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[Feedback Friday #36] - Dec 4, 2015 (Christmas!)

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Gigiwoo, Dec 6, 2015.

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  1. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    Feedback Friday #36 is OPEN - Until opens Sunday, Dec 27!

    The Christmas Edition is open an extra week. And apologies for starting late.

    Want design feedback for your new game? Then you've found the right thread! Post here to get precious player feedback. Discuss until 12/27, when we'll lock this thread to start the two week break.

    How To Ask For Feedback?
    • Show - Pics, videos, or best of all, a playable game!
    • Be Concise - Who's got time for Wall 'O Text? Less is more
    How To Give Feedback?
    • Be Positive - Finding redeeming qualities in the worst of games, is in itself a game
    • Focus On The Design - Not the designer
    • Be Specific - "Your game sucks!" is for nubs
    What To Show?
    • Minimally Viable Product (MVP) - Core game play >>> everything else
    • How To Scope Small (Unity tutorial)
    Gigi

    [PS - Feedback Friday #35 is here]
     
  2. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    I'm back with another iteration of Saleria: Zombies vs. Knights! For this cycle, I'm working on feedback. It's something my prototypes have been doing bad at for a while now, and I'd rather fix how I'm doing feedback now, rather than trying to forge ahead, straight into another "meh" game.

    Webplayer (Requires IE)​

    Known Issues
    1. Still no single-player AI that will fight back.
    2. Needs fewer placeholders in general
    3. Needs more sound and music
    4. My player feedback is pretty awful.
    #4 is what I'm trying to fix, as noted above.

    In this build I've added a basic form of something found in Final Fantasy XII - what I call "targeting whooshes". They're intended to fix the problem that has been noted for a while, that players don't get any feedback on what the unit will do when they issue a Move To command with the mouse. Does this help at all?

    Also, something from @GarBenjamin that came up over on my WIP thread - I am mimicking RTS controls, but not the "right click on the map to move to the spot" bit...which has caused friction for a while now. I am doing that per my design for the work. My philosophy with this game isn't to allow for huge amounts of micromanagement, as that serves the game leaning towards being a twitch experience, not a strategic experience. By disallowing "free" unit movement, I am asking the player to focus on attacking objectives, not executing complicated maneuvers.

    This leads me to my big question - obviously players have an expectation that standard RTS controls mean ordering units to move to any spot by right-click. In what way can I stick to my ideals of having this strategy game not devolve into a micromanagement game while staying as close to a standard RTS control scheme as possible?

    EDIT - Per feedback from @tedthebug added an 'invalid option' cursor that is the default when mousing over terrain. Some of the cursor state change behavior needs to be ironed out, but does that help any?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
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  3. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    I will try to get to this today to have a look but my initial thoughts are to disable click unless they are on something that is OK to click on e.g. A target, while having the cursor change when it is over something the player can click on. This should give visual feedback which is supported by the click action working.
     
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  4. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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  5. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    @Aiursrage2k First of all bonus points for making a Christmas game. Always nice to see a new one! =)

    I enjoyed it quite a bit. However, I lost interest when I made it to the first split level. The one where there is a divider running down the middle and there is like a playfield on the left and another on the right. I think it was after the level with the invisible gifts.

    It's great as is for a free web game providing 5 to 10 minutes of Christmas-themed fun.

    To improve it for me:

    1. It needs to be more difficult. I stopped playing out of boredom because I still had 4 or 5 lives left and it was easy.

    2. Give me some idea of what the powerup packages do before I collect them. I did figure it out based on the colors after a while (or at least I got some good stream of randomness that made it seem like the colors were meaningful lol). But it would have been nice to know before hand. Not a real major thing but I think it would be helpful.

    3. I'd like to see different Christmas block objects every level or two. So maybe the first two levels are Christmas gifts then the next two are Christmas ornaments. Then maybe Gingerbread men and so on. This would help to give it some feeling of progression.

    4. It'd also be nice to progress to different environments. Say every 3 levels or so the environmental scenery changes a bit. This is just so I can more easily feel like I am making progress.

    5. I can see you were going for a Christmas theme tie-in with your font on the stats but I recommend losing that red background image or changing the font somewhat to be more readable.

    6. For this kind of game the score really needs to be a big deal. Because that is a great indicator of progress and "getting somewhere". That large blank area at the top of the screen I recommend filling that with a huge score tracker. Then you could move up the Multi counter up to be even vertically with the Lives tracker.

    Something like this (only you can make it a better font of course):
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
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  6. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    brickout.png

    Version 0.3
    Okay I made a modification - so you a have a meter that is slowly charging up when its full if you press the left mouse button when its full it will send the ball into an "attack mode" and attack the blocks. Now what i think this will do is actually speed up the game, so while its not going to make it actually harder it will speed up your progression and might result in people getting less bored as quick.

