By: Derek Yu

On: July 23rd, 2010

Streemerz - mak gam

Glen “Radix” Forrester and Arthur “Mr. Podunkian” Lee have announced mak gam, their new game studio. This announcement coincides with their release of the FlashPunk version of Streemerz, a platformer based on the Action 52 game of the same name. Streemerz was created for Mr. Podunkian’s Action 52 project, where various developers sign up to create games based on the infamous Action 52 multi-game cart for the NES. As of writing, 20 of the 52 action-packed “gams” have been finished, and I believe there are still spots open if you want to participate (full list here).

In Streemerz you play as the lovable-but-misguided proletariat Superb Joe, who is out to topple the benevolent dictatorship of Master Y. Superb Joe is armed with a grappling hook (or “streemer”) which allows him to swing around and make his way through the flying fortress of Master Y. Like Bionic Commando, which the game parodies, the character is unable to jump and can only use his streemer to leave the ground.

As to be expected from Mr. Podunkian, who created the unofficial theme song for TIGSource, the dialogue in Streemerz is funny and filled with references to game developers whom he admires, like Phil Fish, the co-creator of Fez and GAMMA. The mechanics of swinging around are quite enjoyable, too, and the levels are well-designed, with each level introducing new obstacles to overcome. Checkpoints are placed pretty generously and allow the player to respawn indefinitely, but Streemerz is challenging and bases much of your score on how quickly you complete each level (there are also money bonuses placed in tough spots or hidden throughout the game). A variety of modes increase the game’s replay value, including a mode that parodies the popular platformer VVVVVV and playfully insults its creator, Terry Cavanaugh Cavanagh.

Overall, I have to recommend Streemerz for its challenging level design and humorous story, although I found myself gravitating more towards the game’s main villain, the handsome and well-meaning Master Y, rather than the protagonist, Superb Joe, who seemed to have little motivation other than a disregard for authority and penchant for recklessness. Although it’s unclear whether Master Y represents a particular person or whether he’s simply a metaphor for raw power and sexuality (at one point the player is warned not to “touch Master Y’s balls”, which are large and cause immediate destruction), its obvious that, to the creators, this is a dynamic and awe-inspiring personality who successfully drives the indie video games scene with the charisma of Hitler and the luxury of 80’s glam metal. In any case, playing the game made me horny as fuck. Check it out.

TIGdb: Entry for Streemerz
Playthrough: Ortoslon (downloadable version)

  • Dodger

    Congrats on the new game studio guys!

    Loved Enough Plumbers and the puzzle mechanic and the simplicity of it.

    Now, I do have something to say about Streemerz since I've had a chance to spend a little bit of time with it (at least, since the first post about it here at TIGS). I like the game and the corny and humorous dialogue, but — I remember way back when people were complaining about VVVVVV and it's difficulty level blah blah blah… I'm not going to compare it to that game so much, however what I remember was that people complained about the difficulty of it and yes it did have some tough areas but the chief gameplay mechanic in VVVVVV actually made the game easier and more intuitive in it's gameplay (even though some sections still required patience, precision, and practice), it could be a brutal challenge to get move beyond certain areas but it always felt fun because the controls and the mechanic worked nicely together. I find that the chief gameplay mechanic in Streemerz only makes the gameplay harder and more frustrating – the controls work and the mechanic works but the controls and the mechanic don't play nice with each other. It does demand some practice, precision and reflexes much like VVVVVV, but I find that it does so at the expense of garnering a frustrating level of inaccuracy (more than just trial and error) which can take away from some of the fun.

    Please understand, I do like the game. I think it is well made for the most part and I find myself wanting to see what's in the next area and how much more interesting or difficult it might be but I also find it needlessly frustrating at times. If it was just a matter of trial and error I would enjoy it that much more but there's something not quite tweaked yet between the streemer mechanic and the controls. I can't quite explain it any better than that… but then it's also very late and I'm pretty tired.

    I shouldn't have to state the obvious but the above was just my personal opinion, and hopefully what will be perceived as “constructive” criticism (some people only read the first line of a comment, come to a conclusion, and then decide to flame the person commenting). I like the whole look about the game and wanted to play it ever since I saw the first screen shot and trailer. Brought back a lot of NEStalgia.

