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June 25, 2018, 12:06:12 AM

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and
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« Reply #580 on: June 14, 2018, 04:37:48 AM »




Think that's about right? I might need to make that final pause longer now that I'm looking at it. It cuts off a bit quick.

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Zorg
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« Reply #581 on: June 14, 2018, 05:57:21 AM »

Haha, oh no! Cheesy

Like i said, it's to agressive, in my opinion. It screams in my face HEY, HEY, YOU HAVE TO PRESS A BUTTON, OR NOTHING WILL HAPPEN, HEY, WHY ARE YOU STILL READING???

If you want to animate it, i'd only animate the points, subly, not the "mini popup" as a whole, like this:



Smiley


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« Reply #582 on: June 15, 2018, 03:35:06 AM »

@Zorg - cool, I've tweaked it and am pretty happy but I forgot to grab a GIF, so I'll show you later Wink

For now, let's catch up with this:

MASSIVE MEGA UPDATE CATCH-UP
September 2017 - September 2017 (there's lots of GIFs on this)

Some of this art is pretty old, the ground and ferns in particular, but I don't want to skip ahead or it'll just be even more confusing than it already is. Again, I'm sorry for going away for so long.

Water

The swamp, the flooded catacombs and the drowned village (as well as an upcoming area that I've not talked about yet) need to have water in them. Previously, I had a shader programmed in that handled this, but there were a few problems with that.

Firstly, it crashed the game on Mac (and I didn't know why). Secondly, when it did work it needed to be manually coded for each area that I wanted the reflection - so unless I wanted water through the whole level, I had to go through a manual workaround to get it looking right.

So I just changed how I do water. It's now an object that has a physical volume, so it can exists anywhere and can be any size. Like this:



Form changing

I've updated how you change into the different shapes. It was very much a hack before, I basically slowed the room speed down to 10 frames per second. This is bad, don't ever do this.

It meant that your inputs weren't recognised immediately, so you could select a shape but do it too quick and you'd stay in your current form. And die. You'd usually die. Just slowing things down also meant that you had one eye on the action, rather than being able to think about what form you wanted to change into.

So, now it does this:



Invisible platforms

Keep an eye out for these, they often lead to secrets:



Boring stuff

I fixed a bunch of stuff with the menus, maps and made it so you can return to the last shrine that you lit (also maaaaybe helpful for some puzzles/secrets)


Maggots

For those of you who played the alpha, you may have found the maggots in the cave somewhat underwhelming. They were basically the same as the sloths, except that they jumped to different surfaces every now and then.

You might not even remember them.

I decided to take a look at the design to try and find a way to differentiate them in an interesting way, to present you with a different challenge and a difference choice when you come across them.

The design I ended up with was to have them turn into flies when you killed them:


This means that, unlike in the GIF above, you have to think about where you are when you attack the maggots. Or even if you should be attacking them at all (or maybe you'll feel like you have no choice).

You might find that one of the forms makes them easier to deal with.

Who knows?


Permanent Upgrades

These now work properly, and can be obtained by finding secret areas, doing favours for certain NPCs or maybe beating certain mini-bosses.



Keys

Aside from the different forms, there are now different key types for different door types:


I've used this now in the caves, to replace a convoluted lever system that I had going down there. It's much more streamlined and satisfying now, and as soon as you find that big key you know exactly where you're going.

I'll be updating the art for the different doors at some point, but it'll do as a placeholder for now!


Going inside

You can now go inside some of the buildings:



Drowned Village (Immermeer)

Started working on the art for this area:


It's my favourite area so far.


Some character sketches

You'll meet this guy in the drowned village. He's sat fishing, but not for fish; he's trying to recover people's belongings for them that they lost when the village flooded. Everyone's gone to the 'Priory', an area that you'll be visiting later in the game (if you go that way), so he's going to take them all of their stuff.

