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Taking the criticism.

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Star of Shadows / Critique

Ouch. I got whacked pretty hard on the noggin' by a lot of the feedback I got on the release of Star of Shadows. At first I felt the urge to systematically rate down all of the people who were harshly negative about my game, but I instead thanked them for their input and rated them up. After all, I did ask for what everyone thought about the game. I'm just thankful that peope took the time to try it and tell me what they thought; good or bad. I just get really peeved at the negative whiners that are really vague. Grah. :-/

The general feedback I got was:

- Nice looking sprites! (kudos to Overlord!)
- Good scripting engine (me pride an' joy!)

- Game feels very slow (this one has plagued me from the start)
- Very hard to catch/talk to the drunk in the Inn (doh)
- Sometimes quests would reset themselves on some NPCs
- Forgot to 'close' some quests (could steal gold from drunk multiple times, etc)
- Sprites don't fit with background (need a tile artist; still stealing from FF2 :P)

In this release the negative far outweighted the positive, but certainly leaves me with room for cleaning-up/improvement in v0.04.

I'm currently heavily considering a rewrite, actually. I wrote this in BlitzMax, which is wonderful for small, simple games, but for a bigger project like this is rapidly becoming a nightmare. Thinking about Java, perhaps. More on this as I figure it out.

Skirmish Online

Got the general v0.04 Roadmap together for this release, and this one looks like it'll introduce a lot of key features that will make the game considerably more fun to play.

Tonight I converted the Win32 editbox for chatting to a custom drawn-on component that cooperates well with fullscreen, and finished reimplementing the Free-For-All (DeathMatch) mode.

Next on the list is the Utility system. Utilities come in two flavours: passive and active. Passive utilities are items like armour, cloaking, medkits, or shields. Active utilities are the fun stuff like grenades, melee weapons, or landmines. I'm positive that this addition will kick the action up a notch. >:)


My CS teacher is still finalizing through the principal for me to be able to assist teaching the Grade 11 CS class, although odds are I'm in. Better yet, my mark will count towards my University transcript. Woot. He's decided to switch over to Java this year from Pascal/Delphi, which I think is a wise move. This means I'll be writing up a lot of the small assignments and example sourcecode for the course. Groovy to think that in several years time, students will be still be learning their Java off of my sourcecode. :)
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Rahh! Your game sucks! Now rate me up [razz]       [wink]

Dealing with feedback, especially overtly negative feedback, is pretty tough. One of the hardest things about doing game development for an audience is that there's a lot of people who love to be critical, and a fair number who are just plain assholes. In every complaint, though, is a chance to improve - so kudos on handling it well.

By the way, I checked your journal post, the Your Announcements thread, and the official forum thread from your site - nothing looked too terrible to me. I won't rule out me having missed the raging hordes of angry alpha-players, but from what I've seen... you got off pretty easy [wink] For what little it's worth, at least the complaints had some useful information. When people stoop to bot-spamming your site with obsenities... that's nasty.

Anyways, I for one like the game so far; nothing to add aside from what's already been said. Keep it up [smile]

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Java is only good if you're willing to take the time and plan out your code properly for extensibility and the like. Otherwise, you might as well use a language better suited to RAD of games, like Python. [grin]

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@Apoch: Thanks for sharing the wisdom. Good tips. :)

@Ravuya: I would take Python, but distribution can prove quite woeful. Contrarily, I think Java makes a good selection for something like an RPG. We will see!

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