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June 23, 2021, 10:44:16 AM

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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingReaction [Physics Puzzler] – looking for feedback
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Ioni
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« on: May 23, 2021, 03:46:47 AM »

Hey there, folks! First time poster here. I've been working on a tiny physics puzzle game for a while now and wanted to hear everyone's thoughts.



Here's how it goes,the game is two thirds response time, one third brain teaser. You swing your paddle left and right in order to push the pieces towards the evacuation shafts, gaining some of that precious little time before the play area inevitably spills and it's game over. There are power-ups you can collect, and many other parameters you can tweak. And, of course, there's multiplayer, but only locally for now.  



Hope you'll give it a try. You can download the latest beta here, for Linux (mostly Debian derived distros, but you should be able to get it running on most modern systems), Windows, and Mac OS X:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/3w7jqor01hxn3ob/AABrvIuXdH8dWd_yOSIiEbkxa?dl=0


You can now get the full game on itch.io: https://mechanicalink.itch.io/reaction

Cheers!
« Last Edit: June 09, 2021, 11:50:24 AM by Ioni » Logged
SiliconKaiser
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2021, 07:06:56 PM »

I liked your game! I enjoy novel gameplay ideas, and this definitely is unique. Played a few times and got a high score of 273 pieces with a score of 1467. I know you're looking for feedback so here are some ideas:

- Make powerups stand out more. They are currently too dull colored.
- Red boxes are too hard to be fun. In games like this it's always good to have a challenge of course, but I think the red box is more frustrating than interesting.
- Be more in control of the types of shapes that fall. It looks like you're using independent random shape generation with equal probability distribution and also independent probability. In games like Tetris, shapes aren't actually IID.
- There are too many shapes. Is a hexagon really that different from a pentagon to warrant having both? Or a decagon from a nonagon?
- Power up idea: Temporarily widen shafts.
- Power up idea: Increased gravity. This would help shapes slide down faster.
- Instead of a fixed height for spawning pieces they should drop from above the current highest piece. That way you avoid the ugliness of having a shape spawn inside other shapes and watching the physics resolve things in a squishy looking way. This also helps in situations where power ups are stuck near the top and can't actually get their way to your paddle.
- Add an "About" button in the menu for brief overview of gameplay.
- Add a score indicator when scoring pieces. E.g. flashing "+4" (or whatever the score) when scoring with a shape. It wasn't clear on my first play that you're supposed to dump the shapes down the two shafts (Admittedly, I didn't read your description too well).
- Add two big arrows pointing down the shaft. They can disappear after a while to not clutter the screen.
- Add lives? One shape spilling over should decrease lives by one and all shapes get cleared (without scoring). I know that detracts from the high stakes feel of the game, but if you couple this with a "+1 life" powerup, it can make the gameplay more interesting.
- Add a little bit of acceleration to the paddle to avoid the jerky feel.
- Powerup bar: A timer that shows how much time is left for the current power up (if it's duration based). This doesn't necessarily help with the gameplay but makes the game feel better. This is especially useful for the "all spawning shapes will be heptagons (or whatever the actual shape is)" powerup.

I look forward to trying your next version!
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Ioni
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2021, 06:58:40 AM »

That's a pretty good score! Glad you enjoyed it. And thanks for the feedback, I actually want to talk about a few of your points.

Quote
• Make powerups stand out more. They are currently too dull colored.
• Add two big arrows pointing down the shaft. They can disappear after a while to not clutter the screen.

That's more than fair. I changed the flicker speed and time on the powerup pieces to make it stand out a bit more, without becoming annoying. I also added an audio cue when they spawn. The arrows idea is really cool, I'll be implementing that soon.
Quote
• Power up idea: Temporarily widen shafts.
• Power up idea: Increased gravity. This would help shapes slide down faster.
• Instead of a fixed height for spawning pieces they should drop from above the current highest piece [...]
• Add lives? One shape spilling [...]

Those are good suggestions, in fact I had something similar to the first two written down for a later version/revision, one in which you will be able to tweak all of the options to make it the exact type of challenge you want to play. For instance, now you can only configure the speed and difficulty, but later on you'll also be able to change parameters like lives, powerups that change the play area (like the ones you named), as well as powerdowns, for instance one that does the exact opposite of widening shafts and leaves only one shaft open.
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• Add an "About" button in the menu for brief overview of gameplay.

I actually pondered this quite a bit before and decided against it after considering how one would approach the game. Take for instance some of the old classics, like Tetris or Puzzle Bubble (not that I dare compare my game to any of them, I'm talking purely from the player's point of view): you get your hands on a game cartridge, on a console or a portable device, you download a ripoff or clone from some website or get some '500 games in one' bootleg cds. Or maybe you buy one of those weird LCD battery games. Chances are you're not getting the manual, and even if you do you don't care enough to read it most of the times. You want to play the game, so you often play it 'wrong' for years before recognizing what all the things do, in other words you create your own play-style, rather than doing what the manual tells you to.

I will include some instructions, it will be in an attached readme file (plus there will be online info explaining the rules), but I somehow don't wanna take away from that raw gameplay approach. Anyway, rant over Smiley
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