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February 25, 2021, 10:49:43 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityTownhallA Door to the Mists--Demo released!
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« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2020, 05:45:59 AM »

A new demo is available, the "Depictions" Demo!

As before, you should find it on the demo's Itch.io page, here:
https://thaumaturge-art.itch.io/a-door-to-the-mists-demo

Trailer:




This version, version 0.9.0, includes a variety of changes:

  • Reworked aesthetics
    • The in-game look has been changed, made more clearly stylised--and improved, I hope!
  • Additional content
    • Two new (small) locations
    • New puzzles in one of those locations
    • One new enemy
    • One collectible and new lore-entries--but showing those would be spoiling things. Wink
  • Plus a variety of tweaks, fixes, and changes!

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« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2021, 10:11:30 AM »

The "Depictions" Demo has been updated!

Once again, you can find it here:
https://thaumaturge-art.itch.io/a-door-to-the-mists-demo

The new version, version 0.9.5, includes the following changes:

This build includes a number of changes:
  • Increased jump-height, and with it jump-distance.
  • A few traversal changes in Chapter Two related to the new jump-height, including a new minor traversal section.
  • Various security updates.
    • In particular, the language files should now be safe!
      • (I still don't recommend taking files from strangers in general, of course.)
  • The fixing of some memory leaks.
  • Miscellaneous minor fixes and changes.

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« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2021, 11:31:09 AM »

Hi! I've tried the demo and recorded it, but I get a black screen when looking at the page in the box on top of the stone building, so I guess I cannot proceed as I don't know how to unlock the doors in the cellar. Sad
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« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2021, 11:45:15 AM »

Hi! I've tried the demo and recorded it, but I get a black screen when looking at the page in the box on top of the stone building, so I guess I cannot proceed as I don't know how to unlock the doors in the cellar. Sad

Hi!

First of all, thank you for trying it! ^_^

As to the black screen, ah, that's a pity! :/

I've seen that bug before, on my own Windows installation. I don't know what causes it, I'm afraid, but I did find that--on my machine, at least--updating my graphics drivers seemed to fix it.

(That said, I also "refreshed" my Windows installation, although I hadn't yet gotten around to installing updates to Windows itself.)

It's really weird that it affects that particular screen, and so uniformly, since that screen is primarily GUI elements. o_0
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« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2021, 11:51:11 AM »

Hi! I've tried the demo and recorded it, but I get a black screen when looking at the page in the box on top of the stone building, so I guess I cannot proceed as I don't know how to unlock the doors in the cellar. Sad

Hi!

First of all, thank you for trying it! ^_^

As to the black screen, ah, that's a pity! :/

I've seen that bug before, on my own Windows installation. I don't know what causes it, I'm afraid, but I did find that--on my machine, at least--updating my graphics drivers seemed to fix it.

(That said, I also "refreshed" my Windows installation, although I hadn't yet gotten around to installing updates to Windows itself.)

It's really weird that it affects that particular screen, and so uniformly, since that screen is primarily GUI elements. o_0

Yes, it's weird. I don't see how this would be caused by older graphics drivers, but mine are up to date.
 
Do you know the location of the log files on windows? Maybe there is something in there leading to the cause of it.
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« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2021, 11:54:23 AM »

Update: It doesn't play nice with the recording software for some reason. When I'm not recording it, I can see the screen.
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« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2021, 11:59:40 AM »

I don't see how this would be caused by older graphics drivers, ...

I mean, it is a rendering bug, it seems--if I recall correctly, one can move the mouse around blindly and hear the UI respond behind the black.

... but mine are up to date.

Ah, well, fair enough, then!

My next guess would be some sort of graphics-card setting incompatibility--but that really is a guess.

Do you know the location of the log files on windows? Maybe there is something in there leading to the cause of it.

It's worth a shot!

The log should be in your user-data folder, in a sub-folder named "ADoorToTheMists".

I don't know whether this varies much from version of Windows to version, but I've seen it at the following location:

<drive-letter>:\Users\<user-name>\AppData\Local\ADoorToTheMists\

Note that you may have to make hidden folders visible to see "AppData".

Update: It doesn't play nice with the recording software for some reason. When I'm not recording it, I can see the screen.

Aahh, that's interesting!

