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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsFrogatto & Friends - Arcade Update
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Xion
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« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2010, 12:31:02 PM »

I remember playing this a while back and the biggest disappointment to me was the character's limited skillset. I mean he's a frog, so I expected hugely that his tongue grabbing ability would have many more uses besides spitting enemies at one another, or that that mechanic itself would have some sweet variations like having only certain types of enemies able to defeat others, or swallowing bullet-shooting enemies would let me shoot bullets or something. Anything, really, that differentiated spitting this enemy out vs. spitting that enemy out. I kept expecting to see something like this happen, but it all felt like an elongated introduction to something better that never came.
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« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2010, 07:36:11 PM »

The background art is beautiful, the characters are nice pixel art but just look too cartoony for the backgrounds IMHO.

Respectfully disagree. I feel the graphics are impeccable. Nothing wrong in that category. But hey, that's me.

I didn't say the graphics weren't impeccable, I commented on a clash of styles. As I said before, the graphics are lovely.
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jotapeh
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« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2010, 07:56:15 PM »

I remember playing this a while back and the biggest disappointment to me was the character's limited skillset. [...] it all felt like an elongated introduction to something better that never came.

Agreed. I played the most recent version of Frogatto this past weekend and while the game is simply freakin gorgeous and has lots of lovely little touches, the core gameplay feels a bit rough and unwieldy.

That said, most indies game devs could learn a thing or twenty from Frogatto  Wink And the engine seems quite solid, I'll definitely be peeking at it when I have some time.
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Jetrel
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« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2010, 03:05:47 AM »

I really would appreciate help brainstorming stuff, as suggested by the boldfaced text below.  This is probably the single best way you guys can help me - especially stuff like Xion's comment about frogatto's tongue doing different effects.


Quote
But like I also said you can make it a breeze and still fun. Right now the options open to the player seem pretty minimal, because all you're doing is... killing simple enemies via simple means, and grabbing coins. In (for example) Spelunky, there are many ways to deal with all sorts of obstacles. Does Frogatto even have any non-enemy obstacles? (Aside from... jumping over things.) I can't recall any.

Only once you get into the dungeon, you finally run into some traps that attack you (swinging chains, retracting spikes, retracting floor blocks).  I'd like to fill the whole first 3/4 of the game with interesting traps.

Suggestions for traps, especially for how to destroy them are welcome.


As much charm and polish as it had, I found the game terribly boring when I played it (maybe a month ago or so?). An easy game is not, however, necessarily boring -- and a hard game is not necessarily fun (this one is a little more obvious).

The way things are laid out, the player is generally fighting the same enemies many times over and in situations very different from one another.

Yeah; this is a problem I've known about for a long time, but I haven't had time to start addressing it until this last month, and it's gonna take a while, since making new monsters takes a lot of time.

It seems to me that the biggest way to make new enemies interesting is to give them very different movesets.  I've been doing that with most of the new forest enemies - I've got mushrooms that hop around and shoot their caps at you, floating mushrooms that spawn more of the former, and mushrooms that fly at you like guided missiles.

If you have ideas for new enemy designs, suggestions are welcome.

I remember playing this a while back and the biggest disappointment to me was the character's limited skillset. I mean he's a frog, so I expected hugely that his tongue grabbing ability would have many more uses besides spitting enemies at one another, or that that mechanic itself would have some sweet variations like having only certain types of enemies able to defeat others, or swallowing bullet-shooting enemies would let me shoot bullets or something. Anything, really, that differentiated spitting this enemy out vs. spitting that enemy out. I kept expecting to see something like this happen, but it all felt like an elongated introduction to something better that never came.

Interesting.  I kinda didn't want to go the "different effects" route, because that felt like it was derivative of yoshi, but I really should stick to my mantra of not being too afraid to kype good ideas - I mean, I don't want to be a straight-out kirby clone where swallowing an enemy gives you its power, but it'd be worth it to maybe take the yoshi idea in a different direction than SMB did.

