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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsMini Metro [playable build + Greenlit!]
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billyboob
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« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2014, 04:49:14 AM »

Just a couple of things. On a few occasions a second tunnel will be required but no tunnel upgrade will have been offered at any time before this.

On even less occasion, a new station will spawn in a spot that's not possible to reach e.g. connecting two stations that run along and close to a bank with a slight bend in the river between them, meaning the line wants to add a tunnel without having been offered the required upgrade, and no other possible combination of line connections will suffice.

Hope that second issue makes sense without a screenshot. I feel bad Smiley Honest.
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Gorman
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« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2014, 02:26:11 PM »

At the moment, no, when you grab the handle it removes the last link that was placed on the line. That's a great idea though! I hadn't thought of using the right mouse button.

It's been tricky designing the interface, we want to keep it minimal and elegant but that can come at a cost of intuitiveness. We don't want to put lots of little handles and widgets and buttons on the screen, although that would make aspects of line editing easier.

A super elegant, minimal, subtle, but probably pain in the ass to implement way to do this would be to take into account the 'un-hook' direction. So if you unhook to the direction of the incoming line it lifts up that line, unhook the other direction and it takes up the other line. It has a certain amount of affordance to it so people should uncover it by themselves.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 02:32:13 PM by Gorman » Logged

ryansumo
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« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2014, 06:44:00 PM »

Finally made some time to plat again.  Last try I almost got 300 peeps.  Wonder how this compares to others (a leaderboard seems an obvious addition).

I love the tweaks you've done to the game since I first played it.  I do have some UI/UX suggestions though.

upgrades color scheme:

I think you've really made the upgrades confusing by using a similar color palette as the lines for yellow, red, and green.  When I first saw the upgrades and they were colored yellow I though "oh, I have these upgrades for my yellow line."  Obviously that wasn't the case, and I can see other people being similarly confused.

This will obviously require a lot of design thought to fit in the "metro" theme, but in the meantime my suggestion is to just switch the colors of the letter and the circle.  I've taken the liberty of making a sample for you.  Feel free to use or ignore it!



So in this version of the upgrades bar you have "L" which is not available, "T" which is available and selected, and "C", which is available but not selected.

Pause button:

There's a lot of discussion about rerouting and better ways to handle that, but I wonder if we're all just thinking about this too hard?  I feel like all the game really needs is a pause button so that the player can experiment with rerouting lines without the penalty and stress of waiting customers.

I can respect if it was a design choice to not have a pause button, and it's certainly your right to keep the game that way, but as a transit game fan I have a sense that people like me like the opportunity to sit back and think about routing choices.  In fact part of the game's fun is just staring at the nodes and thinking of the best way to connect them, and there's no reasonable way to do that right now because of the stress of ferrying people about. 

One compromise could be to allow players one day (say the end of the week) to tinker and reroute all their lines.  This might even create a sense "of one more week" excitement, where the player is praying they can get to the end of the week so that they can take a break, instead of the constant stress-building that the game now provides.

Looking forward to a new build!
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« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2014, 07:56:06 PM »

Quote
I feel like all the game really needs is a pause button so that the player can experiment with rerouting lines without the penalty and stress of waiting customers.

This totally depends on where you want to go with this buuuut imo this is the wrong direction. Like, the stress of figuring out optimized routes on the fly is the game.

Quote
One compromise could be to allow players one day (say the end of the week) to tinker and reroute all their lines.

This could be a nice compromise.

Besides that those ux changes seem pretty solid.
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peterc_nz
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« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2014, 01:45:54 AM »

There actually is pause functionality in the build already. Smiley It's not advertised anywhere, but if you click on the clock you'll pause / resume the clock. We put it in because while we do want Mini Metro to have a hectic vibe when things are getting close, ultimately the game is about efficient routing.

It sounds like the functionality for loop-breaking will need some improvement. Thanks for all your ideas! Funny, I never thought that would be an issue - you never can tell until you start playtesting.

