Caster

By: Derek Yu

On: January 13th, 2009

Caster

Caster is an impressive 3d third-person action shooter by Mike D. Smith. Before the release, Smith revealed to indie game blog Independently Speaking that the game was about “feeling powerful.” To this end, I think he succeeded admirably – as a Caster you have the ability to dash up walls, perform superhuman jumps that send you flying into the air, and acquire power-ups that let you attack enemies and deform the terrain around you. The technology behind the game was 5 years (i.e. one Cave Story) in the making, and it shows: though the models are relatively simple to look at, the terrain deformation and various effects (reflections, weather, etc.) are lovely.

However, the whole experience is extremely short by most measuring sticks, with the full game taking me under 2 hours to beat, half of which was spent in the demo. This is exacerbated by relatively dull enemies and a molecule-thin narrative that feels like an after-after-thought – Bad Dudes (NES) had more of a plot than Caster. And I question the author’s design choice to make death so inconsequential (the only punishment is that you lose your collected energy for the level) – even though it fits with the theme of “feeling powerful,” it makes an already pretty easy game a breeze and removes a lot of the incentive to be skillful.

That said, $10 is a low price of admission, and according to the website, it includes any sequels that may follow (no word on what or when). And there is a lot to like here: Caster is well-polished and it genuinely feels good to run around the game’s large 3d landscapes and blast them. I just hope that subsequent chapters of the game have a little more meat.

TIGdb: Entry for Caster

  • Centipeed

    I wanted to play this, but quitting out of the game and attempting to run it again results in nothing whatsoever: No game, no process in the task manager. It seems to be quitting as instantly as I run it, which is strange and a little hard to diagnose :(

  • jdeuel

    Way too easy. I had dash pumped to the max by the end of mission 2, and after that it’s just sprint to the objective.

  • Mischief Maker

    Does the full version have background music during the levels?

  • http://www.elecorn.com/blog Mike Smith

    Yes, the game is very easy on Casual and on Normal… try extreme though. That one has a bit of a challenge and is pretty fun. When your shields run out, you have to restart the mission.

    Some levels have background music and others do not.

    Some objectives are “Get the the finish” and others are “kill all the baddies”. new objectives will be coming out in the next episode.

    Sorry about the issues on your machine Centipeed. I believe I already sent you a follow up e-mail. Hopefully I can get that fixed.

    Thanks!

  • Scott

    If there’s some easy cheap way to win in a game, then just don’t do it. Unless you’re massively insecure or something and can’t handle not dominating in something that gives you the ability.

  • cigarettes

    oy. but isnt there being some cheap way to win a strange design flaw in itself? or maybe a lack of polish?

    in general, the game may just need to be polished a bit more.

    it was an interesting concept, but there is only so much you can do on your own, especially in 3d.

  • Zixinus

    The game is based on a good idea. Make the player feel powerful and that’s good. However, everything else than the player is lacking. The levels are boring, the enemies are pretty ugly and the narrative is non-existent.

    That and the developer is a Prop 8 supporter, so I wouldn’t give the miserable piece of shit a fucking dime.

  • http://https://store.afa.net/player/player.asp?movie=http://www.afa.net/videos/60secpromo_store.flv they’re coming to your town

    I think the main character looks a bit fey. He should look more manly, like the real head of a good, traditional family.

  • http://content.answers.com/main/content/img/webpics/caster_sugar.jpg muffin

    Oh, yes. Give me that sweet caster sugar.

  • Movius

    >>Bad Dudes (NES)

    Rampant Faggot related crime these days,
    California is not the exception.

    Governor Arnie has been kidnapped by rampant homos.

    Are you a bad enough dude to pass Prop 8?

  • Alf

    I had no idea that the developer supported THAT. It explains why the game is shit… there’s NO WAY im going to try and play it now, or let it anywhere NEAR my family in case it tries to “recruit” any of them.

  • jdeuel

    ah, no wonder the game sucks, the developer is a gay bashing closet homo.

    petition to remove this entry on those grounds.

  • none

    Comments ought to be approved around here based on the kind of twats right above my reply.

  • banana

    lol you said twat

  • Breadcultist

    (making a note for future developer activities: keep your political/religious/controversial views secret, especially when trying to sell something)

  • rollingmyeyes

    Just because a person supports proposition 8 does not mean they are homophobic or a gay basher in anyway. Why is that not clear to anyone?