You don't know why he's been left behind. Did he choose to stay? Is he doing this to try and make things up to everyone for some reason? Buy my game and find out! (lol)


The less that I tell you about this guy, the better:


I have no idea how I did all of this in September. I think I must have had some time off work, but I can't remember now!

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« Reply #583 on: June 15, 2018, 08:53:20 AM »

Omg the atmosphere of this game, incredible! There is so much feeling in here on every gif you post.
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« Reply #584 on: June 15, 2018, 09:20:12 AM »

Enjoying the continuted timeline updates!
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« Reply #585 on: June 15, 2018, 11:19:51 PM »

Omg the atmosphere of this game, incredible! There is so much feeling in here on every gif you post.

Thanks! I feel like I've been staring at it for so long that I don't really see the art anymore, so it's awesome to hear you say that Smiley

Enjoying the continuted timeline updates!

Also thanks Smiley

I'll be keeping them coming!

Haha, oh no! Cheesy

Like i said, it's to agressive, in my opinion. It screams in my face HEY, HEY, YOU HAVE TO PRESS A BUTTON, OR NOTHING WILL HAPPEN, HEY, WHY ARE YOU STILL READING???


Ok, ok. I can see what you're saying. Here's what I'm sticking with for now:



What do you reckon?
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« Reply #586 on: June 18, 2018, 11:54:58 AM »



"You've got a problem with your door"

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« Reply #587 on: June 19, 2018, 03:29:19 AM »

MEGA CATCH UP CONTINUED
October 2017

In October I took the game to an event in Sheffield that was organised by Sumo Digital. They're really great at supporting the local gamedev scene and they invited me along.

There were over 300 people there on the night, so I got chance to see a lot of people play the game. I know I've said it before, but playtesting is invaluable. It's impossible to see your game from the outside, from the eyes of someone who hasn't put every piece of the world in place and coded every enemy behaviour. You can get pretty close, but even that can be miles off the mark.

If you're a dev yourself, particularly a solo dev or a small team with little experience, ANY kind of playtesting is great but there's a few things to bear in mind:

  • The environment matters - these folks were playing Mable in a pub. Many of them were drunk, distracted or definitely on something. Make sure this affects how you evaluate your observations.
  • Skill levels - some people might give up and walk away from your game. Still ask them what they thought, as this is a chance to find out if they play these kind of games. A handful of people walked away from Mable on the night and all but one of them was either not a gamer, or never played this kind of game. One of them was definitely on something. Don't tailor your game for people that don't want to play it anyway.
  • Taste - this is slightly different from the above. If everyone thinks your game is kinda ok, you're doing something wrong. Embrace the hate, because if you make something worth loving then there are going to be folks that hate it. Unless they hate it because it's fundamentally broken, then you probably need to fix it.
  • Pitch it - this is a great opportunity to pitch your game to random people and make your pitch better. Try telling someone why your game is cool, then tweak the description on the next person. You'll soon get a good idea of what really hooks folks in and gets them hyped about your game.

Here's a few more detailed lessons:

Lesson #1: Be more obvious

Nobody seemed to realise that shrines save your progress when you light them. Just before the spider boss, there's this:


The save before this is quite a way back. There's no guarantee that you've lit that one either. Lots of people did this:


And then died.

So, I did this:


You can still just about fly over it if you really try, but I also added a little text pop up so that you've hopefully got the hint by the time you get to the Spider boss.

Lesson #2: Your level design sucks

Lots of people died by flying into this block:


I found this funny for a while, particularly as the save is just after this gap. Eventually I grew bored of watching the players die, although I would have probably enjoyed it for much longer if there was a death animation in the game.

I just moved the block slightly out of the way:

Please nore: I'm trying to die here

If you die there then you're drunk. Go home.

Lesson #3: No, your level design really sucks

At the start of the game, there's spiky vines blocking your way to the mountain:


But almost nobody knew that, because you have to fly up and to the left. Behind the UI and in the opposite direction to what you expect.

