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1044825 Posts in 42334 Topics- by 34031 Members - Latest Member: eliasdaler

September 21, 2014, 08:13:22 PM
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackPlaytestingCatcher! - a game about hugging stars
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Author Topic: Catcher! - a game about hugging stars  (Read 8053 times)
TobiasW
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« on: May 31, 2010, 12:40:19 PM »

Hello, fellow TIGgers! Gentleman

Since there is so much generel helpfulness around here, I thought I post my game here too before it is complete - your feedback is much better than me tweaking and polishing it all alone in my cellar.

Anyway!
Catcher is a game about (surprise! Tiger) catching things! Especially geometric forms. (In SPACE!) With two spaceships, here depicted as circles. These two spaceships are connected by an energy line, which you will use to border your enemies and open a dimension rift by closing it - and thereby defeating anything inside! It features over two dozen unique enemies on more than 30 levels. Smiley






Among the various things yet to be done, the most notably one is the tutorial. I hope you can get it together alone with a description of the keys and the menu entry "Demo":
  • X and C makes your spaceships (the blue circles) flying nearer or farther to each other
  • The mouse wheel, if you have one, does the same as X and C
  • Pointing the mouse makes your spaceships turn
  • Clicking the mouse (left or right) makes your spaceships move

The energy line breaks when
a) one of your spaceships touches an enemy or
b) the energy line crosses another part of the energy line (remember: DON'T CROSS THE STREAMS!)
If the line broke, you can restore it by holding X (so that the spaceships touch each other).



Enough babbling, more playing:
CLICK HERE TO PLAY IT
(It is Java Web Start, so no installation or unzipping needed Smiley )

While all and every feedback is appreciated, I especially want to know:
  • How do you think could the controls be improved?
  • What didn't make sense to you? What wasn't clear? What needs to be definitly in the tutorial?
  • And bonus question: Do you have any ideas regarding new enemies? (This is a bonus question because I don't know if I will include any new enemies right now, but this will be good to know for the next version Smiley )
  • Ultra-special bonus question: Anyone has an idea for a better name for the game? I'm not sure I'm content with "Catcher", it seems kind of to general.

TODO:
  • Sounds/Music
  • Tutorial
  • Random Mode and Endless Mode need besser formulas
  • General polishing

So, good madams and sirs, thanks for reading!
Hoping you have fun with the game,
Tobias
« Last Edit: August 10, 2010, 04:40:01 PM by TobiasW » Logged

Katsew
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2010, 03:17:57 PM »

I thought it was quite an interesting game. I was also excited to see something written in Java Smiley

First up, the "Demo" mode didn't work for me. When I clicked it the game just locked up.

I reloaded and started playing "Planned" mode but it took me a while to figure out what to do. It wasn't obvious to me at first that you have to shrink your line to nothing and then expand it again when it breaks, but I'm guessing that's explained in the demo.

Played up to level 19 and it was starting to get quite difficult. I liked how new and interesting enemies kept being introduced, the one that hovers near you was particularly clever.

Criticism wise, I didn't think it was always obvious what would break your line or what was immune to it. For example, the blue things that shoot out red spikes - they obviously get bigger when the spikes pop out but it's not immediately obvious that they will automatically break the line. Maybe a consistent colour scheme so that you know red things always break the line? Similarly with the ones that turn white and can't be caught. There are other white enemies that you can catch so it's not obvious that you can't catch them when they're white.

The controls are pretty intuitive after a while. Maybe consider adding some "momentum" to them so they're not just on/off - it'd make your ship feel like it has a bit more substance. On the other hand the current system is also good as you know exactly what will happen. It's hard to tell which would feel better without trying it.

Anyway, I enjoyed it and definitely interested to see it with more polish.
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TobiasW
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2010, 03:58:47 PM »

I thought it was quite an interesting game. I was also excited to see something written in Java Smiley
Thanks! And yes, Java is great Smiley

Quote
First up, the "Demo" mode didn't work for me. When I clicked it the game just locked up.
Yeah, I see why - works now!

