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1370252 Posts in 64449 Topics- by 56501 Members - Latest Member: liquidpigstudios

December 09, 2019, 01:55:08 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsLeilani's Island
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #1020 on: November 12, 2019, 02:55:32 AM »

Also lurking the thread, almost since the beginning! Thank you so much for all the design details you share here (a lot of great stuff, and definitely the best examples I've seen on how to use Tiled). The game keeps getting better and better with each update, and it looked already gorgeous years ago! Coffee

Thank you! Coffee

UI / Game Flow Polish

This week I was in the mood to keep taking a break from level design. As a natural follow-up to the checkpoint changes, I did a polish pass over some of the general game flow, as well as fixing up some bits of UI. A lot of this seems like things that would typically wait until the very end of development, but I'm enjoying getting it done early!

I did a ton of tiny fixes and tweaks, but I'll cover some of the bigger changes below!

Escape To Exit

Previously, exiting the game was a bit awkward. The Escape key opened up the pause menu, and then pressing Escape again opened a prompt to exit the level / island map / game, depending where you were. However, pressing Escape a third time would then close the prompt.

There are arguments for this being sensible. The game provides a binding for a "Back" input (X key, or B on an Xbox controller by default). The Escape key is treated as a special case "Quit" input, that can't be rebound. Most of the time it does the same as the "Back" input, such as closing dialogs. In this case though, since it was already a special case that Escape opens the dialog, I feel like pressing Escape again should continue the exit flow rather than backing out of the dialog.

Here it is in action. The only thing I'm doing here is pressing the Escape key 11 times.



I clearly labelled the button in the popup dialog with the Escape key prompt. Pressing Escape will highlight the button if it's not currently highlighted, or will press the button if it's already highlighted. On occasions where I want to exit a level or get back to the main menu, I find that this flow feels pretty nice.

Note: The "Quit" input also maps to the Back button on a 360 controller. So controller users also benefit from this simple flow for exiting out of things.



Exit Shortcuts

In addition to the above, there are also shortcuts on the pause menu to instantly exit back to the File Select screen or close the game entirely. The "Close Game" button was already there; I've added the "Exit to File Select" button as convenience. The tooltips on these buttons are also new.



I'm aware that the majority of players won't need these kind of shortcuts - I'd hope most players will just load into a game and enjoy playing. But I want the game to be low friction for people who do want to mess around in it, for example potential speedrunners who want it to be easy to back out and load a different file.

Pausing in Style

This next one is inspired by Luigi's Mansion 3. It's a very polished game (with the exception of unskippable cutscenes before bosses...  Angry ) and I was impressed to see that they had gone to the effort of restyling the settings menu (like this and this) depending on where you accessed it from.

The Challenge Mode in Leilani's Island has a distinct style of UI. The challenges are accessed through computer terminals installed on the island by Kuila. The UI used for the challenge level select and for popups at the end of the challenge has a computery-styled purple and yellow theme. It was quite jarring to see this UI on the way into the challenge level, but then be presented with the normal wooden-themed pause menu if you paused the game.

Now, pausing during a challenge level uses a more thematically appropriate style of UI. Smiley The yellow versions of the icons were a bit rushed and I'll probably go back and polish them at some point.



Control Settings Feedback

A simple one. While rebinding controls, you are prevented from binding different inputs to the same key. When you try to do this, it now flashes the existing binding red. For example if trying to bind Grab to the same key as Roll, they will both flash red.



It's a little tweak that helps to indicate where the issue lies.

Corrupt Data

If save data can't be read, I think it's nice for the player to be informed about it, rather than the game just pretending there was no problem.

I already had support for this on the File Select screen - but I improved the popup that appears when you select the corrupt file.



I also added support for dealing with corrupt settings files. These notifications will now appear if necessary between the title screen and the File Select screen.



Preventing Naughty Button Presses

I did a pass through the various menus of the game and prevented any instances of "naughty" button presses I could find. By this I mean places where spamming inputs could press multiple buttons and get the UI into weird states. For example, after pressing "Resume" on the pause menu, it was possible to use the mouse to quickly open the settings menu while the "Resume" button was still animating. Then the game would unpause but the settings menu would be drawn on top of it... not nice.

