Looming Released

My latest game, Looming, is up at Newgrounds. Looming is a game about… well.

This game is about two lovers named January and September.
No, wait; it’s about a group of people who don’t believe in the sky.
No, it’s about a pantheon of scientific disciplines.
Or maybe it’s about an ancient beast who knew exactly when it was going to die, and how.

It’s about a place. A place called Looming.

Play Looming on Newgrounds.

This is an exploration game where you collect artifacts in a strange place. It has multiple endings, with a little bonus if you find them all. It’s at least partly an exercise in storytelling after the fact: storytelling by use of clues, letters, and remnants rather than events. It’s also an homage to the gorgeous use of 1-bit color games for the early Macintosh and other black-and-white systems… although I cheat.

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81 thoughts on “Looming Released

  1. Quite beautiful. Completed it with no hints; some stuff seemed misleading or confusing, perhaps, but mostly everything was okay.

    Main trouble I had was with the second to last hidden signpost: I couldn’t find it with the aid of the tip I’m given by the previous one, and instead I thought it referred to the last one, so for a while I thought I’d found them all, yet there was no portal. I ended up finding it by chance, though. I was quite anticipating that reveal.

    I expected more climactic moments once ‘secrets’ are ‘revealed’, but actually this is better. We’re not Indiana Jones.

  2. How to find the fifth Oarbor Bone (Oarbor Bone 5 / V) wich plauged me for about an hour:

    Head east from the starting area until you find a pillar with a hidden signpost south of it. The bone is just slightly to the east of that pillar, it should be visible to you when standing next to the pillar.

  3. Was the name and font used intentionally referencing Loom, or was it just a coincidence?

    I enjoyed it a lot, but sort of wished that some of the long walks were punctuated with more points of interest – for example, the birds were cool, and I guess more stuff like that and the odd bit of unique non-functional scenery would keep me entertained.

  4. I didn’t actually consider making this game in 3D. The quasi-isometric scaling and the very high camera really work best in 3D, and the 1-bit dithered graphics would have been a nightmare to figure out for someone with my limited knowledge in shaders.

  5. Loom was certainly in my thoughts while making the game, but the name arose independently, and the font was chosen according to what I preferred for the game.

  6. Ah just checked it and actually they used a fully upper-case font: I certainly wasn’t accusing you of plagiarism – I hope you don’t think that – just that it may have been a (possibly subconscious) homage.

    Anyway, great work and I’ll definitely get round to finishing it over my next few lunch breaks.

  7. Well sure, I don’t think you could have done the 1-bit aesthetic easily in 3D, I just meant the high-level aesthetic goals mentioned as the starting inspiration (giant looming architecture).

    Just look at the fan art you just posted, which (naturally, I’d say) switches perspectives to try to achieve that effect more directly.

    (If anything, I’d say that the 2D style actually didn’t give me any sense of giant looming architecture. It took me a while before I actually realized the objects were “faux 3D” and could be walked behind, and weren’t just lying on the ground, despite the shadows.)

    Anyway, I didn’t actually mean this question as a criticism of the game as is, just a curiosness over the choice given the goal.

  8. Excellent game, and I agree that it’s your most polished to date. I’m afraid I resorted to hints, as I was/am very tired, needed to get up early, and couldn’t just walk away from it (nor without some accolades here). Great story though. The PC has a dutiful passion for exploring that felt very much like the PC in Myst.

    The setting is fantastic, and I’m struck by how well the 1-bit setup worked. The instructions and clues are very well p[l]aced, save for the blasted first hidden sign post (spotted by accident early on before I realized I ought to pay attention to those – at the time I was chasing the moving shadow, hoping for a colossus or some flying monster). Also, the white “X” on the light houses threw me off; I suppose making them flash red and green with yellow arrows would have been slightly out of place, though.

    The only real stylistic gripe I have is that I kept thinking of Loom, how it wasn’t at all like Loom, and then about the blasted and unhelpful pirate wearing the button “Ask me about LOOM” (I thought of him a few times when I got lost on the final first hidden pillar).

  9. I have found all the endings but 7 I just cant seem to find it, Anyone have a hint for me?

  10. Can’t get ending nine. You say that I shall do like in ending 7 but can’t rember that.

  11. I cannot for the life of me find the signpost between 2 gears. I have all endings but the 7th because of this. D:

    I very much enjoyed the game. It seemed much more of a story to me, and I understand why some people might be confused or not like it, but I certainly did.

  12. I think my game’s bugged– I have found every single ending, but I still can’t find the last Seecha rod. I looked for it for hours upon hours, resorting to combing the entire landscape to cover as much ground as I could. However, I still can’t find it. Could someone give me a hint?

    As for the game itself – excellent game. It reminds me of another game called The Void, a Russian game translated into English. It uses a similar style of storytelling where nothing is really revealed as-is: everything is implied. Excellent game, the fact that I spent hours tediously searching every pixel for that last Seecha rod should be self-demonstrating of how much I love this. :)

  13. This is a terrific game. Found it at the indiegames.com blog and simply had to comment on how wonderful it was. My only problem with it was that after I got all the endings, I still wanted more – maybe some more items unrelated to the main story, or a little passage through the hedge leading to some more ruins, some landscape details, etc. But I guess a sequel isn’t really possible, given that the game is pretty much self-sufficient, and neither is another game just like Looming, since repeating oneself isn’t fun… eh. Anyway, thank you for making Looming, and I’ll be looking forward to more games by you :)

  14. I like exploration a whole lot, so I’ve been enjoying this. Also struck me as a bit Lovecraftian, was that intentional?

