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Author Topic: Portile  (Read 14179 times)
increpare
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« on: July 01, 2008, 03:03:36 AM »

 Evil Evil Evil   NEW VERSION V0.3   Evil Evil Evil

So here was a prospective demake entry that came to me a little too early  Sad  It's a 2d, tile-based take on narbacular drop (more than portal, because I've not played portal, and from what I understand momentum plays a big part in portal, and it doesn't play any part in this).







Controls are LEFT/RIGHT to move, wsad to fire red portal, and shift+wsad to fire blue portal (sorry about the keys dvoraks).  E closes all open portals.  Most of the stuff one should probably be able to figure out.

There're 25 levels in there, and they're not all easy.  No interface yet, but the game's there anyway.  Sound effects/music to be added in next version hopefully.

I would, of course, be interested in hearing comments from peeps about it. 

Portile V0.3 (466KB, for Windows)

Portile V0.3 (610KB, for OSX 10.5*)

(*source code included only in windows file)

New features in v0.3:
New Name.
Slowed down gameplay speed.
Hipparchean Dynamics.
Sound effects.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2008, 03:24:23 AM by increpare » Logged
Kekskiller
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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2008, 03:19:47 AM »

Very funny, the controls are a bit nifty sometimes. I like the idea of having level design/map representation only. The only thing you should integrate is a short, 5 seconds long flashing level counter when entering the next room.

Could you make an option to disable portal reflection? It's confusing sometimes...
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increpare
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2008, 03:26:30 AM »

The only thing you should integrate is a short, 5 seconds long flashing level counter when entering the next room.
Yeah; I'll have to add that, and a short pause when you die as well.

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Could you make an option to disable portal reflection? It's confusing sometimes...
Hmm, I'd rather not...
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Terry
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2008, 05:15:13 AM »

This is really cool Smiley I eventually came to a brick wall in difficulty though - didn't have the coordination to do the whole WASD and then Shift+WASD thing quick enough to avoid an oncoming enemy. I'm not sure if there's anything you could really do about that though Sad It might be worth trying something like Arrows to move, Z+Arrows to fire red portal and X+Arrows to fire blue portal - but I'm not sure if it actually would be easier to control it that way...
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increpare
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2008, 05:42:11 AM »

This is really cool Smiley
Thanks.

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I eventually came to a brick wall in difficulty though -
At which part?  (the first boulder (see below) level, the second boulder level, or?)  I'd like the difficulty curve to not be too nasty.

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didn't have the coordination to do the whole WASD and then Shift+WASD thing quick enough to avoid an oncoming enemy.
It's a boulder...can't you tell? it's BROWN! And yeah, I did decide at some point to give some weight to reflexes, but I didn't think it was that hard.  Maybe I just built up the requisite coordinate skills over debugging.

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I'm not sure if there's anything you could really do about that though Sad It might be worth trying something like Arrows to move, Z+Arrows to fire red portal and X+Arrows to fire blue portal - but I'm not sure if it actually would be easier to control it that way...
I'm inclined to think that wouldn't work much better, because in some later levels you have to move just after launching a portal, or launch one just after stopping, so one would get the same problems.
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Kekskiller
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2008, 07:42:28 AM »

Quote
Could you make an option to disable portal reflection? It's confusing sometimes...
Hmm, I'd rather not...

Ahh, come on! Several games are giving you the possibility to turn off cool visual features... It's just 1 bool and a paramater analysation... Or darker projection graphics -> a bigger difference between the real and the projected image Wink .
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2008, 12:08:41 PM »

I can't get past the level early on with the two pink walls at the bottom
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increpare
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2008, 01:06:39 PM »

Ahh, come on! Several games are giving you the possibility to turn off cool visual features... It's just 1 bool and a paramater analysation... Or darker projection graphics -> a bigger difference between the real and the projected image Wink .
But part of the essence of these sort of games, for me, is that there should be as little (or no) difference between the original and its 'reflections' as possible.  Personally, it does affect the gameplay for me quite a lot; it becomes less about altering ambient geometry and more about shooting warp points with it turned off.  Which doesn't do to much for me, and I don't want to be directly responsible for anyone else having such an experience.