Most people just did this:


So, when they killed the Spider Queen and used spider form to slice through a bunch of spiky vines, they had no idea that this new skill had opened up an entire new area for them.

I mean, it should have been pretty obvious that people wouldn't go up and to the left. Behind the UI.

Behind the UI!

I mean, at least the UI does this now:


But, erm, that's not going to be enough to fix this problem.

I decided to go back to lesson number 1, be more obvious:


Hopefully it's a bit more difficult to miss those vines. Particularly with all those shiny diamonds bouncing around.

Interlude - something that went right

I don't want to give the impression that things didn't go well. On the contrary, feedback was overwhelmingly awesome. Most of the level layout worked really well, seemed to be balanced nicely and folks were having fun exploring.

One thing that worked particularly neat was the way the levels tweak themselves based on certain variables. At the moment, I've just used this to make the game subtly guide you if you don't already know what you're looking for.

For example, if you take the secret route down into the caves, you can be vastly underpowered and even get stuck if you don't have the right forms.

*Minor spoiler warning*

If you play through the game and head into the caves after the mountain, you come across this scene:


Notice the diamond? That's a subtle little hint that you can get under the elevator. This is a hint that everyone took.

Problem is, if you've taken the shortcut, you're going to die down there unless you really know what you're doing. So, I do a few things here. This is what this same scene looks like if you've not come down via the mountain:


It's much less obvious that you can go down, and you just end up back at the village. If you go any other way apart from taking the shortcut, you'll reach this point eventually, but you'll have all the powers you need to deal with it.

In addition to this, there are also a few extra platforms for you to jump on, so you don't get stuck if you don't have spider form. If you do have spider form, those platforms aren't there.

This is just a very basic implementation of the same system that I'm going to be using to change the world depending on how you're playing, so you get the impression that your actions are causing the world to degrade faster.

*End of minor spoiler*

So, that seemed to work really well anyway Smiley

Anyway, back to the lessons learned from playtesting.

Lesson #4 - The stone giant is too hard

I couldn't even beat the fight. That's probably not a good sign.

I've tweaked this a little bit, but I've not had chance to test it since the tweaks so it's probably still too hard. I can beat it now at least!

Lesson #5 - Spider form is a bit rubbish

There were 2 reasons that this stood out from the playtest:

1) People died a lot more as the spider, they just couldn't seem to get the hang of it.

2) People just went straight back to using the fairy form, they genuinely looked underwhelmed by the spider form.

The problems almost entirely stem from the aiming system, which only allowed you to aim in 8 directions. It also required you to be pressing in a direction to fire, like so:


It took a bit of work to get it working better, but you can now aim 360 degrees, stand still while aiming and if you press fire without a direction held it just shoots straight forward:


It's amazing how much difference it makes to be honest. It's great fun to swing through the levels now and it feels like you're really in control of things!

The only downside to this is that it now officially makes keyboard only controls inferior, as that still only fires in the standard 8 directions. However, I plan to test having the option to use the mouse to aim.

If anyone knows of a game that does this well with keyboard controls, let me know!

More stuff from September

I worked on the chapel for the drowned village area:


It took ages. I told myself that any foreground art needs to be detailed. That may have been a mistake (I'm not looking forwarded to pixelling the collapsing city).

I still don't really know what props to fill the interior with...

« Last Edit: June 19, 2018, 04:27:41 AM by and » Logged

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« Reply #588 on: June 20, 2018, 06:32:24 PM »

Sounds like that event got you a lot of really valuable feedback! Level design is hard and those sorts of choices only seem obvious in retrospect once the rest of the level is all built out. But that's why play-testing is so important - better to catch it now than after release!

I think the caves could use one more layer of that tasty parallax. Maybe a middle layer with large holes in it?

Dialogue is looking good!

« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 08:54:22 PM by Tattomoosa » Logged

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