    Version 0.4
    I added a "Halo" to the presents so now you should be able to tell if its "positive" powerup blue, or negative red, I dont actually like the halo effect but it will work for now.

    I also added 2 powerups - 1 gives you more energy, the other removes one of your lives.

    I increased the speed of the ball which actually makes the game harder from a casual romp to a more challenging game (though im not too sure if that was too much or too little). And seeing how its more of a casual game it seems abit weird too make it too hard.

    Version 0.5
    Slowed down the ball slightly, changed the powerups to use differnt models so you can actually tell what it is before you get it.

    Version 0.6
    Some stuff.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
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  7. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    @Aiursrage2k - You've made a pretty nice game, one of your best yet! Here's what I got out of it:

    What Worked:
    First, the visuals were great. Unity 5 did some serious favors for your assets, and you've improved from your earlier works, too!

    As far as controls, your game made perfect sense - left-arrow and right-arrow to move The Santa. At first I thought Space launched the ball, but it appears to auto-launch after a few seconds. It might be nice to not launch the ball until Space is pressed...but it's not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Additionally, the curve on Santa's bumper helped me to more accurately predict how a ball-rebound would go off.

    The music is well-adjusted to not be too overpowering, and the sound effects are appropriate and consistent with the rest of the work. Great job on that for an early version!

    What Didn't Work:
    The contents of the presents seemed random. Some powerups are useful (bigger ball, bigger paddle, extra life), while others are intended to make play more challenging (smaller ball, smaller paddle, multi-balls) If you could color-code presents to indicate the type of pickup that would come out of it, that will help make the game more interesting, and allow the player to make better choices in-game.

    I think the difficulty could be better-tuned, in addition. It seemed odd that in Lv.1, I'm getting the multi-ball present, and that Santa moves so slowly relative to the ball. Your first level is the warm-up level, the level where a new player is figuring your game out. It's OK if it's quite a bit on the easy side. Just don't be like so many games that make Lv.2 into pure hell.

    The TL;DR
    You took a classic game (Arkanoid/Breakout), and with some minor tweaks to theme, made it special and holiday-appropriate! Good job on this, it looks like it's just about ready for 25 December, some minor tweaks aside.
     
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  8. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    @Aiursrage2k Excellent updates. You added some new stuff such as the spinning candy canes and so forth.
    The "attack ball" is a very nice addition. Definitely makes it better. And the game does get more interesting as you progress. I was very surprised when I made it to the end. I think I beat him but the game simply said Game Over so not sure if I also died. Was expecting a You Won! Oh and the change in music later on was excellent too! I like that tune much better.

    Anyway, it is an excellent example of taking a classic game concept and using some creativity to really turn it into something original. We should point all of the noobs asking what game to make first to your game. I think when we say make pong, make a ball & paddle game, etc they literally think we mean a straightforward clone of the originals. Thinking about it I guess some people might but I always meant make their own version of those games just as you have done here. So basically you have become the "guiding light" for them!
     
  9. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    I too liked your game. Captured the christmas spirit, by leveraging an old classic with some new twists. I liked the graphics, sound effects, and gameplay. Nice UI style also! And here's a few thoughts that might make it even stronger.
    • Ramp Up. What if the board started smaller? Breakout is kind of slow - cause the board is too wide. Playing around with the width might make a fun addition - whether for ramping up difficulty, or just for exploration. Smaller width could help to make the earlier levels shorter.
    • End Game. I completed a level, and it said, 'Game Over'. It was so jarring, that I stopped playing soon afterwards.
    • The Funky Bounce. Sometimes, the ball would take a crazy bounce when it hits the side, so that it ends up bouncing nearly straight down. Maybe it hit the posts, I'm not sure. It was a big turn off.
    • Idea storming. What if you went Monte Hall on this beatch? Like totally CRAZY! Starts off small width, and simple breakout gameplay, and then quickly escalates, until before long, you're playing this crazy, mad-house version of breakout. Multiple santas, balls flying everywhere, spawning elves to help shoot things, just whatever crazyness you can think of.
    • Have you seen Juice It Or Lose It? Lots of fun ideas to amp up the feedback.
    Great work!
    Gigi
     
  10. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    How about a black scene & Rudolph comes in to help with his glowing nose?
     
  11. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    Summon Rudolph!
     
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  12. Philip-Rowlands

    Philip-Rowlands

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    @Aiursrage2k that's a fun little game. I like the halo effect on the powerups. My only complaint is that I couldn't see the number of lives on my screen - it was too far up the screen to fit inside Firefox. If I scrolled up enough to see that, I couldn't see the power meter, so I was blindly guessing when to add a power boost. Apart from that, it strikes me as pretty much done.