For example, a few ideas that come to my mind are:
- some enemies are explosive, and give you a big AoE when they connect.
- some enemies are acidic/incendiary, and leave a ground-hugging trail of "harmful" above them.
- some enemies are spore-y, and put nearby enemies to sleep (e.g. putting them in their on-back position) in a very large AoE around the contact point.
- some enemies are fiery, and might ignite flammable stuff.  Could ignite candles, detonate explosives, and burn-up wooden traps (or maybe burn net-based traps?).
- some enemies are frosty, and become an ice-block you shoot out.


I'd really, really welcome any ideas you have for different effects.

An alternate idea is to do this as a completely different system:  instead of having the above be based on individual enemies, you instead unlock powerups as the game goes on, which let you do the above effects to specific enemies at will - a bit like choosing a weapon in cave story.  You select the fire ability, frogatto himself becomes a red color, and now, all enemies spewed out are fireballs instead of bugs.

 Cry  It's so hard to make major design decisions like this because they're such a huge commitment to go into.


There are a lot of people out there who like games. Why cater to those who don't enjoy what you enjoy? Why make a game only 'kinda fun' for yourself, one of those pouring time (and maybe love) into the project?

Maybe it's just... a different mindset, but if you enjoy something, there must be some others out there who enjoy it too.

Because as I said, that's jackass elitism.  That's just completely against why I do art (to me, game-making is an art; mind you, I am a programmer).  I do art to reach people who are different from me and give them a new experience they haven't had before.  I'd love to make a game I also enjoy, which is what I'm trying to figure out now, but I am absolutely not going to give them the bird, and make something they can't play.  This is non-negotiable.  I hold people who do that in contempt, and I don't want to be one of them.

I've been on the bad side of this; especially because I grew up during the 80s, there were tons of games I've played that were way, waaay too hard, and actually remain inaccessible to me, even today.  Like Ghouls and Ghosts/Ghosts and Goblins.  I didn't beat that until I had an emulator and could cheat.  That's just offensive; like a club I'm not welcome to join.  I can do that to someone else, but I'd be a total dick if I did.  No thanks.
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Jetrel
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« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2010, 04:08:50 AM »

  Huh? Hmmm.  Here's an interesting idea that's so good I should try doing it tomorrow - you can swallow certain "lighter-than-air" enemies ... and your gravity reduces by half.  (e.g. you jump twice as high, are floaty, etc)


Seriously - everyone - help me brainstorm this stuff.   Hand Fork Left Well, hello there! Hand Knife Right
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« Reply #25 on: November 25, 2010, 06:40:17 AM »

Because as I said, that's jackass elitism.  That's just completely against why I do art (to me, game-making is an art; mind you, I am a programmer).  I do art to reach people who are different from me and give them a new experience they haven't had before.  I'd love to make a game I also enjoy, which is what I'm trying to figure out now, but I am absolutely not going to give them the bird, and make something they can't play.  This is non-negotiable.  I hold people who do that in contempt, and I don't want to be one of them.

I've been on the bad side of this; especially because I grew up during the 80s, there were tons of games I've played that were way, waaay too hard, and actually remain inaccessible to me, even today.  Like Ghouls and Ghosts/Ghosts and Goblins.  I didn't beat that until I had an emulator and could cheat.  That's just offensive; like a club I'm not welcome to join.  I can do that to someone else, but I'd be a total dick if I did.  No thanks.

Goodness this is a big topic unfolding in my head.

In my eyes, things are the other way around -- although perhaps my experience has been different, not fully enjoying several games as a child and growing up to best them years later... along with way too many games being cakewalks and having absolutely shitty 'hard' difficulty modes because the game wasn't really designed with them in mind.

Creating a game that is very easy is flipping the bird to those who get easily bored of those kinds of games.

Creating a game that is too hard for someone to defeat is, in my eyes, quite the opposite: Even one who is not exceptional at playing games can rise to meet the challenge.

