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hexdie
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« Reply #80 on: July 12, 2015, 09:20:17 AM »

This is looking really good! This was definitely one of the more memorable and enjoyable games from LD32. Very cool to see the awesome progress on this!
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« Reply #81 on: July 14, 2015, 02:53:46 AM »

Thanks Hexdie! I'm never sure if it's a good idea to expand on LD games, as they're always kind of rushed ideas - but I was just having so much fun making this that I figured I may as well see if it's got legs (wings?)!

There's a bit of an issue with the structure of the levels at the minute, which I'm playing around with a few ideas to try and solve.

Currently, the levels just go from left to right until you reach the end and shatter a crystal (or get to a boss fight). I just had it set up that way because it was the easiest way to expand on the original prototype and it seemed to fit well enough.

The main problem with this is that, because you can move really fast by spamming the sword, you can speed through the level and it become much less about maneuvering around enemies and killing them but more about simply dodging them altogether and rushing to the end, maybe just killing one or two to stop the colour fading out.

This is still a pretty fun way to play, but it doesn't really build up the player's skills on its own and doesn't really give the player any reason to engage with the game in the most fun way (finding cool ways to dispatch the enemies). So I want to keep this fast gameplay, but I need to find natural feeling ways to slow the gameplay down that I can tie in neatly with the other mechanics.

Any suggestions, ideas or discussion around this would be massively welcome. Ideally I want to keep it as a single axis scrolling game (ie there'll be vertical & diagonal levels too), rather than a 2D exploration game similar to a metroidvania - simply because I much prefer the idea of the player getting more skilled with the game without getting new abilities).

If you can think of any games that already do this kind of thing well that are worth looking at, please let me know!

Anyway, back to the graph paper.

Oh, before I go:

I like everything I saw so far except the weird angle of the reflection in the water.
Looking forward to the upcoming updates.
Also have fun / good luck with the baby Smiley

This was a good point. Is this better do you think?



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« Reply #82 on: July 14, 2015, 05:40:55 AM »

It seems that you have come to the same conclusion as me on Tikotep regarding the water distortion. It seems a good idea at the begining and was more challenging to do so, but it feel really better without the stretch on the reflexion. Good point.

Regarding the way you can challenge the player and force him to improve his skills, perhaps you can make monster drop goodies or power up, the more you get, the faster and the powerfull you become.

At the begining the main character may be weak and not able to travel accross large portion of the level, you are forced to kill monsters to grow your power up. If the player get hurt, he is weak again and so on.

I quite like the way your gun became better and better as you kill enemies in cave story for example, it made me want to kill all enemeies in a room instead of runing through it.
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hexdie
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« Reply #83 on: July 14, 2015, 09:50:30 AM »

Thanks Hexdie! I'm never sure if it's a good idea to expand on LD games, as they're always kind of rushed ideas - but I was just having so much fun making this that I figured I may as well see if it's got legs (wings?)!

I can definitely see that! I'm still working on an expansion of my LD32 entry as well. Can't hurt to try though, right?

There's a bit of an issue with the structure of the levels at the minute, which I'm playing around with a few ideas to try and solve.

Currently, the levels just go from left to right until you reach the end and shatter a crystal (or get to a boss fight). I just had it set up that way because it was the easiest way to expand on the original prototype and it seemed to fit well enough.

The main problem with this is that, because you can move really fast by spamming the sword, you can speed through the level and it become much less about maneuvering around enemies and killing them but more about simply dodging them altogether and rushing to the end, maybe just killing one or two to stop the colour fading out.

This is still a pretty fun way to play, but it doesn't really build up the player's skills on its own and doesn't really give the player any reason to engage with the game in the most fun way (finding cool ways to dispatch the enemies). So I want to keep this fast gameplay, but I need to find natural feeling ways to slow the gameplay down that I can tie in neatly with the other mechanics.

Any suggestions, ideas or discussion around this would be massively welcome. Ideally I want to keep it as a single axis scrolling game (ie there'll be vertical & diagonal levels too), rather than a 2D exploration game similar to a metroidvania - simply because I much prefer the idea of the player getting more skilled with the game without getting new abilities).

If you can think of any games that already do this kind of thing well that are worth looking at, please let me know!

Maybe you could make enemies which, if you ignore, become more of a problem in the long run. Like, enemies that could jump ahead of you if you just move past them and then you'll have to fight that enemy as well as any other new enemies you run into. You could also maybe incorporate more projectile-based enemies and maybe some that shoot more projectiles and/or faster projectiles, and make the player do some sort of shmup-esque projectile dodging in order to attack the enemy. I'm just throwing stuff out there. Hopefully that helps!
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« Reply #84 on: August 18, 2015, 03:56:14 AM »

Which Version Is Best?

