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Page history last edited by blueshenlung 11 years, 2 months ago



By Team Tangent Focus


Syzygaia (Si*zuh*gai*uh)- Signifying the connection between complementary or opposing energies and physical manifestation of the Earth goddess/consciousness that can be referred to as Gaia.




+ Multi-task by controlling three separate objects!

+ Explore to discover what each world has to offer.

+ Play through 4 different sphere levels!



Syzygaia v1.2 browser version- must download and install Unity

Syzygaia v1.2 PC version

Syzygaia v1.2 Mac version




The Basics

You are partaking in the role of three synergistic spirits. The green spirit is physically manifested by a green orb and is controlled through the use of the AWSD keys on the keyboard. The green orb is traversing the path of transcendence collecting bits of green wisdom until the breadth of its knowledge exceeds the Diamond Mind that exists on that world. The red and blue spirits are protectors and defend the green orb during its quest. The red and blue pair follow the movements of the mouse and the mouse button toggles which spirit is most attentive to the mouse’s movements.


This was part of the 1st Annual Global Game Jam 2009. Participants had to create a video game in 48 hours. WE encourage you to check out the other games created for this event and rate Syzygaia as well at the Game Jam database.


The local jury for Global Game Jam awarded Syzygaia with Honorable Mention (3rd place)! Team Tangent Focus is very proud of what they were able to accomplish in less than 48 hours!



Narrative Design Notes

Friday Jan 30th


The initial project followed the relationship between a girl (Innocence), a man and a spirit as they attempted to navigate through the labyrinth of life cycles. The initial pitch focused on a game control mechanic that emulated the pulling from star to star in Mario Galaxy



In a General Sense and then a little more specifically.....

You do not get the mechanic of the Spirit pulling through space similar to Mario Galaxy because the Spirit moves through space at a dimension higher than what we perceive in the game. You do still get this pulling effect when we pull out of the previous level to reveal that you are still inside only a bigger labyrinth. This pulling could go in either direction and does not necessarily have to expand outward, but could expand inward as well. Are you going for more of an internal or external struggle? This would dictate how we pull from each map.

The labyrinth - there is only one way in and one way out, but they only lead to another labyrinth....within another, within another etc. You are always in the center of the labyrinth, even when you "exit" thus giving you the pull through space/time that is similar to Mario Galaxy. It always pulls through the center.

As mentioned, these three spirits are bound by karma to one another. The Spirit should not be slowed by the Man being injured, but rather the connection between the Man and Spirit should be stronger the more that the Man sacrifices himself for Innocence. It is out of pure love that the Man sacrifices himself for Innocence and it is that love that guides Innocence through life/lives. It is only out of pure love for one another that the three spirits can finally transcend out of the cycle of death and rebirth. Not each labyrinth has to end with the death of the characters, but the resolution of karma or a "lesson". Out of temptation.

The Man's connection needs to be stronger to the Spirit so that he can become Spirit in the next life. Innocence works as a reflection to the Man of what the Spirit actually is. So in essence the Man sacrifices himself for the Spirit. This is why the Man can then become Spirit. Innocence becomes Man so that it can sacrifice itself to itself, in other words, Spirit sacrifices to Spirit. Thus this closes the circle when the Spirit realizes it's Self.

You could take the perspective of each spirit for each level. So for one level you control the Man, the next Spirit and then Innocence, which is both Man and Spirit. I think you might need to take the perspective/path of one of the spirits so that you can justify transcending out of the cycle. A spirit must go through all three forms/states at least once to know itself.

If you decide to choose one spirit to experience at a time then you will need to create AI for the Man when you are playing as the Spirit and visa versa. Since we do not really have time for something this complicated (unless of course we do) then I would suggest reflecting these ideas through how each character reacts to each other. For example the connection between the Spirit getting stronger the more the Man sacrifices himself - reflect this somehow with attributes? Maybe Innocence responds more accurately to the Spirit the stronger the Man's connection to the Spirit. Or perhaps she merely follows the Spirit more closely.

So then, who are we playing as? I'm not sure you could be an Objective Observer in this since you are actually playing the game. We could give the option to the player to choose which color spirit they would like to represent. You could base this on the aura color. Set a starting point like Man for example and rotate the aura color arrangement based on the player's choice (the aura colors are always in the same order). This can symbolize making the choice to go through this cycle. So really the player is God or the Objective Observer choosing to enter the cycle of life.

In terms of feel and character traits.....

