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TIGSource ForumsFeedbackPlaytestingGunBlocks - a round-based platform adventure on a blocky planet
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CookieEngine
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« on: July 08, 2014, 09:02:22 pm »

Hello there,

my name is Ivica and I am a gear in the Cookie Engine. It's a new label we started, but some of you might know us from tons of bits (chick chick BOOM for WiiWare).

We just released the GunBlocks pre-alpha demo and we hope to get here some feedback on it. The pre-alpha demo consists of the tutorial and the first mission level.

GAME DESCRIPTION
GunBlocks is a round-based platform adventure set on a mysterious blocky planet. Thanks to your incompetent team, a gluttony captain and his little stinky pet, your ship crashed and now you have to find a way to repair it. The task is not easy since an ancient force is guarding the planet. To win, you have to wisely manipulate your surrounding by placing or destroying blocks. But don't worry! You're a freaking gun and you can shoot! And even better, an over-friendly Super-Computer with a short-circuit in his emotional chip, will help you on your journey. It will be available on PC, Mac, and iOS/Android Tablets.

--> DEMO: http://www.gunblocks.com/demo/
--> Website: http://www.gunblocks.com/
 


« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 07:44:11 am by CookieEngine » Logged

BilbyCoder
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2014, 02:20:19 am »

Hi CookieEngine, I gave gunblocks a try and found it to be an interesting idea.  The core game-play concept is solid and depending on the levels could be quite a fun game.

Before the criticism, what I liked.
I quite like the art style and sound design.  The 3D/2D effect at the crash is particularly effective.

Bugs!
I don't know how I managed to do it but after the computer yells at me to hit shift to skip shooting and moving the four steps the game refused to start the next turn.  It sort of looks like my little gun self goes to sleep.  It has happened every time I restart since that bug comes up, and happens no matter if I play through the initial tutorial stage or skip to the crash.

Improvements
Now on to the more subjective elements.
I don't like how slowly my little gun self moves.  After a few turns it feels excruciatingly slow.

A way to skip all the talking and get to the puzzle/shooting would be greatly appreciated.  While I thought that the crash was very nice the first time I watched it, I was ready to skip past it by the fifth time.  If people are going to replay or have to restart levels then the cut scenes are just too long to not be skippable.

Overall there was enough there that I will be interested to see how this game develops.



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coremission
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2014, 02:31:41 am »

Great game, i like it!

I notice that game have some lags when occuring this:

'moving all the tiles at one time', like when ship flies. Is this made with NGUI?
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CookieEngine
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2014, 02:41:25 am »

@BilbyCoder

Thanks for playing and spotting this bug! It came yesterday with a not-so-well-tested update Wink But now it works again. So feel free to clear the cache and try it out Smiley

We'll shorten the timing and dialog! Since this is an early demo, there are no comfortable mechanism for skipping anything. In the full version will be someting implemented like this. Furthermore we'll have checkpoints, so there is now need to watch the crash over and over again Smiley
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BilbyCoder
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2014, 03:31:26 am »

Excellent.

I'll load it up again later and continue my efforts to create puzzle shapes that destroy the game completely.
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CookieEngine
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2014, 05:06:37 am »

@coremission

Thanks for playing! We're using an own GUI which has still some issues Wink

@BilbyCoder

Don't forget to make screenshots! :D
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Quicksand-S
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2014, 10:35:10 am »

The tutorial and initial cutscenes were pretty great.

I do wish that I could skip through dialogue faster with spacebar, though. Personally, I tend to prefer it when one button press makes all the text appear instantly and the second goes to the next but of dialogue (if possible).

There seems to be a delay after the text appears before the spacebar does anything.

The sound of the ship "landing" occurred before it actually touched down.

I really like the art. There are some really great little touches too, like the grass growing on blocks.

Aiming shots feels a bit weird. I kept wanting to use left/right and then when I reminded myself to use up and down it still felt off because up makes the character aim lower.

I tried to trap a drone and it escaped. That AI caught me by surprise. Pretty cool.

I died on level 1 in a strange and slightly-frustrating way. I had been building a bridge to get over the last drone before I found out that it could destroy it. I fell down the hole and started shooting at the wall to get through. The drone caught up to me and hit me so my last shot never fired and I got crushed by the screen. Also, the drone was "rescued" by attacking me.

I didn't feel like doing the whole level again because there's so much waiting. I would love it if the "walking" speed doubled.