Over the past few weeks I've been working through a few bugs and tidying things up. I've also been experimenting with the camera movement in an attempt to make stopping to fight the enemies more important. Unfortunately, while it does make engaging with the combat mechanic essential to survive, I feel that it detracts to much from the freedom of movement that gives the game a fun feel moment to moment.

I've posted both versions here:

Normal Camera

Auto Scroll Camera

I would massively appreciate your feedback. Please be aware that the levels aren't final (particularly those crystals are likely to be replaced by something that actually fits in with the story). The end of level stats are irrelevant too, as you can't collect the fireflies anymore (was no real point to it anyway!)

The next thing I was thinking of trying to make combat more important was to add in a lives system, where enemies dropped goodies that you collected, which would then add up to earn you more lives, possibly with the Sonic/Shovel Knight/Dark Souls kind of thing where if you die then you drop them and have to retrieve them (the things you collect, not your lives).

I'm still very much at the stage of experimentation, so other than the shape-shifting and colour-fading I'm ready to throw anything out and replace it if it makes the game as a whole better.

Next time: To world map or not to world map, story telling without telling you the story, or a look at some of the new locations - what do you want to see?


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« Reply #85 on: August 18, 2015, 04:04:15 AM »

i have a preference for normal scrolling.
On the long term the Auto scroll camera version might be frustrating , especially when you want to rush a level.(didn't bother waiting to get to the end of level 1. felt like a burden to wait)

going back to play normal scrolling some more, the mechanism is really fun  Hand Thumbs Up Right
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« Reply #86 on: August 18, 2015, 07:35:37 AM »

i have a preference for normal scrolling.
On the long term the Auto scroll camera version might be frustrating , especially when you want to rush a level.(didn't bother waiting to get to the end of level 1. felt like a burden to wait)

going back to play normal scrolling some more, the mechanism is really fun  Hand Thumbs Up Right

I think I just need to find a better way to make combat matter!
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« Reply #87 on: August 19, 2015, 11:11:38 AM »

Hey!
Been following you on twitter, and now finally tried out the game, and I must say it's pretty solid and fun. The combat mechanic especially, never seen it done before. Though I hope you plan on adding more stuff to it. Some upgrades, power ups, stuff like that. Because like it is now, I think it would get tiresome pretty quickly. It's kinda hard to give some pointers on where you should go and what to add, though. But somehow maybe include a 2nd combat mechanic? Although im not sure how that could work.
Anyways, I think I liked the normal version better, but the autoscroller was not bad, too. Maybe just include some levels with it.
Also the game seemed to get laggy when transforming back and forth, and when dying. I think it's got something to do with those visual effects when the screen looses colour.
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elfspit
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« Reply #88 on: August 20, 2015, 04:47:09 AM »

After playing both the normal and autoscroll versions, the normal version "felt" better, but I was able to blow through the level without purposefully fighting anything.  Maybe there needs to be more reasons to stop and explore / fight?

The autoscroll on the other hand did force some aspect of combat, but felt too constrained.  I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment about there needing to be a reason to make combat matter.

All in all, the game is looking very impressive and can't wait to see where you go with it!
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oldblood
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« Reply #89 on: August 20, 2015, 04:52:48 AM »

Agreed on the normal version. I think there may be some validity on the fact that some additional mechanics are needed. In example, with enough successful kills a powerup where the sword combos like 3-5 enemies before returning to you? Something that encourages you to get the kills in addition to keeping the game "alive" and ends up with a cool "payoff" at the end that makes you feel like a badass. Or even some secondary form of combat. I'm just kind of spit-balling but I think you need to find a way to encourage the player to want to utilize the combat system for something other than the game not ending, something more rewarding for them?
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« Reply #90 on: August 20, 2015, 12:36:11 PM »

Cool, awesome feedback - thanks everyone!

...I think you need to find a way to encourage the player to want to utilize the combat system for something other than the game not ending, something more rewarding for them?

This pretty much sums it up I think. I'll start having a think about secondary and tertiary mechanics and what might work in there. I definitely think something that adds a bit of variety is 100% preferable to simply forcing you to fight (which is pretty much all the auto scroll really did - although I justified this in my head by saying "hey, it's just like a weird side scrolling shooter now, right?")

Also the game seemed to get laggy when transforming back and forth, and when dying. I think it's got something to do with those visual effects when the screen looses colour.

That slowdown is coded in to add a bit more bite to the kills but I've had this comment a few times now so it's clearly not reading as intended! I might just make it pause for a single frame rather than go slow and speed up. Alternatively I may simply turn it off.

