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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingVertex -- final public demo available!
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Rainchild
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« Reply #40 on: March 26, 2012, 03:43:11 PM »

I had a lot of fun finishing the demo! I got lost a bit in the garden area, but eventually found my way out. The final area is really cool and difficult! Nice job, though I think that there should be more powerups that you can collect, it would be a fun side activity.
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« Reply #41 on: March 26, 2012, 04:04:32 PM »

This looks beautiful. Bravo!  Wink
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Benjamus_Prime
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« Reply #42 on: March 26, 2012, 08:12:49 PM »

Thanks for the feedback, everyone!
I had a lot of fun finishing the demo! I got lost a bit in the garden area, but eventually found my way out. The final area is really cool and difficult! Nice job, though I think that there should be more powerups that you can collect, it would be a fun side activity.
Glad you enjoyed it! The place where the demo ends is in a way the turning point of the game, and from then on, powerups and items and exploration will be a bigger part of the gameplay. Kind of like games like Ocarina of Time, where you get a feel for the game in the first few levels and then you become a grown up and the game starts changing. And I'm impressed you finished it so soon! What was your total play time? It tells you in the fourth tab in the pause screen.
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« Reply #43 on: March 28, 2012, 03:42:03 PM »

This is pretty neat.

The camera is kinda drivin' me crazy though.  It's really disorienting to me with the way it shifts left and right when I change direction.  It feels like it moves way too much when I'm just taking a step in the opposite direction.  Maybe something like slowing down the speed in which the camera changes direction would help, or only change the direction after I move in a direction for a little bit of time?

Also there is a lot of text and I didn't read a lot of it sorry :I
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« Reply #44 on: March 29, 2012, 03:55:30 PM »

I assume the demo ends after the Tower? I'm stuck past the point of no return with like 14 HP and one HP Capsule, and I'm not going to try to beat the miniboss if there isn't much after him.

The one issue I have is with the money system. The blue and yellow gems don't respawn, which means there's a hard limit on the total number of things you can buy. If you're bad, you'll probably end up spending all your blue gems on HP Capsules and you won't be able to afford any of the more permanent power-ups, so you'll end up underpowered in a game you're already bad at, and that isn't much fun. I would suggest changing the HP Capsules so that they only cost the little sparklies.
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« Reply #45 on: March 29, 2012, 04:19:08 PM »

I assume the demo ends after the Tower? I'm stuck past the point of no return with like 14 HP and one HP Capsule, and I'm not going to try to beat the miniboss if there isn't much after him.
I was afraid that might happen a little too often, since it's impossible to go back down the tower. There's still plenty left of the demo after that point, which happen to be some of my personal favorite parts...

Quote
The one issue I have is with the money system. The blue and yellow gems don't respawn, which means there's a hard limit on the total number of things you can buy. If you're bad, you'll probably end up spending all your blue gems on HP Capsules and you won't be able to afford any of the more permanent power-ups, so you'll end up underpowered in a game you're already bad at, and that isn't much fun. I would suggest changing the HP Capsules so that they only cost the little sparklies.
That's probably a good idea. In the demo there are currently close to 100 blue pearls, and 7 gold pieces. The gold pieces are the only truly limiting currency, but most items won't cost any of them. If you search hard enough, you should be able to find enough of the pearls. I still have to balance the prices and all, because the shop is a pretty recent addition.
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nemryn
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« Reply #46 on: March 30, 2012, 08:35:52 AM »

I assume the demo ends after the Tower? I'm stuck past the point of no return with like 14 HP and one HP Capsule, and I'm not going to try to beat the miniboss if there isn't much after him.
I was afraid that might happen a little too often, since it's impossible to go back down the tower. There's still plenty left of the demo after that point, which happen to be some of my personal favorite parts...
One thing you should do here is, ask yourself "Why am I doing this?" Why do you have a point of no return, and why is it in the middle of the Tower instead of at the end? Why are you okay with the player returning to the village from the first half of the Tower but not the second?

Also, I would suggest throwing a few guards into the first section of the game; ones you have to run from, because they do 5 damage and Edgar doesn't have a weapon yet. There only need to be two or three: one Edgar can just jump over, one he needs to hide in the shadows from, and one he needs to take a secret passage to get past. This does a bunch of things: it teaches the player to always be looking for secret passages. It establishes Edgar's shadow-hiding ability earlier, so it doesn't feel shoehorned in. (Currently, the impression I got of that ability was, "So, Lira has longer range, faster shots, and can double-jump, why would I ever want to use Edgar?" "Well, um, he can, uh... hide in shadows! Yeah, he can totally do that.") And, it lets you come back to that area at the end of the game, once the player has 50 HP and all the items and can plow through all those badass guards like they're wet tissue paper.
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« Reply #47 on: March 30, 2012, 10:05:09 AM »

...and can plow through all those badass guards like they're wet tissue paper.

