Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.
Man, this was wild. I was playing with keyboard, sadly, but I still enjoyed the heck out of it. My main struggle was with range; getting the right distance on a curve is harder than it looks.
It was also kind of counterintuitive that the gun swayed vertically by default, but I suspect I would've been even more disoriented if I had to do a vertical curve by leaning sideways and then doing a sideways swing. It's probably easier with controller, where you can precisely control the lean.
Overall, a really interesting experiment in input. I really appreciate experiments like this, even if I can't quite wrap my head around the necessary inputs.
actually yeah seconding this - judging the range properly was probably the single most challenging thing for me, even including the whole "really hard to control via keyboard" thing. i'm honestly interested to see how this game would work in VR, where range-judging should be much easier for anyone with a larger-than-average number of eyes
also, while i'm here - i forgot to mention this in my original comment but the sound design is amazing - it's minimalist but conveys a lot
The sound design is really excellent. That death sound, and the heaving effort sounds of the jumping blocks, it conveys a lot about this world without the need for graphics.
In the gifs it appears like it is possible to move around, though with a mouse control-scheme I'm not sure that is possible.
It also appears like it is occasionally slow motion, which wasn't what I experienced in the game. I feel like I might have been playing a gimped version of this?
I did start getting reasonably good at curving the bullets... not good enough to hit something more than 1 time out of 10, and the punishment for missing was often the bullet flying back and insta-killing me. The feeling of mastering the mechanic was there, but I got a strong sense of it being developer-hard (or somehow a gimped experience).
I couldn't figure out what to do on the third level with the turret. It's very unclear to me what I should be attempting. The two jumping blocks on the second level gave a lot of feedback, and the more I played that level the better I got at it (I restarted the game a few times, and got to the point where I could reliably beat the second level without dying).
Still, like others have said, the dream of an FPS with curving bullet-trick-shots is very appealing, and there's moments where this feels like it is realizing that dream.
Sorry if this is largely useless feedback in the case that I was doing something ass-backward all along.
you're good! thanks for playing, and dropping your thoughts. Elliot was responsible for the enemy design, including most of the sounds, and I'll definitely pass on your kind words.
you can swap cover with L1 (or whatever the bumper is on your controller), which triggers the bullet time. this is much more noticeable on the endless level, where you can challenge our high score (which very few remote players have as of yet, because the turret is proving to be the ultimate, impossibly hard gatekeeper).
then again, it's possible you didn't realize that the controller was used for body motion at all (oops!), in which case it would make sense that you were unable to dodge the bullets. on the jumping blocks level, you can dodge more or less 100% of bullets by just flicking the stick in any direction or holding down L2 when it's coming at you.
that being said, developer-hard is probably an accurate description! the turret takes two shots to kill. you can either hit it from the top or from the sides. it's somewhat easy to cheese if you crouch under the low cover behind the pillar and lob shots on its head. once you hit it once, there's 3-4 second stagger where you can just directly shoot at it to knock it out.
thanks again for stopping by! if you have any tips for how to improve readability or intuition-building we would love to hear them.
Ok, this one was highly interesting due to its original concept and its experimental nature. I made it until the third level with the turret. Unfortunately, that's where it became too frustrating for me to continue. More on that later.
First off, the presentation is great and the audio feedback is fantastic! The game is visually very pleasing.
The core idea of giving your bullets a curved trajectory sounds super fun and alluring. The problem I see is that curves in a 3D space can become very complex and it's very hard to make a reliably aimed shot without depth perception. I would even argue, that our stereoscopic vision wouldn't be sufficient to make a reliable curved shot. Our depth perception works well when we want to make qualitative estimates like "A is more in front of B" or "X is moving away or moving towards me". But on a quantitative level I think it's not that accurate.
What I found myself doing was trying out different trajectories and successively adjusting my spin to the shots I was observing. This works well on stationary targets. Moving targets required far more attempts. The default vertical sway of the gun didn't do much for me. Maybe I was missing something, but I ended up holding down RMB at all times trying to give my shots more controlled spins.
In the second level I tried to hit the enemies by ricocheting my bullets off the walls because curved shots had a greater chance to hit the shield and bounce back at me. Once the enemies turned towards the direction my bullet hit them from, I could finish them with straight shots.
The third level, as mentioned before, was where I eventually gave up. At first it wasn't clear to me that I had to hit the target from behind. I started to play around, and one of my many bullets hit the turret by accident, triggering the hurt sound. The target was way smaller than the shield guys in the previous level and way harder to hit. I only managed to hit it once or twice by sheer luck before getting a laser beam in the face.
