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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 28793 times)
Prinsessa
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« Reply #380 on: April 29, 2022, 04:03:20 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

Oof, good to hear you're getting better at least, and hope you don't get any lasting effects Sad Snow and ice stuff is looking really pretty, and environmental effects seem like a really cool mechanic too!
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marcgfx
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« Reply #381 on: April 29, 2022, 07:59:29 AM »

Have not checked in for a while. Good to see you are still going strong!
When I came to check, I was interested to see how the visual style has developed. I think you have a very interesting approach, but it always feels kind of hard to read. Maybe it's due to the small size of the gifs, or it's just me. Have you received any other feedback in this direction?
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #382 on: May 01, 2022, 09:21:05 AM »

Is this going to be one of those games where if you already know all the mechanisms from the start you can do things much faster/earlier than you're "supposed" to? I love games that are designed with that in mind
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Alain
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« Reply #383 on: May 03, 2022, 12:50:40 AM »

Have not checked in for a while. Good to see you are still going strong!
When I came to check, I was interested to see how the visual style has developed. I think you have a very interesting approach, but it always feels kind of hard to read. Maybe it's due to the small size of the gifs, or it's just me. Have you received any other feedback in this direction?

Hi marcgfx, good to hear from you! Yes, readability is something I have been struggling with since the beginning. It has been brought up by others and we had some discussions on it here as well. I think we recently made some good improvements on that front. If you like, you can take a look at a comparison I posted in this post. I'd like to hear if suggestions on how to improve further come to your mind!


Is this going to be one of those games where if you already know all the mechanisms from the start you can do things much faster/earlier than you're "supposed" to? I love games that are designed with that in mind

In deed, it is like that in BJA in some places. The ritual magic system is maybe the best example for that: You learn ritual magic throughout the game. Rituals are cast by burning a certain amount of a certain ingredient and say a certain mantra. You do not have to unlock them in any other way. This means in your second playthrough, you can cast any ritual you know from your first one, because you as the player know the combinations.
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« Reply #384 on: May 03, 2022, 02:08:34 PM »

Glad to hear you're feeling better, and the new freeze effects look great! I think it's a great point about trying to make the player have a feeling of power and agency, that is quite fundamental to what the gaming experience is about in general imho. (I've recently been reading and thinking about so-called 'flow' experiences, which researchers say can be generated when your skills are appropriately matched by external challenges. Which could be translated to gaming as - you should feel powerful, but also evenly matched by your enemies.)
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Alain
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« Reply #385 on: May 04, 2022, 02:07:55 AM »

Glad to hear you're feeling better, and the new freeze effects look great! I think it's a great point about trying to make the player have a feeling of power and agency, that is quite fundamental to what the gaming experience is about in general imho. (I've recently been reading and thinking about so-called 'flow' experiences, which researchers say can be generated when your skills are appropriately matched by external challenges. Which could be translated to gaming as - you should feel powerful, but also evenly matched by your enemies.)

That is an interesting point you are making. When I thought about difficulty and challenging the player I came to a point where I wondered if having enemies scale with the player level like e.g. in Oblivion is a good idea. On one hand the player keeps being challenged, on the other hand they will have trouble fighting rats in the starting area no matter if they are level 1 or level 50 themselves, because the rat's stats scale up. I decided that this is not a great choice for an RPG that tries to sell you the feeling of diving into a reasonable world. But I included some killer combos so level 1 enemies can under certain circumstances be trouble for a high level player. They sometimes use a combination of a debuff (player's health gets cut in half) and a buff (triple their own damage for next attack). This won't happen often but seems to keep players on their toes.
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marcgfx
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« Reply #386 on: May 04, 2022, 04:17:15 AM »


So I just installed the game. The intro is really well done. I was thinking the reader could read a little earlier, as I had mostly read the text long before he started.
I started with tutorial enabled. I walked around. Unfortunately after 10 seconds my character was stuck... I had simply walked down to the left. I guess I need to restart.
edit: managed to reproduce it. just walk down to the tree, walk to the right of it. then walk to the corner.

