This game has already lots of comments... I hope I'm won't be too redundant...
Ok so, I've thought of a model for a critic for games and I'd like to test it with your demo. Tell me if there are things you want the critic to cover. I want to make this model look at the game in-depth. If there are terms you think should change, please tell me!
Here we go!Name:
Spezy: In the Kingdom of MondoLandGenre:
Plateform/action Technical content:
Let's start with looking at the technical point of view of the game. Game mechanics:
I'll first go through the basic mechanics of the game.Walking/running:
The movement looks ackward at first since the avatar spins on place. I don't belive it's necessarly a problem, I believe that an error of execution just make sit look bad.
I suggest that the speed of walk/running is incremental and that the speed of animation follows the speed of movement. For instance, to run, you must hold the direction pressed for 1-2 seconds. Observe how they implemented running in Sonic games or, for a fresh title, Okami. If you really want people to be able to start running off, you could implement a mechanic where the player must tap the direction twice and hold the direction down. This way, you give the possibility of choosing the speed of movement to the player, who will have better control over the avatar. Jumping:
The jumping looks a bit ackward too because, in my opinion, the palyer controls too much the jumping height. The way it's working right now is that the jumps have a maximum height and the avatar will start descending the moment it reaches the max height or if the player lets go the button. I feel that it doesn't act out very naturaly. I say that, if you want the player to control the height of the jump, work your mechanics so that the player can affact the jump only in the first half of the jump. I suggest that you establish a maximum and minimum height for the jump. (let's say min 75 pixels and 100 pixels. These are not accurate numbers, just examples.) Well, taking those heights in concideration, you'd make the player control the jumping of the avatar during the first half of the max height, in our case, during the first 50 pixels. So basicaly you'd go:
If jump_key is released and current height is 25, then, max height is 75;
If jump_key is released and current height is 50, then, max height is 100;
And anything between 25 and 50 would result accordingly.
It's important that the player controls jumping but at the same time too much control makes jumping unnatural.
The jumping speed as it is looks great. You don't go too fast or too slow. You can also break the jump, which is a nice feature to have. I'd just make sure that the jump lenght would fit with the height so you don't stop in the middle of the jump because you let go of the button.Shooting:
SHooting is extra easy and very responsive The bullets are fast, you can shoot multiple time without any problems... I say don't touch the shooting! :DAiming:
Aiming is a bit weird, specialy when you shoot straight forward. The aiming is abut too precise for the game you have here. even if it is interesting to shoot in alla possible angles, you don't really need to. Focus on the main directions (Up, down, left, right, up-left, up-right, down-left, down-right). Of course, shooting flying enemies is more natural when you can shoot at all angles. Maybe locking the angle when the player is shooting in front or backward so the bullet always shoot in front? Shooting in front as it is can be frustrating. Also, you can click outside the game area. Maybe force the mouse to stay inside the game forcing the player to use the escape button (or ctrl-x) to exit? This has to be tested I believe.Game economics:
Let's talk about what we find and what rewards and penalty we have in the game...Yellow glowing item:
The standard pick-up along the way reward. I have no idea what they are tough. Money? Gold? Pac-balls? Alien urine caught in a loop? Hard to say. You'll ahve to tell us what is that yellow thing. Picking them up are quite obvious so clarity is not a problem. You also get a nice reward by picking up 100, a nice extra life/chance/avatar! Classic! :D I don't think there's much to change to that aspect except the name of the economical element. Life/chance/extra avatar:
Ok, this is pretty basic. This is the main element in the agme. You ahve to watch those to keep playing. I feel like you can loose them a bit to easily. Running into an enemy automaticaly penalixe the palyer with one minus life. A bit harsh for a simple error. I can understand about falling into a pit of lava but try to make sure we don't loose lives for simple errors like that... at leats give us a second chance!