I can't get past the level early on with the two pink walls at the bottom
They're not pink walls, they're DEADLY PURPLE GAS CLOUDS (which you can shoot through). Can't you tell?  Roll Eyes

spoiler:
you have to launch a portal down the vertical shaft (you do this by jumping from a portal in the roof and firing down when you're over it) through the purple gas.  You then have to create another portal in the ground and fall through it (there's only a 50% chance when you press right that you'll come out of the lower portal, unless your upper portal has a wall to its right).  That make sense?
« Last Edit: July 01, 2008, 01:22:25 PM by increpare » Logged
William Broom
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2008, 01:08:48 AM »

It's a great concept but just not very fun. It relies too much on reflexes and not enough on puzzle solving, unless I'm just dum and should be finding more intelligent methods of beating the levels. But it seems to me you often have to fire portals in midair, and you fall so fast that it's just too hard. I also found the controls too sensitive and would often run off ledges by accident. For the record I got stuck on the first level where you have to shoot through the pink gas.
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increpare
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2008, 08:16:31 AM »

Thanks chutup for the comments.

It's a great concept but just not very fun. It relies too much on reflexes and not enough on puzzle solving, unless I'm just dum and should be finding more intelligent methods of beating the levels. But it seems to me you often have to fire portals in midair, and you fall so fast that it's just too hard.

I can see where you're coming from.  I maybe could do some more work on the difficulty-curve, &c, though (swap around some levels, &c), but I do still want there to be a real-time actiony side to it.  Possibly just slowing down the game a little might make it a little more approachable.  I'll give it a try (I've considered just turning it into a turn-based RL, but I don't really like the idea of that personally).  Alternatively, I could double the map-sizes, so you have twice as long to make any decisions.

The problem I've been having with pushing the puzzle-solving side of the game more is that I've been very cautious about introducing cliched elements, and in thinking about what will really add to the game.  Locks/keys/&c I haven't seriously considered, because they're a bit cliched. 

I've thought about introducing traps that, say, only boulders would be able to destroy, but I haven't been convinced that they would add anything.  Similarly for moving platforms. Though the latter are more promising, they all feel like they're going to introduce unnecessary complications and not contribute anything to what I consider to be the core gameplay.  I've introduced some basic (aristotelian) physics (so we have momentum, in a current test version, to see what I can do with it, but currently it's feeling quite likely that I'm going to be taking it back out, it's not really adding anything to the gameplay and, off hand, I can think of one extra sort of puzzle that would allow.

Anyway, in the absence of any new mechanical features, the most promising area to explore is the action-side of things, where I've been able to play around reasonably fruitfully (even if nobody has seen them yet  Roll Eyes )

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I also found the controls too sensitive and would often run off ledges by accident.
I've had that happen sometimes as well: I'll consider sticking in a 'walk' button (say hold down shift and you won't walk off ledges) for the next version.
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Zaphos
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2008, 11:11:21 AM »

I thought the reflections looked cool, but they were confusing and my reaction was to just find the 'main' room and look at that.  Because I could more successfully ignore them than use them, their contribution to the gameplay was just distraction and I quickly learned to ignore them.  So, as they are, I don't think they contribute positively to the gameplay.

They might add a lot more if you made use of them as more than just a graphical oddity.  For example, what if you existed in only one world at a time, so when you went in to a mirror world the screen scrolled and you were only in that world?  In the simple case, this would be no different from portal warps.  But if you walked in to a 'sideways' world, instead of letting gravity go the wrong way in that mirror world, you could let gravity always be screen-down.  I'm not sure how this would change the puzzle space, but I think it'd be an interesting thing to try!

This would also help differentiate your game from existing 2D portal games.  As it is currently, it feels like a retread and the only thing it seems to add is the lo-fi aesthetic.

Moving on to the action elements, I think they are especially confusing in this game because the player moves in 'pixel-size' chunks.  Which is normal, but since pixels are so huge in this game, timing comes down to picking out the exact frame and it's easier to miss.  Often I would not even really understand how I moved, I'd win a level and say ... wait, what just happened?
Perhaps slowing it down and adding a pixel of 'motion blur' would help?  Or perhaps letting the character's pixel move smoothly instead of jumping in pixel-size chunks ... although that might be hard to reconcile with the current puzzles.

