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 Home / Game Design & Programming / New game, soon to be an IOTD Account Manager
Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.
Dan Royer

April 08, 2005, 03:16 PM

Download the latest version of Surrounded for windows & linux @

I wrote this in 2 days using MSVC 6, SDL, OpenGL, and FMOD. It is a Mutant Storm/Robotron/Llamatron inspired shooter, just try to survive as long as possible. My personal best is less than 5 minutes. Perfect for coffee breaks or just to clear your head. It's freeware, so share as much as you like.

Future versions will be ported to OS X, bug fixes, and anything else I can think of that creates a greater sense of fun in game. The goal is to make a game as fun as possible AND that you don't play for more than 5-10 minutes.

The linux port was compiled on 2.6.3-7mdk (mandrake 10) with gcc-3.3.2. If it runs for you on some other linux distro please let me know.

All feedback welcome.


April 08, 2005, 03:48 PM

Here some thoughts:

- The simplicity itself is quite cool.
- A game witch is supposed to take less than 5-10 minutes is a refreshingly new idea (at least to me).
- Some nicer gfx would help.
- Less enemies instead some witch shoot at you would be better.
- The big triangle witch is following you is a bit annoying. There should be a way to get rid of it while playing so you have a way to overcome your opponents.
- The game should not just quit when you loose. You should have some sort of score and a high score list.
- The installer is too much. Such a small game should be started out of a folder witch you can copy to any place you like. If the game is simple the rest should be simple to.

Hope it helps.


April 08, 2005, 04:56 PM

Hi there ;)

This post is some kind of off topic I guess, but nevertheless, are you the Dan Royer who wrote the BSP / CSG / PVS tutorials back some years?

If so, I'd certainly like to thank you very much =)
I wrote a school work about portals and CSG for level building, and used your tutorials as one of the references. In that respect, it was very helpful.

Is the tutorial series still available online somewhere ?
I tried the cfxweb one, but always get a 404.

- Wernaeh


April 08, 2005, 07:06 PM

hold down LMB and spin mouse around ship slowly. works for me.


April 09, 2005, 12:47 AM

It's a very cool game :)

I disagree with Moe, who thinks the graphics should be changed. I think that the graphics are appropriately styled for such a game (Changing the graphics would really change your perception of the game). The enemy count is just perfect, and if enemies shot you, the bullets would be lost in the explosions, and far too hard to avoid.

The triangle is there to stop you 'camping'. If you stay in the same spot too long, you have an advantage, so you are killed.

The game needs a proper start (count-down?) and _SHOULD NOT_ just quit when you loose. Even a nice "You lost" would be good. Let me see the enemy that killed me. (Keep the game showing, stop it, put the text over the top).

For two days, it's an impressive game, fun (addictive), and brilliant for those 5 minute slots where you have nothing to do.

Dan Royer

April 09, 2005, 01:18 AM

That's me, and thanks for letting me know. Over the years I've had a number of people tell me it was very useful and I'm really glad because it was a pain in the ass to figure it out myself. At present there's no copy online that I know of but I'll see about putting them up at my website.

Thanks again!

Dan Royer

April 09, 2005, 01:24 AM

I'm glad that the response is mostly positive. I'm still looking for ways to make those five minutes more exciting, maybe by having some kind of once-a-minute powerups or introducing new types of enemies.

I'm no graphic artist. I have a horrible time trying to make graphics. Vector art has a very retro feel and is easy to program so I stick with it whenever I can. Other games on my website have fancier graphics and I'm starting to think that was a bad idea.

The best thing about admiting you have no graphics skills means that you are freed from the burden of even *trying*, so you can refocus your energy on making the game stand out in other ways. ...and by that I mean, of course, make it more fun.

NSIS is probably overkill, yes, but I've developed a pipeline here and it works well and I don't really want to start making exceptions and then get myself all confused. I have a poor short term memory which means I have to be very disciplined in my organization or it all flies apart.

I like playing it on a coffee break but it's just as good when you're waiting for the compile to finish, the conference call to begin, or any really short break where a game that kept running might suck you in and make you lose track of time.

PS: you can play it with a joystick and it's already configured to work with with a PS2 controler (in analog mode) & a lik-sang adapter.

Dan Royer

April 10, 2005, 04:21 AM

v0.2.1 now online

- added new clock so people can tell how long they survived.
- added end-of-game instead of instant quit.
- switched to release mode SDL.dll (smaller release, faster run time)


April 10, 2005, 02:45 PM

Nifty game.

* When you die, you should be able to start a new game directly, rather than having to exit and restart the program.
* I feel the cursor controls are somewhat unintuitive. I wanted the up arrow to move me forward in whichever direction I was pointing, rather than moving up along the global axis. Maybe add this as a configuration option?
* Can we have a fullscreen setting? =)

Dan Royer

April 10, 2005, 11:23 PM

The controls follow the same layout as robotron, smash tv, Mutant Storm, and many other classics. What I'm saying is if you get a few more people to agree with yout and tell me about it, I'll add it in as an option.

