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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingTELENAUT - 2D Starfox-style Action!
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AdamButcher
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« on: February 12, 2012, 10:02:53 am »

TELENAUT
12/02/12 Beta Release

We've been working for years on this game. Now it's finished!

We'd like some people to help test the game. Tell us if it works. Tell us if it's fun.

PLEASE PM ME FOR A DOWNLOAD LINK
I just want to keep a track of downloads before proper release in a month or so.



About the game
A frantic top-down shooter set on a hostile alien world.

Expect:
Nerve-wracking dogfights!
Over-powered weapons!
Hazard-filled environments!
Giant mechanical bosses!
Post-modern storyline!
...all across a large multiple-route map, with tonnes of extras!

And here's an old trailer:



Computer Spec
This is application was made on MMF 1.5. I believe it's Windows only, but would be interested to hear if people can get it to work with BootCamp/Linux etc.

Testing
Technical
Causing slow down? Doesn't look right? Doesn't sound right? Doesn't work? Tell us!

Gameplay
Confused? Frustrated? Finding it too easy? Or having a good time? Tell us!

Faults
Be as specific as you can. What level? What were you doing? What happened? Put it all on this forum!

Don't forget to try using the Settings.exe to see what works best for you


So please PM me for a download link, or write a request below and I'll get right back to you.

In the meantime, here's a screenie of the World Map.

Have fun,
Adam.

« Last Edit: February 12, 2012, 10:25:01 am by AdamButcher » Logged

AdamButcher
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2012, 01:32:44 pm »

Getting reports of crashing on very first run. It's fine after that, so persist.

Thanks to those that have PM'd. (You can write below if it's easier!)
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James Rossi
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2012, 02:40:33 pm »

Sorry this isn't as organized as I'd like. A bit stream of consiousnessy.

Controls:
When braking, if you brake, release, then repress brake, it won't work. Seems to be when you try to break during the speeding up moment. A bit frustrating if you are trying to do precise actions.

Part of this is just learning to use the ship correctly but I often find myself confusing my controls for how to shoot or turn. Probably just an inherent adjustment period but I could see some people having given up over them by now.

Other than that, the simplicity of the controls works, the only change I might make is to duplicate the weapon changing keys to "Q" and "E" in addition to "A" and "D". Not having to readjust to change it would make me more willing to do so.

Titan Forest Ambush is a very big jump in difficulty from the previous levels. Took me many times to beat it. The difficulty wasn't too much exactly, but struck really hard and fast. I'd ramp up the difficulty a bit gentler. In fact as of writing this I've still not beaten the level.

Combat:
Ground Enemies - Fly up to them, Brake, Fire. Repeat.
Flying Enemies - Fly, ounce off them, Rear Shoot. Repeat.

This will cover a majority of the enemies. Sadly it is REALLY hard to kill enemies in any other way. Trying to aim and hit ships in front of you is just too hard, the angles have to be perfect. While if they tail you, they line up with your gun for you, making it easy. Have shots home in onto enemies ever so slightly may help alleviate that. Right now I'd say this feels like a major flaw. You simply can't dog fight in a dramatic fashion. Tailing up on a guy just isn't effective enough to warrant doing it.

The Tank enemies I thing play fine. I assume they will have variations in later levels. One thing i noticed with them that is more pronounced that with the flying ships is that they tend to get caught up easily. I gather they have a randomized movement system instead of AI, but some awareness of if they are walking into an object, or as I saw pretty badly, the edge of the screen would be nice.

When flying, it is rather difficult to correctly steer if you hit the edge of the map, and at times you can become somewhat stuck.

I am disappointed that the battlefield does not become scarred as you blow things up and shoot down enemies. I was confused by this since when I die I leave these cool scorch makers but nothing happens for other ships or projectiles. I think that'd be a nice touch.

Art:
Overworld is fantastic. Sets a great visual tone, and you know that you are going to mess stuff up as you get farther into the game. Also an excellent touch is the changes to the overworld as you progress.

I do have to make an assumption on this because I can't play farther yet, but the art is good. There are nice details to the maps, and some unique touches to all of them. It is often quite clear what will be an obstacle or not. All in all that works, and indeed excels.