Hmm... I'll ask after this on the game-engine's forum, I think--perhaps someone there might have a better idea than I as to what might be going wrong...
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« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2021, 01:24:25 PM »

Ok, the next puzzle screen worked even with the recording stuff running. I don't know...
 
Played until "A light in the dark". Ran around totally clueless until I got trapped somewhere. I don't think I am supposed to get there in the first place, but I have found a book there, so: Yay!?
 

 
I have a recording, but I'm unsure whether to upload it. I would need to cut out all the curse words first at least... Xd
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« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2021, 01:32:26 PM »

Oh no! XD;

You are indeed not intended to get there, and that is not how you're intended to get that book. Tongue

I would like to know how you did get there, however, if I may ask. It looks like I may have a gap somewhere in my collision geometry!

Ok, the next puzzle screen worked even with the recording stuff running. I don't know...

Just to check: was it the same puzzle that worked? I know that on my end, I saw the black screen only with the "translation" puzzle--not with the "jigsaw" or "lockpicking" or "word-search" puzzles, as far as I recall.

I have a recording, but I'm unsure whether to upload it. I would need to cut out all the curse words first at least... Xd

If you want to share it, you can always upload it to YouTube as an unlisted video and then just provide a link to it, I believe.
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« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2021, 01:39:14 PM »

Oh no! XD;

You are indeed not intended to get there, and that is not how you're intended to get that book. Tongue

I would like to know how you did get there, however, if I may ask. It looks like I may have a gap somewhere in my collision geometry!

Ok, the next puzzle screen worked even with the recording stuff running. I don't know...

Just to check: was it the same puzzle that worked? I know that on my end, I saw the black screen only with the "translation" puzzle--not with the "jigsaw" or "lockpicking" or "word-search" puzzles, as far as I recall.

I have a recording, but I'm unsure whether to upload it. I would need to cut out all the curse words first at least... Xd

If you want to share it, you can always upload it to YouTube as an unlisted video and then just provide a link to it, I believe.

I know, but I'm unsure if I want to share it even with YOU. Azn
It was the letter puzzle, the same as the one on the roof.
The video is over 80 minutes long. I need to remove a bit of aimlessly walking around looking for the needle in the haystack (the metal pin behind *spoiler*) or failing the fights 20 times in a row. Smiley
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« Reply #30 on: February 16, 2021, 01:24:51 AM »

I know, but I'm unsure if I want to share it even with YOU. Azn

Hah, fair enough! XD;

It was the letter puzzle, the same as the one on the roof.

Okay, that's good to know--thank you.

The video is over 80 minutes long. I need to remove a bit of aimlessly walking around looking for the needle in the haystack (the metal pin behind *spoiler*) or failing the fights 20 times in a row. Smiley

That's fair.

By the way, you needn't have found that metal pin, if it's the one that I'm thinking of. (The one used not for lockpicking itself, but to allow the picking of a specific lock.) There was another way forward. Wink

Also, I'm glad to know that my combat isn't too easy--I was actually getting a little worried about that. ^^;

(The difficulty of the combat is one of those things that I find hard to judge: I know the combat AI well, having made it, and I've found each enemy many times. As a result, none of them are really a challenge for me. But that doesn't speak much to whether they're a challenge to anyone else...)
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« Reply #31 on: February 16, 2021, 03:33:48 AM »

Ok, I will just write down my impressions here. Please take everything with a bit of humor. Smiley

By the way, you needn't have found that metal pin, if it's the one that I'm thinking of. (The one used not for lockpicking itself, but to allow the picking of a specific lock.) There was another way forward. Wink

Are you talking about the loose floor tiles? I have opened them from below in the end with an unexpected item (the other super thin metal rod). I'd rather have used a hammer or one of the many tools that are laying around (a hook, a silver knife) that I can NOT pick up. Wink
 
Also, I'm glad to know that my combat isn't too easy--I was actually getting a little worried about that. ^^;

(The difficulty of the combat is one of those things that I find hard to judge: I know the combat AI well, having made it, and I've found each enemy many times. As a result, none of them are really a challenge for me. But that doesn't speak much to whether they're a challenge to anyone else...)

