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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingJugglin' - a love story
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Author Topic: Jugglin' - a love story  (Read 3629 times)
bigpants
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« on: September 25, 2007, 06:58:04 AM »

Derek recently posted about Jugglin', and he didn't hate it! The comments on the posting were growing large, so Derek suggested I post Jugglin' here. I've been working on Jugglin' off, off and sometimes on for the last 3 years. My goal is to make the funniest action videogame you've ever played. Core gameplay & controls are complete, the comedy is completely absent.


Jugglin' Beta

http://www.bigpants.ca/juggling
Action. Rhythm. Puzzle. Ouch.
Site has everything you need, including my competition.

Casual gamers need not apply.
The controls & gameplay are for the hardcore.
Don't be fooled by the graphics - this game will hurt your fingers and your mind
You automatically catch & throw the balls perfectly,
freeing you to concentrate on skillsets untested.


Why am I bothering you?
I need your help! Based on the feedback I received in the comments, Jugglin' does not run on many machines (MisterX, -B-, and phil70 all could not run it). Specifically, it's having problems running on SOME installations of Windows XP SP2. Considering Jugglin' was BUILT using that OS, it's doubly ironic. I've been able to rule out DirectX and the VB6 sp5 runtime library as problems. It appears to be an initialization problem with SOME videocards. I've tested Jugglin' on 20 machines so far, and covered off a wide range of videocards, so this really grinds my gears.


What can you do?
  • Try downloading & playing the game from the Jugglin' site.
    http://www.bigpants.ca/juggling/download.htm
    Does either .exe (Sound or NoSound) work? If one of them does, you're DONE!
  • If neither works, try installing the "VB6 sp5" runtime detailed in the "Jugglin' Doesn't Work" section on the page. Does either .exe (Sound or NoSound) work? If one of them does, you're DONE!
  • If neither works, you're in the same boat as MisterX, -B- and phil70. Try downloading & playing this secret custom build
    http://www.bigpants.ca/juggling/Juggling_20090925_Test.zip
    Does either .exe (Sound or NoSound) work? Regardless of the outcome, could you please post your results here, OR e-mail them to [email protected].
    i.e. Jugglin' worked once I tried the "secret custom build", but not until then.


What's in it for me?
Aside from my eternal gratitude, you'll be able to tell your kids you beta tested a "Halo 3" killer.


Thanks VERY much,
Jim McGinley aka. Happy Mister Bigpants aka. Bigpants
[email protected]
« Last Edit: September 25, 2007, 09:10:28 AM by Guert » Logged

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Guert
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2007, 09:11:02 AM »

I've added the title to my "to try" list.
Later!
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Headmade
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2007, 02:49:45 PM »

I tried it all and it still doesn't work.

I have a ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, running on Win XP SP2.

The error message I get is: Runtime error 13 Type incompatible.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2007, 02:52:03 PM by Tinarg » Logged
bigpants
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2007, 12:55:31 AM »

First off, thanks for the help. Out of curiosity, what language is your version of Windows? I've only ever tested Jugglin' on English Windows. phil70 mentioned he's running the french version of windows and the VB6 forums indicate that VB6 itself might have some distribution issues on non English versions of Windows.

Tinarg -
Does Mario Inna Space work on your machine?
http://www.tigsource.com/features/bgames/MarioInnaSpace.zip
What about Noodle?
http://www.tojam.ca/games_2007/noodle.asp

Jugglin' uses exactly the same DLLs as the above two games.
If those 2 work, it's extra strange that Jugglin' doesn't.

Thanks in advance.
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2007, 03:17:20 AM »

My Windows is in German language.

Mario inna space works, both sound and no sound.
I tried downloading noodle, but I always get an connection timeout so I couldn't give it a try.
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jonaw
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2007, 06:39:31 AM »

As I wrote in the comments it dosent work for me either, and I´ve tried all of the builds.
I have a Swedish xp home version.

The noodle game works for me however.
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Alex May
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2007, 08:57:48 AM »

I remember this from back when it was in the IGF. It is great and good. As suggested, it is entirely serious and a complex simulation of real-world juggling, in which I have an interest anyway. Juggling is a very serious sport and should not be made light of in any context. The ball physics are good, and although it's not visually apparent, ball deformation (standard lentil-filled suede ball) is accurately modelled. The Mills Mess is just as much fun in this as it is in real life.

It worked fine back then, and on this new machine it works fine. I will also check at home where I predict that it will work fine. But I tend to have a lot of stuff like this installed, runtime libs and stuff.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2007, 08:59:57 AM by haowan » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2007, 09:18:20 AM »

Works here... Interesting... Wink Gonna play a bit more before I start commenting...
Later!
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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2007, 09:19:50 AM »

I retried downloading noodle and it worked this time. Both sound and no sound work.
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bigpants
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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2007, 04:24:27 PM »

I'VE FIGURED IT OUT!!!
It turns out that JUGGLIN' has problems with other languages!!!
Outdated / invalid DLLs have nothing to do with it
(proven by the fact 'Noodle' and 'Mario Inna Space' work).
I know hot to fix it, and will post the new version in the next few days.
Big thanks to MisterX, -B-, phil70 and especially Tinarg for all the help.

