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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsMORSE - Change the world in the push of a button. (INDIECADE DEMO NOW AVAILABLE)
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Author Topic: MORSE - Change the world in the push of a button. (INDIECADE DEMO NOW AVAILABLE)  (Read 10477 times)
AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2015, 04:42:23 PM »

Just wanted to chime in and say at a high-level, this is a really cool idea. Digging the art style as well.

Sequel idea: You play a telegram operator in the late 1800's who gets to learn all the secrets of everyone in town and sell them to the highest bidder without getting caught...

One of the original ideas for the project was a morse whispers game (like Chinese whispers where you'd have a room of people wearing headphones and each with a morse code reader). Having the messages distort and change based on the capabilities of people would be super cool.

Regarding the sequel idea, you could have it be you play as paparazzi listening in on communication lines of celebrities/politicians sending messages with Morse. Based on how well you translate it could determine the value of your gossip.

And I also appreciate the kind words towards the project! Any further feedback or thoughts from the build would be super appreciated. Congratulations on the recent release by the way!

For anyone wanting an introduction to the game,

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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2015, 03:00:01 PM »

Hey Folks!

Here's some quick updates for the project!

Killscreen wrote an article about Morse!

Here's a chunk of the article:

"Morse’s titular technology may be old-fashioned, but it is hardly a historical game. Its main idea, that decisions made from a considerable distance can have real impacts on the frontlines, has more to do with warfare in 2015 than 1915. Strip out the intermediate layers of complication, and Morse’s protagonist is effectively a drone operator. Heck, don’t strip these layers out; the game practically does that for you. You never see the faces of those who carry out your orders. You never see any faces, actually. War in Morse is a series of mechanical abstractions: grids, vessels, coordinates, outlines. Who, to paraphrase Orson Welles’ The Third Man, would care if one of those little specks stopped moving?"

itch.io added Morse on their featured page!

I've also added a build for gamejolt and newgrounds.

Here are a fresh batch of screenshots for the project - as you can see, I've added in a scale to determine who is winning in combat, along with a visual indicator for who much of the battlefield you've unlocked.








I'm currently experimenting with getting different devices for different scales of gameplay, hopefully you'll see some more previews soon!
« Last Edit: October 27, 2015, 03:06:08 PM by AlexVsCoding » Logged

AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2015, 02:02:58 PM »

Hey Folks!

I've always found when asking for feedback on the forums that providing questions for feedback tends to get more responses/more detail, so here's a list of things I'm wanting you to clarify/answer:

1. Was it clear who's team you were fighting for?
2. What was the first letter you managed to learn to a competent level and what ones do you still remember?
3. How quickly did you grasp the controls/How to output Morse?
4. Does what to do require greater explanation?
5. Did you manage to reach a game win/lose state?
6. What units/weapons would you like to see added to combat? (Factoring in this is World War One!)
7. Does the tutorial need to be in greater depth and do you have any suggestions?
8. Was the difficulty curve too steep and was there a point where things smoothened out?
9. Were there any game breaking bugs/issues that came up?
10. Was moving between the different battlefields an easy process?

Any other feedback or comments would be massively appreciated. Feel free to put them in this post or at the linked play testing post.

I'd also be interested to know if there's any let's players that'd be interested in giving it a go, as watching gameplay and their experience afresh is very useful. Are there any forums/communities within TIGSource for connecting with Let's Players?

THANKS!
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2015, 01:11:45 PM »

Hey Folks!

Quick update - I've been reasonably quiet on here with updates this week - Here's why:


I've managed to get a functional iPad build; it feels super good to play on the go. Having said that, there's still a load to fix and next week I'll be back to patching up the flash build.

Keep an eye to the topic for more updates!
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2015, 02:23:13 PM »

Hey Folks!

It's been a super successful few weeks for Morse - The game has been featured on several Flash Portals, over 15,000 plays and various press sites such as RPS, Killscreen and PCgamer covering the project! Super stoked.


