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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingVELOCIBOX [An abstract twitch action game]
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shawnbecktp
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« on: July 16, 2014, 12:13:22 AM »

UPDATED TO VERSION 1.0.5 ( July 23rd 2014 )

Hello! Velocibox is a twitch-heavy action game with mind-bending flips and spins that's sure to challenge and frustrate even the most seasoned gamers. Test your reflexes as you advance through levels by maneuvering past deviously placed blocks designed to make you flip, slide and rotate sideways.

This game is currently in alpha. I'm looking for critical feedback to improve the game.

Video Preview:



Velocibox Alpha 1.0.5 ChangeLog
* Leaderboard now loads more than 100 results
* Adjusted pickups on Level Four to facilitate combos
* Simplified Level One S-Shapes
* Added blocks to tutorials with feedback on collision
* Expanded credits page
* Added secrets


Velocibox 1.0.4 Changelog
* Fixed a bug on the leaderboard limits
* Adjustments made to Level Three to facilitate combos

Greenlight It!

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=291860893&tscn=1406421740



Download links:
Win : http://bit.ly/velociboxAlphaBeta_Win
Mac : http://bit.ly/velociboxAlphaBeta_Mac




« Last Edit: July 26, 2014, 06:46:23 PM by shawnbecktp » Logged
Quicksand-S
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2014, 12:36:54 AM »

I like the style. I like the sounds and the vocals. The music seems decent, although very very quiet compared to everything else.

The level generation seemed a little more random than I would've expected. Level 1 sometimes starts out simple, and other times it starts out with a segment that's incredibly difficult to get through.

I dislike the slanted text in the game over screen. While it looks kind of cool, it just makes it unnecessarily hard to read.

The only thing I would say I really have a problem with, though, is the laggy camera (for left/right movement). I'm fine with weird angles, gravity-switching, high speed, etc. but having the camera lag so far behind my movements feels terrible to me and makes lining up with things difficult for the wrong reason (in my opinion).

Typo? I think "Achievement" in the menu should have an "s" on the end.

Bug? Sometimes I seem to collide with...something...while in the middle of a gravity switch. My guess is that it's because my "character" moves sideways slightly while flipping. It only seems to happen when I flip while going in between things.

Bug? The voice always seems to say, "Level 1 Egin" (no noticeable "B" sound for "Begin")

Overall, I like it a fair amount but I probably won't play very long because of the camera.
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shawnbecktp
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2014, 12:44:58 AM »

Thanks for the feedback. Noted on all points.
By camera lag, do you mean the horizontal movements or the lag during flips?
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 12:58:02 AM by shawnbecktp » Logged
Vallar
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2014, 07:09:17 AM »

I have played the game and I must say looking at it before playing it reminded me of that DOS game where you controlled an aeroplane and had to jump over gaps and what not. When I played it was totally something different (which isn't bad, you surprised me).

I really liked the visual elements of the game. Nothing I found out of balance so far. Same for the music but as Quicksand-S mentioned the music is really quiet, I have to struggle to hear it -- specially when the voice acting seems to have the highest volume (it is the most dominant above even the collision sounds).

You had me start out happy and feeling empowered after the tutorial levels (albeit I got only like 14 cubes in total). I found the game's speed is really... fast. But I didn't mind that at first as there wasn't quite the pressure. However when I started level 1, it is when I realized that I hated the fast speed. But then after playing for a couple of times (read: 12 retries), I understood it wasn't the speed.

The problem (at least for me) is that you threw me from a perfect safe environment to a level 1 (which arguably should be an easy level) where I have to combine every element I have learned in the tutorial + added pressure from losing. I have to switch vertically, slide horizontally and "ride walls" all at the same time. I have to say I found myself automatically resorting to just switching vertically and hoping that I don't have to use the horizontal  movement until I "got used to it". Perhaps I am someone that needs a long time to get training in this kind of thing.

Another thing the collisions when switching as Quicksand-S has mentioned. Multiple times I position myself specifically away from a vertical wall so I could switch to the ceiling, but when I flip, it is called out as if I hit the vertical wall. I actually tried to take a screen but I wasn't fast enough to capture it.

