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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsWilly and Mathilda's Houseboat Adventure: The Game (Win/Linux/Mac)
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Author Topic: Willy and Mathilda's Houseboat Adventure: The Game (Win/Linux/Mac)  (Read 7291 times)
IBwWG
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« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2016, 11:05:22 AM »

Nice, lovely style. I wish you would push it further though, using the same style for the buttons, fonts, shapes, etc. It would make the  game look way more cohesive and help with the overall "hand drawn" feel you're going for.

Thanks alvarop, I'll pass your compliment along to the book's/game's artist!

Now, that's a great idea!  I will put that on the todo list, and see what can be made.  Smiley   Grin
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IBwWG
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« Reply #41 on: June 17, 2016, 11:00:56 AM »

Almost released the public beta.  Turns out one last run through is a great idea for catching crashes and other complete nonsense (somehow I overwrote a few narration sounds with their neighbouring files...whoops.)

Also, a note that the "normalize" program at http://normalize.nongnu.org/ (with -m) is way more what I was looking for than the other one: doing a set of files to an average, not just batch normalizing a bunch of individual files without regard to one another.

Coming soon...I hope...one more quick run-through... Facepalm
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IBwWG
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« Reply #42 on: June 17, 2016, 11:52:10 AM »

Okay!  It's out there!  Eek!

Get your early copy at https://ibwwg.itch.io/mathildagame (or via the itch.io app, which includes a handy auto-updater Smiley )!

Thanks for reading our dev log!  More will follow.  Smiley   Beer!


PS I forgot to mention, wiki fanatics (and other contributors) have a big opportunity here to get in early, as our wiki at http://mathildagame.wikia.com/ is currently nearly empty.  Grab a copy of the game and be the first to fill it with your favourite screenshots and strategies!
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alvarop
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« Reply #43 on: June 17, 2016, 06:30:22 PM »

15 euros for a beta? Kinda expensive no?
I see a lot of people releasing their betas for free, since it will help them develop their game and find bugs.
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IBwWG
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« Reply #44 on: June 17, 2016, 08:07:53 PM »

15 euros for a beta? Kinda expensive no?
I see a lot of people releasing their betas for free, since it will help them develop their game and find bugs.

Hi alvarop, thanks for the suggestion.  Smiley  I'm new at this, but it seems to me that free beta and early access are two different models, and that within the latter, 15 euros is a reasonable price to ask to support an indie developer.  As an example, apparently 15 euros was the price of Minecraft early access after the developer had begun to work full-time on the game.
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« Reply #45 on: June 17, 2016, 08:19:48 PM »

https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=6273

As you can see in the original post, Notch released an alpha of the game for everyone on the forums to try. A lot of suggestions and testing helped him make the game a little bit better as he went along in the beginning.

I do not mean to be discouraging, quite the opposite. I think you should see that feedback has value, just like money does.
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IBwWG
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« Reply #46 on: June 17, 2016, 08:33:41 PM »

https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=6273

As you can see in the original post, Notch released an alpha of the game for everyone on the forums to try. A lot of suggestions and testing helped him make the game a little bit better as he went along in the beginning.

I do not mean to be discouraging, quite the opposite. I think you should see that feedback has value, just like money does.

I know that feedback has value, and also that everybody's situation is different: as you said, Notch released it for free when it was in alpha--maybe it would have been wise for me to release for free back when #mathildagame was in alpha, but we kept it under wraps because it was to be a surprise.

And thank you for clarifying where you're coming from re: encouragement.  Your post did made me think, and maybe there is another option that I could take that's not simply lower the price or make it free.  Speaking of which, would you have said the same thing at a lower price, too?  There's a difference between "too expensive" and "not free enough"--it's possible we just prefer entirely different models, too.
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« Reply #47 on: June 17, 2016, 08:40:08 PM »

For the sake of discussion, I will say that given the nature of this forum and this thread particularly, I assumed that this game was in early development. In this section, I expect to give feedback, get feedback (if I had my own thread) or look at other people's creations and discussions.

In the case where feedback is needed, developers usually either release an executable of the game in its current state, or, when they don't want to release the whole game for free regardless of their state (which is normal!), they release a demo.

All of this, obviously, is when they want to give feedback and help the developer improve. If you are not at that state, and the game is close to completion, then, if your goal is to sell it, your move makes a lot of sense.

However, I will not be paying to help out fellow developers, it doesn't make sense. From the screenshots and devlog in general, I thought your game wasn't at a "payable" (but playable Tongue) state yet, but, that might not be the case and is where my assumption comes from.

In other words, the game might benefit from more feedback, and to get more feedback the game needs to be accessible to as many people as possible. Putting a paywall there might not be the best game if that's what you're looking for at the moment.

Anyway, it's late and I'm tired, so I hope this makes some sense?
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IBwWG
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« Reply #48 on: June 17, 2016, 08:49:31 PM »

Thanks for taking the time to explain.  It does make things clearer for me, especially as both a first-time dev and a TIGSource newb.  I'm not sure what proportion of TIGSource folk you represent--I thought there would also be non-devs who might support devs.

