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

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]

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

  • Still no single-player AI that will fight back.
  • Needs fewer placeholders in general
  • Needs more sound and music

  • 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?

1 Like

[quote=“AndrewGrayGames”, post:2, topic: 607841]
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?
[/quote]

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.

1 Like

Christmas brickout. Feedback any
http://gamejolt.com/games/christmas-brickout/112210

2 Likes

@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):

2 Likes

2412364--164922--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.

2 Likes

@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.

2 Likes

@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!

3 Likes

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

3 Likes

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

5 Likes

[quote=“tedthebug”, post:10, topic: 607841]
How about a black scene & Rudolph comes in to help with his glowing nose?
[/quote]

Summon Rudolph!

2 Likes

@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.

@AndrewGrayGames 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".

1 Like

@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:

  • Add some particle effects when the ball hits the blocks.
  • Make the blocks shake a bit when the ball hits them.
  • Lerp the colors instead of changing them instantly. Or make the blocks flash. Or something else.
  • 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).

1 Like

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)

2416199--165217--image.jpeg

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

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/articles/tips-for-getting-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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOUxKHpjMsw

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).

2416942--165313--platformer .jpg
[quote=“_Gkxd”, post:13, topic: 607841]
@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:

  • Add some particle effects when the ball hits the blocks.
  • Make the blocks shake a bit when the ball hits them.
  • Lerp the colors instead of changing them instantly. Or make the blocks flash. Or something else.
  • 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).
[/quote]

[quote=“tedthebug”, post:14, topic: 607841]
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)

http://gamejolt.com/games/who-s-unbalanced/108493
[/quote]

@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!

2418908--165449--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

1 Like

@_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

1 Like

@AndrewGrayGames - 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

2 Likes

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?

1 Like

[quote=“Gigiwoo”, post:16, topic: 607841]
@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!

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
[/quote]

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 :smile:

1 Like