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Looking for criticism for my game, harsh is okay to


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#1 mepis   Members   -  Reputation: 230

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 07:33 PM

I was wondering if anyone would mind giving me feedback for a game. If any one has the time anyway (I understand how that is tight). I'm looking for good, honest, constructive feedback. Don't worry about sparing my feelings. I just want to know how I can improve. I'm not looking for feedback for code, but more on the game itself. How does it play? Is it fun? What sucks about it? What could be improved? What would make it fun? I'm specifically looking to the mechanics and the perceived amount of "fun" for the game. Any criticism is welcome please.

 

The game is an HTML 5 game. It's hosted at my domain. I put this as fair warning because some people are iffy about going to other websites. I just don't want to catch anyone by surprise and off guard.

 

This is my first completed game. I'm playing around with varying game engines as a hobby. My academic focus is CS and information systems. I'm still learning a lot here. It's called Attack of the Squares. It's a very simple arcade game. It's primary goal is to accumulate score. It was an exercise in balancing game mechanics. That's pretty much the point of the game.

 

It can be found here: http://www.kurie.us/Games/AttackOfTheSquares/

 

Let me know what you think, both the good and the bad. And please don't worry about being nice. I'd rather people be honest.



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#2 ultramailman   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1556

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 07:39 PM

The intro screen and the moving background made me a little dizzy, but I think overall it was ok. It was messing up the music I was listening to (music became noisy and hard to hear).



#3 minibutmany   Members   -  Reputation: 1424

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 07:46 PM

Good job, the audio was especially really nice. Hitting the wavy blocks didn't do anything, are they just supposed to be confusing?


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#4 ferrous   Members   -  Reputation: 1447

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 08:48 PM

The game didn't load for me, just stayed at the splash screen.  I was using win8.1 & chrome



#5 mepis   Members   -  Reputation: 230

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 09:40 PM

@Ultraman I purposely made the background to mess with your eyes a bit. It was an attempt at balancing the game. Without it, the game was a lot easier. Do you think it was to much or a put off? I've noticed issues with the audio before. I thought I had a lot of it worked out, I've only been testing on my own machine though and haven't considered playing other music through the browser or else where on the system. It's a good learning experience though and the feedback is nice.

 

@minibutmany Thanks for the compliment! The warping square moving in the arc pattern is meant to be a distraction. Seeing that, I think I need to start thinking more about introductory stuff somehow. It's a learning curve for me.

 

 

@ferrous Interesting. Thanks for the heads up. I'll have to look into it. I honestly have no idea where to start looking for that. It might have been a temporary or hosting issue. I'm using 8.1 and Chrome as well. I appreciate the heads up!



#6 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6122

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 09:58 PM

Game didn't load for me on win XP using chrome.

#7 ChrisAMazur(ing)   Members   -  Reputation: 148

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 10:32 PM

Things that felt unintuitive:

Intro Screen: I can see how the static is used for balance, but at the same time it was distracting, and made the title (which I've heard is important!) a bit hard to read. Maybe have the name more filled in, or not display static at the start?

The buttons: For a short second, I thought the game was frozen, or my mouse was having an issue. Having some sort of dynamic button (even just a slight pop-up, or colour change) can really add some 'pop' to them.

The instructions and Options: Succinct enough, I found no issues here. Maybe some examples of powerups; mentioning that they exist, and that they're everything non-square, isn't quite as fulfilling as giving a rundown. It also relieves some burden of knowledge. (See: Shooting, below!)

The Controls: I feel like I should've been able to move horizontally. Other than that, I didn't notice any glitches, and the response times were sharp and felt good. Collision could have been a bit more forgiving, perhaps even a bullet hell-esque mechanic where 'grinding' squares can give you extra points?

 

Edit: Aaand holy crap, just found out you can shoot! Whelp, now I really feel like the lack of horizontal controls are the only 'dislike' I have for the game. Although, experimenting with different Ammo systems might be another angle to attack - in my opinion (I'm a believer of Carrot > Stick) bullets could be a reward for playing (Get a bullet for every 25 points).

Time to see if there's any other hidden depths to plumb!


Edited by ChrisAMazur(ing), 19 November 2013 - 10:37 PM.


#8 ferrous   Members   -  Reputation: 1447

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 11:11 PM

Worked at home w/ win8 & chrome, i think it might be a popup issue or something?  

 

What does shooting do?  It didn't seem to do anything but lower the score.


Edited by ferrous, 19 November 2013 - 11:11 PM.


