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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingSpacebar Florida - A Slow-Motion Top Down Shooter
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hsnabn
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« on: July 30, 2015, 02:26:44 PM »

Spacebar Florida
------------------------------
Hi all. This is the playtesting thread for my game Spacbar Florida. It's a top down shooter that draws some inspiration from Hotline Miami and Max Payne. Here's it's DevLog.
Here's the download link: Google Drive
Current downloadable version: v0.4, has new Rail Rush level, new ammo system, new dash move, better camera, better enemy rotation and stuff.

The game needs a minimum of the .NET Framework 4.5 installed. As for system requirements, I have not extensively tested it out, but it should work well on a moderate dual-core system. A minimum of 800x600 display resolution is required.
Please read the Readme.txt file located in the Readme folder, it contains the controls.
I hope you like it, and leave any feedback here!

Here's a new, much more extensive gameplay video:



Here's some screenshots:

« Last Edit: September 14, 2015, 08:24:53 AM by hsnabn » Logged

Quicksand-S
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2015, 03:07:11 PM »

Something about the movement feels weird to me. I think it might be the deceleration after I release a key, but I'm not sure.

For me, the control style seems strange for a top-down game. I would've much preferred a Hotline Miami-style system, where movement and aiming are independent of one another, but I could get used to this.

Combat didn't work well at all. One time, I went into a room and was dead before my gun responded to my clicks. Another time, I took cover after losing some health and everything slowed to a crawl (maybe three or four times slower than they should've been). I managed to actually shoot that time, but I still died.

I've gotta go, but maybe I'll give it more of a look later and check the frame-rate properly.
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hsnabn
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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2015, 12:22:15 AM »

Yeah, the movement is still a bit unpolished. I have gotten feedback from elsewhere that says the movement should be independent of the angle faced, like Hotline Miami, so I am currently working on that.
About the combat though, it's my fault for not including that the Readme file contains controls. I am sorry about that, but here's them typed out here:
  • WASD to move
  • C to enter combat mode (you can only shoot in this mode)
  • Left mouse button to shoot
The game speed is supposed to slow down when in combat mode. You can only shoot whilst in this mode. In this prerelease the bullets move a bit too quick, but still you can dodge one or two.
Thanks for checking the game out!
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« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2015, 02:12:06 AM »

Might be a good idea to show combat mode visually, by having the weapon hidden when not in that mode. I'd also recommend maybe using the right mouse button since a lot of PC gamers are used to using that button for aiming/iron-sights already.

Quote
The game speed is supposed to slow down when in combat mode. You can only shoot whilst in this mode.

I feel like when I died and respawned, I was able to shoot without pressing C. I can't reproduce it, though, so maybe I just hit C while trying to figure out what was going on with the controls.

Anyway, I didn't even notice the bullets until I looked for them based on your statement about being able to dodge them. So far, I haven't been able to take out more than two enemies before dying. Some feedback would be really good. It should be more obvious when I'm being hit or when my bullets are making contact with enemies.

What sort of feeling are you going for with the combat? Whether you're going for a slow-mo Max Payne sort of thing, or you want a Hotline Miami feeling, I think the enemies have too much health. Combat ends up taking a surprisingly long time and, for me, that ruins the pacing. I think slow-mo only works when it's in short bursts. Otherwise, it just feels slow.
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hsnabn
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« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2015, 06:09:33 AM »

Might be a good idea to show combat mode visually, by having the weapon hidden when not in that mode. I'd also recommend maybe using the right mouse button since a lot of PC gamers are used to using that button for aiming/iron-sights already.
Hmm... I like the sound of right mouse to slow down. Holding down right mouse, that is. I'll also work on a visual indicator for the combat mode.

I feel like when I died and respawned, I was able to shoot without pressing C. I can't reproduce it, though, so maybe I just hit C while trying to figure out what was going on with the controls.
The game should reset you right into normal speed upon death. But since it isn't reproducible, maybe the key was hit while you fumbled with the keys.

Anyway, I didn't even notice the bullets until I looked for them based on your statement about being able to dodge them. So far, I haven't been able to take out more than two enemies before dying. Some feedback would be really good. It should be more obvious when I'm being hit or when my bullets are making contact with enemies.
The bullets are an issue that I am addressing, now they are slower and easier to spot and even shoot out of the air. I am working on adding a hit effect for the bullets to give some visual indication.

