Pale Blue Dot by KevinWorkman

made by KevinWorkman for LD23 (JAM)
The Earth is sick of being a pale blue dot! Collect smaller space objects to grow, avoid larger space objects!

Sit back, relax, click the mouse every once in a while, and mostly just listen to Carl Sagan talk, and reflect on how insignificant we are.

I'm entering this in the jam because I didn't create the images (NASA helped) or the sounds (Carl Sagan helped).


Coolness 100% 1
Overall(Jam) 3.10 117
Audio(Jam) 3.30 67
Fun(Jam) 3.08 77
Graphics(Jam) 2.51 204
Humor(Jam) 3.18 46
Innovation(Jam) 2.92 130
Mood(Jam) 3.48 38
Theme(Jam) 3.79 21


23. Apr 2012 路 13:39 CEST
Carl Sagan <3
24. Apr 2012 路 00:22 CEST
"click the mouse to move". Great instructions. Very enjoyable, and obviously the soundtrack is perfect!
24. Apr 2012 路 00:28 CEST
This was fun. I did have a control issue with clicking (dragging works much better), but not so much that I didn't play all the way through.

I really like the sense of humor here. And I'm a sucker for the fact that your different celestial categories had names of real items that you drew attention to. Pleiades! M31! Awesome!
24. Apr 2012 路 00:30 CEST
The DNS-entry for the webserver I'm downloading this from is wrong; is an alias for

It shouldn't have http:// in it. That's probably why webstart / applet loading fails. Downloading directly from AWS works.

Adding the following line in my hosts-file:

Fixes a lot of problems with that website in chrome. This probably affects other people too - you should check that out.

The game:

A nice prototype - would be nice if the camera could show a bit more of the surroundings as well.
馃帳 KevinWorkman
24. Apr 2012 路 00:38 CEST
Thanks guys!

My original intent was to overload it with real pictures from NASA and to make it slightly scientifically accurate, but I had to settle for just giving the names of things you run into.

I wanted it to be casual, mostly just listening to Carl Sagan and looking at pretty pictures, so I probably should have made the controls less sensitive. So if you're having trouble with the controls, try clicking closer to the Earth- the closer the cursor is to the Earth, the less of an effect clicking has on your movement speed. Slower is better for this game.

Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to play it!
馃帳 KevinWorkman
24. Apr 2012 路 00:43 CEST
@Kvisle, the site seems to work fine in Chrome for me? I think the http:// is required, otherwise the url gets resolves as a relative path. Can you elaborate more on what you mean, if you have the time?
24. Apr 2012 路 00:51 CEST
My system sounds are messed up right now so I didn't hear anything butwas definitely nice ramming things with the planet.
24. Apr 2012 路 02:52 CEST
Webstart is a bad link, and the applet crashes for me. Slackware Linux 13.37x64. FF11
馃帳 KevinWorkman
24. Apr 2012 路 02:56 CEST
Ack. They both work fine for me so I don't really know how to debug that! I know "but it works on my system!" isn't a valid excuse, but the game doesn't include anything that shouldn't work with linux. I'd be curious to hear if anybody else is having issues.
24. Apr 2012 路 02:58 CEST
Cool idea! Pretty fun to play too :)
24. Apr 2012 路 03:25 CEST
And there was me thinking my game was the only one to include Carl Sagan!
24. Apr 2012 路 03:35 CEST
Neat concept (Katamari Damacy with with planet earth!) but I found the mouse control to be a bit awkward.
24. Apr 2012 路 03:40 CEST
Thanks for making me listen to A Pale Blue Dot again :).