A demo is exactly what I was thinking would be a middle way, so I will definitely consider that.  It's maybe a bit tricky in our case, since the game is already made up of shorter games--I'll have to think how to demoify each of them if I want feedback on all of them.

I'm interested in the difference for you between payable and playable.  I had thought that if something is playable, it's by definition payable in the realm of the early access model.  Smiley

Anyway thank you again for the dialog, it's very helpful in navigating new territory and checking my own assumptions and decisions Smiley
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« Reply #49 on: June 18, 2016, 03:16:14 AM »

As a start, the game is, for one week, available for 1.50 EUR instead, a 90% discount.  I may still do a demo but I thought this might be a good way to get the ball rolling, at least.  Smiley   Beer!
« Last Edit: June 18, 2016, 04:08:14 AM by IBwWG » Logged

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« Reply #50 on: June 20, 2016, 05:01:53 AM »

Anyway, development continues with some more housekeeping and test infrastructure.  I got my screenshotter recording done, so now I can get the game to play itself all the way through as a sanity check, capturing screenshots of every difficulty (where applicable) of each minigame and the other screens.  Then I can just review the screenshots at the end, and save myself a lot of testing time.  Not exactly unit testing, but better than nothing.

Here's the first montage produced by this method:

https://twitter.com/wastheWordGame/status/744877168547733504

And later beta 9 for comparison:

https://twitter.com/wastheWordGame/status/745314682701963265
« Last Edit: June 22, 2016, 12:50:16 PM by IBwWG » Logged

IBwWG
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« Reply #51 on: June 20, 2016, 09:04:54 AM »

OK, beta 8 is out!  Use the itch.io app ( http://itch.io/app ) for the easiest update from beta 7!

Also, all bugs that I am already aware of are now in the bug tracker:

https://github.com/IBwWG/mathildagame-bugs/issues

...plus I have about 150 feature additions in my personal notes still.  After this I will be focusing on each game at a time.

Ashton Mills had an interesting analysis of what had been the title track (by Jennifer Field), which lead me to think it would be a good idea to split the track into two parts.  The first part is now used with the introduction, and the second part is now used whenever you complete a minigame.  Let's see what everyone thinks of this!

Currently the game has only one dedicated, shared saving mechanism.  What do you think?  Is it critical to have multiple save slots?  Or for a kids game / family game where you can't personalize the characters anyway, should it just be left as one shared slot for anyone who plays on a particular device?
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IBwWG
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« Reply #52 on: June 20, 2016, 11:33:06 PM »

I think for the sake of game balance, I'm going to change Tricky on "Under the Spell..." so that you're allowed to replenish the board, but it costs you a letter.

Reason being, I don't want tricky to be too tricky; it's still difficult enough as it is, with holes being left behind as you move, and a board-replenish costing you a letter.  Having the numbers will help you calculate a path such that you manage to get at least two letters per replenish, so that you are able to complete it.

Then there's Mathilda's SIGHT stat that you can level up to see numbers on all the board's pieces on Tricky and Super Tricky.

Super Tricky will still be super tricky, because you are not allowed to replenish the board--you have to find the whole path that will let you win.

Now I have to go code an algorithm to make sure there's actually a solution on Super Tricky Smiley  (And Tricky, too...it should be possible to do without replenishing the board, I guess.)
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IBwWG
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« Reply #53 on: June 21, 2016, 01:45:07 AM »

Pathfinder, done:

UnderTheSpellOfShinyShimmeringSunbeamSparklesState.hx:373: |1X56XX;<XX|
UnderTheSpellOfShinyShimmeringSunbeamSparklesState.hx:373: |234789:=XX|
UnderTheSpellOfShinyShimmeringSunbeamSparklesState.hx:373: |XXXXXXX>XX|
UnderTheSpellOfShinyShimmeringSunbeamSparklesState.hx:373: |XXXXXXX?XX|
UnderTheSpellOfShinyShimmeringSunbeamSparklesState.hx:373: |[email protected]|
UnderTheSpellOfShinyShimmeringSunbeamSparklesState.hx:373: |XXXXXXXXBX|

(It's upside-down, but it's otherwise correct.)

Now I need to make a solution along that path...I guess a random reversal of the packing algorithm, or something like that.

I.e. the path is however long it is, but the word is shorter.  I guess to make it a little less guessable, the word should be as evenly distributed along the path as possible.  But that also makes itself guessable.  So maybe random is the best.

I guess from the start, each letter could take up to (path length left - letters left + 1) moves to get.  We can just pick that number randomly.

Then, each letter's moves need a random way of being split up.  E.g. I'm starting at A and need to get to Z in 4 moves.  How can I come up with a random solution, given that the alphabet wraps around?

E.g. (1 + ? + ? + ? + ?) mod 26 = 0.