This is a really good game. I'd probably play a lot more if there wasn't so much down-time waiting for the spacebar to respond or for the character to move. I love the character everything has. The writing is really good and the concept works great. I didn't encounter any noticeable bugs or slowdown.
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valrus
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2014, 08:23:08 pm »

I like it!  A few thoughts:

  • The dropping-blocks/shooting alternation was also weird for me; since it uses different aiming mechanisms.  I think I'd like it more if the activities were controlled in a more similar manner. (Dropping "bombs" as if they're a special sort of blocks, or targeting block-targets the same way as you aim the mortar.)
  • Maybe put "bullet" as an inventory item so I know when it's coming.  (Of course, it comes at the end of the "drop" turn, but this would reinforce that more concretely.)

Different blocks would be neat (sand that falls to fill holes maybe, metal that can't be shot, blocks covered in ivy that allow you to climb more than one block, antiblocks that erase their shape from the existing level...)
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CookieEngine
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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2014, 02:50:42 am »

@Quicksand-S

Thanks for playing and the proper feedback! As many people complain the speed, we're going to tweak some dialog and sequences Smiley

The aiming controls may feel weird, but later in the game you will control multiple character which can be selected with LEFT/RIGHT buttons. That's why we have to use the UP/DOWN keys for aiming.

Some people are missing the fact that they have to hit the drone, even the computer is explaining this. Maybe the we have to emphasize this more...

The walking speed is really an issue. We'll definitely change something here.

After the main issues are fixed, it would be nice if you could play it again. We'll post a newer version in the forum soon! Smiley


@valrus

Thanks for the feedback and the nice suggestion! Your idea to initiate the aiming part with a "bullet" item is really funny, as we had this in our first flash prototype. We kicked is to shorten the whole process. Maybe a visual and acoustic feedback would help to identify the steps better.

There are many ideas when it comes to block types. The sand block is already implemented in the upcoming desert level and yes, is fills holes which is really helpful Smiley The antiblock sounds interesting too..
Some characters will be able to jump more than one block *spoiler* Wink




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Quicksand-S
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« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2014, 12:14:15 pm »

The computer tells you to shoot at the drone but not to hit it directly (I forget the exact wording, but it's something to that effect). I fired at the ground below it multiple times before shooting it out of frustration and realizing I was supposed to. I imagine this is the same reason some of the other people didn't think of shooting the drones.

As for the aiming, that multi-character thing explains the up/down control but I still think it would make more sense with the controls switched since this isn't a flight game. Up should aim higher (ie. aim up). Maybe you could even give the player the choice.
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BilbyCoder
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2014, 11:58:33 pm »

@Quicksand-S I'd have to disagree on the aiming.  the buttons work the way I'd expect, inverting the horizontal would go against my instinct and frustrate me.  I also hate what apple has done in scrolling windows Waaagh!.

My take away from this is a selectable inversion for the shot elevation would be the way to go.
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abclive
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« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2014, 02:29:23 am »

I played your game yesterday and it was really good. I wonder how you manage to code all theses things.

I have nothing to add, everything have been said above Smiley Keep working on it, it's promising !
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s-spooky g-g-ghosts
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« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2014, 10:22:37 am »

Hey, I played yout game up until a bug. I'd say it's a pretty cool game. I'd only say that intuition was telling me to press left and right arrows to aim and not up and down. But maybe that's me. After rescuing a drone after the landing my game just stopped. Everything was just floating up and down and it wouldn't respond to any key presses.

Nonetheless cool concept Smiley
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CookieEngine
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« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2014, 02:53:01 am »

@Quicksand-S The shoot-the-drone dialog should be clearer now and the aiming controls could be selectable in a future version.

@BilbyCoder I hate the Mac inverting too Wink

@abclive Thanks for playing! Actually we’re developing the game in our spare time since 2011. Enough time for a lot of code Wink First with a prototype in FlashPunk, then switched to Unity. And there is still no end in sight…

@s-spooky Thanks for your feedback and sorry about the bug. I fear this is not the only one Wink Regarding the controls, you are not alone with your suggestion. As we need the left and right key for choosing between the guns in the later level, I don’t see another way. However, nothing is cut in stone at this state; let’s see what the next level brings.

Version 0.1.3 is online with a lot of speed improvement. Beer! Everything is a bit faster, some dialogs are optimized and the text appears instantly when pressing space. The cut scenes are NOT skippable as they are an important part of the game, sorry Wink

We’re curious to hear/read your opinion about the improvement! Thanks!
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s-spooky g-g-ghosts
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« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2014, 08:09:14 am »

I don't know if I was tired yesterday or is it the new speed change, but I managed to complete the demo and it was great. The boss was quite thrilling. I don't know yet how can the blocks come to any assistance during boss fights, but the combat made me want more. And it didn't crash! Open the champagne!
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CookieEngine
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« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2014, 07:53:46 am »

@s-spooky
The blocks can push you up to a higher position, which is safer and extends your shooting range. However, this is not really a boss fight, rather an introduction of the first real enemy. Smiley
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CookieEngine
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« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2014, 02:12:22 pm »

Just wanted to let you know:
We started a new devlog and will be posting updated there:

http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=42086.0

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tieTYT
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« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2014, 04:19:26 pm »

Graphics are awesome.  It's good that it tells you to press space.

