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September 19, 2019, 04:00:29 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsSpaß Taxi - A Space Taxi clone/remake with extras [Demo available]
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RealScaniX
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« Reply #120 on: August 29, 2019, 01:29:27 PM »

I love the effects of those magnets.

Now seriously, you're a machine! I already thought the demo was longer than any demo should be and you still keep on making levels and introducing new mechanics. It looks like if you want to stop working at any point you already have a game ready to go!


Thank you! Smiley
 
I've got 28 levels now, I think. And I can do some more with the current elements. I also need to do a least 4 more levels for the checkpoints (every 5 or so levels, you can save).
And I have a bunch of mechanics and level style ideas on the list.
 
But you are right: At some point I need to consider this done. But then the most scary thing follows: Putting it up for sale and do some marketing. XD
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« Reply #121 on: September 02, 2019, 10:02:16 AM »

I have added my own PostProcessStack v2 effect to make the fading less boring.
Now that this super important task is done, I can get back to levels. Next on the list: Level 30! :D
 


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« Reply #122 on: September 03, 2019, 01:27:46 AM »

this super important task
I mean... it is! Just look at it!  Kiss
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« Reply #123 on: September 03, 2019, 03:18:06 AM »

this super important task
I mean... it is! Just look at it!  Kiss

Thank you! :D
Will probably tweak it a bit, but need to focus on the most important things to get into a releasable state soon. :frightened_looking_smilie:
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« Reply #124 on: September 03, 2019, 11:35:08 PM »

Spass Taxi

Hi
I have played the game for around 30min so far and I'm enjoying playing it  Kiss. After a few seconds I got used to the controls (not veteran mode though... finding it too difficult for now). There's a lot of good things but I'm assuming you want to hear what to improve on. So here's some feedback. Feel free to disagree Smiley

Gameplay
=======
- Autobalancing: I thought pressing the tab would get it immediately to horizontal, but it seems to go back to horizontal when moving, correct?

- Markers/Pointers at the edge of the screen might be better then just a zoomed render of the next passenger, especially if you would go for larger levels. Also when you get "Out please", at first I didn't know where to go. So perhaps a marker pointing to the exit might help.

- Tips given by customers. This diminishes over time, and the more you bump. Although I met something similar at a later stage but wasn't sure how much time I had. I like the drive slowly meter too.

- There's no sense of urgency. Perhaps because I'm still in the early levels. But perhaps if you take too long, another taxi comes in and goes away with your customer (goes out of the screen).

- I didn't see any collectables/powers up so far besides a money bag. Perhaps it's too early in the game. But you could have some difficult to reach powerups/crates. Like a shield, tougher body, double tips bonus for X seconds, speed boost for X seconds

- I think you need a better level complete summary as it's not rewarding enough. E.g. Did the player miss any bonuses?

- Did you think about having multiple customers in the taxi (up to 3 or 4). Also sometimes you could have a couple or family to pick up. The idea is that you would need to be efficient in how you pick up the customers vis-a-vis your fuel and time bonuses. Right now it feels too linear without choice. You pick up a customer and have to go to another point, wait for him to vanish, then you get another customer. I think the player needs to have more choice so that he can balance risk/reward.


Usability
========
- Landing gear should auto-deploy automatically? I found myself leaving them always deployed. Is there any advantage with them retracted?

- Not sure how to get into veteran mode (ah ok... found it in main menu but in in-game settings). Veteran mode is tough but I like that there's this option


Audio
====
- The robotic voices do not fit since they don't seem like androids but humans.

- The music is too mallow. I would have thought it would be more action oriented somehow


Theme/Visuals
=============
- After seeing the taxi style, I thought I would see some kind of blade runner neon-lighted city scapes. You could keep the same level structure but have floating buildings and what not. Have you considered slightly bigger maps so it feels navigating in a city? Then you could add some things to get the environment feel more alive, like birds (which you could bump into), funny adverts on buildings, etc.

- The warping texture in the background is distracting. And the dark blue cloudy sky somehow looks off. I see there's something darkening it. But perhaps a cloudy sky is not the right background?