Finally, WASD for shooting portals confuses me to no end, because I keep wanting WASD to move the character.  I kept doing things like shooting a portal with W, then right after trying to walk left with A.  I guess there are just too many years of using WASD to move for that reflex to go away on demand.
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« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2008, 07:35:12 AM »

i got really far,  (some of the timing based puzzles were really tricky) but i eventually got to a point where thhere wasnt a 'die' key, and i got blocked, inside a one space, and coudln't get out of.

this level:



also i did like the reflections, and for using it for getting the time based puzzles down was really helpful, i do think that they could be toned slightly to bring focus to the center one.
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« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2008, 10:45:25 AM »

Ahh, come on! Several games are giving you the possibility to turn off cool visual features... It's just 1 bool and a paramater analysation... Or darker projection graphics -> a bigger difference between the real and the projected image Wink .
But part of the essence of these sort of games, for me, is that there should be as little (or no) difference between the original and its 'reflections' as possible.  Personally, it does affect the gameplay for me quite a lot; it becomes less about altering ambient geometry and more about shooting warp points with it turned off.  Which doesn't do to much for me, and I don't want to be directly responsible for anyone else having such an experience.

Since gravity is different in each reflection it was real confusing and I quickly learned to ignore them, so I didn't get this feeling at all.

My input is that the keypress detection is awkward. I found it difficult to move just a single square. My guess it that you're checking the state of keys in each frame, so you can tap a key between frames and it won't respond. If so I recommend that you trap a keydown event yourself and make it so that even a tap between frames will still move one space. Also, a way to continue from where you left off after quitting is a must.
EDIT: Confirmed my guess glancing over the code.

I never played any similar games, so it felt fun and fresh to me, but I agree with what some said that timing based ones are kinda annoying since you have to get the exact frame(but the key detection bug also contributed). I got stuck on a level with three pits with pink gas clouds(clearly) in the bottom and a grey wall on the right. I think it was level 9(based on looking in main.cpp).
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increpare
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« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2008, 07:59:54 AM »

New version out.  Features a NEW NAME, sound effects, 5 new levels, some fixes to the old levels, a reordering of some of the levels, a brand-spanking new Hipparchean physics engine :D, and slightly slower-paced gameplay (in response to those with sloth-like reflexes  Wink )

Portile V0.3 (466KB, for Windows*)

(*the makefile should compile under macs as well, so long as you have allegro installed)

It's been a while since I've done anything with this.  I'd like to say first that I appreciate the comments, and that I did want to reply to them sooner, but I thought it would be better to actually try to implement the various suggestions first.

I thought the reflections looked cool, but they were confusing and my reaction was to just find the 'main' room and look at that.
I think you should get the hang of it eventually.  I've thought about making them more background, but...I guess I just didn't want to.  But I did consider it in light of the comment above, really!


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They might add a lot more if you made use of them as more than just a graphical oddity.  For example, [...]
It certainly would, you're entirely right.  It's something I don't want to try in this project, though.  It doesn't particularly fit in with what I had in mind for this game.  But it might lead to some interesting scenarios.

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Often I would not even really understand how I moved, I'd win a level and say ... wait, what just happened?
I have added a slight pause at the moment of level completion, which should aid your retrocontemplation.  (yeah, I lied about testing these particular suggestions.  I thought about them, and thought about testing them, but didn't).

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Perhaps slowing it down and adding a pixel of 'motion blur' would help?
That would definitely be an indea.  I hadn't really thought of it before, but now I think that maybe doing something a la Passage-style downsampling/whatever blending would work really well.  Bugger.  Wish I had thought of that before. 

