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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsBattleJuice Alchemist – RPG with deck-building & bullet time
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Author Topic: BattleJuice Alchemist – RPG with deck-building & bullet time  (Read 28785 times)
Alain
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« Reply #360 on: March 26, 2022, 10:26:18 AM »

The candle is a nice addition too. If I could I would make the overall scene a tiny bit brighter just to show more of the great levels you are creating.

Thanks for the feedback vivaladav! I fall into that trap again and again and make things too dark. I'll take a look at the post processing again and add a bit of brightness Wink
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #361 on: March 29, 2022, 09:05:11 AM »

Lots of nice stuff to look at in this update, can't say much more than that, very pleasing. Cool shrines! Grin
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oldblood
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« Reply #362 on: March 31, 2022, 11:37:37 AM »

Hey Alain, the eye candy is looking great! Definitely want moar and moar! Sometimes its the small details that really really elevate a project. Keep it coming.
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Alain
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« Reply #363 on: March 31, 2022, 10:48:42 PM »

Lots of nice stuff to look at in this update, can't say much more than that, very pleasing. Cool shrines! Grin

Hey Alain, the eye candy is looking great! Definitely want moar and moar! Sometimes its the small details that really really elevate a project. Keep it coming.

Thank you both! Moar updates will definitely follow Wink
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Alain
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« Reply #364 on: April 08, 2022, 04:46:56 AM »

BATTLEJUICE ALCHEMIST DEVLOG:
New Tutorial Level



Hey everyone,

those of you following along might already know that I have been working on a new tutorial level for some time. As I explained in my last devlog video, I had to build a system that allowed me to "quickly" create levels that are not fully procedural. It worked out great and the tutorial level is done now. Here is a sneak peek of the "Mountain Pass" tutorial map:




BattleJuice Alchemist had tutorials before. It was quite basic stuff: windows popped up and explained some aspect of the game or asked you to do something. Watching people play I often saw them closing the windows instinctively in the way you close an ad popping up in your browser. I could not remove 100% of the pop-up tutorials, but drastically reduced their number and got rid of them for the whole Mountain Pass level completely. The level takes about 20 minutes for a new player to complete and mainly uses two new elements to teach the game's mechanics:

1. Tutorial Scrolls


You find scrolls scattered around the level that you can pick up and read. I found this a lot more satisfying, because who does not like to pick up loot, right? In the GIF above you can also see a little magic swirl that spawns in front of the player and points towards tutorial scrolls and other quest items.

To make the process of learning more fun, I made pictograms for every scroll to teach gameplay elements in a more visual and riddle-like way than plain text. This for example is one of the first scrolls that teaches you to equip and use a flask that replenishes your mana (called "Liquid" in our world):


There is also a written version for every tutorial scroll in your quest log if you can't figure out the meaning of a pictogram.


2. Tutorial Shrines


These shrines are text messages left for you to make sure you can make your way through the Mountain Pass. Nothing to ground-breaking here, but I think it is a good thing the players activate these themselves instead of getting pesky pop-ups and also that the shrines are rooted in the game's narrative.

I will test the Mountain Pass level with a few more players and it then should go live on the public branch of the Steam playtest pretty soon.

Thank you for reading and I'd love to hear which tricks you guys are using to tutorialize your games in interesting ways. Have a great weekend!


Alain
« Last Edit: April 08, 2022, 05:46:16 AM by Alain » Logged

Ramos
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« Reply #365 on: April 08, 2022, 10:29:40 AM »

I am happy to see you are strongly making forward progress here

Also, I must say that on all my freaking games I had problems with the tutorial design, always had them remade 2-3 times, it is just one of those aspects that are very easy in theory but very delicate and hard in practice.

Good luck Alain, you are on the right track  Gentleman
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Alain
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« Reply #366 on: April 11, 2022, 12:02:04 AM »

Also, I must say that on all my freaking games I had problems with the tutorial design, always had them remade 2-3 times, it is just one of those aspects that are very easy in theory but very delicate and hard in practice.

