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December 15, 2019, 06:20:09 PM

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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytesting5N²+6N-4 . . . . . .
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a-k-
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« on: November 23, 2019, 04:46:59 AM »



Hi all,

I would love to get some feedback on this.

HTML5 version (fullscreen):
itch.io (password: tigs)

Update: it's a lightweight programming puzzle with only 6 commands. No programming is needed - that is already taken care of for you.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2019, 07:30:21 AM by a-k- » Logged

marcgfx
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2019, 04:01:45 AM »

Pretty weird. I did end up managing to make a cycle out of 4 nodes, so I felt like I understand what the main idea is. After the introduction where I had to move the nodes to get a specified shape, I was expecting something completely different. It turned into this semi-programming game. I did not thing it was introduced very well though, it required a lot of try and error to understand what the game wanted me to do. I did not read enough for sure, but it does not seem that complicated. Maybe you could just show actual examples instead of text? I also found the help text rather confusing. Telling the player to press the next button (that while looking like a button is not one, but you have to click top right).
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@falkenbrew
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2019, 07:29:59 AM »

Thank you for the elaborate feedback!

Pretty weird. I did end up managing to make a cycle out of 4 nodes, so I felt like I understand what the main idea is. After the introduction where I had to move the nodes to get a specified shape, I was expecting something completely different. It turned into this semi-programming game.
That's funny! The itch.io page describes what the game is about but here I didn't provide any details, so I can see how the mini-game created different expectations. I've just updated the first post to reflect that. You've actually managed to learn 33-50% of the full commands toolbox (depending on which 4-cycles level you solved).

I did not thing it was introduced very well though, it required a lot of try and error to understand what the game wanted me to do. I did not read enough for sure, but it does not seem that complicated. Maybe you could just show actual examples instead of text?
The first 3 levels have a tutorial, or more precisely a hint system, that is opt-in and activated by the (apparently-small) "?" button. And it stops once the player makes progress, so they may need to click it again for more hints. I'll change things a little to make that more clear.

By the way, if you had known that the game was a programming puzzle, would you have paid more attention to the text? I'm not dismissing your feedback, certainly graphical examples would be way better than text. I'm just hoping to somehow work around that fact...

I also found the help text rather confusing. Telling the player to press the next button (that while looking like a button is not one, but you have to click top right).
I originally started with button references looking just like normal text, but later changed them to look more like actual buttons, only smaller and without a gradient, so that players don't miss them. I've made some dirty fix (added "at the top-right corner" in the first screens) but I'm going to address this issue much better, without even more text...
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2019, 09:50:05 PM »

I really like it! I was a bit confused at first but I got the hang of it. Here is my playthrough:





Nice work!
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a-k-
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2019, 01:17:12 AM »

I really like it! I was a bit confused at first but I got the hang of it. Here is my playthrough:





Nice work!

Whew, a playthrough! Thank you very much, michaelplzno! You've made excellent observations and suggestions, this is really invaluable! And many ideas pop up just from seeing you play. Which was fun to watch - it's immensely satisfying to see the level design meeting the player's reasoning in real time, all those little traps ultimately forming understanding!

I'll actually need to go over the whole video one more time. Expect to see it mentioned in future devlog posts quite a few times as I gradually attempt to address more issues. As a quick partial fix for the repeating ones (mentioned also above), the new game version I've just uploaded
- has introductions for the first two levels with 2-3 new graphics that provide all UI details needed to solve these levels, and less text,
- makes the hint button x3 wider, and
- removes gradients from almost all non-interactive elements.

The first two changes aim to better handle both players that read introductions and those that skip them. I'm hoping this is the right direction, otherwise I believe I'm quickly approaching the mandatory tutorial route.

As for the last one, I'm still on the fence regarding removing outlines - due to low contrast with some backgrounds. I think that for me, it may be easier to make the non-interactive elements interactive than keep adjusting colors. Anyway, something will need to be done.

And thanks for the kind words! The game tries really hard to optimize for the player's time. And with your feedback, it's going to improve!
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