Thanks again everyone for testing and for the feedback, it's all been super helpful!

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« Reply #91 on: August 20, 2015, 01:09:07 PM »

Just played the normal version and wow - what a great looking game. I realize the overall concept was from a game jam but I liked what you had going quite a bit. There was a nice feel to the combat (at least that I saw).

I'd love to see this expanded or perhaps you could bring that combat into another project. Right now I got a little lost as a first timer playing the game. I'm not sure I was 'playing' it right but I did have fun playing.

Overall though - great stuff and keep on keeping on.

-Tim
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« Reply #92 on: August 21, 2015, 11:14:43 AM »

Thanks Tim Smiley

I'm definitely working on this at least until the end of the year to see if I can get it moving in the right direction.

Obviously I'll be having a break this weekend so that I can participate in Ludum Dare!
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« Reply #93 on: October 03, 2015, 01:13:34 AM »

I'm so lost with this right now...

...help?

I feel like there's still too many possibilities for the design and I have been able to focus on what I want the game to be. I'm inching towards some kind of metroidvania with light puzzling, but then I'm not sure if I should just leave it as a simple, side scrolling thing (although I don't think this really takes advantage of the strengths of the main mechanic as it currently is).

I think I just can't cope with designs that don't fit neatly into my head. Like I said, so lost.

When I got the Indiecade feedback, I thought "this is amazing feedback". And it is. But it hasn't helped me focus the idea. It's just given me more ideas, which has confused me even more!

If you're interested in the feedback, I've pasted it here:

Quote
IndieCade

Entry: Mable: The Journey [working title]

-----
Overall: I found myself delighted by the simple mechanic, and the beginnings of a very visually interesting setting. I liked the diversity in the 2 level designs I was able to play (see potential issue note). I feel as though the game is a wonderful proof of concept that I would love to see developed further and submitted to future festivals. Despite the moments of joy that are present, I am unable to confidently recommend it in most categories solely because of the unfinished feel of the entire package despite some memorable moments.

Detailed Notes:
-The surprise of the core mechanic is delightful. Because it was simple to initiate, I found myself experimenting with it a lot. It was fun to try and line-up hits. It inspires a lot of moments of tension, and I think it is fruitful ground for exploration over a larger version of this game.
-It wasn't clear what the function of the fireflies was. I didn't notice i was collecting them until the 1st level showed my firefly count. Assumption I made was that they were a secondary goal, much like coins/collectibles in other platformers?
-There is a nice ramp of challenge in the initial level design that naturally informs the player on where they need to improve. First getting past a stationary block, then a slow moving ground unit, then jumping units, then flying, etc.
-Enjoyed the "twist" that comes with learning you gain health back by defeating enemies. It's a nice simple system that elegantly forces you to engage with the core challenge of the game.
-1-2's boat was also novel, though I quickly learned that I could essentially "fly" to by doing consecutive jumps and leave the boat behind.
-Liked the world that is being developed. The parallax backgrounds and character designs are memorable.

Unfortunately, the novelty of the above wore off quickly. I've made a note in the issues section that can hopefully clarify if this version of the game only has 2 levels, or if I just encountered a bug due to my playstyle (I was unable to find the end of level 1-2). But my assumption, based upon the developer's description of the game, is that it is an early game jam demo / proof of concept.

Thoughts on how this could be improved:
-Obviously, a more complete set of content / challenge that explores the system more.
-Clearer communication of why I'm losing life, and why. I noticed there was some automated loss of life, and then possibly some life being lost when I am in the fairy mode.
-Make use of the fireflies, or if they are later in the game, try to provide perhaps some foreshadowing of how they might be used.
-Different swords that move back to the player in different patterns, for change to gameplay.
-Different secondary forms with different movement types, for further variety.

-----
You chose well for the unconventional weapon, it creates a lot of conflict all on it's own. The scrolling nature of the game makes you want to continue forward, but the sword is often stuck in the ground and you're made to look behind you. You also can't just speed through the level, you have to kill all the enemies in this backwards fashion, and it overall messes with a lot of your muscle memory for these sorts of games.

The game quickly became a not-fun frustrating for me because of this however. It was tough for me to get enemies and I didn't realize I had to kill a certain amount at first, so I spent a lot of time dying from the timer and couldn't figure out why. There is scant information in the game and while I might be used to figuring things out, I could see how others could be confused.