You can't make yourself interested in a game that bores you, but it is very possible to improve and get better at a game that's too hard...

~~~

Also you have basically said that everyone who makes games is involved in jackass elitism, because no matter what you do -- a game will not be for everyone. 'Too hard to play' is not the only way to kill off interest from otherwise interested parties! It is, in fact, one of the few ways that can actually be overcome (I realize, however, that not everyone wants to do this, and that not everyone is at the right skill level to overcome it in a reasonable time).

~~~

Maybe I should just go make a thread about this instead of not helping you at all here in your thread :x
« Last Edit: November 25, 2010, 01:14:17 PM by Droqen » Logged

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« Reply #26 on: November 25, 2010, 09:38:05 AM »

There's a difference between "difficult to complete" and "difficult to control." I still think the biggest obstacle I had was Frogatto's handling. Same-y gameplay is acceptable when that gameplay is intrinsically enjoyable. I think the game as-is has possibly more than enough mechanics already. It wasn't til after I'd won that I re-opened a save and bought the power-ups I'd skipped over. Energy shots, time slowdowns, invincibility... I didn't have enough to buy these powerups when I first came to the store, and didn't think about them again. The game's quite short, will packing in more stuff help?
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mokesmoe
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« Reply #27 on: November 25, 2010, 04:20:12 PM »

Creating a game that is very easy is flipping the bird to those who get easily bored of those kinds of games.

Creating a game that is too hard for someone to defeat is, in my eyes, quite the opposite: Even one who is not exceptional at playing games can rise to meet the challenge.
I don't think everyone has the ability to rise up to a hard game. I can, and I do like hard games, but I know people that can't. If a game is too hard for them, they'll just stop and play something else.

Both options are flipping the bird to the opposite party. You can't make a game for everyone. If you try to fill everyones expectations, you will fail.

However, making a hard game isn't elitism. You aren't a elitist for what you make, but why you make it. If you make a game hard because people who aren't good at games don't deserve to play it, then that is elitism. If you make a game hard because you enjoy hard games, then that isn't. Someone can make an easy game, and say "Any hardcore gamer that's too good for my slow paced game doesn't deserve to enjoy it anyways." This is still elitism, although not as stereotypical.

Anyone who isn't good at games that plays a hard one will get frustrated by the difficulty and stop playing.
Anyone who is good at games and plays an easy one will get frustrated from boredom.
It's the same thing.

My advice is: "Who cares, make the game the way you would like to play it."

When I who cares, I don't mean "Who cares about the people who won't like it, they suck anyways", I mean "Who cares about the people who won't like it, someone will hate it anyways."
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« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2010, 04:23:39 PM »

You can't make yourself interested in a game that bores you, but it is very possible to improve and get better at a game that's too hard...

This simply isn't true.  Humans "plateau" at a certain point, and past that point, no matter how hard they try, they really can't get any better.  The thing that makes this harsh is that quite a few people think and react slower than other people; it's just how they were born.  This means that games built around high-speed twitch reflexes, which platformers are almost a canonical example of, are largely inaccessible to them, even if they like the genre.  Right now, the problem with games is that we typically target games at only the best players out there.

Just because a guy is 4'9" feet tall doesn't mean he doesn't like playing basketball - it just means he can't compete on a normal court with "normal" 7'3" players.  I mean, hell, NBA is a perfect example of what I'm talking about - it's a sport that only the statistical outliers, the guys who are freakishly tall, can participate in, and the rest of us have to sit on the sidelines.  I am not making a game targeted at some freakish niche of twitch freaks; I am making a game that everyone on the sidelines can play.  Now, yes, I don't care about making a game the kids on the shortbus can play, but I want to make a game that at least the vast majority of average people can play.  People with average "plateaued" abilities won't ever be able to play something only accessible to those who are exceptional.

