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October 22, 2014, 11:56:39 PM
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackPlaytestingDaedalus Cube (playtesting)
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Author Topic: Daedalus Cube (playtesting)  (Read 2437 times)
TomHunt
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« on: February 25, 2013, 09:57:01 AM »

There's just one or two things left on my to-do list for this, and one of those is to get feedback from some people who have never played this before.

LINK TO GAME
(Updated 3/2/2013)

So, I've been using this lately as my forum avatar because I think it just looks so damn cool, but I figure I may as well now let the veritable cat out of the bag and double check to see what other people think of the actual game before thrusting it out into le monde réel



WHAT THE HECK IS THIS??

It's a maze game intended for mobile phones and tablets where you tilt the phone to move the ball around the maze to get to the exit (the green bubble thing). It evolved out a thing I did for Ludum Dare last year under the theme "Tiny World" (which you can still play here). Among the most commonly suggested improvements I got from there were "randomly generate everything" and "add time pressure". Also "pac man ghosts" was suggested, which I tried, and tried and tried, and just didn't really like it too much. Eventually, the whole thing simplified down to a basic maze game where you must find the exit as quick as you can..with randomly generated mazes wrapped around a cube. I just recently (like last night & this morning  Tired) added a scoring mechanism that takes into account how fast you reached the goal, how far you had to go, and also how generally big the cube is. Do more & bigger mazes faster, get more points.

This web player beta version is played using the direction keys. On the phone you just tilt the phone around like one of those labyrinth maze toys (that's the idea, really). I think it feels a lot better on the phone, but since your PC most likely does not have accelerometer controls, the d-keys will have to do. They work. Just not quite as nice and fluid as tilting.  Hand Joystick

One thing that is still missing: high score. I was thinking of doing this as a table, but that wouldn't really make sense, as it's meant to be on a phone and not an arcade cabinet. A leaderboard is definitely something I'm thinking about, but have no idea how to implement properly, so it may have to wait until a little later. So I'm thinking, for now, just a basic "here's the best score anyone's ever gotten on this device" on the title screen should do the trick.

At the moment I am only releasing it for Android.  Undecided If there is enough interest (and I'm somehow able to cobble together enough cash for a Unity iOS Pro license and a test device slightly newer than my 2nd gen ipod touch), I could also put it out on iOS, too.


Please let me know what you think. I'm really interested to see what semi-total strangers on the internetother game designers have to say about this. Also if you happen to find anything that looks like a bug and want to tell me about how it happened, I'd be grateful.

EDIT:
Updated 3/1/2013:
- Added an options menu with sliders for rotation speed and volume, as well as a toggle for the tilting effect
- Lowered the default setting for rotation speed from 7 to 4
- attract mode shows rotation (mostly) as it appears in-game to give dynamic preview of rotation setting
- fixed a few bugs related to dirty state if transitioning between title screen and game very quickly

Had to restructure the game shell to accommodate the options menu and also fix a couple of subtle bugs with how the levels were initialized and how the main menu was integrated with the game. There's still a couple of other small things that I may get to either today or tomorrow, like the ball color contrast, and also adding some shaded backgrounds to the GUI so they stand out a little more.

Updated 3/2/2013:
- added option sliders for customizing the ball's hue, saturation and value
- changed the sliders in the options menu to scrollbars for better thumb friendliness
- added a simple bar texture to the ball
- added some code to simulate how it would roll around, removed a hack from earlier that was preventing this
- made the options menu bigger and gave it a shaded background
- tweaked some font settings on the options menu labels


Thanks for all the feedback so far!

Updated 8/4/2013:
I ran a bunch of real-world physical-device in-person playtesting at conferences, meetups, social gatherings, etc, and discovered some interesting things:

1) The randomly generated levels is kind of interesting, but needs something else in addition to or instead of it in order to be really cool.
2) People seem to get the maze concept pretty quickly.
3) The representation of the exit as a translucent green bubble is confusing to people and is a bug that must be fixed.
4) One question I get asked a lot is "did you design the levels?" to which I reply "no, they are all generated" which seems to elicit a "oh, cool" response. but since i can't be personally there for everyone else to play the game, i think the fact that all the levels are generated would need to be made more obvious to a general audience.