My gut reaction was how much I enjoy moving around with the sword but I really didn't feel for aiming it in such a way to kill the kinds of enemies you had. I did enjoy that as a consequence, the the dying over and over again without having much of a hook quickly dwindled my patience. I'd be curious to see you use this in an exploration game or some other type of experience that focuses on locomotion more than it does killing critters.
-----
Your core mechanic and art style are strong, and offer a good foundation for further development. The current build is fairly rough, however. Consider the following possible refinements:

- The game is built around the connecting line between Mable and her sword. This line is currently far too subtle. Make it big, bright, and obvious.

- You could do a lot more to improve the feel of landing a sword attack. Pause for a few frames after the sword hits an enemy, to add weight to the impact. Make enemies burst into confetti (figuratively speaking) when struck. Consider making enemies explode on impact, taking out nearby foes, to improve sense of impact and make it easier for players to clear groups without needing to pick off tiny stragglers. Decide if arcade-style secondary feedback systems for attacks, like combo counters, would fit your style - showing numbers getting bigger is an easy way to make players feel accomplished.

- Provide better cues about failure state based on distance from the sword. It's easy to get very far away from the sword, and the fading of the world is very subtle when you do. Consider restricting the range further. If there's a stronger visual link to the sword, perhaps have it grow taut and snap if the player gets too far away.

- The idea of combining jumping + attacking verbs in that core mechanic is a unique hook. But the needs of movement vs. combat in character handling should be better balanced. For example, the forward momentum after firing the sword feels good in an attack, but makes precision platforming, like landing on the boat, difficult.

- Enemy design feels scattershot. Enemy motion paths, especially early on, should be set up in clusters and lines to help the player learn how to fire through multiple enemies. Each enemy type should challenge the player to maneuver the sword attacks in different ways.

- Also, before showing this publicly, pick a name that's not a pun on the name of another game. It will save you the trouble of rebranding later.

So yeah, I just don't know where I'm going and I'm wasting what little time I have worrying about it. So I think I'll just do some more art for it until I can work out what I want to do with it.

Or do I just leave this to one side and work on something else for a while?

Thanks for listening Wink
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« Reply #94 on: October 12, 2015, 11:03:49 AM »

I think you have a great idea and an excellent start so I would keep on with it.

One thing to consider with any feedback is how it compares to your own roadmap of the game. In other words - what were you planning to do already? Generally speaking, people will look at your game and project their own gaming sensibilities into what they are seeing. They will connect the dots based on what they would like to happen. Now if a single reviewer indeed represents the crowd you are selling to then you want to listen to what they are saying. Does it make sense? If it doesn't, what exactly is the problem with their suggestions, ideas, etc.

OK - all of the above is very obvious stuff. The deeper thing is what do you have planned? Look at the games you really love and  paid money for. Think about the various things they brought to the table. Maybe it was a great story, or game mechanics or something like that. More than likely it was a combination of a lot of things which could be summed up as variety.

That is the very struggle I think many developers face, myself included. Variety. From one level to the next, from one moment to the next, how much does the landscape or experience of your game vary? Something to think about. One thing you want to avoid is the player thinking he's seen it all or feeling there is nothing new coming. My personal opinion is that's the point people lose interest in your game. The sense of wonder and advancement goes away and all that is left is a repetitive experience.

Again - all the above are strictly my opinion but it's stuff we are dealing with on Boss 101 every day.

Hope that helps.

-Tim
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« Reply #95 on: October 12, 2015, 11:09:20 AM »

Amazing art style! Looks like an fun and interesting game!
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« Reply #96 on: October 12, 2015, 11:47:47 AM »

Everything about that boat gif is great, especially love the reflections in the water!  Addicted
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« Reply #97 on: October 13, 2015, 10:46:26 AM »

Thanks guys.

@Tim/SunWuKong - very inspiring words. That's exactly what I'm thinking now, where do I want the game to go? It's all starting to come together in my head now, but there's still quite a bit of thinking to do.

So I'll get on with that.

In the meantime, have a look at my amazing ground code!


It's not a bug...

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« Reply #98 on: October 13, 2015, 05:59:52 PM »

Beautiful scene/setting. I was skimming and read that you wanted to make battle feel more necessary. This might be a bit blunt, but how about a big old barrier that falls from the sky. Or just some kind of magic barrier that doesn't dispel until slaying the enemies?

Forgive me if this has already been said.
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« Reply #99 on: October 14, 2015, 12:12:40 AM »

@flipswitchx - yeah that's a good suggestion, and something I've thought about a little already. I think it will work well as part of the game, where there's sections that require a certain action to pass (whether it's combat or something else - I can play around with that). Would be a good tool to mix up the pace a little bit.

I'm planning a few different weapons, shapes and level types. Basically I'm trying to build up a bunch of obstacles, enemies and abilities that can mix up nicely to give a good variety of challenges.
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