As for the game itself, there has been a plethora of interest from the community and in turn a lot of feedback! This has all been incredibly useful for reviewing the next stage of the project, which over the next few weeks, I will take the basic prototype I have here and flesh it out with some of the suggested changes.

Some of these fixes include:

1. Fix the letter J
2. Multi-hit units
3. Spacing of ships improving (They mostly stack at the top of the level, even when multiple rows open up)
4. Colour code the rows/colums and in turn the lists of entered co-ordinates
5. Improve the tutorial (Since I am the first to admit that there's a lot of work to do on that)
6. Stacking limit (The number of orders that can be stacked), I understand a lot of people kept getting confused with numbers they've already stored:
E.g.
A, Z, T
1, 5, 6, 1
For the early stages, the player will only be able to the piece of data they're going to launch.
E.g.
A,
1,
7. An improvement to the levelling system that factors in the accuracy of the player (Do they kill a lot of their own units) along with the number of soldiers across No Man's Land.
8. Difficulty scaling - Balancing is proving an interesting beast to tame, in that the early stages are apparently too easy then becomes far too overwhelming at the end of the game as all the rows open up.  


I'll be attempting to get as many of these implemented in the next two weeks, since I'll be exhibiting Morse at GA-MA-YO on the 19th of November. How that pans out we will see!

Stay tuned for more updates and thank you again especially to the followers of the project for your input and interest! In particular I'd like to thank those helping in the Playtesting page, in particular Hypocee and nnyei for their extensive feedback.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 11:15:51 AM by AlexVsCoding » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2015, 06:46:58 PM »

Look what you've gone and made me do.



It really needs some kind of handle though. Cabinet door knob perhaps!

Clothespeg with contacts made of a screw and a bolt, linked to a Teensy microprocessor which thinks it's a USB keyboard. Pressing the 'key' acts like pressing the right cursor key, which is the morse key in this game.

For my next trick: find/borrow/create a Morse interpreter and create a rudimentary Morse-speaking Air Traffic Control for X-Plane. I'm sure there was a brief period where light aircraft and airfields would communicate with signal lights - obviously large aircraft would use morse until voice radio got better some time in the later 1950s.
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Jasmine
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« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2015, 07:36:44 PM »

Played the demo.

THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN!

My only complaint was not knowing how I was doing. Granted, I knew that I was doing a fair job whenever I unlocked a new number bracket, but I think having a tally of kills/casualties would be a nice touch.

Great stuff, though! I got to the point where I memorized certain letters (I figured out the process behind the numbers, still confused about letters).
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Aiden Rose (Canned Turkey/CTgames)
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« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2015, 07:40:09 PM »

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« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2015, 01:35:30 PM »

My only complaint was not knowing how I was doing.
There's a status bar under the battlefield - it's quite subtle though. Shows the balance of power.
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2015, 02:55:36 PM »

For the latest version you have two main indicators in combat: first is the diplomacy meter which is based on how many units have made it across the battlefield on either side. The second is a progress bar that as you eliminate more units and successfully escort your own units across the battlefield you will receive an extra row each time you level up. There's also a rework of the tutorial so any confusion from there should hopefully be addressed.

Stay tuned for an update soon! I got a lot accomplished over the last week!
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« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2015, 05:29:47 AM »

Saw this on RPS this morning! Awesome to see this idea getting traction!
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #31 on: November 16, 2015, 11:51:50 AM »

Hey Folks!

Update time!

So I've added an absolute tonne of stuff in the last week - Based on the feedback of wonderful folks like yourselves I've added/fixed a bunch of stuff!

