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Design Discussion: What do you SPECIFICALLY want feedback on?

A topic by Crime Dog created Aug 09, 2019 Views: 478 Replies: 101
Viewing posts 1 to 25

Hi all!

While everyone's promoting their stuff, I figured it might be cool to get something productive out of it!

So I figured, post your game here if you're after design critique on a mechanic you're not sure about, to get ideas on how to improve something in your game or just to score 'I told you so!' points over someone else in your jam team!

To participate, post a link to your game with the following two pieces of info:

  1. What is the mechanic or element of your game you want feedback on? Be specific!
  2. What is your goal for the game?*

*The context of wanting to polish something for a commercial release might change the advice you get vs. if you're just looking for different spins you could have put on a mechanic, for example.

When there's stuff you didn't have time to finish that you already know could be better, it can be a missed opportunity when all of the comments are about that instead of what you actually want to know. So here's your chance to ask the community some questions!

If you're putting your game in this thread for feedback, try to respond to as many others in here as possible (they are taking the time to help you troubleshoot, after all!) It's just good manners!

I'll get the ball rolling!

In our game, Negative Nancy, it's possible to get an early bad ending in the cop scene if you're not careful.

We're unsure if we tuned this so it was too difficult; some players seem to think this scene is impassable and stop playing there.

  1. Is the scene too hard? Should you have more chances, or is it OK at the level of difficulty it's at?
  2. Our goal is to polish the game up and smooth out the difficulty curve post-jam, as well as broaden out some of the content.


Would really appreciate any insight you could give!

And please, post your games and tricky questions below so me and anyone else posting in the thread can return the favour!

Submitted

I got killed by the cop. The most difficult part of the game is that I am not always sure what my actions will do (does not answering mean I'm silent, or am I saying "yes"?), or even which response is negative or positive (ex. "Did you never do X" could be answered as "No, I never did X" or "No, I indeed did X"). In the case of the cop scene, my logic was "Well, since I don't have the option the drop the knife, I'll say 'No' since it's not possible". I think reworking the dialogue or just going to the "hands up" dialogue regardless of the player's choice could help. With "hands up", you're probably not going to say "no" to that. Plus, it still works if you're holding a knife.

One other minor thing was that it took me awhile to figure out that I was supposed to let the "no" run out for some dialogue. At first, I just assumed that it would give me a game over. Maybe changing the start screen to where you have the let it run out (instead of clicking) would help? This could just me a "me issue" though.

I really enjoyed your game and it's one of my favorites from this jam. I hope my feedback can be of some help.

(1 edit)

Yeah, that's a good call on putting a waiting loop earlier in the game.

I think the first one, as it stands, doesn't show up until the second scene, which is more than enough time for the player to get the wrong idea.

Good to get an insight as to your logic when you said no in the cop scene! I was surprised when writing for Negative Nancy just how tricky it was to balance difficulty, as I do want the cop scene to be fail-able, but I also want it to be fair.

Naww, shucks! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

This gives me a lot to think about actually, I hadn't considered that a player might answer on a meta-level in that scene (No, I can't drop it, the game won't let me). Thanks so much for sharing your experience and taking the time to explain it in such detail here.

Submitted

The game was great! The cop scene wasn't to bad, realised I could fail if I did it wrong [or I assumed I could fail]

Comedy was good, and the angry detective jumpscare was weird/funny.

Also, is it possible to refuse the toaster?

Thanks!

Yeah, it is both possible to refuse to refund the toaster and to give a refund!

Submitted

I saw this on a stream before I played it so I am biased but the first time I played it I got through the cop scene okay. I tried it again on purpose and the one shot does seem quite harsh. I think if that had been my first experience I may not have realised there was more to the game or not wanted to go through the start again. The 2nd time I did all the opposite choices to the first time and you have added a lot of content in there nice job. 

