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A jam submission

Generic Zombie Shooter - ReduxView game page

A remake of a top-down zombie shooter from 2013 that was inspired by "I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1".
Submitted by packetpirate — 2 days, 14 hours before the deadline

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Generic Zombie Shooter - Redux's itch.io page

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Comments

Submitted

I couldn't play your game because I don't have java installed, sorry. Can you find a way to create an executable?

Developer

Is there some reason you can't install Java? Even if I were to make an executable, I would still need to package the JRE. There's no getting around using it.

Submitted (1 edit)

I haven't bothered writing a full review of this game, so I'm just gonna post all the notes I took while playing. Ask me to elaborate if you're confused about a point or something.

First Impression

    1. Shooting noise sounds a bit like farting.
    2. "Ding!" text is a nice touch.
    3. Couldn't initially figure out how to buy ammo from the buy menu.

    Notes:

    1. Bow & arrow is more expensive than a shotgun and an assault rifle.
    2. Main menu looks very amateur, with several aesthetic styles being thrown around.
    3. Music is nice sounding and simplistic. Has forward momentum that suits the style of the gameplay.
    4. Enemies lack audio.
    5. Enemies are hard to see in the dark. Likely intentional, however this needs to be compensated for by audio cues. (If so, please use directional audio, and reserver the higher parts of the spectrum to the more dangerous enemies.)
    6. Music could potentially make enemy audio harder to discern however.
    7. Like the idea of a dark level and not being able to see your enemies at all times, mimics a first person view.
    8. Flashlight helps out a lot in regards to seeing where you're aiming at any moment.
    9. Flashlight is far too short.
    10. Bullets themselves are a too small and hard to see. (Generally unsatisfying gunplay)
    11. Waves are generally unnecessary considering you can pause in the middle of gameplay, and resume at any moment without penalty.
    12. That said, the time between waves are an opportune time to set up claymores and gun turrets.
    13. It's not very clear if you're taking damage, could be signaled better.
    14. Game is basically a big positive feedback loop, making the game easier as it progresses, or at the very least not getting harder.
    15. You start out with a liberal amount of health and lives, game is too easy over all.
    16. Shooting sound is far too loud, and drowns out almost any other audio.
    17. No difference between turret shooting noise and your own, becomes confusing at times. (At least when using the assault rifle)
    18. Enemies can hurt you from off-screen.
    19. Night Vision drops far too often, and last for way too long, causing the entire premise of the flashlight and night-theme to be for naught.
    20. Only takes a few waves for money to become meaningless and abundant.
    21. Enemy variety is alright, though it's not clear what certain enemies will do. Luckily only a problem once.
    22. Strategy of buying turrets and sticking to the assault rifle seems to be far too reliable.
    23. Made it to wave 38 on the second try, around the time it also started to get quite boring.
    24. The game is easy, and only gets easier the longer you play due to how much money you eventually earn.
    Developer

    Yeah, I'm aware of the balancing issues, and that's the primary goal of the next release, besides some juice here and there.

    I haven't had anyone tell me the shooting sounds like farting, but that made me laugh way too hard. I thought the "Ding" would be funny, but I take it you didn't find the easter egg associated with it. As for alerting the player how to buy ammo, the next release will contain icons at the bottom-right showing the key to press to open those windows. I only hope the icons are obvious enough. I also have text now when you level up saying "Press T to Level Up!".

    As for your notes...

    1. Everything is a balancing game at the moment. But the feedback definitely helps. It's hard figuring out which weapons should be unlockable first. I figured having an automatic would be nice early on, so I think I'll make the Assault Rifle more expensive and add an SMG or something. I'm also planning to add level restrictions to certain weapons.

    2. All the artwork is either from the original game or placeholder artwork until I get around to remaking everything. Girlfriend is working on the concept art so I have an actual art direction to work with this time around.

    3.  Unfortunately the music isn't there to stay since it's not mine and is just a placeholder. Eventually, I plan to write a genetic algorithm to sample the songs I like that follow the art direction and evolve new, original music.

    4. They use to moan, but I couldn't stop laughing at how ridiculous it sounded because I recorded all their noises from my mouth.

    5. Yes, it's intentional, but I'm thinking of making it brighter by default. You can adjust the darkness in the Settings -> Display menu.

    6. Audio levels can be adjusted in Settings -> Audio. I need to add a way to access these settings from gameplay though.

    9. The size of the flashlight has changed like 5 fucking times. It's likely going to change another 5 times before the game is done.

    10. That I haven't heard before, but I'll look into making them more obvious. My particle system is very basic at the moment, so there's only so much I can do to make them interesting. Do you think making them thicker would help? Or is the long rectangle shape what's wrong with it?