  • sinoth

    Breadcultist, good point but I also commend him for not trying to be politically correct and hide his beliefs. Sometimes you just need to voice them. Sucks for him his opinion is ignorant and thinly-veiled hate, though :(

  • blank

    I can’t believe this, you all think this entry should be removed because the creator allegedly supports prop 8? That’s insane…

    Isn’t it kind of a double standard, people can’t say bad things about homosexuals, but homosexuals can say bad things about everyone else?

    I mean, one of the biggest arguments behind homosexuality is freedom of choice. This guy chooses not to support homosexuality. So you bash him?

    It’s his opinion, get over it. Seriously, we’re all entitled to our own opinions, whether you like it or not, and burning books (or removing games) to get your own idea across is only becoming what you were out to change.

    Seriously, for the integrity of this site, don’t remove this game.

  • pragma

    @Breadcultist: I agree, although there are ways to use games as a political vehicle without being overt or shocking.

    For example, what about Kojima’s thread about nuclear weapons proliferation that runs through all the Metal Gear games?

    That said, I agree with @blank. Let the game stand on its own merits, and let the community review and pan as they deem appropriate. If it winds up with a 0.1 out of 5 on TIGDB, so be it.

  • SofS

    Cursory examination of the developer’s blog suggests that his views are mostly to do with his faith. It is perhaps reductive to place all opposition to LGBT rights as coming from sentiment. There are probably quite a lot of homophobic Christians who take their stand based on unexamined emotion, but I think that there are some who do so because of their belief in scripture and the mendacious evidence that proponents on their side disseminate to them. I have to believe that reasonable people can turn this into a win/win scenario; lumping the potentially reasonable people on the other side in with the diehard bigots does nothing to make this happen. Naive, perhaps, but I don’t see anything to lose in this approach.

    (I may be a bit less ardent than others about the Proposition 8 fiasco because I live in Canada and thus have only the lack of a good man to stand in the way of me marrying one. Gay Californians: the weather is not that bad up here! There is probably at least one place in the nation where the temperature won’t suddenly drop to frostbite levels overnight somehow. Ontario may not be that place.)

  • http://https://store.afa.net/player/player.asp?movie=http://www.afa.net/videos/60secpromo_store.flv they’re coming to your town

    “I mean, one of the biggest arguments behind homosexuality is freedom of choice.”

    LOL

  • Movius

    I don’t think the entry should be deleted. I think the creator should be publically mocked for being the idiot that he is.

  • igloo

    What, you folks can’t handle the democracy system you’ve greatly enjoyed up to now just because you actually lost? I love it, you folks have no respect for the will of the people, and would rather have your stupid unnatural ideas come to fruition for your minority than respect the foundations of America and the will of the majority? What a bunch of crybabies.

    If anybody is “recruiting” here, it’s the lgbt people.

    I love how you folks can totally bash people who don’t support lgbt, but it’s totally not allowed for anyone to bash lgbt, total double standard, shows the idiots that are being brainwashed by this.

    Sorry for being harsh, but the people here are playing hardball, and I’m throwing the ball back at them.

  • http://www.elecorn.com/blog Mike Smith

    I can only imagine how hard it must be to be persecuted constantly, either for your sexual preference or chemical makeup. I think any of these hate crimes are inexcusable! Hate is a terrible thing that only destroys and makes life miserable. Denying people freedoms based on behaviors that are not illegal is also completely unacceptable.

    I have nothing against homosexuals. I have members of my family that are homosexual. They are part of our family just like the ones who are not. I have friends that may or may not be homosexual. I don’t know, I don’t care. I don’t bother to ask because it’s not important to our friendship.

    Not all supporters of Prop 8 are homophobic. I am a huge supporter of the traditional family. If you wanted to go ahead and take away any “tax break” or “legal benefit” from being technically “married”. Or wanted to apply those benefits to all people that asked for them, that’s fine.

    I believe the family unit with a loving father and mother that take good care of their children is crucial to society. The more that unit is broken up via divorce, children out of wed lock, redefining marriage to something else, etc, the more unhappiness and instability will propagate through society.

    But these are my beliefs that I hold sacred. These are what drive me to support different things. Not hate. I would love to have a solution that would make both the supporters of families and the homosexual community happy. All this hate and fighting is no good.

    You can argue and debate all you want about what is socially right and what isn’t, but hate on either side of the debate is always wrong.

    That’s all I have to say. I don’t want to hold anything against anyone for their comments. Let’s just drop this topic and get back to thing we have in common, the thing that would make us all instant friends if we were to see each other face to face. indie games.

    Thanks.