This gave me such an amazing mental image you have no idea.
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Udderdude
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« Reply #48 on: March 30, 2012, 10:20:25 AM »

Pretty fun game, I've compiled some feedback while playing it ..

Bricks you can walk through should be transparent.  (An exception should be made for bricks which are supposed to be secret passages, etc)

The text message you get when you pick up the gloves is really long.  Consider reducing it a bit.  You may even want to consider auto-equipping the gloves, and only let the player get more info when he/she has two weapons to choose between.

The Pause menu screen could use some text as well as icons.  This is especially important as the text message you get shows the name of each menu item, but the names aren't in the actual menu.

I don't like that it's called the "Pause" menu screen.  It seems confusing because it's not an actual pause feature, it's a menu to choose stuff from.  Consider changing it's name?

You should be able to hit Z at the Pause menu to leave it, since you can also press Z to back out of it's sub-menus.  Currently just plays an error sound when you do so.

The mushroom guy's purple shots can be obscured by the grass, and it's really hard to see them sometimes.  They should always be in the foreground, and probably be a bit brighter also.

Dying at the same monent as the first boss does causes the crystal things to gravitate towards and be collected by the spot where you died.

Mushroom guys popping up under you during the first boss seems kind of cheap.  You take damage if you don't know they're about to pop up there.

You get a new character right before the boss, but using her to fight the boss is way harder than using your starting character.  Doesn't make much sense to me.

In fact, that second character just feels really weak in general.  I found the game much harder while using her.  Maybe she gets more useful later on in the game, but not when you first get her.

Wasn't able to progress past the first boss, since I couldn't find out how to get out of the cave area I was in.  Couldn't jump up to reach that door that was slightly out of reach near the boss entrance room.  Did I miss something important?  I know I collected a key, but couldn't find any locked doors or objects to use it on.

Will leave more feedback if I can figure out how to proceed past the first boss, or if some tips are given .. lol
« Last Edit: March 30, 2012, 10:25:40 AM by Udderdude » Logged

nemryn
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« Reply #49 on: March 30, 2012, 10:52:44 AM »

Wasn't able to progress past the first boss, since I couldn't find out how to get out of the cave area I was in.  Couldn't jump up to reach that door that was slightly out of reach near the boss entrance room.  Did I miss something important?  I know I collected a key, but couldn't find any locked doors or objects to use it on.
Yeah, you missed something. Lira can double-jump. (This may also answer your concerns about her being a weaker character.)

Also, keys don't go into your inventory; they automatically unlock the door when you collect them.
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Udderdude
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« Reply #50 on: March 30, 2012, 10:56:08 AM »

Wasn't able to progress past the first boss, since I couldn't find out how to get out of the cave area I was in.  Couldn't jump up to reach that door that was slightly out of reach near the boss entrance room.  Did I miss something important?  I know I collected a key, but couldn't find any locked doors or objects to use it on.
Yeah, you missed something. Lira can double-jump. (This may also answer your concerns about her being a weaker character.)

Whoops.  In that case, it would be nice if the pause menu where it shows the characters also shows whatever unique features/skills each character has, as a kind of reminder.
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nemryn
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« Reply #51 on: March 30, 2012, 01:24:11 PM »

You should be able to hit Z at the Pause menu to leave it, since you can also press Z to back out of it's sub-menus.  Currently just plays an error sound when you do so.
Yeah, I would like this too.

Also, some way to skip dialog and cutscenes. Especially important if you're going to do save point -> cutscene -> boss like you do in the gardens and the mines.

Also also, Varor says the Long Bow costs 5 pearls, but he charges you 10 for it.
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Udderdude
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« Reply #52 on: March 30, 2012, 02:07:38 PM »

Get ready for another feedback dump.

I noticed the game takes up ~470 MB of RAM.  It also takes ~10 seconds to start up while loading everything in the game.  I don't really like the concept of loading all of a game's data at startup when it takes up that much memory.  Consider cutting this down and loading some resources dynamically.

I don't like how the character turns a solid red color when hit, it doesn't look similar enough to other games hit invulnerability state.  Make the character flash between two shades of red, at least.

When moving from left to right rapidly, the quick camera panning can really start to be an issue.  It will even whip to the left and right when you tap left, then right.  The camera panning should be a bit slower than that.

Even after I found Lira's double jump, she still felt like a really weak character.  Her low attack power just doesn't allow you to take out enemies fast enough at close range before they also damage you.  The double jump is useful for getting up high, and that's about it.

The bees are really annoying to fight.  They're hard to hit and seem to swarm around randomly.  They're also really hard to see, at points I had no clue why I was taking damage until I noticed the tiny 3x3 sprite buzzing around.  That they only do a tiny amount of damage doesn't really make up for the fact that they're just plain irritating to deal with.  The worst part is that there doesn't even seem like there's a good strategy for fighting them.