I think what Quicksand-S has mentioned might be the problem... or perhaps the collision boxes are bigger than what I'd expected.

All in all, it seems like you have it really polished visual and audio wise. The mechanics are fun and you had me going for 12 retries, I don't usually try THAT much when something is beyond a certain difficulty threshold.
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shawnbecktp
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2014, 09:38:30 AM »

Thanks for taking your time to play the game and leaving a kick-ass elaborate feedback. It's very much appreciated, Vallar!

It would seem that I'd have to practice a little bit of leniency on the collision boxes. Noted on the difficulty for level one. That's something I really have to tweak to get right. I have found that the immediate challenge from level one appeals to some large number of play-testers. Although I do agree that some level of progression would do wonders to motivate players to achieve more.
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Vallar
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2014, 10:06:37 AM »

You are most welcome, I hope the feedback was of any use at all.

As for the difficulty, if it appeals to a large base of play testers then you might want to not listen to me. In the end I am but one voice. As I said it might be that I am one of those people that take time to learn skills like these that is all.

« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 11:57:09 AM by Vallar » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2014, 11:35:14 AM »

To clarify my earlier point, my main problem with the camera was the left/right motion. The box doesn't stay anywhere close to the center of the screen while moving.

As for the difficulty of the levels, I'm one of those who find a bit of challenge in level 1 appealing. I really prefer that to a boring, easy level that would be nothing like the rest of the game. This way, players are given an idea of what they're getting into.
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shawnbecktp
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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2014, 05:45:16 PM »

@Quicksand-S Thanks for clarifying. Looking forward to see how the other playtesters perform after fixing the camera lags.

@Vallar Your feedback definitely helped!  Grin
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« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2014, 06:16:24 PM »

I really like the polish on the game.  Comes across very well. 

I found the first level (well the only level I got to) quite difficult.  I really like the speed, in fact I have been looking for a twitch game like this for a while.  I think the issue I am having is the separation of the blue blocks, I find them to be a little too close together for the first level.  Part of that could be that I'm still getting used to the flipping mechanic (which is a really cool idea btw).  Oh, on that note, I found myself hitting the down button as well as the up button to try to flip.  Not sure if you have anything else planned for that button but I think that might improve my performance on the game at least.

Happy to answer any questions about my feedback that may arise.

Cheers.
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shawnbecktp
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« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2014, 08:21:39 PM »

@BeardLogic Thanks for the feedback. It's quite interesting to see how different players approach the controls. I've had a play-tester who preferred (and performed better) moving horizontally with one hand and flip with another. Noted on pressing down to flip. I've actually made the game to work with WASD and Xbox Controllers since some laptops come packed with horrendous directional keys.
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2014, 04:37:20 PM »

Wow. Turns out I've played for half an hour already according to the statistics screen. It definitely didn't feel like it.. Great job! I managed to get to level three, at which what was to be expected of me with the moving walls was so ridiculous it made me laugh. Smiley

The game is very polished, everything is very slick, all the motion in the menu screens and the screen effects. You've definitely taken a lot from the Super Hexagon design, the whole techno music + voiceovers, but it's done so well I have no problem with it.

At first I found the flipping was always disorienting. I was wondering if I would be able to play better if the camera stayed static when flipping so that the block was on the ceiling; that or if the entire level was mirrored instead of rotated, so there wasn't a left/right reversal. But I've gotten used to it after half an hour now. The other thing it took a while to get used to was to flip earlier than I thought. Usually games like this are in first person mode, so you generally take when a barrier disappears offscreen to be the point where you can safely flip - in this game you have to flip a lot earlier due to the 3rd person camera.

I, like the poster before me, also feel the set-pieces in the first level vary too much in difficulty. The S-shape one felt particularly out of place for a first level. In fact I think you almost have too many variations in each level! It's funny, because I play Super Hexagon a lot (I was in the world top 10 at one point on the PC version heh) and even that game has at most 4 or 5 kinds of obstacles, which you play for up to 120 seconds each before it changes level. Here it's 10 variations in the span of like 15 seconds. I almost feel like you could stretch each individual level out into two stages, splitting the obstacle variations into early and late stages, and it would feel better paced.

