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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingMonsters! Dual Stick Arena Shooter
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zenasprime
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« on: February 18, 2013, 07:40:49 AM »

Hey folks, I'd love to get some feedback on the game I'm currently finishing up called Monsters.  Monsters is a dual stick arena shooter inspired by Robotron 2084.   Wielding “twin stick” controls, the player aims to defeat waves of enemy monsters bent on his destruction.  The player must use caution, however, as every shot drains the player’s life/energy. The only way to stay alive is to continuously collect the hearts of the slain monsters.  In addition, hearts of different colors provide a variety of “power-up” like abilities that the player can use to their advantage.  Here are some screenshots...






I'm looking for both general feedback (was it fun for you?), as well as the more specific (what did you like, not like, find confusing?)  I'm pretty open to constructive criticism, and willing to hear you out if you've found something not so interesting about the game.

You can download the game at http://monsters.quadratron.com/downloads/ .  I would love to hear your feedback!

Thanks!
-z
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 07:56:50 AM by zenasprime » Logged

chris_b
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 09:26:39 PM »

I checked it out.

Firstly, the download is a bit big. 260MB which unzips to over half a gigabyte! WTF This is ridiculous for a game like this (unless there's a huge amount of content later in the game which I didn't see). Is the music uncompressed .wav?

Controls don't work properly with my 360 controller - left stick movement is OK, but moving the right stick left and right shoots up and down respectively and I can't shoot left or right.

As for the gameplay - it feels pretty solid and I can see the potential, but in its current form I got bored pretty quickly. The monsters drift around randomly so it's easy to just strafe at the sides of the screen and mop up some hearts every now and then. Without any kind of homing behaviour or basic AI it doesn't feel like there's much in the way of challenge.

Staying alive by refilling the energy is a really nice idea - but the UI should communicate my current energy level more clearly, like with a big bar along the top or bottom of the screen, or use a bigger font to display the value and change the text colour through yellow/orange/red as it decreases.

Graphics for the player, monsters and items are all great, but the background could do with a little bit of colour and variation.
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Nebjezus
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2013, 01:44:12 AM »

I thought that was a lot of fun, great job.

Most of the criticism I have was mostly covered already by chris_b, particularly on the point of clearly showing how much energy the player has left.

I thought the difficulty curve was pretty well done, and the aesthetic was clean, simple and vibrant. I will have to partially agree with chris_b in regards to making the backgrounds a bit more vibrant. because you have so many projectiles/monsters on screen, having a fairly plain background actually helps to highlight the important sections of the frame.

Making the background too vibrant and colorful may make the whole scene look a bit clustered. Perhaps add a little bit more color to the floor, and add visual character by adding something on the edges of the screen (torches, chests etc) where the player's focus won't be. You could even use this to direct the players attention to the center of the screen where most of the action takes place.

Fantastic work though. Reminded me a lot of Geometry Wars; one of my favorite dual stick shooters. How much longer are you working on the project for? Where are you planning to release it?
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zenasprime
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2013, 07:49:11 AM »

Hi chris_b and Nebjezus,  Thanks for taking some time to play and send me some feedback on Monsters.  Let's see if I can comment on or address some of the criticism...

Huge File Sizes - I was quite shocked that the latest build was so large myself.  Chris nailed it on the head... I recently added several audio files that were uncompressed .wav files.  I'm looking into how to get these to be more reasonably sized files.  I was under the impression that Unity did some kind of magic and would compress these files.  herp derp.  Wink

XBox Controller - I do my development on a *cough* Mac *cough* and I'll have to admit that I haven't fully tested on Windows/Linux (yet).  The driver support for XBox Controllers on mac doesn't map the controls in the same fashion as on Windows for some reason.  I had THOUGHT that the analog sticks were working as described on all OSs but I guess I was wrong.  Sad  I'll look into getting this fixed.  I'm a bit annoyed by having to throw an input manager on top of the unity input manager to sort this issue out but this is the way the cookie crumbles I suppose.