A perfect example is starcraft.  I LOVE starcraft - it's easily one of my favorite games, period, but I have really, painfully bad macro.  I can't play the game above the "slow" speed setting.  I have been playing for over a decade now, and after my initial improvement, no matter how hard I try, I can't up my focus-change speed - I am simply just not biologically wired to be capable of that.  I have plateaued.  If blizzard decided the game should only cater to people who can play on "fast", I would effectively be unable to enjoy what's arguably my favorite game.  It wouldn't BE my favorite game.   Addicted  In fact, AFAIK, blizzard kinda HAS done this for MP, since afaict, you're required to play on fast.  As a result, I never play online MP.  Think about how fucking messed up that is, really.

If you do shit like this, you alienate what could otherwise be 90% of your "foaming-at-the-mouth" fanbase - people for whom you've otherwise made the perfect game, but who can't play your game because it demands reaction/etc times they will never achieve no matter how hard they try.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/8/4/

Maybe I should just go make a thread about this instead of not helping you at all here in your thread :x

If you just fundamentally disagree with me on this, please go away.  You will never convince me otherwise on this point, and you're wasting your time.  I know you think you're being "helpful" by trying to clue in this hopeless newbie, but you're not.  Please stop.
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« Reply #29 on: November 25, 2010, 04:46:06 PM »

Both options are flipping the bird to the opposite party. You can't make a game for everyone. If you try to fill everyones expectations, you will fail.

Sure you can.  Halo is a wonderful example of a game that scales - and I love halo.  Starcraft (aside from that bit about forcing the high play speed in MP) also scales wonderfully.  Frogatto doesn't have difficulty levels, and I think the solution really is that simple - just add difficulty levels!

 Cool  If I'd added them before release, then we probably wouldn't be having this discussion.  Then again - I wouldn't have been aware of this being such a huge deal if we hadn't released.  (For example, virtually all of our friends who tested the alpha version, and most of the sites who've reviewed the game, have thought the difficulty was "just right").

Quote
My advice is: "Who cares, make the game the way you would like to play it."

I'm interested in making a game me and my friends can play.  This is non-negotiable.  I'm flexible about almost everything, but not this.  Making frogatto accessible to regular people is the one design point I will not budge on, period.  I have made videogames which I can't play with my buddies, and ... I am never interested in doing that again.



Regarding difficulty levels:
So what I'm loosely considering is doing a hybrid "Halo" type solution with a few smatterings from "Dark Castle" and a few other titles.  The main level track's level-layout will remain the same.  What will change is the damage of the player and monsters.  On hard difficulty, there will be more bad-guys, and there will be considerably more dangerous variants.

Right now, for example, we've got squirrels in the dev version who toss nuts out of their trees, at you.  We cooked up a version that is able to make aimed shots rather than just random tosses.  That, right there, might be the switch that gets flipped to make them "hard" - besides buffing their damage and HP.


Besides that, I'm mulling over making a bunch of nintendo-hard "optional areas", which are somehow indicated as such.  You can go there, but it's completely optional, although you'll be rewarded if you do.
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droqen
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« Reply #30 on: November 25, 2010, 07:40:21 PM »

Maybe I should just go make a thread about this instead of not helping you at all here in your thread :x

If you just fundamentally disagree with me on this, please go away.  You will never convince me otherwise on this point, and you're wasting your time.  I know you think you're being "helpful" by trying to clue in this hopeless newbie, but you're not.  Please stop.

I am not being passive-aggressive. I am not dancing around the point, here.

How did you get "Droqen thinks he is being helpful and considers me a hopeless newbie" from me saying "Maybe I should go away and stop not being helpful in this thread about your game"?

I have, in fact, realized that perhaps we disagree on a fundamental level. I was already stating that, you know, maybe I'd stop talking about this here, because I am not being helpful.

Quote from: Jetrel
I am not making a game targeted at some freakish niche of twitch freaks

:/

... 'Freakish freaks' aside, I'd like to point out that you have not at all touched my point of "You can't make yourself interested in a game that bores you" but have rather focused on a very extreme aspect of only part of what I was saying.