It feels like the overly generous amount of health items scattered around and dropping from enemies is kind of a band-aid to deal with the various issues with the enemies that I previously mentioned, because at times it's difficult to avoid taking damage.  It should be possible to do a no-damage run of this game without resorting to creeping forward every inch so you don't accidentally alert a bee too early, or get surprised by a mushroom shot , or even the mushrooms themselves hiding in the grass.

The part with the tons of spike balls going around a maze with grass covering most of the passages is like the difficulty level of the game suddenly went nuts for no apparent reason.  It's frustrating to deal with due to the visibility issues of the grass (you can't accurately judge your position, or the spikes), and delaying for any amount of time causes the spikes to hit you.  If you miss a jump, which is easy to do, you also take damage.  The short invulnerability timer really doesn't help here, either.

Even if you think this part of the game is fair, going from relatively easy to punishingly hard in an instant is not cool.  After that, it's right back to easy stuff, so it really feels out of place.  I REALLY recommend removing this section, or making it much easier by removing most of the spikes and grass blocking your view.

Might want to add a "Current objective" thing to the pause menu that tells you what you should be doing or where you should go.  For instance, after killing the first boss, "Go back to the gateway".

Guards in the first part of the mine are really easy to deal with, just stand at a distance spamming your attack and they eventually walk into it.  They stand there slashing their sword at thin air while you kill them.

Secret passages in the mine are much harder to notice compared to the grass world, which had bright, obvious yellow flowers near them.  I'm guessing this is intentional, though.

I am again stuck, in the first mine area.  I can't figure out how to get past the silver blocks, and all the secret passages I found only lead to bonus items.
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nemryn
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« Reply #53 on: March 30, 2012, 03:02:57 PM »

I am again stuck, in the first mine area.  I can't figure out how to get past the silver blocks, and all the secret passages I found only lead to bonus items.
The silver blocks aren't part of the main route through the mines. You don't need to get past them yet.
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Udderdude
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« Reply #54 on: March 30, 2012, 03:34:23 PM »

I am again stuck, in the first mine area.  I can't figure out how to get past the silver blocks, and all the secret passages I found only lead to bonus items.
The silver blocks aren't part of the main route through the mines. You don't need to get past them yet.

Ahh!  I was totally distracted by all the flashing hearts and didn't notice the wide open door area.  It also kind of blended in with the background.  It may be better if that door has a glowing border around it or something, to make it easier to notice.  Maybe move all the hearts to the lower area.
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Benjamus_Prime
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« Reply #55 on: March 30, 2012, 05:46:52 PM »

Some good feedback! Thanks for the extensive reports, Udderdude  Corny Laugh
One thing you should do here is, ask yourself "Why am I doing this?" Why do you have a point of no return, and why is it in the middle of the Tower instead of at the end?
Why did I do that? I don't remember. I thought it would put a cool sort of finality to the Tower section, maybe. I've thought of the same thing, but I decided to keep it for the demo just so I could see what people said about it.

Quote
Also, I would suggest throwing a few guards into the first section of the game; ones you have to run from, [...] like they're wet tissue paper.
This may also be a good idea. The problem with having a guard in the dungeon that you have to hide from in shadows, though, is that the room is already dark, so adding shadows seems a bit weird. Also, I wanted to introduce the shadows in the mine because (a) there really aren't any shadows in the Garden, and I like it that way, and (b) I want to gradually introduce new aspects of gameplay to the player. And as for why you would ever want to use Edgar after you get Lira, as Udderdude found out, there are many things that Edgar does a better job of than Lira. It's all about finding out each character's strengths, and using them in proportion.

Bricks you can walk through should be transparent.  (An exception should be made for bricks which are supposed to be secret passages, etc)

The text message you get when you pick up the gloves is really long.  Consider reducing it a bit.  You may even want to consider auto-equipping the gloves, and only let the player get more info when he/she has two weapons to choose between.

The Pause menu screen could use some text as well as icons.  This is especially important as the text message you get shows the name of each menu item, but the names aren't in the actual menu.

I don't like that it's called the "Pause" menu screen.  It seems confusing because it's not an actual pause feature, it's a menu to choose stuff from.  Consider changing its name?

You should be able to hit Z at the Pause menu to leave it, since you can also press Z to back out of it's sub-menus.  Currently just plays an error sound when you do so.

The mushroom guy's purple shots can be obscured by the grass, and it's really hard to see them sometimes.  They should always be in the foreground, and probably be a bit brighter also.

Dying at the same monent as the first boss does causes the crystal things to gravitate towards and be collected by the spot where you died.

