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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsDungeon Squeaker, puzzle adventure game. [demo inside]
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Author Topic: Dungeon Squeaker, puzzle adventure game. [demo inside]  (Read 7273 times)
michelmohr
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« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2017, 07:06:47 AM »

Because of popular demand, the game now has path finding to already visited tiles!




I played and answered your survey!
Much appreciated, thanks you Melaniipon!


I've seen more and more games that take classic, simple games like sudoku or solitaire and turn them into full fledged games. Smiley

I love the aesthetic of this. And I think minesweeper can actually work really well in a campaign mode. I despise minesweeper with every fiber of my being however. Grin That game always got the better of me.

I also think that putting in a level editor is an A+ idea. This type of game really needs something like that I feel. Also something like this will do really well on mobile me thinks. It will be most played, and get the most eyeballs there - is my approximation. Definitely more suited for a handheld device, so I wish you all the luck in your Switch endeavours. Coffee And for the platforms that are not handheld you still have the level editor. So I feel it's a good plan overall.

Thank you for the kind words Jovu. I'm a bit scared you might be right about mobile, and trying my best to make it desktop-worthy. I used to love creating games for mobile platforms but it's looking a lot like I will not get any financial success there. Nobody is interested in premium mobile games. Maybe some users, but no company is interested in promoting or supporting premium mobile games when they can get so much more from 'free' games.
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michelmohr
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« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2017, 03:26:05 PM »



One of the feedback that kept returning was that people didn't really know they had health or were doing something wrong until they died. 
My attempted fix to this is to replace the healthbar with the more classical hearts. It looks both visually cleaner and is more intuitive. From a glance you can clearly see how much out of how much life you have.
Also, when health is low it will flash white. Classic and understandable.

If you've paid attention to the rest of the UI, you might notice a tome. That will be revealed Saturday!
Hint: it makes spikes fair!
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elosociu
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« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2017, 02:26:56 AM »

Looks really cool! But will there be mines?
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michelmohr
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« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2017, 04:38:04 AM »

Looks really cool! But will there be mines?
Thank you! The mines from Minesweeper served to inspire the enemies (cats) & spikes. Do you feel like there's something essentially Minesweeper missing?


Turns out I somehow confused the direction hearts are subtracted in classic games. I adjusted the direction!
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michelmohr
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« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2017, 04:40:30 PM »

One of the major design flaws that came to light with playtesting was that spikes felt unfair. The player didn't have any agency over stepping on them other than guessing what was going on in my head when I designed the level.
Which, for me felt fair as... I am me. But you might not be!

My first thought was, lets play Minesweeper. It happens only very rarely that the player must guess, usually right at the end, 99% of the time the bombs are deterministic.

I had 3 potential solutions.
 • Show the amount of threats (spikes & enemies) around the player. (3x3, like Minesweeper) [Number]
 • Show if there is an threat within the 3x3 grid. [eye/Blind eye]
 • Show which threat is the closest. [cat/spike]



The amount in the 3x3 grid trivialised finding the enemies, and didn't solve the spikes problem.
Same goes for the eye.
But showing what threat is closest feels nearly perfect. My only concern is that this might make the game too easy.
More play testing required.

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flex$
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« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2017, 11:02:17 PM »

YO the new graphical elements and enemy book thingy is SICK man! great additions. very smoove Hand Joystick
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michelmohr
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« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2017, 07:24:20 AM »

YO the new graphical elements and enemy book thingy is SICK man! great additions. very smoove Hand Joystick
Thank you! I feel a lot happier with the general UI and the option to present a help-book to the player! Smiley


While making the hintbook I noticed the discrepancy between spikes and enemy readability.
Which is a problem, because seeing spikes is actually MORE important than enemies.



Originally the black border had been suggested by Kacper, who I hired to redo the character sprites, but I hadn't given it any more thought to implement them anywhere else in the project.
Giving all items and entities (such as spikes) a black border will make it a lot more obvious what is important.



Another point this hopefully addresses is helping colour-blind people better figure out what it what by sheer contrast. Funnily enough I was told that the fact that a colour-blind judge who couldn't see what was what, was the reason I missed out on top3 for the Big Indie Pitch at GamesCom.



Especially fun here was figuring out a system of when a border would be applied.
I also applied the border to the compass.

« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 07:29:42 AM by fusedotcore » Logged

michelmohr
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« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2017, 02:45:50 PM »


I finally came back to the item pick-up code and fixed it. Items used to disappear regularly when picking them up in quick succession. Instead of a single hand having a pickup queue and long sequence I'm just instantiating a new one every time now. Much simpler!