I really like that the no concept is introduced in the menu. The part that I was not sure of was when I left it run out what my response was. Giving a triple refund could have been that I was saying yes or that I was just silently agreeing so I was not sure then. In the managers song it definitely seemed like I was just staying silent. In the interrogation it seemed like I was saying yes but I guess silence works there too. Maybe if someone commented directly on the response near the start like 'nothing to say aye' or something along those lines it would help explain exactly what the consequence of doing it is.

Ah, that's an interesting point re: the consequences of not saying no. I'll have to go back over the script and double check what it is I'm implying in each case to make sure an implicit silence is consistent enough to be more explicit about it! Thanks for the detailed analysis, that was really helpful feedback!

Which stream did you see it on out of curiosity?

Submitted

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/463745191?t=00h23m48s . It is pretty exciting to see your game being played on stream!

Oh neat! Yeah I saw that live, was not prepared for how giddy that made me, haha!

Submitted

Hi, I am looking for feedback on my horror Platformer, The NOVA Project.

First, how is the game in general? [Fair warning, it doesn't have any music, I ran out of time.]

Second, the time mechanic, how does it feel, is it good or bad, did it matter? Would it have changed the game for you if it was removed?

Finally, I do intend on finishing the game for a commercial release.

https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/462614

Thanks for reading, and I'll post feedback on your game in a bit.

Hey TheOtherGuy!

I like the time mechanic, but I'd like to see you develop it further with more level elements that effectively 'cost' time (I kind of elaborated in the other thread).

One thing to consider is that currently, the time mechanic is completely disconnected from the combat (time pauses, yes?)

It would be interesting to weave them together, I think! Maybe a time cost on moves? Would be an interesting parameter you could use to balance certain attacks and gear, and items which do a lot of damage but cost very little time to use would become super valuable.

I think when designing more content / tweaking the base systems, it might help to think of time as a 'currency' which the player 'spends'. Frame everything in terms of time cost.

If you're polishing for commercial release, I'd keep working on the core systems around time, because that's the thing that will differentiate your game from others in the genre. If you can get a tiny slice of game really working, creating tension through the systems alone, you can then try it on people and see whether it's worth moving forward on the game, or translating some of the ideas into a different project.

Hope some of that was helpful!

Submitted (2 edits)

The game in general has good bones, but I ended up confused more times than I would have liked. I would have appreciated the controls being listed somewhere and it being more obvious when you can or cannot fly (maybe make the backgrounds where you can fly have some specific visual style or some effect on the player).

The time mechanic didn't really matter during my playthrough. As Crime Dog said, it wasn't very integrated with the gameplay. That being said, I think it could really contribute to the horror vibe you're going for, especially if you add some audio for it running out a la Sonic running out of air). If you are going to keep the mechanic (& think you should b/c of the stress factor), as (again) Crime Dog said, it would be cool if there were tradeoffs related to time. One of the things Mark Brown has said for a few games is that he likes it when games are easy, but force you to go fast and mess up (or something like that). The only example I think of off the top of my head is Overcooked. If you had unlimited time, it would be easy. It's the time limit that forces you to go faster than you are able to. If the combat had more strategy that forced you to stop and think, but the timer continued in real time, that could force you to go fast and make mistakes. In the overworld, you already had something like this where there was a few flying circles that would be easy to take slowly, but I had to go fast because of my 1 minute air supply.

That all being said, I have a few concerns with the time limits:

1) The limited air discourages exploration, especially the more cautious types (like me). It doesn't feel worth it to look around when I could suffocate. Maybe changing the one-use air canisters to unlimited-use air supplies stations would help? That way those stations could also become a base of sorts for exploration. Space things the right distance apart and players will want to explore while still needing to keep track of their air.

2) The 1 hour time limit on finding the cure had me worried that messing up early could lock me into failure, sort of like how it is in Simon's Quest. I don't how much or little the time limit is going to affect your story or if/how you can affect the limit. You could always break it up so that you have 1 hour (or some time period) per part of the cure.

