Charly is similar to the well known Lemmings or Pingus, but it is not a clone and is not meant to be one. I wrote Charly for my son Simon for whom Lemmings was too fast and difficult. Charly is therefore more primitive (I think well suited for children from 6 to 9) and it offers different features:
In short: Players do not primarily have to solve tasks, but can freely steer the Charlies through the picture. The downside (not from the parent's point of view) seems to be that there are no traps, no explosions and no weapons...
The name was derived from Simon's favorite toy. You will meet the original Charly at the end of the game. Many thanks to the artists of the animated penguins. The drawings are from Pingus and/or Xpenguins
See here for a screenshot. Note the black dot in the upper right corner. It means "iron", the color that marks an inpenetrable obstacle; miners and diggers will stop whenever they hit this color.
How to Play:
When starting Charly for the first time a second window will pop up where you have to choose the language, the background picture (it must be drawn before, please read the notes below), etc. These informations have to be prepared for every level (by clicking to the edit button). Later on the game will always load the first picture.
Next you have to place an exit somewhere in the picture. Do it by pressing the left mouse button. After releasing it the exit will be marked blue. In a similar way you may place the two beamers by using the right mouse button. A third right click will remove them again.
You have to steer the Charlies to the exit where they will vanish (i.e. you saved them). The exit is always drawn into the background, it may be completely hidden and the player has to find and to dig it free first.
Now press the START button. The Charlies always enter the scene form the top left corner. All that remains to do is to select tasks that you can apply to the walking Charlies by clicking to them.
If you rightklick the START button when the game is over only the image will be reloaded. In this way it is possible to relocate the exit or edit the level.
Charly supports only BMP and colored PPM formats (GIFs and JPGs are not suitable because these formats reduce the file size by interpolating colors). Drawings can have any size, many colors, any contents, BUT:
On Linux "xpaint" and on Windows "paint" are good choices for drawing programs.
For a quick start here are two sample pictures: A ppm file (the one from the screenshot) and a bmp picture . Neither of them is close to being art, but they were useful for me when testing the program. Note that in both pictures there is a black dot in the upper right corner i.e. the black lines are made of "iron".
Flaws, Things to ImproveWe tested the game and it no longer crashed (it took some time...) Nevertheless, sometimes there are surprises and it is more or less difficult to change this. Maybe I'm going to improve the game some day :-)