    P.S. — One last thing, to ALL indie developers out there – please, please, please, for the love of Christ, Buddha, Vishnu, the Thetans and xenu (mustn't leave out the Scientologists), – Please – include gamepad support for your games! I realize there are thousands of gamepads out there, but is it really so hard to integrate some sort of lousy generic gamepad support – mayhaps with some mildly configurable options? Obviously it's not that because I've seen gamepad support in dozens of freeware games. It just makes the whole gaming experience that much nicer and lends your games to a possibly broader audience. Even if the option doesn't work for everyone, the gesture is usually a nice one. ;-)


  • rinkuhero

    a good way to use gamepads with games that don't support them is the free program called 'joy2key'. i recommend it.

    as an aside, the video derek links to is of the downloadable version of the game rather than the flash version; there are some minor differences, including music changes and the lack of additional game modes.

    also the game is made in chevy ray's flashpunk engine (just thought this should be mentioned so that more people try it out).

  • Derek Yu

    Thanks, Paul! Changes made.

  • Arthur Lee

    i can respect a man who can watch his own head explode and still have a sense of humor about it.

  • kYn

    how do i mak gam

  • Skofo

    Surprisingly fun! I thought it'd be one of those annoying diabolically hard indie games games, but it was rather fair to the player. =) The VVVVVV mode was a neat touch. Fun game all-around!

  • Radix
  • Nikica

    Derek, it's Terry Cavanagh without the “u”.

  • Fuh

    Dodger, flash games cannot include joypad support. It's impossible unless adobe should allow it.

  • Joseph Gibson

    While I respect your right to air your own interpretation of the source material, I believe you've missed out a core feature of the Superb Joe character, namely, his extremely impressive upper body strength that allows him to reach the heavens.

  • bigbossSNK

    Well played Master… erm, I mean Mr Yu.
    This kind of well-thought back-and-forth is entertaining to watch.
    I consider an example set. May the indie community learn from it.

  • The Innocent

    Well, I thought this was funny.

  • Dodger

    Yes, you're right about flash games, but the controller support comment wasn't entirely directed at the flash version of this game (nor was it entirely directed at Streemerz). I've seen game maker games that don't (but should) have some controller support and not just crappy games either but games that were made by people who make a lot of games. I find it ridiculous that someone would go through the trouble to make a platformer these days and not include (or at least try to include) some sort of gamepad support.

    But again, the comment wasn't really about the flash version of Streemerz (and I should have stated that for clarity).

  • Dodger

    You're right Paul, I actually use “joy2key” and even the Pinnacle Game Profiler (both are great) for emulating keyboard control to your gamepad. However, that really is only a solution for Flash games. My comment about gamepad control wasn't really directed at Streemerz (in fact it wasn't really directed at Flash games). However, there are a number of indies who have made perhaps a dozen games and seem to be pretty good at it, yet they choose not to include gamepad or controller support for their games. Really though, this wasn't a major complaint, more of a minor gripe. The reason it might sound like I made a big deal of it though is because I directed it at A LOT of indies rather than just one or two… still it's kind of trivial to complain about it at all if we're talking about Flash games (which I wasn't really – just a case of bad timing with the comment – because this article covers the flash version).

  • Dodger

    In the world of video games everything is possible. :-)

  • rinkuhero

    i believe joy2key works with all games that accept keyboard input, not just flash games

    also, one reason may be technical: it sometimes slows the game down to check for joystick input if a joystick is plugged in. i know that's at least true in game maker; i'm not sure about others but it may be universal. it's actually to the degree where the frames per second suffers noticeably if you have joystick support, which is pretty stupid and may just be a flaw in game maker, but it's probably the reason game maker games don't have joystick support that often; it takes about 100x as long in GM to check the state of the joystick as it does to check the state of the keyboard or mouse (and again, i don't know if that's due to how the joystick works or just due to game maker; i imagine a bit of both).

    the best option in such cases is to have an .ini file setting or startup question, possibly with joystick support turned off by default, that way only those who want to use the joystick need suffer the lower frame rate.

  • Dodger

    Whoops, forgot to mention last post…

    Making Dere…. er… Master Y's head explode was supremely fun – though I do admit I felt quite guilty afterwords. I mean, here is the guy who brought us Spelunky and there I am adding a Jackson Pollock sized explosion to his face.

