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July 06, 2022, 03:26:31 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsMORSE - A game that passively teaches you the lost skill of telegraphy.
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Author Topic: MORSE - A game that passively teaches you the lost skill of telegraphy.  (Read 19027 times)
fingerman
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« Reply #140 on: March 25, 2021, 07:19:38 AM »

Hi, nice, that this is coming along. This game was up here when I originally signed up to the forum years ago. Pretty sure there was a playable version available for download (and that I was v. bad at it). Well done!
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #141 on: March 29, 2021, 02:24:57 AM »

That is indeed a lot of progress, good work!

Cheers! it's been a bloody busy few months, things certainly will be a lot quieter in the coming weeks, as of tomorrow taking at least a full week off from work. Very tired!

Hi, nice, that this is coming along. This game was up here when I originally signed up to the forum years ago. Pretty sure there was a playable version available for download (and that I was v. bad at it). Well done!

Thanks! Yeah, it's come along a loooooong way since the flash version (RIP Flash version), that build of it difficulty-wise was probably the equivalent of a final boss battle in the game (Full alphabet of letters, 10 rows of letters, 3 battlefields you have to control simultaneously with only basic artillery!) Certainly a lot better on the difficulty scaling this time around.

Speaking of, I am looking for testers for the full unreleased build, drop me a comment below or a DM if you're interested in giving it a go! (That does come with the caveat of giving feedback!)

If folks haven't checked it out yet, I've updated the main page graphics to represent the game in its current form, definitely chuffed with the style!


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JobLeonard
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« Reply #142 on: April 02, 2021, 12:09:27 AM »

Well look at this:

https://xkcd.com/2445/
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #143 on: April 07, 2021, 06:35:26 AM »

Hey Folks!

Back after a week off, feeling a lot better for a break!

I've been back to work over the last few days, the focus being on getting the main menu overhauled to accommodate more buttons! Whilst a lot of them are placeholder for the time being, it looks real slick and it's a lot easier to lock buttons I currently don't need than have to keep adding ones over time.

More soon!



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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #144 on: October 13, 2021, 03:46:01 AM »

SO...

Been a hot minute since I posted in here last! Here's what you've missed:

So turned out I needed a much longer break than expected, quite heavily burnt out from juggling client work, commitments as a lecturer and managing MORSE. More broadly with the restrictions being lifted for COVID, having spent most of the pandemic in isolation I needed time to see folks and recover from that experience.

Fastforward to August, an opportunity to pitch the game came up and having that come up put a fistful of fire in my belly and I returned to the project, re-familiarised myself with the project and crafted a pitch.

I'm determined to ship the game and with that I've quit my lecturing job to focus on this full time. Currently talking to a bunch of publishers and seems really positive feedback so far!

The most recent development was EGX 2021 - MORSE got featured in the Leftfield collection and last week I took the game along with the custom cabinet and had such a fantastic time. After over a year of not exhibiting the game, finally getting to have folks play it was incredibly cathartic and validating. Check out the footage from the event here:






So what happens next?

Currently I'm in talks with several publishers, from which (if things go to plan) I'll be starting full time development with a team of 9 from December. As part of that, there'll be a lot more activity on here!

There's also the matter of what feedback I gathered from EGX which needs integrating in the project:
FIXES
- Integrate multi-shot placement for all letter lengths (E.g. 4-5, I think any more than that is worth the programmer handling)
- Offset help menu for longer words
- Morse tree broken (can't click on the button)
- Look at speed sliders (adjust values in settings menu), ham radio operator wants more sensitive controls
- Add training screen with Eliza
- Integrate training into campaign
- Add character disks to overview (Like banner saga) to dictate who is in what room
- Disable annoying annoying menu popup (restrict to showing once per mode)
- Fix easy mode on RATIONS (Round doesn't end on death)
- Overhaul objectives bar to be more explicit
- Increase background decorations for campaign (Some bits are really sloppy and could easily bring up the production level
- Number order needs inverting (caught literally every person out)
- Start of game is too long for expos (Folks drop off before they hit the gameplay), need a means of streamlining
- Could look at having 2 modes - Fully randomised and scaling (where number increases on each win state).

Not sure yet whether I'm going to be immediately delving into solving these or whether admin/publisher stuff will take priority, but we'll see! I'll actually be doing an update post on what has changed since March on the game, we'll see if I have the time to make a video log on that!

Stay tuned for more soon!
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« Reply #145 on: October 15, 2021, 12:10:17 AM »

Hey! Welcome back! Sounds like you had a good break too Smiley

And awesome that you have multiple interested publishers out there! Coffee
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #146 on: November 16, 2021, 02:10:41 AM »

Hey folks!

Another quick update to say that I'm still furiously paddling beneath the surface, exciting things on the horizon, just can't talk about them yet!