My problem with the combat isn't the difficulty unless I am super dumb. Fights normally have a thing to learn and a bit of timing to it and when you learned this, you can manage them.
In these fights I had lots of problems. The control scheme might feel weird to me, so this might work better for others. For example: I haven't been able to dodge a single time, even after reading the info text. So I was depending on luck. If the enemy was using a non blocking attack too often, I would be dead.
The mummy was doing a quick left/right/left thing, but even though I knew it, I wasn't able to block it. I was holding down D, but she never raised the sword to block. I don't know if you also need stamina for this.
So... yeah. I hated the fights. It was just random clicking until I managed to win.
But I know from my own games that it's always super easy for the coder and unexpectedly hard for testers. ^^
 
Scrollbars in the menu are used for vertical scrolling and for setting values (e.g. mouse speed). So, when you are scrolling down and the mouse pointer happens to land on a horizontal bar for a setting, you are suddenly changing that instead.
   
4k: The texts in the cutscenes are super small and the text bubble pointers are weird.

Lockpicking: works fine, I guess. took 7 seconds to understand what I was supposed to do, but was easy afterwards. Although... it says "find the smallest gap" and I think I have found a very small one, but that didn't work. Instead a larger one was the correct one.
 
There is a shelf that is glowing in a blue light. This was confusing me as I was expecting it to be important somehow and returned a few times to it. ^^
 
Why are the curtains closing again? Performance? I would prefer them to stay open, so I know what I've examined already.
 
To be honest, I didn't really get why some combinations were considered correct in the word puzzle, for example this one (and I have successfully solved number puzzles in "The Ripper" ^^):

 
The light in the dark: It looks more like a background image than a light with a real 3d position, because of the way it moves while strafing. It's almost as if it is my light reflected by a mirror. Which also doesn't make sense unless the mirror rotates to always point at me.
 
Traversal: In the tomb I had problems to get where I wanted to in the caverns below. The jumping or climbing didn't react as expected and I glitched into death. ^^
 
Graphics: The caverns below the tomb and the "light in the dark" chapter are so dark that it was difficult to navigate. I couldn't find a brightness setting, though. My monitor isn't too dark either. And the floor just a few meters away is black while the wall in 20 or so meters distance is bright like the sun. This is probably uncommon for sandstone like materials. Wink
The small box and the silver knife are kinda merging with the shelf. They have the same color and brightness
 
Interactions: "That doesn't work" feels a bit annoying when it appears every time that I left click on something just to find out whether I can left click it. ^^
If there is only a valid action when there is an icon below it (open/close, take), why say anything at all? I was always wondering? What didn't work? What the hell did I just try to do? ^^
When using an inventory item and the combination does not work, you might consider not ending the mode. In some occasions like using a key on all four doors, this would be nice. Smiley
 
Symbol puzzle: This one is kinda nice. At first I was like: "I have no idea what to do, because I can't see anything.". But it only took a minute or so to solve, so it was fine in the end. The interactions (A/D to rotate) are always tricky to make known to the player. You did a similar thing to me in the closeups, show a hint text in the corner. In your case, I thought it might be cool to display a "A/D - rotate" when you grab a puzzle piece.
 
Locked doors: I'm unsure of those. There are three doors that you are never able to open (at least I think so). On one hand, this probably makes the place more believable. On the other hand, it probably makes the player invest energy in looking for more keys and forgetting the actual goal.
 
Chests: I really like the freedom here and the lack of handholding to solve the puzzle to get up to the second floor. (BTW: You can climb onto those stone blocks and end up with your head like 30cm above them, because there is not enough room to stand above them ^^)
But I didn't really get the meaning of the placement icon. At first I thought that I could place them nowhere. Then it worked on the slab, so I got the impression that this was a combine interaction and I needed to find a specific place. I even thought that it was a puzzle where I need to put a certain amount of chests on each slab.
Only a bit later, I noticed that I could point more or less straight down and place the chest on the floor.
I have no clear solution for this. Most games show a ghosted version of the chest in red or green to make it clear where it can be places and what it will look like when placed. But I can understand when you don't like that look for the game.