I think I will leave and do my best to let our differences lie where they may.

Best of luck to you!
(Also, keep it up. I'm sure there are many who appreciate the game you're making! -- Including many in this thread.)
« Last Edit: November 25, 2010, 07:47:27 PM by Droqen » Logged

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« Reply #31 on: November 25, 2010, 08:30:12 PM »

Your game looks nice, although I haven't played it.  (dial-up)
Oh, and calm the hell down, dude. Facepalm
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« Reply #32 on: November 25, 2010, 10:14:25 PM »

I meant ignore people complaining on the internet. Making the game easy for the sake of your friends is a great reason.

I wish I didn't feel the need to argue with people, because arguments on the internet suck. Unless anyone has anything very important to say on the matter, let's all shut up, and get back on topic:
The game is repetitive.

I think having moves you unlock throughout the game would help, as you would always be doing different things. I think expanding the shop to have more upgrades would be cool too.
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« Reply #33 on: November 26, 2010, 03:05:08 AM »

Drogen:  Thanks.  Apologies for the confrontational response; I've just had some guys get ... scary obsessed with convincing me of stuff in the past (e.g. wouldn't leave me alone for months, even after bans and such).  I figured that if I just directly explained why I'm passionate about that, you could respectfully disagree with it, and I appreciate that you did.  Wesnoth has a very addictive, but very compelling core mechanic, and it's brought out the crazy in people:
http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=29308

Quote
I'd like to point out that you have not at all touched my point of "You can't make yourself interested in a game that bores you" but have rather focused on a very extreme aspect of only part of what I was saying.
I think most games out there are missing the mark by a surprisingly short distance, rather than being something essentially unpalatable to them, and impossible to redeem by any means.

Usually when I find people who dislike a genre, (like me disliking street-fighter clones), it's not because I actually 'hate the genre', but because the current status quo in the genre doesn't offer enough strategic depth to be interesting to me.  Sometimes this is just simply "the right formula but not hard enough".  Final fantasy is a very good example for me because...  I want to like it so bad, but the complexity of battles in e.g. FF5 is just too simple for me.  Although they graphically look very different, when you really sit down and crunch the design, FF5->FFT are very, very similar games (stats, job classes, etc); the latter just added one key feature that made all the difference for me:  "position".  Because that requires completely new art assets, and a completely new UI, rendering-engine, AI, and a bunch of other stuff, it was a colossal feature addition in terms of changing an actual written game, so big it merited another whole game.  But just to the "design document" itself, it was a fairly trivial change.  In a sentence, it was like "why don't we do FF5, but put the players on a rectangular grid and give them varying movement abilities?"  And just that one change, turned the game for me from "unplayable"->"awesome".  I loved the core genre idea of "turn-based battles in a story-driven fantasy world", but the strategy just needed to be deeper to make the game fun.

FF5 is a combination of the simplicity collapsing strategy (buy enough potions to outlast the enemy's DPS => win; ergo I find the game easy), and it's also a combination of replayability.  Because the game model is so simple and constrained, I can't run into the emergent, unusual situations that always happen when I play position-based strategy games.  A fight in FFT can be so many things based on who moves where; you can have ambushes, divide-and-conquer, flanking, distractions - a fight in FF5 is always ~4 guys in a row fighting a row of monsters.



Street fighter is very similar for me;  I love the core genre idea of timing-based hand-to-hand combat with combos and all, but the positioning and terrain are either very simple, or non-existent.  The game that did it for me was Bungie's Oni.  It was like street-fighter, except with completely free "WoW/GTA"-style movement, which meant you could have massive fights against whole gangs of guys, where you had to crowd-control who you were facing at any given time, and could even use enemies as melee weapons (such as in a throw).  Unlike FFT;  Oni failed to fully execute  (in this case, including SF's key feature of multiplayer), so I've basically been driven away from the genre unless someone else does something similar (wolfire might be doing it with Overgrowth).  I think there's a huge opportunity there; a hit waiting to happen if someone hits all the right notes.  I mean, GTA would be so close if it had street-fighter style combos and throws.  It could happen.

