From near the start, I never expected the scoring system to be balanced.
It would seem rather unreasonable to expect the scoring system to be balanced! It just seems a little silly to have seeds which could potentially have infinitely-high scores, when most seeds have a theoretical maximum.
(Although realistically I kind of suspect the exponential rate score degradation combined with the fixed-max-period player shot probably result in a theoretical maximum score even with as many dots on-screen as you like. For example, I couldn't get significantly more than (IIRC) 1.8 million when I had a screen packed with big dots on 'hello', running at one or two frames per second 'cause of the sheer number of dots, and the final score would have dropped below that by the time I cleaned everything up anyway, if I'd managed to and it worked.)
One more thing, Sar - when you say that less enjoyable games have become more likely in the second demo, which ones do you mean exactly? Any styles that people don't enjoy, I can remove or make less frequent.
Well. It might be somewhat subjective; I found the following things 'fun':
- Large numbers of small dots
- Predictable but not straightforward dot behaviours (e.g. gravity, oscillations)
- Patterns which don't scatter too
Basically I get the idea that a good way to score points is to catch dots which move into the area you've 'shot' after your shot-area is already extant, so that's what I try to do... and the above make it possible but also not straightforward to do that, so I can have the reinforcing encouragement that I can do better by better predicting the dot paths, and give me a nice lot of dots to do so with.
I find the following things 'not fun':
- Small numbers of small dots
- Unpredictable or hard-to-predict dot behaviours
- Cleaning up small numbers of dots which have flung themselves so widely it's not possible to catch more than one or two at a time
Small numbers of dots mean that the stage is over very quickly and there are very few opportunities to score points, meaning in turn that there's less variation in score between a 'good' run and an 'excellent' run. Hard-to-predict behaviours (e.g. the ones which suddenly radically change direction) mean I'm wasting too many shots placing it in the path of dots which suddenly stop going in that direction. Cleaning up the scattered remnants is just generally boring.
It just seemed that with this latest demo, more of the seeds I tried ended up with a small number of widely-scattered dots, meaning few opportunities to score and thus a small range of scores, and thus no real feel that playing the level again and again I'm improving. Also a higher number of the erratic-movement dots, which feel 'unfair' the first couple of times - I'll line up shots which look like they should score well when I click the mouse button which end up getting 0 because all the dots have suddenly switched direction.