    Yes, games are art. ;-)

  • Dodger

    Yes, but can Superb Joe churn out a video games with a stereotypical Indiana Jones type characters – with big red noses – that can kill snakes, save damsels, and mine for gold all while avoiding certain death??? I think not! ;-)

  • Mike Hunt

    I just LOOOOVE comely female legs. Please mak more. Thank u

  • bro

    strength =/= length bro

  • Joseph Gibson

    I bet with a little dedication and some plane tickets he could give you a big red nose to go along with your big mouth, hombre. My myoglobin density per square meter is approaching infinite. Time is up. Time is coming around. I'll beat you black, blue, and anti-clockwise.

  • Joseph Gibson

    Typically I try to avoid political statements, as I know this is a sensitive issue. I can no longer hold my tongue: I have no regrets about causing an economic crisis when the Federated States of America switched from a clown-based economy to a service-based economy. It was a forward thinking move and will strengthen the FSA hegemony for decades to come.

  • Brandon McCartin

    It is clear from this game Superb Joe has been doing his plate pinches.

  • Josh Whelchel

    This writeup made me laugh for at least five minutes.

  • Dodger

    Paul Said:

    “the best option in such cases is to have an .ini file setting or startup question, possibly with joystick support turned off by default, that way only those who want to use the joystick need suffer the lower frame rate”

    That's actually the best suggestion and thanks for the reply Paul because that is a great recommendation. I know that the technicality of it (within game maker) can cause the game to suffer from slow down, drops in framerate and even in some rare cases cause the game to hang or crash, but have such an option is always better than not having it – especially since if the gamer does prefer the keyboard (and / or mouse) then the game automatically defaults to that anyway. I've gone back to both Spelunky and Action Fist just to see if there was any noticeable differences regarding drops in frame rate or slow down but I can honestly say that there was no noticeable difference, however, I do realize that this also comes down to the specs of each individual PC and a certain amount of luck regarding the make / model and software involved with the actual controller or gamepad. I have a rather run-of-the-mill PC with modest specs and both Spelunky and Action Fist (to name but a few) run smoothly with a gamepad – so I think it does come down to the limitations of Game Maker but I am thankful that Game Maker allows more people to make such great games within reasonable time frames. Hopefully we'll see more and more games adopt the startup configuration (utilizing an .ini file) just like you mentioned, because that would be the best (and probably simplest) option. I just happen to enjoy platformers more when using a gamepad to play them.

  • Wnsz

    Looks like cave story

  • Dodger

    If mouths were made entirely of muscle you could probably bench press Arnold Schwarzenegger with just your lips. Never mind that, you probably crack whole bag fulls of walnuts with your Gluteal Muscles and that's a scary thought in and of itself… It also means I'll never eat Banana loaf at your house! ;-)

  • Sergio

    I commend your hilarious writeup, Derek.

    Some potential errors:
    The game refers to shooting “streamers” not “streemers”.
    Also, was this really done in FlashPunk? I figured it was that new MMF export to Flash function.

  • Arthur Lee

    the spelling of streemers/streamers changes throughout the course of the game, and the game was actually rewritten from scratch in flashpunk — and in fact, during the course of the development of the game i found the source of and fixed a pretty major flashpunk bug, which mr. chevyray implemented into the official build. in a way, STREEMERZ has benefited indie kind. think about this for a bit.

  • Radix

    Speaking of spelling, Derekk, my name is Glen.

  • Sergio

    Wow, in that case, it's pretty impressive that you rewrote the whole thing… I think few indie developers would do that.

  • dragonmaw

    Pretty fantastic. I love how the VVVVVV mode makes some of the money bag challenges (such as the “I designed this area really poorly” bit in the first level) that were difficult in the original game incredibly easy.

    Overall, great job Podunk on the port.

  • xot

    Hmmm. In my tests, joystick checking is 50% slower than normal keyboard checking (1 ms). If I check the keys directly, the times are virtually the same (1.5 ms). Are truly you saying you've found joystick checking to be literally 100x slower on some systems? That sounds like a driver issue, not Game Maker.