What sort of feeling are you going for with the combat? Whether you're going for a slow-mo Max Payne sort of thing, or you want a Hotline Miami feeling, I think the enemies have too much health. Combat ends up taking a surprisingly long time and, for me, that ruins the pacing. I think slow-mo only works when it's in short bursts. Otherwise, it just feels slow.
I'm aiming for a fast paced shooter, actually a Hotline Miami cross with Max Payne. I might take enemy health down a notch or two. The enemies dying quickly works, in my opinion, well alongside visceral deaths (a la Hotline Miami). Also, what do you think about lowering the player health? I mean not right now, but later, when the combat feels right.
Again, thanks for the feedback.
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2015, 07:05:13 AM »

Quote
The bullets are an issue that I am addressing, now they are slower and easier to spot and even shoot out of the air.

Shoot out of the air? Nice. Hopefully that works well. I can see that maybe making players a bit overpowered.

Quote
I'm aiming for a fast paced shooter, actually a Hotline Miami cross with Max Payne. I might take enemy health down a notch or two. The enemies dying quickly works, in my opinion, well alongside visceral deaths (a la Hotline Miami). Also, what do you think about lowering the player health? I mean not right now, but later, when the combat feels right.

For anything inspired by Hotline Miami, I feel like everyone kinda has to have low health. Otherwise it wouldn't be nearly as intense (although there's something to be said for giving players who suck at Hotline Miami something similar to play). If players can dodge and shoot enemy bullets out of the air, it probably makes sense to require them to do that effectively.
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« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2015, 08:10:16 AM »

Shoot out of the air? Nice. Hopefully that works well. I can see that maybe making players a bit overpowered.
Right now, with how the system works now, I can pick out bullets with moderate-ish difficulty. It might just be because I am the developer, but that's why I'm posting builds here; to get feedback on how to tweak and make stuff.

For anything inspired by Hotline Miami, I feel like everyone kinda has to have low health. Otherwise it wouldn't be nearly as intense (although there's something to be said for giving players who suck at Hotline Miami something similar to play). If players can dodge and shoot enemy bullets out of the air, it probably makes sense to require them to do that effectively.
I am going to try setting up player and enemies with low health. How about two shots to kill? For enemies, they can take one shot which will stun them (for a time) and another shot to kill. For the player, how about they can just take two normal shots without getting stunned? Or maybe there can be side effects (bleed out timer, if you cannot get to a first aid kit in time you die, or you get one shot while going down to kill your enemy and get to live like in Max Payne 3).
Thank you for the feedback!
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2015, 08:48:25 AM »

Quote
If players can dodge and shoot enemy bullets out of the air, it probably makes sense to require them to do that effectively.

Truth. I was playing the first max payne, and I replayed it on hard. Way more fun the second time around, and the only difference was lower health and less ammo.

Quote
I am going to try setting up player and enemies with low health.

You could use a super mario style system, with the player having a few "phases" of health.
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2015, 09:12:34 AM »

Truth. I was playing the first max payne, and I replayed it on hard. Way more fun the second time around, and the only difference was lower health and less ammo.
When I implement ammo in the game perhaps I could try to put in a hard difficulty option. Please share any ideas you have on how difficulty could be increased, without making enemies into what are essentially bullet sponges. i don't really want to do that, as both enemy and player should be on as equal of a playing field as possible.

You could use a super mario style system, with the player having a few "phases" of health.
Could you perhaps elaborate further on this? I think the general gist is that you have power ups like body armor or riot shields of sorts, but I can always use more input.
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2015, 09:27:42 AM »

I think the general gist is that you have power ups like body armor or riot shields of sorts, but I can always use more input.

Actually, I like that idea too. As long as it's very clear to the player when they have armor on (might be tricky with this viewpoint), I think that could work well. The nice thing about the old-style Mario health system is that you always know exactly how many hits you can take.

If you do have a way to make it visually clear, then maybe you could do the same for enemies. Some could have armor and some could just be cannon-fodder-with-a-chance-of-shooting-you.

Also on the subject of difficulty, I think one big thing that impacts how tricky combat is in a game like this is enemy reflexes. The length of the delay between when they spot you and when they start shooting makes a huge difference. Tougher enemies could have quicker reflexes.

Another thing you may want to consider is having group AI act differently from one-on-one AI. In the room on the right, for example, I might be fighting the two guys at the top and get shot from behind by the third one. What could make that less irritating while still feeling decent is slightly adjusting the accuracy of enemies that are behind the player.