#9 Kaptein   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1842

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 11:33 PM

The sound & music quickly deteriorates into noise (ubuntu/firefox)



#10 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4538

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 01:43 AM

The scrolling was a bit jerky for me (using firefox).  The instructions could use some work: put a picture of a sample bonus, and explain that the spinning rectangles count as squares.  Explain that shooting costs points.  I'd personally make the initial red squares cost one shot and the spinning rectangles cost two or three, then soon introduce a different color square that is tougher.


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#11 Tom KQT   Members   -  Reputation: 1497

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 02:19 AM

Played it only for a while, but anyway some feedback (maybe I'll repeat what others said, I didn't read their reactions):

 

- The title screen is very very very hard to read. Normally you read whole words at once, but here you must go letter-to-letter. And especially the name of the game should be very clear, don't you think?

 

- I was confused when I clicked on "Start", because it seemed like if nothing happened. Until I found the countdown at the top of the screen, far away from the button.

 

- Why does it say "Pause" at the bottom during the game?

 

- The game principle is very old, you didn't bring anything new, any reason why should I pick your game. Together with missing graphics.

 

- The background scrolling at a different speed is odd. You say it's to make the game harder, but IMHO this is a very bad way how to do it. You'll just discourage players from playing the game. If it's too easy, why don't you add more enemies? Or make it faster?



#12 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 16994

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 03:26 AM

Pretty good, I quite like it!  Note that I played with sound turned off, so I have no comments on the audio.

 

 

 

Like others, I'm not a fan of the static on the menu screen.  It makes it hard to focus on the text and menu items.  I'd either remove it, or at least place an opaque background behind the text items to make them more readable.  In particular, the title is the most difficult thing to read, which is less than ideal.

 

 

The game is played entirely with the keyboard (or touch controls, but I haven't tried those...), and the mouse isn't used during game-play at all... but I can't use the keyboard and must use the mouse when playing the game.  Obviously mouse input isn't viable for the game play, but to be more consistent you should also offer keyboard input for the menu.

 

 

I can pause with the 'P' key as expected, and the pause screen then prompts me to click a button or press 'any' key to resume.  Most keys work, but the first key I tried with pressing the 'P' key again, and that doesn't work; it should.



#13 mippy   Members   -  Reputation: 1002

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 03:31 AM

Overall impression

A classic block shooter, well executed in HTML5. It runs smoothly (on Chrome, Win 7) and I get into the game quickly. Very good for a HTML5 game built for quick fun. The game pauses when I leave the tab out of focus, so you seem to be using the built in animation features. The difficulty was ok. I could play for about 5-20 seconds without training before dying, which is a pretty good time span in browser games. The particle effects was really nice!

 

Opportunities of improvement

There was some typographic blunders in there which would be somewhat easy to fix, since it's sprites: 

  • The P in the Options had some white borders
  • The loadingscreen was a bit messy. Cleaning it up will give you an opportunity to show your brand or display a link to more of your games. Now it was a mishmash of different messages and I learned nothing. If you are up to sell or license your game you could post a link to it here. 
  • The number-sprites are a bit blurry. I guess they are made in a smaller resolution and scaled up. Perhaps adding another sprite sheet or whatever you are using to display a more high-resolution version. 
  • The title on the main menu is very hard to read. Perhaps a red text with black borders/shadows would be better here. 

There was some gameplay blunders as well: 

  • Score seems to be flipping around between negative values such as: -72, -65, -83 etc. This seems to be more of a bug. 
  • I was looking forward to seeing more of that chewing monster on the main screen, but all I saw was red blocks. 

Furthermore

  • To spice up your particle effects: use red triangles for the exploding blocks (shards) and green miniballs for the the dying green ball. 
  • The background of the main menu was a bit too much. I like the idea of the buzz, but tone it down a little (in hue and contrast) and it would be much better. I think it's irritating because you have picked a hard-to-read font for your text, so when both the background and the font requires my brains to work it becomes a little too much. 
  • Achievments seems not to work, but perhaps that is a stub. 
  • To pause the game as a keyboard player, I would have to grab my mouse and press pause. Consider adding B or some other key as a pause button so that I don't risk dying when pausing. I guess you are using the requestAnimationFrame to pause the game on tab change, so that's working fine. 

EDIT: apparently the p button pauses, so thats just lazy testing from my side. Still, would help if the pause on p would be more easy to spot.


Edited by mippy, 20 November 2013 - 03:32 AM.


#14 Navezof   Members   -  Reputation: 696

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 05:47 AM

I will also add my opinion, but first congrat achieving this game :)

I have a rather negative global opinion of your game. But know that I give you my opinion as your game was a professional one. That mean I would not say : "This is bad, but it's ok because it's not a professional game."