edit: I got out of the first area (off to caribou village I think). The pumpkin fight was weird to say the least, I have no idea how I won. I could not move at all. But with bullet time and juiced fire it somehow worked. I did not get that far in the new area until some humanoid debuffed and killed me. Overall the fighting is very fidgety, or at least I never really got the hang of it. I was constantly pressing wrong buttons, opening menus when I was trying to throw flasks. Most of the time I was clicking on flasks to refill them, then waiting on the big white flask. I felt like I was fighting the game, not the enemies. The button assignments seems less than fortunate. Moving with the mouse seemed to work best, but I did use WASD as well. I did not understand the idea for the random flasks, I mostly just made sure I had the 3 I wanted in the slots. The turtles in the new area were stronger but looked the same, that was also confusing. Sorry for the random rambling. There was a lot to take in and a lot to think about.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2022, 05:11:38 AM by marcgfx » Logged

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« Reply #387 on: May 05, 2022, 12:21:20 AM »

Thank you so much @marcgfx for taking the time to play the demo and giving so much feedback!

You getting stuck at the environment is indeed very unfortunate. I hadn't heard of that, but I assume it is the collision box of the tree :/ The world (including the tutorial level) is procedural, could you do me a favor and send me your world seed? You can see it when you start the game, click "Continue Game" and select your character. The seed is right above the "Continue" button.

I am happy you took the time to play through the whole tutorial level until you reached Caribou Creek. The problems you had with the buttons might be related to WASD movement. Maybe I should deactivate it by default. Actually all you need to play is the mouse and the number keys 1-5 to throw your flasks.

Thank you again, this gives me quite a few things to think about!
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Alain
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« Reply #388 on: May 05, 2022, 06:01:10 AM »

Just a very quick update: The changes I talked about in the last devlog post are now live on the open alpha playtest. Here is the Steam announcement:



You can still join the playtest via the Steam page. Maybe someone wants to try that fancy new freezing mechanic Wink
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marcgfx
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« Reply #389 on: May 05, 2022, 06:03:18 AM »

sure thing Alain: 690176
I think it's important to tell you exactly what I felt. no need to sugar coat. I can see you have put a lot of time and effort into your game and sometimes it's all just about the fine-tuning or conveying information better. It sometimes comes off as harsh, but I am glad you appreciate my rambling.
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Alain
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« Reply #390 on: May 05, 2022, 08:31:13 AM »

sure thing Alain: 690176
I think it's important to tell you exactly what I felt. no need to sugar coat. I can see you have put a lot of time and effort into your game and sometimes it's all just about the fine-tuning or conveying information better. It sometimes comes off as harsh, but I am glad you appreciate my rambling.

Thanks for the seed, I will check it out. It is totally fine that you spoke your mind straight out and as you say, this helps a lot!
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oldblood
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« Reply #391 on: May 06, 2022, 08:32:35 AM »

Really love the environmental freeze effects. Nice change of pace to the scenery, adds a cool gameplay dynamic, and will make the player feel even more powerful. Achieves a lot of fun elements, great work.
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Alain
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« Reply #392 on: May 10, 2022, 05:38:55 AM »

Really love the environmental freeze effects. Nice change of pace to the scenery, adds a cool gameplay dynamic, and will make the player feel even more powerful. Achieves a lot of fun elements, great work.

Thank you, that is exactly what I was aiming for! I am quite swamped with organizational stuff around the game, but I hope I will get back to working on the environmental effects very soon. Fire is next Smiley
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Alain
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« Reply #393 on: May 11, 2022, 11:56:30 AM »

I'm really excited about this awesome first look video on BattleJuice Alchemist by Magemasher. Watch him overcome first struggles with the controls to become one of the mightiest turtle slayers New England has ever seen!



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marcgfx
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« Reply #394 on: May 11, 2022, 04:49:20 PM »

Well he did better than I did, the enemies seemed way weaker than what I remembered. Then again watching pro tennis player play is also easier than doing it myself.