    @Asvarduil I found the player feedback a bit fiddly. In particular, trying to select the coin took a few attempts - I think the hitbox may need to be a bit larger. However, once I got around that, it seemed fine. I also think you should add a queue for the unit production - some of my money was eaten by the production buildings due to "lack of space for a new unit".
     
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  13. _Gkxd

    _Gkxd

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    @Aiursrage2k

    Unfortunately, I don't have a browser that can run the web player, so I can't play the game. That said, I have watched your video and I think you can benefit a lot from adding "juice" to your game. (I was going to link the exact video that @Gigiwoo linked, because so many things there apply directly to your game.)

    Here are some ideas that you might want to experiment with:
    1. Add some particle effects when the ball hits the blocks.
    2. Make the blocks shake a bit when the ball hits them.
    3. Lerp the colors instead of changing them instantly. Or make the blocks flash. Or something else.
    4. Make lights on the Christmas trees blink whenever the ball collides.
    One thing that I found a bit irritating is the "boss" fight when the screen flashed red constantly. It was a bit straining on my eyes. I think flashing red to introduce the boss would be a good, but not throughout the entire level. (As a side note, the red light didn't affect the Christmas trees, which looked a bit weird.)

    ------

    Here is a platforming game that I am looking for feedback on. Any feedback is welcome, but I would like commentary on the level design itself. In particular, one of my goals is to build a player's intuition about what is a platform and what isn't, and I'd like to know how well the current levels do this, and how they can be improved.

    Here is my post in the WIP forums for the same game.

    Also, since I am trying to get this greenlit on Steam, any advice on how to market the game would be greatly appreciated (though this might not exactly be game-design).
     
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  14. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    Hi all,
    I've tweaked a prototype to the point where I now have a programmer interested in helping me clean it up for the app stores after Xmas so I'd like to get suggestions/critiques before we dive in. It's a simple balancing game, the fixed barrels (easy) have a record of 38 seconds & the rolling barrel on the wide ground now has a record of approx 16.5 seconds.
    We are thinking of keeping the colours fairly muted & flat with a calming background (sort of Chinese/Japanese woodblock scene) & calming/meditative background music similar to the placeholder music I've stuck in.

    Thoughts & suggestions welcomed (& I will get off my butt & provide feedback for the above items later today or tomorrow while I wait for the patch to fix 2d collisions)

    image.jpeg

    http://gamejolt.com/games/who-s-unbalanced/108493
     
  15. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    I watched your video and it looked pretty neat, had a lot of juice - reminded me of the platformer "shift". I guess since you want to put up a greenlight id get rid of the menus/splash screen

    http://gamedevelopment.tutsplus.com...g-greenlit-on-steam-greenlight--gamedev-13938

    I guess the controls felt a little floatly, i had alot of trouble where you had to build enough momentum to clear the massive cliff. In your video the part at 15 seconds took me a few minutes to do it. Although that might be because I had to use the arrow keys


    I guess you'll want to add an option to turn off the motion sway because I felt a little sick playing it. The screenshot was as far as I got before i gave up because at the checkpoint you dont reset the moving platforms so I had to wait different interval s every-time i respawned (and I also couldnt figure it out).

    platformer .png
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  16. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    @tedthebug - I love it! A simple concept, that is very well executed. And, great use of Eric's music. The game is simple, intuitive, and challengingly fun. I played it until I could beat your high score, with a whopping 68.188 seconds - pic!

    screenshot_2015_12_11_01_shrunk.png

    Here are a few thoughts that might make it even stronger.
    • Fix your font on the opening page. This happens with the new UI when you said your rescaling resolution low, then it upsamples the font, instead of using a higher point font. There's a simple component you add to your UI root that allows it to resize, set that to the maximum size you anticipate being used, so that it never upsamples fonts/textures.
    • Three difficulties is enough. I'd probably drop the top one, as it's maybe too twitchy for this kind of game. Instead of easy, medium, hard, consider names like Grasshopper, Striving, and Zen. Or, you could go with two difficulties (zen - which is easy, and Young Grasshopper - which is twicthy/hard). 4 is too many.
    • Feedback - The game plays well. I assume that pressing right/left increases the weight of the appropriate side. So, consider adding feedback to show that - adjust the size of the blocks and maybe even the color. You could do a lot here to really give feedback. Also, you could put a texture on the orange wheel that makes it more visible how it's moving.
    • Art style - This game screams for smooth lines, round shapes, and curves. It wants to be a rock garden. Instead of a black bar, round the edges. Make the squares into rounded shapes, with flat bottoms. The base can be a large rounded shape. Think iPad, Apple, ultra-modern. Fung-shei (sp).
    • Goals - The game was much more fun when you told me the high score was 38! Then, I played to beat that. Consider adding dynamic time goals (like high score today or this hour) - you could even have it connect to a network that would sort of track the latest scores (you'd probably need some simple smarts allowing time decay, and since lots of people might not play it).
    • Other features - I don't know what these would be. Just other subtle ways to impact the game that could be unlocked over time. Maybe unnecessary for the MVP - just something to consider.
    • Colors, music - earning points could unlock colors, themes, art, music. Maybe unnecessary for the MVP - just something to consider.
    I loved the simplicity and elegance of the game play. It is a simple, well thought out idea - Kudos and thanks for sharing!