Overall, I think this is a very valuable experiment. Despite the trouble I had with it, I wouldn't abandon the idea of curved bullet shooters. Maybe you were also trying to do too much in one go. The mouse-controller-stick-hybrid input is interesting but I'm not sure if the combination of those two quite idiosyncratic concepts benefits the experience. If you'd ask me, I would try to make the curved trajectory mechanic more approachable (add a simple trajectory indicator on the crosshair? Try it without the vertical weapon sway? Variable game speeds as you already have when changing position but when aligning your shot.) and design enemies and play environments around that.
You've made a very compelling prototype for an interesting mechanic. It answers a lot of questions and it might be a major stepping stone for a unique game in the future.
thank you for the detailed feedback! it means a lot!
before I get to the meat of your comments, I have a quick response that you may or may not find valuable. from playtesting, I've observed that there seem to be (roughly) two kinds of players: the kind that holds down RMB all the time, and the kind that swings the gun like a 'hammer'. the holding down RMB case was actually how we had the mechanic implemented, period, for the first couple days. at this point I see it as more or less a degenerate outcome (and a reflection of a design flaw if players end up shooting that way). playtesting this game asynchronously (versus watching someone play over their shoulder) has been a little nightmarish, if you know what I mean.
the intended way to shoot, at the very least, is to create and execute a 'swing' with your gun, a little like you would swing a golf club or a tennis racket. first you press (and hold) LMB, then you 'push' the bead up with your mouse. next, you 'pull' the bead towards center with your mouse, and release LMB when you want to fire. because the amount of spin is directly proportional to the velocity of the bead, and this 'swing' is a (relatively) slow process, the margin of error is increased and it becomes easier to hit shots consistently. of course, this takes a fair amount of practice. at this point I can blitz through the intro maps pretty quickly.
I'm interested to hear if this works for you, and if it does (or doesn't) I would be interested in any feedback you have for improving how we communicate this to the player, even if it's as simple as a better description on the itch page or a real tutorial. either way, thanks for playing!
I gave it another go, but I couldn't see how vertically swinging the shot can be more accurate than constantly stabilizing the gun and swinging right/left. Vertical and horizontal swings don't differ. It's just that there's more horizontal space for the bullet curves than vertical due to the ceiling. Is the vertical weapon axis wobble intended as an additional element of difficulty, or is it part of your intended input mechanic? For me the gun's vertical axis goes crazy after a couple of relatively subtle movements and becomes virtually uncontrollable unless I stabilize it with RMB first. Am I not supposed to do that?
The problem with the 'relatively slow process' of swinging in the third level is, that I don't have the time to execute it. I get shot first.
Maybe adding a few intermediate levels with a more gradual increase of difficulty would help. One or two scenarios with stationary targets before moving on to moving targets could do it. You know, with different geometrical challenges, so the player has time to develop a feel for what's going on. I can imagine that many players would hit the first target more by chance than by skill.
One peculiar thing happened to me while playing level 3 again: I happened to press RMB the moment the turret's beam hit me and somehow I managed to 'catch' the beam. Is that a remnant of a mechanic you were experimenting with?
the vertical axis wobble is indeed the intended input mechanic. the critical observation to make I would hope is that it allows you to decouple the gun orientation from the head orientation, so that you don't have to wave your camera all over the place just to shoot. instead, you can focus the camera on your intended target, and then swing the gun 'through' it, while staying 'aimed' at it the whole time. the purpose of RMB is to stabilize the gun before and after the swing, but not during.
I believe this is reaching the limit of my ability to describe these things in words :) and I realized itch allows you to embed gifs, albeit at terrible quality:
it's quite possible that the sensitivity of the flicking action is just too high by default.
your comments on incremental level design are accurate and incisive.
and yes! catching bullets is a thing. however, it's much harder to do than dodge, and we didn't have time to implement a useful reward for doing so.
so, that being said, with regards to your main points:
your note on depth perception is right on the money, I think. it seems reasonable to claim that, in lieu of being able to accurately make a quantitative estimate, the player must fill in the gaps somewhere else. it would seem that this could either come from history (either map knowledge, which I think is significant--think golf courses, right? or a more local sort of history like you point out: just the previous shot) or perhaps some kind of live prediction.
the thing is, the bullets (or the gun, depending on how you see it) have a fixed velocity, and as my partner Elliot pointed out several times, that gives them an inherent 'working range'. the gun we shipped with has a sweet spot, a range (I dunno, something like 4-12 meters) where curves are relatively easy to control and the margin of error is (or so we hope) reasonable. outside of these ranges it begins to get difficult, more like a 3 pointer in basketball, and you have to compensate in other ways. so the golf club analogy kind of holds, in that there's a spot you want to hit which provides its own margin of error (the size of the enemy), and a 'club' that has a sort of working range and height (the gun).
the real question I think you're getting at is whether it's reasonable to expect that, as a player, investing your time in practicing this weird thing has any promise of making you any better at it. you're alluding to the potential existence of a sort of physical barrier--either in humans or in the game's presentation--that means your experience will just eternally be suboptimal and therefore unfun. and how can you know for sure, given that a hundred guinea pigs haven't come before you and proven that it can be done? if I were you, I'd be suspicious.