Using an item now has it being grabbed from the inventory instead of just dissipating.
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michelmohr
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« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2017, 10:26:48 AM »

Yesterday I got the opportunity to showcase Dungeon Squeaker at the Dutch Game Garden's Network Lunch!
Since I have a hard time walking up to people and talking to them it seemed like a great idea to ask them to use one of their cabinets and display the game there so people come to me instead! 


 
 
I got great feedback, a lot of motivation and some interesting opportunities!
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michelmohr
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« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2017, 08:08:01 AM »

This week I implemented a help book that looks like it has flipping pages using a shader.

 

And here's a view of the shader at work:
 

I haven't yet found an elegant way to bring the hint-book to the player's attention, if done correctly it could replace all those pesky hand-holding dialogue prompts and allow players who gets it quicker skip them.


« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 05:42:15 AM by michelmohr » Logged

michelmohr
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« Reply #30 on: November 17, 2017, 03:36:44 AM »

I've been doing some thinking on what parts of the game need more polish. And what is very prominent is the dialogue prompt. It's ugly and unpolished. My design was for the text to have the styling of all the other text, a sideview + shadow and highlights. But that doesn't seem possible with TextmeshPro, not the way I want it anyway.
So instead I redesigned it.

 

It looks visually better and it also allows me to include a little icon to let the player know who it talking or to give a visual hint. What I like most about this is that explaining about the hintbook or the compass can have their icon on the dialogue UI.

« Last Edit: November 17, 2017, 03:42:35 AM by michelmohr » Logged

Pixel Noise
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« Reply #31 on: November 17, 2017, 05:36:20 AM »

I LOVE THIS. Can't say how many hours of minesweeper I played as a kid, but this hit me immediately - it's a brilliant idea, and I really like the look of it so far.
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michelmohr
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« Reply #32 on: November 22, 2017, 05:52:24 PM »

I LOVE THIS. Can't say how many hours of minesweeper I played as a kid, but this hit me immediately - it's a brilliant idea, and I really like the look of it so far.

Thank you so much, positive comments really motivate me! Smiley


Since last week I've been working on the pathfinding. It was one of the main issues that came up when getting feedback, so before demo'ing it next week again this needed to be fixed.

How it used to work:
Every step the player made was stored in a list. When trying to step on a tile that was out of range, the list was consulted for a match. If there was one, part of the list was taken out and optimised a bit to get rid of weird back and forth. (...ish)
This was a very naive and silly implementation, but I wanted it in quick.

 

Just implement A*
Urrr ok. Time to google A*. Didn't really understand.
I took some time mulling this over in the back of my brain and just decided to fill a few pages of my notebook in order to find my own solution.



How it works now:
Starting from the goal tile, every tile is checked if it can safely be traversed and given a steps count. Then this is repeated for every tile around that tile until we run out of tiles.
Then starting from the start tile, we just follow the numbers down to the end.
The main challenge was keeping the path safe, except the first and last tile. No stepping next to or on unknown tiles, on damaging entities, next to or on enemies, etc.

These two phases could probably be combined to be more efficient and save on some iteration, but that is a problem for future Michel who surely can program better than me.



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michelmohr
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« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2017, 06:56:42 AM »

Very frustrating to playtesters was stepping diagonally to suddenly using their key on a door or exiting the level.
So I implemented a confirmation window for entities that consume an item and exits.

It was quite interesting because of some past design decisions. If I were to rewrite the code, the exit would be an entity and not a property of a tile. And the effects of interacting with an entity wouldn't be handled by the main director script.
I'm quite pleased with how the confirm code works, as it takes an Action<bool> that handles what comes after.

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Pixel Noise
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« Reply #34 on: November 25, 2017, 05:47:14 AM »

Confirmation when exiting/using a consumable is a good addition, I think.

Also, I cannot say how much I envy your handwriting. I thought I was looking at a text book at first.

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« Reply #35 on: December 06, 2017, 12:16:05 PM »

Yesterday I got the opportunity to showcase Dungeon Squeaker at the Dutch Game Garden's Network Lunch!
Since I have a hard time walking up to people and talking to them it seemed like a great idea to ask them to use one of their cabinets and display the game there so people come to me instead!  


 
  
I got great feedback, a lot of motivation and some interesting opportunities!

That tablet seems like a really nice format to play this game!

Quote
How it works now:
Starting from the goal tile, every tile is checked if it can safely be traversed and given a steps count. Then this is repeated for every tile around that tile until we run out of tiles.
Then starting from the start tile, we just follow the numbers down to the end.
The main challenge was keeping the path safe, except the first and last tile. No stepping next to or on unknown tiles, on damaging entities, next to or on enemies, etc.