    Gigi
     
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  17. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    @_Gkxd - Lovely game. As downloading the zip, was a psychological barrier, I have to admit, I only watched the video. As such, I can only say that it looks cool. The main struggle it will have is that it's a platformer - and there are 1000 of those on Steam at the moment. It's just the reality of Steam right now.

    A few thoughts that might make it stronger.
    • Use funner colors - orange is the human's least favorite color - google it.
    • Consider giving the blob a bit of life - a smiley face, bouncing around - that laughs when you do fun stuff with the jumping. He could giggle when he flips gravity, he could shiver when he's near electricity, etc...
    • You could make the background color (the part you can NEVER go through) a unique, non-black color to help the brain block it out completely. This might go against what your trying to do. Not sure.
    Looks fun. Good luck!
    Gigi
     
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  18. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    @Asvarduil - I did play your update. I'm not sure I see what's happening in this version - I don't quite get what I'm seeing compared to Knights vs Zombies 1, which is clearly a game. Apologies, I don't know how to give you feedback.

    Gigi
     
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  19. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    I don't know that I "like" that reply, but there is a legitimate point - I think I need to finish the AI so that something is working against you. If I include AI and you're still like, "...This is supposed to be a game?" then I know my design is fundamentally bad and it should be thrown out.

    The point of not including AI up to this point was because I'm working on making meaningful, tactile controls. I learned from The Hero's Journey that controls are critical - a game with bad controls is automatically bad, end of discussion.

    @Gigiwoo - While "the game" isn't there, are the controls more easily understandable? Did you feel like you had adequate control of your units once you spawned them in?
     
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  20. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    Thanks so much for the feedback. I agree totally with all the visual advice & i'm glad to see that a lot of it fits with what I am visualising & hoping the artist will fix up for me.
    I did try scaling the blocks so they enlarged as they increased but found that it buggered up the weights so often the player lost when the larger, & supposedly heavier, block was up in the air & the smaller, lighter block touched the platform. I'm hoping the programmer can work out what is wrong.
    I can't work out the gamejolt api to integrate into their high score function but again I'm glad that knowing what the high score was made you keep trying as that is the key thing that I think will drive people to keep playing. We will hopefully integrate it into the mobile platform game centres etc.
    If we get enough themes & stuff we might do a daily or weekly challenge where you unlock a theme on each tier if you beat the weekly challenge time for that tier & then a special one if they unlock 10 weeks in a row etc.

    Again, thanks for all the feedback. And now you just need to beat the 16.5 on the rolling barrel & wide ground :D
     
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  21. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    I could control the units? I guess the answer is no. I just clicked the button on the bottom, and things started moving. They would sort of gather around the 'castle' to the right. And eventually, the mission would end. Anything else was not obvious to me. I'm still not particularly in favor of controlling the units - though in this case, I simply was not aware that was part of the game.

    Gigi
     
  22. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    You can't freely control units - you can left-click a unit to select it, and right click a target (as described by the mouse cursor) to redirect the unit to that target. By default units target the opposing key unit, but there are secondary things you can have units target, like the coins that the farm on the development map spawns, or other units if you need to pull a unit back for some reason. You can also order a unit to stop moving and guard a position (right click it after selection).

    The primary mechanic is still purchasing the right unit at the right time. The powerup mechanic is an additional mechanic that A) lets you make purchases more often if you succeed at it, and B) also helps open up new venues of attack and defense to your units, thus adding a layer of strategy for the player (and AI.)

    The fact that the control setup is still opaque despite the improvements concerns me, and makes me question my concept. If this game can't grow beyond making the right purchase at the right time, that's OK, I can cut everything else...but if the game is best served by doing that, I'm not sure it's a game I want to make. In my opinion as the creator, that's far too shallow of a concept to go public with, especially for a game revolving - ostensibly - around tactics (the whole 'Tactical Tug 'O War thing...)
     
