Why ESDF instead of WASD?
This is a mini-PICO-8-edition of a much larger upcoming game. It's pay-what-you-want - all money earned here will go towards the development of the full version!
The PC version will add a replayable campaign mode, a council of five races with varying technology and philosophical outlook, a military aspect, revamped procedurally-generated graphics, and many other features - while still keeping the swift gameplay of this preview. If you'd like to stay up-to-date on the PC version's progress, check out the website or follow the game on Twitter/Facebook.
How to play
There is an animated quickstart guide, but here is the shortest possible version:
Drag the map around using the right mouse button or the SDFE keys. Click to drop a wormhole that will become your starting point. Then click and drag to find some planets, which you can colonize with your chosen industry type. Drag from planet to planet to connect them with a slipway. Try to connect planets that make stuff with planets that need it. Buy structures by dragging them from the bottom-right corner. Research technologies from the top-left corner. Click the heart symbol to check your score.
Make the biggest, baddest, most prosperous empire possible!
This game would not be possible without the help of my Patreon supporters, including these top-tier heroes: Tomasz Bylina, Adam Kwapiński, Thorsten Schleinzer, Marc Holmes, Grzegorz Dałek, Andreas Bretteville, Carlos Pardo. Thank you!
Click download now to get access to the following files:
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Limitation of PICO-8 (ESDF are the 'player 2' keys).
Just wanted to echo the other comments that this game is AWESOME! What a great coffee break game.
That said, this really needs an open-ended mode where it doesn't end after a set time! Maybe it's as simple as changing a few lines of code in the PICO-8 source code? (which lines?)
If you'd like to hack the PICO-8 source code (and have access to the .p8), just search for "self.game_end=", though the game is really not designed for infinite play.
The new version will have a longer campaign and probably some kind of infinite mode as well.
An option to zoom in and out, at least at the end of the game, so you can take a step back and look at your production loops would be nice.
Nevermind I just remembered this is pico-8 and there's limited pixels
Looks very cool! I love the pixel graphics, cannot wait to give it a try.
The culmination of my ~2 years of playing.
Perfect 5-stars! Can you share some of your strategies? I've never been able to go about 8000 points.
I like to start games with a hiveworld Earth-like and breeding on an Ocean/Jungle in my first probe. Using a food processor, I can get both planets content within the first year.
My tech path tends to be Space Folding and Geneseeds for tier 1, Xenofoods and Trading Hubs for tier 2, then Starbirth, Infraspace, and whatever I need at the moment for tier 3.
Geneseeds and Xenofoods are both organics techs, so an organics laboratory will reduce the cost of both Geneseeds and Xenofoods by 1. This way you can rush Xenofoods and use the extra food to colonize Iceballs and Barren planets.
Trading Hubs, Infraspace, and Superhuman AI are all tech techs, so a tech laboratory will reduce the cost of all by 1. Getting Superhuman AI's tech boost early helps a lot, letting you go for an early Time Compression and stock up tech for Ascension, which is where you can really maximize your score.
Feels good. Great game, mate.
I've only discovered this game for like a week, but I'm seriously hooked!
Only complaints that I have is that the icons for the planet types in the research menu tooltips are hard to tell what planet type they are. It's also generally more difficult to distinguish xeno planets from jungle planets. Maybe make the xeno planets purple to help distinguish them from jungle planets and earth-like planets?
Also, it'd be great if you had some kind of guide or wiki to keep track of what structures we can build on what types of planets, and also distinguishing which structures can be built on which planets with which upgrade.
And like other people have said, an endless mode, or maybe a sandbox mode, would be amazing for this game!
Another thing, although this is less about general game design, it makes me kinda sad that you're moving this project to 3D. You have all this beautiful pixel art and animation, so going to 3D feels like putting it to waste. But I'm not discouraging you from going to 3D if you think it makes the game better. I understand it's your game, and you're free to make it however it pleases you.
you should make a mode were it extends forever by a randomly generated thing and make the thing endless so theres no limit
This game is really fun! The graphics are lovely, gameplay is smooth, and I like how the finite space means I can play a quick game without it lasting forever. Great for a quick break.
Over time I've found many of the "feedback loops" and I'm sure there are more to be discovered. Lots of complexity despite the simple game mechanism.