---
For you techies, here's what went wrong.
The existing tricks are stored in a text file.
Among other things, I record the date and version number.
It looks like this:
<date>09/25/2007 14:00:04</date>
<version>5.0</version>

There's the problem. See it? I certainly didn't.

In Germany & France, the above date & number format is invalid.
They need to be something like this:
<date>2007.09.25 14:00:04</date>
<version>5,0</version>
When Jugglin' tries to convert my english text file entries to German/French dates/numbers, it fails with runtime error 13.

I'm trying to force VB6 to always interpret the text file as English (even if Jugglin' is running in another region).
Alas, I don't know how to do that yet.

Thanks again, I'll post the new version soon.
Jim
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Guert
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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2007, 03:52:17 PM »

Alright! I've played the game a bit more.

The first thing that strikes me with this game is that's it's quite difficult. Actually it's as difficult to juggle in this game as it is in real life.

The concept is quite interesting but it would be an interesting to make it easier to pikc-up. Quite frankly, I'm not sure exactly how you can achieve this. Maybe the player could control the height of the ball somehow. This way, the player will be able to throw balls higher and have more time to react. Another idea that came to my mind is that perhaps the balls could be a bit slower but I don't think it's a grand idea. It might just make the game unpleasant. 

It's fun to see all those possible combos but I dunno, I feel that they are all too hard to reach. Perhaps making some special, simple and low value combos to help the player get started.

Now I don't fully remember but if I recall correctly, the game has no real progressions. I played the game at work cuz I got a french XP version at home, where I am writting this. Now, I think it would be ncie if the player wouldn't only compete against himself. I mean, right now, the player can only try to beat his own highscore. Perhaps it could be interesting to have challenges to complete. You could have a list of things to do while playing. An example could be to play for 2 minutes and try to make as much combos as possible, another idea could be to pull at least 10 times one type of combo, another could be not to drop one special ball, like a bomb or something and see how long the player lasts...  These are very preliminary and "cliché"ed ideas but I'm sure you can think of something interesting. In all cases, you'd add extra motivational elements to keep your player hooked.

You could also add some stuff to unlock, if you don't already have some. Like balls, new character, backgrounds or combos. Like, you could have a list of know tricks and a list of tricks the player can find by executing them. The player would explore the game alot more if he can find tricks on his own.

Anyway, the game was entertaining but, as you warned us, quite difficult. I think if you add alot more motivational elements to your game, players won't mind the diffculty. Right now, you are appealing to the hardcore players who enjoy a very hard game and that wishes to compete against themselves only. By adding more elements, you'll attract all types of hardcore gamers, not just one type.

So anyway, good stuff comin' out of this but I think you should work around putting alot more beef around the bones.
Later!
Guert
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bigpants
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« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2007, 05:29:18 PM »

Thanks for the feedback, Guert!
And belated thanks for adding the Jugglin' screenshot to my earlier post.
Much appreciated and truly beyond the call of duty.
While I hate to admit it, I completely agree with almost everything you've said.
Jugglin' is too difficult and their is little motivation to conquer the learning curve.

I don't plan to make the game easier.
I have 2 plans to address the learning curve:

1. Make it FUN & FUNNY to fail.   
   Jugglin' is supposed to be funny, although that has yet to be implemented.
   If you stink, but still find the game fun, you'll hopefully keep going.

2. Automatically slow down the balls based on how bad the player is doing (but don't inform the player).
   This way, things will get subtly easier for the people that need it, without rubbing it in their face.

I will definitely be adding progression (clear goals, little bite sized piecees to conquer). In the final version, tricks will be doled out a few at a time (rather than all at once). I'm not sure if will be offering much beyond "pure" juggling (bombs, special balls, etc.), because I want the player to focus on learning how to do tricks. I believe the true fun of Jugglin' comes from learning how to do the tricks (much like Tony Hawk). I want the players to stay focussed on that. Once you can do some tricks (3 balls, 1 ball each direction, 1 ball each hand), they'll begin to realize the infinite amount of gameplay possibilities.

The other aspect that is currently missing is the web back-end. While you will still play Jugglin' alone, the tricks you create will be uploaded to the Internet so you can share with other people. Not only can people view your trick, but they can attempt it. Ideally, there will be a new trick waiting for you every time you play Jugglin'.

Kind of like an elaborate Internet wide game of Horse. There will be ~20 Jugglers x 20 hand patterns x 20 different types of balls leading to all sorts of tricks that I never anticipated. You'll be able to invent, upload and tag tricks far beyond what I've planned for. Jugglin' - now with Emergent Web 2.0 gameplay! If it weren't for my full time job (creating massive database driven corporate websites), I'd already have this completed.

In the meantime, be sure to try juggling with Singluar Destiny.

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