  • uber

    SofS, you proceed to bash one system of beliefs (Christianity) while protecting, even encouraging another. In this relativistic view lgbt is pushing, lgbt is right to some people, and Christianity should be right to others, right?

    Apparently, wrong, with you, and with most of the supporters of this movement. It’s only relativistic up to supporting lgbt, and after that, it’s totally wrong.

    Shows what a screwed up view this is. You can’t be both for relativism and mock your antagonists. Leave your subtle attacks of religion and Christianity to yourself, please.

  • http://www.dyson-game.com Alex May

    uber, being gay isn’t a “system of belief”, you idiot, it’s a fundamental and immutable part of someone’s being. ‘blank’ (also an idiot) also implied above that being gay is a choice, what absolute ignorant nonsense. ‘igloo’ also clearly an idiot claiming that homosexuality isn’t natural despite plenty of evidence to the contrary (see: bonobos – oh but you probably don’t think we evolved from apes, do you?).

    The problem with Christianity (all the strains I’ve come across) is that it teach people absolute shit, and that hurts more people than it serves.

    Interesting to see how many ignorant bigots read TIGSource anyway.

  • blank

    Thank you Mike, for showing that supporting the traditional family does not involve hate or fighting. Hopefully everyone can get a clue now and calm down. I would expect to see some apologies from the morons that posted on here.

  • sinoth

    blank, you’re really missing the point here. Hate can easily masquerade as loving concern.

    Why do you think the Little Rock 9 caused such a stir? Because the ‘traditional’ white family thought it was damaging for their children to go to school with blacks. This was about the well being of the children, not hate! Yeah right.

    Now I see a similar situation. Taking away rights from a group of people “for the children”. Never mind the studies that have been done on same sex parents that show the children are no worse off, or that the divorce rate for same sex marriages is smaller than ‘traditional’ marriages.

    There is NO statistical basis for hating on same sex marriages – it is all religious fear mongering. Please keep your religious bullshit out of LAW that restricts rights.

  • Movius

    Yes, lets all discuss indie games. Right here, in this very thread. Hopefully this will shatter the unfortunate perception that many have about indie gamers being more intelligent and sophisticated than the evil and bitter ‘Hardcore Mainstream Gamer.’

    It is quite perplexing that a man can create such a game, a task requiring significant intellectual skill, yet can be so deluded and irrational in other ways.

    I’ve often wondered where this mythical ‘The family unit’ is anyway. Is it some sort of platonic higher idea, theoretical ‘perfect family’? Or perhaps a literal family somewhere? Or is it some sort of mafia like syndicate, they often refer to themselves as ‘the family’?

    Also, by what mechanism is it damaged by homosexuality?

    Does this family unit arrogantly claim dominion over all? With its authority being diminished with every individual expression of self-ownership (even in seemingly completely separate sovereign relationships between consenting adults) ?

    Or perhaps it is fragile like a delicate snowflake, where free-radicals of sexuality (faggotrons) can tear at its brittle chemical bonds?

    Any clarification on this matter would be most appreciated.

    Though, I must warn you. I am a member of the RS church-like substitute and as such have transcended sexuality. I know for a fact that a marriage can only be defined as a group of no more than 3 males joining with a group of no more than 5, but no less than 3, females. Also, one and only one of the females must have more than 4 limbs. Attempts to define the marriage as otherwise (such as the heretical and blasphemous RS reform church, who disgustingly promote marriage as 2 males and 6 females, with 3 poly-limbed members of either gender,) are harmful to the family amoeba, who gets very offended by such things.

    I wish there were some common solution that supports both a true marriage and the monogamists. Sadly it is impossible.

  • Zixinus

    blank

    Homosexuality has NOTHING TO DO WITH CHOICE! Do you honestly think that people CHOSE to become part of a minority that is not only discriminated against, but often denounced by their own families (even if they are children), beaten on the street, harassed and even SHOT?

    I never said to remove the entry from the database. If you think that the game is worth ten bucks and you can ignore that the author is a miserable, rotten piece of hate-filled shit, go ahead (look at his blog, you will find the entry where he quite openly advocates for prop 8).

    Oh, and I have no reason to apologise. The person in question comes out and openly declares his position with dishonest bullshit.

    ihloo

    I’m not lgbt nor am I friends with one nor do I have them in my family. Yet I still stand by them for their rights. What does that say?

    Homosexuals are people like any other and they don’t choose to be what they are. They deserve as much respect and rights as any other person. They can be just as criminal and innocent as the next.