Looking forward to updates and will happily buy the expanded PC version. Keep up the great work!
Hey Jakub, enjoy this game so much. I bought the Mac version - then sadly realized it will not work with Catalina :/. Are there any plans to fix this? Only 5 bucks, but still, I would love to play the real version. Glad to contribute to the development.
Hey, sorry for that. I updated the downloadable Mac app to support 64-bit, which means it should theoretically work on Catalina now - but I can't check myself, since my only Apple computer is still on Mojave. Let me know if you have any more trouble!
And your contribution is much appreciated - what helps even more than money is knowing that people enjoy the game and are looking forward to the sequel :)
Ah great! Yes, it works, thanks so much. I thought there was an extended/expanded version? But this looks the same, just opens full screen as an app. Is that correct? Is there another version I missed? Anyway looking forward to an update for sure. Really enjoy playing.
The new, expanded version is still under heavy development. You can track it's progress on Twitter (https://twitter.com/SlipwaysGame) and find out more about the plans at https://slipways.net. So I'm afraid it's not available for download or purchase yet - but I'm working on that! :)
I'm sorry if the page is somehow unclear - but this itch.io page and all the downloads on it are for the original, PICO-8 version of the game.
Pretty fun game! At first I was a bit confused on all the different planet types, but this game has proven to be quite gripping.
Is there a tech map somewhere, where one can see the upcoming technologies?
Unfortunately no, unless somebody made a fan version - you'll have to explore on your own! :) There are four tech levels, you can get 2/2/3 from the first three, and all five from the last level (if you can afford them).
looks like there is no offline demo mode for this one I tried to download all i got was a picture! LOL! It was a .png file! why even let us download it? It would have been faster if they just said no way to play offline Unless you buy the pico 8 program! What a shame :(
Im considering buying the windows version, is there an endless mode in it?
The full PC version is something I'm still very much working on, and isn't available for order yet - that one is definitely going to have an endless mode, plus gobs of other improvements.
The Windows etc. versions for download on this page are just the same as the web version, but wrapped as a standalone app for convenience.
i failed on forgiving ):
Really fun game! I wish I could cross warp paths.
Runs really smooth. No bugs. Thanks for making playable in-browser.
Lovely game! I hope the full version turns out just as charming. Also thought I should share this score:
What difficulty dude?
It would be nice to be able to save your finished games so you can look back at them later and admire how well you did
Hello, so, is the Pc version buyable here the one wich is gonna get updated like mentionned? Sorry if there are mistakes, english isnt my main tongue.
No, this page is only for the PICO-8 version, which is what you get for buying on itch.io right now.
The "big" PC version in development is not available to purchase yet - the earliest opportunity to buy it will be during crowdfunding early next year. Hope that clears it up!
Yes, thank you very much, I really enjoy your game, i find it strangely relaxing and yet addicting, bought this version and am looking forward to see what the pc version will have in store!
Once again sorry for the mistakes if they are any.
Everything is great except for the lack of a sandbox mode. I think the difficulty could do with a bit of work too. Maybe it's just my lack of skill though. I love this game though.
Very excited to hear about your renewed effort to work on the PC version of this game! I wanted to mention that the link to your Patreon account above doesn't take me anywhere useful, just to a list of things you've supported. Are you accepting donations there? I'd also be curious what your funding needs/goals are to continue development on Slipways, in particular if you plan to hire more developers.
Thanks again for a great game! I'd love to see it reach it's fullest potential.
The Patreon is currently suspended - I had a very demanding job which didn't leave me much time for me indie pursuits. Now that I'm back to working on SlipWays full-time, I'm thinking of reactivating it - but haven't done it yet. In any case, I've removed the misleading link from the description, thanks!
Currently, the best way to support the project is to either buy this version, or wait for the Indiegogo campaign and back it then! :)
2 things I would to see are a sandbox and/or no "time limit"
Both things on the roadmap for the PC version!
Is there a place to see the roadmap by any chance?
Don't want to tie myself to specific features yet, but one will definitely be available once the crowdfunding campaign is underway and later during development.
If you're interested in the broad strokes, the first devlog post on the site (https://slipways.net/devlog/01) goes into the goals for the PC version.
