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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsSuper Toaster X: Learn Japanese RPG: Devlog 99: Resource Management
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Author Topic: Super Toaster X: Learn Japanese RPG: Devlog 99: Resource Management  (Read 59224 times)
Zizka
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« Reply #800 on: February 27, 2017, 07:34:12 AM »

Devlog 95:A Sound Decision

Hello everyone!

I prefer to give regular updates about the project especially since it's in Early Access, I feel like it's the right thing to do for the people who have trusted and invested into the project.

Pronunciation
I'm currently pondering whether or not to implement the pronunciation of words into the game. I would, of course, give the option to turn them off but I was wondering if this is a request a lot of people have.

It's not something we had in mind when we started with the project but it's something that could possibly be implemented without too much work. The challenge is finding someone reliable to record all the words.

XP system
The next task at hand is to implement the skill tree and upgrade system. The art is all done for this, it's a matter for Jeff, the programmer, to code it into the game.


I've talked about this system before but it goes like this:

Every time you guess a card correctly, its individual meter goes up. Once the meter is full, the card is mastered and you gain a skill point to invest into the skill tree.



Art

Art wise, I'm working on some new rooms to visit when you start the game to act as a tutorial.





Those are, of course, WIP but this is to let you know what's going on.

Giving Feedback

I want to reward people who provide detailed feedback and suggestions by having them as cameos into the game (subtle ones). The more you comment and suggest, the better the game becomes. Case in point, some suggestions made by some of you guys have already been integrated into the game.

Sleep well and take care!
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Zizka
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« Reply #801 on: February 27, 2017, 07:35:30 AM »

Devlog 97: Tutorials...

Hello guys,

Some users have voiced (valid) concerns about the lack of clarity about the game. I think we've been working on the game for so long that the mechanics have become second nature to us.

We've discussed this issues together and decided on an accessible and pragmatic way to make the game easier to understand.

Basically, we'll use a room-by-room basis. Every room will teach a different concept about the game until has been covered. That should make things a lot clearer.

Just wanted to announce it's being worked on.
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Zizka
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« Reply #802 on: February 27, 2017, 07:36:17 AM »

Devlog 98: Skill Tree and Upgrades:

Hello guys,

I revamped the older skill tree which was awkward and not to my liking:



For one thing, it was too complicated with stars and locks and everything. Needlessly complicated that is. It's like I was trying to integrate too many ideas at the same time and the whole process became bogged down in the details.

One level up system which I really enjoyed was how Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII[/b]. In my opinion, it is the epitome of character progression.

I also love board games so I decided to work on those inspirations to come up with something:



Here's my explanation of how it all works:

1. Level Up Stars: Level up stars are acquired when a vocabulary card has been guessed correctly enough.

The progress bar goes up every time the card has been identified correctly until it's finally mastered:


2. The Toaster Token represents Pan. Moving around the board costs 1 full star to convert blue tiles to orange ones. Half stars required to backtrack on already "conquered" orange tiles. That's what I'm thinking at the moment but this is open to tweaking of course.

3. The Horned Token moves around the board sort of like the hammer brothers in Super Mario 3. It blocks access to certain upgrades and the foe it represents must be vanquished in order to process further into the progress tree. Might end up make it stationary though.

4. Padlocks block certain paths entirely. Certain objectives must be met in order for them to disappear. This can be to accomplish certain things in the story or complete achievements. I feel like this adds a lot of depths to the game itself. This was inspired by Wolfenstein: The New Order gameplay mechanics.

This is a first try at a layout and will likely change as testing continues.

What Else?

I'm redoing the title screen entirely. The current version is very rough and I don't like it at all.

For one thing, this week, we'll replace the text on the toasters on the menu with icons to make things presentable:

Story:


The animation is slightly improved but the following icons will replace the text:

Sensei Mode:


Options:


Tutorials:
I'm not quite down with the tutorial rooms and I'm still working on it.

Layout:
We'll dump the pixel art text (1) which was taking too much room and add a star in the upper left so that the player knows when a card has been mastered:



(2): This is where the Master Star goes.

(3): Also this week, the cards will now have different power ratings:



(4): That won't be there anymore, we already have the furigana for that.

So basically most of the work remains in the actual coding to the game.

Get in touch if you have comments about the current build, thanks!
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Zireael
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« Reply #803 on: February 27, 2017, 08:50:15 AM »

I like the new skill tree. However, if you're dumping the romaji completely, you're preventing many beginner learners from playing the game.