Clueless: I've wasted a LOT of time with just walking around and not knowing what I was supposed to do, caused by thinking that I am not able to solve the word puzzle because of missing pieces or looking for a hidden thing. I think I have played 2 hours or so, while I could have done that in 20 minutes. Xd
This is one of the biggest traps in gamedev for me. I had this on several occasions. What is super clear for the dev, isn't for the player, who will just walk straight past the only important item in the whole scene and look at everything else for hours.
 
As always, this is like 50% being bad at the game, 50% being a grumpy old coder and 10% truth. :D
 
Ok, that's all for now. I've sent you a video of some scenes, too.
 
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« Reply #32 on: February 16, 2021, 04:55:56 AM »

(This is the point at which I'd love the forum to have dynamic quoting, rather than a single "quote everything" button that then calls for manual editing. >_<)

As always, this is like 50% being bad at the game, 50% being a grumpy old coder and 10% truth. :D

Not at all, this is useful feedback, I feel--thank you for all of it! ^_^


Are you talking about the loose floor tiles? I have opened them from below in the end with an unexpected item (the other super thin metal rod). I'd rather have used a hammer or one of the many tools that are laying around (a hook, a silver knife) that I can NOT pick up. Wink

That's fair! (And indeed, the loose tiles were what I meant.)

I would suggest that maybe silver isn't a great metal for such a job, however--something more robust, like iron, might be called for. Tongue

As to a hook... Looking around the level quickly, the only one that I see is a tiny one in the embalming room. That looks too small to me for lifting great big floor tiles! (Was there another one that I've forgotten?)

My problem with the combat isn't the difficulty unless I am super dumb. ...

Ah, I see. Hum, that's disconcerting!

For dodging, I'm not sure of what to suggest other than that it's a matter of timing: when the attack starts, hit the "dodge" button!

(This presuming that you're not seeing some sort of speed-bug that I'm not seeing on my machine, of course...)

The mummy was doing a quick left/right/left thing, but even though I knew it, I wasn't able to block it. I was holding down D, but she never raised the sword to block. I don't know if you also need stamina for this.

You should see a flash of white light when hit by that attack. This indicates a brief stun, which is the reason that you can't block. Perhaps I should make it a longer stun so that it's more visible!

Scrollbars in the menu are used for vertical scrolling and for setting values (e.g. mouse speed). So, when you are scrolling down and the mouse pointer happens to land on a horizontal bar for a setting, you are suddenly changing that instead.

I seem to recall that I was worried about this!

Hum... Perhaps I should prevent scrollbar-activation when scrolling something else, then. That should allow mouse-scrolling of both the overall menu and any scrollbars within it, if implemented well, I think...

4k: The texts in the cutscenes are super small and the text bubble pointers are weird.

Yeah, at the moment I don't have official support for 4K resolutions. I don't have a device that can display anything like that, and so can't test it. It's a known issue, I'm afraid! :/

That said, if I may ask, do you have any sort of OS-level UI-scaling active? I'm surprised that the text is so small--it should be normalised for the resolution, I think! However, I gather that some systems have some sort of UI-scaling, which might perhaps be causing problems...

Lockpicking: works fine, I guess. took 7 seconds to understand what I was supposed to do, but was easy afterwards. Although... it says "find the smallest gap" and I think I have found a very small one, but that didn't work. Instead a larger one was the correct one.

That's odd! Are you sure that it was a gap--i.e. with a rise on either side--and not just a step?

There is a shelf that is glowing in a blue light. This was confusing me as I was expecting it to be important somehow and returned a few times to it. ^^

Do you mean the pale corner-shelf, near the location of the lockpicks? If so, then there might be something to be found on it...
 
Why are the curtains closing again? Performance? I would prefer them to stay open, so I know what I've examined already.

Interesting! I'll confess that I have them close, I think, because that's what makes sense to me: you step back, let go of the curtains, and they fall back into place. There are no ties or hooks or anything holding them open--just the player-character.

I can see that you might want to leave them open for the purposes of knowing where you've been, however.

To be honest, I didn't really get why some combinations were considered correct in the word puzzle, for example this one (and I have successfully solved number puzzles in "The Ripper" ^^):

Hmm... Could you elaborate on what's confusing you there, precisely? Why does it seem like that solution isn't fitting?

The light in the dark: It looks more like a background image than a light with a real 3d position ...

Hmm... I'll want to look at that! It is artificially made--an actual object that far off would be hidden, as I have things--so it's very possible that I messed up some part of the calculation.

