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Josh Petrie

Member Since 11 Jun 2003
Offline Last Active Private

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In Topic: Week of Awesome IV - The after party/judging thread

Yesterday, 10:22 PM

Reading about and watching playthroughs of many of the games after-the-fact did help to underline some aspects of strategy in many of them that I didn't uncover myself. Some of the difficult in discovering these more hidden aspects of the game is to be expected, after all you only had a week and that kind of first-experience polish is (and generally shouldn't be) high on the priority list for that time frame. It did make me wonder if including a video as part of the contest submission might be a good idea next time around. It would probably mean we'd need to drop the FTUE judging category, but it might make it easier overall for the judges to really see some of the full potential of each entry.

 

 

 

a 'fast' blob that moves in long straight paths and can't turn until he collides with something

 

Were these guys were supposed to get introduced in the supercollider level? 


In Topic: Week of Awesome IV - The after party/judging thread

Yesterday, 11:33 AM

Like NightCreature, I avoided as much of the competition as I could during the actual week of so that I could have the most accurate first-impressions possible. Consequently all my participation scores are the same as slicer's and omitted from my worksheet below.

 

I don't have a journal here so you're getting them in-thread.

Team: 7 day masochists
Game: nameless

Members: IYP, newt

Gameplay: 1/25
Graphics: 9/20
Theme: 10/20
Audio: 2/10
FTUE: 2/10
Judges: 1/5

Thoughts:
This game feels very incomplete; what is there feels like new art dropped onto UE4 starter projects and doesn't at all justify the complexity of the download and setup up process. Gameplay-wise, I can't seem to shoot the zombies (which are the only apparent manifestation of the contest themes), the controls are floaty and collision and camera issues really hamper things. It seems like more thought needed to be given to the core gameplay loop and the relationship to the contest themes.
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Team: Aletheia Game Studio
Game: Resurrex

Members: cefleet, Rick

Gameplay: 15/25
Graphics: 16/20
Theme: 20/20
Audio: 7/10
FTUE: 7/10
Judges: 3/5

Thoughts:
This game works pretty well, although that intro really needs to be skippable. If "second time user experience" was a thing, I'd deduct points for it. But the first time through it's goofy enough to be engaging. That describes the game overall, actually. It's kind of mindless, but it kept me hooked long enough to see what sort of powers my zombie T-Rex would "evolve." It doesn't have a ton of re-play value though. Decent graphics and sound, some sloppiness in the control precision marrs the first-time experience a little.
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Team: Bytetroll
Game: runic

Members: Bytetroll

Gameplay: 1/25
Graphics: 15/20
Theme: 2/20
Audio: 7/10
FTUE: 1/10
Judges: 3/5

Thoughts:
I have no idea what I'm doing here. At all. Is this some kind of betting game? I'm not even sure all of this UI is hooked up completely, or how any of it relates to the themes. I guess the background art (which is nice) could be part of a ruin? And those runes are changing so maybe that's "evolution?" It's a real stretch.
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Team: dmatter
Game: Gamut of Blob

Members: dmatter

Gameplay: 24/25
Graphics: 20/20
Theme: 20/20
Audio: 9/10
FTUE: 10/10
Judges: 3/5

Thoughts:
I really, really wanted to give this game a perfect score. It was my favorite, a really nice, self-contained and consistent little puzzle game with good mechanics. Some of the puzzles are fairly easy to just brute force, and for the rest once you have them there isn't much replayability. Adding some kind of "par" mechanic or some ways to have an idea of what switches might do what, what teleporters could go where, et cetera, could improve that. The light switch and teleporter sounds were a touch grating. Everything else was solid and I'd love to see this game expanded with more blob types and more polish.
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Team: Frango Digital
Game: Labrat

Members: devn00b

Gameplay: 6/25
Graphics: 10/20
Theme: 12/20
Audio: 5/10
FTUE: 7/10
Judges: 5/5

Thoughts:
An awkward attempt. It could maybe be interesting if it were tuned to not be so dull. Most of the game seems to be spent with the screen black and no feedback. The controls feel mushy, it doesn't feel like I have any precision, and it took me a while to realize I was running into walls. The art and sound, when present, is servicible. The mechanical theme seems to be more about light than shadow.
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Team: Grey Army
Game: Sepulchre