3) Time limits can discourage the player from stopping to look around and enjoying all the hard work you put into your world. If I'm running low on time, I might avoid NPCs and anything outside the path. It also makes taking a wrong turn all the more frustrating.


I hope some of this is useful. I don't know your game very well (let alone as well as you do), so take everything I say with a good helping of salt.

Submitted

1) I'm looking for feedback on the mouse-only controls in my platformer: https://h-labs.itch.io/only-you. I've been getting some negative feedback on it today and was wondering if it either (a) it just takes awhile to get used to, (b) it needs some adjustments, or (c) mouse controls are just not a good idea for my game.

2) My goal with the game is to just practice and refine my game design skills. Part of that is creating new and enjoyable experiences, especially the controls. I'm not planning to continue the game for commercial release, but I enjoyed the controls (I'm biased) during the development and was considering reusing them elsewhere. I might also reuse the time mechanic I have elsewhere as well.

Any and all help is appreciated! I'm going to play and give feedback on the other games here now.

Just came back from giving it a play and a rate!

I actually think the mouse controls have potential, they feel pretty decent. You could afford to tweak and juice them up a bit, but I don't think anyone is expecting perfection from platformer game-feel in a jam scenario.

I do think however that they aren't a good fit for the time loop mechanic.

Take this early level for instance:


I know what I want to do, but actually executing feels needlessly difficult with the less-precise mouse controls. I think you have to decide what your game is testing the player on; their puzzle solving skills, or their mechanical execution?

You certainly can test the player on both, but if you do you need to make sure that they don't get in the way of each other.

I found interacting with my past-selves required a high level of precision, which would have been fine in a traditionally controlled platformer where it would be easier to commit the actions required to muscle memory.

Both ideas are good, but not together! Like ice-cream and sausage, better apart.

With the mouse-movement idea, the controls will probably feel better if you have a visual metaphor that sells it. Like my character is something which chases the mouse cursor, or something similar. Something that makes the player accept that their control is going to be a little bit less direct.

If you're doing that though, I think you'd want to find some interesting ways to play with the idea that the mouse cursor and character are separate, but related. What if the mouse needs to activate a switch, but doing so will cause the character to walk in a dangerous direction? It could make an interesting puzzle platformer! There could be some great mechanical jokes you could pull actually, could potentially be very fun to design.

In summary:

  1. Mouse control is fine provided you're not asking me to do anything too hard.
  2. If you're using mouse control in future, be playful and explore the design opportunities afforded by having to think about the characters location relative to the mouse.
Submitted

I think there's an interesting idea there, but I think a few small tweaks would make it much easier to enjoy. The biggest thing for me is that the timer makes it really hard to explore the mechanics and come up with a plan. It takes me some time to understand what a new color/character does and how it interacts with the other colors, but because of the timer I don't get much opportunity to explore. If you had more tutorial levels, so that we already understand the mechanics better before you ramp up the difficulty, I think I would enjoy it a lot more. Still, it's a fun idea :)

Submitted

Thanks for the very insightful feedback! Your point about the disconnect and precision makes a lot of sense to me. I'll have to read this a few more times, but all of it is very helpful. Thanks for the taking the time to explain everything (with fun analogies too!) and putting out some ideas of your own.

(1 edit)

No worries! Thanks for sharing!

If you have some time, try and help out some of the other people seeking advice in the thread too :)

Ooh, nice work giving feedback on other games!

Submitted

Here's mine

Rate : https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/461979

Game : https://vcp.itch.io/only-one-pair-of-platforms

1. Is the main mechanic of the platforms too easy or too hard

2. Maybe after the jam I could insert a little more variety into the game


(+1)

Hmm, depends what you're going for.

If you're going for hard, which I think you are, I think the question is how you express difficulty.

Another way of thinking of it is asking yourself this question: "What am I testing the player on?"

Currently, your game is a bit of an endurance challenge. It becomes a question of whether you can keep the rhythm of jumping once you get it.