This is part of a larger phenomenon, and I really agree with Daniel Cook's article on the subject - I was blown away how closely his thoughts matched mine:
http://www.lostgarden.com/2005/09/nintendos-genre-innovation-strategy.html

tl;dr is that market forces drive genres to standardize on one set of mechanics to the expense of all others, and that all but a minority of players need other now-unsupported mechanics to enjoy the genre.  Once they're standardized on that one set, the majority of people lose interest in the genre because it's no longer doing what's necessary for them to enjoy it.


I really think all genres are fundamentally enjoyable.  So yeah - I think you CAN make yourself interested in a game that bores you - it just takes some small tweaks to the design (which as in the FFT example above, might be some huge tweaks to the actualized game, which of course speaks to an epic benefit from prototyping).  I think the best opportunity with frogatto is that I can do it without breaking the game for the many people out there who want to like platformers, but can't play at a high level.

let's all shut up, and get back on topic:
The game is repetitive.

I think having moves you unlock throughout the game would help, as you would always be doing different things. I think expanding the shop to have more upgrades would be cool too.


Yeah.  Right now I'm really kinda  Shrug on the current contents of the shop, since some of the abilities seem to be kinda messy tech-demo experiments.  I'm very, very tempted to move to a mana-based system like in Zelda:LttP, to handle ability usage, because getting an ability right after you kill an enemy generally isn't so useful...  because you need it before that enemy - so you can actually use the ability anywhere where there are monsters that aren't clustered.  Anyways, though, I personally just think far and away, the same-ness of the monsters is the absolute crippling factor that makes the whole game so redundant.

The next release won't solve this.  It's targeted at implementing arcade mode.

But the release right after that is meant to overhaul the forest, and add in a ton of new enemy types for the forest - my goal is to not recycle a single enemy type from seaside in the forest, and in fact to have most of the guys in the forest have completely unique movestyles, and threat-methods.

I unfortunately won't be getting to the cave for that second release; limited scope and all.
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« Reply #34 on: November 26, 2010, 07:26:47 PM »

I think a mana system would be neat. You could have a key for using them and a key for switching them or have certain combinations of buttons use them.

Another way of doing it is you still pickup powers from killed enemies, but instead of a time limit, you have a powerup button that uses the powerup you have, and limited uses. You could only have one at a time, and picking up the same one wouldn't stack, just refill. This way you still get them from enemies, but you can use them when you want to, instead of having it run out right away.

Although you could just combine both methods and use a system like for metriod's missiles and super missiles. This would probably be a good choice, as it's been proven to work, but they would feel more like items than powerups that way. (Unless you like the sound of that.)
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« Reply #35 on: November 26, 2010, 09:18:11 PM »

I think a mana system would be neat. You could have a key for using them and a key for switching them or have certain combinations of buttons use them.

Another way of doing it is you still pickup powers from killed enemies, but instead of a time limit, you have a powerup button that uses the powerup you have, and limited uses. You could only have one at a time, and picking up the same one wouldn't stack, just refill. This way you still get them from enemies, but you can use them when you want to, instead of having it run out right away.

Although you could just combine both methods and use a system like for metriod's missiles and super missiles. This would probably be a good choice, as it's been proven to work, but they would feel more like items than powerups that way. (Unless you like the sound of that.)

To riff on that, a neat idea would be to treat some powerups vaguely like the bombs in Raiden II.  That game was a top-down plane shooter, and killing enemies sometimes spawned these bombs you could stockpile.  Typically, you'd have 4 or so, IIRC, and maxed out at seven.

