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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingMosaic Mingle (Prototype)
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jprogman
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« on: April 27, 2013, 09:38:29 AM »

Hi folks! I hope to get back into the routine of creating games with the help of my latest Flash game: Mosaic Mingle. I'm hoping to get some help from you players on the game's potential and difficulty and get a little motivation on completing this project.  Wink

-- Mosaic Mingle v0.1 -- Click here to try -- (Now offline)

I'm trying to find out if the game:

* is not too difficult to understand.
* is not too hard to complete, either by level difficulty or limitations.
* won't be too dull regardless of different puzzles.
* works on your computer right now. (This is my first time programming in Flash with AS 3.0)



Please note that this game is just a prototype, so many things other than the game play will be changed during development. Trust me, there will be tons of changes. TONS. So please forgive the very flimsy presentation heh. Facepalm

Mosaic Mingle is a puzzle game where you must create a mosaic image based on the stencil behind it. You will match that stencil by placing a tile next in line from the stack shown on the left. Press the green cursors to place the tiles. If you get stuck, press the undo button to remove tiles; which takes you into undo mode. (The number of undoings indicate how many times you have went into undo mode, NOT the number of times you undo moves.)

The way you place tiles is for the four squares, with blue x's in them, to fling the tiles into the template into the exact spot where the green cursor is. So there is some logic for how the tiles are placed. Think the whole field as being on a surface with a hole where the stencil is. The height of the tiles' is twice the size of the hole's deepness, so tiles cannot go over other tiles inside or outside the stencil. Best to try the game to get a better idea of the logic.

I have made seven levels of different styles of pictures, some are harder than others by the amount of colors included. Currently, all tile sequences are randomly generated, which varies in difficulty. In addition, depending on the complexity of the pictures, that too can change the difficulty, so there is a lot of variables for changing the difficulty of puzzles. For this version, I didn't re-arrange the puzzles according to difficulty, so it is best to try the pictures with just two colors to first start off.


Here are my plans before releasing:
* 50 mosaic puzzles in total. 5 rows of 10 puzzles each.
* First ten puzzles are easy (two colors).
* Next row of puzzles gets progressively harder with more complex pictures.
* Music! Presentation! Graphics! Performance!
* Two mode of levels: one with a preset sequence of tiles (easier), another with randomly set sequence of tiles (harder, what this prototype uses).
? Might add symbols onto the tiles to better distinguish colors for those who could not.
? Features for making undoings easier to follow and control. (One example would be putting numbers on tiles in the order they were placed.)
* Medals or rankings for completing levels quickly and with fewer undoings.

I'm welcome to any feedback, positive or negative, as long they are meaningful and specific.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 12:57:26 PM by jprogman » Logged

~JProgman ~ I Made Mosaic Mingle ~ My Web Portfolio ~ @jprogman ~
dreamless
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2013, 03:24:01 PM »

I like the mechanic!  It really feels like you're assembling a physical mosaic, which is nice.  The tiles sliding in makes it quickly obvious why you can place tiles in some squares and not others.

It's stressful, though: when you make a mistake, you don't realize you've hosed yourself until five or six turns down the line.  Being able to slide in tiles from all directions is something that immediately stood out, but it was never that useful in practice.  Maybe because most of the patterns I tried had a border of one color, so I'd build up around two or three edges and cut off the ability to slide in tiles from any direction.

You might try building outward from a seed tile in the middle, though that does lose you the purity of starting with a perfectly empty board.

I'm not used to having to look that many moves deep in the next piece list, and even here I find I don't look until I've made a mistake.  Not sure what you can do about that.
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jprogman
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 06:24:03 PM »

I like the mechanic!  It really feels like you're assembling a physical mosaic, which is nice.  The tiles sliding in makes it quickly obvious why you can place tiles in some squares and not others.

It's stressful, though: when you make a mistake, you don't realize you've hosed yourself until five or six turns down the line.  Being able to slide in tiles from all directions is something that immediately stood out, but it was never that useful in practice.  Maybe because most of the patterns I tried had a border of one color, so I'd build up around two or three edges and cut off the ability to slide in tiles from any direction.

You might try building outward from a seed tile in the middle, though that does lose you the purity of starting with a perfectly empty board.

I'm not used to having to look that many moves deep in the next piece list, and even here I find I don't look until I've made a mistake.  Not sure what you can do about that.

Thanks for your feedback. Speaking of your suggestion for the "seed tile", I did thought up some game styles. However, I wanted to keep the project simple and cram too much stuff to its first release. But, it is still a nice idea.
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dlan
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2013, 01:48:38 AM »

The mechanic is interesting, but it's too easy to put yourself in a dead end, you realize your mistakes too late. Another thing that bug me is that the game let you play even if you have a tile where you can't place a block anymore, or if you place a block at the wrong place. And also, reorder the puzzle by difficulty, I know it's intended , but I think a lot of people will skip your explanation and directly try the first level to the left Smiley

The game has some potential as is, but need perhaps a hint system to make the difficulty curve less steep.
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jprogman
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2013, 12:28:13 PM »

The mechanic is interesting, but it's too easy to put yourself in a dead end, you realize your mistakes too late. Another thing that bug me is that the game let you play even if you have a tile where you can't place a block anymore, or if you place a block at the wrong place. And also, reorder the puzzle by difficulty, I know it's intended , but I think a lot of people will skip your explanation and directly try the first level to the left Smiley

The game has some potential as is, but need perhaps a hint system to make the difficulty curve less steep.

It's pretty obvious to start with easier puzzles and then work your way up to difficult ones; if not a standard for puzzle games.
I remember some games starts off by giving you hints at the earlier rounds and then disappears in later rounds. Another example is how the "Mario Picross" series have two modes, easy and hard, which basically toggles the hint system.
Sometimes it is best not to get informed when you have made a mistake, like when you are playing sudoku. Of course for beginners, they would like it to be notified when they have made a mistake.
The best strategy to this would be to start the first few rows of puzzles with hints, and then have the remainder puzzles played without hints.
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Sar
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2013, 03:06:15 PM »

* is not too difficult to understand.

It took me a couple of goes at first to understand exactly what the limitation as to when I could or couldn't place a tile in a space were. I'm still a bit confused as to why, for example, some of the border tiles disappear when you've placed a few other tiles. It seems to imply that you have to slide tiles from the absolute opposite side of the board to those border tiles to fill them, rather than just being able to place on any square you can see from the edge which is up against some edge or tile?

I'd make more of an effort to explain the sliding mechanic in-game; once I got it, it was clear enough, but trying it at first without reading any of the accompanying text made it pretty much impossible to work out what was going on in the first game!

Currently, all tile sequences are randomly generated, which varies in difficulty.

My biggest concern here is that it could feasibly generate unsolvable puzzles!

For example: your template says that there's a two-tile blue border around all edges and a white blob in the middle, but the random sequencer doesn't start you off with two blue tiles before you hit any whites.

One easy way to deal with this would be to start with a full mosaic in-memory and generate the tile sequence by pulling tiles off of the mosaic from what would have been game-legal positions to place in, until the mosaic is empty.

You could also vary the difficulty to a degree by limiting the number of sides of the mosaic the sequence-generator could pull from - for an easy sequence only allow pulling tiles from one side; for a normal-difficulty one, pull from two sides; for hard pull from all four. Not guaranteed to generate harder sequences, but more likely to.

I'd also consider the option - maybe as an alternative game mode - to be able to place tiles anywhere that's accessible directly from one side of the puzzle. Perhaps that could be ultra-easy mode? That would be easier to explain to people as well, and prime them for moving onto regular-mode later with the extra restrictions on tile placement.
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jprogman
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2013, 05:27:49 PM »

There is a perspective that isn't noticeable until it was explained; which is something I needed to include in the game by far. The picture in the grid is like an empty pool and the tile "shooters" are on the pool's platform. When the "shooters" shoot a tile, the tile goes into the pool and keeps on going until it hits another tile or the edge of the pool. I plan to add tutorials to the game that includes a good visualization of how the game is played.

The sequence of tiles is not random per se. It was created much in the way you had explained it: place generic tiles on the grid, sequence them, convert into colors according to their locations on the picture. So, there's no need to worry about unsolvable puzzles. However, I will add a fixed sequence of tiles as another game mode so there's one universal way to solve a puzzle. Having said that, the "random" generation of sequence tiles will be another game mode which will be unlocked AFTER the other game mode mentioned is completed first. So, essentially, you would be playing the same puzzle twice, both in different modes.
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