Enemy design is simple and effective and fits the rest of the art fine.

All in all I'd say that this is the most polished part of the game. These assets look totally complete.

Sound:
Did you use a sound library? I swear the pickup noise is from Kingdom Hearts. Beyond that the SFX work. They don't blow me away but they fit.

I know this is because it is, but the music feels very "Midi." I'm biased and prefer to go for more electronic music in my sci-fi games personally. The synth and midi instrument combo doesn't really strike me as all that strong.

Story:
This also feels like a polished part. I enjoy the little quotes that give you details on how the ship works, and the conflict and what not. I want to play to find out more, but I keep dying.

Overall:
The lack of dog fighting makes me feel that you shouldn't really compare this to Star Fox. Frankly I would LOVE to see this game go farther in that route. It is almost too tactical right now. All your angles must be perfectly aimed, and the controls are just not up for that kind of precision. So fights become longer than they should be, and at times too much a chore. I want to blow the crap out of stuff instead of worry if I'm a pixel rotated wrong to hit my target.

For things I'd maybe want to address before release would be the music, and finding a way to make the player feel like a top notch flying ace. I struggle so much that it makes me feel like I have as much flying experience as I actually do, some subtle auto adjusting may make the difference. Not trying to take control out, but the equivalent of an Xbox fps aim adjustment. Just enough to be effective, but not so much to be noticeable.

Beyond that the game is very solid. Good work!
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AdamButcher
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2012, 01:58:54 am »

Thanks for all the great feedback James.

You're right, Ambush is suddenly hard (although man, do I find it easy!). The trick is to look out for the extra repair and missile powerups that appear between waves. I need to make them clearer I think.

In terms of gameplay, maybe "dogfights" was the wrong word. Shooting behind you was always considered the way to defeat most enemies - which I'm fine with - but I understand your need for "drama". Will have a look into an autoaim, but not sure.

Let us know if you get any further!

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Alec S.
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« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2012, 12:08:55 pm »

I'd like to give this a try.
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PANPOMMA
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2012, 01:43:12 pm »

Could someone post a screenshot of actual play, if it really is Starfox-like, I'll be down for playing it.   Hand Shake Left Shocked Hand Shake Right
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AdamButcher
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2012, 01:51:15 pm »

Alec - just PM'd you a link!

PANPOMMA - This video shows current gameplay, but with older backgrounds:

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AdamButcher
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2012, 03:18:35 am »

+Does anyone recommend a plugin for playing music in MMF?

The one I've been using seems to be causing lots of crashes.

Anyone had a good time with DirectShow? Does it play .mod/.it? I'm on MMF 1.5 unfortunately...


James - Looking into some autoaim options - very interesting!
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James Rossi
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2012, 05:22:21 am »

I'm definitely excited to see some auto-aiming. One thing it will also do is compliment the theme of the game as well. Right now combat is largely defensive, but WE are the attacking force. Letting a guy on my tail to destroy him seems more of a defensive tactic. It'll just feel more like I am an invader if I can go and start targeting people.

I still haven't beat that level, I am getting farther and probably at the final wave, but with the length of the level I can only try maybe 2-3 times before I need a break. I do agree that maybe having the weapon and repair pickups be a bit more obvious or even bigger would be a good call, but I have been snagging them all, and using them as effectively as I think I can. Being the first "real" level, I'd consider giving out health pickups like candy.

As for you finding the level easy, keep in mind you've had potentially years worth of practice other players don't =] I am getting better though, so I'm sure at some point I'll be able to get through it as is, but I doubt many players will stick with the game long enough to beat the 4th level.
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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2012, 06:09:42 am »

I played your game...
I'm sorry for my further grammar errors, because English is not my native language. But I'll try to explain my opinion as I can.

Positive:
1) Traning is very good and informative.
2) I like MAP. It's looking very polished! I amazed how you animate this. The hexagon shield is shining, doors to factory are opening. Really good work!
3) Enemies are very good and unique. I like drones that flying in my back.
4) Various missions are looking fresh for this game genre. Usually player needs to destroy all that he see on the screen. But there are more interesting missions exists.
5) Graphics looking "in one style". I like this style. This is not super professional but looking very good.
6) I saw only first boss "Sentinel". This is good, that player must think and use some tactics. I'm really surprised of boss behaviour. That's a pity, that I not see another bosses.