I wouldn't think so, however, since I think that it corresponds to the location of the origin of a ray fired between the player's location and the actual light.

Traversal: In the tomb I had problems to get where I wanted to in the caverns below. The jumping or climbing didn't react as expected and I glitched into death. ^^

Ah, that's saddening!

Could you elaborate on how you expected the jumping and climbing to react, please?

Graphics: The caverns below the tomb and the "light in the dark" chapter are so dark that it was difficult to navigate.

Hmm... I'll have to think on this, I fear.

And the floor just a few meters away is black while the wall in 20 or so meters distance is bright like the sun. This is probably uncommon for sandstone like materials. Wink

I'm not sure that this is all that uncommon for a point-light source. (At least without somehow modelling scattering.) After all, the angle between the light-vector and the surface-normal quickly becomes rather close to ninety-degrees on the floor, but remains close to zero on the wall directly ahead.

The small box and the silver knife are kinda merging with the shelf. They have the same color and brightness

That is very fair. I might have to play with things a bit to make objects like that--with similar colours and high "shininess"--stand out against each other...
 
Interactions: "That doesn't work" feels a bit annoying when it appears every time that I left click on something just to find out whether I can left click it. ^^
If there is only a valid action when there is an icon below it (open/close, take), why say anything at all?

Hmm... On the other hand, if I had no response at all then the game would feel unresponsive, surely?

My feeling is that it's generally wise to have the game at least acknowledge that the player attempted an action.
 
When using an inventory item and the combination does not work, you might consider not ending the mode. In some occasions like using a key on all four doors, this would be nice. Smiley

That's an interesting thought, and noted, thank you. ^_^

Symbol puzzle: This one is kinda nice.

That's good to read! ^_^

In your case, I thought it might be cool to display a "A/D - rotate" when you grab a puzzle piece.

Hmm... I'm generally going to resist putting instructions up on the screen--I rather dislike it when games do that, I think, as it undermines immersion.

There are three doors that you are never able to open (at least I think so).

Hmm... That's tricky. My instinct is to acknowledge that they're there, but I don't want to make the character psychic and have her proclaim that she'll never find a way to open them.

One of them I can easily make non-interactive (the door in the "outside" section of the "light in the dark" level). The stone door in the upper tomb, however, is a red herring for a puzzle. The jammed door in the lower tomb at least proclaims that it's jammed--and having it be non-examinable would feel off to me, I think.
 
Chests: I really like the freedom here and the lack of handholding to solve the puzzle to get up to the second floor.

Excellent, and thank you! ^_^
 
(BTW: You can climb onto those stone blocks and end up with your head like 30cm above them, because there is not enough room to stand above them ^^)

Yup! That's intentional--indeed, I even recall testing the system with them. It comes in handy when doing things like climbing into windows--or jumping to upper-storey windows and climbing into them--for example.

But I didn't really get the meaning of the placement icon. ...

Hmmm... Perhaps I should tutorialise this? Or possibly rework the icons? What do you think?

And yeah, I really don't want to use the "ghost" implementation unless the lack of it becomes a serious problem...

Clueless: I've wasted a LOT of time with just walking around and not knowing what I was supposed to do, caused by thinking that I am not able to solve the word puzzle because of missing pieces or looking for a hidden thing. I think I have played 2 hours or so, while I could have done that in 20 minutes. Xd

I would argue that this is consonant with adventure-style gameplay. (In the "point-and-click" sense of "adventure", not the "Zelda" sense.)

But I do see what you mean about it being a "trap". On the other hand, signposting is difficult, I'll confess! You should see how much trouble I had getting people to spot that hole in the ceiling of the lower tomb...

Ok, that's all for now. I've sent you a video of some scenes, too.

Thank you for that! I've watched the footage that you sent, and found it useful. ^_^
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« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2021, 05:56:20 AM »

Alright, just some short answers. We disagree on some points, which is totally fine as we are different people doing different games. ^^
 
Combat: Ok, I probably really should have done the tutorial again. Didn't notice the stun at all.
 
Scrollbars: I would completely remove the mouse wheel function from the sliders, using it is less precise anyway.
 