So, my thinking is that there is some design-level work that I still need to do for this to really be in a state where I would feel right about shipping it. that means like a whole other iteration of development, at least. so i'll probably get a dev log up for that. or move this thread over to dev log, then maybe come back here if/when i have something i'd like to hear some feedback on.

basically, this part of the game is pretty much baked. it's just that there's like an extra layer or two of gameplay that i think needs to be added on for it to be really interesting and engaging to play. i'll be coming back to this after having not really worked on it much for the past couple of months (long story), so adding this whole new layer to the game seems like the right way to go.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2013, 06:28:08 PM by TomHunt » Logged

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matwek
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 10:10:25 AM »

Are there plans to add a tilt effect to the cube?
At the moment it feels like you're directly controlling the ball untill it reaches the edge, and then everything shifts. If you added a slight tilt to the cube when you press a directional key then it would give the impression that gravity is moving the ball as you tilt.
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TomHunt
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2013, 10:36:55 AM »

I think that might be due to the difference in feel between the direction keys (discrete four-direction) and the accelerometer (continuous 2D).

I did do some experimenting with a tilty view, though. I can see about rigging that up to work with the d-keys, to see if that does anything for ya..

[EDIT]here try this tilty version Ninja
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 11:08:29 AM by TomHunt » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2013, 12:43:31 PM »

Wooh! That's a brain workout. I really like this take on mazes, which in general I find not challenging enough. Mostly it's because you can see the whole thing at all times, so there's no need for remembering anything or whatever. Here, the limited visibility of the maze adds a very nice dynamic.

A couple of design choices I like:
a) the sort of 'preview' of the next facets, where you see if there's a wall straight away or not. It both tells you what the next colour is, and is a deceptive indicator of whether you can pass or not. It adds a layer of puzzlement, because the player may assume that one place with a wall (which was just a sharp turn, in fact) leads nowhere.

b) The algorithm accrues difficulty very nicely.

One thing I would suggest is to raise contrast between the white tiles and the ball. Sometimes I have to strain to see where it is, and my screen is considerably larger than a phone would be...

I think it bugged when I started it the first time, because the first two or three levels had no walls. It felt too easy and I didn't know what was going on. When the walls generated, I grew a big ol' grin though.

Maybe consider having your first level with no walls, to show the freedom of movement the player has? It will also magnify the impact of the movement constraints you impose with the walls.

My two cents. Très bon effort! Continues-y!
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matwek
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 08:15:14 AM »

I think that might be due to the difference in feel between the direction keys (discrete four-direction) and the accelerometer (continuous 2D).

I did do some experimenting with a tilty view, though. I can see about rigging that up to work with the d-keys, to see if that does anything for ya..

[EDIT]here try this tilty version Ninja
I suppose it works better on a mobile because you're physically tilting the phone, so it feel more natural.
The tilt version on the PC does feel much better, although you don't really notice it much on the early levels.
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 08:58:07 AM »

the fast rotation at the edge of the cube gave me a headache.
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deathtotheweird
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2013, 08:29:03 PM »

same here. I had to stop playing because of it.
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TomHunt
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2013, 09:23:40 PM »

Thanks for the feedback. I don't want to be giving people headaches. Let's see if I can fix that.

I'll add an options menu where you can mess around with these settings and have those saved. Someone also suggested I add a mute option (I think b/c they were playing it at work), so I'll add that.

