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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe One Fork Restaurant DX [RELEASED]
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Dr. LudoS
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« on: November 05, 2014, 07:23:16 AM »

Hi Everyone, my first attempt at a Devlog! As I'm doing this alongside a dayjob, I've decided to pick a project with a relatively small scope. I'm planning to update a game I've created for Ludum Dare 28 (12/2013): my goal is to turn a rough but funny prototype idea into a full fledged game!

Project description
The game is called The One Fork Restaurant DX. It's a kind of “time-management” game. It takes place in a restaurant where people come to eat various meals, but the restaurant only have one fork, so the customers have to share it!


A picture from final version of the game

15/06/15 Game Release!
I've just released the game over Newgrounds (Web version):
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/659235

And also on Google Play for those who prefer to play on phone and tablets:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.air.OneForkRestaurantDX


A moving picture from the final version of the game

When the customers are waiting for the fork, they start to get bored, and may leave the restaurant if they wait for too long. Eating gives them a little relief, so each time they eat, they’ll be able to wait a little longer afterwards. You have to swap the fork as often as needed so every customer can enjoy (and finish) his meal!

While people playing the game during or after the LD compo enjoyed the core idea, they found the game a bit "sluggish" - indeed, the original game has a lot of balancing issues. The game is too easy at start, then becomes too hard, and each play session is too long for people to want to "play it again" immediately. So my first goal is to improve the gameplay of the game to make it fun, "easy to learn, but hard to master", like any good arcade game. While it seems simple to say it, to me it sounds like a real Game Design challenge Wink.

I'd also like to improve the graphics and sounds/music aspects of the games, although I'm not very skilled at drawing nor able to compose my own tunes. But I'll give it a go anyway Smiley


(This picture is from the original Ludum Dare version)

Project Goals:
- Improve gameplay / balance: the game should be easy to pick, offer quick play sessions, and motivates players to beat their best score but playing it often [DONE]
- Rework graphics & animations [DONE]
- Add a better tutorial into the game (instead of the current "text wall") [DONE: The text wall is still in, but I also added a small in-game "beginner assist" telling you when and where to swap forks for the first two levels]
- Expand the scope of the game if possible (different levels ideas, or new gameplay mechanisms, etc.)[DONE: there is now 5 levels of progressive difficulty, the last level being a "beat the highscore" mode]
- Add a better in-game music [DONE: Thanks Newgrounds Audio Wink]
- Rework the title screen? [Miniwal work was done here in the end]
- Integrate some high-score APIs, such as the one from Newgrounds [DONE]
- The final game will be released as a Browser game, alongside with a mobile version (Android) [DONE]
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 03:01:03 AM by Dr. LudoS » Logged

The One Fork Restaurant DX : DevLog - Play current beta version
Dr. LudoS
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2014, 07:49:35 AM »

Today I mainly worked on the game balance:
  • To shorten and sharpen the game, I removed the "lives" concept: one single customer loss now means game over.
  • When the fork is "flying" between customers, their "patience" gauge is no longer depleting - it makes the game more "fair", and it seems to allow for a lot more of "last-chance move" opportunities during a play session.
  • I also reworked from scratch the way the difficulty evolves. It used to have 4 customers with different "patience" values, and each customer would regain patience at a different rate. It made the game too random: if you had many "easier" customers types in a row, the game was easy, but if you had three or four "harder" types in a row it would lead to a guaranteed game over. It's no longer the case now: each customer has the same amount of patience/regain, and all these values are slowly modified over time when more and more customers have to share the fork at the same time
  • I modified the score system, which also suffered form the previous "randomization" issues. Each customer now delivers exactly 10 points, so the better your score = the more customers you served. The final score is now 100% skill based, which should be better for players Smiley

I feel that all these changes are making the gameplay smoother and more fun (shorter play session, no more luck into the game outcome). What do you think of it? (and what is your highest score?)
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Photon
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2014, 07:10:48 PM »

I remember seeing this in Ludum Dare. The health department still hasn't shut you down? Big Laff

I'll be interested to see how you develop this. Kudos!
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Dr. LudoS
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2014, 08:16:39 AM »

Thanks for your interest, it seems like we're a too small restaurant for the health department to visit us Wink!