New Game

One final bit of polish. I always planned to make the selection of "New Game" a bit more of an event, but wasn't sure what to do with it. With this comment in my head...

I also love the punching animation in the menu selection, I don't think I've noticed that before!

... I was inspired to make more use of it.


All of this is so pretty and satisfying!

^^^^
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 03:38:58 AM by JobLeonard » Logged
nikkoguy
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« Reply #1021 on: November 15, 2019, 04:38:26 PM »

dang I've never even considered thinking about the game feel of... pressing new save?Huh?? wha-

the level of polish here is nuts, i cant wait to play it!!
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« Reply #1022 on: November 19, 2019, 07:16:51 AM »

That looks...impactful, if you'll forgive the pun.

My only concern is that, if each of those punches corresponds to a button press, some players will be confused and think something went wrong when the game doesn't start up after their first attempt. I'd recommend making it all one animation of the Leilani fist punching the new file block over and over until it finally shatters and the game starts up. If that's what you're already doing, then you'll probably want to shorten the pauses between punches, because they definitely give me the vibe that the game is waiting for player input.

That aside, I love the aesthetic of Leilani breaking a block to start a new file. It's a fantastic idea, and one I never would have thought of.
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qMopey
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« Reply #1023 on: November 19, 2019, 02:55:21 PM »

I love it.
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empika
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« Reply #1024 on: November 19, 2019, 09:29:01 PM »

Punch anim is  Hand Thumbs Up Left Hand Thumbs Up Right Hand Thumbs Up Left Hand Thumbs Up Right Hand Thumbs Up Left Hand Thumbs Up Right
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #1025 on: November 20, 2019, 01:22:41 AM »

Not to mention quite literally Waaagh!Hand Shake Right

EDIT: if you want to go nuts with easter eggs, hold A to charge up a more powerful punch? Well, hello there! Although I guess that does not fit the in-game mechanics
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Ishi
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« Reply #1026 on: November 22, 2019, 07:21:20 PM »

Probably wouldn't be a bad idea to have the checkpoint itself indicate somehow that it can be interacted with again once you pick up another chip, though. If it's doing that now, it's subtle enough that I missed it.

I forgot to address this before. It's a good idea, probably the easiest thing would be to have the pinwheel stop spinning if the checkpoint can be re-triggered, and it'll go back to spinning when Leilani touches it. I've made a note, thanks!

My only concern is that, if each of those punches corresponds to a button press, some players will be confused and think something went wrong when the game doesn't start up after their first attempt. I'd recommend making it all one animation of the Leilani fist punching the new file block over and over until it finally shatters and the game starts up.

That's a fair concern, but I do like the playfulness and interactivity involved in pressing the button multiple times. I'll keep it in mind and see if I get any comments about it in future playtesting. Once I add audio for the cracking and breaking that'll also hopefully ensure the player is aware of what's happening.

EDIT: if you want to go nuts with easter eggs, hold A to charge up a more powerful punch? Well, hello there! Although I guess that does not fit the in-game mechanics

I think that may be a step too far for this one Grin it would probably start to get in the way of the general usability of the UI. Maybe instead I can put more easter eggs and little fun features into other parts of the UI Smiley

Latest progress

A quick update this week as I didn't get a huge amount done.

Scrolling Menus

A couple of the menus have now got big enough to require scrolling. I was trying for a while to fit each each menu on a single screen, to avoid implementing scrolling, but it became impractical as I was having to unnecessarily nest options within subscreens which was just a pain to navigate. Now the menu scrolls instead which is much simpler to use:



Challenge Description popup

The popup that describes each challenge level has had a little layout tweak. It was feeling quite cramped - the thumbnail image was too small to show much, and if the description text went onto two lines it didn't really fit any more.



The new version has a bigger thumbnail with the description overlaid, which I think looks nicer, and also allows much more room for descriptions.