    Dishonest Mike Smith

    ALL SUPPORTERS FOR PROP 8 ARE HOMOPHOBIC ASSHOLES AND THAT INCLUDES YOU!

    Prop 8 has nothing to do with the mythical “family unit” or any other of your bullshit.

    You can lie all you want, but unless you are willing to renounce your advocacy, you will remain the same worthless pile of miserable shit you are, no matter what you say.

    Furthermore, you want to control how people have sex and how they have relationships. Controlling when and how children are born (which you subtly link homosexuals and children, how original) and how marriages work does not make people any less or more happy or productive.

    People are happy and productive when they have a good job that they can do with good healthcare and good education. That is common sense.

    Controlling “families” (an act you have no right to) is nothing else but a stupid and childish attempt to try and solve a complex problem (providing all three of the above) by trying to solve a non-existent one.

    The idea of a “family unit” is from the dark ages when the foundation of a family was based on the strong, able men of local relatives. These men did manual labour and protected their loved ones and children, so all relatives huddled around them.

    Even then, homosexuality was regarded mostly as not much more than a oddity. People didn’t like it, but they didn’t kill them. Homophobia is an invention on Christianity and religions of similar vein.

    The idea of a “family unit” is absurd in modern times. A single woman can raise her children, so can a single man. Marriages are made out of love, not contract. Women have equal rights and almost every adult is expected to work. The elderly are not threatened daily. There should be nothing stopping homosexuals to make their own families, since they are just as much citizens as any of the latter. The idea of a “family” has become lose and malleable.

    What you say is nothing but a putrid pile of blind archaism that serves to no other end then to institute a control over people’s lives for the sake of a pointless arbitrary model.

    Which has nothing to do with homosexuals, so again, you are just hiding behind bullshit in the vein hope of not looking like a homophobic asshole.

    So, fuck you and all your bullshit.

    To everyone else

    If you think that Prop 8 is worthwhile cause or if you think that an author’s work can stand above themselves, AND if you think that the later levels of Caster is a worthwhile spending of money, go ahead.

    However, I do not think that someone advocating hate-laws should be given costumers. I give my protest by not buying from that person and making it clear why so.

    I can however, understand if someone is not willing to take that position.

  • none

    So what about those indie games, hmmm.

  • http://www.dfuters.com Corpus

    AND EVEN SHOT!

    The number of bigots on here is quite disturbing. Thankfully, none of you can string together a logical argument without resorting to straw man attacks.

  • bob’s game

    my game was also 5 years in the making. who do yuu think yuu are?

  • Asdasd

    “I can’t believe this, you all think this entry should be removed because the creator allegedly supports prop 8? That’s insane…” (blank)

    Allegedly!? The author REMOVED his blog post yesterday with his opinion on prop 8! Here is the google cache to prove it: Elecorn prop 8 opinion
    Here is a pastebin (and mirrors so it won’t ever get lost!) of the Elecorn’s comments (original post didn’t contain much information but I can post that as well if someone wants it):
    1
    2
    3

  • Asdasd

    @Corpus:
    Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop them.

  • Mischief Maker

    As for the game,

    This is a good game. I see the germ of a great action game here. I’m assuming you’re going for the arcade game crowd rather than the funhouse shooter. That said, I have two suggestions to improve it.

    1. Bigger enemies!

    The game only really took off for me at the points where you’re taking on the large swarm monsters, the sharks, and the eruption thingies. The kissing roaches, laser grasshoppers, and flying bugs are hard to see, really hard to hit standing still, and nearly impossible to hit at high speed. Worse, in the case of the roaches if you shoot at them and miss, you deform the land and hide them from view. If those things were four times their size, just as fast, and had more hitpoints, it would make for a more satisfying game zooming around a rampaging horde and cutting them to bits rather than coming to a stop and carefully taking aim. It would also be an improvement for this whole “sense of power” thing you’re going for since toppling giants is way more satisfying than stomping ants.

    2. Needs a deeper scoring system.

    Right now it’s possible to get a perfect score in a level. After that there is no point in ever replaying it. A good arcade game is one you can come back to again and again to improve your score, even after you’re good enough that survival becomes a non-issue. Some suggestions for improving the scoring system could be as simple as a timer bonus for finishing the level as quickly as possible, a bonus multiplier with a quickly emptying bar that increases for each subsequent kill made while that bar is filled, or a score multiplier for how close you are to the enemy when it dies. Or something tied more directly into the mechanics of the game, like bonus points for taking an enemy out while running, or mid-air.

    As for Prop 8, the only thing I have to say is, are you Mormons SURE it was a wise decision opening the door for the govt. to start curtailing the civil rights of minority groups for religious reasons?