Have you tested this new version? If yes, what is you best score?
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Dr. LudoS
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2014, 06:51:04 AM »

Today, I continued to work on the game balance a little. The few tests I've made on the previous version showed that it was too hard to play when you reached four customers at the same time - it should be way better now.

The game can always be played here.

I extended the time delay between each new customer apparition when the number of simultaneous customers rises, so you should be able to go way over 300 points now.

If you test the game, please post your score(s) here Smiley.

Thanks for your feedback!
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Dr. LudoS
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2014, 09:41:33 AM »

I got a small amount of extra free-time today, so I fine-tuned the game again, focusing on the balance when you are dealing with 5 customers at the same time and more. The game should be smoother to play now.

FYI, my current high score is 390 pts (39 customers)! Smiley
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Photon
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« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2014, 04:32:25 PM »

My best so far is 300.

Its a novel idea and fun to play as is for 5-10 minutes, but it could definitely use a little more fleshing out. What are your ideas so far for new game mechanics?
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Dr. LudoS
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« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2014, 03:22:01 PM »

My best so far is 300.

Its a novel idea and fun to play as is for 5-10 minutes, but it could definitely use a little more fleshing out. What are your ideas so far for new game mechanics?

Thanks for your feedback. My plan is to focus on polishing the core game loop first (balancing), then redo the graphics & audio, and of course try to come out with idea to "flesh" the game Smiley. I still need to think this point through, but here are my main ideas for now:

- My first idea is, as I want the core game to stay focused on quick play sessions, that I'd like the player to "earn" stuff during each game that they use to achieve a more long term goal (much like many endless runners games, a la "Jetpack Joyride"). I was thinking that the score points could be in fact "money", that can be used to buy upgrades for the restaurant, such as:
=> More tables so you can have more customers at the same time (of course, the game will start with 2 or 3 tables only) - and the more customers you have at the same time, the more points each customer will give you.
=> Maybe unlock some "special" customers, like celebrities or heroes from others games.
=> Some "graphical" elements, like new tables napkins, new embellishment pieces, etc.

- A variation to the game mechanic that could be fun to explore is an "higher hygiene standard" mode, where you have to "wash" the fork between each customer. It's an idea I had during LD, but I couldn't implement it back then, and it could be fun to experiment with. For example, one table at the center of the game could hold a "basin" full of "clean water", and you'll have to move the fork inside the basin between each customer.

But as I said, I still need to think more about how to expand the game, and I honestly have quite an hard time finding good ideas. Did you have any idea on your side?
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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2015, 11:00:36 AM »

A tiny update today, as progress on this project has been verrry slow due to a lot of "day-job" activity.

I've started to work on the graphics redesign, although this is clearly my weakness.

My first task was to redesign the tables to add a napkin over them, so I don't have to draw legs to the characters, and to give them a better "restaurant" feeling Smiley.

Here is the result:

- Left is the table used in the LudumDare version.
- Center is my quite ugly first attempt at a napkin.
- Right is my second attempt, which I find better than the previous one Smiley.

What do you think of it ?

My next task is to improve the characters, it's not going to be easy...
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Dr. LudoS
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2015, 06:24:43 PM »

Well, after two months of pause due to a "day job" overload, I've resumed working on this game. I've tried to improve the characters graphics - after several (failed) attempt at a full redesign, I've finally settled for a small reworking of the old chars.

Here is the result:


As you can see, I've mainly reworked the eyes and the hair. I've also added the fact that when customers are waiting for the fork, they'll look at the (lucky) customer who currently has it! Smiley

What do you think of the result?
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2015, 08:07:40 AM »

Today I've worked on a tiny "Game Over animation": when a customer has been waiting for the fork too long, he gets bored and throw his food bowl at you! Smiley



Now, I'll work a "winning" animation, when a customer is happy because she was able to complete his meal!
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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2015, 10:55:13 AM »

And now with a simple "happy customer animation":

The "+5" indicate how much point you win: the more customers are in the game at the same time, the more points each "happy" customers gives you.

