Happy new year! High hopes for 2021!
Today’s the 11 year anniversary of VVVVVV’s launch. Last year, I made a big splash for it, and released the game’s source code during an AGDQ speedrun. The source code got, uh, more attention than I was expecting, especially once people actually dug into it…
Good times, good times.
Some fun stuff has happened with VVVVVV since the source code release!
- We’ve accepted and merged more than 400 pull requests, which will form part of a new version that will probably come out a little later this year. Many of these pull requests are contributions from one particularly prolific contributor (shout out to InfoTeddy)! The changes are mostly fixes for a lot of long term bugs, but also include new features like 60fps support, and improvements to the editor.
- There’s a Dreamcast port now, as well as a port for the Haiku operating system, and you can play the Make and Play edition in web browsers thanks to a webassembly port.
- At some point in the future, it’s possible there’ll be a localisation update – there’s a branch on the github that I’m watching closely for the technical side of the task!
So, I guess for other game developers thinking about doing this, here’s a data point! Only good things have happened. This whole thing has been a really positive experience, and I’m really glad I did it.
One regret: in the blog post last year, I talked about the 10th birthday game jam independently organised on Glorious Trainwrecks, and said that I’d do a round up post of the entries when the jam was over… which I never did.
A lot of time has passed, but I’d like to make up for that right now. Over the course of next week, I’m going to be posting three of my favourite entries in classic featured level style. I haven’t done this for 10 years.
There was a lot of cool stuff entered in this jam, too much for me to usefully filter here. Still, here’s an attempt: a quick roundup of other entries that I wanna encourage you to check out, beyond my three favourites:
DROD: KVD / Level 1 by EpsilonTheDerg
“My favorite puzzle series’ first level recreated in one of my favorite platformer games! Happy birthday, VVVVVV!” – [Author’s Description]
Hah! I’m a huge fan of the DROD series of puzzle games, and, as this level points out, DROD: Architects Edition was a pretty major inspiration towards the Make and Play Edition of VVVVVV. That aside, though, the two games really don’t have much in common, so I was curious how this concept was going to work.
…ok, turns out, I don’t think you can say that this combination works, exactly. Mostly, it comes down to a lot of timing challenges. But as a big fan of the game it’s referencing, I found it interesting to see the layout reinterpreted, and there’s something I really like about the sheer unlikeliness of the concept in the first place.
Favourite part: It does feature one genuine puzzle, which is how to get back into the entrance tunnel in Quince North, Twice West. The author makes it very clear in the description that this is possible, and it is!
Steamed VVVVVVams by EpsilonTheDerg
“Viridian’s Luncheon doesn’t go as planned.” – [Author’s Description]
But what if Viridian were to purchase fast food, and pass it off as their own cooking? Delightfully devilish!
This *maybe* would have been stronger if it had just stuck to the one joke, but eh, what can you do? It’s still a great level.
Favourite part: Honestly, the second I saw that icon on the glorious trainwrecks page, I couldn’t wait to play this.
VVVVVV: Moonfall by Azure48
“As for the title, it’s from a dream I had a few months back, about a nonexistent sequel to VVVVVV called VVVVVV:Moonfall. The story would’ve tied into it, but I never got that far.” – [Author’s Description]
Rather than a .vvvvvv level, this one’s a pico-8 demake of VVVVVV. While it’s very unfinished, it’s worth checking out anyway for its charming atmosphere and wonderful demade version of the original soundtrack.
Favourite part: It really is super impressive that so much of the original soundtrack is remade in Pico-8’s synth, and it sounds fantastic. I happily stood around in empty rooms so I could hear everything.
The Groceries by Lollipop
“Viridian has to go buy the groceries, but of course, there are some small inconveniences along the way…” – [Author’s Description]
I’m not sure where to start! This very story-heavy level opens with a cutscene where Violet asks Viridian to go out and buy some groceries – which they don’t want to do because they’re sick (this hits a bit different after 2020). After Viridian says no a few times, Violet tricks them and locks them outside the ship, and off we go.
On the way, Viridian takes a train trip, and bumps into lots of random people who proceed to argue with them about morality, philosophy, and in one case just try to bully them into getting a drink from the dining cart for some reason. The whole thing has a kind of a strange, fanfic energy, in a good way? The final section when you actually get to the store is pretty strong in particular.
Favourite part: The store section is good, but so is the bizarre quiz section that occurs about halfway through, where an AI needs to check that you’re “not a robot” before it’ll let you continue by quizzing you on the events in the level so far.
Simulation by nicholas
“Vitellary makes a simulation for adventure-seeking Viridian! Nothing wrong should happen, right?” – [Author’s Description]
Ok, so, I think I’m pretty good at VVVVVV? Maybe I’m a bit rusty, I guess? But I could get *absolutely* nowhere with this one. This is definitely one of the hardest VVVVVV levels I can remember seeing. I know that a lot of VVVVVV player levels skew hard, so I guess it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that there’d be at least one entry in this jam that was just beyond my skills.
Still, it was pretty clear from the first room (in the screenshot above) that this was a competently made thing, and I was curious about what the rest of the level was like – so I turned on invincibility mode, and went exploring.
What I found was frankly terrifying. Lots of really, really hard challenges, but all tightly tuned and carefully designed. Clearly a tonne of work went in this! If you like VVVVVV, but think that it’s just, like, way too easy, you’ll find this interesting. I, for one, would love to watch a successful playthrough.
Favourite part: If you view the map screen, the name of the level is written vertically along the side, which is cute.
Pointy Hazards by ureytw
“Phew, I made it! This is a song i made inspired by the Soundtrack. Enjoy, and happy VVVVVV 10th anniversary. :)” – [Author’s Description]
Not a .vvvvvv level this time, instead, just a really, really great tune inspired by the VVVVVV soundtrack.
Favourite part: That bit that starts at 33 seconds is *killer*. Uff, what a banger.
To play a VVVVVV player level, extract the .vvvvvv file into your VVVVVV levels folder. On windows, that should be in My Documents/VVVVVV, on Mac it’s Documents/VVVVVV, on Linux it’s ~/.vvvvvv
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