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Feedback Friday #102 - February 21-24, 2020

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Billy4184, Feb 22, 2020.

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  1. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    G'day folks! Playtesting feedback helps you resolve those questions in your head that you've spent so long thinking about your game that you can't answer anymore. Getting a different perspective can make all the difference and give you an epic boost toward the finish line!

    If some friendly advice is something you could use, you've found the right thread! Feedback Friday runs from Friday to Monday every week.

    What To Show
    • Minimally Viable Product (MVP) - Core game play > everything else
    • How To Scope Small (Unity tutorial)
    • Post a link to a playable game, preferably WebGL. If you don't have a playable game, post something substantial, not just text.
    How To Ask For Feedback
    • Be concise.
    • Specify what you want feedback on and what you don't.
    • Resist the urge to write an immediate defense. Take the time to understand their points. Remember that your friends here are taking time out of their busy schedules to help you for free.
    How To Give Feedback
    • Be positive. There's something of value in every game.
    • Focus on the design, not the designer.

    Feedback Friday #101 is here.
     
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  2. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    here is version 0.01a of LANDNAV:

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1A7S-W4Dyb_0IQaB1UD8tSjE8z8YDeYF2

    KNOWN BUG:
    There is a bug causing stability issues that may cause a crash on lower-end hardware. We are working to solve that but will take a few more days.

    If you have one of those RAM clearing things like Advanced System Care, if you clear RAM after game loading that should make it stable. There seems to be something not getting cleaned up that should after loading the game.


    ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE:
    If you don't already know how to use map and compass, the game will likely be too hard to play. Or at least, you won't be able to figure out what to do just by playing around.

    There isn't in-game instruction yet. You can find video instruction and resources to learn from via the Discord in my sig.

    If you have no map/compass orienteering experience but still like the idea of the game and want to try it, my recommendation is to choose the X-ray difficulty and try to find big landmarks on the map. The radio tower, the west service tower, the pond, the river, the clearing, etc.

    Start by pointing the compass towards north so it is aligned with the map. Then drag the compass around so that you can figure out the direction to travel to get to one of the major landmarks. Note the contour lines on the map and try to associate that with what you see in the world.

    Any feedback is appreciated. You guys are mostly developers so you'll already understand a lot of audio/visual stuff will be placeholder.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
  3. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    @BIGTIMEMASTER - Even if a lot of A/V stuff is placeholder, it already looks really great. The footstep audio adds a lot to the experience. I also like how you hit resistance when trying to push through brush.

    Very minor thing, but something I don't want to forget to mention: The Options menu was a little confusing. I thought the 'X' in the lower left closed Options, but it quit the game. I see Options aren't implemented yet, so this may be a non-issue.

    I like being able to hit Tab to auto-walk. Can you auto-run? (Not that I normally would while orienteering.) Is there a stamina system that limits the duration you can run?

    Can you post a list of the controls?

    I noticed that if I looked down, it very intuitively showed the map:

    upload_2020-2-22_9-30-49.png

    But I couldn't figure out for a bit how to see the rest of the notepad until I played around with all the inputs I could think of and finally hit upon the mouse wheel to zoom:

    upload_2020-2-22_9-32-40.png

    I still can't zoom all the way out to see the full text on the notepad, though. I wonder if it might be helpful to players to be able to move the notepad? Perhaps a little further onto the map at time?

    After trying to interact with the other person (how does one do that, btw?), when I looked around my map got into a strange state:

    upload_2020-2-22_9-35-6.png

    I didn't know how to rotate it back to its original position.

    These minor issues aside, LANDNAV is off to an excellent start.

    I get the feeling that it's designed for players who already have orienteering experience. But I think it could also be a great tool for introducing novices to orienteering, too.
     
  4. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    @TonyLi , right now the game is best for people with prior experience because I don't have step by step instruction in the game yet. But there will be a robust training system so that people with no experience can learn and have a good time with it too. I'll be working on that iteratively, but the final actual in-game training won't come until later. I think I need to spend a good amount of time playing the game myself and also hearing lots of feedback from our playtesters in order to make it as effective as possible.

    In our playtester pool right now we have a few people with no experience, so I am working on making youtube videos to help them along. (here is one video explaining the basics of the map for instance. THere is a few more on my channel too).

    I'm also offering to give step by step training to anybody who wants via a twitch stream.
    My intent there isn't just to be mister nice guy, but learning how to train people at this is something i have to iterate on because for many people, a large part of the game would be learning how to do it.

    Controls are here (you can also find in the options menu under Controls tab):
    controls.png

    About the map being in a weird position, did you by chance hit middle mouse button which activates freelook? Its a toggle so its a little confusing if you don't know its there.

    To interact with the cadre there you'll see a prompt that says "interact" if you are close to him. Then you left click. But the only thing that will happen is your notepad will appear and be "validated". Meaning, any Control Points you stamped correctly will get a checkmark.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
  5. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    That is really smart.

    I did. I hit all the buttons when trying to interact with the cadre. That must have done it.

    How are control points selected? Randomly? Pre-placed? What about different skill levels -- could you place points right next to large, obvious landmarks for novices?
     
  6. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    @TonyLi

    All control points are hand placed in the field. In general I do place them next to some kind of identifiable place on the map. Of course some of them I intentionally make a bit harder, but I don't do anything dick-ish like put them in a bush or hidden so that it can't be seen from 50-100meters.

    In this play tester area I've added a few major landmarks hoping that will make things easier. There is a couple points in the western area that are kind of tough though. So I'll see what feedback is like about that.

    Each game you start right now, you will get a random selection of points. How many is based on difficulty you choose, with time hack being the same for everybody. There's a total of 23 in the field, and they are always there. So you can go to the wrong one and stamp it (and not learn that you messed up until going to get validated).