@ryansumo: Good point about the colour scheme. I hadn't thought about the confusion. The design for the upgrades screen was something I rushed for the alpha - prior to that it was all ugly placeholder images. It still is placeholder actually (we want icons instead of text). Colours for the UI are a bit of a problem. The lines use the bulk of colour in entire game. Different maps will have different colour schemes, so at any point the screen will be filled with 0 - 5 bold, strongly contrasting colours. Neither of us are graphic designers, so we have no idea how to pick UI colours that can work under those conditions! Shocked What I did was cop out and pick three colours from each colour theme, one positive colour (green for the London theme), one negative (red) and one neutral (yellow). These are mainly used for the buttons on the dialogs (negative for destructive actions, positive for play / resume / etc.) For the buttons I guess it's ok that they match the line colours because they're modal. At the last minute I decided to use them for the upgrade icon colours as well. In hindsight it wasn't the best idea!

@billyboob: Thanks for that report, and sorry for messing up your game! The game does check for connectivity before it spawns a station across a river, but the algorithm is a little crude to say the least. I did wonder if it would generate false positives as I was coding it. Now I know!

@permanent: Ta! iOS is definitely on the list of target platforms. I've got it running on my iPad mini, and I think it'll be the best platform to play it on. The geo looks super-sharp on the high-res screen. There are a couple of usability issues to resolve: the handles are going to be tricky to pick up reliably when the game zooms out, and the button hovers need to be changed.
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billyboob
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« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2014, 03:01:56 AM »

I just had a situation where relaying the line for a loop route reset the trains direction (at the worst possible moment haha).

Not sure if intentional or bug. The train had not reached any of the stations affected by the re-routing so should have continued on it's merry way without resetting I would have thought. It was a very odd loop with a large zig-zag section which is what I think caused the reset.

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peterc_nz
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« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2014, 02:18:11 PM »

I just had a situation where relaying the line for a loop route reset the trains direction (at the worst possible moment haha).

Not sure if intentional or bug. The train had not reached any of the stations affected by the re-routing so should have continued on it's merry way without resetting I would have thought. It was a very odd loop with a large zig-zag section which is what I think caused the reset.

If you come across a similar situation again, could you please email me a screenshot and a brief description of what happened? That'd be a great help!
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peterc_nz
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« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2014, 02:42:35 PM »

Steam Greenlight pitch
My focus right now is preparing to submit the game into the indie moshpit that is Greenlight. Blurb and icon are done (below), and up next are the screenshots and video. It's difficult to decide what to show seeing as the game has no audio yet and has a fair bit of placeholder content I don't exactly want to show off! I've managed to work out a quick 30-second trailer in my head, now I just have to find time to record it. It's not my specialty and time's at a premium lately (my wife Mary and I just had our second child), hence why the pitch is taking so long to put together.


What do you reckon about the icon? Once the pitch is live we'll put up a new alpha with the latest bug fixes and balance tweaks. Oh and a big ol' VOTE button!

Audio
Way back in June we were talking with a fantastic audio engineer who we were really excited about having on the project. That was going great up until a few months ago ... well long story short we're now in talks with another audio guy. Shrug We have high hopes for the audio in Mini Metro; we're after a dynamic, ambient soundtrack that is almost completely generated from the gameplay. So it's very laid-back, almost soothing, and slowly amps up as the game gets more and more hectic. Fingers crossed we can announce something soon on that front.
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billyboob
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« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2014, 03:24:24 PM »

Congrats on baby: the sequeling.

I like the icon but the flow is back to front. Put text on left (flip animated parts). As it is now I'm reading bottom left to top right which hurts my 'top left to bottom right' trained brain.

Before you chuck trailer up on greenlight maybe post it here for constructive criticism. Good luck!