Good luck Alain, you are on the right track  Gentleman

Thank you! For me it is so hard to anticipate player behavior. On a test this weekend one player got stuck because they read a lot of meaning into the mentioning of a river that was only there for story flavor. It had never crossed my mind that that could be a problem. And tutorial levels are the beginning of a game so we have to make sure it goes very smoothly and is the best possible experience. I also found out that my estimated playtime of 20 minutes for the tutorial is quite off, it has been more than double that for everybody so far.

I'll do some fixing and tweaking now and push the update containing the new level to the public branch on Steam later this week.
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oldblood
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« Reply #367 on: April 13, 2022, 11:18:29 AM »

This continues to look more and more polished. That was a super creative way to (re)approach the tutorial with scrolls/instructions essentially provided to the player as loot to collect. The self-activating with the shrines is good too. Looks like some solid adjustments.
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Ramos
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« Reply #368 on: April 14, 2022, 03:03:27 AM »


Thank you! For me it is so hard to anticipate player behavior. On a test this weekend one player got stuck because they read a lot of meaning into the mentioning of a river that was only there for story flavor. It had never crossed my mind that that could be a problem. And tutorial levels are the beginning of a game so we have to make sure it goes very smoothly and is the best possible experience. I also found out that my estimated playtime of 20 minutes for the tutorial is quite off, it has been more than double that for everybody so far.

I'll do some fixing and tweaking now and push the update containing the new level to the public branch on Steam later this week.

just be careful to prioritize exact target audience suggestions/feedback in regards to the tutorial and try to be very skeptical of most of non-target audience feedback
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Alain
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« Reply #369 on: April 15, 2022, 01:49:56 AM »

This continues to look more and more polished. That was a super creative way to (re)approach the tutorial with scrolls/instructions essentially provided to the player as loot to collect. The self-activating with the shrines is good too. Looks like some solid adjustments.

Thank you, I'm glad the polish we are putting into it shows in some way.


Just be careful to prioritize exact target audience suggestions/feedback in regards to the tutorial and try to be very skeptical of most of non-target audience feedback

That's a good heads-up, thanks! I have two playtests with screen-sharing scheduled where the players are not from my target audience. These sessions are always very valuable to me, but as you say, I must process the feedback in a sensible way.

Now for the official part: The update is live!



BATTLEJUICE ALCHEMIST UPDATE:
New Tutorial Level Now on Steam



As of today, version 0.19202 of the BattleJuice Alchemist alpha playtest is live on Steam. You can read all about it in the Steam announcement.

This patch includes the new tutorial level, "The Mountain Pass", which means the fist hour of the game is a lot different than before. You get to experiment with various flasks from the beginning on, try the different types of combat and solve riddles before you start the actual story of the game. If you give it a try, I'd love to hear what you think!




If you want to join the alpha playtest, you can do so via the Steam store page and clicking "Request Access".

Have a nice weekend!

Alain
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bryku
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« Reply #370 on: April 15, 2022, 03:45:19 AM »

I like the way you're approaching gathering feedback about the game. The sooner the game gets out in the open the better, so having a playtest version available is pretty important.

Keep on grinding man!
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #371 on: April 15, 2022, 05:01:05 AM »

Wow, I'm getting huge Okami vibes from the graphics in that last GIF! Things are looking really good now.
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Alain
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« Reply #372 on: April 18, 2022, 05:40:21 AM »

I like the way you're approaching gathering feedback about the game. The sooner the game gets out in the open the better, so having a playtest version available is pretty important.

I could not agree more, playtests and regular feedback are so crucial. It is crazy how many things you just can't see yourself because you are too close to your own game.


Wow, I'm getting huge Okami vibes from the graphics in that last GIF! Things are looking really good now.