These include:
1. Tutorial - There's likely still a lot of work to do on it, but I've added a basic tutorial into the game to get players started. I've scrapped the old widget, instead staggering the introduction of the controls (First getting you to target a unit, then launching commands, then movement between levels). You cannot move off of No Man's Land until you have eliminated your first unit using Morse Code. I've added two indicators (A flickering on the Key Sheet on the letter X and a slow flashing on the grid where you need a strike). Upon hitting these, it loads the second part of the tutorial and unlocks movement.
2. J is fixed. Woo
3. Progress Bar - For the units you destroy/escort, you'll receive experience. Fill the bar and you unlock a row, along with a fresh set of enemies. This currently manages the difficulty (Starting with a manageable number of enemies and ending with a tremendously high volume. It's worth noting at this point that it is possible to win without getting to the top level (And worth attempting since 10 rows of military is a very hard thing to manage.
4. Basic introduction and explanation of objective.
5. As you level up, you are able to stack an extra number/letter each time. To add, I've reversed the order that new commands are added:

BEFORE:
I type the letter Q
T, P, Y, Q
AFTER:
Q, T, Y, P

This doesn't seem like much of a change, but it makes a colossal difference to how you input commands. Rather than having to wait/launch co-ordinates to get to your current commands at the end of a long list, you can type a new coordinate in and it pushes everything back one. I'll get a visual example to explain how this effects gameplay (In the meantime give the new build a try to find out for yourself).
6. Fixed Key Sheet - Whilst I wanted to have a Key that pops up and down, for now it's been causing too many problems (flickering/popping up when it isn't meant to) so I made it into a background and toggle it with a fade in/out. This looks a lot smoother now.
7. Added an extra level to give the player a little bit more time on the highest difficulty.
8. Colour coding of grid and co-ordinates, updating of font and changes to spacing.

Give the updated build a play now!
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #32 on: November 21, 2015, 08:05:21 PM »

Hey folks, so this is a quick update regarding Morse. Based on an event I went to earlier in the week, I have made a bunch of changes: whether these are for the better or worse we are yet to see.

1. I have implemented a pause state as I know many people have been struggling with comprehension of everything along with being able to get away from the intensity of gameplay for a moment. For now I have locked the camera movement once the game is paused. I might change this to allow people to review what is happening on different battlefields, although this might give the player too much of an advantage.

2. Sound is now toggleable which I personally added so I can play the game whilst watching videos simultaneously/listen to music.  It's currently locked to a key but I would like to implement into the pause menu.

3. The help sheet that comes with the game had some problems with people reading the dots and dashes incorrectly in particular the number based Morse which they perceived as a dot to start a bullet point rather than part of the actual message. To fix this, I shifted all the full stops up a row in line with the dashes.

4. The biggest change that I've implemented is a new control system. Rather than recording, then instantly removing a coordinate, the last recorded coordinate is retained until a new one is inputted. This means you can fire as many times from the same spot as you like without having to re-input the information. It means you could select a row then choose coordinates along it to eliminate multiple targets without needing to type it in over and over and over again. At this time I plan to offer both methods of gameplay along with potentially a third extra hard setting where the amount of data on the screen is limited.

5. I've also restricted the spawning of enemies until the tutorial has finished to prevent players from being overwhelmed.

6. I'm currently looking into method of having the soldiers have less influence  individually as the balance shifts further to the extremes. What I mean by this is many games I have seen end with the soldiers attacking in very large groups but only needing one to cross the trenches to win (which feels somewhat of a hollow victory). I prefer as the balance of power shift that it becomes necessary for more soldiers to cross the trenches to influence the shift of power.

 Stay tuned for a build release soon.
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« Reply #33 on: November 22, 2015, 04:31:10 PM »

Wow, this is a really great concept! I've playing with it for a while and it's really really cool, I'm impressed. Perhaps it could use more "radar-like" art. Sound is great though, and the concept is amazing.
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #34 on: November 22, 2015, 05:39:24 PM »

Wow, this is a really great concept! I've playing with it for a while and it's really really cool, I'm impressed. Perhaps it could use more "radar-like" art. Sound is great though, and the concept is amazing.

