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smonahan

Please check out and critique our new beta.

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Hello. Welcome to the Beta Version of "Blockheads" from Sin City Games. We are an independent game development company based in Las Vegas. We are also a small group of college guys, so we know our game doesn't look super cool yet. At the moment, Sean is overworked at his crummy job, Justin is trapped under a statistics book, Travis is fighting his way through midterms, and Rob is busy trying to hook up with one of his TAs, so give us some time. We're looking to get some feedback on this beta version. The game can be downloaded here. The zip file there contains the game exe, some dll files you might need, some resource files used by the game, and a manual for the game in pdf and text format. Blockheads in a nutshell: It is an arcade style game, kind of a cross between Tetris and Collapse, but in 3D. The gamespace is 3-dimensional. Blocks fall in from the top and you guide them into a desired position and arrangement as they fall. Blocks are destroyed by bringing 3 or more blocks of the same color to rest next to each other, forming a straight line of 3 of the same color, left to right, front to back, or up and down. There are wild card cubes which match any color. There are what are called "stones" which gum up the works because they don't match anything. The only way to remove stones is through the use of specialty blocks called bombs and drills. See the manual for more detailed info. Here are some screenshots: screen 1 screen 2 screen 3 screen 4 Feedback we're looking for: 1) If the program doesn't run, please let me know what any/all error messages are. 2) Framerate. There is an fps indicator in the lower left corner. When giving framerate feedback, PLEASE also tell us your system specs. (The code has not been optimized yet, so future versions are expected to have better framerates) 3) Opinions on gameplay parameters, and how/if you think they should be modified. This would include things like: gamespace dimensions (length, width and depth), rate at which blocks fall, rate at which fallrate increases with higher levels, average percentage of stones, the way in which points are awarded, the way in which levels increase, method for acquiring additional drills and bombs, key bindings, etc. 4) Opinions on aesthetics. This would include things like colors used, how much screen space each viewport uses, fonts used, the geometry of the different types of pieces, placement of things on the screen, etc. 5) How fun you think the game is. Is it worth it? If you don't think it's that fun, how would you change it? What would you like to see changed, added, or removed? 6) Bugs. Please report any bugs that you find to us. 7) Anything else you want to say about it. Some extra info: This is only v1.0 of the beta, so the only thing that is implemented is the gameplay portion of the game, i.e., there isn't yet a splash screen, options screen, high score screen, etc. We have worked to complete all the gameplay mechanics first, so there are more aesthetic things we plan on adding in time. Right now, the game is somewhat aesthetically sparse, but the gameplay mechanics are complete. There are currently no sound effects or music. These will definitely be forthcoming though. This game will be ported to the Mac and entered into the uDevGames contest come November. That contest requires all games entered to be open source. The game is being coded in VS.NET using C++ and OpenGL. (just some useless info there) You may respond to this thread or you may email me directly at: smonahan@sean-monahan.com. Once again, this is our first game, so please be gentle! Be kind, but also be honest. We want your constructive criticism. Thanks in advance for everyone's feedback. -- Sean Monahan Sin City Games [Edited by - smonahan on September 23, 2004 1:08:52 AM]

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The game runs well, and seems to be very fun, but I had a hard time figuring keys out. (please post them)

I'm sure mouse control would improve things greatly.

This machine is a AMD Duron 1.4 GeForce 2

EDIT: Forgot FPS: 170-180

[Edited by - owl on September 23, 2004 12:56:02 AM]

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first, good job.
1) the game ran perfectly. the log file indicated no memory leaks - always a good thing.
2) the framerate hovered between 11 - 13
specs : WinXP
Athlon 64 3400+
2.19 GHz
GeForce 5500FX
3) well, i found the size of the level kind of small. probably just me, but i found it claustrophobic(per se), simply because the controls were initially a pain. i think that as the level increases, then perhaps the size of the level should decrease. just a thought.
4) yeah, the lack of anything in the background was annoying. however i'm sure its one of the things you were already working on, so i'll shut up about it. the gui was pretty good. again, a little more color would have been nice. also, the areas for the bombs and drills could be spruced up a little; perhaps with better pictures ? meh-its a minor detail, its good as is.
5) it was pretty fun, for the 5 minutes i played it(nothing to do with your game). however, i could see how it could get frustrating and boring over time, mainly in the form of sheer repetition. i think i'd be cool if, for every level, you changed the style of the blocks or something. at least change the background, for the sake of variety.
6) didn't find any. i let it go on its own, and the end game dialog showed up, and then cleared the screen; so that worked as one would hope.
7) well, the only other recommendation i'd give would be to start the player's view off at an angle, if only out of curtesy. and having the esc key correspond to exiting the program, or at least stopping the game. also, an in game help menu would be nice (yes, i read the readme, but it was in a lengthly text doc).
overall, a quality game. good luck with it.
cheers.
<edit : fps ~25, had some other apps running>

[Edited by - stormrunner on September 23, 2004 12:14:56 AM]

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Quote:
Original post by owl
The game runs well, and seems to be very fun, but I had a hard time figuring keys out. (please post them)


owl, keys are:
1 - Start the game
2 - Toggle the camera wobble on/off
F5 - Pause
W, A, S, D - Translate piece
Cursor keys - Rotate camera
Q - Quick drop
E - Activate/deactivate bomb
R - Activate/deactivate drill

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it looks nice, but it is too easy = boring. sorry.
performance report: 30-60 fps on duron 800, 256 mb, radeon 8500, 1024x768, win xp.

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I think the uDevGames contest requires all entries to be original and not even shown off before entering.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Hey, stormrunner, thanks for all the feedback.

Quote:
Original post by stormrunner5500FX
3) well, i found the size of the level kind of small. probably just me, but i found it claustrophobic(per se), simply because the controls were initially a pain.


If you don't like the size of the game space, I'll let you in on a little secret: Create a text file in the same dir as the exe called "settings.dat", and insert the following lines:

WIDTH 7
DEPTH 7
HEIGHT 16

By doing this you can customize the size of the game space (the above numbers are the defaults) to a minimum of 3x3x3 and a maximum of 40x40x40. Let us know if you find a size that you like better.

What is it about the controls that you found to be a pain? Was it the particular keys that the actions are bound to? We plan on eventually allowing the user to choose his own key bindings.

--
Sean Monahan
Sin City Games

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Ravuya
I think the uDevGames contest requires all entries to be original and not even shown off before entering.


Actually, Ravuya, the uDevGames contest only requires that there be no public release of the game before the official start of the contest (Sept. 6th). This game was registered at uDevGames on Sept. 5th, and announced here on Sept. 23rd.

As far as originality goes, it is a category for judging and affects overall score, but it is not a requirement for entry. And as far as Blockheads goes, it is conceptually derivative (how may games aren't?), but the code is 100% original.

Thanks for the heads up though.

--
Sean Monahan
Sin City Games

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The view is a bit claustrophobic, but I'm getting used to it. The level is big, but it adds dimension to the play. Because of the extra room, I can feel like my ass is in a sling even though my pile is only 4 blocks high.

I'm still having trouble manipulating the piece quickly. Maybe I'm still adjusting to the controls.

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Thanks for the feedback, Anon. How was the framerate on your machine? And what are your machine specs?

Beta version 1.2 should be ready this weekend sometime, which will include quick animations for translation, color rotation, and quick drop, and bouncing stones. It does make the game more pleasant visually.

We're also working on a website for the game instead of just a link to the zip file, but since we're trying to get the project done by 11/6, we're trying to dedicate as much time as we can to the actual game.

--
Sean Monahan
Sin City Games

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