Maybe show romaji when hovering over kanji/furigana, respectively?
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ambo100
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« Reply #804 on: February 27, 2017, 01:07:37 PM »

I'm wondering, does this game/will this game include an achievements system?

I find achievements really motivate me to make the most out of the games I play so it will definitely motivate me to keep playing, particularly if the gameplay is already good.
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Zizka
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« Reply #805 on: February 28, 2017, 04:10:56 AM »

Yup, there are achievements. I think every game on steam needs some if I understand correctly.

For example:





I think achievements needs in-game rewards as well.
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ambo100
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« Reply #806 on: February 28, 2017, 02:00:33 PM »

I wasn't going to buy this game because it's an early access game and I've been trying not to spend a lot this month.

Seeing how you've clearly put a lot of effort into this game and not received a lot of feedback on Steam I thought I'd try and help you out and also see if this game would help with my Japanese lessons.

I'm just going to be running a stream of my thoughts and experiences as I go along:

    Main Menu
    • From the start, There doesn't seem to be a great deal of emphasis on how to begin the game. I would possibly get rid of the 'Hint!' box on the left as it makes the main menu feel off balanced and focus on the 'Visit Sensei' option.
    • From the 'Visit Sensei' menu there doesn't appear to be a way to return to the main menu, I would have assumed Backspace or Escape would work but it should certainly be clearer.

    Visit Sensei Menu
    • I think it be better to show the entire list of rounds, there is a lot of empty space that can be used and it would give me a better sense of how many rounds are available.

    Rounds
    • The 'bouncy' animation of a hand pressing a button is very distracting, from reading a few series of text boxes, I already understand how to continue to the next text box. The animation makes it very difficult to focus on the text.
    • The rate at which the text is displayed is probably too slow.
    • Some of the icons are misaligned on my screen



    • Personally I found the music was too much, especially when I'm trying to focus on the game so I muted it.
    • The GUI feels un-intuitive, The majority of people read Left-Right and than Top-Bottom whereas in the training exercises I'm forced to read the prompt in the centre of the screen before looking above to select an answer. I think it would be better to swap these or move the answer selections to the bottom of the screen



    • Whenever I read a Hiragana character and know the answer, the majority of the time is spent wasted trying to work out which arrow/WASD key correlates to the character. I'm sure I would get used to this and remember the positions but I think it would be better if the characters were either aligned to the shape of the arrow/WASD keys (in a sort of pyramid shape) or you could simply re-map the keys to the numbers on the keyboard. A WASD style control is perfectly appropriate for a game 2D top-down game where each directional key corresponds to the direction your character will travel. In this context it doesn't feel like the best choice.
    • What is the '2' in the top-left of all the cards for?
    • What is the little character that runs across the boxing ring between rounds and vanishes?
    • The scrolling text is distracting in round 14, at this point I started to lose interest in the game as I felt like I was just constantly guessing and any form of memorisation was based on brute force. It's a huge leap to go from Hiragana straight to Kanji Vocabulary, completely skipping Katakana, Radicals and Kanji themselves.

    Explore

    • I couldn't figure out what I was meant to do here. I managed to go through the door after checking the keyboard controls and than quickly died fighting a hairdryer and being overwhelmed with all the things going on on the screen.
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    Zizka
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    « Reply #807 on: February 28, 2017, 02:25:26 PM »

    Wow, this is gold. Bless you! You've made a positive difference!

    I'll discuss your comments in the next team meeting and write the next devlog about it and how we're going to address the issues you bring up.

    Just so you know, the explore section will be replaced completely. I've just finished the tutorial rooms just now actually.
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    Zizka
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    « Reply #808 on: March 01, 2017, 04:41:24 AM »

    Alright so:

    First of all, to thank you for the constructive criticism (which is very hard to come by), I've made a little cameo of you:



    Point by point:
    Quote
    From the start, There doesn't seem to be a great deal of emphasis on how to begin the game. I would possibly get rid of the 'Hint!' box on the left as it makes the main menu feel off balanced and focus on the 'Visit Sensei' option.

    That's already done. I talked about that with Jeff during the last meeting. Here's what I'll replace it with:



    Basically, story mode (which will replace explore) will be locked on your first visit. If you try to select it the padlock will say that you should visit sensei first then unlock. Sort of like a safeguard measure if you will.