In the meantime, here's a really ace writeup from Katharine Castle at Rock Paper Shotgun about MORSE and the custom controller! https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/the-magic-of-morse-is-in-its-custom-telegraph-controller

Nice that things have come full circle, given that RPS covered the flash version of the game 6 years ago. More soon!
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #147 on: November 16, 2021, 02:48:30 AM »

Quote
paddling beneath the surface
You know, I don't think that's a very effective way of creating forward momentum...

Also, congrats on the RPS coverage!
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #148 on: May 08, 2022, 08:25:37 AM »

Hey folks!

Holy heck, it's been another hot minute!

Wanted to apologise again for more radio silence, nethertheless I've been feverishly hard at work the last 6 months. Here's a whistle-stop tour of what we've been up to:

+ MORSE exhibited at GDC: Back in March, I showcased MORSE with it's alternative controller input! Was a really exciting event, made a slew of useful contacts from the event and was immensely validating showing the game to many developers and industry veterans who appreciated the game! My highlight was showing the game to a developer who's father and grandfather were both telegraphists and inherited their equipment as heirlooms and said playing this game has bought him closer to them both (to the extent that he's going to learn the language)!

Here's a video that showcases MORSE and the various other installations included in the ALT-CTRL lineup, I'll be posting my own video from the event real soon!





+ Negotiations with publishers: Been making excellent progress with multiple publishers, anticipate something being signed in the next few months and then I finally I can spill all the beans!

+ MORSE is now on Steam! As part of LudoNarraCon, MORSE was selected as part of the exhibit, so I submitted the 1 hour vertical slice that was developed as part of the UKGF for it. The game itself has had some refinements since (listed below) and I'll be continuing to iterate/update/refine the build in response to feedback from the Steam community.

Check out the demo build here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1976860/MORSE/

Here's the changelist of stuff that's been altered since my last post, worth noting that the build has remained relatively unchanged for a decent period of time due to the bizdev process taking priorty since we had a pretty cohesive, rounded build that only needed refinement (And I was admittedly unwilling to do more work on it for free given the amount of content already produced).

+ Implemented endless challenge mode
+ Added a scoring system for waves
+ Added tiered difficulty
+ Added narrative segments to training section
+ Partitioned the training strings into refined and unrefined
+ Fixed issue with RATIONS mission
+ Added in a pre-game disclaimer (pardon our dust)
+ Temporarily disabled the settings menu
+ Fixed worker logic.
+ Updated notification graphic
+ Fixed typos in master script
+ Added cooldown on notifications
+ Fixed pause menu on air map
+ Added offset for longer help lists
+ Switched menu buttons around
+ Adjusted objective marker on DESTROYING mission
+ Fixed bug on final objective
+ Word axis now moves in line with camera/target position

May come back and elaborate on some of these but already a lot here!

What next?

As mentioned above, there's still plans to keep updating/tweaking the build based on feedback from the folks on Steam, here's what I've got as priority so far:

- Implement the settings menu: The game did previously have a settings menu integrated but I pulled it out for the demo as I hadn't integrated any of the settings listed on there. I'll be adding volume, controller configuration, display settings, accessibility settings and a bunch of other stuff, these are features I plan to incrementally introduce.

- Start updating the background artwork: This is a relatively minor task, but I really want to add some supplementary details to the spaces. Nothing massively labour intensive, just something to make the spaces feel less placeholder. I can do pixel art and I think with maybe a day or two's work, I could really bring certain scenes to life with decoration!

- Overworld markers: The current overworld lacks indicators to what is in each room. Similar to the Banner Saga, having some disc with character faces on to signify there's something of relevance in certain rooms would help with navigating the spaces.

- Refining the training mode and integrate into Campaign: Similar to the Banner Saga, I want MORSE to have a really slick training mode to refine your strategies and skill. Currently the training mode is only accessible from the main menu, I'd like it instead to be integrated in the campaign, so before you start a mission you get a page where you can practice with curated seeds and do a handful of challenge missions. Should just add some extra content to the game through folks meticulously practicing and opportunity for more gameplay without as much narrative exposition. At the moment, the training mode is pretty garbage, the unit positions don't change, the victory sequence is sluggish and not needed, lose state is basic and there's no interface, there are no configurables. What I imagine as part of the campaign is each "day" you'll have a challenge, such as a time trial or a wave based defence to endure, most likely tied to the various types of mission you'll be experimenting with and then 3-5 random strings that you can practice on, possibly training you on letters that you haven't been using often to increase the learning process.

- Narrative development: After a long gap in narrative design/development, I've hired the expertise of Sarah Millman as the new writer for the project! Really stoked to get to work with her on with MORSE, her previous/current project NPC Tea is a really lush comic and carries a lot shared themes to the game. For now, we'll be doing some basic exploratory reviews of the text so far, getting her acclimated to the project so when funding is secured we can hit the ground running!