My next tasks should be:
- To add a "last-minute catch" bonus: When you send the fork to the customer at the very last minute, you'll earn some extra points
- To add a tiny in-game tutorial (simple "click me" messages on the customers when it's relevant)
- To work on sounds and music
- And the big task: to work on the "meta-game" so the game still has some long-term play interest Wink
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Photon
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« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2015, 11:06:04 AM »

Today I've worked on a tiny "Game Over animation": when a customer has been waiting for the fork too long, he gets bored and throw his food bowl at you! Smiley


LOL  Big Laff
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« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2015, 03:26:26 PM »

I'm glad you find it funny Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2015, 06:29:02 PM »

Tonight I've been working on the "meta-game" aspect. I added an "XP" points system : at the end of each round, the points you scored will be added to your total XP points. Then I divided the restaurant in several "experience levels", and attached it to limited rounds. For example:
- Level 1 : 3 tables in your restaurant, you have to serve 10 customers to win the round.
- Level 2 : 4 tables in your restaurant (so a maximum of 4 customers at the same time), you have to serve 15 customers to win the round.
etc. until the Level 5 restaurant, with 7 tables and an unlimited numbers of customers arriving (aim for the highscore!)

My problem is the following: with such a system, you can "loose" a level (i.e. fail to serve 10 customers in level 1), but you'll still earn XP points at the end of the round depending on your score. So, to pass a level, you just need to "grind" a bit - if you're good, you'll have to play each level only 2 or 3 times, but if you're less skilled, you can still do it in maybe 5 or 6 times, or more if needed.

So I was wondering: in the end, is this system really better than a simpler level system ?
For example, you pass a level once, it's completed for good and you can move to the next one, but if you can't pass the level, you'll have to try it until you manage to finish it.

As I don't plan to make any money on this (no ads, no IAP), doesn't "levels to complete" sounds more player friendly and challenging than "xp grinding"?

What do you think?
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« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2015, 05:53:30 PM »

Ok, after doing some tests myself on the game, I've settled for a simpler level system - in the current state, the XP points systems was meaningless and kind of tedious.

So, now the game features 5 restaurant levels to clear, the last one being an "unlimited customers mode" to try to reach for an highscore. I've uploaded the beta online. What do you think of this level system? Does it add some kind of "replay value" to game, i.e. does it motivates you to play it for more than 5-10 mins?


I've also fine-tuned the game balance (again). In level 5, my current highscore is 990 points / 49 customers. What is your highscore?

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« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2015, 03:08:16 AM »

I really like the cute look and personality. If you can keep filling it with things that show off your personal charm, I think you'll do well.
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Dr. LudoS
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« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2015, 04:22:53 PM »

Thanks a lot for your kind words!

If you tried it, how far did you went into the game? (level/score?)
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« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2015, 05:49:35 PM »

I finally found some time to work on this pet project again.

Today I've remade the Game Over Screen, using a "restaurant receipt" style :

I've also made some polishing to the game balance on the five levels - I think the game balance is quite OK right now Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2015, 05:35:02 PM »

Today was a very solid day of work on the game, I was able to finish many "work-in-progress" areas:
- After many tries, I'm quite satisfied with the game balance, be it using a mouse on PC or playing touchscreen on Android - I can finally mark down this item as "done", unless a beta tester gives me a contradictory feedback.
- I've mostly finished the graphics overhaul of the game (Game Over and Winning game screen, customers, tables, etc.) - The only missing area is the Title Screen.
- I've added many additional sounds created with bfxr and Bosca Ceoil (for the short "winning" tune). It's the first time I compose anything this tool, and it's wonderful.
- I've polished many areas (tutorials, game over screen, etc).
- Last but not least, I've added a "close call" bonus: when you give the fork to a customer at the very last second before he/she gets bored, you'll get a small bonus for the risk you've taken / your ninja-like dexterity Smiley

To sum it up, this project is nearing completion! The three main item remaining on the list are:
- Find a good "in-game" music (I'll browse into Newground's music section as I lack any musical skill)
- Rework the title screen
- Release the game (integrate Portals API for the browser version, export to Android for Google Play)

If anyone is trying the game, my current record is 1362 points / 61 customers Smiley
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 05:43:01 PM by Dr. LudoS » Logged

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