Negative:
1) Controls are hard. So game looking like hardcore. For casual players you should make controls not so agressive. Maybe use mouse, or make that ship not always moving. I understand that you want use original game mechanic, but real player feels that he arrived in the hell.
2) Low accuracy. I can't get target. Maybe make some direct red line to point the shoots path? Ship turns on fixed degrees and very hard to shoot enemies.
3) I don't like the music. This is MIDI or very similar. If you can use mp3/ogg music, I can help you and make it for this game. PM me if you need some help in music.
4) Enemies IA is buggy. I mean that sometimes them behavior become crazy. The are stay in trees or not moving in long time.
5) Game interface also buggy. Top interface cuts on my screen. I played in window mode. So hard for me to read mission text because its half hidden on the screen bound. Also interface very small and I can't inspect boost slider.
6) Some graphic design mistakes. In the mission briefing and mission final, the information should more contrast. You can try to make hexagon background darker.
7) Bonuses and weapons are very small. Maybe make some circle signals from it?
8 ) Very high gradation of difficulty. The ambush level really very long and hard. This is a miracle how I finished it with first chance. I complete forest zone and first desert level. But I can't complete first level in the factory because of difficult controls and small space to move.

I hope, this information will make your game better.
I'll try play this game later and maybe I'll write something else.

And I'm sorry for my very bad English again.
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AdamButcher
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« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2012, 11:52:07 am »

James and SaintHeiser - that's really great feedback, thank you.  Smiley

Trying to fix most of the gameplay problems and crashes at the moment. We're personally still happy with the music and the art - but happy to hear more criticism!

James - You're very articulate about the attacking/defending thing! I'm definitely looking into options. Some of the auto-aiming ability will always be restricted by moving targets, and possibly the 32 direction system, but it does help.

SaintHeiser - really glad you got past that Ambush level. I think you're the only one. I've seen my flatmates struggling and am beginning to see how daunting it will be for a beginner.

Windowed/Fullscreen problems etc - The resolution of this programme is 1024 x 720, so if your monitor is only 720 pixels high then you might miss some top and bottom in Windowed mode. Try out Fullscreen or Maximised, or if you must run as windowed, see if you can hide taskbar/go to  a higher resolution. What resolution are you running in?

Keep it coming, anyone else!
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« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2012, 04:24:39 pm »

Thanks for the link to the beta. Was a damn long week, but the wait was worth it!

So far I've finished Titan Forest and Desert Complex.

The ambush level is a bit of a marathon. It's not that it's too hard, but it can get tedious, because you need to wipe out an entire wave before moving onto the next one, making the tension in a sort of sawtooth pattern. Feels nothing like an ambush. Hell, I tactically left just one enemy standing before grabbing a powerup a couple times (and yes, the powerups are far too subtle).

When the screen gets busy, it's possible to lose track of your position & orientation, which is really annoying.

Projectiles don't show up against the backgrounds well enough in general. The worst case are those tiny balls the scarab fighters fire; they're barely visible against the sand.

Once, on the level where you take out the scarabs & grab the artefact, I boosted around the outside of the southeast corner of the level, somehow getting around the wall, while receiving no damage.

Once, on the Desert Complex boss, I thrust diagonally into a north-facing wall & got stuck in it. The wall impact sound looped very rapidly & I died pretty quickly.

On the part of the Desert Complex boss where the four sections fly around, I don't see why there are no effects showing which section is about to fire. Of course the pattern is regular, but it's tough enough figuring out how to avoid the fireballs on the preceding part of the fight, and it gets confusing in the heat of the moment once at least one section has been destroyed.

I don't share James and SaintHeiser's general impression of gameplay. It's solid: nice and challenging, with a high skill ceiling. Movement takes lots of practice because it's so unusual, but it works. Aiming is hideously broken though. I've never had this problem in a multidirectional shooter before. There are a bunch of reasons why it's so in Telenaut.