Screen-clearers would qualify nicely.  Seems to me like the ideal ones for individual items, rather than drawing from the mana pool, are things that have some single, big effect, and things that might have "bad contention" with the mana pool.  What sometimes happens if you have powers A and B, and using A is "nigh mandatory", B will typically get neglected if it draws from the same mana pool - even if it's a great power.  Whereas if it's just on, like, a cooldown, or an ammo system, it's much, much more welcome to be used.   A loose example that applies for me is the 3 battlecruiser powerups in SC2 SP; they contend for the same mana, but unfortunately are all only useful at the same time.  For their ridiculous price, I was hoping to benefit from all of them.  I don't mind contention when it's a choice between similar things (yamato cannon or missile pods?), but when two things (missile pods and defensive matrix) would be complementary, it's kinda lame.

Brainstorm:
- screenclearers
- reflex
- hp-based shielding - a shield that can only get hit X number of times.  Might just be an impenetrable bubble, might be the "rotating orbs that each break individually" thing.
- time-based shielding (e.g. invincibility)
- time-based bodily lethality (mario's star power)
- screenwide stunning (not a time stop, but triggering every monster to get knocked on it's back).
- ethereality (ability to walk through physical enemies/shots, but vulnerability to energy/magic)
- fear (enemies run away from you;  unlikely to be done because it'd be hard to code)


High-frequency stuff like energy shots should probably draw from a mana pool, mostly because they're similar in purpose (usually dealing damage), and contention between similar stuff is fine.  I think I want a fairly controllable cap on the maximum damage potential of your mana - amongst other things, just to help keep balance easier to do.

Brainstorm:
- the usual damage dealers;  c.f. kirby
- a shockwave that sends all enemies flying away from you - hopefully in such a way as to knock a bunch of them into a pit.
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« Reply #36 on: November 26, 2010, 09:56:31 PM »

I really don't feel a whole whack of new abilities would be necessary.

IMO you just need to make Frogatto's current abilities more enjoyable to use. He has a LOT of neat little abilities, most of which are mostly useless and/or difficult to control. Even his tongue is not very fun to use.

For example I would try to think of some way to allow the player to hit things on an angle with his tongue. I know you are somewhat following Kirby's example here, and I'd like to point out that Kirby is fun to control because his movement is super tight. He is agile. And his main ability of sucking things in, analogous to Frogatto's tongue, is done in a 'cone' area of effect in front of him. So things on a tiny slope in front of you are not impervious to attack.

Similarly it's quite frustrating to use the hyper-crystal shoot ability. Ignoring the fact that it 'locks' out the tongue and so you can't pick up any items, it has the same limitations as the tongue in terms of directional weakness. Frogatto really has very little ability to deal with enemies that are directly in front of him but a few pixels lower than him, which feels wrong to me.

Repetitiveness is definitely an issue but again, if you're looking to the Kirby analogue, a lot of enemies got recycled heavily in that game. I feel like the effort could really make a much more positive impact focusing on the Frogatto control scheme.

Other little abilities of Frogatto's that I love but which seem to get limited/no use in the game:

- When you duck and 'somersault'. Is there a purpose to this? I love the animation.. but maybe he could slink along the ground to get through small openings? (a la DKC)
- His 'twirl' attack. Seems handy to do damage to the occasional enemy which is impervious to normal jumps but also feels superfluous 90% of the time

Improving these to their full potential would make a world of difference.

Standard my 2¢ disclaimer, etc.
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Jetrel
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« Reply #37 on: November 26, 2010, 11:19:56 PM »

Progress:
- a couple more level stubs for arcade mode have been added; some related bugs got fixed.
- implemented that 'swallowed enemy affects gravity' idea
- bunch of polish on the tree trunk parts; added some significant new components.


For example I would try to think of some way to allow the player to hit things on an angle with his tongue. I know you are somewhat following Kirby's example here, and I'd like to point out that Kirby is fun to control because his movement is super tight. He is agile. And his main ability of sucking things in, analogous to Frogatto's tongue, is done in a 'cone' area of effect in front of him. So things on a tiny slope in front of you are not impervious to attack.