I sincerly hope that all I'm about to say here will help you :D

Then, let's get all serious and mean.

The main screen is kind of confusing and not ordered enough. You should add an hovering effect when the mouse is on a clickable element.
The police used is also not clean (pixelized)

The negative points :

1. After 1 minutes playing I had an headache, I think that it's mainly because of the background, a unified color would have been better.
2. The music, god, ok, this is not my favorite genre but normally I can take it. But here I removed my headphone after 30 seconds! Too repetitive even for this type of game! 
3. As someone already said, I would have prefered that the hitbox of the sphere were smaller.
4. Shooting is useless and I didn't know I could shoot until someone commented that it was possible to shoot.
5. It's missing a supplementary motivation, something that give an extra score. Like the fairy in Robot Unicorn Attack. Otherwise, it's quickly becoming boring.
6. There was some bug, for exemple sometimes achivements doesn't works. Or the main screen doesn't load.
 
And there I finished with the bad point.
 
It's a nice little game, and even with all the flaws I mentionned, it's still fun. So keep going and good luck :)



#15 ActiveUnique   Members   -  Reputation: 763

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 09:24 AM

Ok I read the above and I'm glad I only need to add few things.

 

Most important of all, the visuals were flat and hard to see. All you really need is a separate color somewhere on every object, or a complimentary colored background. the human brain will then interpret those colors as a more complex and solid object and the edge will be apparent. Same principle should always be applied to subtitles and small details that aren't next to complimentary colors, giving them a border is usually what people do here, but you could also emboss, glow, shadow, extrude, change the color. This is primarily why I would not stand looking at your squares very long.

 

 

Now that that's out of the way.

 

The instructions weren't in my face enough, I wasn't going to be able to guess I could fire with space.

When I first moused over an option, nothing happened, and if you look everywhere on the web, something always happens when you mouse over things, that's how you know it's a thing you can click without actually testing it.

 

I couldn't get the game to run if I blocked any scripts. The game ran fine on Chrome which let all traffic through.

I think I randomly died, but this could be a common hit box misrepresentation.

 

 

I'm very familiar with flash based games and this was too far below the enjoyment threshold for me, it wouldn't make it. Not as it was at the time of my post.


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#16 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2889

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 10:30 AM

Such game should be made with Flash or Unity3D. HTML5 is simply not fast enough to provide smooth scrolling. Not suitable for arcade (you can make some strategies in it, maybe even RPGs, but not arcade).

 

Sure, maybe you could fix it and make it work, but...  why wasting time on optimizing when you could use the optimal tool from the very start?


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#17 Vidar son of Odin   Members   -  Reputation: 1320

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 11:37 AM

I played your game and I like it. 

Maybe there is a bug in the score counting since when I use fire my score goes down even below 0. Check it.

And the background annoyed me a bit but i thinks its ok. And the font is a little hard to read. 


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#18 mepis   Members   -  Reputation: 230

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 12:11 PM

Thanks everyone. I've gotten so much feed since last night it will be hard to address everyone specifically.

 

If I remember right, the sounds issues with FireFox are a known issue with the sound format. I've found bug reports for it if my memory serves me properly. That would be why the sounds go distorted after a bit in FireFox.

 

The random loading issues are obviously bad. I'm new to tracking down more complicated issues so this might take a bit to figure out. I have a feeling it's something on the hosted side of things, or something to do with script blockers. That's only a really rough guess at the moment though.

 

Otherwise I thank everyone for their input! The feedback has been amazing! Some of the stuff I've never even considered. I'm currently working on an Arkanoid clone game to port to Android so I'm going to mull over the feedback and see what others have to say before making any changes. I want a bit of time to process and plan before just running on and making changes. My art skills are a bit lacking, but I tend to get there with enough time. So I'll mull it over a bit. The ArkaClone isn't really for anyone but myself. I love brick breaker style games and wanted one tailored to me on my phone. So that project can be haulted whenever. I think it's more prudent to listen to the feedback here, make the changes, and learn from it.

 

So this is what I've got so far and am thinking about. If I miss something, yell at me please.