Thank you! Now that I think about it, when I show images of the game, Okami never really comes up. But it is actually one of the games that we talk about quite a lot internally for references Smiley
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Ramos
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« Reply #373 on: April 19, 2022, 12:17:00 AM »




This one is very immersive and magical

If you edit this a bit to be slower and more organic, you can make a cool intro from it, with a combo of voice acting or a cool credits screen by adding some extra text like"developed by..." etc
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #374 on: April 19, 2022, 01:27:54 AM »

Oh man, cannot unsee the Okami look. Which is a great really great reference to have Smiley

I hope dialog boxes are handled better than in Okami though  Cheesy. I loved that game but I remember not being able to speed up text at all, and then having to sit through the same text many many times whenever I hit a point where I would die a lot.
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JeremyNunns
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« Reply #375 on: April 25, 2022, 06:23:12 AM »

Are you guys still open for play testing? I think I saw your discord server somewhere. Will need to check it out.
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Alain
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« Reply #376 on: April 26, 2022, 04:14:13 AM »

If you edit this a bit to be slower and more organic, you can make a cool intro from it, with a combo of voice acting or a cool credits screen by adding some extra text like"developed by..." etc

Thanks, that is a good hint. I will polish a flight like this for the next trailer!



I hope dialog boxes are handled better than in Okami though  Cheesy. I loved that game but I remember not being able to speed up text at all, and then having to sit through the same text many many times whenever I hit a point where I would die a lot.

Hahaha, yes, in our game dialog options are almost instant to read the second time you click them Wink



Are you guys still open for play testing? I think I saw your discord server somewhere. Will need to check it out.

Yes yes yes, we are open for play testing and feedback is super valuable to me. You can find our discord here: https://discord.com/invite/DGxn7zt. Looking forward to talk to you there if you find the time!
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oldblood
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« Reply #377 on: April 28, 2022, 05:24:59 PM »

If you edit this a bit to be slower and more organic, you can make a cool intro from it, with a combo of voice acting or a cool credits screen by adding some extra text like"developed by..." etc

I strongly second this!

This looks amazing, not sure how I missed it before but I definitely agree with everything throwing the Okami name around. It certainly has a similar vibe to it, which is never a bad thing. It's a distinctive look.
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Alain
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« Reply #378 on: April 29, 2022, 03:38:02 AM »

If you edit this a bit to be slower and more organic, you can make a cool intro from it, with a combo of voice acting or a cool credits screen by adding some extra text like"developed by..." etc

I strongly second this!

This looks amazing, not sure how I missed it before but I definitely agree with everything throwing the Okami name around. It certainly has a similar vibe to it, which is never a bad thing. It's a distinctive look.

Thanks oldblood, it really helps to hear what aspects others find atmospheric or impressive. I will definitely use some similar shot for the next trailer and might also do some digging if I can market to fans of Okami or similar games.
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Alain
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« Reply #379 on: April 29, 2022, 03:51:01 AM »

BATTLEJUICE ALCHEMIST DEVLOG:
Environmental Freeze Effect



Hey everyone,

to be honest, I did not have the greatest week after catching covid. I had to lay low for a couple of days but now I am back at my computer where I belong.

What I managed to work on is making the player feel more powerful. The character you play is not a tough person splitting their foes' heads with a Claymore. But you are supposed to have a strong feeling of agency nevertheless. I want your actions to have an impact on the world that surrounds you, which is why I started implementing environmental effects. If you use a damage type in an environment receptive to it, something substantial should happen.


The first effect I implemented is the freeze effect. If you use a Juicified Freeze flask in any tile that has a body of water in it, that area freezes. This does not the player down, but lets them move faster by sliding over the ice. Furthermore, ice crystals are spawned. You can utilize these crystals by pushing or pulling your enemies into them for some ouch.

Last but not least, you can use the freeze effect to traverse bigger bodies of water quickly: Just freeze the surface and walk over it instead of swimming.


Environmental effects will be there right when you start the game. They are not some kind of ultimate power and can even be triggered by enemies or your companion Plato. I have just started on the fire environmental effect and am very excited to see if it turns out as fun as the ice effect.

Thank you for reading and have a great weekend!


Alain
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