Looking forward to your fire solution Smiley
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Alain
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« Reply #395 on: May 12, 2022, 12:10:08 AM »

Well he did better than I did, the enemies seemed way weaker than what I remembered. Then again watching pro tennis player play is also easier than doing it myself.

Interesting, I have not tweaked the enemies yet (although I will look into it because of your feedback). Maybe it is because Magemasher juicified his explosive flasks a lot, which effectively doubles the damage. And almost all the gameplay in his video is from the tutorial level, where you can hide in areas near the shrines, where enemies won't attack Wink

Looking forward to your fire solution Smiley

Oh yes, you and me are working on a similar thing at the moment :D
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oldblood
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« Reply #396 on: May 14, 2022, 09:11:51 AM »

That's awesome! It's always a surreal and cool experience to watch someone play and figure out your game (while being simultaneously stressful). Glad to see you're starting to get some exposure! Every view counts.
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« Reply #397 on: May 19, 2022, 09:38:52 AM »

Hi Alain!

I checked YT video. I liked the intro, as youtuber noticed, music is above average, as well as narration. Production value of intro is well above average for indie team. I think I heard rhyme in intro? Nice touch. I also like the art of the game, which has unique feel.

To give you some critical feedback (which is more important) especially in this stage of development: Main character animation is something which was sticking to me from video and saying: this needs improvement. How he moves leg and how fast (or slow) he moves, not gives natural feel. Will be also nice to have walk/run modes, and maybe variety of animations (ideally different anims up-hill, down-hill, plain to have it more diverse). Camera is always centered around main character so one running animation which player will see thousands and thousands times in a loop can take away from overall impression even if rest of mechanics will be good. As this is something player will have on eyes all the time.
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Alain
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« Reply #398 on: May 19, 2022, 11:00:57 PM »

I checked YT video. I liked the intro, as youtuber noticed, music is above average, as well as narration. Production value of intro is well above average for indie team. I think I heard rhyme in intro? Nice touch. I also like the art of the game, which has unique feel.

Thanks for the kind words! If there is some rhyming in the cinematic intro, it is by accident Wink

To give you some critical feedback (which is more important) especially in this stage of development: Main character animation is something which was sticking to me from video and saying: this needs improvement. How he moves leg and how fast (or slow) he moves, not gives natural feel. Will be also nice to have walk/run modes, and maybe variety of animations (ideally different anims up-hill, down-hill, plain to have it more diverse). Camera is always centered around main character so one running animation which player will see thousands and thousands times in a loop can take away from overall impression even if rest of mechanics will be good. As this is something player will have on eyes all the time.

As you say, critical feedback is very important and I appreciate it a lot! You are not the first one mentioning the character animations. Some people appreciate them for being a bit wonky like coming from the 90s, but quite a few also think they should be improved, which means I have to take a look at them again. I am afraid I am not the world's greatest animator and I am lacking practice. But I will figure something out Smiley
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Alain
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« Reply #399 on: May 20, 2022, 10:17:15 AM »

BATTLEJUICE ALCHEMIST DEVLOG:
Burning Down the House
(or at least the trees and bushes)




Hey everyone,

I crunched like crazy for the last few days, because I did not want to do a simple devlog this Friday. I also wanted to release the features I have worked on, so players can check them out right away in the Steam Playtest. I made it and I think it was worth it. So everything I talk about today can be explored by all you fine people right away.

Those of you following along might know that I have been implementing environmental effects lately. The first one allows you to freeze rivers and lakes, now you can light things on fire. This one turned out really cool in my opinion, because so many systems interact here: Fire has a chance to propagate, which is connected to the weather system. It is less likely for fire to spread if it is raining.


Trees burn down bit by bit. The first time you set them on fire their leaves burn away, then the upper part and so on until only the roots are left. Everytime a part burns, ash and wood materials spawn.


The spiky circles as seen in the image above indicate where fire causes damage to you and enemies. So you can utilize burning objects by kiting enemies into them.

The game world feels so much more alive now that the environmental effects are getting done one by one and I can't wait to continue working on the "arcane" environmental effect.

Let me know what you think or if you have questions and have a great weekend!

Alain
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