For convenience, I'll post versions with a slower rotate speed and a faster rotate speed by default for comparison.
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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2013, 07:01:23 AM »

The concept is great, and the core execution is well done. Good job! The dynamically generated mazes escalate nicely too. That said, there are a few significant issues you should address-

- Like someone else mentioned above, the speed that the cube turns when you roll the ball to another side of the cube is too fast and was hurting my eyes. When you're in the zone and are quickly rolling around to difference cube faces, this quickly becomes an issue. It's bad to the point that I would not buy the game or recommend it to people since I assume it'll cause them the same problem. To fix it, you can try having the cube tilt slightly in response to the user tilting the phone around (so the cube is already turned a little towards the next side, so you don't have to move as drastically) in combination with moving it at a slower rate. Also, consider using a less 'whoosing' sound effect, since the current sfx helps reinforce the sense of speed which is adding to the problem.

- Add an onscreen timer and score counter. If the only time I see this data is at the end, it won't affect actual gameplay nearly as much. Having that kind of feedback be present would help greatly in getting players to try to beat their time, beat their score, etc, and adds more game elements to the experience.
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Mittens
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2013, 04:13:00 PM »

on my computer the direction keys don't tilt the cube enough to make the ball move, i can see they are causing some tilting, but not enough
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TomHunt
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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2013, 05:27:30 PM »

on my computer the direction keys don't tilt the cube enough to make the ball move, i can see they are causing some tilting, but not enough
Interesting. I'll look into what might be causing that.

What kind of computer / OS /browser are you running?
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TomHunt
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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2013, 09:06:37 AM »

(bump)
Updated to fix the rotation speed issue as well as a few other things. (updated link in top post)

Will get to addressing ball contrast and some way of gauging in-level progress / time pressure sometime this weekend. Also I will need to mess with the GUI controls in the options menu to make them easier to see and interact with (shaded background, fatter / more thumb-friendly sliders & toggles).

Is the lower default rotation speed I have set still too fast? too slow? just right? 
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2013, 01:44:53 PM »

Very nice game! I think it will only be truly appreciated on the handheld devices although the demo gives you a pretty good idea on how it will play.

As for visuals - I'd check out some existing labirynth games for inspiration. Like this one. With colored marble you get the feeling the marble is actually rolling. Also shadows help.

But this is just aestetic preferences - your core gameplay is solid.

Any chance for a windows phone version?
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TomHunt
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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2013, 02:26:46 PM »

Thanks!

That game you linked to does look pretty nice.  I have seen that "classic labyrinth" style before and I purposefully wanted to do something really different from that. The holes in the levels and the textured balls are interesting ideas.. tempting.

wrt WinPhone - the game is built using Unity, so at the moment, I can't say that I have any plans to do a port, but if/when that publishing option becomes available (likely Win8/Metro/WinPhone8), I'd be open minded about porting stuff over.  iOS will probably happen a bit sooner, tho.
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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2013, 09:35:23 AM »

New Build v0.99.3

- Fixed keyboard input inconsistency (possibly what Jackson31 was talking about)
- Tweaked the layout of the options menu; moved some things around for better visibility
- Fixed a few bugs
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« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2013, 04:00:00 PM »

I'm in a 2012 macbook pro, mountain lion and the game crashed just after getting to the end of the first maze.
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TomHunt
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« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2013, 07:53:13 AM »

Ok I tried it on my mac and it would sort of freeze after the first level - the image just sits there shaking, even though it seems to actually move onto the next level - I can hear the sound from rolling around if I press the arrow keys.

Thanks for spotting this. I'll look into this further, although this seems to be isolated to just the web player on macs as far as I can tell.
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« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2013, 01:48:52 PM »

Turns out I wasn't using RenderTexture quite the way I was supposed to, and this was apparently being worked around by the non-mac implementations of Unity. The mac version of the runtime is apparently a little stricter in how it handles rendering to a texture.

I added a couple of lines of code to the function that takes a picture of the level you just finished for the Levels screen to square things up, and it started to work alright on my ancient 2006 iMac running Snow Leopard. Can someone with a newer Mac / OSX version confirm?

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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2013, 03:06:33 PM »

It works for me now.
I like it, it is like a simple little toy with a clear purpose Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2013, 11:47:36 PM »

looks great, works great, we have ourselves a real genius!
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too bad eggybooms ents are actually men in paper mache suits and they NEED to be agile
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