Codename: HyperPac

So it’s sort of working – the hit pauses let you react and turn even at super speeds.


Right now this super speed power is activated at will – definitely need a resource of some kind. Maybe cooldown is the most straight-forward. I considered pickups like Pac-Man, but it’s kind of trivial to get them all if you’re going really fast?

Need that and enemy re-spawning, and then I’ll have something to upload again to see how it lands. Might need to add difficulty levels too because I suspect I might be too good at this now. Since my engine can handle any speed, it was pretty trivial to implement a global game speed multiplier, so it should be easy to make the game slower or faster for different modes.


Can you do something to shake the screen during hit pause? Like wobble all the course lines or blow them away from center?

Maybe energy comes from matching shapes or from getting fruit or from Pac-Man: CE-style room clears – but that’s moving away from the single-screen territory. Can you dynamically create maze sections? Is that desirable, or is it better for the player to memorize and optimize routes on a small perfect board?

To clarify, I do like the hit pauses being reactable. It lets me get away with higher speeds and it feels pretty fun to control. Are these ideas to make it harder to deal with them or are you aiming for something else?

Dynamic mazes are definitely possible and I have been considering it. I think being reactivate is typically more interesting, but if I’m being honest with myself I clearly like memorizing/perfection games too (Trackmania, N++, Dustforce, most shmups).

Starting with a static maze was intentional because I’ve been burned before. I’ve started a lot of projects doing the procedural generation first, and that’s usually a mistake because I either run out of steam before I get to the actual game part, or the procedural generation needs massive changes because the game ends up playing differently than I originally imagined.

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I did play a ton of Pac-Man CE DX, but my eventual dissatisfaction with it stemmed from the memorization of perfect paths. Pac-Man CE has some of that, but (at least at my skill level) you’re forced to improvise much more often.

Even without dynamic mazes, the speed mechanic here is also supposed to also force improvisation, because it’s too fast to do reliably reproduce the exact same inputs.

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Yeah, Pac-Man CE DX is a quicker route to flow but has a very low skill ceiling in return; Pac-Man CE has a lot more room to grow.

When you say, the player can react to hit pause, you mean that they have a breather to plan their next move? I think that’s right, my comment was only riffing on visual effects that shouldn’t obscure the course map. When I say, ‘blow the lines away’ I mean by 2-4 pixels, like a ripple out from the impact position.

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Got it – yeah, I definitely plan to play with visual effects once I get the mechanics nailed down. Doing those tweet-carts definitely opened my eyes to how fun it is to mess with Pico8 visuals.

Impact is important!

Implemented some small features today. Did a bit of refactoring and adding an explicit chase state to the ghosts, so they flee to their corners and move more slowly.

Been thinking about how to give the player the power – tending towards “moving fruit”. My pros and cons look something like this (although I’m tired so I’m almost certainly missing some obvious points):


Couple more ideas: positional activation. You can activate it at will but only in certain positions. They could be spots on the map (that get used up, or move), or it could have something to do with paths you’re on e.g. if you’ve already traveled a path, then you can’t boost on it. This has a nice effect that the level gets harder the deeper you get into it.

Superficially seem to have the same “downsides” I listed for pellets, but I think the choice to activate it or not, and it always being tied to that a specific position makes it more interesting and less rote. It’s also easier to stop chaining, because it makes more sense that you can’t store them when they’re not something you “pick up”.