Glad you like it! I considered a radar-ish style for the visuals for the game (but then realised radar didn't exist for another 20ish years after that! (I also considered a ASCIIsh style, but just using dots and dashes. Having said that, I've wanted to do a project in Trixels for some time now, and especially at full scale I really liked how the art looked. There's a good chance mind you down the line I may bring someone on who actually knows what they're doing with Trixel painting to do the visuals for the project, but time will tell.

The new build is launched! Here's some additional things I've added in:

1. Difficulty select - I've decided to present the two different modes of control (explained in the previous post)

2. Fixed a bug where the player infantry ran on the spot instead of playing the idle animation

3. Tinkered the hell out of the diplomacy system - Totally broke my brain today adding an extra layer of complexity to the battle balance bar - For every 1 number in the direction towards a victor, the number of soldiers required to cross no man's land is whatever that value is.

Let me explain:

At the moment in Morse, if the enemy/player reaches -11 (Enemy) or 11 (Player), the game will end. In-between those numbers, you have a tug of war esque scale with which the players must get soldiers across the trenches in order to push in their favour. Many were complaining that there wasn't enough time spent on the higher levels (The moment you were level 10, even though there'd be a huge number of soldiers on the opposite side, one of your soldiers crossing the border would mean you would win. Rather than it taking just one soldier to shift the bar across, it works like this now:

Number of soldiers needed = Value trying to acquire
1 = 1 Solider
2 = 2 Soldiers
3 = 3 Soldiers
4 = 4 Soldiers
Etc etc.

I've also added all of the updates/upgrades to the iPad version, and it looks pretty good.



Stay tuned for more updates!
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #35 on: November 23, 2015, 05:29:29 AM »

Hey Folks!

It's worth saying that I've pumped a tonne of time into the project over the last few weeks. Because of this, I've got to give the project a rest for a while. There are a good number of significant reasons:

Work: My students come first, so the next few weeks I've got to crack on with supporting them, since a large deadline for the module I manage is coming up. This involves writing tutorials, helping them fix their projects and in turn running classes (Not to mention the big ol' pile of marking at Christmas).

Unreal 4: I've been dissecting the innards of UE4 over the last few months, and I'm needing to take time now for turning this knowledge into tutorials and lesson material, along with reaching an equal competence with UE4 as Stencyl (Which is going to be difficult considering I've had around 2000 hours alone teaching the software, never mind using it). Not only is this critical for the module that I will be running next semester, but Unreal is an expansion point for my own skillset that is very valuable.

ALT.CTRL.GDC: I'm needing to put together plans for GDC next year, as I'm submitting SpaceRagers to the competition. This involves a lot of planning and the longer I leave sorting it out, the more expensive it'll be. Better to strike whilst the iron is hot.

Installation Required: One of my part time jobs is running controller workshops and consultancy for educational programs. This is requiring a decent chunk of time currently as I'm running a controller game jam in just over 2 weeks (Along with making sure there's more workshops lined up/Doing the paperwork for previous events). I have plans for the summer and not investing in them now is putting the work at risk.

Narcissus: Yes, Narcissus is still alive. There's going to be an event coming up in a few weeks where I'll be getting an opportunity to talk to Apple. For this, I need to refine the iPhone build I've been putting together to make sure I give myself the best possible chance of getting their attention. Just so you know, it feels really good on phone and I'm super pumped for getting the game out after a development cycle that spans to the start of my career.

Wellbeing: All developers should ensure that there's enough time put aside to exercise, sleep, eat well, clean, get out of the house, see loved ones and do things outside of games. It's something that tends to get overlooked in the grand scheme of things and doing so in the long run damages your productivity, not to mention your health. NO MATTER HOW SUCCESSFUL YOU OR YOUR GAMES BECOME, THEY CANNOT BUY YOUR GOOD HEALTH BACK.