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Or perhaps letting the character's pixel move smoothly
That's how I usually deal with tile-based motion, and there would be no problems if I did that.  Alas, I didn't :/

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I guess there are just too many years of using WASD to move for that reflex to go away on demand.
I can't help you with that dude.  I'd like to, but I think that's a problem you're going to have to work through yourself Wink


i got really far,  (some of the timing based puzzles were really tricky) but i eventually got to a point where thhere wasnt a 'die' key, and i got blocked, inside a one space, and coudln't get out of.
Ah nooooes that was the second-from-last level.  BIG SORRIES ANNABELLE.  Thank you so much for playing the game through.  And yes, I hadn't noticed that little trap.  In test versions there was a suicide button, but I figured it'd be nicer if people didn't need one in practice...

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i do think that they could be toned slightly to bring focus to the center one.
Hmm.  Okay.  That's two votes for it.  Okay, I'll give it another try then.

My input is that the keypress detection is awkward. [...]

Ah, thank you very much for pointing this out, and your detailed commentary.  I did a lot of work testing out various options on this.  The problem with detecting key-presses in-between frames is that then the controls can seem even more sensitive.  I don't know if slowing down the frame rate exacerbated the effect or not.  But I'm not getting as annoyed by it.  I also toned down the earlier levels where this effect might have actively contributed to people's deaths.  Hopefully it's not as big a problem.  As I said above, if I interpolated movement between frames, the problem would vanish entirely.  Or if I just made the game turn based (which I'm resisting).

Also, I wasn't too pushed to put in a save system.  Once you know how to solve the levels, you can do most of them in less than 10 seconds (many in much less), so it really isn't, I think, necessary at this point.

Anyway. As long as this minor update took, I'm unlikely to go back to this project for a little while (Except, maybe, to add an extra level or two as the mood takes me).
« Last Edit: July 26, 2008, 09:03:42 AM by increpare » Logged
Zaphos
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« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2008, 02:37:11 PM »

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I guess there are just too many years of using WASD to move for that reflex to go away on demand.
I can't help you with that dude.  I'd like to, but I think that's a problem you're going to have to work through yourself Wink
You could give an option to remap the control scheme Tongue
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increpare
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« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2008, 03:07:31 PM »

You could give an option to remap the control scheme Tongue
Well I included the source code, if you want to recompile with different keymappings  :D

(I know, that's possibly a mega-lame response.  To be honest, adding interface and control options like key-remapping and screen-resolution changes are about the most unappealing tasks in the world to me at the moment(up there with setting up bitmap font displays).  It's a laziness thing, a terrible personal failing, given that it's a very definite thing I could do to improve the game in someone's eyes without at all compromising my vision of the game.  AH WELL).
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« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2008, 09:30:44 AM »

This is (still) pretty cool Smiley I got stuck fairly early on though - it's a new level, I think, where the only obvious place to set a portal is the roof above you that leads directly into a ... erm... lava pit? Couldn't work it out, but I'll go back an give it a shot in a few days Smiley

Still having trouble with the controls Sad I might actually try messing about with them myself in the source like you suggested to see if I can get something that works better for me... (And kudos on releasing the source btw, more people should do that Smiley )
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« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2008, 11:07:55 AM »

I got stuck fairly early on though - it's a new level, I think, where the only obvious place to set a portal is the roof above you that leads directly into a ... erm... lava pit?
I think if you hold left at the right moment you should be able to avoid touch with the POISON GAS without too much trouble.

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Still having trouble with the controls Sad
Sad

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I might actually try messing about with them myself in the source like you suggested
That was only a joke suggestion.  Enter there at your own peril!



If you have any thoughts that come to mind, I would really like to hear them.  Having played the game quite a lot now, it's absolutely a non-issue for me.  I can't think of a more effective way of doing it though; the best approach I can think of is to have enough easy levels that by the time the ones come where you'll need faster reflexes.  But any more thoughts you have on the subject would be really appreciated.
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« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2008, 12:01:17 PM »

Hey; I've just upped a mac build of this here (610KB).  I've never (successfully) distributed anything in mac format before, so I'd like to know how it works/doesn't work for my fellow macsters.
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« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2008, 01:18:34 PM »

Good thing this came back around. I missed it the first time somehow.

Why do I love this game so much? I needs a savegame/code feature. At one point I thought it needed improved graphics, but then I realized it'd end up being Portal Flash and what's the point of that? Besides, this really is a different game in a lot of ways.
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