If you wanted to change what you were challenging, one option would be to shift toward designing a bunch of different configurations the two platforms appear in. Then each pair would serve as a micro-level, a little trial to be overcome quickly before the next pair appeared.

If you went in that direction, you might want to make the actual platforming easier (as players need to take in what's going on, and then execute a plan quickly).

If you stick with the endurance thing, you probably need a way to ramp challenge up over time. Maybe a steady increase in the rhythm of the platforms appearing?

You probably need to decide what it is you want the game to be, and why you want people to play it, to answer the too easy / too hard question. Does that make any sense?

Submitted

Crystal clear my friend :)

Thank you for the advice. I'll definitely try and implement designs such as the ones you have suggested. I just thought I would stick with what I had done so far for the jam since I thought it was rather challenging enough as is. 

Oh yeah, absolutely. 

Making major changes now would be waaaay out of scope

Submitted

+1 to everything Crime Dog said. All I have to add is that it was hard to figure out when the platforms were going to change. Maybe that's the whole point, but maybe you could keep the challenge while tying the change to some music (ex. changes on the beat or at start of loop).

Submitted

This is a good thread. I would really like feedback on the progression of how the levels teach the player the intended mechanic. I know there is a flaw in my design halfway through. But no one mentions it, I was only able to figure it out by watching someone play the game. I would also like to get feedback on enemy patterns, this was my 1st time making enemies with patrol routs and I kinda winged it with regards to timing and how long they should do certain actions for. I know this is kinda granular but It's something I don't see being addressed at all and I really want to know the answers to these things! 

TLDR ; Were you able to understand all the mechanics at a proper pace? How did the enemy patterns look?

Thank you so much for making this thread. I hope to see some good replies now!

https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/460992

Submitted
  1. I'm sorry I forgot to do the template,

    1. Level design and Enemy patterns.
    2. My goal was to introduce new mechanics to the player and ask them to think about the game in a different way.
Submitted

Really fun stealth-puzzle game! The enemy patterns made sense to me. The timing was a bit tight for some levels, but that can be adjusted and, as long as the player can get back into it quickly, it shouldn't matter too much. My main probably was that I had a hard time telling when the guards were able to see me at long distances. Maybe adding a line of sigh or sight cone would help? You could also make it so the guards have a state between not seeing you and chasing you (sort of how the soldiers in Metal Gear get curious and slowly walk over to check things out). You could also do something like Thief does and have a visual indicator showing how visible you are. You could also modify the levels to make it more obvious where you can and cannot hide.

Hey FTWRahul!

You did a really good job at introducing mechanics, I felt! I really enjoyed your game, great little puzzle stealth experience.

I liked the puzzles for the most part!

You've got a problematic difficulty spike here:


I think the issue is not so much that the solution itself is particularly hard, but that the player starts in danger.

About 3 seconds into the level, the enemy will kill the player if they haven't moved. I think this distracts the player from actually solving the puzzle, as they need to deal with that immediate problem before they can think. Which would be less of an issue if this wasn't also a level where you're teaching the importance of positioning enemies on switches.

Perhaps a redesign where the player can observe the enemy before placing THEMSELVES at risk would work better?

Also, while you can hide from the bad guy by standing to the side of the room, that's not exactly intuitive. If that's going to be a part of your system, I think you need a whole level to teach it (hugging the wall is the only thing you have to/can do to pass an enemy).

You could also expand the wall out to give the player something obvious to hide behind to indicate that they SHOULD hide?

Quite a few different ways to solve this one, you'd have test them out and see which is your favourite :)

Submitted

My game is too cryptic.

People get stuck and end up frustrated and lost.

---

1. What is the mechanic or element of your game you want feedback on? Be specific!

I would like feedback on where people are getting stuck.

2. What is your goal for the game?

Fun! But also, to get inside the player's head.

---

In response to people getting stuck, I added a help section to the description of my game.. but it partially spoils the game so I'm looking for the root cause.