I like the pop up book look. So the characters are 3D but also in 2D form. So they appear more paper-like and.....ahem "thin". Depends on how far you want to take the pop up book look, but you could have the tempations enter the path like in a pop up book. Innocence must trigger her temptations. And the Man can only react. Innocence should not be able to get through the labyrinth without being corrupted a little. Otherwise she would not learn a lesson either.

I see Innocence as a little girl in a pink dress with big doe eyes (almost Precious Moments style). I think we can animate her so that she just flips back and forth between two frames as she "ooohs and ahhhhs" at the temptations around her. I wish I could remember the name of the cartoon with the amazed baby character, it was like Aqua Teen Hunger Force or something. She has to be like one of the cutest things you have ever seen. If possible, it should be reflected in her movements as well.

The Man's actions will be the most challenging to program I think. His reaction must be different to each temptation of which there are seven. What's the resolution to each temptation? What kind of gameplay will the resolution be? Moving the Man over to the temptation with a key board is obviously not enough to keep interest in a game. We can incorporate an action command but there needs to be a challenge specific to each temptation. The commands would be the same but the objects and how the objects react would be different for each temptation.

I'd like to see what kind of temptations/challenges you guys have come up with. This will give me a better idea on where to take the Renaisance story if I know the beginning and the end. :) I am going to start working on creating art assets. Could I create GIF's to import for commands, for example the girl's reaction to the temptations? Then you could set it to just play the GIF? Animations could be done in this fashion too, walk cycles etc. But of course that should go further down the list of important aspects of the game.

Alright boys, call me if there are any questions. I kind of dumped a lot down and I hope it makes sense. I am trying to keep the idea cohesive but I do not want to take too much away from your intial idea. These of course are just ideas to take into consideration. Regardless, I think we have an awesome start here and I am really looking forward to seeing what we create. This Global Game Jam thing is pretty frakking cool! :D




The project eventually evolved into a more abstract representation of these esoteric ideas.



Build History

  • Syzygaia v. 1.0 -


initial Global Game Jam submission candidate.


  • Syzygaia v. 1.1 -


QA testing for Syzygaia v. 1.0 revealed that the pause menu was creating multiple command centers for the game. Instead of simply returning to the main menu when attempting to Quit out of the pause menu, the pause menu would forget that the menu already exists and would tell the game to create a command center in order to get to the main menu. This would lead to the game doing as asked and create a new command center and thus a new, second, instance of the main menu . . . as well as a new pause menu, sound manager, application manger and music manager all in addition to the ones that were already there from starting the game initially. The next time the player would decide to bring up the pause menu, the player would be presented with a pause menu layered on top of the original pause menu, making it impossible to close all the pause menus at that point because an infinite number of screens would be generated. This situation was rectified by letting the pause menu know that the main menu was already there.


  • Syzygaia v. 1.2 -


Fixes: Replaced the first "e" in "dilegence" with an "i". That is all.

This was the version submitted to Global Game Jam 2009. Further development possible (and likely).



Further Developments....


Enemy Evolutions

  • Elaborate on the way the yin-yang spirits react to the incoming "enemies," including how they react to the opposite colored enemy. For example, there could exist an incoming blue enemy that explodes on contact with Blue, but simply passes through Red. This would be in addition to the kind we already have that explode on contact with both (though technically they explode and improve the same colored spirit, or penalize the opposite colored one).
  • Create a neutral enemy energy that is much larger and slower than the other enemies. You should not be able to destroy this enemy with any of the three orbs. Perhaps this could represent Time or just an ever looming worry/concern/thought. This should somehow bring in the idea of the beginning and end conflict, idea that there is something causing us to move in any direction. As an obstacle to Diamond Mind this neutral enemy could eventually move in and obstruct your view if you do not complete the level. Perhaps even a slowly closing iris.