  23. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    Perhaps some of the feedback issues is related to the use of primitives for the selection? People almost instinctively know the units by the Sprite depicting them in the selection panel & make those choices.
     
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  24. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    True. I may well have reached the point where primitives are no longer effective for evolving the game. Looks like I'll be firing up Blender against soon...
     
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  25. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Ted I played the balance game. Maybe you could achievements and have different levels unlock after you last at least at least x amount of seconds.

    Look at this game for some ideas
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
  26. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    Will do, thanks. And yeah, achievements are on my wish list as well, something to get people to keep trying. I'm just trying to work out how to make them fun, difficult & still achievable. Maybe one for 10, 15, 20 secs on the harder levels, closest barrel to the edge for the short ground one etc?
     
  27. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    @Asvarduil - You can go on at length about the tiniest detail of a planned feature for a game that doesn't exist yet, even worrying about issues that theoretical players will hypothetically encounter. But your prototypes always have difficulty showing basic things like "what things are clickable" and "what are the controls" or "what am I supposed to do?" What is at the root of this persistent challenge you are facing? Do you have a hard time visualizing what other people will see when they play your game? You have to keep in mind, nobody knows anything about your game except what is shown to them by the game. You must communicate clearly to the person playing what their goal is, what actions they may take, what the restraints are on the actions they may take. Etc. and so forth. I think you suffer from three major problems: 1) You have no idea exactly what game you are trying to make. 2) You don't fully understand that people need way more clear information to know how to play your games. 3) You're very good at rationalizing these persistent shortcomings as being a normal part of the development cycle, or at times even making excuses for them, when in reality they aren't and you should seriously tackle them head on.

    Maybe that will sound a bit harsh, but I have seen you doing this for about 2 years now and it hasn't corrected itself over time on its own like I had thought it would. And that's my feedback.
     
  28. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    Nice game.

    What I liked
    • The fence posts seemed to alter the direction of the ball. This was a nice touch & even though it killed me quite often I still prefer it to the predictable bounce from a flat wall.
    • The powerups & the penalties. The colour coding helped me to avoid them after I worked out that the orange = bad (after my first pickup).
    • The rotating bars - added some complexity
    What I had issues with
    These aren't game breakers, more my preference
    • The santa angle bar - I'd prefer it to impart more angle to the ball based on where it hits.
    • The rotating walls. They added fun & complexity but I didn't know what they were or how they fitted with the theme. Still fun though
    • I was confused by the candy canes until I realised they were just a smaller target to hit
    • The ball trail shadow - when the ball was moving I had trouble picking the ball out from the shadow.
    • Is there sound? None came through but I could have speaker issues. A game this polished needs sound to round it off.
    • Using the arrow keys to move appeared to be slightly slower than using the mouse to move. This could be purely a perception issue with me but I survived longer using the mouse than using arrow keys & I'm more used to using arrow keys for left/right than moving a mouse.

    Overall I liked this & the difficulty ramped up nicely
     
  29. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    Ok, I found this a lot better than the one I tried last, changing the icon so you know where you can & can't click works well. There's some weird physics happening with the zombies when the attack the castle, a couple went flying & one ended up disappearing somewhere. Given the scale I suspect the cubes may be a fair bit bigger than the actual units you will end up using.
    The only issue I had with the intuitiveness is the right click to direct the troops to collect the coin & then to go back & attack the castle etc. As the icons changed when the mouse was over them I just left clicked. I spent a lot of time thinking I wasn't quick enough to get the coin before it spun & the collider shrunk/disappeared. Eventually I right clicked & saw the little ghost dash thing go so I knew they were working. I see you mentioned right clicking in your spiel but as you wanted info on the player feedback I didn't read beyond the known issues bit.

    Will all the units be attacking units? if so, & the job is to go & attack things as soon as they are built, maybe you could have an option next to the build bit that says Attack...... & the player clicks what they want the unit to attack?
    sort of like:
    Build: X Y Z to Attack: A B C

    Players could then click units to redirect to coins etc if they wanted but if they get distracted at least the unit will go towards somewhere else useful? Just an idea, not sure how it would look or work for your game though.
     
  30. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    This was fun but as you suspected it takes a while to work out what is happening. You did well with the instructions for when the player was the right way up but there was nothing for when the player got inverted. Depending how much hand holding you want to do I'd suggest also doing something similar for the inverted zone, so after they enter the first one there is text at the top saying "hey, looks like gravity is inverted when you are in this colour". You could then explain that when inverted jump is now the down arrow. Also I found the jump a bit 'soft' or floaty. I think it seems like a slight delay/floatiness to the initial jump up that feels slightly off to me.