Do you plan to implement reloading? It could potentially add a little strategy to the game because players would have to choose when/where to reload, and could attack when the enemy is reloading. I guess it could also ruin pacing just as easily, but it might still be something to consider.
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« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2015, 11:18:36 AM »

Actually, I like that idea too. As long as it's very clear to the player when they have armor on (might be tricky with this viewpoint), I think that could work well. The nice thing about the old-style Mario health system is that you always know exactly how many hits you can take.
Hmm, it shouldn't be much harder. I'll get onto adding armor. I just did a small mockup and I think it is quite obvious that the character is wearing armor.

If you do have a way to make it visually clear, then maybe you could do the same for enemies. Some could have armor and some could just be cannon-fodder-with-a-chance-of-shooting-you.
Mmm, I like this idea! Those kinds of special enemies could really mix up the formula. I'll add this to the immediate to-do list now!

Also on the subject of difficulty, I think one big thing that impacts how tricky combat is in a game like this is enemy reflexes. The length of the delay between when they spot you and when they start shooting makes a huge difference. Tougher enemies could have quicker reflexes.
Sadly, the one department I have the least amount of ideas in is the AI department. It is high on the priority list and I am trying to implement better AI, though it's a bit harder than the rest of the stuff.

Another thing you may want to consider is having group AI act differently from one-on-one AI. In the room on the right, for example, I might be fighting the two guys at the top and get shot from behind by the third one. What could make that less irritating while still feeling decent is slightly adjusting the accuracy of enemies that are behind the player.
This is subject to what I said above, but I will take it into consideration.

Do you plan to implement reloading? It could potentially add a little strategy to the game because players would have to choose when/where to reload, and could attack when the enemy is reloading. I guess it could also ruin pacing just as easily, but it might still be something to consider.
Sort of. Ammunition systems shouldn't be much harder to put into the game. Like you said, the balance and pacing of the game can depend on it. I am currently thinking that the basic pistol the player has right now is an infinitely reloadable (albeit slowly) weapon. There may be special weapons that offer a limited clip but better firepower and maybe special functionality. Note the may, this is on my mind but not very high priority. What do you guys think?
As always, thanks for the feedback!
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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2015, 01:21:17 PM »

I am currently thinking that the basic pistol the player has right now is an infinitely reloadable (albeit slowly) weapon. There may be special weapons that offer a limited clip but better firepower and maybe special functionality. Note the may, this is on my mind but not very high priority. What do you guys think?

It depends on what you want, I think. Limited ammo means the player may have to move more, trying to collect ammo/weapons as they navigate the level. Unlimited ammo puts the focus entirely on the combat. I think either style could work well for this game.
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« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2015, 01:23:50 PM »

It depends on what you want, I think. Limited ammo means the player may have to move more, trying to collect ammo/weapons as they navigate the level. Unlimited ammo puts the focus entirely on the combat. I think either style could work well for this game.
I think I'll set up both systems; and then based on community feedback and other stuff choose a better one.
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« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2015, 11:32:40 AM »

Hey guys, just posted this to let you know that a second build is coming with many of the requested features! It is still not complete, but features currently implemented and working (plus some changed stuff) are:
  • Movement and aim are independent: You always move "up" (towards the top of the screen) when pressing W regardless of what direction you are facing. As a side effect player animations are removed for the time being.
  • There is an armor system in the game now: You can pickup armor and it will provide an extra layer of protection for you.
  • Enemy AI has been reworked a bit; they still don't move towards you, hear shots, or basically act anything smart, but detection logic has been reworked.
  • Health is greatly reduced: Enemies can take two shots, while the Player can take three shots.
  • Bullets move slower. It is most noticeable in combat mode, where you can now shoot bullets out of the air. They also "pack more of a punch", meaning they transfer more force over to whatever they hit. They can also be dodged with some skill, but currently it's moderately easy.
  • Combat mode works different: You now go into it when holding the right mouse button. Your weapon is also hidden while outside combat mode.
  • Some rudimentary hit effects are in. The world hit effects are not really working right, but that is a side effect of the way the test level is made; it should work fine in properly designed ones.
I may have missed a feature or two there, but that's a sizable list (at least for me).
I wasn't able to make a new level for the next release, but hopefully I will get some ready for future releases. As for this release, I have no time frame, but I am working away on it to get it ready for a release here. Things I am working on trying to include in this release are damaged (bloody) versions of characters, visually denoting combat mode. That's just off the top off my head, there are other features I'm looking to include too.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2015, 11:37:54 AM by hsnabn » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2015, 12:41:53 PM »