- Persistence. When you kill someone, his body should remain lying there, or calling for help. An ambulance could later come for him (it adds to the liveliness of the scenery). Also having them disappear into particles when a customer is given a lift doesn't make much sense.It's a cool effect mind you, but there's a disconnect with what has happened. If you go with a city scenery, you could perhaps see them enter some door or something similar. Also persistence should be applied to the taxi when bumping, like broken glass, hood dented, etc. I know it's a lot of work artistically speaking, but it pays off.


Polishing
=======
- Have you thought about dynamic lighting? This would tie in nicely with a neon-light city scape

- Reactions from passengers would be cool when crashing here and there, something like "Hey look out", "Watch it!", "Are you blind?", "Who gave you the space driving license". I saw something similar but they sounded too passive (Or perhaps the robotic voice overs where putting it off). You could have personas associated with the characters so it would customize the reactions accordingly.

- Have you thought about why people would share screenshots / videos of your game? Adding some kind of "character" to the currently static characters might give it some charm, e.g. some could be smoking, others texting, etc. Also do you have a character in mind for the taxi driver? He could be featured in the graphics, so the player associates with him. I know he is not visible during the game, but it makes a difference. Also, when completing the level he could re-appear with a thumbs up and level complete summary, or when you do a gameover he appear bashed up during the game over summary.



Tech question: Is your highscore system an online one? What are you using as a backend?  Gentleman
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« Reply #125 on: September 04, 2019, 12:56:48 AM »

Spass Taxi

Hi
I have played the game for around 30min so far and I'm enjoying playing it  Kiss. After a few seconds I got used to the controls (not veteran mode though... finding it too difficult for now). There's a lot of good things but I'm assuming you want to hear what to improve on. So here's some feedback. Feel free to disagree Smiley
Thank you very much for checking it out and the feedback. Some things first:
The game is a remake/homage to the original Space Taxi and some gameplay (landing gear) or style (voices) is intentionally like it has been back in the old days. Smiley
Also the game is kinda in its endphase and already has more than enough complexity with all the level elements. I appreciate your ideas, though. I could probably put them on a list for Spaß Taxi II (that I'll do in 10 years or so ^^).
Note that this is an evening and weekends only project and I really need to do a hard cut somewhere considering the scope. All levels (currently 30) are hand designed (as I actally dislike generated stuff ^^) and each of it has its unique theme and mechanics. The first demo levels are a bit simple, of course to get the player accustomed to it, but if you check out the later levels, they differ a lot. Smiley


Gameplay
=======
- Autobalancing: I thought pressing the tab would get it immediately to horizontal, but it seems to go back to horizontal when moving, correct?
The autobalancing has been reduced multiple times as it often is more of an annoyance. Now it only brings you to the horizontal orientation after you don't rotate yourself for a few seconds and the angle isn't bigger than 45 degree.
I'm not using it at all. You have a button that you can press at any time to rotate back to normal. See the controls overview. Smiley
Quote

- Markers/Pointers at the edge of the screen might be better then just a zoomed render of the next passenger, especially if you would go for larger levels. Also when you get "Out please", at first I didn't know where to go. So perhaps a marker pointing to the exit might help.
Those closeups are just style, the levels are never supposed to scroll and whenever a passenger appears you have pretty obvious speech bubbles and also a blinking target indicator. Smiley
Mmh... you're the first to not notice the exit. It already has those particles and a sound. It also gets explicitly shown in the tutorial that you can play if you struggle to get everything right away.
Quote


- Tips given by customers. This diminishes over time, and the more you bump. Although I met something similar at a later stage but wasn't sure how much time I had. I like the drive slowly meter too.
The trophy bonus is actually from the company and not the passenger itself, but that is irrelevant info (said in the tutorial). Smiley
Bumping does not reduce the bonus directly. There is just one passenger who whants to go slow and also does not want to bump into anything. But crashing into stuff reduces your health, which is a reduction of your money at the same time, kind of. Smiley
Quote

- There's no sense of urgency. Perhaps because I'm still in the early levels. But perhaps if you take too long, another taxi comes in and goes away with your customer (goes out of the screen).
No urgency intended. ^^
You only lose points. And that is the only thing forcing you to be fast, precise, efficient (e.g. honking to make passengers move even before you land). You can either play it in your pace, just to see all levels (you can even pay to skip a level) or play it to be number one in the highscore list. Smiley
Quote