Anyway that's just my two cents, I'll definitely be playing more of this later. Good job!
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shawnbecktp
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2014, 08:04:02 PM »

It's funny, because I play Super Hexagon a lot (I was in the world top 10 at one point on the PC version heh)...

@fizzd Thanks for the feedback! I was almost sure there wouldn't be anymore players here at TIGSource. It would be awesome if I could enlist you to test this game out for the long term? I'm making this game for niche players like you(and mostly for myself Wink)

And yes, this game was VERY heavily inspired by SuperHexagon, although I have to say I had initially prototyped it before checking out Terry Cavanagh's masterpiece.

...and even that game has at most 4 or 5 kinds of obstacles, which you play for up to 120 seconds each before it changes level.

Funny you'd say that. Perhaps the break between the patterns weren't too far apart. Each level only had 5-6 variations in fact. The game initially had a more structured and recognizable patterns which unfortunately didn't allow for much freedom in later levels( which in turn, I found out, was not much fun compared to level 1).

Every level was designed to force players to twitch left and right more frequently rather than waiting and anticipating for a flip in the distance.

I'll see what I can do with the S-Shape. Just to clarify, which one of these shapes were out of place for you?

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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2014, 11:44:39 AM »

Ah I realise now why I thought there were way more patterns: cause a lot of your patterns are quite long, like the S shaped one being two simple S shapes then two harder ones. I initially thought they were two separate ones. And now I realise why there's such a huge variation in difficulty, because at most you only get one or two patterns per level, per playthrough, and they vary quite a lot in difficulty imo. The harder S right after the easy S is the one that was quite overwhelming at first. Maybe space that one out a little?

I feel the fact that you never experience all of the patterns in one round is why each individual run feels more luck based than in Hexagon, and why my scores can fluctuate greatly Smiley. Just now I managed to get to level 4 and then grab a few more cubes there, but that was entirely cause the level 3 patterns I got were just the slalom ones which I find easier than the twisty / linearly moving ones. (Total playtime now 58 minutes btw) In Hexagon winning a level pretty much guarantees that you have mastered all the patterns, cause in the 60 seconds you have to survive you see every pattern at least once.

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Every level was designed to force players to twitch left and right more frequently rather than waiting and anticipating for a flip in the distance.

Yup, I get that! But I still think it can be offputting for newbies if they keep dying, especially since learning a pattern doesn't really help at first because of the 5-6 different patterns. The tutorial is very nicely done and great for newbies, but the sudden spike is, well, really sudden. That said I think the collecting cubes is a very clever mechanic cause it ensures if you're good at the game you can finish a level in just seconds, whereas if you aren't you can choose not to take more risky cubes and stay in the level longer. I suggest maybe take advantage of this and have an even simpler level before the current level 1, with easier obstacles , higher cube rate, but only needing three cubes to advance for example? Would allow newbies to not feel too overwhelmed, but still allow pros to finish it in under like three seconds.

I struggle with this wanna-be-hardcore-and-don't-wanna-bore-pros thing in my own game too - some love it some dont. One of the feedbacks I got from the IGF judges was a one-line "too hard" (in which it was obvious they never got past the first stage :/) but the other one applauded the "surprising depth" of the game. So yea it's quite variable. Maybe get statistics to see how many percent of people quit before finishing the first level and see if that changes your mind? It's your decision in the end of course, if you feel it will compromise on your vision then don't feel pressured to change it. Something I'm personally guilty of is sometimes defending my decisions to playtesters, which is unproductive as all it changes is one individual's perception - I found this to be a good wake-me-up.

Finally I take back what I said in the last post. For some reason trying the game today after a good night's sleep, the camera is not disorienting any more! Psychology heh. And I don't mind being a tester, I am not that good at the game though! I'm in KL for the summer.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2014, 11:52:29 AM by fizzd » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2014, 12:12:15 PM »

I really like the look and sound of the game, great job!  The controls are really tight too, after I got used to them (I expected to the cube to jump from one lane to the next without traveling in the space in between).  The flip is disorienting at first, but I think I start to get used to it by the time I reached level 2.