    Quote
    From the 'Visit Sensei' menu there doesn't appear to be a way to return to the main menu, I would have assumed Backspace or Escape would work but it should certainly be clearer.

    Quote
    I think it be better to show the entire list of rounds, there is a lot of empty space that can be used and it would give me a better sense of how many rounds are available.

    Quote
    The rate at which the text is displayed is probably too slow.

    Quote
    Some of the icons are misaligned on my screen

    Quote
    The GUI feels un-intuitive, The majority of people read Left-Right and than Top-Bottom whereas in the training exercises I'm forced to read the prompt in the centre of the screen before looking above to select an answer. I think it would be better to swap these or move the answer selections to the bottom of the screen

    I've added this to the to do list for next build.

    Quote
    The 'bouncy' animation of a hand pressing a button is very distracting, from reading a few series of text boxes, I already understand how to continue to the next text box. The animation makes it very difficult to focus on the text.

    True. Would you recommend moving it in a spot where it is doesn't distract from the text? Remove it after the first time? I haven't decided on how to handle this one.

    Quote
    Personally I found the music was too much, especially when I'm trying to focus on the game so I muted it.

    "Too much" in which way? Would you recommend something more "calm"? Less upbeat?

    Quote
    What is the '2' in the top-left of all the cards for?

    That's the "Power Rating" of the card. This will be explained in "story mode". It's not important in sensei mode. I'll hide it in sensei mode in the next build as it's not important, good point.

    Quote
    Whenever I read a Hiragana character and know the answer, the majority of the time is spent wasted trying to work out which arrow/WASD key correlates to the character. I'm sure I would get used to this and remember the positions but I think it would be better if the characters were either aligned to the shape of the arrow/WASD keys (in a sort of pyramid shape) or you could simply re-map the keys to the numbers on the keyboard. A WASD style control is perfectly appropriate for a game 2D top-down game where each directional key corresponds to the direction your character will travel. In this context it doesn't feel like the best choice.

    Good point. We should remap it to ASDF or something more logical. Added to the list as well.

    Quote
    What is the little character that runs across the boxing ring between rounds and vanishes?

    She's telling you what round you're at.

    Quote
    The scrolling text is distracting in round 14, at this point I started to lose interest in the game as I felt like I was just constantly guessing and any form of memorisation was based on brute force. It's a huge leap to go from Hiragana straight to Kanji Vocabulary, completely skipping Katakana, Radicals and Kanji themselves.

    I want to add katakana to the next build as well. I'll discuss this with Jeff. Radicals will be more difficult as it doesn't fit in the scope of the game. Normally in sensei mode, you're shown the words you'll be asked before the round.

    This being said, even if you know katakana, it won't help much when you come to kanji. This being said, we should focus on single word kanji first.

    Alright, that's about it. It's all in Jeff's hands now and I'll keep you guys updated when the new build is ready. I really want these changes to be in asap though so I'll make sure to spur him into action  Grin.
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    amanfr01
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    « Reply #809 on: March 01, 2017, 04:47:58 AM »

     Hey there! Tony the composer, here. Similar to the above inquiry, what about the music was too much? I'm happy to address it where I can!
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    ambo100
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    « Reply #810 on: March 01, 2017, 05:06:28 AM »

    Alright so:

    First of all, to thank you for the constructive criticism (which is very hard to come by), I've made a little cameo of you:


    Ahaha, Thankyou.

    Quote
    The 'bouncy' animation of a hand pressing a button is very distracting, from reading a few series of text boxes, I already understand how to continue to the next text box. The animation makes it very difficult to focus on the text.

    True. Would you recommend moving it in a spot where it is doesn't distract from the text? Remove it after the first time? I haven't decided on how to handle this one.

    I would probably remove it the first time or at least stop the animation from running continuously.

    Maybe you could have the animation run a single time once after 10 seconds just to remind the player how to progress if they are confused (at least in the first few rounds).

    Quote
    Personally I found the music was too much, especially when I'm trying to focus on the game so I muted it.

    "Too much" in which way? Would you recommend something more "calm"? Less upbeat?

    Hey there! Tony the composer, here. Similar to the above inquiry, what about the music was too much? I'm happy to address it where I can!