Members: Servant of the Lord, Celesol

Gameplay: 18/25
Graphics: 20/20
Theme: 20/20
Audio: 8/10
FTUE: 10/10
Judges: 5/5

Thoughts:
This was a neat little turn-based combat RPG that didn't take itself entirely seriously and was fun to run through. The gameplay gets a bit same-y, unfortunately, with most fights not requiring a ton of strategy to get through. I could get away with buffing both minions and spamming attack for just about everything but the last two fights or so, so I think the game is right at the limit of minimum mechanical variety for its length. With more work it could be fun, and it's a solid effort for a week. The art is great and, with few exceptions, so are the sounds.
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Team: KodingNights
Game: Ruins Of The Risen

Members: DKoding

Gameplay: 10/25
Graphics: 9/20
Theme: 11/20
Audio: 4/10
FTUE: 7/10
Judges: 3/5

Thoughts:
I found this game tricky to play. The intro is a bit abrupt and set to an annoying soundtrack, and the gameplay itself was hampered by the overly-contrasty, noisy graphics and effects which I feel seriously distracted from what was going on. I can’t really make out what the bad guys are, other than bright lights with spider-looking things. I don’t really get a sense of ruins despite the opening telling me these are ruins, and I don’t really get a sense of any of the other themes except for maybe shadows. I tended to crash after picking up power ups, but when I didn’t it was neat to get them and blow stuff up. The controls are bit wonky and I can’t really figure out what much of the UI is trying to tell me. The game is challenging and there’s a nugget of cool gameplay here that reminds me a lot of Abuse, but I think it just needs more work and I don’t feel like it really nails the themes.

 

(Apologies in particular to DKoding here, I did initially review the wrong version of your game and I'm not sure how I managed to do so, because I did download the correct one. I must have simply spaced out when moving down the list. The updated scores, above, have been entered into the master worksheet.)
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Team: Kseh
Game: Doom in the Shadows

Members: Kseh

Gameplay: 10/25
Graphics: 14/20
Theme: 15/20
Audio: 8/10
FTUE: 5/10
Judges: 5/5

Thoughts:
I just didn't find this game terribly fun, I'm afraid. The controls were confusing, I didn't ever really find a good reason to jump, and aiming the shadow bolt thing was harder than I feel a primary attack should be. I spent a lot of time wandering around not finding anything to do and hitting crashes at the edge of the map. When I finally found a skeleton, it was hard to hit and if I missed a few times it became even harder as placing the bolt close to you is really weird. Cute, consistent graphics, and pretty nice sound. I'm not sure about the theme use, the "shadow" bolt isn't really anything to do with shadows except in name. I guess there are undead, so that's a thing, but I don't see any evidence of any other themes so I can only award partial credit there.
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Team: mousetail
Game: Undead Evolution

Members: mousetail

Gameplay: 22/25
Graphics: 17/20
Theme: 20/20
Audio: 2/10
FTUE: 3/10
Judges: 5/5

Thoughts:
I will admit I did not warm up to this game until the second time through. It was confusing at first, with a lot of information and choices apparently needing to made early on. I feel like the first-time experience suffers as a result. There's music which is decent, but no other real sound, which is a shame. The graphics are pretty cute though, and reasonably consistent although the terrain looks a bit out of style. Great use of the themes, the evolution mechanic in particular is really deep and interesting, especially for a one-week jam. I initially gave this one of my lowest gameplay scores, but coming back on my second judging pass it's moved to one of the highest. Improve that initial experience, maybe with some tutorial aspect or ease-in to the various mechanics, polish some of the other rough edges and you have a pretty fun little game.
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Team: Neon Light Games
Game: Relic Hunter