    (Derek, for some reason the automatic numbering of these comments is changing my 2. to a 1.)

  • SofS

    I don’t think that the gay rights movement is particularly relativist. Many of the vocal proponents in it assert that their right to live as a gay citizen with all the rights of other citizens is correct without exception. Civil rights movements are rarely relativist at their core, as they are driven by people trying to win their freedom and who must therefore be very clear about what they want to achieve.

    To clarify: LGBT advocates are not, as a rule, in favour of relativism up to a point and then no further. Frankly, it’s not a very relevant point in the matter. It is not “right and wrong are universal” versus “right and wrong are situational”; rather, it is usually “we are right” versus “we are right”. As this thread demonstrates, that usually ends up as “you are stupid” versus “you are stupid”, but that doesn’t have to be the case. These reductive viewpoints (treating all Christians, all sects and denominations of Christianity, and all “religious” people as if they were identical in viewpoint and action, treating everyone in favour of LGBT rights as anti-”religious” and anti-family, etc.) result in a lot of venting, but little real communication.

    So, in that spirit, here’s a question: if you’ve voted on something where gay rights were an issue, especially Proposition 8, which way did you vote and why? I’ve read a bit on what happened there, but it was from a fairly distanced perspective. What about this issue drove you to vote the way you did?

    (Speaking for myself, it’s easy to vote for gay rights in Canada when you’re on the left, as the more socialist parties are also usually the ones most oriented towards increased civil rights.)

    Oh, and the demo is good so far. I’m quite impressed at how polished it is, though a bit of a spellcheck would have been nice.

  • http://www.dyson-game.com Alex May

    I enjoyed the demo too, as I said in the forums. The increased feeling of power as you upgrade your stuff works very well. I also love the idea that your offensive spells actually restore the trees to health and top up your own. The main problem I had was with the enemy AI, which is a bit too basic for my tastes. Aiming was also a pain.

  • http://SoapBox Ajax

    Game seems neat, but the creator being a backpeddleing bigot is not.

  • http://www.djshardhouse.com Starshot

    All bigotry aside, this is a really killer game and concept. Sure, I can see a lot of room of updates, but, those will come free with the purchase. At $10, this game is practically a must-purchase for me, as I am more or less akin to a good action adventure platformer.

    My only complaint is that why are the shadows and cell shading not turned on by default? It makes the game look much, MUCH more polished. A level/episode creator would be amazing as well.

    I look forward to those added episodes. This game almost feels like the ill-fated 3D jazz jackrabbit we never got.

  • http://www.elecorn.com/blog Mike Smith

    Thanks Starshot.

    The reason that certain effects were not turned on or even available in the options menu is because of potential visual bugs that people would see and complain about.

    For example, no on ever complained about circle shadows, but as soon as I start doing fancy shadows, critics point to them and notice all the flaws. How the edges are too hard, how a double shadow appeared on the other side of the mountain, how they don’t work accurately with the other shadows etc. Having graphical features with flaws detracts from the game play experience because they distract the player and break the illusion.

    The toon shading didn’t work properly on some ATI integrated cards and ended up drawing lines over everything. So I decided it’s best to ship without it and let users enable it.

    The data files for the game are mostly text readable (just try bringing the up in notepad for example) or common image formats that can be modded how you like. I’m working on a doc on how to make new levels and will be making it a little easier to do so in the next episode.

    Thanks.

  • ACS

    Just because a person supports proposition 8 does not mean they are homophobic or a gay basher in anyway. Why is that not clear to anyone?

    Creator can suck it. Not to be an aesthetic Stalinist or anything, but the fruits of his labor suck independent of whether he’s a fucking idiot who wants to deny gays the right to live in peace.

  • Sigma957

    Homosexuality is a choice.
    You have the choice not to stick cock in ass. The Bill of Rights was not written to mean Liberty (right to stick cock in an ass of another guy) is for the selfish entitlement of a selfish minority! Obey God's law, is that so unbelievably hard to undestand???

    And you're saying you're being persecuted? Bullshit. You're persecuting the morals of a Christian nation, founded by people that believed that no nation can survive without something greater than themselves. God. I will fight to the end to stop this nation from becoming a cesspool. Enjoy Obamavision now because in the next election, he's out. And so are you.

  • Brahmedinejad

    what the fuck

  • God

    Obvious troll is obvious.

  • EmmyG

    Thread necromancy is a sin!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tranceemerson Monte Emerson

    Yes.