Quote
I reloaded and started playing "Planned" mode but it took me a while to figure out what to do. It wasn't obvious to me at first that you have to shrink your line to nothing and then expand it again when it breaks, but I'm guessing that's explained in the demo.
Yep - you will see it in the demo right at the beginning. This part (along with the catching) is better explained with visuals than with text, I think.

Quote
Played up to level 19 and it was starting to get quite difficult. I liked how new and interesting enemies kept being introduced, the one that hovers near you was particularly clever.
Nice! I have made 35 levels so far, and nearly ever two to three levels is a new enemy introduced. And yes, the moon can be quite intimidating till you figure it out! :D

Quote
Criticism wise, I didn't think it was always obvious what would break your line or what was immune to it. For example, the blue things that shoot out red spikes - they obviously get bigger when the spikes pop out but it's not immediately obvious that they will automatically break the line. Maybe a consistent colour scheme so that you know red things always break the line? Similarly with the ones that turn white and can't be caught. There are other white enemies that you can catch so it's not obvious that you can't catch them when they're white.
Okay, I will take it to heart. At first I actually wanted red to always break the line, but it turned out I had only one enemy which used this kind of line-breaking, so the color scheme was abadoned. Shame on me. And thanks for the head-up regarding the white ones (they're called "Ghostlike") - I never thought about the other white/grey ones.

By the way, I don't pull the names out of nowhere - I actually had a little bestiarium in there. Sadly my laptop was stolen, and I have to rewrite a bit of code, so stay tuned for the next release which will feature it again Smiley

Quote
The controls are pretty intuitive after a while.
That's good to hear! Most of my testers struggled with it only at the beginning. Was that okay for you?

I have to think up something else, though - the danger that someone presses "W" at the beginning in an attempt to move the ship and dies immediatly in a Gravity Bomb is kind of high. Maybe X, C, S, D instead... but I really like that I can use A and D all the time, and always have a finger hovering over W and S, so I can use Gravity/Sonic Bomb whenever I need it.

Quote
Maybe consider adding some "momentum" to them so they're not just on/off - it'd make your ship feel like it has a bit more substance. On the other hand the current system is also good as you know exactly what will happen. It's hard to tell which would feel better without trying it.
Mhmm... could be a preference setting, since some people maybe want it and other (like me) would turn it off.

Quote
Anyway, I enjoyed it and definitely interested to see it with more polish.
Thanks again, will do! Smiley
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TobiasW
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2010, 07:25:32 PM »

New fonts! A bestiary! Highscore working! Changed the keys! Streamlined the gameplay by removing the bomb feature!

...this, and a lot more, only here and now at Catcher. See the first post and try it, if you didn't already do it! Smiley

And by the way: Anyone has a better name for the game?
« Last Edit: August 08, 2010, 07:43:22 PM by TobiasW » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2010, 02:35:00 AM »

this game has really good design, and looks a lot better in motion
it's a shame that there are not more comments and everybody should play it right now

 Coffee
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2010, 03:02:08 AM »

I tried this a while ago but didn't get it (I didn't read instructions) but now I get it and it's awesome. I game over'd on, I think, the level after the fast homers were introduced, and the only thing that kept me from retrying was...well it's late and I really ought to sleep. But great game. Thank you for it.
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Oddball
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« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2010, 03:09:21 AM »

This locks up Safari for me. I had to do a forced quit. System details; Mac OS X 10.6.4, Safari 5.0.1
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TobiasW
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« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2010, 05:04:28 AM »

this game has really good design, and looks a lot better in motion
it's a shame that there are not more comments and everybody should play it right now

 Coffee
Thank you! I love this coming from you, after hearing your great talk about game mechanics at the BIGJam. Cheers! Coffee


I tried this a while ago but didn't get it (I didn't read instructions) but now I get it and it's awesome. I game over'd on, I think, the level after the fast homers were introduced, and the only thing that kept me from retrying was...well it's late and I really ought to sleep. But great game. Thank you for it.
Wow, thanks! And please play on, there are a lot more exciting enemies ahead - and you can jump to any level you've been to before Smiley

And it seems like I really need a comprehensive tutorial, though I'm still struggling about the "how". I wonder how many people did the same like you and then went away frustrated.