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failrate
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« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2014, 05:50:07 PM »

I love this game so much.
I hate this game so much.
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Sebioff
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« Reply #30 on: February 17, 2014, 11:11:16 AM »

I like this a lot! Cool idea and aesthetics. Since this is still a wip and you're working on the balance this'll probably change, but the one "issue" I had is that oftentimes I felt like the game wasn't giving me enough options for improving. For example when I only have one tunnel available and it spawns only circles on the other side of the river, I always knew that it'd soon be game over, since the one line I have available to serve the circle cities doesn't have enough stations where it can unload and will eventually become overcrowded. I usually scored around 200 in those cases. Once I got a better distribution I reached 557. I wasn't sure for some time if I was playing bad or had bad luck.
Maybe I just havn't played enough to find a better strategy though!

I also support the "zen mode" idea, I think I would enjoy that a lot! The game can end very abruptly and it's somewhat sad to have to start over again, whereas I'd rather like to play around with it more to figure out a more efficient network.

I'll definitely keep an eye on this, keep going Smiley
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peterc_nz
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« Reply #31 on: February 18, 2014, 06:15:25 PM »

@billyboob: Ta for the feedback! I'll reverse the icon and see how it looks.

@failrate: Thanks! Mini Metro loves and hates you right back.

@Sebioff: This is my biggest concern about the game. The introduction of the rivers and tunnels (the prototype didn't feature them) has made the random placement of the stations much more important. A bad seed (i.e., not getting a square south of the river) will end your game earlier than a good one, regardless of your skill level. I'm thinking about ways we can deal with that issue, or if we even should at all!

It highlights the determinism of Mini Metro, which I think gives it a great deal of its charm, but means you can't deal with bad situations without cost. In something like Spelunky or Probability 0 a bad seed will set you up with a difficult or nigh-on impossible situation to navigate, but a skilled player may get through at little or no cost. In Mini Metro I think the seed is more like a multiplier against your skill - it is very unlikely that a level that comes out badly will net you a higher score than a level that comes out well.

We'll try adding a line and a tunnel to the initial set-up and see how that affects things.
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peterc_nz
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« Reply #32 on: February 20, 2014, 01:30:23 AM »

We have a trailer!





It's far from perfect, but it was all I could whip up in an evening with a borrowed copy of After Effects. Smiley It'll suffice for Greenlight hopefully, and we'll learn from this for the release trailer.
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Excy
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« Reply #33 on: February 20, 2014, 03:13:18 AM »

God damn, this game is bloody addictive.
Think my highest score is 268, still learning the best way to do things, upgrading one thing seems to always come with a detriment. That's good.

Edit: Just found you could loop tracks. I'm going places.

Okay, I've been playing about an hour now and I really want to play more. In summary, it feels like it's almost done but something is missing. Obviously, there are more features to be implemented yet and I will check them out when they're in but I feel like there's just something I could be doing while watching the trains. I don't know what that is.

I'm not too keen on getting an upgrade every week but that's preference. If I get an upgrade every week then so be it.

I want a score, it gives you a number when you lose and I think that's how many passengers you delivered (I press Try Again too fast). An in-game counter would be really nice.

It'd also be cool if there was an infinite mode where you couldn't lose but you were still restricted. I don't know. I want to see a load of train tracks with loads of trains and stuff. But hey, I guess that's the reward for getting that far.

All in all, extremely fun game, I'm following you on Twitter Smiley

Just went outside for a walk, saw yellow  no parking lines on the road and instantly thought of this. What have you done to me.

Semi-bug found: A station spawned on one of my existing tracks and it didn't attach to it even though there was no indication of whether or not it was on the track or not, as in if the train would stop there.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 07:24:29 AM by Exception » Logged

rek
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« Reply #34 on: February 20, 2014, 09:30:21 AM »

I played through twice before realizing you have to manually open the upgrade menu (found it by accident) to place the extra carriage.

The upgrades could use a bit of balancing, in my opinion. A new tunnel is worth a whole lot more than a new line (since you can extend an existing line across the river), but adding a single extra carriage to one line isn't enough to make a difference.

Over all though, I really like where this is going! Kiss

Edit after playing a dozen more times: Adding a pause button would also be gold. Having a few seconds to stop and think about rerouting existing lines would make the play session last longer.