  • rinkuhero

    maybe it varies by computer; are you using yourself's high resolution timer? also, are you sure keyboard checking for you is 1ms (one millisecond) not 1 microsecond? because one millisecond is extremely slow, i get much faster speed for keyboard checking than that. if it were one millisecond, that'd mean that a single keyboard check, done every frame, would take 60ms per second, which is a significant proportion of time just for a single keyboard check. if you check for the four arrow keys and two buttons, that'd be 360ms per second just wasted on keyboard checking if each keyboard check were 1ms, which obviously can't be true.

  • Shig

    Wow. Me and my friend kept referring to making games as “MAK GAM” for a long time now.
    In fact, he just linked this article to me on MSN and said something like “DUDE THEY JUST GOT INSIDE OUR HEADS AND STOLE MAK GAM”

  • Mike Hunt

    I thought eva had cornered the market on leaving e's (and countless other letters) out of written communications.

  • Joseph Gibson

    This is something I've been saying to Arthur for about 2 or 3 years which was co-opted by eva jolli because she has a learning disability.

  • xot

    Whoops, you are right, I meant one microsecond. It takes me almost exactly one second to do one million normal keyboard checks. I got the numbers a little mixed up in my head somehow.

  • kYn

    but how do i klk n plya

  • rinkuhero

    yes, it was 100x slower in my tests (which were a few years ago) — i'll do some more now and report back

  • rinkuhero

    i think you're right, on my computer, using the high resolution timer:

    1,000,000 iterations of keyboard_check(vk_space): 0.507368 seconds

    1,000,000 iterations of joystick_check_button(1,1) with a wired xbox joystick plugged in and active: 0.824773 seconds

    so, two things i can think of which may explain my previous results (which if i recall were from 2006 when i was making the game 'alphasix'):

    1) old computer with bad drivers / a bad joystick, e.g. driver or hardware problems vs my new computer now, or

    2) all the additional calculations that are required to convert the joystick analog functionality into usable data is what may have really been the problem; and it's possible i coded that conversion process badly (with too many script calls, which have a large overhead)

    but anyway, this still leaves us with this problem: even if joystick speed is almost as fast as keyboard speed (about 1.5x as slow) checking both has the effect of taking 2.5x as much time as checking just the keyboard (and that's before the additional calculations required to convert the analog joystick data into usable data).

    another thing is, there's a trick i do to increase speed when checking the keyboard. first i check if any key is being pressed (at all). if so, only then do i do all the checks for individual keys. this drastically speeds up the input function, with no loss of functionality.

    such a trick is impossible to do with the joystick, because there's no way to check all the joystick's buttons at once, or to check if the joystick (analog or d-pad) is being pressed at all (due to even the joystick d-pad being “analog” of sorts on a pc with fluctuating values that need to be taken and calculated to make sense of).

    so in that way joysticks will slow down input far more than the 1x vs 1.5x difference would lead one to expect. if you check many buttons / many keyboard keys, in a complex game, let's say you check 8 buttons plus the joystick d-pad and both analog sticks, even ignoring the required analog calculations the difference would be about 1x vs 17x as slow (if you use the anykey keyboard trick). for just keyboard controls vs keyboard and joystick controls.

    still, that's no excuse not to support them (as long as it's off by default in the .ini file or settings) for those who want to use them.

  • CraigStern

    Hahaha! Derek, I strongly approve of this review.

  • Dodger

    So in other words, there is no excuse now for not having some sort of generic gamepad / joystick / controller support right? :-))))))))))

    After all, we are talking about Game Maker mostly.

  • rinkuhero

    well, there's always lack of time to consider for time-limited games. i wouldn't expect a game made in 48-hours to bother adding joystick support if it means they couldn't add other things instead.

    and there are also cases where the developer doesn't have a joystick at all, and can't give a game joystick support without one to test it with. you could possibly code it even without one, but without one to test it the coding probably will be very buggy, especially in regards to the analog sticks and d-pad coding.

    but besides those, yeah i agree, no good excuse.

  • Radix

    Seriously though I'd appreciate if someone could correct the spelling of my name.

  • rinkuhero


  • Radix

    Cheers mang.

  • Guest

    This is what Pod wants to do to Derek IRL after stalking him and hunting him down IRL

  • PhasmaFelis

    Did anyone else notice the category list under the article? :D

  • Dodger

    So what? There's nothing like a good CJ now and then – wait a minute… eeewwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!