- I didn't see any collectables/powers up so far besides a money bag. Perhaps it's too early in the game. But you could have some difficult to reach powerups/crates. Like a shield, tougher body, double tips bonus for X seconds, speed boost for X seconds
No power ups. Smiley
The game is all about your driving skills and there are lots of obstacles like lasers, magnets, air currents, rockets, etc. later in the game. Some levels have difficult to reach bonus items and you need to fulfill all passenger tasks to open the bonus gate, that can also be at a difficult place in the level.
Quote

- I think you need a better level complete summary as it's not rewarding enough. E.g. Did the player miss any bonuses?
I don't really like those summary screens. They are just holding the flow. You are shown every bonus you get right when you get it and also know when you missed something right away. I don't think there is a need to tell you that again at the end of the level.
Quote

- Did you think about having multiple customers in the taxi (up to 3 or 4). Also sometimes you could have a couple or family to pick up. The idea is that you would need to be efficient in how you pick up the customers vis-a-vis your fuel and time bonuses. Right now it feels too linear without choice. You pick up a customer and have to go to another point, wait for him to vanish, then you get another customer. I think the player needs to have more choice so that he can balance risk/reward.
That is more like Taxi Simulator 2019.  ^^
There are levels where you already need to be careful with the fuel and need to know whether to grab the bonus item first or get the passenger first. You also get better after knowing the levels, so there is a learning effect that is nice. I tried to reduce the randomness a lot to achieve that and let the highscore have an actual meaning. Smiley
Quote


Usability
========
- Landing gear should auto-deploy automatically? I found myself leaving them always deployed. Is there any advantage with them retracted?
No, landing gear should totally be manual. If you have it extended you start to rotate when flying sideways. I even added that effect back in the casual mode as I previously disabled it for that mode. Smiley
It is a game element like spiders that hurt you just by touching them. ^^
Quote

- Not sure how to get into veteran mode (ah ok... found it in main menu but in in-game settings). Veteran mode is tough but I like that there's this option
Yeah, that was the only mode in the beginning. It feels a lot more awesome than the casual mode after you master it. Smiley
Quote


Audio
====
- The robotic voices do not fit since they don't seem like androids but humans.
Those are not robotic but bad quality. It's intentional to be close to how it was in the original. Smiley
Quote

- The music is too mallow. I would have thought it would be more action oriented somehow
Music is a placeholder.
Quote


Theme/Visuals
=============
- After seeing the taxi style, I thought I would see some kind of blade runner neon-lighted city scapes. You could keep the same level structure but have floating buildings and what not. Have you considered slightly bigger maps so it feels navigating in a city? Then you could add some things to get the environment feel more alive, like birds (which you could bump into), funny adverts on buildings, etc.
Like the original, the levels are one screen. As the navigation is a main part, it would be a problem to not see the whole thing all the time. Pointers do not help here, either.
In the beginning I thought I would commission an artist for the stuff later, but I like the style as it is now as I think it has its own charme that would also kinda get lost if I replace it with the usual polished level art.
I think I will have a graphical polishing phase in the end where I might add some more details etc.
Quote

- The warping texture in the background is distracting. And the dark blue cloudy sky somehow looks off. I see there's something darkening it. But perhaps a cloudy sky is not the right background?
Mmh... people seem to like it. There are different backgrounds for the different level styles. You can also turn it off in the options. You should always have lots of options. Smiley
Quote

- Persistence. When you kill someone, his body should remain lying there, or calling for help. An ambulance could later come for him (it adds to the liveliness of the scenery). Also having them disappear into particles when a customer is given a lift doesn't make much sense.It's a cool effect mind you, but there's a disconnect with what has happened. If you go with a city scenery, you could perhaps see them enter some door or something similar. Also persistence should be applied to the taxi when bumping, like broken glass, hood dented, etc. I know it's a lot of work artistically speaking, but it pays off.
lol
Quote


Polishing
=======
- Have you thought about dynamic lighting? This would tie in nicely with a neon-light city scape
Not much neon-light city scape intended. ^^
But I have thought about some lightings with street lanterns etc. like your light blobs. Might think about it in the polishing phase a bit more.
Quote

