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A casual puzzle game about stained glass windows.

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Hi,

I've recently decided to make a casual puzzle game.

I like my games to be unique, so I sat down to think of a unique concept.

I came up with an idea to have the player color stained glass windows.

 

I spent several days making a prototype:

 

http://kbhs.byethost6.com/vitrage/ (Tested in Android + Chrome, should also work in Safari, will not work in Firefox)

 

This is a gameplay prototype. Ignore the bad graphics.

 

I have two problems:

1. The rules seemed "casual" enough to me at first, however now that I look at rule #3 (see the link) it seems kind of hard for a non-graphics programmer to understand. Perhaps there is a different way to phrase it?

2. The game is a little boring. I need to add some glitz.

 

The first thing I thought about is adding a star system, by according to your final score. In this specific level, the 3 star score is 13.

 

Aside from that maybe some bonuses. (Bombs to take over adjacent tiles, Wild-card moves [pick a tile anyware] ),etc...

 

Basically, I think I'm really stuck at the moment because I've been so busy with the mock-up that I don't even know if it's fun to play.

 

Any gameplay suggestions would be welcome.

 

DISCLAIMER: (I feel I should make it clear): ATM the game is my property. By suggesting gameplay, you receive no part of the intellectual property. (This seems obvious to me, but I had an uneasy conversation along these lines). 

Edited by SillyCow

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Works in Chromium (though the AI colors everything grey, not sure if that's intentional).

 

The only issue I came across though is that it may suffer from a problem of "who ever picks the center tile will win." Though, I maybe this isn't so. I haven't really tested all the various strategies. But, it seems whoever picks the center tile, can block in the other play so they can't select any more tiles.

 

Other than that, I really like this smile.png

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"You can seize a tile that belongs to another player if you have more tiles bordering it than they do."

 

Thanks, I started out with "bordering" and changed to edges. It all sounds too "graph theory" to me. Maybe I should change back...

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the AI colors everything grey, not sure if that's intentional)

 

It's intentional, I wanted the user to color everything in a cheerful fasion. The only contrast I could find for that was grey. Maybe when I add some normal graphoics I will change it to some effect that looks dusty and decayed.

 

 

 


who ever picks the center tile will win.

 

I can have the CPU start at predefined tiles. In an easy level you get the center tile. In a later level the game will start with the center tile selected for the CPU. Anyhoo, this is just a concept level. I can also try to make levels more symmetric later.

 


Other than that, I really like this

 

Thanks, that's important. I am really worried about whether the game is fun or not.

Edited by SillyCow

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Thanks, that's important. I am really worried about whether the game is fun or not.

 

To elaborate a little, as I was pretty brief, and I know it can be tough to do much with feedback like that tongue.png:

 

In my humble opinion, it's on its way there but perhaps needs another layer of depth/strategy or maybe just some flair (which I realize this is just a concept build).

I don't mean to be critical in the least, making a game "fun" has been my biggest hurdle so far in game development (and one I haven't gotten past), so I can relate tongue.png

 

I think the third rule is clear enough, but in my initial attempts, It's a little difficult to utilize since you can only select adjacent tiles to your own, the AI seems to see you coming for their tile and moves to block it (and the map is too small to move around them). Perhaps on a larger map this could work a little better and it's just the limitations of the small test puzzle. I'm notoriously bad at these games, so take this advice for what it's worth as others may find it trivial.

 

Perhaps test a build where you can place tiles wherever you'd like, but leave the rules the same otherwise (I'm thinking along the lines of the old card games, ala FF8 or any number of them)?

 

Or ignore all of this as I'm terrible at puzzle games tongue.png I just thought I'd elaborate on my feedback a little to give some insight on my comment.

 

As far as the scoring system goes, personally, I'm more partial to "beating" the AI or the map, or what-have-you, rather than simply aiming for a high score (I generally find them a little meaningless and not much of a motivator). So, for me (and this is subjective, for sure) having more of a win/lose criteria rather than just a score would be a huge plus.

 

Lastly, and again take this comment purely as a single person's opinion, perhaps toy with some additional mechanics for later levels (you mention a few in your OP, and I think they would definitely add a lot to the game). Take for example, hexcells (if you've ever played it), the initial maps are relatively straightforward with the rules, then it slowly begins to add more complexity and new rules as you complete the puzzles. It adds a bit of fun and challenge as you complete the maps and keeps from really getting repetitive or finding a strategy to use over and over.

 

Anyhow, I think the concept definitely is fun and has potential, but could perhaps use a little kick to it if one wanted to replay it or play additional levels. And, I don't think the 3rd rule is confusing, just difficult to do much with on such a small puzzle (at least for someone like myself tongue.png).

 

But, I think you've got a great base idea for a game, for sure.

Edited by Misantes

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I like it!  (I didn't quite have fun yet, but it's definitely worth iterating on.)

 

For color, you could have each player represent a specific color (red, blue, etc.) but have "fill color" of a region be a random offset from that color. And even (if you have a "crystallized" effect for the stained glass) choosing colors of each little region as a tiny offset from the fill color.  