Coming back with a fresh mind: It's always good to take a break from a project for a while in order to give your brain some time to think through problems. Even a shower break or a walk can trigger the solutions for problems I've been scrambling my brain over. The example I talked about (Number 9 in the list of fixes was solved by taking a notepad and sitting on my doorstep). In this case, taking a couple of weeks off from the project will allow me to come back enthused and excited to be cracking on. If any of you have been following my projects for my career thus far, I tend to mosey between projects. I promise I will mosey back and know that I am so incredibly excited for this project.

I had to put off a surfing trip with friends the weekend because of the backlog of work/things to sort out. Whilst I took on the chunk of the academic work on Saturday, I drifted into working on Morse for most of Sunday, meaning everything else listed here didn't get done. Everything else on this list is far more important at the moment, so the project will rest for a while. This isn't to say that there won't be an evening where I pick up the project for fun, but in the grand scheme of things, it's currently on low priority on things to do.

I tend to post most stuff I'm doing on Twitter, so keep an eye on what I'm up to on there!
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« Reply #36 on: November 23, 2015, 09:02:57 AM »

What a unique concept! Not to mention the art looks pretty awesome too. Smiley
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #37 on: December 03, 2015, 10:56:53 AM »

Look what you've gone and made me do.



It really needs some kind of handle though. Cabinet door knob perhaps!

Clothespeg with contacts made of a screw and a bolt, linked to a Teensy microprocessor which thinks it's a USB keyboard. Pressing the 'key' acts like pressing the right cursor key, which is the morse key in this game.

For my next trick: find/borrow/create a Morse interpreter and create a rudimentary Morse-speaking Air Traffic Control for X-Plane. I'm sure there was a brief period where light aircraft and airfields would communicate with signal lights - obviously large aircraft would use morse until voice radio got better some time in the later 1950s.

Realised whilst I was flabbergasted by this, I didn't actually respond to say how awesome it is to see my game inspiring others to build controllers! I might actually put together a "How to build" tutorial for Morse. I'm currently putting the designs together for an upgrade to a Trixel based Morse Key (Which I may get for Christmas from my partner who is amazing with a laser beam). Thinking even to put together a limited edition controller to buy with the game (But that's like a million billion miles down the production process).

Thanks again for your enthusiasm!
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #38 on: June 17, 2016, 04:34:43 PM »

Hey folks,

So just read the 120 day message and cringed, even more so when I've realised I haven't posted here since November. Things have been happening- slowly, but surely.

Some big things have happened more recently - I quit my job as a lecturer (which I loved doing but have realised its preventing me from focusing on getting games shipped).

With that in mind, I do need something to do now. As it stands, I'm currently looking for publishers for a project to take forward - already have two projects on the table and some folks interested.

I've submitted the game to the European Games Prototype Showcase at GDC Europe, hopefully something good comes of that.

Rock Paper Shotgun covered the game for the third time which is insane, which has inevitably kicked my ass back into gear to restart development on it.

Before that, I've had a very satisfying more stable tablet build made. Already spent a bunch of train journeys battling through attrition. SO MUCH FUN. Despite this, I've started looking at alternate softwares to Stencyl for making this one due to performance issues. I've managed to build a basic version in Unreal Engine (tables to walk between, diorama battles in VR which was pretty cool) and have more recently started on a Game Maker version. Compared to the Stencyl version, I've managed to get over 500 units on screen without it dropping a frame of speed. Pretty awesome. Going to get the master collection of GM so should be able to export to a lot more platforms as well.

Stay tuned for more stuff soon, it's only going to get more busy on here.

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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #39 on: June 27, 2016, 05:35:11 AM »

Hey Folks,

So I've started prototyping the controller again now that I have access to a laser cutter! Here's some footage of it in action!




This is going to be the first in a long list of prototypes, the end game of which is something along the lines of a varnished case with a monitor built in that can be taken around to events.

Check out this vine too for another viewing angle:

https://vine.co/v/5uIed02aOIu

Stay tuned for more soon!
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