- Reactions from passengers would be cool when crashing here and there, something like "Hey look out", "Watch it!", "Are you blind?", "Who gave you the space driving license". I saw something similar but they sounded too passive (Or perhaps the robotic voice overs where putting it off). You could have personas associated with the characters so it would customize the reactions accordingly.
There are ALWAYS details to add. Reactions would probably be cool. Like a reaction from your woman when you through her around. Wink
Quote

- Have you thought about why people would share screenshots / videos of your game? Adding some kind of "character" to the currently static characters might give it some charm, e.g. some could be smoking, others texting, etc. Also do you have a character in mind for the taxi driver? He could be featured in the graphics, so the player associates with him. I know he is not visible during the game, but it makes a difference. Also, when completing the level he could re-appear with a thumbs up and level complete summary, or when you do a gameover he appear bashed up during the game over summary.
They have SOME character. The loading screen (that is totally optional and fake, but as my game is a bit more complex I needed a place to show some hints that players would otherwise NEVER read in the manual ^^) shows it with a little story. They have different chances for wanting to go slow, fast, vomit etc.
Quote



Tech question: Is your highscore system an online one? What are you using as a backend?  Gentleman
Yes, it is online. I'm using PHP with MySQL.
 
Hey, that was a lot of text, thank you! Smiley
I hope that you will revisit it when I launch it in 1-2 months. Hopefully. XD
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« Reply #126 on: September 04, 2019, 01:34:55 AM »

You're welcome...

I will be playing a bit more later on, and let you know how it goes in the later levels.
I also need to find Space Taxi then Smiley
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« Reply #127 on: September 04, 2019, 01:54:40 AM »

You're welcome...

I will be playing a bit more later on, and let you know how it goes in the later levels.
I also need to find Space Taxi then Smiley

All levels of the demo are pretty old. I will probably do a new level lineup for it in the future to represent them better. Smiley
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« Reply #128 on: September 04, 2019, 02:32:23 AM »

@xenonii: here's a longplay of Space Taxi on the C64 on YT



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« Reply #129 on: September 04, 2019, 01:09:58 PM »

@xenonii: here's a longplay of Space Taxi on the C64 on YT
 
Thanks. That's what I watched to refresh my memory of that game as well. ^^
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« Reply #130 on: September 06, 2019, 04:11:17 AM »

Just improved the title to have a shadow for readability, the level number and an indicator for the (initial) level gravity.
 
I'm starting to think that I come up with those tasks to delay working on the checkpoint levels or even worse: Work on the steam page.  Concerned
 


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« Reply #131 on: September 06, 2019, 12:48:23 PM »

Gh... Gh... Gh... Ghosts! XD
 
I've added my own gameplay recording and playback system today. Currently it's only stored locally, but I want to put it online, so you can laugh about those amateurish other players. Smiley
 
Oh... Wait up for me, Ghosty! :D
 


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« Reply #132 on: September 07, 2019, 02:14:59 AM »

Quote
I've added my own gameplay recording and playback system today. Currently it's only stored locally, but I want to put it online, so you can laugh about those amateurish other players.
In b4 Spaß Taxi becomes an underground speedrunning gem
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« Reply #133 on: September 07, 2019, 02:19:41 AM »

Quote
I've added my own gameplay recording and playback system today. Currently it's only stored locally, but I want to put it online, so you can laugh about those amateurish other players.
In b4 Spaß Taxi becomes an underground speedrunning gem

I guess we have plenty of time before that happens. :D
Would be cool, though. Smiley
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« Reply #134 on: September 08, 2019, 10:36:27 AM »

I am through with the gameplay recording, so here are a few details of how I did it. I did this without finding out how clever people do this, because I tend to reinvent the wheel a lot. (That triangular wheel was really awful.)
Warning: Boring list of technical details upcoming!
 