Where can I get latest build with the changes you mentioned? The one from first link seems like the previous one (WASD are still connected to mouse direction, combat mode is under C etc). I'd love to playtest the game, but right now controls are making it very frustrating experience...
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« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2015, 12:11:06 AM »

Where can I get latest build with the changes you mentioned? The one from first link seems like the previous one (WASD are still connected to mouse direction, combat mode is under C etc). I'd love to playtest the game, but right now controls are making it very frustrating experience...
Oh I'm sorry, it's not released yet. I apologize for not making it clearer, but the release should be coming soon.
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« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2015, 09:50:43 AM »

Uhh, I'm just posting this to let you guys know that the next release (which I am going to call v0.2), will be delayed a couple more days minimum.
The reason for this is that I have a massive backlog of polish and features to add to truly consider it a milestone. There is a completely new level in the works as well.
If you guys have any interest in seeing, I don't know, a devlog from me let me know. I'll start one up and hopefully keep it updated if there's interest. EDIT: Meh, decided to do it anyways.
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« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2015, 01:09:11 PM »

Hey guys! I just released the new v0.2 update, containing a heck of a lot of features! You can nab it from the Google Drive link on the first post!
This release contains lots of stuff, like aim independent movement, a new level (quite small though), armor pickups, better visibility of bullets in combat mode and much more!
Try it out and leave any feedback here!
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« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2015, 04:07:00 PM »

- The movements feel slippery, whenever I release the button the character continues moving slowly. This is made worse by the slow-mo which make the movement even more slow.
- I don't think bullets can collides
- Bullets disappears when slow-mo returns to normal.
- I feel the obligatory slow-mo to shoot is kind of a problem here. Most games made it so the slow-mo and shoot is different actions and player can choose to use them separately in different situation. slow-mo to shoot feels rather restricting the player by forcing them to use both of them at the same time, than a feature that makes the gameplay more unique.
- I think the door is facing wrong direction.
- The door is too heavy as a normal door and too light as a vault
- The game should exits when I press esc
- Overall pacing is still very very slow

Conclusion: I feel this is one of these attempts that tries to make a game but have yet to master the game engine. It feels like the problems that should be fixed are rather obvious. Try to be more familiar with the work environment to control these matters more freely, then see what others have things to say about your game.
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« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2015, 12:30:53 AM »

- The movements feel slippery, whenever I release the button the character continues moving slowly. This is made worse by the slow-mo which make the movement even more slow.
- I don't think bullets can collides
- Bullets disappears when slow-mo returns to normal.
- I feel the obligatory slow-mo to shoot is kind of a problem here. Most games made it so the slow-mo and shoot is different actions and player can choose to use them separately in different situation. slow-mo to shoot feels rather restricting the player by forcing them to use both of them at the same time, than a feature that makes the gameplay more unique.
- I think the door is facing wrong direction.
- The door is too heavy as a normal door and too light as a vault
- The game should exits when I press esc
- Overall pacing is still very very slow

Conclusion: I feel this is one of these attempts that tries to make a game but have yet to master the game engine. It feels like the problems that should be fixed are rather obvious. Try to be more familiar with the work environment to control these matters more freely, then see what others have things to say about your game.

OK, I'll try to address your points:

- I will look at the movement and make sure to let the player stop in their tracks when movement keys are released.
- Bullets can collide. Actually, I think it happens a bit too much right now.
- Bullets do not disappear when exiting slow-mo. They just lose their trail.
- I think making shooting possible anywhere really doesn't work for this game. Though I am thinking about speeding up slow mo.
- The door is more of another problem; I'm trying to make it so that you can open it to the "outside" rather than "inside". But it's not really turning out how I imagined, so in this release I made it so it opens "inside".
- Making the door heavier made it impossible to get out of the way of enemy fire before dying. Again, as I said on the last point, I am working on the door.
- Oh, exiting when ESC is pressed can't be much harder. I'll look into doing it.
- Yes, the pacing is quite unorthodox. This is only the first "part" of the level, I am trying to make it like a bank heist: the battle will eventually go through alleys and stuff.

To the conclusion: Yes, this is actually the first time I am using this engine, and actually my first time coding and making game graphics.

Thank you for the feedback!
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