It's kind of weird in that beginning cutscene how the character moving to the left moves to the top of the spaceship when in the previous room he was on the floor.  I'm talking about when he's looking for chips.  

Although your game is charming, I feel like there's too much reading to get started.

I can't really tell what these people are.  They kind of look like white kirbys or something.  It's difficult to make out distinguishing features.  Do they have faces?  Do they have noses?

I'm at the part where the robot stole the chips and what I don't get is how do I decide when to move my character vs when a block comes?  That's not clear to me from the tutorial.  I'm guessing I'll figure that out when I'm playing the real game though.

The pig looked more like a cat when he was steering the ship.

I like the way the terrain tiles look, but I think the ship could look better.  It kind of looks like a truck in space without wheels.  

I also wish my character was more distinguished from the others.  The captain looks different, but I look so similar to the guy telling me to get the chips.  

I was trying to take a screenshot for you (ctrl+shift+4 on my keyboard) and somehow skipped a BIG part of the tutorial.  Sad

I'm trying to take a screenshot of this:

I want to destroy that block I circled, but I wasn't able to.  As a result, there really wasn't anything else I wanted to shoot at.

I can't figure out what to do now.  I think I may have broken something by pressing ctrl+shift+4.  Doesn't seem like there's anything I can do.  Is this a bug?

Ugh, I'm going to try again but this tutorial takes a long time to get through.  

Having played it twice, why don't you let me move my character for those first 4 steps he takes? (I figured this out later)

I get why "shift" skipped things now.  But I still feel like I ran into a bug.  When I held down shift the first time the game stopped asking me to do anything.

I killed the boss, that was kinda fun.  I started using strategy like using blocks to raise myself higher than him.  It was kind of weird because it looked like he could hit me but was missing anyway.  Is that just him playing easy on me because it's the first boss/AI?

I played the whole thing but I honestly feel like it's not enough to figure out if I like the game.  Something I predict would annoy me is wanting to move 2+ times in a row or placing a block 2+ times in a row and having to skip the turns multiple times.  Perhaps my character could move until I press a button that way I'm not skipping turns over and over again.  

The game looks great and it has a lot of potential.  The writing is pretty good, too.  The computer is very likeable.  I'd like to try more.  
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CookieEngine
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« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2014, 01:46:44 pm »

@tieTYT
Thanks for the long feedback!  We know there’s a lot of text, but the tutorial is also the beginning of the story, so we need a proper amount of test already.

Some people do have problems with identifying the character as gun with eyes and mouth. I hope a bigger artwork/illustration will clarify it. But for now we don’t have anything like that.

The ship doesn’t look cool at all, but as it’s a cargo ship, it can even look like a truck Wink

The player looks really basic, but that’s on purpose for now. We’ll see if we bring up some accessories or so.

And the “shift” situation is really a bug! Thanks for finding Wink When you press shift before the shift tutorial appears, the game stops for some reason. I just fixed it today…

The boss AI is really basic now. When you at a higher position, he can’t hit you anymore, but that’s okay for the demo. In the next level, it won’t be that easy anymore!

Later some nice items will come up and makes the game flow more dynamic. For instance, the “speed item” let you go four extra steps without moving the screen. Moreover, it won’t just fall one block each round. You can collect multiple blocks in a round, which means you’ll get more blocks to set. So it’s not that static Smiley
« Last Edit: July 20, 2014, 09:49:03 pm by CookieEngine » Logged

BilbyCoder
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« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2014, 06:15:38 am »

Finally came back to try the latest version.  It felt a lot smoother to me and I'll definitely continue to keep an eye on your progress.

It was a bit annoying that boxing in the little drone caused a restart.  I would suggest giving it a way to get itself out of a box if the player constructs one around it.

One thing I found on my first play through is that the up / down to shift aiming really snapped into place for me once I realised it was a canon and I was pivoting it up and down to adjust the parabolic arc (I played a lot of gorillas.bas that came with quickbasic on dos 5) that it would shoot.  It took me a long time (as with others) to realise that's what it was.  If there is a way to clarify that graphic I suspect it might help others as it helped me.

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Binary Sprite
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