    Right now the selection is totally random, but I think once we start building the main game logic we will probably put in a few controls so that difficulty is consistent. Make sure they aren't too close or too far apart.
     
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  7. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    So this took me back to my air force cadet days! Had a bit of a play and here's my feedback.

    Main menu

    - I really like the music in the main menu, did a very good job of setting the mood.
    - UI in main menu needs work but has a good basic style.

    Game Start

    - I like the tools being in hand but only used when you press Alt. Gives you more of a sense of what you have on you.
    - I really, really wanted to put away the currently used tool with Esc, had to force my brain and hand to compute the right input for that!
    - Is the compass supposed to rotate in 3 dimensions? Made it a bit hard to see sometimes.
    - How can I pan around the map? I had to free look at right angles to see where I was up close.

    So at this point I wanted to interact with the guy there. I read afterward above where you said that interacting just loads up the notepad, but I thought this was a bug. I recommend at least whipping him around 90 degrees to face you so you at least know the interaction happened, even at this alpha stage.

    I had no idea what to do but I had coordinates! So I went and watched a quick youtube video on finding the coordinates on a map, found my position and the first waypoint (I hope!) and decided just to guesstimate it once with the compass (ever so slightly north of West, I believe?) and then just aligned myself relative to the moon and got after it. Horrible approach I know!

    Moving

    - I really like the sounds you've got, they really set up an authentic atmosphere and sort of bring your awareness into your immediate vicinity (maybe not such a good thing in real life, but realistic!). It makes you feel very isolated.
    - Bashing thru the scrub got a bit old, I would really recommend placing thick scrub just before some kind of change in the terrain (e.g. a river, a clearing, a cliff etc) to make it feel like there's a reward at the other side.
    - It's too dark imo, it made the environment basically irrelevant even as a scenery.
    - I think the environment needs more contrast and variation. It's realistic for it to be pretty homogeneous but not fun for a game.

    After a good while I didn't see anything like a landmark, probably missed it by a country mile with my dead reckoning skills! I suppose I must be dinner for the wolves by now.

    If I were you, to avoid investing too much into a tutorial, I would:

    - Make the first waypoint a very short distance away, in a fairly hard to miss location (e.g. middle of a big clearing).
    - The guy standing there could give you a hint.
    - Make the first waypoint directly under the moon or a big star.
    - Funnel the player toward the first waypoint with the lay of the land and the placing of trees/undergrowth.

    Looking forward to:

    - Lots of animal/insect sounds.
    - More things to look at while walking.
    - Weather systems, day and night cycle.
    - Avoiding search parties.
    - Dangerous animals.
    - Abseiling (and paragliding?)
    - Camping.
     
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  8. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Lots of great stuff @Billy4184 . Many of the things mentioned will be taken care of a bit further in production so I won't go through all of it here.

    About the quotes I've listed above:

    Are you referring to the compass dials rotation? It will sometimes clip through the bottom of the compass, especially if you are holding it non-level while looking down the peepsight. It shouldn't do that, but that's just a detail we haven't fixed yet. If you mean that you want to be able to rotate the entire compass to figure azimuths on the map, you can do so by pressing Q/E with the compass selected or hover mouse near the corner where 0 is on the ruler until you see rotate icon, then click/drag.

    Panning the map is either left click and drag on the map, or left click to select it then WASD to move it around (same goes for all tools).

    Too dark. Were you playing on X-ray difficulty when it is 1000? The other difficulties start at dawn and dusk.
     
  9. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    By the way, the music is coming from one of our own members here. Very prompt, professional service, good communication, and nailed the theme I had in one go.
     
  10. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    About the compass, I would have expected it to just rotate around the local vertical axis. Maybe I've just got a different type in mind.

    Ah I thought I might have tried dragging the map. Have you considered putting a quick hint somewhere on the screen when you are using a tool to explain the basics?

    I played on Bravo difficulty, I normally go for average when playing a new game.
     
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  11. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    yeah tooltips and hints will be a thing, but probably stuff like that i add at the very end.
     
  12. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    I think it would actually help most right now, since it's relatively cheap to add hints compared to a full-blown tutorial and will reduce the people that just get KO'd by the complexity of making the first steps in the game.

    When you at least have some tools and roughly know what they are for and how to use them, it's possible to at least experiment and play around. For example, if you'd put a quick hint about how to find coordinates on a map (which isn't that hard but you need to find it out from somewhere) then I would have been able to at least formulate a plan of how to start playing. As it was, without watching the youtube vid (which most people won't do) there was nothing to narrow down where I should go.

    Even if the game is geared toward people that are interested in orienteering, I think it's the mark of a good simulation that it provides you with enough of an intuitive foundation to at least have a bit of fun.
     
  13. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    I agree, just a question of priority when to do it. Right now the game isn't stable enough and there is some big bugs to troubleshoot. These are problems that literally prevent some people from playing.
     
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  14. tylerguitar75

    tylerguitar75

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    Don't see a feedback Friday #103 yet? It's the best thing to read, come on!
     
  15. unit_dev123

    unit_dev123

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    Lol relax it coming, also bigtimemaster, unity recently released tutorial



    Is thing like this going to have a dramatic perf drop if implemented on procedural world?
     
  16. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    You'll have to try it and see :)

    I am using Enviro for volumetric lighting and it doesn't seem to make a huge impact. But we haven't done focused testing on lower end hardware so I can't so much about it really.

    In general most of this shiny new tech isn't really necessary to make a scene look good. If you are making a hyper realistic architectural rendering, yeah maybe you should worry about GI and raytracing and all this. But if you are indie dev making a game, just use simple tools that you can understand and focus on basic art fundamentals.
     
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