How will we be able to reap lives from our action? You ahve the collection methode with the yellow stuff... What are you planning to do next? Stereo:
Ok, I got the stereo. What next? Why would I invest so much time and prouesses to get that item? Change the music? Is it worth all the work? I believe that you should give something more if you get the stereo, like a bonus level based on music (dancing, follow the beat or whatever you might think) where you could get more chances/lives/avatars. This way, getting the stereo would be optional but very tempting. Unused meter:
There's that orange meter in the screen which doesn't look like it's used at all... What is it? If it's used, why can't we tell what's it's purpose? If the information is useless as we play, why display it? At first I tough it was my health mter, then though it was my ammo. You gotta make the use of the meter clear to the player. Also, how are we going to fill it up? That will also have to be clear.
I suggest that you add one more element in your economy. Something divided in numerous parts. Getting all parts will give the palyer a bonus or a chance for more lives or perhaps new levels. You know, like finding 3 treasur maps opening a secret level or something like that. Try to motivate the palyer a bit more. If you don't the game will become boring over time since almost all the possible accomplishements will be achieved during the first levels. For instance, you'll be able to gain lives, collect yellow stuff, change the music of the level and finish the game. In the first level, the player will have already perform the first three tasks, the last one will become a chore.
You could introduce the optional goal in the first levels, such as finding parts of a reward. This way the player will be motivated to find that optional reward. It could be about upgrading the guns or extra levels or nifty power ups, you decide. It could be all of the above too, your imagination is your limit! Flow:
Ok, in this section, I want to talk how the game flows. Since you have only three screens, it's hard to say. So, I'm gonna skip through this part. One little point though: the loading time is a bit long at the first screen (splash logo). I highly suggest you make sure you don't have any loading before the appearence of the logo. Delays as you start a game makes it feel like the applictaion as bugged. If you have to load stuff at the spalsh title, Load and show the logo graphic and then load what you need for the rest. Ergonomics:
In this section, I concentrate only on the application's ergonomics. Nothing to do with the game in itself. The game doesn't use much controls or menus so this section is going to be done real fast.
First off, in the menu, enter is used to begin, f1 for help on controls and f2 on credits. Everything works fine and is pretty much standard. In game, you use the WASD key for movement, which is also pretty standard.
The only bug I have is whith the exit. pressing escape or the x on the window always has to pop-up a comfirmation. Always. You have to make sure that quitting is always intentional, not an accident. Someone may press the escape button by mistake or miss click while aiming. You have to implement a confirmation when exiting.
You also need to be able to control the volume of the music and sound effects. May it only be an on/off option for each or a full volume control, you have to make sure people can choose to hear or not music or sound effects.
Yu also need to be able to remap the buttons. Sure, the control are pretty standard but let's face it. some may like to use the esdf keys or the keypad. You ahve to be bale to remap the button to the player's liking. Stability:
Well, the game is pretty stable and I haven't found bugs. Of course, since this is a demo with little content, it's harder to have an unstable program. Just make sure that it satys as stable and as bug free as it is when it's finished.
One bug I have to tell you. When you start the level, the 6 or 7 blocks on the right can be shot through. You can't move through them but the bullets can. Accessibility:
This will talk about how accessible the game is to people with disabilities or any special qualities.
First off, this follows the remap button idea. Left handed people may want to use the key pad instead of the wasd keys.
Everything you do in the game has a sound and visual cue so everything is pretty much accessible with those who may be visual impaired or have a deaf problem. If you ever make cut-scenes or dialogues, make sure you have captions.
That was for the technical part. Let's go for the emotional part! Emotional content:
This part talks about how the player feels and what are his motivations while playing. How is the game capturing the player in the virtual world? How much the player believes in the experience? How much and how the player learns the game? And so forth... Intuitivism:
First thing, intuivitism. I feel like the game very intuitive. You press forward, you go forward. You press up, you go up. You know where to walk, you know where not to walk. You shoot, you click. You can shoot where you want when you want (except for straight forward but we already covered that didn't we?). Maybe making the enemies more menacing would help to justify their deaths by gunning. Specially since I have no reason to kill them. Things I can pick up are clear and I don,t have to think about picking them up, it's all done automaticaly.