In general, the response to my game has been pretty polarizing with some people loving it and others dreading it.

https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/462903

(+1)

First I need to check if I'M stuck and lost.

Is the way to beat the creator to close the tab and stop doing his dirty work?

If so, I get it.

If not, I don't and we can talk about WHY I don't, haha.

Submitted (2 edits)

My lord. I never thought someone would actually sit there and mine 50 hashes. Maybe this is a true psychological experiment..

Evidently, you got stuck and didn't make progress. 

(Spoiler Alert for others)

The question now is did you see the cryptic_hash message that says "distract_the_creator" and "annoy_the_creator..."? These are meant to hint at the idea that you should hit the Alert button.

If you did see them and didn't hit the Alert button, then that is a problem with the messaging/wording.

If you didn't see them and didn't hit the Alert button, then I need to go back and work on making sure the story progresses by either constantly bombarding the user with hints in the cryptic_hash or interrupting the player somehow to ensure progress is made.

It's possible to get stuck like this if you never bother to look at the cryptic_hash but that isn't the case here since you showed me the 50 hash message. I tried to do a band-aid solution by adding a HELP I'M STUCK section to the game's description but that probably isn't looked at or the solution isn't good enough.

Thank you for the very insightful feedback.

(+1)

Ah cool, just wanted to make sure we were on the same page.

For context, this was in my second playthrough. 

So, I did see that message, and I DID hit the alert button, but nothing happened?

For reference I:

<saw the message>

<spammed alert about twenty times>

<mined another hash to see if the mysterious outsider would say anything again (they did not)>

<game continued on as it did in my first playthrough>

Maybe a glitch?

On the too cryptic note, I think all you really need to do here is to have messages hidden in EVERY cryptic hash, not just some.

I actually played the game through twice, and the first time I checked the hash a few times but coincidentally none of the times I checked it did I see a message, so I figured 'eh, guess I was wrong about that'.

Second time I checked the hash literally every time, but I only did that because I'd already failed the first playthrough and was looking really hard for something I'd missed.

Submitted

(Spoiler Alert)

Yeah.. so essentially "both" to my last question.. you not only had problems with discovering storyline progression (searching cryptic_hash), but even after discovering the progression you didn't know how to progress (hit alert -> mine hash -> hit alert -> repeat).

This is a HUGE learning for me.

I think I've just learned the value of playtesting before releasing a game, especially if it is a game that requires close attention and secret storylines.

Thank you again. This has been very useful and I really appreciate it.

(+1)

No worries Pyrecraft! The tricky thing about playtesting a game like yours is that you almost need a new playtester in the chair every time you make a change!

Failing that, I feel like you just have to make some more affordances and try and widen the successful path through a bit, although it's definitely a tricky balancing act when you're making something deliberately obtuse.

Good luck!

Submitted(+2)

I think you could fix the problem of getting stuck with just some ui changes. I would have made the cryptic_hash always be visible and in exactly the same spot. That would make it much easier to detect something is going on in them. You may also want to introduce a way to look at previous sent requests/received hashes, so that the player can read back if it took them a little while to figure out what is going on. I do think it will stay a bit of a niche game, even with a better UI. That's not a bad thing though, you don't have to make something that caters to everyone, and I enjoyed the game :)

Submitted

You are so right, I could easily have just made the hashes smaller (to make the message more obvious) and store them with each request, just like I do with each guess. ~_~

That's a great suggestion.

Submitted

I ended up doing the same thing as Crime Dog and spammed the alert button after seeing a message. With your guidance, I restarted after that and completed the game. It had me thinking, so I enjoyed it (& you succeeded with your goal)!

I got stuck because I didn't know where to look for clues. I could look to the narrator/creator for clues, the hashes, the dialogue that was not the narrator, or the incoming messages. The first time I saw the messages in the hashes, I ended up ignoring them because I wanted to brute force the hash (not the smartest decision I've made). Having a fail state where either the hashes (early on) mention using the alert button or the narrator mentions "ignore the messages" or "stop distracting me; only alert me when you've found a match" could help those that get stuck.