4k: Yes, I do have a UI scaling set. I mentioned the DPI setting, that is what's always causing the problem. Just having a higher resolution is doing nothing. I'm used to doing this for indie games. Smiley
It might depend on the engine. Unity does not seem to have a problem with this.
 
Lockpicking: I noticed my fault in the video, so the puzzle is working as intended.
 
Lighting: I'm used to point lights. That's why I mentioned the material. I think - unless those are very shiny, reflective stones - this would look different. It helps navigating, though. So that is a plus.
 
Interactions: No, I don't think it would be feeling unresponsive, because there is no action to be done here. It's the same as clicking into an empty space. By getting this answer, I was expecting it to "work" at some place and tried it for every single item. Smiley
 
Curtains: I guess the realism fails anyway here as I don't expect the player to keep standing there holding it open with BOTH arms while examining and picking up stuff behind it. ^^
You do have a point there, though. I ignored the fact that there is nothing holding them open. Maybe add some hooks?
I like the curtains, though. Maybe they don't need a change.

"Do you mean the pale corner-shelf, near the location of the lockpicks? If so, then there might be something to be found on it..."
Yes, that's the one, I guess. As you can see in the video, I have already picked up that coin. There is nothing else there. But it keeps glowing. If I could, I would replace my torch with some of that magical glowing wood, because it is brighter. ^^
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« Reply #34 on: February 16, 2021, 06:22:35 AM »

We disagree on some points, which is totally fine as we are different people doing different games. ^^

Indeed--no one design is going to work for everyone! And I have taken on a number of points. (For example, I have it mind now to make the cursor respond a little more saliently to interactive/examinable objects, so that there's another visual difference between them and background objects.)

Combat: Ok, I probably really should have done the tutorial again. Didn't notice the stun at all.

It is really short, and the stun-effect is fairly new at that point. I've decided after some deliberation to remove it from that attack. The mummy will still have the longer-lasting stun on the "shove" attack, however!
 
Scrollbars: I would completely remove the mouse wheel function from the sliders, using it is less precise anyway.

Hmm, interesting, and unexpected. I'll think on that I intend, thank you!

4k: Yes, I do have a UI scaling set. I mentioned the DPI setting, that is what's always causing the problem.

Ah, you can see how unfamiliar I am with such things as 4K--I missed that entirely! Sorry about that! ^^;

As to the engine, I don't recall offhand where Panda stands on the matter--it's been a while since I looked into it--save that I recall some discussion being had.
 
Lockpicking: I noticed my fault in the video, so the puzzle is working as intended.

Ah, good to read, and thank you! ^_^

Lighting: I'm used to point lights. That's why I mentioned the material. I think - unless those are very shiny, reflective stones - this would look different. It helps navigating, though. So that is a plus.

It's possible that I've made the shininess of the stones too high, or that there's some other issue in the lighting, in all fairness!

Interactions: No, I don't think it would be feeling unresponsive, because there is no action to be done here. It's the same as clicking into an empty space. By getting this answer, I was expecting it to "work" at some place and tried it for every single item. Smiley

Hmmm... I'm not sure. This may be one of those points on which we feel differently!
 
"Do you mean the pale corner-shelf, near the location of the lockpicks? If so, then there might be something to be found on it..."
Yes, that's the one, I guess. As you can see in the video, I have already picked up that coin. There is nothing else there. But it keeps glowing. If I could, I would replace my torch with some of that magical glowing wood, because it is brighter. ^^

Ah, fair enough!

As to getting some of that wood, you could try asking the mummies, but I don't think that they like you very much... Tongue
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« Reply #35 on: February 19, 2021, 09:26:10 AM »

Once again the demo has been updated!

As before, you can get it from itch.io, here:
https://thaumaturge-art.itch.io/a-door-to-the-mists-demo

This new version, version 0.9.7, takes on some feedback given on the previous, and includes the following changes:

  • Changes to the shading of areas lit by the player-character's lantern, especially in its highlights.
  • New cursor mode that indicates interactive/examinable objects.
  • Fixed an area in Chapter Two in which players could get stuck in unintended geometry.
  • Removed the brief "stun" effect in the second mummy's "flurry" attack.
  • Improved mouse-look behaviour when playing at lower frame-rates (hopefully).
  • Miscellaneous minor changes and fixes.


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