  • The font needs changed. I think it would be for the best since it's hard to read.
  • The static on the background needs to go or be changed somehow. I think it's better for it to go? I was aiming to go for a spoof of the black and white TV horror kind of thing but I don't feel that I integrated that anywhere near well enough to pull that off. I'm gonna think this one through a bit since I have no idea where to go with it yet.
  • The background in the game needs to go. I used it as a balancing technique. It seems to come across as cheap and aggravating though. Maybe a plain, contrasting, flat color might work best?
  • Collisions need fixed. I have the collisions set to the exact size of the squares. Maybe this is an animation issue where it's not detecting collisions at the right place? That could explain why collisions are off. I think everyone is right by making the collisions squares smaller. Otherwise I would have to decrease animation speed.
  • I need to spell things out better. I know people said that the directions were okay, but I saw numerous responses about not knowing they could shoot and it seemingly doing nothing. The squares have to be shot multiple time before they are destroyed. Each bullet fired also deducts some points to make the game harder. If know one saw this, then I failed at explaining it. I'm going to have to figure out how to address this.
  • I need to treat the word 'pause' like the touch screen controls. I saw one person ask why it was there. It would make more sense to only show up when touch screen controls are enabled.
  • I need to highlight the menu options while the mouse i hovering over it, and some click response. Seems straight forward enough.
  • I should probably add keyboard navigation to make the experience more cohesive.
  • Maybe I should consider adding horizontal movement. I wanted to keep it out to make the game harder but that appears it's not the best choice. Let the player choose and come up with some other way to make it harder.
  • Add more enemies and make the game less bland. I really appreciate the person above that said they were looking forward to seeing more of the chomping square. That was actually a last minute addition to make the start screen less bland. I didn't think to add it in the game! This gives me all sorts of ideas.
  • I should brand the loading page. That makes sense. I'll play with this a bit. It seems extremely straight forward and something I'm familiar with. I was never thinking of using this game as any sort of promotional tool though. It's merely an experiment and a tool to learn with. I best learn by doing and getting feedback. If the game ever gets polished enough and everyone on here gets to the point that they say, "Wow!" then maybe I'll consider pushing it. At the moment though, it's one of those things that if someone stumbles upon it then great, but if not then that's okay too.

On a side note, why would HTML 5 and Javascript not be fast enough to make an arcade style game? I'm not challenging anyone, I'm just curious the technical limitations that would make that so. I understand on mobile platforms. The JS engines aren't up to snuff enough (possibly making the addition of touch controls seem silly in this). But I don't understand the technical limitations on desktops otherwise? I was under the impression that JS runs pretty speedy on all modern browsers these days. It performs splendidly on my friends old Cele 1ghz w/ 512 megs of ram on Windows XP. That's why I'm confused. 

 

Unity is something I'll look into eventually. I am curious about it.



#19 Navezof   Members   -  Reputation: 696

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 12:30 PM

Last minute idea.

You said that you wanted your game kind of horror themed.

There is a small idea that you can add to your gameplay. The player as a light which illuminate 100% of the screen. But as he move forward the light go down.

This could add a sensation of fear as the screen slowly go dark. (well, maybe a little) 

Other thing you can add :

- Light refuel
- Each time you shoot an ennemy your fuel and/or score go down but when an enemy explode it produce a big light for a short moment.
- When you are hurt the fuel first go down, and you lose if there is no more light on the screen.

- Changing the sprite used for the monster, cute little thing on the light and dark and terrifying creature in the dark.

Well, there is some nice things to do, even if I went a little out of subject. Thanks for the starting idea  n_n



#20 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2889

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 03:41 PM

On a side note, why would HTML 5 and Javascript not be fast enough to make an arcade style game? I'm not challenging anyone, I'm just curious the technical limitations that would make that so. I understand on mobile platforms. The JS engines aren't up to snuff enough (possibly making the addition of touch controls seem silly in this). But I don't understand the technical limitations on desktops otherwise? I was under the impression that JS runs pretty speedy on all modern browsers these days. It performs splendidly on my friends old Cele 1ghz w/ 512 megs of ram on Windows XP. That's why I'm confused.

Hmmm, how to explain it best... OK, I will tell it this way, there is a big HTML5 fashion right now, there are hordes of people that will shout "use it, use it, it will do whatever you want!" They lie to you smile.png It's not that there is any separate lie, everything you mentioned is correct, JS is pretty fast nowadays (compared to the past), it usually works (not always, as you noticed with FireFox in your case), it can even do real 3D via WebGL (if you have the plugin installed which most people don't). The thing is, HTML+JS was not built for speed. It was not the purpose or the main objective of these languages. Flash (and especially Unity3D) were designed to build blazing fast arcade games from the start, that was their purpose, these were designed for it.

 

Or to put it another way, your game is very slow on my machine (4core CPU, 8GB RAM). If you made it in Flash/Unity3D I could *bet* it would be very fast no matter how crappy your coding skills would be. And the best thing, you would not need to care what version of what browser the players use, it would run *identical* on all on them.


Edited by Acharis, 20 November 2013 - 03:41 PM.

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