Can wait for realised version could I be a tester?
This game is amazing, Is there a possibility of an android port in the future because I want to play this everywhere I go!
Glad you liked it! I'm working on the PC/Mac/Linux version first, but I'm not ruling out a mobile version in the future.
This game is amazing, but I would love to have a sandbox gamemode with no time limit, or some way to keep playing with your network after the game's done (don't know if it exists in the downloaded version; I've only played the browser version)
Thanks for the kind words!
I am working on a bigger PC version of the game - there is a link to a website in the description. This version will have an endless mode, since it's a really common request among players (though it'll be a challenge to design it properly so it doesn't get tedious).
The development was on a hiatus for a while, but I'm now back to working on Slipways full-time - leave your e-mail on the site if you'd like to be kept up to date :)
IMO the infinite mode doesn't have to be infinitely fun, it's more important that the time limit mode is fun and challenging.
My main wishes for the PC version are for better balance (no dominant strategies), and less luck (some luck is fun, but the web version has too much).
Thanks for the game. The basic mechanism is fun and original, and also a bit nostalgic.
Thank you so much for your reply! I'll be sure to check out the website! Keep making amazing games!
Addictive, and more kudos to you for making this for Pico-8!
Please, can you make a 1v1 online version?
Found this game from CoolMathGames.com, this is incredible! I'm super hyped to see a full version! I'd gladly pay for it!
This is amazing! the only thing I could ask is some kind of endless mode, it's just too addicting!
New high score:
some thing that would be much help are
drag a slipway to a transit hub as a way station
needs Peeps and food
so you need to decide and plan well if you are going to build a transit hub
could you perhaps make a unlimited turn version?
Is the PC version of this still planned, or has development on it been shelved? There's nothing on your Patreon anymore, and the Slipways Twitter hasn't shown activity for a while. Either way, I've enjoyed this game for some time. Hopefully the PC version will come, but I can hardly demand it.
One thing I have been curious about, and would like to ask, assuming the PC version doesn't come- what were the planned philosophical factions? If it's still under development, feel free to keep your secrets, though. :)
Sadly, it's not under active development right now, but I'm super-happy that people are still interested after this much of a hiatus!
Due to mostly financial reasons, I had to get a proper job as a project lead at a game company. It's a big responsibility and I have very little time and energy left for other projects, so I had to regretably put my indie life on hiatus.
However, this is all about to change! My contract is soon going to be up, and while this job was my chance to get into "proper" game development (with an actual budget and everything ;), it did not pan out as I'd hoped. This means I'm now parting ways with the company, so I will be free to pursue my own projects soon.
The plan right now is to get back to SlipWays as soon as possible - right after I pass my responsibilities at the job to new people and recharge my batteries a little, perhaps by doing a smaller project first.
The details are still in flux (the decision to quit is still fresh), but SlipWays PC is definitely the top of my priority list!
Very cool game. I'm digging the pixel art as well. You have any intentions of posting any of the low-def art assets for sale?
the problem I have with the game is that I can't cancel anything as far as I understand it.
Yeah, could really use deconstruction, though in this games case I think it would be better if that cost money rather than returning resources/money. Should be able to deconstruct planetary constructs as well as slipstreams.
Can you use colorful icons for needed resources and monochromatic icons for supplied resources?
Our brains are wired to pay attention to the bright and colorful. Supplied resources need no attention as they are already supplied. However, needed resources need attention, therefore, I suggest to display their icons in color.
Colorful resource icons would then guide one's attention towards "needed" (missing inputs) and "wasted" (unused outputs). Monochromatic resource icons would guide one's attention away from "supplied" (supplied inputs) and "used" (used outputs).
This would allow players to scan the map more quickly and see what can be done.
I think the current system makes more sense, but I think I see what you mean. Currently greyed out means not there, needed or in use, and colored means there, currently using or waiting to ship. Its a bit tougher to see exactly what you need early on, especially if you aren't familiar with the resources involved.
A few of my favorite starts, and then my best finish.
This next one was excellent. Everyone happy, bomb income...
Best score yet, and a glimpse of the web of gates and the last minute void generators that helped seal up the happiness! I truly believe this game doesn't need a longer clock, it needs a received goods cap!!!
Wow dout.. Impressive for sure!