    But I’ve got a little problem: I know that I’m meant to turn the lamp posts, but I can’t figure out how. I press “X” and it just says what direction it’s pointing in and doesn’t change… (I’m probably just being dense but still…help?)

  15. A simple but one of the best games I’ve ever played. I’ve discovered the last portal naturally. The last one I’ve found (and the hardest I think) is the one based on the diagram…. I was trying to find paths related to the symbols, I’ve always preached that not everything needs a meaning, sometimes we should just be like the Seecha, things can be solved that way too.

    Some questions ( Yes I’m very Lorem ):
    – where are the parts of the diagram from? Who made them?
    – you say Oarbor is dead, and it knew when and how he would die. So what happened to him? The Seecha did not capture him, but got even advice from him. In all this reverie what could have happened in the meantime after both Seecha and Lorem left?
    – will you make a sequel to this game? I’ve really enjoyed it!!!

  16. Great little game!!! I did need help with number 2 and the second lighthouse puzzle.

  17. I read the other comments but I just can’t find the number 8. I think I found all of the signposts…but then, how come I can’t find the portal?
    Besides that, I really appreciate this game : the mood, the easy controls, the story, the messages…everything^^
    Thanks a lot for this game ;)

  18. Awesome little game! It reminds me of a book I read by Haruki Murakami, called Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World. I really like how you managed to imply a lot of depth with relatively few pieces of information about the different cultures.


  19. ^^^I agree about the Hardboiled Wonderland feel to the game. There’s a kind of wistful feeling that I get reading his novels that I usually end up getting while playing your games, Greg. It’s very… refreshing, maybe, but that might not be the right word.

    Just wanted to say that I REALLY loved this game. I’m a big fan of more exploration-oriented games like Myst and Knytt, especially ones that have a lot of secrets to find, so this was extremely enjoyable. I felt like most of the puzzles were exactly the right amount of difficulty, too, which was nice. My only frustration was that I found the third-to-last hidden signpost first, followed by the last, so I was having a bit of a time trying to find the earlier ones… By the time I found the first one I’d seen nearly all of them. Nothing that was a problem with the game itself, I just felt silly stumbling into clues I apparently shouldn’t have found yet.

    Also, as someone who took to finding the boundaries of the world before exploring the paths, I really appreciated the 9th ending. :)

  20. Hey Gregory, couldn’t find an email. Just wanted to say I love the game and we’ve just done a story on pcgamer.com about it.

  21. Thanks for letting me know, and for doing the story! I’ve made my e-mail more obvious, since I’ve gotten several requests to make it easier to find.

  22. Whewww. That last ending was a tricky one…

    It required me to check hints/walkthrough; in an attempt to save my poor fingerbones while figuring out the world I hadn’t gone out to the very corners of the map, but stopped once the fences were in sight. A clue (say a dot-cluster) somehwere near at least one of the corners would have been very, very helpful. And once I found those signposts, I searched for more internet help for ages and ages (at least half an hour), certain I was using the info from the posts wrongly, but it turns out that one of the signposts (ironically the one that looked like the most perfect angle) was one tiny button-press off from 90deg E.

    I agree with above commenters that the lightposts/stars (assuming that Jan/Sept or Lorem called them the stars? since the Seecha never saw them… hm) need revision: one, a way to recognise increments of the angles (and thus when they are angled correctly), and two, for the X button to work whenever the X prompt shows up, not just directly south. I had some problems with this in other places, but the lightposts were by far the most frustrating. Using the lightposts for two different ending solutions could also be handled a bit better as some have noted, maybe in terms of message wording, say some sort of clue to indicate that it’s the *same* posts.

    I got kinda confused the first time I jumped through a portal and found myself back at the beginning; I worried I’d ended my game by accident. Checking inventory reassured me – but it took me a very very long time (and another hint check) to realise that while the items and locations stayed discovered, the hidden signposts DIDN’T, and that’s why the portal south of the final one was missing. Numbering the signposts would also have helped for those of us who found them out of order (and would work well I think given that the inventory items are also all numbered).

    HOWEVER, concrit & grumbles aside,
    This was an intriguing and enjoyable game, both relaxing and (mentally) stimulating. Even when I got frustrated or confused I kept at it to figure it out; I wanted to see where it went. Great storyline evolution. I like the minimalist (but not mindnumbingly repetitive) sound and I liked even better to learn it was all home-grown! The 1bit ah, colourscheme, was great and managed to tickle the nostalgia bones without overshadowing the newness/uniqueness of the game. Paths (with the exception of those pesky corner posts) were well-handled, the subtle object twinkle was perfect, and I liked the little bug(?) creatures and their little noise. The Jan/Sept (and I like the name choices, generated much thought for me) dialogue was compelling, not overdone. All in all, compelling and not overdone. An enjoyable use of an evening, will recommend!

    Well done. :)

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