thanks to the people who helped me improve my code, particularly 12Me21. Thanks. Y'all are cool.

STARFIELD_OSP3

Author
ChangeV
Size
683

A simple "3D" starfield demo, using all 512 (or 4096 on Wii U) sprites. It technically isn't "true" 3D since the stars aren't flying at you in 3D space, but it fakes it quite well, and uses the 3D mode. It's also the only documented contest entry, and the only one that adapts to the Wii U version (with some clever PRGEDIT tricks.)

THING-OSP

Author
GoodGameGod
Size
1328

This is one of those "multitask" games where you have to simultaneously tap hearts to charge your wand and zap your husband and his clone to keep them away. While I'm concerned with the implication here, that's not important. What's important is that this game gets a lot easier if you just change the control scheme. If the wand button is changed to L instead of A you free an entire hand to just tapping the hearts. I don't personally consider simple control remappings to be a part of difficulty, but aside from that, this game is pretty easy once you get good at it and you could just play it forever until you tire of it (which is quickly.) Or the wand jams, which there is absolutely no indicator of. Presentation is fine (I would have liked a laser beam maybe) and use of code seems pretty good, though.

THUMB_CRUSHER

Author
ProfessorKukuhead
Size
1308

An endurance game similar to the Test Your Might challenge from Mortal Kombat. Press A as fast as possible until the bar fills up. The bar drains slowly over time and resists your input more based on the difficulty level. I enjoy this sort of thing, and the presentation is polished and goofy. It's also pretty difficult on Hard mode, but doable. Code could be a bit condensed though.

WHAT

Author
Trinitro21
Size
795

Another GFX demo which does… something. Turning the Circle Pad changes how… defined… the wavy gradient flag is? And touching makes part of it bulge. "WHAT" is an appropriate name. It's certainly not a bad program, but on O3DS it's slow and choppy, but about half the code space is free, so there could have been a GPAGE buffer to smooth it out, or some additional features to make the effect more interesting (and more obvious.)

Author: snail_

Created: 2018-01-19 Fri 19:20

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