I've also noticed the train sometimes skips the second last station to serve the terminal station first. Is that a bug, or is there something going on I didn't pick up on?
« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 01:58:58 PM by rek » Logged
peterc_nz
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« Reply #35 on: February 20, 2014, 06:49:40 PM »

Thanks for the feedback!

@Exception: Woah awesome - if you ever see trains moving along the no-parking lines, stop playing! Smiley

We've added an in-game counter which will in the next alpha. It's tricky because while that's very useful information we want to keep the interface simple and uncluttered. It doesn't get too much in the way ... but every UI element removes a little bit of the playable area from the game.

The zen mode will definitely be in the final game! It's been requested a lot, and as you say the game does suit itself to infinite play.

The issue with stations spawning underneath existing lines is one we're tackling at some point. What we're planning on doing is fading out a line where it gets close to a station it isn't attached to. I'll also alert the player (with one of the pulsing exclamation marks) when a station has commuters but is not connected to any lines.

@rek: In the dev build we have tips that (among other things) explain how to place upgrades. They'll be in the next alpha which is planned to go up next week, after we submit to Greenlight.

We have made some changes to the upgrades, but they still need some more thought on our part to make them 'equal'. At the moment the current hierarchy is (I think) extra line > carriage > tunnel, (so it's interesting to hear you place tunnels at the top!) unless you get a bad spawn in which case an extra tunnel is required for survival. We've changed carriages so they now hold more peeps than locos, but they're still only necessary in the late-game.

There is actually a pause button! It's not advertised at all, but if you click on the clock you can pause / resume time.

The train will skip a station if it doesn't need to pick up passengers until the return trip; is that what you're seeing? i.e., if the second-to-last station has a triangle passenger, and the last station isn't a triangle, it won't stop to pick them up until it's going in the other direction.
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Excy
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« Reply #36 on: February 21, 2014, 03:38:17 AM »

@Exception: Woah awesome - if you ever see trains moving along the no-parking lines, stop playing! Smiley

It's only a matter of time.

Looks like you're on top of everything, that's really good to know. Looking forward to future releases! Gomez
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rek
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« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2014, 01:13:26 PM »

@rek: In the dev build we have tips that (among other things) explain how to place upgrades. They'll be in the next alpha which is planned to go up next week, after we submit to Greenlight.

We have made some changes to the upgrades, but they still need some more thought on our part to make them 'equal'. At the moment the current hierarchy is (I think) extra line > carriage > tunnel, (so it's interesting to hear you place tunnels at the top!) unless you get a bad spawn in which case an extra tunnel is required for survival. We've changed carriages so they now hold more peeps than locos, but they're still only necessary in the late-game.

The reason I think the tunnel is more valuable is because you only get one for a long while, which means only one line can serve all the stations on the far side of the river. I suppose you could build a line entirely on the other side, but there's no guarantee you'll get all the station shapes needed to prevent overcrowding (you can even get all the same shape for a while).

Quote
There is actually a pause button! It's not advertised at all, but if you click on the clock you can pause / resume time.

I realized that long after I posted. I think it should be more obvious, if for no other reason than to let the player take a break (hide the game space if you want). I also like the idea another player had of working a rerouting day into the turn cycle, but I wouldn't want there to be any limits on how much rerouting one can do.
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failrate
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« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2014, 09:58:03 PM »

I've found that the only survivable strategy is to try to include at least four different shape types on a circular track.  I'll usually burn one route and one tunnel traversing the river, but I'll double up station services on each side (so that route doesn't have a single contact point on each side of the river (which would cause overpopulation of the nexus station)).
Does that sound like I'm "doing it right"?
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Sebioff
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« Reply #39 on: February 22, 2014, 02:56:20 AM »

That's what I found to be the best strategy as well.



I did encounter a small bug: I had a line running parallel to the river that was displayed like a tunnel, but wasn't being counted as one. When I tried to build a second line on that route it wouldn't let me because that one was counted as tunnel.
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