(Obviously putting a non-placeholder thumbnail also helps it look better!)

The line width which is used for wrapping the description text is now dynamically selected within a range. The system aims to balance out the length of the lines, so if the description is split over two lines, then those two lines will be of roughly equal width. This fixes the example above where "can!" was given a whole line on its own.

That's about it for the week. I've begun working on the rainy mountain level again, which I previously stopped to do all the UI polish. Hoping to get it finished this week!
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« Reply #1027 on: November 23, 2019, 12:36:32 AM »

Loving the work on the menus, specially the "New Game" one, but you will need to click 3 times on the slot?
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #1028 on: November 23, 2019, 02:17:44 AM »

Dude, I have a masters degree in Interaction Design and this is basically NSFW Kiss
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Ishi
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« Reply #1029 on: November 23, 2019, 09:09:37 AM »

Loving the work on the menus, specially the "New Game" one, but you will need to click 3 times on the slot?

Yeah that's the idea, but just when it's a blank file - not when continuing existing files.

Dude, I have a masters degree in Interaction Design and this is basically NSFW Kiss

Judging by the heart eyes I'm hoping NSFW menus are a good thing Grin your degree sounds really interesting!
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #1030 on: November 24, 2019, 04:01:43 AM »

Well, let's see...

- clearly organized tree structure
- just the right amount of skeuomorphism to give the interface character
- icons that further explain the functionality of the text
- little details like an F11 key to give extra hints
- keyboard hints on the bottom right

This is really well polished interface
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qMopey
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« Reply #1031 on: November 25, 2019, 12:01:58 PM »

TIL a new word: skeuomorphism  Gomez Gomez
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« Reply #1032 on: November 28, 2019, 06:40:29 PM »

Keeping my eye on this game. Good job.
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« Reply #1033 on: November 28, 2019, 11:02:03 PM »

this is very cool i loved that you wrote it from low level Did you experience any extreme challanges from that?
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Ishi
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« Reply #1034 on: December 01, 2019, 03:02:46 PM »

this is very cool i loved that you wrote it from low level Did you experience any extreme challanges from that?

Thanks! I don't think any one part of the game / engine presented any extreme challenges. For the most part I've purposely kept things simple (no threads, no shaders) and just stuck to tools and technologies that I already know how to use (SDL, FMOD, OpenGL etc). So I've been able to avoid any technical difficulties that I don't know how to overcome. The main challenge is just the sheer time it takes to make a game and engine at the same time!
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« Reply #1035 on: December 08, 2019, 07:19:13 PM »

Lava/Poison/Air Waterfall visuals

After recently improving the look of waterfalls for the waterfall-based level, this week I've been working on visual improvements for the poison and lava versions of them - as well as the upwards air stream which uses the same code.

Old visuals
Here are a couple of gifs showing how the poison, lava and air falls were just re-colours of the original waterfall graphics.




New visuals
Waterfalls were improved with a nicer animation, and bright-coloured edges that help to highlight the waterfall as being a foreground, interactable thing.



The others are now updated to be visually distinct from the waterfalls:



Poison is brighter and more gloopy, lava has a kind of shimmery effect to make it more fiery, and wind is wavy and transparent!

I was struggling to find a colour for the wind that looked good on all backgrounds - and I didn't want to resort to using transparency which I don't use too often. My solution was to specify a colour tint for the wind sprites on a per-level basis. Since not many levels will use the wind, it'll be easy enough to choose suitable colours for each level. For example, for this challenge level, I've tried making the wind purple. I think this prevents the large scrolling pattern from being too eye-straining.



Finally here's a showcase of all the different liquid types in suitable environments!



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JobLeonard
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« Reply #1036 on: Today at 04:56:36 AM »

So... much... polish! Waaagh!

Thank you so much for making the distinction between the different liquids include different textures and animation! This helps accessibility so much (besides, even people without color vision deficiencies should have an easier time playing the game)

Also, I could hear a disappointed, deflated "quack" as that duck smashed into a wall in the water level. So good
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