Members: slicer4ever

Gameplay: 22/25
Graphics: 19/20
Theme: 18/20
Audio: 10/10
FTUE: 9/10
Judges: 5/5

Thoughts:
There's a really great sense of tension and of being alone in the dark here. The audio helps create the mood better than any of the other games, I think. The complexity of the gameplay builds nicely from level to level, and the par time mechanic and partial randomization adds some replayability. Except for the monster, which seems out of place with the rest, the graphics are really solid and the flashlight mechanic is done well, although if it weren't for the mechanic of hiding from the monster in the darkness, I'd ding it for not being a use of the theme. But it does, so that's okay. The first few times I stumbled not realizing what the relic was (I thought the scroll was some item I couldn't figure out how to use). But the second time I read the instructions I got it (I missed the icon descriptions off on the side, there); it may have been better to put them in the gameplay it self somehow. Solid effort and one of my favorites.
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Team: New New Things
Game: Forbidden City

Members: Endurion

Gameplay: 12/25
Graphics: 14/20
Theme: 15/20
Audio: 4/10
FTUE: 10/10
Judges: 5/5

Thoughts:
Escaping the ruins seems like a reasonable premise. The tank controls seem like an odd choice for the game, and hinder more than they help. While initially fun, I found the game quickly becoming tedious. Smaller levels, more densely packed, might help; it felt very samey quickly. The graphics really don't say "ruins" to me, but I'll give partial credit for that. Similarly I don't really get the shadows as a gameplay thing; they are present but the actual gameplay relies more on manipulating and dealing with light. The shadows just obscure stuff, which is not very creative. Even though the graphics don't do the theme justice, they are largely self-consistent and decent. So is the background music. The sound effects are more annoying than anything else. I do like the oil mechanic and the tension it adds... I just very quickly got tired of aimless wandering.
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Team: SilviuShader
Game: Snake Undead

Members: SilviuShader

Gameplay: 10/25
Graphics: 12/20
Theme: 15/20
Audio: 4/10
FTUE: 3/10
Judges: 5/5

Thoughts:
An interesting take on the basic Snake game, spruced up a little bit with the requisite graphical themes. The "shadows" that come to eat the tombstones are, I suppose, technically a gameplay mechanic, but I don't think it's very strongly represented because they could literally be anything else. The graphics are serviceable even if the camera is a bit non-intuitive (and gets blocked by tombstones); mostly I played the game via the minimap. The audio is similarly present but, like the overall package, is just unfortunately a bit mediocre and doesn't feel like it really rises beyond the sum of its parts.
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Team: Slaughterhouse Gaming Corp
Game: Light of Felin

Members: Riuthamus, Jaden, MasterKG, iCompose

Gameplay: 20/25
Graphics: 20/20
Theme: 20/20
Audio: 9/10
FTUE: 8/10
Judges: 4/5

Thoughts:
The graphics are this game's standout, I think, they're very well done. I really like the indirect nature of the "combat," the fact that you can't kill the zombies except via the lighting of torches (and that one spell you get for filling your soul meter); I feel like that is pushing more of a theme of "light" rather than "shadow" as a mechanic, though. It doesn't end up mattering for scoring since there are two other strong themes represented. Filling up the soul meter seemed tedious though, and I ended up resorting to farming it fairly often. Additionally it was somewhat unclear where I should be headed after the first few areas, and the spawn rate of the zombies and/or hit boxes for lighting the torches felt like they needed some tuning to get them more into the "really fun" category; often it started to feel tedious and frustrating. Never really figured out all the controls, I don't think, or what the purpose of the icons on the bottom of the screen were. Could have used a better introduction to the controls and UI.
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Team: Something Fun
Game: Shadow raider of Ruins

Members: ryan20fun

Gameplay: 12/25
Graphics: 5/20
Theme: 15/20
Audio: 2/10
FTUE: 10/10
Judges: 5/5

Thoughts:
I feel like this game lacks a clear direction and goal; is it just to collect chests until you die? The game provides a tutorial instead of simply dumping all the controls and gameplay direction at you in a screen at the start, which is a plus. The actual gameplay feels like it could use a lot of polish though; it's just kind of clunky, wandering around the dark aimlessly and dodging lights, which feel either too easy to dodge or too hard (they track aggressively). Not much middle ground. The multi-layered approach to the shadow gameplay theme is clever, but the "ruins" aspect isn't really well communicated and the graphics don't really support it. They seem scattered and disconnected from the actual gameplay. So do the sounds; there doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason to the sound design, just random audio cues for events.
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Team: Stout Walrus
Game: Stellar Salvager