The game's a bit frustrating because of how little you can see, but that's also the main gameplay hook. The sounds are kinda rough and I feel like I started ping ponging between different celestial bodies a little too easily sometimes. I think that having the "character" move around rather the scene rather than stay centered in the view the whole time would make things easier.
24. Apr 2012 路 04:06 CEST
great stuff. i eventually gave up after bumping into too many wandering M53s but i enjoyed it until then!
24. Apr 2012 路 06:41 CEST
At first I just played the game, and found it a little frustrating, but after reading the author's advice it was a much more enjoyable experience, as a sort of galactic sightseeing/slow motion katamari. And, of course, Carl Sagan.
24. Apr 2012 路 18:04 CEST
25. Apr 2012 路 02:47 CEST
I won! I'm not going to lie. I could listen to Sagan talk for hours. I had some graphical and sound issues (screen kept flickering and some of the sound levels were really low while others were really high). Fun, though, and totally worked as advertised!
25. Apr 2012 路 03:59 CEST
I won! Awesome game! A very cool but simple implementation. The mechanic itself is kinda repetitive but the graphics, general idea, and audio make it quite compelling.
25. Apr 2012 路 05:16 CEST
Pretty fun. The crashing sound effect kept it from being soothing for me, but other than that I really enjoyed the experience.
25. Apr 2012 路 06:30 CEST
I love the inclusion of Carl Sagan-- provided a hilarious juxtaposition to the bashing of celestial bodies.
25. Apr 2012 路 13:43 CEST
The sound is very well done and puts us in the mood. I like the principle that matches the theme. However, the game length is too short, no challenge. With the score would be perfect.
26. Apr 2012 路 00:28 CEST
LOL! What an AWESOME game!
26. Apr 2012 路 00:44 CEST
This is a cool thing to do while listening to Carl Sagan.
26. Apr 2012 路 02:55 CEST
Fun and relaxing game with a Katamari concept.
I enjoyed the game, good work!
馃帳 KevinWorkman
26. Apr 2012 路 06:11 CEST
Thanks so much for the kind words, guys. To be honest I wasn't very pleased with the result at first, but I'm glad that at least part of my goal was accomplished!

To further explain where my head was at when creating the game, part of the "goal" of the game isn't to finish it as fast as possible, but to just sit and listen and think about what Carl Sagan is saying, maybe look at the pretty pictures. I imagined the player spending the first minute or so just watching the earth drift slowly through space, listening to the beginning of a pale blue dot. Then maybe a large object would appear that would cause the player to avoid it, then a small one appears.. but instead of just crashing into it, the player could try to get it to orbit earth or something.

I know that slower games aren't very easy to portray in contests like these where we're trying to play as many games as possible, and I know the control sensitivity and top speed should have been toned down a little to encourage a slower, more "casual" experience. Lessons learned! But perhaps it's better to leave both in there- casual players are more than welcome to dive into the atmosphere by clicking closer to the earth (which results in smaller changes to the speed), and players who really care about winning can still do that as well?

Anyway I'm just rambling and thinking out loud, but my main point is THANK YOU for playing and THANK YOU for all the encouragement! This and The Carl Sagan award that MurrayL gave me pretty much made my day, haha.
26. Apr 2012 路 06:23 CEST
I never realize Solar 2 would have been improved with a Carl Sagan voiceover. Until now.
26. Apr 2012 路 06:51 CEST
Very Osmos-like. Also, you can't go wrong with Sagan.
26. Apr 2012 路 16:13 CEST
It's fun :)
26. Apr 2012 路 19:46 CEST
Best "grow like theres no tomorrow" game in this LD
27. Apr 2012 路 16:51 CEST
Cool idea and pretty fun too : )
27. Apr 2012 路 16:53 CEST
moving is kinda difficult...but great game...
29. Apr 2012 路 13:02 CEST
It was difficult to play because I am used to click in the reversed direction in this type of game.
30. Apr 2012 路 12:03 CEST
I really like the concept of this game! But i did end up trying to avoid everything because the sound at collision made it hard to hear Sagan! ;)
01. May 2012 路 05:16 CEST
Take that, Jupiter!

Lovely take on the theme, I must say.
01. May 2012 路 06:28 CEST
Fun, reminded me a lot of Osmos. And Carl Sagan is always great to listen to.
02. May 2012 路 12:01 CEST
It doesn't work for me. I tried in Chrome and IE, in Chrome as an applet and in IE as an applet and webstart. As an applet, it keeps loading for very long and than it gives an error. As webstart, it just does nothing.
馃帳 KevinWorkman
02. May 2012 路 14:22 CEST
Jojo, that's strange since it seems to work for almost everybody else, and I just checked it and it hasn't gone down or anything. What is the error?
Aaron San Filippo
03. May 2012 路 06:44 CEST
Kinda like Osmos, but with cheesy graphics and a cool soundtrack.
Good job, I had fun!
03. May 2012 路 08:03 CEST
Creative idea! Kudos for Carl Sagan, LOL!
04. May 2012 路 19:50 CEST
Nice concept and cool take on the theme. Would've liked some bigger transitions (shrinking/growing stuff or something) through the stages though.
05. May 2012 路 00:06 CEST
I can't seem to load the game. The webstart link appears to be dead and the applet version gives me the following error (on Linux):

ExitException[ 3] JNLP file error: Please make sure the file exists and check if "codebase" and "href" in the JNLP file are correct.
at sun.plugin2.applet.JNLP2Manager.loadJarFiles(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager$ Source)