Submitted

Hi! 

My game name is Room. 

It is a Desktop puzzle game where you need to find the clues to escape. And you got ONLY ONE chance at this. 

1)Are the clues to the puzzle is understandable? Does the player have any idea what to do next to solve the puzzle? Is the puzzle design lame? 

2)I am expecting to expand the game with more clear audio and sound effects... And also with some clear clues and expand the puzzle design

https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/461585


I'll give it a go now Sasuke, one sec

I'm having trouble getting the game to unzip, getting this error whenever I try to extract.

I really want to try it, I love the old windows style :(

Submitted

OK... I will try to upload another file. 

Submitted

I failed to escape, but I enjoyed the puzzles and was completely engrossed while I played! The only puzzle clue I didn't understand (ignoring all the others that I killed myself with) was the "number of steps". Once I counted the number in the image (and I'm unsure if the topmost "step" is actually the landing and should or should not be counted), I was at a loss as to what to do. I tried counting forward the number of characters, but got a letter and I moved on to other clues. What made the clues (even if I didn't understand them enough to win) work for me is that it was apparent what was a clue, but it was not obvious what the clue meant. Because of this, I never felt completely lost and could justify my (wrong) decisions.


I'm excited to see what all you add! My only worry is that adding too many will give the player choice overload/paralysis. With only one window, you have to keep a lot in your head. But, it probably won't be an issue.

Submitted

Thanks so much for playing the game!You gave really good feedback for the game.

The number of steps was not directed clearly ...and it is my fault for not designing that clue properly[It was supposed to be counting the number of steps and checking that numbered line of the text file].

Submitted

Hi everyone, thanks in advance for taking the time to help other people, that's super nice and what it's all about! :)


I'm not too sure about the main mechanic of my game here https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/461157. I think it may be fine for people who do music or rhythm games often because they may be used to multitasking/automating a repetitive pattern/melody, knowing when to press the buttons and memorizing it really fast (please correct me if I'm wrong though). I'd like some feedback specially from people who aren't too accostumed to musical notation and/or playing an instrument, on how does it affect the gameplay (and how easy/hard is it to get to play the game due to the mechanic, if it was even possible at all for you). Also, does it make it tedious?


I'd also like to know if the level design achieves its purpose. I wrote down some stuff on the game's page that came to my head while publishing it for the sake of documentation, and along other stuff, it kind of outlines (even if vaguely) the purpose of each room in the game, and I'd like to know if I achieved it and helped the mechanic shine through the level's design. (I also forgot to mention the introduction's purpose on my game's description, but I think that it's pretty clear)


The goal of the game is to experiment and find possible new tools/techniques that I can possibly use in the future, and learn how far can I push some different skills into games, while keeping them enjoyable. In other terms:  knowing if I can rely on some memorization, rhyth, multitasking, or whatever skills are needed to play the game as the basis for my mechanics, and knowing if I'm pushing them too far or making the game too crowded by having all of it. It's not (at least in the forseeable future) for something commercial, but rather for basic research/experimenting purposes. 


Side note: If you're attempting to play the game and hitting the notes seems kind of out of place, or delayed, or buggy, or unreliable, or whatever; try downloading the game (bottom of the page) and lower the rendering clarity in Unity if the problem still persists. (Sorry, it's a bug I couldn't fix due to time constraints. It's most likely frametime fluctuation related)


Thanks a ton!

(Sorry for the huge wall of text, and I'll get to test some of your games in here and give feedback another day because it's pretty late at night already here)

So for context, I used to play guitar and I've studied music a little, but I'm by no means a musician.

I also play rhythm games a bit, and I'd say I'm neither great-nor-bad.

Your game is soooo bruuuutally haaaard.

It took me about 15 minutes to play THE LICK even once, and admittedly some of that was due to frame skipping, but still.

