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Browser Game: Is it Entertaining Enough?

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This may be in the wrong topic, but I didn't think it belonged in Announcements since the game is far from complete and I am just looking for feedback before I go too far into development. The game is here: http://www.heroesofearth.net/Balloons The concept is that there are "balloons" (read: circles) that are inflating and you have to keep them from touching. Clicking on a balloon greatly decreases its radius, but inflates the others even more. As I said, I didn't want to spend too much time on it if the idea is bogus, but if you think it could work, some of the things I was thinking of adding are: -Randomly colored balloons to create variety -Restart when the screen is filled, rather than having to refresh the page -Possibly balloons could "pop" is they get too big Anyway, any feedback is appreciated.

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I'll be honest: I didn't actually play your game because it appears to require java, and I detest java, so I don't have it installed on my machine, and the machine I had access to with java didn't like your site in either Firefox or IE, so I'm just going to use my imagination. I'll try to describe my thought process in detail so you can see what assumptions I've made that may be wrong. Of course, I may be so totally off-base that nothing I post here will help in the slightest.

It seems that the problem would be that total amount of... well I guess helium or air... in play would always be increasing. I can temporarily reduce a balloon's size at the cost of spreading out the lost air to the other balloons, increasing their size slightly and keeping the total amount of air the same (which then increases on its own). This system, obviously, will reach a point where it will be impossible to continue.

If you think about it, this isn't all that different from a game everyone is familiar with: Tetris. The field of play in Tetris is always gaining blocks, and you merely get to arrange them and delay the inevitable collapse of the system. Except of course that Tetris offers a way to continue indefinitely by removing blocks from the field when they form a complete horizontal line.

Like I said, not sure if that observation will help since I haven't actually played your game.

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Thanks for the feedback, I now realize I forgot to mention a few of the specifics about the deflation/inflation that could potentially make gameplay last longer than you imagine (though not indefinite by any means).

-Balloons deflate faster than the total inflation of the other balloons (slightly, though this should probably be increased)
-A balloon deflated to or past a radius of 0 will disappear
-Players are given incentive to keep large balloons as long as possible, as they increase the score by more


I'm sorry to hear that you are so gung-ho against Java, may I ask why specifically?

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I have java standard edition with the latest updates and I still can't play your game. Java SE loads up and then it just stays a blank white screen.

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Not working here either: standard Java runtime (Windows XP), most likely latest, no development tools. All I get is a white box.

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Very strange.... It works on my Mac using Firefox, Camino, Opera, and Safari.......
I switched from using update() to paint(), but I'm not sure if that will make a difference. Can someone try it and get back to me?

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I get a white box as well when I use Firefox, but it seems to work fine with Internet Explorer (I have version 6.0).

Ok so about the game - pretty cool, its like a reflex game where you have to be quick on your feet (or in this case, finger). I found a gamebreaker however, and that is if you suppress any balloons from forming in the beginning (deflate the first one you see to 0, then the next to 0) you could worm your way to a high score and never get a game over, which wouldn't be much fun when played this way. However, if you don't use that gamebreaker at all and let a couple of balloons size up in the beginning and then start playing, it was a lot more entertaining. It became a lot more hectic as the balloons got pretty big and you have rush around the screen trying to keep everything under control. I found that by using your peripheral vision (locking your eyes to the center of the screen without moving them) you could play the game a lot more effectively, making the game a reflex exercise that you could play casually any time.

Quote:
-Randomly colored balloons to create variety

Colors could definitely help with the reflexes, as you could then distinguish balloons a little better.

Quote:
-Restart when the screen is filled, rather than having to refresh the page

Yes, that is definitely needed, restart when you get a game over condition.

Quote:
-Possibly balloons could "pop" is they get too big

If you make balloons pop when they get too big, then that would probably defeat the original goal of the game, which is to prevent them from getting too big that they touch each other. So I wouldn't make them pop at all, just continuously and infinitely get bigger and see how long the player can last, just like how in Tetris each level gets continuously harder in terms of the block's falling speed.

-

Here is an idea for you to mix things up a bit, you can take it or leave it: in addition to what you have, you could also add in other ways that air could be transferred from one balloon to the next, and show this on the screen so that the player will know. For instance, two balloons might be linked together with a tube, so that when you deflate one, only the other it was connected with will be inflated. You could do various connections like this involving varied numbers of balloons, in various connection patterns. In this way, you could allow your connections to be randomized each game, allowing greater replayability, as well as introduce levels that progress in difficulty (in their complexity of connections) if you want.

[Edited by - Tangireon on September 18, 2008 3:18:31 PM]

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I just don't like the java VM. Its always seemed kludgy and virtually useless to boot. Its not a big deal.

Anyways, with the new information you gave, it seems that it is a game of triage, basically. I'd guess that would be mildly amusing for a short time. The player would find the optimum priority queuing too quickly, I think, and then be bored. You could try things like having different colored balloons inflate at different rates, to give the player more options to explore in their internal priority queuing. Or have some balloons (obviously visually indicated to the player) that instead of merely popping and no longer giving the player points, could have really nasty effects, but also give mad points while inflating.

There are plenty of options for expanding the concept.

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Thanks for the replies!

Tangireon: Yeah, the popping idea is no good, I'm not sure why I thought it would be in the first place. Strangely enough, I was thinking of a "tubing" idea, though a bit different from what you described. I was thinking if a player needed to quickly decrease the size of a certain balloon (say a bunch of others were getting to close to it), he could draw a line from one balloon to another, and this would share the "air" between them, rapidly changing them to equal sizes, then the tube would disappear. Maybe this ability combined with your concept (with your permission, of course) would expand the playability substantially.

Majorlag: Different inflation speeds and "trap" balloons are a definite possibility as well, I will keep those in mind.

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OK everyone, I added a few things:

-Circles look more like bubbles
-Random colors generated for each new bubble
-Player can hold space to draw a pipe between 2 balloons to share the air between them
-When a player loses, any key can be pressed (except space) to restart

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