(edit: Made a short gif description now in the first post. Hope this helps people to get their first catch!)


This locks up Safari for me. I had to do a forced quit. System details; Mac OS X 10.6.4, Safari 5.0.1
Hu, that's strange - it is just standard Java. (I hope.)
Is it the same with the unsigned version?
And is it the same with other browsers you might have on your system?
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 05:49:16 AM by TobiasW » Logged

Oddball
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2010, 06:43:32 AM »

The unsigned version hangs for a while. Then Safari tells me the applet has started but nothing happens, just a blank page. Then Safari quits itself, not just the window it's in but all Safari windows. I don't have any other browsers on my Mac so couldn't test it in any others.
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2010, 07:47:42 AM »

The unsigned version hangs for a while. Then Safari tells me the applet has started but nothing happens, just a blank page. Then Safari quits itself, not just the window it's in but all Safari windows. I don't have any other browsers on my Mac so couldn't test it in any others.
I'm having the same problem on Mac OS X 10.6.4 using Chrome 5.0, Safari 5.0.1 and for some reason also Firefox 4.0b2.
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2010, 08:44:56 AM »

This is pretty fun but enemies keep hanging out off-screen! It's not very nice of them!

The enemies near the end seem to avoid the middle like the plague, and are off-screen about half the time. It is possible to grab them even while they're off-screen but it's awkward and mostly luck-based. And, if that doesn't work (for example if they went off-screen while you were not watching or maybe it's a terrifying spiked guy), I've ended up just sitting around waiting on an empty screen for the enemies to decide to show their faces! Grr.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 08:49:41 AM by Droqen » Logged

TobiasW
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« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2010, 10:12:40 AM »

The unsigned version hangs for a while. Then Safari tells me the applet has started but nothing happens, just a blank page. Then Safari quits itself, not just the window it's in but all Safari windows. I don't have any other browsers on my Mac so couldn't test it in any others.
I'm having the same problem on Mac OS X 10.6.4 using Chrome 5.0, Safari 5.0.1 and for some reason also Firefox 4.0b2.
Okay, that's actually good, would've been hard to debug it if it just happened on one computer. I hope I can solve it soon. Thanks, you two!



This is pretty fun but enemies keep hanging out off-screen! It's not very nice of them!
That is certainly a very rude behavoir, and not acceptable since I told them to ruthlessly attack the player. It's hard finding good henchman these days.

On which levels does it happen, and which enemies do you refer to? While the Swimming Arrows are very prone for being partly off-screen and hard to see, I didn't experience it yet for other enemies - especially not going totally off-screen.
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Droqen
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« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2010, 11:05:57 AM »

It appears to happen with every enemy apart from the homing ones!

This is in 'Planned' by the way, I will try another mode ...


Happens in 'Random' too. It was one of the most basic this time, a big round guy was completely off-screen for a while, top-right.
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TobiasW
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2010, 12:02:25 PM »

In the Bestiary: Do you see both cage-rectangles in full, or is the right one clipped? (The arrow down there is clipped for me too, that's my fault.)

Does it also happen with the JNLP-Download?

And if that doesn't work, does it also happen when you download and open the jar?
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1977054/catcher/catcher.jar

(Has the executed jnlp/jar a different size than the one in the browser? It should be 1024x700, I suspect it is smaller for some obscure reason.)