Orb Evolutions

  • Offer upgrades to the orbs that will allow them to move faster or incorporate other attributes.
    • Reward players that destroy the enemies with the correct spirit orb by charging the orb for a special attack (ie. long range, multi-kill defense) that can be used when desired.  Add a glow to the spirit orb when it is charged.  The orb will begin to lose the charge if too many of the wrong enemies are destroyed with that orb.
      • Offer several different kinds of special attacks that will unlock over continued play.
      • Allow players to bank the charged attack for more evolved and stronger attacks



  • For the Demo and Full version of the game, allow players to choose control options (place under Options Menu)
    • PC -- AWSD or Arrow Key for the Green Orb (Gaia Orb?); Right mouse button or Right and Left mouse buttons for the Spirit Orbs
  • For the Full version of the game, offer a Customization Menu option for players to assign their desired attributes for the "normal play" mode and a "free play" mode.
    • Normal Custom Play - play all levels with your predetermined attributes that are unlocked after initial play through
      • Special defense attacks
      • Power up options - determine what attack will be used for each successive banked charge (display icon on HUD identifying the current special attack)
    • Free Custom Play - play a fully customized experience with attributes determined by the player (allow player to save custom levels)
      • Enemy Speed and spawning frequency
      • Music - Offer to import custom MP3 or choose from available sound tracks (available tracks loop sound for extended play)
      • Sphere Textures/Skins - determine skins for world sphere and orbs
        • Offer option to import JPG, BMP ect. files for player created skins
      • Normal Custom Play options - special attack etc.
      • Can we customize the world sphere attributes (ie. speed pad, quick sand)?


Modes and Game Types

  • Create an Endless mode that players can play as long as they like.  Remove the large green crystal/diamond.
    • Add a button on the screen to end the mode
  • Create a Meditative mode similar to the Endless mode, but players can set a time for this mode if they choose.
    • Allow world sphere backgrounds to be imported for this mode
  • Create a Timed mode where time is the only limit.  User should be allowed to adjust the amount of little green bits that spawn.  This amount should coincide with the rate of enemy spawn.  The challenge is to collect as many little green bits in the time allowed, but they will have the option to adjust the difficulty.  The higher the difficulty, the more little bits spawn in closer proximity to each other.  You only have one life.
  • Create a Collector mode similar that has an infinite timer.   This mode should have a certain number of green bits that need to be collected.  Top scores would reflect the players who were able to reach the designated number in the shortest amount of time, allowing each player to adjust the difficulty individually as with the Timed mode.


iPhone Application

  • How would you control this game with an iPhone? Tilt the phone to control the green orb and use your finger to move the spirit orbs.


Random Event Generator

  • Some feedback on the game reveals that players can lose track of time and perhaps reach a meditative state of mind while playing. Create a game option for players that will randomly generate a level as well as the message after the level is completed. This should simulate the player subconsciously choosing a level to play (demonstrated by the research done at the PEAR Lab at Princeton University) and in effect a "lesson" to learn. The abstract nature of the levels leaves each world up for individual interpretation by the player.
  • Could be that we have the green wisdom bits be made in different ways (e.g. different shapes, spin speeds, movements, glow type, emitting sound) or even blending of the differences (e.g. on the way to evolving into a circle, a triangle could appear with rounded corners). Then we present these different wisdom bits to the player, who then simply chooses to "consume" the one they are subconsciously (or consciously) more attracted to. This choice could be recorded and cause evolution of the level itself (including the objects in the level) to contain elements (art, sound, movements) related to the wisdom they chose. These options would always be presented randomly, creating a world that is constantly evolving based on the subconscious choices the player makes. For example, the choice between consuming more and more jittery looking pieces versus pieces that lazily circle around themselves could lead the level to evolve into a world of spastic and chaotic movements and imagery or a world where everything feels floaty and calm.
  • Offer an option to import quotes into the program from random generation. Expand by offering religious text packets that will randomly generate a quote from a selected religious text. Use the numeric systems within religious text to generate random passeges. For example, assign the authors in the Bible a number value and randomly generate a number for a chapter and passage line. Generating from a book like the Torah would require a much more advanced method of number generation, but elements are already assigned numbers so it should be theoretically possible. To accomplish this in the most accurate and respectful way would be to have the cooperation of these selected religious groups.


Play Test Suggestions

  • The "Continue" button on the Pause menu should be more prominent. Several play tests have revealed that people did not realize there was more than one level. This could be due to the loss of time experienced by the player.
  • Level select buttons on the demo should be larger and numbered.
  • Update control scheme title page with final controls.
  • Should we include an "About" section where players can learn more about the game and it's initial aims.  Offer a link to the official game page.  Add quick buttons on the iPhone version for players to recommend the game to a friend or take them to the game page. 
  • Add Highscore screen for each game mode (timed/
  • Create Team Tangent Focus logo (animated?) for the title screen.
  • Introductory tutorial levels to help introduce control concepts in a simpler fashion than pure text. 



Indie Game Contest - GameStop





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