I'm not sure that I have a direct answer. but I do agree, and you are making a good point, that we pile on a lot at once. stick peeking and particularly stick dodging I believe feels rewarding once you get into it--and motivates the controller as an input method--but for new players, becomes just one more thing to manage while dealing with the already very hard shooting scheme. designing play environments (as you say) around some of these more basic concepts seems like a valuable direction.
thank you again!
Oh, I'm pretty sure that if an army of guinea pigs would play this game, a handful of them would be stubborn enough to develop the muscle memory and learn to reliably hit their targets. I don't see a hard limitation on skill building here. The question rather is: How big must this army initially be to yield at least one sharpshooter? It's more about the steepness of the learning curve (no pun intended). People can develop intuition for the most complex things (I'm looking at disciplines like acrobatic archery for example).
I went a little bit on a tangent with the stereoscopic vision and depth perception, which might have been misleading discussion-wise. Sorry for that. My whole point there was: "You can't rely on information from depth perception (due to inaccuracy or complete lack thereof), which makes things more difficult."
Regarding proof: I can just speak my mind and utter some assumptions based on individual observation. If there's empirical data from a set of playtests that contradict my statements on certain points, I'm most likely the less reliable source ;)
Thank you, too. It was an interesting conversation.
This is cool, I think you’re definitely onto something, but I couldn’t really wrap my head around curve control in a quick look.
I can’t say for sure as someone who never mastered it, but would guess it’s something to do with the bead adding (vertical-only?) spin that’s semi-independent from your current mouse movement? My instinct was that only the flick right before release would matter. Trying to flick curved shots while holding RMB got slightly more intuitive results, but then I was being killed more often by my own ricocheting shots, which are awfully punishing, to be killing you in one hit.
your instinct makes sense--what you are describing was actually our first implementation of the mechanic. the insight that you might be missing is is that it's really the accumulated speed of the bead that determines the spin. think of it like a golf club or a tennis racket maybe--first you push the mouse up to 'send it' up, then you pull the mouse down to 'whip it' down, releasing LMB at some point during that 'swing' to fire.
to get the maximum spin possible, you have to 'swing through' the center of the screen and release LMB right in the middle--that's when the bead is moving the fastest. do you think a different gif on the page or a video or something would help?
the spin is indeed vertical-only, although this is relative to how leaned you are--i.e. if you lean all the way to the side, you can spin 'horizontally', if that makes sense.
really appreciate the feedback. thank you for your time!
Hm, I didn’t really look at the gifs too closely, I skimmed the text and mostly tried to get a feel from it through play. And yeah I guess I didn’t really clue into the ‘golf club’ thing now that I think about it – maybe because most games that would try something like that would limit you to one ball and make you hold the mouse down for the ‘pre-swing’ part? If you wanted it to be more strategic, that might make more sense, but if you want to lean into the gun-fu thing, I can see why you wouldn’t.
It’s a cool thing to be in uncharted territory though, and it may be something that could become more intuitive with some simple changes to the UI, sound, or the gun’s appearance? Perhaps some more tutorializing levels which make sure you understand one concept before moving onto the next. Otherwise the mechanics might need to be dumbed down if you don’t want it to be very niche, which is okay too, even if I’m ultimately not the audience for it, haha. Either way I hope you stick with it!
good point. there should definitely be more feedback between mouse click down and mouse click up--maybe an fov shift, gun animation, definitely a sound, blur, could even do slow motion--to indicate that you've begun a swing, are in the middle of the swing, have finished the swing. thanks again.
ok, the concept alone is great, but imo the execution deserves the 5 star rating. though i only barely managed to get past the second level (alas, i'm controllerless, and the game really needs it as i've learned), it plays really well, everything feels great and is super tastefully presented
hoping this is made into a full game
thank you for the kind words!
Thank you for developing the nice FPS game! I enjoyed shooting projectiles that can be reflected to destroy objects, and there are cool level designs. However, I think rendering is too much shining the entire screen (bloom post-processing?), and the difficulties are not easy to clear.
thanks for playing!