I think part of the difficulty there was due to the fact that I couldn't rest my hand, as I had to play five notes. This required me to shift my hand up one key to hit 5, then back down to reset for 3-12, which is quite tricky as is.

Add in movement and it's very, very hard.

I was able to defeat the first demon, but I feel like your mechanics are fighting each other a bit. The mouse movement doesn't really add anything to the game, perhaps the game could function more like a movement-less battle game?

I really, really like the idea of using music to fight and I understand that the one lick, one measure thing as to keep it on theme, but I think only being able to have the one lick affect gameplay gets in the way of being expressive with the music.

That said, having to actually pull of THE LICK does have a certain appeal.

What if instead of having to move around, each note of THE LICK did something? One note blocked attacks, one note attacked, etc. But you could only *finish enemies off* using THE LICK, otherwise they get some health back and get back up?

That way, you have the satisfaction of learning to play a piece of 'music', as well as some of the free expression of just hitting notes and grooving out on devils.

(as for the technical issues, I think there might be some pre-existing unity plug-ins which help with syncing game-play to rhythms and stuff, you might be able to find something there that helps with future rhythm games.)

Submitted (1 edit)

Hey, thanks for the feedback! I guess you're right in that it offers way too much challenge in different areas (movement and playing the lick) at the same time from the very beggining. If I ever decide to touch up on the game again, I'll definitely make for better introductory material and add better cues to show the player when and how to perform the lick to make it less daunting, maybe animating the next key to play in the lick pulsing to the beat or something (and also the technical stuff...).

I like the idea of making different notes have also different purposes, (stunning and parrying come to mind) but finishing off with the entire melody, although I'd maybe change it to make small three/four-note-melodies (easier and maybe slower ones) take that role in order to add diversity and expression as you said (which I wholeheartedly agree on), but keeping it to the 'performing melodies' core and sort of learning something that could work musically if you were to go to a piano or something and give it a go, I feel it is more rewarding to do something right and get rewarded for it than just pressing a button for an advantage in this case, plus you still get to kind of improvise and groove by choosing which smaller melodies to use, kind of if you were improvising a solo by stitching together particular techniques to your heart's content and give it a different feel depending on the intervals chosen; maybe one of this small melodies could be a diminished triad arpeggio back to the root, or maybe a suspended first triad, or a II V I but in notes only, and so on... (oh man, your idea here really rocks and it's making my imagination run wild haha thanks)

That being said, maybe having a small and weaker-than-playing-the-lick visual effect unique to each note would add a lot for the 'hitting notes and grooving out on devils' you mentioned too (and actually... that gives me another idea... if I map the notes you're playing correctly to the chromatic wheel, it should look good if you play something harmonious due to ratios and stuff and could probably help by giving more cues to the brain on what to do and make it create stronger connections/associations and have a higher aesthetic appeal while playing it).

Anyways, thanks a ton for the advice, I felt that the difficulty was right when playing it and that made me suspect it was all kinds of wrong, thanks for giving your feedback on it, it's super appreciated. Also thanks for suggesting the plug-ins, I don't know why I hadn't thought of that, and I'll absolutely look it up.


(Edited the comment by dividing it in smaller and more digestible paragraphs)

Submitted

Back in middle and high school, I was in band, so I know the basics of reading music. That being said, I had no early idea how I was supposed to sync up with the drums (never played with a non-symphonic band to be fair) until I listened to your audio and started head banging. After almost 30 minutes, I pulled off the lick (twice, apparently, but I only remember doing it once). It was so satisfying, almost like it was the Dark Souls of rhythm games.

I think having eighth notes being the first thing you have to pull off (at the game's tempo) is too fast. To make things more difficult, it is hard to use the keyboard to play. I have to both scrunch up my hand and twist it to cover the keys. Maybe a numpad would be better, but not everyone has one.