Stay tuned for more soon, I genuinely mean it this time: This year started in a pretty chaotic way with having surgery (which knocked me out for two months), then had GDC, then had the Steam launch so should now have a couple of stable months to make some progress with the project and document it on here. Actually quite stoked to be returning to the project and curious to hear what many of you think about the project!

Thanks again for your patience and enjoy the demo!
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oldblood
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« Reply #149 on: May 08, 2022, 10:24:15 AM »

It's awesome to see this project is still around! And wow, it's come a long way since the last time I saw it. Looks gorgeous.
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« Reply #150 on: May 09, 2022, 02:31:34 AM »

You even got the first segment in that summary video, means it'll give you the most impressions! Wink
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« Reply #151 on: May 18, 2022, 01:02:54 AM »

It's awesome to see this project is still around! And wow, it's come a long way since the last time I saw it. Looks gorgeous.

Thanks! It's been a bit of a slog but I'm so chuffed with what I've achieved so far! Some really exciting stuff on the horizon, can't wait for this project to reach it's full potential.

You even got the first segment in that summary video, means it'll give you the most impressions! Wink

Very grateful for Tatiana putting together that compilation, they're doing a lot to promote the ALT CTRL scene!

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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #152 on: May 25, 2022, 04:10:44 AM »

Hey Folks!

Here's a small feature in the project I'm looking forward to integrating! Was unwinding and switching off in a lovely candlelit bubble bath when I suddenly came up with a design solution for the ammo loading system in MORSE!



Here was the design problem: Currently folks playing the game do not like that you have to wait a shell to load into the bottom before you can fire it, that means you potentially have to shoot through a stack of 3-4 shells to reach the one you want!

So the solution found is this: Morse Code!

The main grid is navigated with a grid made up of letters and numbers (E.g. A 1, G 5) that the player moves around with telegraphy, so if I want to move to A in this clip, I enter dot then dash.



So it occurred to me deep in my bubbly stasis that the same grid system could be used for the stack of shells being loaded in! Associate a letter with each slot which if occupied would fire next, so if you wanted, lets say the larger shell at C, you could enter -.-.

So I hopped out of the bath and scribbled down this solution! What's nice as well with this design is it adds another level of mastery to the game, in that with this addition you could theoretically beat the entire game without missing a shot.

This of course still needs to be actually prototyped but I have a good feeling it'll compliment the games systems and keep the input count to a limited number (target is no more than 4).

More updates soon!
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #153 on: May 25, 2022, 04:19:49 AM »

Nice!

This game is slowly turning into "keyboard shortcut-keys, the game, but morsecode" and I'm loving it
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #154 on: May 30, 2022, 05:23:33 AM »

Hey Folks!

Quick update, thought I'd already posted this here but MORSE was featured in LudoNarraCon! Here's the stream that goes into depth of the various elements of the project and demonstrates the custom controller accompanying the project!



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JobLeonard
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« Reply #155 on: May 30, 2022, 06:28:10 AM »

I am slightly surprised you don't have a period-appropriate wardrobe (yet), you seem like the type and it would look great on you Gentleman

Impressed by your ability to talk and play the game at the same time. I can't do that with regular games, let alone with a game like this.

Also the "feel" of the gameplay somehow seems to get across much better from the livestream than from trailer clips. I can totally picture myself fully getting "into the zone" while typing Morse code for this game
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #156 on: June 01, 2022, 03:34:55 AM »

I am slightly surprised you don't have a period-appropriate wardrobe (yet), you seem like the type and it would look great on you Gentleman

Impressed by your ability to talk and play the game at the same time. I can't do that with regular games, let alone with a game like this.

Also the "feel" of the gameplay somehow seems to get across much better from the livestream than from trailer clips. I can totally picture myself fully getting "into the zone" while typing Morse code for this game

Haha, getting an era appropriate outfit is definitely on my list, hoping to track down an officer uniform but might be a matter of getting one fabricated as they're bloody expensive! (As a ridiculous example, underwear from that era is over £100 to purchase online haha)

Hopefully me playing the game whilst talking about it showcases both my proficiency at telegraphy but also the accessibility of the project! It's also a skill learnt from teaching, that kind of multitasking is pretty much critical for job.

I'm overdue updating the trailer, happy with the original cut but there's some features I want to get integrated first before giving it another pass!
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #157 on: June 07, 2022, 07:43:34 AM »

Hey folks! Slightly belated but here's some footage of MORSE at ALT.CTRL.GDC in March. Enjoy!



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« Reply #158 on: June 08, 2022, 03:15:29 AM »

Cool to see people interact with your custom controller Smiley
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #159 on: June 13, 2022, 01:40:45 AM »

Cool to see people interact with your custom controller Smiley

Thanks! It's honestly been so cathartic after years isolated because of the lockdown being able to show my games to the public again. Hopefully the first of many trips!
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