I agree, the game timer doesn't need to be any longer, though it would be cool.
Also... Gotta agree with just about everything here. I found that starting near a mechanized, earth like jungle worked better than the robot scavenging to harvest water planets for food, which is pretty solid as well. Getting the happiness boost is big but some combos are better for $, and early income is king.
While I have a host of wins on tough and challenging that are above 10K at this point, I would love this game to get an update! Again correct on challenging being more fun. I saw a good score on challenging so I started giving it a try. My initial efforts on challenging didn't work out as well as tough, but now that I have an better idea of what does what, the extra $ early on makes it much better.
This was yesterday.
Massive trade networks have been a staple of my gameplay for a while, choosing how to interconnect it has been grand. Infragates rarely help as much as a well crafted highway. I've gotten all the way on tech as well, it appears it is not needed to get a better score if the RNG is on your side for the no red planets scheme . Stars are great for this, but the late game replicator is perfect for doing this exact thing! Collapsing stars to feed tourism planets is the BEST.
Here's the problem. Some planets or tech will soak up more than they need to output and don't offer more money beyond the planet that is sending it over getting an income increase.
This looks like it might be making more money, but late game the supply of most things, especially robots, food, people, they go to zero permanently because big blue planets soak them before they can help grow the system. Maybe it's the slipgates, but if the system was properly capped, this game would be much more playable. Here's the hard one to swallow:
That one was also today. This next one was when I learned about the problem.
Try playing a few games without ever connecting a slipgate to a slipgate, or an infragate to an infragate. I bet your scores go up!
matjamesj gave some good advice below, but I'll add a few points (read his post).
The game is heavily luck-based early on - restart if you run out of money, and start wasting turns. Challenging is actually more fun than tough because of this; you're more likely to luck into a game with some chance of getting a decent score.
Of course start near a cluster, but also try to avoid starting near the edge of the map. Stars that are at the edge of the map have fewer places to expand from, and hence are less valuable.
Early on, you want income as fast as possible, so that you don't waste turns sitting around unable to do anything. Gold and blue planets make a lot of money at this stage of the game, and it's okay to get a red planet or two as long as it helps you get gold and blue planets.
Mid game focus on expanding, getting gold and blue planets when convenient. Avoid getting new red planets, and fix the ones from the early game. Get a couple of well-stocked research stations.
By late game, you should have more money than you can spend. Focus on happiness, since it multiplies your score. Get trade hubs and tourism planets, and make as many of your planets gold and blue as you can. Do absolutely anything to fix every single red planet before the end of the game.
Slipways and infratech are good in some situations, but don't overuse them. If you connect a slipway to a slipway, you're probably screwing up. Similarly, don't overuse farms - 3 turns is a very high cost to get food to a planet.
Red planets hurt your happiness for your entire empire. This affects the $ production of all your planets, and has a huge effect on your final score. Consequently, they're not horrible as long as your empire is tiny, but quickly become a major liability as you expand.
Don't sweat early research too much. You'll have things to do even if you only have the range-extension tech (which you should always get). In this game, I built 2 research stations, each getting 3 metal. The first research station I built after I got mining bots, and the second station I got after I got slipgates (I needed to use a slipgate to get a person to where I had 3 extra metal available).
Trade hubs are amazing; they help you get gold and blue planets by soaking up extra resources, and they contribute directly toward your happiness.
I also like the tech that lets you change gas giants into stars. Among other uses, the special resource they produce can get you an extra pip of happiness from a maxed-out trade hub.
The last level techs usually come too late to make a difference, in this game I didn't use them at all.
Here is some explanation for the advice above.
The fundamental resource in the game is turns (also called months), and your job is to use your turns as efficiently as possible.
Early on, you can only pray that you get such a nice setup that your income will quickly outstrip your desire to spend money, otherwise you'll find yourself sitting around for many months waiting for your next annual paycheck (this kills the score).
By the midgame, you should have a decent income established, and many places to expand to, so you should expand.
By the late game, your empire will fill most of the board, and the remaining places to expand will be unappealing. However, you'll have technologies like infratech and trade hubs that enable you to develop your existing empire more completely. You should take advantage of these technologies to make your people as happy as possible before the end of the game.
Here's my best score on tough: