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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsCatcher! (Now with procedural backgrounds & more!)
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Author Topic: Catcher! (Now with procedural backgrounds & more!)  (Read 11992 times)
TobiasW
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« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2014, 02:49:50 PM »

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the newest build! Beer!

Featuring:
  • Much cooler particle systems for catching enemies
  • Particle systems as feedback for other things
  • New feedback sound effects!
  • The option to press I to get rid of most of the ingame texts - this one is for you, oleomingus :D
  • Mouse speed calibration when in windowed/browser mode
  • CPU/memory optimizations, probably entirely countered by the new effects


Play it in your browser!
(Needs the Unity Web Player)

Adopt a desktop version!
Windows
Linux
Mac

Note that while the web version is always up to date,
the desktop versions don't automatically update.



Next up:
  • Further improvement of the visual effects, especially glow
  • Sound effects for the enemies, where appropriate
  • Implementation of a new menu system with the Daikon Forge GUI
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Xienen
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« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2014, 03:38:19 AM »

Game's definitely an interesting concept, but when I did well, I kinda felt like I just got lucky. I know there's definitely some amount of skill to it, but a couple of times I just went into clicky clicky mode and ended up catching a slew of the hard enemies in my net all at once, particularly toward the end of the second sector. Not sure how to resolve that, might just be the nature of the beast.

Other than that, I love the enemy diversity...nicely fleshed out design!  Toast Right
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Christian
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« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2014, 04:07:45 AM »

Those orange enemies that home in on you and "stick" to you, are really annoying. I was thinking it would be better if they acted like magnets, like the closer you get, the more they get attracted to you, rather than instantly rushing you.
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Buzzwerd
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« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2014, 05:43:35 AM »

Those orange enemies that home in on you and "stick" to you, are really annoying. I was thinking it would be better if they acted like magnets, like the closer you get, the more they get attracted to you, rather than instantly rushing you.

I kind of liked that they made you deal with them before you could move on. Though I think the magnet enemies could be something else entirely and wouldn't really overlap too badly.

I'm really enjoying this game, you've given yourself so much room to explore with the enemy designs. It's really exciting.
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TobiasW
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« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2014, 08:51:35 PM »

Game's definitely an interesting concept, but when I did well, I kinda felt like I just got lucky. I know there's definitely some amount of skill to it, but a couple of times I just went into clicky clicky mode and ended up catching a slew of the hard enemies in my net all at once, particularly toward the end of the second sector. Not sure how to resolve that, might just be the nature of the beast.

Other than that, I love the enemy diversity...nicely fleshed out design!  Toast Right

Aw - sorry to hear that. I really wonder how you're doing random captures though, I've never seen that before. I mean sometimes you get lucky by getting *just* the right timeframe, but pure dumb luck? Either I don't have enough imagination for that, or you're playing better than you're giving yourself credit for!



Those orange enemies that home in on you and "stick" to you, are really annoying. I was thinking it would be better if they acted like magnets, like the closer you get, the more they get attracted to you, rather than instantly rushing you.

Oh yeah, Moons are super annoying buggers and testers wildely disagree on them, with one telling me he's the one enemy he would love to see removed, while another said that I should definitely leave him in for the pure satisfaction after beating him.

Buzzwerd explains pretty well what Moon's point is though - and Moon is the first enemy where you actually really have to *think* about his behaviour to catch him reliably. (Yep, there is a method to catching him. I'll think about how to make it a bit more obvious.)

Making trap-like enemies like him is a great idea though, thank you! (Oh, and I can already think of other traps. I think I'll have a lot of fun with that. Grin)



I kind of liked that they made you deal with them before you could move on. Though I think the magnet enemies could be something else entirely and wouldn't really overlap too badly.

I'm really enjoying this game, you've given yourself so much room to explore with the enemy designs. It's really exciting.

Yeah, definitely! And I'm glad you like it. Welcome to the journey - because I still have ideas for a LOT more enemies. Smiley
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Xienen
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« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2014, 08:03:24 AM »

Aw - sorry to hear that. I really wonder how you're doing random captures though, I've never seen that before. I mean sometimes you get lucky by getting *just* the right timeframe, but pure dumb luck? Either I don't have enough imagination for that, or you're playing better than you're giving yourself credit for!

It was just a feeling and perhaps I was just doing what I'm supposed to do well enough in my frantic clicking Wink
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TobiasW
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« Reply #26 on: March 23, 2014, 11:19:26 AM »

Sweet - Catcher got a place in the TIGSource DevLog: The Visual Showcase of Awesome New Games, Issue #18 at Venus Patrol! And next to so many awesome-looking games too! Thanks a lot! Kiss
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Uykered
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« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2014, 10:06:51 PM »

This is really cool, the aesthetics feel decent too. Has good potential!

It's not very compelling at the moment, I'd like to see it be more gamey personally. Currently it's optimal to just capture things in small numbers (1 or 2) because that's the easiest thing to do, and it's not really that hard to finish a level (nor interesting) as going for a combo is pointless as all it does is raise a number that does nothing and has no impact on the goal.

One idea would be to perhaps have a limit on how many nets you can cast out so that you'd have to think more carefully about trying to get a good catch, this would make combos relevant. A second idea would be to have a score goal, example 100 points in each level and once you get to 100 you win the level and if you don't you lose.
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Christian
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« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2014, 05:40:47 PM »

http://indiegameenthusiast.blogspot.com/2014/03/no-money-no-problem-catcher.html Smiley

Do you have a Twitter page? Couldn't find a link on your site
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 05:47:03 PM by Christian » Logged

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TobiasW
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« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2014, 08:55:51 PM »

@alastair:
Thanks a lot! And you are right: If you catch everything one by one, most levels aren't hard at all, and there except "get a high score" there is no compelling reason to try harder.

Having a certain amount of nets per level is an intriguing idea. I'll try it soon to see if it works out! As I imagine it right now, there'd be mostly levels where your net count is limited - and some levels which are more about figuring out your enemy and not dying.

I could also easily use that for different difficulty settings to provide further challenge down the line.



Woah, thanks a lot for the feature - and the praise in it! Made me happy to read it Smiley

I do have a Twitter page, but I hardly ever write there.
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TobiasW
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« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2014, 10:12:27 AM »

I've been to the A MAZE./Berlin Indie Festival last week - and apart from meeting Tiger-ers (Yo, migrafael! Hey, geti!), playing awesome games and making weird cat glitch art at workshops, I've also been showcasing Catcher!

It's been a rollercoaster of joy and frustration as I tend to be emotional when it comes to my creations, but I want to know what people really think - so often I just watched people play without telling them that I made the game. It's incredibly humbling to see people pick up the game, try it for a short while and then walk away frustrated because they don't get it. On the other hand, it feels so good to see people finishing sector after sector and still trying after dying countless times in the later levels! Smiley

I got lots of valuable feedback. The most important aspect to me are my observations regarding accessibility - it's okay if people decide that the game is not for them, but it's NOT okay if they just don't understand how to play. Here are the main problems and how I intend to solve them:


Some players didn't get that they have to use the right mouse button to close the net.

While this was explained in the wordy tutorial text in the first screen, almost nobody read that. (I think the best way to hide secrets in your game is in long text passages Tongue)

An image might help because it's faster to understand and draws the eye more:


The new image explaining the controls.

This will be shown until you have finished a level where you catch at least one enemy with the right mouse button. (You can also catch enemies by making looping motions - but this is a lot harder to pull off later and players should definitely know the right mouse button method.)


Some players didn't understand what to do at all, rammed their ships into enemies and didn't understand that this hurts them.

While I could explain this via text, I think that's mainly a feedback problem with three portions to it: What happened, where did it happen, and what was the result?

After my improvements, when you touch an enemy with your ships, the feedback looks like this:

  • What happened: "Ship Collision" is displayed. A damage sound effects plays. Bright damage particles spawn at the point where it happened.
  • Where did it happen: The ship that collided blinks red for a second.
  • What was the result:: A newly introduced healthbar at the top gets smaller. (Health was always in the game, but previously only expressed in % in the upper left.)


The newly introduced healthbar, collision particles,
feedback text and a red blinking ship.

The healthbar also refills visibly between levels, which will hopefully teach the players that their health is always full when a level starts. (One less thing I previously had to express through text, yay Smiley )


Many players had problems with little movements. In most games those will be tinier and more precise - in Catcher they just don't work at all right now and result in big unwanted turns.

I haven't tackled this yet, but I'll probably change the controls so they react less to little movements. This shouldn't change how the game is played too much because right now experienced players mainly make big movements anyway - because small movements are currently imprecise and useless.


Will this work? I don't know - but in two weeks there's a local playtesting event here in Berlin, and I'll watch players there. Keeping my fingers crossed! And if not: Back to the drawing board with me.


Other things the next release (probably soon!) will have:
  • Particle effects for nearly every enemy now. The game looks SO MUCH more lively now.
  • Lots of little bug fixes.
  • Visually improved catcher ships! This one was due for a long time now. They'll point to your mouse when being apart from each other, and dock when they get close.


The ships turn towards the mouse.


The ships dock together.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2014, 12:52:52 PM by TobiasW » Logged

TobiasW
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« Reply #31 on: May 11, 2014, 07:44:54 AM »

If anybody sees this game for the first time and has 5 minutes to spare - I'd love you to test the new really short tutorial!

Just click on this fine hand-crafted link.

I'd like to know:
1. How long did you take for levels 1, 2 and 3 respectively? (Don't worry, they are all really short.)
2. Did you have any problems?
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 08:55:15 AM by TobiasW » Logged

Lars
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« Reply #32 on: May 11, 2014, 07:52:56 AM »

1. How long did you take for levels 1, 2 and 3 respectively?
A: Not too long, probably a minute or two each after trying to rush and failing at it.

2. Did you have any problems?
A: I had a problem with the first level. The arrow told me to open my net while going over the green circle. When it told me to close it, it also showed an arrow going back the way I came. This made me a little confused the first time as I thought I was supposed to go back over before closing the net.

Other than that, fun game Smiley
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TobiasW
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« Reply #33 on: May 11, 2014, 08:06:11 AM »

Thanks a lot, Lars, that's very helpful! I think I found the problem and fixed it. Can you still reproduce it in this version?
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Lars
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« Reply #34 on: May 11, 2014, 08:11:01 AM »

I was not able to reproduce it in that version Smiley
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TobiasW
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« Reply #35 on: May 11, 2014, 01:13:29 PM »

Great, me neither! Phew, good thing you caught that before I send it to the Brighton Develop Conference Indie Showcase...
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 01:53:13 PM by TobiasW » Logged

Lars
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« Reply #36 on: May 11, 2014, 01:25:27 PM »

Just happy to help Smiley
Good luck with the further development of the game! Looks really promising Smiley
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TobiasW
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« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2015, 03:19:50 PM »

"Warning: this topic has not been posted in for at least 120 days."

Welp. I've been away for far too long, I guess. But no more: After a master’s thesis and a few months of freelance work I’ve once again time to work on Catcher!

I proudly present to you the newest release, featuring:
  • A short tutorial (and it’s about time!)
  • Particle effects for every enemy
  • Better-looking player ships and improved feedback on taking damage
  • Improved movement controls
  • Performance rating after a level to provide context on “How good did I do?” aside from scores
  • Self-made score server
  • Lots of small bug fixes

Play it in your browser!
(Needs the Unity Web Player)

Adopt a desktop version!
Windows
Linux
Mac

Note that while the web version is always up to date,
the desktop versions don't automatically update.







The self-made score server was needed after Scoreoid, the service I previously used, decided to silently cease service and take all of my player’s scores with them. At first I thought it was just a short outage, but after a few months of not even being able to access the backend site it seems they just died silently. Time to depend more on the things I make myself, I guess.

Damn, it feels good to be back. Expect a lot more updates in the coming months!
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Christian
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« Reply #38 on: January 24, 2015, 09:21:43 PM »

Finally got around to checking out the new version. Gameplay is as fun as ever, and the added feedback definitely helps to keep track of your ship and when you take damage. The rankings are a nice addition as well, provides a reason to go back and improve. Trying to beat levels with as few catches and the biggest combos as possible gives the game almost a puzzle vibe, as you need to plan when's the best times and what's the best angle to swoop in for the kill. The controls definitely feel more responsive than before

Nice to see you back. Can't wait to see future updates
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TobiasW
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« Reply #39 on: January 27, 2015, 03:40:12 PM »

Thanks a lot! Next up are, among other things, finally more exciting backgrounds. I'm currently looking into what would be a fitting backdrop and into generative/procedural art. If everything goes as planned, it will always be different and somewhat interactive. (And if it doesn't, I will have learnt a lot about generative art along the way, haha.)
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