It's single-screen. There's no scrolling to constantly inform the player of velocity. More importantly, you've had to pack a ton of small objects onto the screen, and the player's view needs to dance around it to see what's going on. The player's ship is nought but an indistinct blob in his periphery most of the time.

While playing I could swear that the number of directions was severely restricted. Didn't really believe it until you confirmed it:
the 32 direction system

Why this limitation? AFAIK MMF's graphics are restricted to 32 directions, but you can easily enough implement movement in arbitrary directions. 32 directions might work best for ships' movement. It sure as hell doesn't for shooting. The projectiles are small, the targets are small and accelerate quickly. More precision is needed. I don't think autoaim is an appropriate solution.

We're personally still happy with the music

The music is good and functional for a shooter, in all respects. I don't think it needs much (if any) work. Note I've been playing on headphones.

In particular, the boss battle theme ("Sentinel") is stunning. Could hardly believe my ears when I first heard it, and it instantly earned a place among my all-time favorite game tracks. Can't get enough of those horns...
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AdamButcher
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2012, 04:17:39 am »

Great feedback Varacity - and glad you've got through 2 whole worlds!

Will try and take those points about visibility and other bugs.

Quote
32 directions might work best for ships' movement. It sure as hell doesn't for shooting.

We felt that 32 dir was good for the ship, as it meant you could easily get to perfect horizontal/perfect vertical if you wanted to. Agree that the aiming is sometimes frustrating. The question is, do you have any thoughts about how one would distinguish aiming in one direction and shooting in a slightly different direction? Would you only notice the angle differences as you - say - held down fire while rotating?

Quote
It's single-screen. There's no scrolling to constantly inform the player of velocity.

We knew some people wouldn't like this. But we felt that it was better for the player to be able to know what's round the corner than being taken by surprise by a stray bullet. Instead of scrolling, we kinda expect the viewers' eye to do that.

Quote
In particular, the boss battle theme ("Sentinel") is stunning. Could hardly believe my ears when I first heard it, and it instantly earned a place among my all-time favorite game tracks. Can't get enough of those horns...

Really pleased - that's one of mine!


Let us know if you get much further/get more used to it! Thanks again.
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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2012, 03:55:29 pm »

The question is, do you have any thoughts about how one would distinguish aiming in one direction and shooting in a slightly different direction?

You could have a reticle of some sort.

We knew some people wouldn't like this.

It's not that I don't like it, but that it caused a couple problems that weren't solved.

Let us know if you get much further/get more used to it!

Well, I'm hopelessly stuck on the fourth factory level. It's a huge leap in difficulty from Desert Complex to these ones in general, and now that I've gotten to that level, I need to throw in the towel. Furthest I've gotten is the wave after the second swarm of little red enemies (at which point I had one bar of shields). The difficulty is just beyond all reason; I strongly there was no outside playtesting throughout development.

Now I realize I could in theory become skilled enough to pass that mission and any one after it, but why would I when it's so difficult and awkward (in reference to the factory enemies' patterns) it's not even fun? Besides, the trend on all other levels has been greater success on each attempt, and it apparently ended here. Why would I replay the same level hundreds of times until hitting a lucky streak? I can only imagine how difficult the game gets later on.

It takes a similar degree of retrial to a masochistic platformer, except it's not a bite-sized chunk of play you have to pass, but an entire marathon. My comments on pacing from the ambush level in the Titan Forest apply here as well.

I'd be surprised if more than a handful of people ever play through the game as it stands. Hopefully a few more voices chime in on your game.
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Ben Claxton
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« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2012, 02:45:46 am »

Sorry to hear that Veracity. Thanks for all your great feedback though. We really appreciate you taking the time to give it a go.

We're currently working on a new build with a number of changes that will hopefully make the game easier without sacrificing too much of the fun challenge. We'll send you a new link when it lands in case you feel like giving it a go. It would be great to get some feedback on it from someone who has already played a good chunk of the game i.e. you Tongue

Regarding the wave level in factory, I would probably put it up there with some of the hardest levels in the game, so don't be too discouraged. I agree though, for its position in terms of level progression it is too hard.

the trend on all other levels has been greater success on each attempt
This is really encouraging. It's this feeling of challenge and progression that we were going for and I can see that on longer levels (mainly the ambush style ones) it might suffer. We'll endeavor to get all the levels up to this standard.