Quickly Bored - The difficulty ramp up is something I'm still trying to master.  On the one hand I've got players who are, like yourself, not satisfied with how easy the first 5 levels are, while at the same time there are players who are complaining that the first level is way too hard. o.O  I'm going to be experimenting with this almost daily.  If you have any suggestions I'm all ears.  :D

User Interface - This is something else I've been trying desperately to develop.  Originally there were bars at the top of the screen that indicated how much life/energy the player had.  We then took that out and put a "shield" around the player that would dim as the player lost life/energy.  That didn't work either.  For now, I've put a number indicator (0-100) to help play testers but I'm still not sure how I want to present this information.  Again, suggestions are more then welcome.  :D

Backgrounds - I do agree that they need a little special something but as Nebjezus mentioned, we don't want to distract the player as there is already a ton of stuff going on on the screen, especially in the later levels.  I'm considering a border of some sort.

Release - My overly optimistic release schedule had it planed for release at the end of January.  Then I bumped it to end of February.  Ultimately I want to have it at least into a mostly finished state before a friend and I go on a road trip to GDC in March.  I would like to release it on our own website but we are also working on getting it set up on Desura.  You can currently find it on IndieDB as well (http://www.indiedb.com/games/monsters).

Again, that you very much for the feedback.  :D
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zenasprime
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2013, 03:37:03 PM »

New builds are available at http://www.indiedb.com/games/monsters
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stevesan
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2013, 02:01:14 AM »

If you're still having file size issues, you should use Audacity to export sounds to OGG. Unity works with OGG best (mp3s can take a loonnggg time to import for some reason..)
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zenasprime
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 03:13:27 PM »

Unity will compress the audio files to OGG, you just have to tell it to do so.  Another reason for out large file size (though not nearly as bad) seems to be our art assets, we could have made them a lot smaller but didn't.  I'm not sure if it's going to be worth resizing all the art assets, but it is currently nagging at me.  Wink
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Udderdude
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2013, 07:13:16 PM »

I gave it a try.  I don't like that every level is just a random generation of monsters thrown around randomly.  You might want to try redesigning it so each level has a scripted wave of enemies from certian parts of the screen.  Also, make the earlier levels shorter so the player doesn't have to spend so long swatting at near-harmless enemies like those blobs and maggots.
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zenasprime
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2013, 07:19:22 PM »

Hey Udderdude, what version are you playing (it should say on the title screen).  Since version 0.10a the game does indeed have set number and types of enemies per wave and level.

I also understand your frustration with the early levels.  Unfortunately for those of us who pick the game up quickly, the first few levels are a bit boring.  The play testing feedback I've been receiving, however, is that the first levels are either too easy OR too hard (yes a majority of player's have actually been complaining that they are too hard and need to be made easier).  I made some changes in 0.13a to help with the tedium of levels 1 and 2.  As soon as I can get it out there I'll post a link.

Thank you for giving it a go and providing feedback.  :D
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Udderdude
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2013, 08:58:47 PM »

I played whatever version was up there when I downloaded it a few hours ago ..

I'd suggest making the noob levels shorter and also remove a lot of the enemies, i think your noob players are getting caught by the sudden teleporting of enemies that spawn all in one big group.  And if they teleport on the player, well .. they die.
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zenasprime
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2013, 07:16:20 AM »

Monsters went live on Desura's alpha funding program this past week.  http://www.desura.com/games/monsters

All feedback is welcome.   Smiley
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zenasprime
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« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2013, 11:27:03 AM »

New beta version (0.17b) is now available.  Your feedback is very much welcome. :D

http://www.indiedb.com/games/monsters
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TestTrek
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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2013, 06:11:28 PM »

I had a good time playing this.

I think the player blends in with the characters too much. Sometimes Its hard to tell where I am.
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zenasprime
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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2013, 08:21:44 PM »

Thanks for the feedback TestTrek.   Smiley
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