    11. Yeah, this and being able to access the shop and training screen at any time are being considered. I'm thinking of changing it so those menus and pause can only be used between waves, but I'll have to make ammo more common so the player doesn't run out. That or add melee weapons, which is planned.

    13. Are the grunting noises not loud enough? I'm trying to think of a visual effect that could work.

    14. There is no difficulty progression at the moment. I need to think of a good way to scale enemy stats and make it harder. I do have more enemies planned for future releases though.

    15. I figured 3 was pretty standard, but maybe health should be lowered.

    16. Is it mostly the AK-47? Or all of them? Because I'm aware that the AK-47's sound is obnoxious.

    17. That will be changed.

    18. What do you mean by this? That they can still damage you while YOU'RE off-screen, or while they're off-screen?

    19. All the powerups have arbitrary drop rates. I'm just using user feedback to adjust accordingly.

    22. I'm hoping the level restrictions and increased price will mitigate that somewhat. Not sure how else I could fix it.

    23. That's expected with the amount of content it currently has.


    Thanks for the feedback! Hopefully the next release will be less boring.

    Submitted

    5. and 6. The problem with having settings like that is that they have a substantial effect on gameplay. That means, that there's an optimal setting for this game, and that any other setting is now useless to people who want to play the best they can. If you can adjust darkness levels in a game that's partly difficult because of the limited visibility of darkness, why wouldn't you just set it to be as bright as possible? Similar problem with audio. If there's music that can make hearing the enemies harder, every player who wants to play the best will just turn off the music, but there's people out there who would feel like that's "wrong", and not the intended way to play the game. You would then have people playing in a sub-optimal way, and potentially not enjoying the game to its fullest, just because they have the option to.

    10. Having huge big chunky bullets that are clearly visible on the screen is generally very satisfying, have a look at any game by vlambeer to know what I'm talking about.

    This game is quite similar to Devil Daggers, if you've ever heard of it. If not then I suggest you check it out when you get the chance, it's available on Steam and GOG. Another thing I think you should look at is the video Matthewmatosis did on Devil Daggers, that I have linked in this post. I think you could learn a lot from this amazing review (and the entire channel in general) and Devil Daggers.

    Submitted

    I was seriously disappointed when I first fired the bow, and the arrow stopped after hitting one enemy. It should be piercing! I ended up using AK-47 for most of the game as well. 

    The game gets pretty snowbally once you max out Damage though. I only died to the boss who hooks you (maybe his hook should break if you run far enough from him).

    If you're taking suggestions, I think it could be nice if zombos left behind a pool of blood. And maybe a graphics mode where everything (excluding blood pools) is black and white.

    The music was very nice by the way.

    Developer

    Real-life arrows don't pierce through enemies, though maybe I can add a perk / talent when I get around to add that that will allow you to hit two targets or something. And yeah, literally every review mentions how OP the AK-47 is.

    I'm hoping to mitigate how OP the damage upgrade is once I replace those three skills with the talent trees. That way instead of adding 10% damage per tick, maybe I can have it tack on an extra 1-2 points of damage since the damage and health have been changed to use a d20-like system.

    I'm planning to add blood pools (maybe even in the next release). Only thing I need to do is figure out how to make the blood splatter effect using the particle system I have.

    And yes, I love the soundtrack, although it's unfortunate it has to be removed before the game is done because it's not licensed or anything. I'm planning to sample those songs though and apply them to a genetic algorithm which will generate original music that sounds similar to them.

    Submitted (1 edit)

    Blasted my way through 70-odd waves, quitting when I max'd out my stats and had well in excess of $80k. Surprisingly, the most powerful weapon in the game by sheer DPS is the AK-47-like. It's reliable, reloads quick, has plenty of (pretty cheap) ammo, and does decent damage. The shotgun was the most disappointing weapon for me -- granted, it was also hard to see its pellets.

    If the swarm got much thicker than it is now, I'd be forced to move between it and the grenade launcher I think. Speaking of weapons, you should give your flamethrower bullets the same speed as the player and then give them their normal speed. Otherwise, it's not particularly useful to fire ahead of yourself but it makes a great retreating weapon.

    Would be useful to know what the powerups do as some of the iconography/effects aren't immediately obvious for some of them (in particular the 'fire directly from your ammo stores rather than your magazine' powerup took me quite a while to figure out). I'd also like to see some sort of stats whenever I'm looking at purchasing them, just to know what benefit I'm going to see out of it. I don't necessarily need to know I'll be going from 3.2 to 4.6 units per second if I upgrade Speed - but I would like to know that each pip is, say, a cumulative 20% speed increase.