These two phases could probably be combined to be more efficient and save on some iteration, but that is a problem for future Michel who surely can program better than me.





Why is it doing that 'W' shaped path (diagonal movement) on the bottom of the screen? That doesn't feel very natural to me.
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michelmohr
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« Reply #36 on: December 10, 2017, 05:49:40 AM »

That tablet seems like a really nice format to play this game!

It is! I wish there was a Steam for tablets...

Quote
Why is it doing that 'W' shaped path (diagonal movement) on the bottom of the screen? That doesn't feel very natural to me.

Because if it has multiple options, it will prefer the one most towards the end goal. Which is wrong, it should try to be more in line with the next step, which it doesn't know about yet. But that would mean another pass after it has already calculated a path to smooth this out. I was really happy to just get it working haha. But yes, that is on the todo! Smiley
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michelmohr
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« Reply #37 on: March 02, 2018, 05:11:05 PM »

It's been 3 months since the last update!
I've been through a pretty big dip in motivation for the project, I've been feeling very much that it's not a fun game to play.
Hopefully I am coming back up now.

The issue is two fold.
1) The mechanics aren't understood.
2) The risk/reward to play carefully isn't there.

One I plan on fixing with a better initial sequence of levels and by showing the player tip screen in between levels where the hint is needed. Which brings me to one of the changes visually.



The guide book has been update visually to be more appealing and polished. As well as a functional upgrade. It now shows the player statistics and many help pages divided into categories and articles. This change isn't implemented yet, but it's designed.

One thing I've been trying out is having some types of tiles connected, notably ones that aren't traversable by the player.



I would love some input on these. The first is original, second water is connected, third water and walls are connected. I feel like it gives a lot of visual calm and polish to the overall picture. The reason I started experimenting is that I felt like all the tiles having a shadow was making it very busy in regards to contrast.


On to actual changes already implemented.
* The initial level sequence has been improved slightly, but it feels a lot better in terms of flow.
* The pushing enemy from the first prototype has been reintroduced. The boar now pushed the player one space back on hit.



* Added an item that will reveal a single tile on use. (consumable)



* Reintroduced the switching spikes from the prototype. These will move up or down every step the player takes.



And last but not least, there's audio in the game!! Generously made by Joris from Studio Takt, the sound effects really help clarify things that happen in the game and the music creates a nice atmosphere!


Upcoming features:
* reintroduction of sliding ice, lava, and flame vents
* a merchant to trade with
* implementation of the new book
* a runtime script parser needed to properly make ice & will also be used for dialogue

As usual, play the (kind of) latest version online here!

« Last Edit: March 02, 2018, 05:27:41 PM by michelmohr » Logged

flex$
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« Reply #38 on: March 03, 2018, 03:39:08 AM »

hey bud, just went thru the new demo, slash sound and continue to next level sound (as well as transition, while i'm at it) are wonderful. overall the sounds add a lot to the impact.

connected titles = super duper slick. yes

love the merchant idea

the game IS fun, dude. the concept is both familiar and nuanced, in the way of clarity you've made huge strides and i know how difficult it can be with more nuanced concepts, just, making players understand and making it click immediately, it's challenging, but you've made huge strides. since my last playthrough i already grasped everything and was killing cats (love some of the baits you put out there btw, those help teach too) in no time. spikes are neat, it's a bit unintuitive doing the move command on top of the spikes, but, it makes sense why that is pretty quickly.
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michelmohr
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« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2018, 05:42:36 AM »

hey bud, just went thru the new demo, slash sound and continue to next level sound (as well as transition, while i'm at it) are wonderful. overall the sounds add a lot to the impact.

connected titles = super duper slick. yes

love the merchant idea

the game IS fun, dude. the concept is both familiar and nuanced, in the way of clarity you've made huge strides and i know how difficult it can be with more nuanced concepts, just, making players understand and making it click immediately, it's challenging, but you've made huge strides. since my last playthrough i already grasped everything and was killing cats (love some of the baits you put out there btw, those help teach too) in no time. spikes are neat, it's a bit unintuitive doing the move command on top of the spikes, but, it makes sense why that is pretty quickly.

Thank you for the kind words flex$, when I get negative feedback its one of those moments where I am stuck between 'I am out of touch' and 'No, its the children who are wrong'. Am I deluding myself that I can fix the issues by providing the proper flow, nuance and context? But with the improvements I made to the levels I feel like I could do this.

Can I ask, about the connected tiles. Which do you think is best? Connected water, connected walls or both connected?

So the merchant serves two purposes. It gives a point to gold besides a narrative tool, and allows players to exchange items they do not use for more fun items. (Like the eye.) Good players sell their potions for fun stuff.
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