And which browser are you using?
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 01:18:14 PM by TobiasW » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2010, 12:02:49 PM »

I haven't gone further than the first two levels, but I'm letting you know it work great here on archlinux/firefox. Very interesting and nicely executed idea, though it lacks something that will keep you hooked. Maybe you could make bigger, scrolled levels with more visual variation?
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TobiasW
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« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2010, 01:22:39 PM »

I haven't gone further than the first two levels, but I'm letting you know it work great here on archlinux/firefox.
Good to know! It is somewhat disconcerting that it doesn't run on some systems...

Quote
Very interesting and nicely executed idea, though it lacks something that will keep you hooked. Maybe you could make bigger, scrolled levels with more visual variation?
I actually thought about scrolled levels too, maybe even with boundaries! But I think I won't insert this in that version, maybe later in a sequel. Though - visual variation won't hurt, I guess. I'll try to think about something!


@Oddball,
@Stoney:

Could you please test if the JNLP-Download works (better) for you? (JNLP is really new for me, maybe it doesn't work at all.)
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 04:09:22 PM by TobiasW » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2010, 03:46:51 PM »

Oh! It seems alright.

I use Google Chrome and I never saw the health pie -- so yeah it was just a screeny clipping problem.
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« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2010, 03:56:19 PM »

When I try to run the jar or the jnlp file on Mac OS X 10.6.4 the java application icon shows up in my dock but besides that nothing happens.  I get this error, I hope that helps in finding the bug:
Code:
Exception in thread "Animation Thread" java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: Java heap space
at processing.core.PImage.init(PImage.java:144)
at processing.core.PImage.<init>(PImage.java:130)
at processing.core.PFont.<init>(PFont.java:649)
at processing.core.PApplet.createFont(PApplet.java:3554)
at processing.core.PApplet.createFont(PApplet.java:3501)
at game.Font.createOrGetFont(Font.java:127)
at game.Font.initializeFontIfNeeded(Font.java:105)
at game.Font.preloadFont(Font.java:155)
at game.Font.preloadAllFonts(Font.java:160)
at game.Game.setup(Game.java:95)
at game.Applet.setup(Applet.java:30)
at processing.core.PApplet.handleDraw(PApplet.java:1372)
at processing.core.PApplet.run(PApplet.java:1300)
at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:637)

It works on my Windows-machine (I tried Webstart) and here are my first impressions:
- It's really fun. Well done
- I have to agree that judging from the screenshots it does not look really visually impressive, but it's much better in motion. How about adding some Geometry Wars - like glow-effect
- I would like it more if you could control the whole game just with the mouse, like resizing the net with the mouse wheel
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TobiasW
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« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2010, 04:42:23 PM »

Yep, while experimenting with it I got that stacktrace on one of my computers, too. So I guess Mac OS X has a low heap space setting as standard. The fonts are taking an awful lot of memory...

Please test the Java Web Start Link again on Mac OS X - I have included a max heap space parameter.

- It's really fun. Well done
Thanks!

Quote
- I have to agree that judging from the screenshots it does not look really visually impressive, but it's much better in motion. How about adding some Geometry Wars - like glow-effect
I'm thinking about it, though as I'm only using native java so far, I don't think I've got hardware acceleration. Not talking about me having no idea how to do glow effects Durr...?

Quote
- I would like it more if you could control the whole game just with the mouse, like resizing the net with the mouse wheel
Will do! I just added it to my ToDo-list.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 05:11:06 PM by TobiasW » Logged

TobiasW
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« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2010, 04:49:18 PM »

Oh! It seems alright.

I use Google Chrome and I never saw the health pie -- so yeah it was just a screeny clipping problem.

That's good to know, and far better than a bug! But strange anyway. I just tried it with Google Chrome 5.0.375.125 on Windows 7, and everything was just fine. Which version/OS are you using?

But well, anyway, I exchanged the "Play" link with the Java Webstart Version - no caching problems, no clipping problems and hopefully no java heap space problems Smiley
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