    The main problem I had with this is a bit similar to @Gigiwoo's comment about the colours. Why is the ground black yet he can't pass into it but at other times he can float through the black bits? What impact does the player colour, if any, have? & why is one set of background pure black yet the other is a bit psychedelic? Don't get me wrong, it looks fantastic & plays well but is just a bit confusing & colour seems to be a big thing for conveying the game mechanics.

    I also have to hit the drawing board as I was prototyping something slightly similar so I'd better come up with a new catch :)

    Good luck with Greenlighting.
     
  31. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    Good suggestions.

    The problem with the coin - as noted now by both @tedthebug and @Philip Rowlands is that I'm using its mesh as the collider/"hitbox". I think powerups need a hitbox independent of their mesh, but that's an easy change.

    Right now the unit-level AI is that, when it gets a coin, to stop; it's attained the objective, and to just sit pat. Having the AI choose the nearest enemy unit and move against it makes sense as a behavior, though. Whether or not it makes more sense for the unit to go into Defend mode to hold the resource spawner is perhaps debatable. I think when I have a fully-functioning AI, that maybe the outlook might change on what it's useful for a unit to do. In any event, the player/faction-level AI can decide what the unit should do. Maybe an additional alternative is to have some kind of audio cue that lets the player know a unit is securing the resource spawner. In any event, this mechanic has work to be done.

    Finally, to the point of making the controls better, I found myself playing Final Fantasy XII a little bit. I have code from the now-defunct Sara the Shieldmage. I found myself wondering - given that I duplicated the 'targeting whoosh' bit - would it make sense to make the unit spawn and targeting controls menu-driven, like a JRPG? Right now, the controls imply a lot and rely on knowledge of RTS standards, which is apparently not OK, because it seems to confuse everyone who runs across it, which is a non-starter.

    Making the game a menu-driven 'tactical tug o' war' is a significant effort...but if it makes my controls more understandable and fun, then a little re-work is a small price indeed to pay.

    Maybe that is why RTSes are a dead genre...the controls themselves are a significant barrier to entry...
     
  32. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    No, they aren't.

    I actually find well-designed RTS controls to be one of the most intuitive setups out there. I'm pretty sure the problems you are having are not a flaw in the nature of RTS games, but rather something you are doing.

    I'm not sure I have ever heard someone blame one of gaming history's most beloved genres for the shortcomings of a small, incomplete prototype. I am not sure that is a sane conclusion to reach.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  33. Megablaze

    Megablaze

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    Hope I'm doing this right:

    My game is called Freeze Bomb. It's an arcade puzzle game for mobile devices, the goal is to freeze penguins into blocks of ice by using bombs that freeze. You've got a limited number of bombs, and you must freeze every penguin before running out of bombs.

    The demo is 20 levels and shows off two different bomb types. I've got a WIP thread for anyone interested. Looking for general feedback on game feel (does it feel fun? interesting? difficult/easy? etc).

    Download: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/20070100/Freeze Bomb.zip
    Web: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/20070100/Freeze%20Bomb/Freeze%20Bomb.html

    CONTROLS: Mouse Clicks

     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
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  34. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    Do you have a web build? Downloading unknown files is a bit risky so web builds will get you more responses. Otherwise a video play through will let people give a very basic response.
     
  35. Megablaze

    Megablaze

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    Sorry, I added web, I didn't include it because it looks a little off compared to the download version.
     
  36. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    I thought the game was really addictive I beat all the levels in 1 sitting.
     
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  37. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    You're right, this is insanity - I'm completely frustrated with how ineffective the control scheme appears to be. I'm halfway tempted to photoshop some missing hair spots on my profile picture to signify me tearing my hair out trying to figure out how fix these controls.

    People clearly have played modern RTSes - @Gigiwoo alone has cited League of Legends, StarCraft II, Heroes of the Storm, and I'm sure more as games in his library in his podcasts.

    As for why I say RTSes appear dead? It's more observation, but when I'm frustrated and trying to make sense of what I find to be a nonsensical situation, it seems all the more reasonable. Particularly:

    Grey Goo is probably the most recent RTS released - and has met with the sound of one hand clapping, apparently, but that's a different topic - so there are still addition happening to the RTS lexicon, if barely any, with no real buzz being made about them at all. That's why I say the genre is effectively dead - no one seems to want to make, or play RTSes any more - they've been superseded by the child genres, mostly MOBAs and Tower Defense.

    Back on frickin' topic.