Members: ArThor

Gameplay: 16/25
Graphics: 20/20
Theme: 20/20
Audio: 7/10
FTUE: 8/10
Judges: 5/5

Thoughts:
I really wanted to like this game when I saw an early screenshot of it during the competition. I quite liked the idea of hiding in the shadows of the asteroids. The graphics are pretty and cohesive, especially those of the shadows you hide in. I also appreciate the creative use of the "ruins" theme (referring to the ruined ships you dodge and the salvageable materials), it's creative. The controls (especially for rotation) feel a little too sensitive. The thing that hampers gameplay the most, I find, is how tricky it is achieve a sense of spatial orientation. I'm not always sure where my ship is relative to salvage I want to collect or asteroids I want to hide behind, so at times it almost feels like the game is purely on a timer and there is no strategy or technique to dodging the sun. Sometimes the asteroids behind me obscure my view, and I mostly found the camera switching (which I assume to implemented to help combat this) distracting and contributing to the problem instead of fixing it. I think there's a lot of promise here, it just needs more than a week to develop and polish it.

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Team: Thaumaturge
Game: The Shadows Twisted

Members: Thaumaturge

Gameplay: 16/25
Graphics: 20/20
Theme: 18/20
Audio: 5/10
FTUE: 10/10
Judges: 5/5

Thoughts:
Conceptually, I like this. The stylized art is really nice and cohesive, the way light and shadow are incorporated into the mechanics is a good idea, and the background track is atmospheric. I just didn't have that much fun actually playing it. It could really have benefited from better feedback, visually or through audio, for taking damage and maybe some way to use the light/shadow mechanic to help locate enemies other than by simply being able to see them. I didn't feel like the extending the light radius was all that helpful, mostly I'd just toggle it off to heal and on to creep forward and find bad guys. They strafed around me quite a lot and felt hard to hit or connect with and I died often because I didn't realize I was being hit in the back with a stream of projectiles or something like that.
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Team: Unicore
Game: Prometheus

Members:  Orymus3

Gameplay: 20/25
Graphics: 18/20
Theme: 20/20
Audio: 7/10
FTUE: 8/10
Judges: 5/5

Thoughts:
It took me a few tries to sort of warm up to the strategy involved here, but when I did I had a good time trying to hold off as long as possible. Is it possible to beat? I always lost eventually. It was easy to overlook the evolution mechanics at first but they seem very critical to actually doing well; evolving a few ruins early, as well as the temple itself, really helped my longevity, so I think the theme was well-handled. I'm not sure I ever found the mechanic of moving the ruins useful, it always seemed way too slow. Occasionally it would get me stuck, sandwiched between some ruins and the oncoming skeleton horde. The audio was decent, the music track is upbeat and engaging but some of the sounds could get repetative after a while. The controls were, with the exception of occasionally getting stuck in things, responsive and well-handled. I think the game could have benefited from a more gradual introduction to the mechanics of both the upgrades and the monster types, or a bit of quick-reference UI rather than presenting it all up-front.
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In Topic: trek game

26 August 2016 - 05:03 PM

"Making money off of" something is not what causes it to be copyright infringement though.

In Topic: trek game

26 August 2016 - 12:56 PM

If phil makes a star trek game that causes paramount to come after them I'll eat my shoe.

 

Likelyhood or unlikelyhood has, unfortunately, nothing to do with legality.

 

Plus now I'm tempted to tip them off just to see you eat a shoe. 


In Topic: trek game

26 August 2016 - 08:04 AM

http://www.startrek.com/fan-films

Paramount's rules for fan productions are there; adapt your project to them and you will probably be okay. Otherwise they may come after you, as they are fairly litigious with the Star Trek IP. Most of the guidelines there can apply to non-films, a few are a bit of a grey area (such as the duration requirements), so you still might be screwed. This is the only thing I'm aware of that they've released discussing use of their IP so it's your best bet.

You can post the source code of your game here if you want it critiqued. Otherwise you can post about the existence of your release in the Your Announcements forum.


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