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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingA Change of Plans - platformer with level modification
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hcs
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« on: August 12, 2010, 10:44:11 am »

I'd like to get some opinions (and indeed suggestions) on an early version of my game in development:



A Change of Plans

There's still a bunch of things I need to do, but the bulk of the gameplay is here. I'm also kind of running down on my initial enthusiasm, so it might be a while before it's done.

This is my first attempt at Action Script, and aside from some tinkering with movies years ago it's my first foray into Flash. I wanted to get a low-level view, so I eschewed the official development environment. For those ideologically opposed to Adobe Flash, it does run nicely in Gnash (which was my main test platform), though it'll take a lot more CPU than Adobe's player.

Probably bad timing throwing this up with the A Game By Its Cover voting in swing, but here it be.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2010, 10:48:01 am by hcs » Logged
knight
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2010, 11:03:03 am »

Nice especially for a first flash game! I played through the entire thing and had a couple thoughts about it. The par number should be displayed somewhere in the game it would help people who want to get it. Also the game was just too easy thought the eyes were a good idea (maybe moving enemies). The graphics could also use some work(not the editor graphics but the in game) Anyways lots of potential look forward to seeing this in a more polished state!
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hcs
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2010, 11:38:38 am »

Thanks very much for trying it out!
I'll think about a different place to put the Par, it is kind of a "play again until you get it" idea, for those so inclined.
I'm (sort of) glad that it's too easy, I have a tendency to make things too hard. Maybe I'll indulge it in later levels Smiley
I do have some designs with moving enemies, and the engine ought to support them, just haven't made it to the implementation stage yet. I spent a few days getting the vision range stuff for the eyes right, that was the original point of the game (previously titled "I Looked Away"), and it's a shame to leave it unexercised with these static ranges.

There is a definite problem with the graphics. I'm very happy with the look of the editor (which was just a whim that occurred to me yesterday), but it makes the crappy stuff really stand out in contrast. I have a few ideas for at least making the ground less bland.
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Aapo Koivuniemi
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2010, 01:08:45 pm »

I tried the game and I think the idea is good, and can be made to a good complete game. It was very unique and interesting, but I found it way too easy. The amount of the toggles should be limited, to a few more than the par amount, as now there is really no incentive not to make a huge bridge/tunnel to the goal. It might be a good idea to show the par during the level. When going through the game the score (extra toggles) should also be counted and the ending should be clear. The level rollover in the end is not a good thing, even a simple congratulation-screen would be a great improvement.

On the good side, the edit-mode looks really good. I'd think a semi-photographic look, that looks like really finished and polished would be a good contrast with the sketch-look of the edit mode.

One thing that might be worth considering are the moving enemies that you have already mentioned. These could create some really devious maps, where you would have to build a "vision barrier" to stop the enemies from seeing some part of the map and use the same barrier as a ladder or something to reach the par score. Also other types of enemies would be good - some that might allow editing, but YOU cannot be seen by them, or and/xor-type enemies, where multiple eyes seeing the wall might mean a different thing that one enemy seeing it. Of course, it is not necessary for the eyes to be only enemies, and some times catching a ride on top of a moving eye to reach your goal would be cool.

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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2010, 08:23:42 pm »

Puzzles aren't very hard, and can't really be with the current game elements. Needs something.
Hardest part is jumping on the path you made and being unsure of how far you can jump.

Also, I think you are unable to turn/move while in the air. This sucks a lot.

Also, edit mode looks way way better than play mode. Why seperate it into two modes? Being able to move while editing seems reasonable to me.
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hcs
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2010, 09:34:50 pm »

I tried the game and I think the idea is good, and can be made to a good complete game. It was very unique and interesting,
Thanks very much. You have far more confidence in the idea than I do...

Quote
but I found it way too easy. The amount of the toggles should be limited, to a few more than the par amount, as now there is really no incentive not to make a huge bridge/tunnel to the goal. It might be a good idea to show the par during the level.
I get what you mean, this being the (quite successful) World of Goo approach (Pilotwings 64 also comes to mind, it's probably very common throughout sims with goals), but I find it hard to come up with any other threshold.  The Par value is the best I was able to achieve, and once I see that I have a lot of trouble seeing lesser solutions. Another trouble is that these puzzles are often so simple that there's only 1 block involved anyway.

On the point of it being too easy, which I have heard from essentially everyone who's played it: The ability to blast a path through the level is the point; being able to do anything (whether you want to try the best way or your own way or just brute force it) is intentional. While it is hard to make challenging puzzles in this model I hope that it's at least a little fun to be able to solve it in whatever way you choose. I may be misguided here, and I admit that this experiment wasn't much of a success.

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When going through the game the score (extra toggles) should also be counted and the ending should be clear. The level rollover in the end is not a good thing, even a simple congratulation-screen would be a great improvement.
I completely agree, it is a story without a conclusion, and it suffers for that.

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On the good side, the edit-mode looks really good. I'd think a semi-photographic look, that looks like really finished and polished would be a good contrast with the sketch-look of the edit mode.
Thanks! Unfortunately sketchiness is about the height of artistry for me, I'd need to draw on an artist to make a good looking platformer mode, and I don't think this game really warrants that kind of effort. The Adventure-y bland spaces form a definite contrast to the edit mode; maybe the right path would be to just use big blocks or very simple pixel art for the characters rather than my feeble vector attempts.

Quote
One thing that might be worth considering are the moving enemies that you have already mentioned. These could create some really devious maps, where you would have to build a "vision barrier" to stop the enemies from seeing some part of the map and use the same barrier as a ladder or something to reach the par score. Also other types of enemies would be good - some that might allow editing, but YOU cannot be seen by them, or and/xor-type enemies, where multiple eyes seeing the wall might mean a different thing that one enemy seeing it. Of course, it is not necessary for the eyes to be only enemies, and some times catching a ride on top of a moving eye to reach your goal would be cool.
Some very interesting ideas here, you've had more success imagining the future than me. I'll think it over.

Puzzles aren't very hard, and can't really be with the current game elements. Needs something.
I agree, I don't think there's more to be done with this. Even allowing the eyes to move on regular paths only gets me another 3 or so ideas. Though I do need to give more thought to Aapo's suggestions.
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Hardest part is jumping on the path you made and being unsure of how far you can jump.
I tried to make this reasonably clear, I think as platformers go this is an easy one. I didn't want tricky jumps to be essential, but I guess I didn't completely succeed. Also I hoped that because the levels are so small and there's no real penalty for failure it would be easy enough to learn.
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Also, I think you are unable to turn/move while in the air. This sucks a lot.
You can move while in the air, just not quite as fast as when on the ground (I believe it's around half speed). I felt that this offered a good feel, and it lets you easily jump up stairs without having to get a running start. I can't stand the Castlevania-style "realistic" jump, either.
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Also, edit mode looks way way better than play mode. Why seperate it into two modes? Being able to move while editing seems reasonable to me.
This aspect of the interface came from Continuity, which left a big impression on me and helped to solidify this game. The idea of switching between two modes, one the actiony platformer and one the untimed, considered editor, appealed to me. Level 16 would have been intensely frustrating (for me, anyway) if you had to click in real time. I had intended for there to be more things moving around, so it really doesn't come into play much as is.

I don't think I want to use the graph paper display outside of edit mode, if only for thematic reasons. It doesn't have the same impact, I feel, if you're always looking at it. A poor excuse, I know.

Thanks to both of you! Sorry for the long-windedness, I like nothing more than to explain myself.
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