Recording:
- there is a basic GameplayRecorder and GameplaySource that needs to be implemened in the actual game to define the values stored in the samples etc.
- a gameplay sample has a long timestamp, three floats (x, y, rotation) and a byte (status like landing gear, occupied, death, completed level, etc.)
- a background thread grabs a sample from the player roughly 10 times per second. Those values are prepared by another script, because background threads cannot access the unity transforms.
- samples that are too close to the previous one are discarded, so I actually only store one sample when the taxi is parked for 5 minutes (I cancel recording after you idle for 15 seconds, though ^^)
- samples are first stored to an array buffer, then added to a list as a chunk (because I hope that it's faster than adding each of them to the list separately)
- recordings that are valid (end with you dying or leaving the level and are at least 5 seconds long) are stored to a dictionary
- the sample data is stored as binary data and zip compressed
- e.g. a normal level recording of about 100 seconds has around 1,000 samples and is around 12.4kb in size
- those local recordings are stored to the game data folder on game exit
- another background thread looks for local recordings and uploads one recording every 5 seconds to the server
- the server stores the recordings with its clientId, id, createdTs, context (level name, veteran vs. casual mode) and the sample data as a blob
 
Playback:
- for playback the server returns a random entry matching (or not matching) your clientId, depending if you want to see your own recordings, the recordings of other players or all
- the playback thread calls the GameplaySource implementation of Spaß Taxi with the current samples A and B and a factor for interpolation. Sample A lies in the past and sample B lies in the future of the current timestamp, so the actual coordinates etc. are Lerp(A, B, factor).
- to make the movement nicer, I could use some curve function that includes more than just 2 path coordinates, but for now it looks good as it is.
- the script attached to the ghost sprite grabs these values in its FixedUpdate() and applies them to the transformation, landing gear or whatever and makes it fade out or explode in case of level completion or death state in the sample
- the ghost sprite has my own shader to look a bit glitchy
 
Video:
Alright, I don't know if anyone cares about those details, but here is a video.
It shows that you can always learn from watching the ghost... yeah, well... better ignore what he did and do it better yourself. Smiley
 



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« Reply #135 on: September 09, 2019, 02:11:12 AM »

Just wanted to let you know I'm still playing your game. I always end up firing it up and play a few levels Smiley
Level 5 (the one with the lasers), was a bit difficult, but then I found the trick to trigger them without getting hit.

Also I was confused when one of the customers was damaging my vehicle. At first I thought it was a bug. Then I noticed whenever it happened I heard an evilish "haha".
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« Reply #136 on: September 09, 2019, 04:38:51 AM »

Just wanted to let you know I'm still playing your game. I always end up firing it up and play a few levels Smiley
Level 5 (the one with the lasers), was a bit difficult, but then I found the trick to trigger them without getting hit.

Also I was confused when one of the customers was damaging my vehicle. At first I thought it was a bug. Then I noticed whenever it happened I heard an evilish "haha".

That's nice to hear, thank you! Smiley
Lasers are evil, yes. Triggering them is indeed a good way if you manage to not get hit or crash into a wall while running away. ^^
The evil ones have red eyes and shoes. I'm still thinking about a way to make them stand out more. Or maybe that should not to make you look at every passenger with more attention. ^^
Will have a new version up in a few days including the recording thing. Looking forward to seeing some funny or awesome playthroughs. Smiley
 
@xenonii: Just wondering... There is no highscore from you. Are you too shy to enter one or is there a technical issue? Smiley
 
PS: Will try your HD patch after work.
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« Reply #137 on: September 09, 2019, 06:31:49 AM »

@RealScaniX I think I haven't breached the top 10 scores yet.  Embarrassed
I'm trying but I explode before I get a good score.

I will try starting from level 1 next time I play it, so I rank up some score rather than continue from the last level.
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« Reply #138 on: September 09, 2019, 06:51:10 AM »

Hey, you just need 5,000 points to be able to enter a highscore. And please do so! Other beginners need something to beat, too. :D
Some tips: Keep the mechanic in the car as long as possible, because she repairs you. If there is a checkpoint in the level, land there right away. Just repair the car a little bit from time to time. The lost time and money is still cheaper than exploding. ^^
« Last Edit: September 09, 2019, 07:30:38 AM by RealScaniX » Logged


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« Reply #139 on: September 10, 2019, 07:29:02 AM »

For the one that damages the car, you could show either a red glow pulsating around the taxi, or some cogwheels particles flying off the vehicle, or some speech bubbles coming from the passenger like "I will disassemble your car", "Let's get rid of this part", "and this", "and that" etc.

For the mechanic some icon coming up of the text, like a "plus health" icon or something of the sort.
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