Dave's argument was that it being only a direct line (as it is with yoshi, as well) makes aiming a fun challenge;  if it doesn't matter if an enemy is behind stuff, then you don't have to aim your tongue.  It's like a shooter with regular shots, or guided shots.

Nevertheless, I totally agree fixing up the tongue angling is something we need to do.


IMO you just need to make Frogatto's current abilities more enjoyable to use. He has a LOT of neat little abilities, most of which are mostly useless and/or difficult to control. Even his tongue is not very fun to use.

Other little abilities of Frogatto's that I love but which seem to get limited/no use in the game:

- When you duck and 'somersault'. Is there a purpose to this? I love the animation.. but maybe he could slink along the ground to get through small openings? (a la DKC)
- His 'twirl' attack. Seems handy to do damage to the occasional enemy which is impervious to normal jumps but also feels superfluous 90% of the time

Improving these to their full potential would make a world of difference.


Actually, I'm probably going to remove them, energy-shot included.  Running down the list;  the duck+roll existed because it was gonna be a big puzzle-unlock.  You'd have to gain the roll ability in order to roll through certain tiny passages.  What sucks about this, is that ..  it's this big "one-off" thing.  You use it for just that one thing (getting through passages), and it doesn't have any other real use in the game.  We could make it have other uses, except we've already got moves for those - like the slide.

The dive-attack is a direct-damage attack; it might work better if we switched it from that, to being a damageless knockback, or a damageless "flip-enemies" AOE ability.  In fact, I'm attracted to the latter, because I'd like to make a number of environmental elements spawn spittables (and regen them every time you leave the screen) - and if you "slam" near them, they might trigger dropping the spittable.  Just adding a general "thwumped" verb would be a really useful thing to have in several situations.

Shots will probably be ditched because shooting is more nene's thing.  Frogatto firing shots dates from a very old version of his design where frogatto was basically a contra/metroid-like.  Frogatto is neoriceisgood's (our other artist's) OC, and he's basically been pipe-dreaming the thing for the last decade.  Only once we actually made the game, did we end up trying the tongue thing, and found it was much more fresh/interesting than being "yet another contralike".


I really would love to do that thing I mentioned about the tongue basically being a "hookshot" which can let you swing from terrain.  There was some really obscure japanese game that did that - I should go find it...
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Jetrel
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« Reply #38 on: November 26, 2010, 11:54:37 PM »

Found it:
http://users.telenet.be/twin-dreams/Super_Famicom/Umiharakawase.html
http://users.telenet.be/twin-dreams/PSone/Umiharakawase_Shun.html

So many possibilities...

 Addicted The rope physics are a bit scary, but such is life.
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Xion
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« Reply #39 on: November 27, 2010, 02:38:11 AM »

I get the feeling frogatto as a character could be much more acrobatic. Kind of like in Umi Hara Kawa Se but almost trapeze-like, and using the same motions to gain a tactical advantage in combat by, say, using his tongue as a kind of pole-vault to get a higher jump, or swinging from a collapsible ceiling tile (stalactite/icicle/whatever) and then letting go, leaving it to come crashing down on foes.

Speaking of icicles it would be hilarious if there were cold blocks/tiles that your tongue would involuntarily stick to for a moment or something.

Quote
Dave's argument was that it being only a direct line (as it is with yoshi, as well) makes aiming a fun challenge;
it can be, but here it isn't. Due mostly, I think, to the absolute abundance of slopes and jumping enemies and situations where this kind of thing happens in the levels. If it were a rarer occurrence it might be more tolerable, but when you have to do it for almost every enemy it becomes a huge chore.

Maybe you could let the shorter-ranged tongue attack be more forgiving, with a wider range, and let there be maybe a further-reaching analogue that gives the same precision challenge.

unrelated: it could also be interesting to give enemies specific weak points, like an armored or shielded enemy that can't be swallowed and is only vulnerable from behind but turns around slowly, or location-specific enemies against whom you need to use the environment, like an enemy that's invincible except against spikes you have to push them into by spitting things at 'em.
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