I have to echo the criticism about the difficulty though, the jump for the tutorial to the first level is huge! The player practices flipping and moving without having to dodge walls in the tutorial, so introducing all the walls at once was overwhelming. I understand the urge to not nerf your own game (I struggle with it myself), but I think there need to be a some levels that have very few walls to get the player used to it. Since the game is very fast-paced I don't think it would feel like a slog for even experienced gamers.

You also could take individual levels to teach the player moves and strategies. The one that comes to mind for me is when I learned to "slalom" back and forth along a corner between walls.

Last thing: I was frustrated by having to start back at the beginning even when I reached level two. I'm getting better at level 1, but I'd rather start on the level I left off.  There could be a separate game mode for leaderboards if you want to keep it 'pure'.

Great fun though, thanks for post (I'm gonna go back and try to beat Level 2 now).
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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2014, 07:41:11 PM »

Extremely fun, addictive, and good looking. The fast paced game play keeps things interesting even when I'm dying every 5 seconds.
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shawnbecktp
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« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2014, 07:51:29 PM »

@fizzd
The harder S right after the easy S is the one that was quite overwhelming at first. Maybe space that one out a little?

Thanks for clarifying! I will look into it Wink

Maybe get statistics to see how many percent of people quit before finishing the first level and see if that changes your mind?

At this time of writing, Velocibox has just logged a total of 100 players on the leaderboards. Based on the absolute minimum scores to get to level two, 51% of all playtesters have reached Level 2! Which is quite a surprising number :D Thanks for the other suggestions and the link, too! It was a great read and really hit right at home.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2014, 02:55:35 AM by shawnbecktp » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2014, 07:56:40 PM »

@protophant

I have to echo the criticism about the difficulty though, the jump for the tutorial to the first level is huge!

Thanks for the feedback. I think I just got an idea how to ease them in. I'll have it in for 1.0.5 :D

Last thing: I was frustrated by having to start back at the beginning even when I reached level two. I'm getting better at level 1, but I'd rather start on the level I left off.  There could be a separate game mode for leaderboards if you want to keep it 'pure'.

Yeap! That's actually a popular suggestion. One that I'm constantly debating with myself. And I definitely want to keep the game 'pure' and as minimalistic as possible Wink
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2014, 08:24:33 PM »

Very tight and cohesive in terms of the audio/visual elements of the game. I might just be terrible at reflex-driven games, but it felt almost impossibly difficult (wasn't able to get past the first level haha). What was good was that you made the time between death and respawn so quick (just about negligible) that the player doesn't feel like they are being punished for dying, but rather, eager to jump right back into the action. The controls are tight as well, and the sense of speed is conveyed well with the lines on tiles blazing past you. I would suggest bringing the box back closer to the camera (I think that the back-bottom edge of the box just touching the bottom of the screen would be ideal), though. Due to the fast speed at which the player is moving, I don't feel that being able to see the entire box helps much, with the entire focus in terms of the mechanics being centered on what is coming towards the player. Additionally, having the box at the distance you have the box at in front of the camera made me feel like the box was getting away from me at times (making timing difficult), which made the experience slightly uncomfortable and unnerving.  Crazy
All in all, though, nicely-polished and tight!   Wizard
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« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2014, 02:31:36 PM »

I hope you don't mind I made a video about your game! This is my first indie review and I hope you like it.

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« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2014, 05:34:07 PM »

Additionally, having the box at the distance you have the box at in front of the camera made me feel like the box was getting away from me at times (making timing difficult), which made the experience slightly uncomfortable and unnerving.  Crazy

@waiwha Interesting. I've never thought about changing the distance much. Will give it a shot and see how it goes. Thanks!

Extremely fun, addictive, and good looking. The fast paced game play keeps things interesting even when I'm dying every 5 seconds.

@blueboy I'm glad you feel that way. It's quite a relief to hear that, haha.

I hope you don't mind I made a video about your game! This is my first indie review and I hope you like it.



@azocan Thanks for making a video about it! I've watched it. It was really funny for me, haha. I hope you don't mind me sharing it on the official Facebook page Wink
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