...Of course, if you go to the page and donate $ I will add it immediately. :)

When I port to OSX I'll see about a fullscreen option. Other than that... see previous answer. (money talks!)

I'm really glad you all like the game but I am curious: what about the page for the game? Do you think there's anything I could do to improve it? I'm working on making it as appealing as possible so when people see the page they'll want to download (or donate!)

Rui Martins

April 11, 2005, 10:00 AM

After 4 min and 27 seconds it stoped being interesting 8)

actually it's really easy to keep scoring, although the enemies seem to increase in speed, number or both.

The game lost it's appeal, to me, when at the second try I found an easy way to keep playing as long as you can stand it up, without using any real skill.

Basicly, use the keyboard to describe a square in the screen, and just keep fire pressed (mouse button), and keep doing circles with the mouse arround your ship (triangle).

- The square pattern avoids, the nasty triangle from getting to you!
- the circle pattern with the fire removes all your enemies in the near area!

So keep on doing this until you are tired of it, and 5 minutes is enough time for that 8).

You have to add something else to keep it interesting, or make this mechanical behaviour uneffective or impossible.

But the first 2 and 1/2 minutes where interesting with all the explosions going arround, and the retro look was also nice.

Maybe the explosions could get to you too, so you had to kill enemies from distance. But this can make the game too restrictive or difficult.

Dan Royer

April 11, 2005, 11:03 PM

0.2.2 online

- added OS X PORT (finally!)
- beam of death now much more intimidating when it fires
- audio pauses when game pauses

OS X port plays the same but is not a very nice build. I have a lot to learn about OS X development tools & packaging.

one idea i'm considering is large blocks moving in a pattern that you can't shoot or fly through. ...Or both.

Rui Martins

April 12, 2005, 05:35 AM

one idea i'm considering is large blocks moving in a pattern that you can't shoot or fly through. ...Or both.

That would be a nice twist, especially, if the surrounding enemies could not also fly through them, making it possible to use these blocks as a kind of cover, like hiding behind a door or wall.


April 12, 2005, 06:20 AM

Is there a way to turn off the in-game logging?
Since it was lagging down the game a lot! I had to read-only the game directory in-order to be able to play it properly :p

Very nice game tho =) Great look/feel, although I agree with Reedbeta on the controls.

Keep up the good work!


April 12, 2005, 06:51 AM

I'm getting CRC errors when trying to bunzip2 the game. Anyone else getting this? I tried downloading several times on different machines.

Nathan Ostgard

April 12, 2005, 11:46 AM

Fun little game.

Some things that might improve it:

* A timer showing how long you've survived WHILE you're playing.
* The ability to start a new game without having to close and open the program again (or did I just miss this?)
* Forward always moving you in the direction the ship is pointing, as stated by others here.
* I'd love to see a version that had outlined vector graphics instead of just filled ones... like the old Atari line based 3D vector games:

Dan Royer

April 13, 2005, 02:57 PM

Nathan - The survival time while playing is in the latest version.

Jeroen - I haven't heard of CRC errors. What version were you downloading?

ghavami - The only file logging is at the beginning and end of the game, tho I might have let some debug logging slip through. Is your log full of messages about chains?

I've made notes on all the things you (collectively) have reccomended. I'd work on the game more to add features like this but I can't afford to at the moment. That's why there's the text at the bottom about donations. I think I'm going to put up an image of a thermostat and mark the edge with things like

$25 - play again button;
$50 - fullscreen mode;
$75 - optional WASD moves ship according to current orientation;
$150 - in game menu system;
$250 - online high score system;

All contributors would get their name in the credits.

Tim Auld

April 13, 2005, 10:00 PM

What do you call this business model? BegWare?


April 13, 2005, 11:08 PM

I appreciate your desire to make money, but those prices are really too much. A game like this, with ALL those features and more, might be worth $20-$25 to buy.


April 14, 2005, 02:49 AM

ReedBeta, I think those are totals he is referring to, as he is talking about $5 donations per game :)

Dan Royer

April 14, 2005, 08:23 PM

Tim - lol, you and your tall poppies. If I had to give it a name I'd like to think of it as 'taking features hostage'. :)

Reedbeta, pauljan - yes, they are totals.

All of you - It's just an idea I'm toying with. It just boils down to time vs money. If it was making money, I'd spend more time working on it. Ideally I'd like to have a system where people can pledge $ for features that they vote on. Then they get what they want, I get $, and nothing actually changes hands until the deal is done. Again, just ideas I'm toying with.

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