A downloadable game for Windows

This game prototype was created over a few weeks in August of 2022 for the Portland Indie Game Squad (PIGSquad) August Summer Slow Jam. The technical theme was "boss fight" and the creative theme was "dreams & nightmares"; my personal goal for this jam, regardless of theme, was to create a game which I could play on my Steamdeck.

Thanks to the Steamdeck allowing end-user access to a desktop interface for additional system functionality, and despite my inability and lack of understanding for how to export Linux projects from GameMaker, I was still quite easily able to: download and extract the windows executable (from this itch page) directly onto my Deck, create a shortcut within Steam to the executable, direct SteamOS to force experimental Proton compatibility, and run the game from within the Deck's standard user interface.

The following embedded video will detail this installation process:


Prototype Design Concepts:

  • Make a basic game which could be played on the Steamdeck.
  • Allow for the option of a single player using both analog sticks or two joint players each using one analog stick; avoid additional button inputs to ensure that each player can hold their side of the deck with comfort and stability.
  • Use a singularly strong enemy for the "boss fight" theme.
  • Divide the playfield in half to incorporate the "dreams & nightmares" theme and to enforce single-player attention splitting or dual-player teamwork.
  • End the game with a player(s) win if both sides of the boss' split health bar is reduced to zero; end with a player(s) loss by either one of the controllable "characters" suffering five hits.
  • Provide a player movement scheme which feels snappy and responsive in the act of avoiding taking hits; allow for the characters to move left and right, to jump, to move while jumping (tilt), and  to duck (contract) at any time.
  • Do not allow the player characters or their respective "bullets" to cross the divide -- avoiding friendly fire.
  • Provide the boss with multiple attacks:
    • Continuously fire at slightly randomized intervals from two boss "guns" which swing back and forth across the divide; these boss bullets, unlike the player characters' bullets, can ricochet off the outer walls (screen edges).
    • Absorb and return across the divide any successfully striking player bullets as an empowered boss projectile toward the other player character.
    • Watch for either player character standing-still for more than a second and encourage constant movement by firing a directly-aimed and speedier boss bullet at stationary targets.

The following embedded video will show the gameplay in action while I verbalize my design decisions:

*For those who watched the steamdeck installation video: while the intro and outro of this video does reuse clips, the majority of content in this design video will not have been seen in the installation video.

Player Input:

  • Steamdeck or Controller (if playing the windows build on a PC) required!
    • Left and Right analog sticks for all player character input.
    • Start to restart.
    • Select to quit.


Technical Notes:

  • This prototype was designed and programmed for the Steamdeck's default 1280x800 resolution; there is no option to fullscreen if playing on a different device/display.
  • There is currently no audio.

Designer Notes:

  • If you play this, especially if you go through the necessary steps to play this on a Steamdeck, please leave a comment on if you feel this is worth me investing any further development effort; thanks!


SSJ_2022_August.zip 2 MB

Install instructions

To play on a Steamdeck: if you're unfamiliar with how to install non-steam content on the device, please watch the installation video embedded on this project's page within the description text.

To play on a Windows PC: simply download, unzip, and run the executable (created in GameMaker Studio).

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