    I really can't understand where the setup is falling short - why is "RMB to issue orders" so difficult to understand? I went out of my way to design my control setup to be as familiar as possible. I implemented suggestions to make the visual language not misleading. I feel there's a lesson to be learned and a solution somewhere in this, but I have no idea whatsoever what that lesson is, or how to fix the problem.

    There's clearly vast potential or this "semi-game" wouldn't evoke such powerful emotions in people, let alone me.

    I'm lost...and I really don't like being lost. Worse, even I have a maximum threshold for how many projects/concepts/prototypes I can toss out 95th story windows before even I get frustrated with me. I just want to release a game again...

    TL;DR - I have no clue what the hell I'm doing. There. I said it. Happy?
     
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  38. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    @Asvarduil

    It might be common but even the old rts's gave you a manual or had a tutorial that told you what the controls were "just in case" this was your first rts. So, it's more a case of people needing to be told once so that they know what the control scheme is than you designing a game where all the controls are known by instinct. Even simple platformers still show to use the arrow keys to move & space to jump etc.

    You are trying to make the game so that users just know what controls to use because the game is like others of the same genre whereas I think you should be assuming that everyone is brand new to the genre, otherwise you narrow your market by excluding everyone to young to have played them in the 90's when they were all the rage.
     
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  39. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Remember how I used to say I would no longer throw out prototypes very early on because I think there is not much value in doing so? I came to the conclusion that while it is good to ask for feedback it is bad to ask for feedback until I have enough of the prototype done for people to truly understand what I am trying to do.

    I might be wrong about this. Definitely possible. I just think you may be dealing with this very same thing right now. In your head you know what you have planned for this game. To you it all makes complete sense because you are the designer and can see not only what it is the game right at this moment but also you can "see" all of the stuff you have not even done yet.

    When we look at the game, this is all we can see:


    So, if you take what I said and then look at what @anselmo.fresquez said:
    I think we are pretty much saying the same thing. And so basically what I am getting at is I don't think you have reached the point of a MVP yet for this one. While your MVP certainly shouldn't be polished in any way it should definitely showcase the basic mechanics, flow of the game, provide instructions for how to actually play the game and so forth.

    If you were making Flappy Bird then yeah you could probably get away with just throwing it out there and saying please give feedback. But the more ambitious / greater scope your game has the more work you will need to do to have a solid MVP. At least that is the way I see it. Because I ran into this same problem a couple of different times.

    I had a ton of ideas for things to do to make the games I presented for feedback unique but I implemented only the basics. So therefore nobody could see anything except the basics and that made my prototypes failed MVPs. They were worthless because they did not represent the actual game design. I should have done several more iterations of development to get at least some hints of the other unique aspects out of my mind and into the prototype so people could actually experience them.

    I suggest you just focus for a few weeks on this and get more of the game done. Get a full working scenario in complete with instructions and so forth for just this one area then throw it back out here for feedback.

    Because again, from this you might see a lot of meaning and everything is crystal clear but from my perspective at least this is very vague:
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
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  40. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    Yes. Welcome to the club!

    So lemme ask you... what are you trying to do?
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
  41. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    c1.png c2.png I worked on a mockup scene using some art from the asset store to create these images, I'd go for something like this, where in the first pic I have the "tank" selected and want to move to the enemy square, and the second pic the same tank selected but want to move to the open square.

    The screenshots didnt actually get my mouse cursor but it would be over the highlighted island. So rather then pixel hunting for the thing to select on you select on the "territory" to move to.


     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
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  42. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    We have the ability to highlight things with material settings, which shows focus. If something is brighter than the things around it, that is the thing you are supposed to look at.

    When things go from normal color to brighter than normal, interpolating back and forth slowly, it means that it is currently part of a larger selection.

    There are a million ways of talking to people through shapes, colors and sounds.

    As a game designer, just accept that you are working in an audio/visual medum, and you need to learn UI and UX. Just like web design.

    Also, you can just borrow from other similar games. Since there are so many RTS games out there, just play them, ask questions like "how did they do this... how did they do that...".

    @Asvarduil - You have ideas but you're putting the cart waaay before the horse with a lot of stuff I have seen.

    Give the player a clear way to control their units, so that anybody with a brain can execute basic commands like "you, go here" without confusion. Then just like software, test it. Make challenges like moving along a path, collecting items while avoiding obstacles, etc. If you and the average person can pass all these UI tests then you will have that part nailed down.

    But it won't be a game until you have a goal and something to fight, etc.

    I think for your RTS concept you are trying to figure out what part is next. I would submit, in my humble opinion, that you should focus on a smooth, sexy UX until tasks like clicking on coins are so satisfying you find yourself doing it just for S***s and giggles. Once you have a basic framework, you should then keep adding more challenges for the player up to and including killing bad guys.

