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cdosrun01

Feedback on demo + questions on design

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cdosrun01    111

Hello Internet,

 

So, as the title suggests I created a demo and I want feedback on it, but there is a reason why I'm posting it here instead of the indie dev sub-forum.

 

The design is questionable.

 

I sought out to create a simple puzzle/strategy game where the player has to direct a ball via walls, which changes the direction of the ball, and guide it into a hole.  However, before the ball can go into the hole the ball has to trigger levers that activate the hole/gate. Once the hole is activated, it changes from white to yellow and now the player knows they can advance the level.

 

So, here are my questions about the design.

1) Is the objective too complicated?

 

In future levels, there will be many moving parts. It will be akin to the old nursery rhyme, This is the House That Jack Built, where the player will have to move up to get the trigger, that will lead into the portal, that will teleport them to the next trigger, that will bounce off three more walls that will get the last trigger and finally end in the hole. I want to include power ups and what not to clear obstacles in the harder levels, but if the basic concept is too much for the average person, then I have to rethink the whole thing.

 

2) Is pushing the player to just jump in, a bad thing?

 

I hate tutorials. Like, I really hate tutorials. I always enjoyed games that sort of told you what to do and then just let you do whatever. Like, maybe the tutorial is 1 to 2 minutes long, but nothing as long as say the Magicka 2 or COD tutorials. Something like TLoU where the player is  in the game and the mechanics are revealed as they move on, is what I am trying to achieve here. The first 2 - 4 levels serve as a tutorial where the player is first shown than expected to use the rest of the mechanics in the game. When something new is shown, like the portals, they are just told, these are portals and are expected to use what they know from the previous mechanics (i.e. let the ball run into the flashing thing) to see what happens. I don't want to belittle the players nor do I want to give them too much credit, so is this the right way to do the tutorial with a game like this (i.e puzzle games)?

 

 

 

Link to the Game: http://www.newgrounds.com/projects/games/910198/preview

Edited by cdosrun01

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SirWeeble    1060

If this is just a prototype concept, it's an OK concept. It's not too difficult. However, I played through it and it seems a bit too easy. There are red walls which i assume are suppose to stop your ball, but they didn't do anything. The level that said "warps are fun" i just ignored the warps because it took less arrows, plus the red walls weren't doing anything so I could go past them.

 

The first few seconds I played, I was really confused. If I wasn't playing the game because I saw it through the post and was willing to give an opinion, I would have hit "back" or quit or something after about 3 seconds of fumbling around. It says "use the walls to bounce the ball" I thought the red-things were the walls and I was suppose to bounce off of them. I had no idea what the arrows below were suppose to be placed. i though they were control-buttons, but just didn't work. The drag mechanics are kind of funky too. After you place a wall, trying to move it again behaves in a unexpected way.

 

My confusion would have been mitigated with a simple tutorial. Something to indicate what to do with the arrows, what the walls are. Maybe a pre-set level that already has a arrow-wall set up for me and I just have to click "go". Maybe you like fumbling around with games trying to figure out the controls, but most people will simply quit if they don't know what they're doing. Tutorials don't need to be 2-3 minutes long. They're best if they're invisible and concepts are introduced slowly - or you get a 1-sentence tutorial per level.

 

The graphics are sub-par, even for a concept. They aren't just overly basic, they don't clearly indicate what anything is. At first I thought the "switch" was a little atari-style tank. There's nothing to indicate that the door is open either. So when I first shot the ball past the switch I had no idea what it was for. 

 

Even with professional level graphics and sound, I don't know if this would be a compelling game to me. Personally, I'm not particularly a fan of puzzle games or anything with puzzle elements - I almost didn't bother trying your demo when you said it was a puzzle. So, I'm admittedly bias against the game's style. However, the rest of my criticism stands.

 

I guess the short answers are:

1) no.

2) yes.

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SirWeeble    1060

Also - i hope you aren't planning on spending months working on this to put it on unity web player.

 

Browsers are starting to abandon it. Chrome and Firefox no longer support it, and more are likely to follow.

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Norman Barrows    7179

need time limited levels.  you can sit forever figuring out right combo to do it first time - no challenge. make the limits really high at first, and in general, so that can play around a bit still. but eventually they have to get something going or it will time out.

 

red boxes do nothing. need to fix that. ball should bounce off, or be destroyed.

 

when you select a "brush" such as up arrow, then change your mind and select a different "brush" as in left arrow, you should change brushes, not force them to place an arrow first, then delete it. 

 

snap to grid for stuff you place?

 

a good type of game for a "tutorial level" as seen in mario. not so much a  tutorial, more like as spoon feeding them one component at a time as they start out on the first level(s).

 

add a timer, its definitely got potential. get solid game play going, then bling the graphics with animated sprite based stuff. just might sell - say 100 levels for $5.     ; )

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Thaumaturge    3831

Hum... I seem to be having trouble on the level "warps are fun": I successfully both pass through the warp and activate the two switches, but the exit doesn't seem to become active. Am I missing something? (This is entirely possible--I am a little tired today.) o_0

 

One nitpick, if I may: if one places an arrow-tile over the ball-spawner (I thought at one point that this might be the means of getting the ball moving), the game plays what I presume to be the "collision with arrow" sound repeatedly, rather rapidly, which produces a rather annoying noise that goes on indefinitely.

 


need time limited levels. you can sit forever figuring out right combo to do it first time - no challenge. make the limits really high at first, and in general, so that can play around a bit still. but eventually they have to get something going or it will time out.

I disagree: while some might prefer the presence of time-pressure in a puzzle game, others (such as myself) might dislike it. Perhaps consider having a timer only on higher difficulty levels (above "normal", I'd suggest).

Edited by Thaumaturge

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DifferentName    1371

For your tutorial question, I think you've got the right idea of using the level layout to teach how to use the new things you encounter. The only part I stumbled on was how to interact with it. I saw arrows and tried clicking arrows on my keyboard, then tried clicking stuff on the screen, and tried dragging the arrows before realizing that you had to click the arrow to select it and click again to place it. I like a game that lets you play through the instructions, telling you to click the arrow at the bottom and letting you follow along with it at your own pace. 

 

Unfortunately, the most challenging thing in this game was simply figuring out how to play. I think that adding more walls and switches and portals would just take longer for the player to add more arrows without adding more challenge. I'm sure you could add stuff to introduce different things to make it challenging, but I'm not seeing it yet. Maybe limiting the number of arrows you can place would be good?

 

I think it would also be good to allow dragging the arrows instead of clicking, and/or allowing arrows on the keyboard to select the type of arrow you have selected. You might also consider sticking them to a grid, so precise placement doesn't matter. Since the game is all about placing arrows, it's important to make that part of the game feel easy and natural. 

Edited by DifferentName

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Aardvajk    13207
Its too easy to ignore the walls and the warps. I completed the demo without using either, and have no idea what the walls were supposed to do, since the ball seemed to just ignore them. It was incredibly easy to get through each level with just a straightforward route though.

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