    Sound design needs a little love, and I'd like a 'reload finished' sound to cap off the 'reload started' sound. Some more polish and this game could be very fun. I'd recommend, for cheap enemy variety, giving each enemy a 20% +/- scale difference when spawned just to make things a little less uniform.

    I'd also recommend putting in spawn-fountains, where enemies will continue to spawn indefinitely unless dealt with.

    Developer

    Yeah, the AK is supposed to be one of the "main" weapons, because the others, while powerful, would be OP if they were much faster/stronger/etc. The shotgun is a bit disappointing, but it has the highest knockback other than grenades.

    I'll take a look at the Flamethrower, because based on feedback, that's the weapon people have the most issues with. I recently doubled its range, so that should help.

    All of the artwork is from the original game and will change before the final release. My girlfriend is working on the concept art so I actually have some art direction to work with on the pixel art as opposed to just randomly throwing shit together until it looks nice. As far as the "fire directly from your ammo stores" powerup goes... that's the unlimited ammo powerup. You don't actually consume any ammo while that's active. As far as stats go... you get 10% extra speed or damage from each pip in those stats, but 20 health from each pip in health.

    The sound effects are terrible. I'm aware. I'm really just a software engineer. I don't really have much artistic or musical talent. The soundtrack is a placeholder. Since I don't have much musical talent myself, I was thinking of coming up with a genetic algorithm to "evolve" new music using other synthwave songs as samples (the end goal for the game's art direction is 80s style with synthwave music).

    As for enemy damage variety, I'm currently upgrading enemy and weapon damage and player and enemy health to a d20-based system, so they will have a damage range as opposed to a flat amount. I'm also going to change their attacks so it's not just "oh, he's touching me, so I take constant damage", and it will use an animation to actually show them attacking, and you'll take damage when they hit you.

    The spawn fountain idea is interesting... that's sort of the direction I went with to invent "Big Mama", the one that explodes into a cloud of smaller zombies. The idea is that if you don't kill her fast enough, you'll have to contend with a large swarm. In later waves, when there are more than one, it can get pretty crazy.

    Thanks for the feedback!

    This is gonna be one negative post, but here are some things I think could use some improvement.

    I played through 100 waves, though around wave 30 I already felt like I had seen everything. The difficulty never really ramps up, the waves got longer but not any more difficult. I spent the last 40 waves walking around and deploying turrets without firing a single shot myself.

    The upgrade system could use some balancing, right now it feels like maxing damage first is the clear best choice, while health is pretty useless.

    Turrets should actively look for better targets instead of switching only when their last target has died. This is especially an issue at the beginning of a new wave, when all the turrets lock onto the enemy that was spawned first, and if that happens to be on the other side of the screen then they'll waste a lot of time doing nothing until that enemy is dead.

    Some other things to note, the option to buy ammo should also get cheaper if you're only missing less than one clip instead of letting you waste money. Also, replenishing all your ammo when you're all out also reloads instantly. Not sure if this is intentional, but it lets you deploy turrets a lot faster than usual.

    Finally, I started experiencing some framerate issues after wave 90 or so, with CPU use at a constant 100%. Might want to check if everything is cleaned up properly when destroying objects and such.

    Developer (1 edit)

    Negative feedback is the best kind in development, though.

    Damn, I've only ever bothered to go to wave 52. But yes, this is a development build and there is no end-game progression at all past the three bosses. One thing at a time.

    The upgrade system is really just a placeholder until I make a final decision as to what stats should be upgradeable and how, but they likely won't stay percentage-based.

    The turret AI is as it should be. I was planning on implementing a perk / talent system, and one perk could be to change the turret AI. They aren't meant to be perfectly efficient killing machines, or it would make things too easy on you.

    I thought I had corrected the ammo buying issues, but I'll take a look at that.

    The framerate issues should probably be expected after a certain point. The number of enemies in a wave grows on a logarithmic scale, and at wave 100, there would be about 670 enemies. I've only gotten to wave 52, but I think I'll have to modify my wave-generation method to spawn on-the-fly as opposed to all-at-once. Also, I would guess the CPU usage issue is because there's a pretty hefty amount of trig functions being used (I really need to convert to vector-based movement and only calculate new vectors when needed).

    Thanks for the feedback!

    You should pop up the text to "press B to buy" because i never understood how to play until i see the control, but nice game, maybe a little too dark for a wave based game.

    Developer

    The darkness is just a default based on the brightness of my monitor. You can adjust how "dark" it is in the Settings -> Display -> Shadow Opacity menu.

    Also, I'm working on adding icons to the screen to indicate what buttons to press to access certain menus.