    You could not have picked a much more challenging genre than an RTS though. There is simply so goddamn much work to do.

    If you just want to release a game, why not just do a BASIC platformer? Or something like that. Your ambition to go big might be screwing your efforts.

    Probably because you have made at least a couple of games that people liked, you want to keep going and make something amazing. Totally get that. But perhaps you just smashed it twice without fully knowing what you did right/wrong. Hence the confusion.

    Maybe return to your roots or something. That works in movies.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
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  43. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    @anselmo.fresquez - Perhaps my exact problem is that I attempted to return to my roots. The first Zombies vs. Knights was me throwing together a game in slightly over a month, having less of a clue about how to do anything than I do now (it's a scary thought, I know...) Maybe my roots are most of what's wrong with me. Maybe I should do what you said, go with a completely clean slate, so that I can get new roots. Maybe SHMUP: Orbital Combat, ZvK, The Hero's Journey are holding me back because I learned the wrong things, the wrong way. (Obligatory Star Wars reference: I must unlearn what I have learned...)

    I was going to go on about how ZvK is actually the opposite of going big...but at this point I don't think it matters anymore. I need to ditch this project and learn how to create a MVP. Back to the basics that I never properly learned in the first place.

    Thanks for spelling it out for even block-headed ol' me. There's some good insights in what you said to me, and I needed them. I can ask some better questions now, and maybe eventually stop sucking/being ignorant.

    @GarBenjamin - You've also said something useful - that what I have isn't an evaluable MVP. In hindsight, I guess @Gigiwoo was trying to tell me that, but I couldn't see it until you said it...because you out-and-out said it (I'm not apportioning blame, either - I didn't get that "This is not a game" actually means "This is not a MVP that can be evaluated." As I've found out the hard way, wording matters!)

    I guess something I now know that I don't know - at what point is something a tech demo, and at what point is something an evaluable MVP? I'm doing thing exactly as I've done them in the past - I start with tech demos, then assemble them into a build that I start iterating on, while showing it all along the way.

    TL;DR of all points - My process is all f@#$ed up, and I never knew it. How's that for a scary thought?

    Thanks for you guys' support, thanks for telling me the hard truths. I'm going to figure out another game to make, just not right now. I may even re-try Saleria: Zombies vs. Knights again in the future, when I have a better handle on things in general.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
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  44. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    Gar and Gigi are both professionals and gentlemen. I, on the other hand, am neither. So, I just try to say it like I see it.

    Well I just meant to point something out to you that I feel you've been somehow missing... namely that your process isn't working and that I see the same issues every time you get feedback, you scrap everything and start all over. Which is what you seem to be ready to do, now. I think you're smart and creative, but your creative process needs to take a F***ing chill pill. It's too all-or-nothing, you're not allowing yourself middle ground to just make a mediocre game and learn as you go. You want perfection or nothing. Not going to happen. Trust me. Maybe you can master this craft. But not until you embrace your current ability level work on the things you need to.

    We are sometimes better when we are less in our heads and more gung-ho with our creative endeavors. We get more done when it's more heart than head. Then we get ambitious, and we use our heads too much and it gets in the way. We become paralyzed. Get in touch with the inspiration and the magic, ditch this analytical Extra Credits b.s. for a while. Have fun. Even if you make a not so great game, you will learn something and at least you'll make a game. And it will be fun.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
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  45. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    I think you should just stick with it, the only problem is your focusing on getting that mechanic to work and not working on the actual gameplay. Once you break through that "wall" you can proceed with the rest of it. For example in my game I was trying to add a push/pull mechanic to my game but instead of simply getting stuck on that, I said F*** it and put that part aside eventually coming up with the "attack ball concept".
     
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  46. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    @Asvarduil - This make sense. Fighting through the murky parts to find the fun is a struggle we all have to face. I think by not soldiering on you may be missing out on something you are supposed to learn.
     
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  47. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    So, then - what should I focus on? Would having AI that fights back make this "a game/MVP?"
     
  48. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    An mvp is a game that, at least, has enough features to be played and rated. Maybe not polished or perfect. All the big stuff has to be there. Title screen. A way to finish the game. You don't have to do all that just for feedback. All you need for feedback is the core game loop. But for that you need to be able to at least win and lose. Which will require AI. And you need a decent difficulty curve. Not a cakewalk, not impossible and unforgiving.

    Think of baseball. Now remove the pitcher. Not a game. You need all the parts.
     
  49. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Yeah. You have a win condition a lose condition and something that people can comment on I guess and you can start iterating on.
     
  50. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    I think of it as the "what the game is" rather than what the product is. Strip out all the fluff so you can see if the game itself is any good
     
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