    Sorry, that was a bit of a vague way of describing it. Basically, having to think about the character, remembering the English pronunciation, finding the character, pressing the correct key all whilst under the pressure of a timer was quite a bit to take in all at once so I muted the music to help me focus.

    Since I mentioned the timer, I would probably remove it from the first few rounds completely to get people used to the gameplay and introduce it at a later point in the training.

    I actually loved the music used in the Title Screen, it's really memorable and exciting.

    Quote
    The scrolling text is distracting in round 14, at this point I started to lose interest in the game as I felt like I was just constantly guessing and any form of memorisation was based on brute force. It's a huge leap to go from Hiragana straight to Kanji Vocabulary, completely skipping Katakana, Radicals and Kanji themselves.

    I want to add katakana to the next build as well. I'll discuss this with Jeff. Radicals will be more difficult as it doesn't fit in the scope of the game. Normally in sensei mode, you're shown the words you'll be asked before the round.

    This being said, even if you know katakana, it won't help much when you come to kanji. This being said, we should focus on single word kanji first.

    Alright, that's about it. It's all in Jeff's hands now and I'll keep you guys updated when the new build is ready. I really want these changes to be in asap though so I'll make sure to spur him into action  Grin.

    I think if your target audience is for Japanese learners it may be worthwhile including Katakana at some point.

    Perhaps require the player to make progress in the story mode before they can unlock new lessons/topics like Kanji characters?

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    Zizka
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    « Reply #811 on: March 02, 2017, 05:28:36 AM »

    I think now is good a time as any to identify my future objectives for the game, what's already done and what remains to be done.

    On the art side, I have a lot of things done and finished namely:
    -New items
    -New foes
    -The Skill Tree
    -New Rooms
    -New Title Screen
    -New Bosses

    I've spent a lot of time here and there drawing those up. So there's a lot of content there waiting to be implemented. So you could say there's a bottleneck when it comes to art which is slowly being integrated into the game. The advantage with art is that unless there's some glaring mistake I somehow missed which makes things look sub-par, there's no backtracking necessary unless things look too outdated for my liking (which does happen over a period of 2 years).

    Programming is a whole different process because bugs happen. Every time features are added (which is the very idea of Early Access), bugs happen. They're quite simply impossible to precisely foresee but their future presence is a certainty. What then happens is that more time needs to be spent fixing said bugs which isn't time invested adding new features (which is what I ultimately strive for).

    Implementing feedback is another aspect of Early Access. It's important and necessary. The caveat with this is limited resources.

    Super Toaster X has been for me mostly a creative endeavor. It was a project to funnel my creative juice, to make an artistic vision a reality. To this day, I haven't touched a penny from the hundreds of hours I've worked on that game and I'm not too bothered by it. I mean, some financial reward would be nice but it doesn't demotivate me from working on the game.

    Some people have criticized the game for being sold and not given for free. I think it's important to address the conception that the game should be free and discuss the reason why it's being sold in the first place.

    When I started getting involved in game development two years ago, I figured I could work on this as a side project. The thing with game development is that it doesn't involve a single set of skills but rather require a vast array of abilities covering not only graphical art but also music and programming.

    Any developer wannabe is then faced with either developing the skills they lack or finding people who can already have them. If you ever doubt about this, read up the credits of most video games out there, it should give an idea about how many people and skills are involved in making them.

    Which brings me back to fees involved in game development. Even though I don't make any money working on the game, all of the game's resources are funneled on hired hands. To sum things up, the game isn't being sold for the fame and riches of the developer but rather to actually wrap up the game and finish it thanks to those people who can perform the tasks I'm not handling.

    In an ideal world, we'd all work on this because we're passionate about it. I could then include just about every feature you could ever dream of. Reality proves to be different however which brings me to the point I wanted to make about resources.

    Basically, the current resources in EA must be invested in three different categories:
    a. bug fixing
    b. adding features
    c. taking in feedback

    All three are important but the resources to administer to each are limited. It's all about making the right decision about the actual features to make sure the game progresses forward at a steady pace while fixing bugs and improving the game based on feedback without running out of resources and selling the game short.

    Basically, for those wondering if the current asking price isn't too much, it doesn't even cover what I'd like to implement into it and I'm not making a dime from it. I feel like it's important to shed light as to what happens behind the scenes at times.

    There's also that the game is very niche, there's always the risk of going against the current, especially in indie game development.

    Just letting you guys know what's going on at the moment and what's upcoming for the game.
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