 

Then for clarity, you could have it so that cells near the absolute border of your holdings approaches the pure color.  (So that you have a Civ-like line of a pure color around your "empire".)

 

For the "powerful regions" problem... maybe strategically too-powerful regions (like centers) are already occupied by a passive third player.  So no one can choose them on their first turn; you have to "capture" them more slowly, like any other occupied region.

 

Or, you have to "buy" regions using "gold", where powerful regions are expensive, and at the end your score is just how much gold you have left.  Also, the 1st player's first purchase is 2x cost.  So as you get better, you can replay and get a higher score by not taking the first move, not seizing powerful regions first, whatever "thriftier" strategies you can now pull off now that you've improved.

 

(You could even do both.  Two passive players, the "green" player who can be conquered but never bought, and the "gold" player who can be bought but never conquered.)

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If you want to illustrate rule 3 in the interface, you could have it so that any time you hovered over a region it displayed the relevant ratio of you-edges vs. them-edges.  

 

Like "2 vs 1" and  "1 vs 3" and "2 vs 2".  Or "2 > 1" and "1 < 3" and "2 = 2".

 

That way even if they don't quite get the rule, there's a hint of how to process the feedback.  ("How come it brrrzzps me when I try to attack that region?  Oh!  It only works when my number is bigger!")

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Wow thanks for the great lengthy reply. At this stage such feedback is priceless, so thanks alot.


I think the third rule is clear enough, but in my initial attempts, It's a little difficult to utilize

I'm thinking of making the AI purposely stupid at first, to encourage you to use this. 

 


Perhaps test a build where you can place tiles wherever you'd like, but leave the rules the same otherwise (I'm thinking along the lines of the old card games, ala FF8 or any number of them)?

That's a great idea, I'll try it out. Perhaps with a special power-up or something.

 


having more of a win/lose criteria rather than just a score would be a huge plus.

What kind of rewards do you enjoy? Would you a star-based system be motivating? 13 = 3 stars , 11 = 2 stars, 9 = 1 star. Maybe I can add some achievments, like time and such... I personally find acheivements boring, but looking at current games, I am probably wrong.

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For the "powerful regions" problem... maybe strategically too-powerful regions (like centers) are already occupied by a passive third player.  So no one can choose them on their first turn; you have to "capture" them more slowly, like any other occupied region.

That's a good idea, I can also have the players start out at fixed positions. My goal (later on) is to create levels where part of the riddle is to figure out what are the powerful tiles.


is just how much gold you have left

That is interesting. Perhaps I can make this an energy bar that you can recharge: (combos and stuff). That can add some time pressure, which is good. I need to think about this some more.


If you want to illustrate rule 3 in the interface, ...
Like "2 vs 1" and  "1 vs 3" and "2 vs 2".  Or "2 > 1" and "1 < 3" and "2 = 2".

 

Perhaps a graphic representation, like a small pie-chart or something like that. I don't really like on-board text as it is less clear than a good graphic. But the general idea is good.

 

 

Thanks a bunch for the great feedback.

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Perhaps a graphic representation, like a small pie-chart or something like that. I don't really like on-board text as it is less clear than a good graphic. But the general idea is good.

 

Osmos had good visual cues for relative threat; potential dangers (enemies that you could absorb, but are close to you in size and who might be able to turn the tables) have the "safe" color (blue) on the outside and the "threat" color (red) on the inside, and their degree of danger (how close in size they are to you) is represented by the ratio of the colors.

 

If your regions have variegated colors (like the crystal effect), you could potentially represent threat as literal color incursions: a safe region is solidly its own color; a region in jeopardy has little flecks of the threatening color in it, near the borders, that increase or decrease according to how bad the threat is.

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What kind of rewards do you enjoy? Would you a star-based system be motivating? 13 = 3 stars , 11 = 2 stars, 9 = 1 star. Maybe I can add some achievments, like time and such... I personally find acheivements boring, but looking at current games, I am probably wrong.

 

Yeah, I'm not much one for achievements either.

 

Again, while noting this is totally based on my personal tastes, but for something like this I'm usually just fine with unlocking the next level/beating the AI.. If there were a win/lose criteria, like you had to have more tiles than the AI, or a certain number of tiles to advance to the next level, that's usually my main motivator while playing. The scoring doesn't hurt, but isn't my main driving force (Kind of akin to the score in Super Mario Brothers. For me it was always a little beside the point and I never really altered my playstyle to increase the score. But, again this is subjective, and I'm sure others did).

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I added some taunting by the CPU player. Hopefully, if I can flesh this out a little bit, it will keep the game more interesting: What will he say next? I probably need to get a writer for this, but remembering the Portal series, a sassy AI can add alot to a puzzle game.

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I enjoyed it.

Thanks

 


I found that white flickering to be annoying

Yeah, I'm trying to come up with a better highliting algorithm. I want it to look like candle light. I use a sinus function with a companion random flicker for the lighting. It does not look natural yet.

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