Indeed it would appear that the "" domain itself cannot be resolved. A DNS query for the domain confirms what @Kvisle mentioned earlier, that the DNS entry for the domain is wrong. It should indeed NOT contain the "http://" part. The "http://" part is just a protocol specifier and has no place at all in the DNS entry. I recommend that you look into that.
05. May 2012 路 00:51 CEST
Marvelous. I love this game !
馃帳 KevinWorkman
05. May 2012 路 02:09 CEST
Okay, I updated the applet and webstart jnlp files to take your advice. I'd love to hear from some linux people about whether or not that fixed it, as I have no way to test that. Thanks for taking the time to let me know what's up.
05. May 2012 路 11:32 CEST
Hum, I'm not sure about what you changed, but I've tried querying several DNS servers for your domain, and it still seems to have the "http://" part in the DNS entry. It could just be a caching issue tho, so I'll could try again a little later, but I doubt that waiting will solve the problem. Here is the current result of a DNS query:

Additionally, I can now not load your main website at all. (The website itself worked fine yesterday.) I get the following response:
HTTP/1.1 503 Service Unavailable: Back-end server is at capacity

If you want you are free to contact me by email at: jiddo.lua [at] for further debugging of this issue.
05. May 2012 路 17:14 CEST
The DNS issues are all fixed now, so the game works perfectly on Linux as well (and probably on other platforms if anyone else had any problems before).

I really like the idea and the game mechanics. It feels sort of like a more personal take on Solar 2. I wouldn't mind some keyboard controls tho. I keep accidentally clicking outside the screen making the window end up behind something whenever I panic and try to steer away from something at high speeds. It would also be nice if you could zoom out, at least when at high speeds so that you can see stuff coming and react to them before it is too late.

The voice in the background was a very nice touch as well. Great work!
馃帳 KevinWorkman
05. May 2012 路 17:22 CEST
Awesome. Thanks again for taking the time to explain the issue to me!
06. May 2012 路 05:36 CEST
I would have given the audio a five, but the collision sound effect just ruined the mood.
Scott Baker
06. May 2012 路 08:00 CEST
As soon as I saw "Pale Blue Dot" and Carl Sagan, I immediately knew you hit the theme perfectly. I was so glad to hear Pale Blue Dot again.
07. May 2012 路 10:11 CEST
Potential here! I'd like to have a larger field of view and higher momentum on the earth perhaps.
11. May 2012 路 21:49 CEST
Really cheesy - I like it! Twas a quite nice way to learn of new space objects
12. May 2012 路 02:40 CEST
This has to be the best game over screen in the history of video games.
12. May 2012 路 07:09 CEST
Love listening to Sagan, but the controls weren't very good :( half the time the planet didn't move towards my mouse, but away from it instead.
13. May 2012 路 00:10 CEST
heh. sagansploitation! not too shabby. i clicked through the victory screen! oh no! i wish the screen was zoomed back just a touch. or maybe zoomed out as you grow. background changes with your scale would be nice too.
13. May 2012 路 14:11 CEST
Nice game ! Like the gameplay event if the tiny screen make difficult to really anticipate bigger "stuffs". A widescreen version would be perfection.
Oye Beto
13. May 2012 路 19:41 CEST
I won :)
Playing a simple game while listening to the Carl Sagan's speech was interesting. It was wise to use the narration because if the game didn't have it, it might be a little boring.

The sound effects are too loud compared to the narration volume.
13. May 2012 路 20:56 CEST

I laughed my ass off (literally) after the first two seconds of the game, when I had already taken down Venus and Mercury. I wasn't expecting what the game was really about. Thumbs up!! (For my, you'd be the winner of the 'fun' category ;D)

Oh, and great narrator :P
13. May 2012 路 21:38 CEST
I have java installed and updated (All other java games play fine) but both of your links when I attempt to play the game try to take me to to download an installer, a downloadable version would be nice, it looks interesting but not much I can do as you're site won't let me play it :/
Make A Game
14. May 2012 路 01:21 CEST
Oh man, we we're going to make something similar to this. I really enjoyed it but a bigger viewport would be appreciated. I could barely see what was coming from the sides. Loved the names poping up when hitting the objects, but the Carl Sagan speech just made the game way more hilarious than I was expecting.
14. May 2012 路 02:38 CEST
It took me a while to figure out how the controls worked, but it was fun nonetheless =P

I loved the idea of using spoken narrative to set up the mood. I have a criticism about that though, parts of the game are funny (I lol'd at the title, ending and game over screens) while the main gameplay part has a dense, serious mood. I found that kind of inconsistent, the game could have easily been one of my favorites in the "mood" category due to the audio, but the fact that you chose to use a lot of jokes made the otherwise beautiful mood less intense.

Anyways, congrats on your game, I had a good time collecting other planets =)