Thanks again for the feedback, it's been incredibly useful!

P.S. In case you were wondering, I'm the art monkey for this game. I dun all those pixels.
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James Rossi
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« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2012, 12:46:01 pm »

If at all possible you can keep the current game difficulty as is, just separate it into a hard difficulty setting. And have an easier difficulty so babies like me can still enjoy it.
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2012, 04:00:42 pm »

I'd be interested to play this, if you want to post or PM me a download link.
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« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2012, 03:27:26 pm »

Sorry, yes, I've got a few people PMing me for a download link - I'm just holding off at the moment trying to impliment the following:

-Auto-aim
-Some levels easier (less waves)
-More visible power-ups
-Stop major crashes
-More comfortable boosting/braking

Hopefully have something next weekend! Who, Me?
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2012, 08:22:22 pm »

I played your game again(new version) and I can beat more levels: desert and factory.

The factory was extremely hard. I mean the levels where player got the key: Inner Working and Holding Bay. The last one is unreally hard because of no repairs in the level. I can beat it from 20-th or 30-th chance.

I can beat only one level in The Energy Hive, because of other levels are hard.

About weapons: I find them very intresting. I like the drill booster. This weapon add more various gameplay. But I think, that make same levels with that weapon not good idea. I mean level in desert with drones and levels in factory with shooting drones. The same joke don't make laught again. The Holding Bay is really damn level!

I happy that you added auto-aiming and worked with controls. It's more comfortable now =)
But levels with small space for moving are stay hard for me...

I really like the other two sentinels. But I think desert sentinel more easier that sentinel in the forest. I beat him with 3-d chance. But I can't understand how to avoid few big plasma balls.

I really like the map. It's very polished. But I noticed some glitch. If I go from desert to energy hive and return back then part of energy hive become not visible and visible again. But if I go from factory to energy hive then part of energy hive become not visible. And when I return back in factoryt then part of hive stay not visible.
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« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2012, 03:44:18 pm »

I've yet to play the new version, but I checked out the new Sentinel song, having seen that the music's in MP3 form now. There's too much reverb, and the whole sound is too thick, making instruments with sharp attacks lose their bite. Particularly the drone in the background is much too loud. I think lots more equalization is needed. Briefly listening to other songs, the problems is similar elsewhere.

Maybe it's better in game, but the music sounds tacky and ersatz right now. Even if you hadn't played the old version, I think it would be clear that someone shoehorned new instruments into music composed for real-time synthesis.

Finally, I only noticed it in Sentinel, but there's obvious clipping through much of the song. Checked in Audacity to make sure. Probably best to check all the songs.

EDIT-
Okay, Security Measures is suitably dumbed down. Perhaps too much so: I did it on my first try, with half my shields, and another repair module sitting there. Then again, I did practice the shit out of that level on the old version. Anyway, I could actually enjoy myself on that level this time.

Aiming still feels kind of wonky, but my shots over medium and long ranges connect much more often.

Good job on making the modules visible. Actually, that they're bigger fixed a problem I didn't fully acknowledge until it was fixed. Back on the old version, several times I missed a desperately-needed module and died, which was the most infuriating part of the whole experience. This time I accidentally picked up a repair module I didn't want...

Cool enemy design on the level where you use the boost trail on those armored X fellows. I love how you have to improvise new tactics throughout the game.

The redone music is much better in-game than I expected, but it still needs work.

Gave up on my first attempt on the Weapons Factory sentinel, but not due to difficulty. Been experiencing some severe slowdown whenever there are many objects. On WF Security Measures, it went down to ~5 FPS a few times. On the sentinel, it lurches severely every time his laser fires, and gets a bit choppy after he's fired lots of minigun rounds.

Never experienced any slowdown on the old version, and my computer should be ample for Telenaut. Just checked the WF sentinel on the old version; runs fine.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2012, 04:35:36 pm by Veracity » Logged
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