One thing you have to make more intuitive is the goal of the level. We don't know exactly where to go at first. Of course, if all the goals of all the levels are to proceed to the top right corner of the level, it will become intuitive. Perhaps you should give us the goal for the first time around, like showing off the door at the beginning of the first level, then we won't need to see it, we'll already know. Immersion:
This is how much we loose ourselves in the world. Perosnaly, I think the game should be a bit more immersive.
First of all, the score, meter and lives are always displayed. I think you should make them disapear when not needed. It's good to know these information when you use them, but besides that, I don't think you should tell us.
Representation wise, the mood of the graphics and the music represents well the overall beat of the game. The sound effects add nice touches when the subject dies.
The explosions, as mentionned in earlier posts, feel a bit out of place and don't match the rest of the graphics. The gun seems to be floating around the avatar, but this could work if you give us a good reason for it. Maybe change the idea of the gun to something else.
The background feel too crowded. we loose part of the action because of this. As mentionned by Derek, the colors are a bit aggressive, but I feel it's more the background falt than anything else. Make sure that the background is more uniform. This way our eyes will concentrate on what is important, not what is suppose to be idle. Background should be beautiful but only when we stare at them, not when we play. Look at the metal slug series for a vibrant example of this. You know where the action is and, if you want to, you can stare and marvel at the backgrounds but they never distract you of the action going on in the game area.
There are nice little details, like the flowers, but they don't necessarly make sense, why is there vegetations growing on plastic/metalic cubes? Make sure that everything fits together and gives us hints on why elements are there. Knitt would be a good example in the same format as you are developing. Look how the tiles fit with the decorative elements and the surroundings.Experimentation:
How much can we experiment form this game? As for now, the game doesn't really help us to experiment much. When we try soething new, there are more chance of dying than of succeeding. Enemies are placed in regions where you can easily land and there are some death traps lying at the very beginning. We can't change our attacks and all enemies are elmininated the same way. Why learn to aim when you can shot all the time?
The game needs variety. You need to find different challlenges based on the different mechanics. Make sure the player understand the mechanics and challenge them on different grounds. Make sure that the first level only gets the player acquinted with the basic mechanics. No instant death, almost no way of failing. As you progress, you focus on more mechanics elements. Before you start thinking your level out, make a list of all possible challenges and what are the subtilities of your mechanics. How many different jumping challenges can you come up with? When all of your ideas are written, start planning at what rate you'll challenge the player. then, the rest will come easily.
Also, experimentation is also exploration. If you want people to look everywhere in your level, give them a good reason. Using extra bonuses, as mentionned in the reward section, can boost the players experimentation. Motivation:
Why play the game? What are the player's goal? Why load up this game when he/she can play a thousand other games? Well, of course, all the above factors influence motivation, but overall, it's the player's goal that matters in the end. When the player reaches the goal it has in mind, the game is over, completed or not. You have to motivate the palyer by giving them alot of goals. We already have short-term goals, picking up rewards and killing off potential enemies, but we lack mid-term goals, like finishing a level. We need to something more, like upgrading our avatar abilities, like our firepower or extra mechanics. You need to give us more long-term goals, give us a more than the "finish the game" reason.
Remember to give us more long-term goals than the simple "finish the game" goal. MAke sure we want to see every level. Doom did this by giving us secret roms and weapons. God of war did it by giving us more moves and more health. RPG's do it with levels, Mario did it with the warp zones, Donkey Kong country did it with bonus levels, the sims made it so the player chose their goals by offering optional mid-term goals (buy clothes, have a good job, kill as many sims as possible... ok, that's was never intended in the game but that's what i did
)... Find something worth investing time and scatter it around the game in a fashion that we have hints on how to reach this goal in every level. In conclusion...
You have some good potential here. try to build on it correctyl and you can finish with a top notch game! If you ever have any questions, ask away!