Mushroom guys popping up under you during the first boss seems kind of cheap.  You take damage if you don't know they're about to pop up there.

Might want to add a "Current objective" thing to the pause menu that tells you what you should be doing or where you should go.  For instance, after killing the first boss, "Go back to the gateway".
Good thoughts/finds. I'll consider these, thanks!

Quote
You get a new character right before the boss, but using her to fight the boss is way harder than using your starting character.  Doesn't make much sense to me.

In fact, that second character just feels really weak in general.  I found the game much harder while using her.  Maybe she gets more useful later on in the game, but not when you first get her.

Even after I found Lira's double jump, she still felt like a really weak character.  Her low attack power just doesn't allow you to take out enemies fast enough at close range before they also damage you.  The double jump is useful for getting up high, and that's about it.
Again, as said above, it's about figuring out when it's better to use each character. Lira isn't meant to make the game easier, but rather to make the levels and combat more dynamic. They're both better than each other in their own ways, and as the game gets completed their personal strengths will be brought out more and more.

Quote
I don't like how the character turns a solid red color when hit, it doesn't look similar enough to other games hit invulnerability state.  Make the character flash between two shades of red, at least.
If I could find a way to do that, I would. Unfortunately Game Maker's color blending functions are a tad limiting.

Quote
When moving from left to right rapidly, the quick camera panning can really start to be an issue.  It will even whip to the left and right when you tap left, then right.  The camera panning should be a bit slower than that.
I realize the camera has some whiplash problems, still working on that. It's a bit better than it was before, but not a whole lot.

Quote
The bees are really annoying to fight.  They're hard to hit and seem to swarm around randomly.  They're also really hard to see, at points I had no clue why I was taking damage until I noticed the tiny 3x3 sprite buzzing around.  That they only do a tiny amount of damage doesn't really make up for the fact that they're just plain irritating to deal with.  The worst part is that there doesn't even seem like there's a good strategy for fighting them.
I dunno, I really like the bees, but most people don't seem to agree. Also, it's generally easier to fight them if you remain still and attack with Edgar.

Quote
The part with the tons of spike balls going around a maze with grass covering most of the passages is like the difficulty level of the game suddenly went nuts for no apparent reason.  It's frustrating to deal with due to the visibility issues of the grass (you can't accurately judge your position, or the spikes), and delaying for any amount of time causes the spikes to hit you.  If you miss a jump, which is easy to do, you also take damage.  The short invulnerability timer really doesn't help here, either.

Even if you think this part of the game is fair, going from relatively easy to punishingly hard in an instant is not cool.  After that, it's right back to easy stuff, so it really feels out of place.  I REALLY recommend removing this section, or making it much easier by removing most of the spikes and grass blocking your view.
Interesting, I never thought that part was punishing at all. To me it was just a little extra challenge to add some flavor, but I think you're right in at least toning it down. I'll have plenty of room to add challenges later in the game  Big Laff

Quote
Secret passages in the mine are much harder to notice compared to the grass world, which had bright, obvious yellow flowers near them.  I'm guessing this is intentional, though.
Well, yeah, they are secrets after all. Some of them have more obvious indications than others, depending on how much I want players to find them. You just have to keep an eye out for things that look strange or out of place.
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nemryn
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« Reply #56 on: March 31, 2012, 10:36:35 AM »

The Red, Blue, and Green Diamonds all say you can only have one at a time; is that one of each color, or just one total?
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Benjamus_Prime
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« Reply #57 on: March 31, 2012, 05:24:35 PM »

That's one of each color. You can hold as many of each as you want, but you can only use one of each color at a time.
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« Reply #58 on: April 01, 2012, 02:03:36 AM »

Why is there no option for selecting the screen resolution and the game keys? I'm playing on a real arcade cabinet with a arcade monitor (15 kHz, 800 x 600 the most) and I can not play Vertex without any problems as the screen resolution with 800 x 600 still seems to be too low... Please correct that in the full release!
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« Reply #59 on: April 01, 2012, 02:17:42 AM »

I played the demo, too. Good work overall! It feels very retro Smiley

Unfortunately this also applies to the handling, which is very 1993. Details I noticed:

- Alt+F4 doesn't quit.
- Keys are not rebindable. On a german keyboard, Z is far away from X.
- Menu handling: There should be a message that Z is "back"
- Menu handling: It's not nice to the eyes that selected options get additional characters to highlight them - please use color our slight scaling to hightlight.
- If you already swing the camera left and right, you might also add a little look-around with up/down

Apart from that, this game could be the next CaveStory - I enjoyed it. But please do not make the same mistakes as CaveStory - weirdly placed save points that need typing instead of saving automatically, and difficulty adjustments by simply not providing save points in front of boss battles and such... all power to the retro and everything, but there are things which are history for a reason.
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