Because of that nice mod feature, this is actually quite easy.  The first three are entirely random, and the fourth is whatever it needs to be, because there's always a way to get from A to B...or A to Z, or any letter to any other letter Smiley
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« Reply #54 on: June 21, 2016, 05:39:13 AM »

OK, that seems to have worked out well.  Here's me cheating on Tricky, having it show the path it made:



It needs a bit of adjusting, though--you can see that it happened to pick a large initial number of moves, meaning that then the end gets bunched up, and you get the letters one after another after you happen to get to a certain spot.
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IBwWG
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« Reply #55 on: June 22, 2016, 12:45:59 PM »

Oops, I forgot to post here, I got Beta 9 done, so UtSSSSS is hopefully RC-ready.

Beta 10 is almost done too, but I ran into a bug ( https://github.com/IBwWG/mathildagame-bugs/issues/49 ) while stress-testing, which I'd like to fix.  (Actually I wasn't trying to stress anything, I was just trying to get to the next screen to test *it* instead.  Tongue )

Some fun results from the new features I added to Painting Your Dreams:

https://twitter.com/wastheWordGame/status/745707153902698496

These were saved in-game using the new save-your-painting feature.  The latter one also used the new loading feature too, so you could take any photo and add the game's art to it.  Smiley
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« Reply #56 on: June 22, 2016, 12:55:40 PM »

Note, if you were following along and there were places where you didn't know what I was referring to, it may have been the few places I dumbly tried to paste a Twitter image URL into a post as an image tag.  Of course, they don't allow that, but of course, it looks right while I'm logged into Twitter at the same time.  Anyway I just replaced those with links to the tweets themselves for now.  I'll try to post actual pictures in future, but it's much easier to do so on Twitter, generally, so follow us there too Smiley
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IBwWG
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« Reply #57 on: June 22, 2016, 09:52:46 PM »

OK, beta 10 is out!

So, thinking about this demo idea, to get more people to actually get the game and help test it before we leave the beta phase.  Here's a question for everyone, how does one go about this effectively in a variety game made up of many minigames?  They all need testing, and they're each on their own designed to be finishable in a short span of time (at least on the easiest difficulty--the tougher ones are designed for longer plays, in general.)  I can remove key features, but then they're not tested.  I can put an even shorter time limit, but then long-play-related issues would not be caught.   I could lower the score goals, but then there's no sense as to whether the game is balanced or not.  What can I limit that doesn't limit the ability of testers to test?

I guess I'm getting caught up in killing two birds with one stone: Maybe I need a demo, which is not meant for getting people to test the whole game, but just to get people interested enough to prepurchase the whole game, which they can then test.  And after release, the demo's still a good way to get people in.  In that case, maybe the easiest path to an effective demo that still lets you use all the minigames, is to put a timer on each minigame, so that after, say, a minute, you just automatically win.  Thoughts?
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« Reply #58 on: June 22, 2016, 10:31:02 PM »

I think one shortcoming to the overall game, is that the first two games that you play are not action-oriented, but a bit slower-paced.  They don't really hook you in as well as some of the other games, at least IMHO.

So, UtSSSSS is pretty much done, and shiny enough that maybe it's not too bad.  But what about Dolphin Patterns?  This was one of the first ones I coded up, and I haven't done too much to the gameplay mechanic itself for a bit.  Compared with the rest of the game, this is probably the least interesting one, and unfortunately, it and UtSSSSS are your two options for the first minigame you get play.  How can I improve it, preferably without having to start all over?  I want people to want to play the next minigame because they liked this one, not because they want to get on with it.

The premise is, Willy is dolphin-watching.  The dolphins come up in a visual pattern of some kind, with markers left behind, to help you visualize the pattern.  (It's on a grid, but the grid has a bit heavy perspective to it.)  After the (N-1)th one, the game pauses, and you have to guess the last place they'll come up.  Here's a screenshot just after clicking the wrong place (so then marker #5 was revealed, as the place you should have clicked):



This is on Easy Peasy with a statup to show 4 markers before you have to guess (default is 2 or 3, I can't remember), so the pattern itself is not very challenging, just being "every second spot".

Maybe taking away the markers on difficulties above Easy Peasy would be a start to making it a bit more challenging.  But how can I make it a bit more exciting?  Any suggestions?  (Also suggestions for a more exciting name to go along with it? Smiley )

(One might be to make it real-time instead of pausing...that would turn it into something like Duck Hunter, I guess, but without the randomness, so it's not about reaction time as much as it's about quick pattern recognition.)

Anyway, adding features to Dolphin Patterns is my focus for Beta 11, so I thought it'd be a good time to ask for ideas.  Also I got up way too early today and need a break already.  Smiley   Coffee
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IBwWG
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« Reply #59 on: June 25, 2016, 04:05:12 AM »

Intro trailer now up at



Back in April, this intro took me forever to make.  First I tried an alternative SWF maker.  Then I tried actual Adobe tools.  Nothing would play correctly within my HaxeFlixel game, which I thought was sort of ironic, since it was marketed as a Flash replacement.  Finally I just coded the whole animation manually using FlxTweens!  More difficult to adjust but a lot less overall headache in the end.
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