The only real cue you had for when to play (aside from the subtle camera shakes and the drum), was the music at the top (only at the beginning). I can't see someone who is unfamiliar with sheet music being able to read it without it lighting up in time with the drum (like in other rhythm games). Just having that up there as a visual refer for when to play (pros could still disable it if you wanted) could help a lot. Options for changing the bpm might help as well (sort of like custom difficulty).

I'm going to disagree with Crime Dog a little here and say that I think the movement controls could work as long as players were able to fall into a rhythm with the lick. If they were able to do that, they could focus on movement more and playing less (sort of what you said). I think it would also help to make the circle around the player bigger. That way if people still had a hard time, they would have to move less. I'd be interested in what others think though.

Your idea on paper gets me excited, and I did really enjoy pulling off the lick, so I think you had the right idea. The issue (for me at least) was the barrier to entry being too high.

Submitted

Thanks for the feedback! I should add more cues to help the player get started quicker as you said, I dropped the ball there for sure. Something else that I found is that tempo is kind of hard to get right. I started by making the game go at a regular 120 bpm, however I found that by keeping it low, it's easier to teach the game, but at the same time you make the player have to spend more time for the same reward and the player must play safer and slower, making it more boring/tedious and having to plan from even further ahead, so I went with a 140 bpm which (I think) I once heard was about the upper limit on the speed that people normally talk at, but I do agree that it may be too fast to start off there, maybe have it ramp up alongside the challenge would have made for better balancing. 

Also I have a small question about the hand position thing. How is your keyboard layed out, how big is it, about how tall are the keys and could you provide with maybe a drawing on your position? This part has me a bit intrigued because I never considered the ergonomics being too harsh here, I really just felt it like a small piano, but it probably is different on different keyboards and different hands. I absolutely should have designed around such cases because everyone is different and their keyboards are too.

The drum beat thing being displayed visually and such is a good suggestion. I got to be honest here, the only rhythm games I've watched (not even played) are Guitar Hero and Piano Tiles, in reality I just wanted to try something new, but in retrospect that was probably the biggest overlook ever haha. Thanks for making me remember the importance of looking what others have done before every once in a while to fix some issues I might not have seen.

Again, thanks for the very insightful suggestions. They will come in really handy if I ever want to make something like this game again or decide to make it a bigger thing. (I mean, some of them, specially when thinking about the moral of their story, will come in very handy for game design in general anyways, so thank you!)

Submitted

I have the Mac's Magic Keyboard with Numpad:

The keys are very shallow and each if about the size of my thumb. I play the game by placing my left hand so each of my fingers is over 1-5. The issues is that my thumb is much shorter than my other fingers. This means to hover over the 5 key I have to twist my wrist to my thumb is over the key (making it harder to hit the other keys) or really push my thumb forward (my thumb then ends up parallel to the key, making it hard to press down without hitting a bunch of other keys). This issue with my thumb exacerbates the difficulty of crossing your fingers (or whatever the actual name is when playing piano) when switching from 1-5 to higher notes and back.

It's crazy that this is a design consideration when making a PC rythm game; what keyboard is my player using?

Submitted

I just really want feedback on how well I utilised the theme of the jam. This is my first game jam and I just really want to know how well I did in terms of responding to the theme

My game is called One Shot In The Chamber, a wave based survival game where you must fight off hordes of enemies with the catch being, you have only one bullet. Fortunately, the bullet is magic and you can summon it back to you or teleport to it. Using this unique ability, you must survive as long as possible in the chamber. Here is a screenshot of the game and the link to the game page: https://mark-auman.itch.io/one-shot-in-the-chamber

Hmm, that's a really tricky question to answer! Maybe someone else can pipe in?

I feel that it does. The game clearly draws on twin-stick shooter design, and having one 'bullet' on screen at a time is atypical. 

I guess you COULD argue that your bullet doesn't behave entirely like a bullet (it stops where you shot it to, as opposed to continuing to travel), which may weaken the theme. That's pretty nitpicky though.

I rated it high on adherence, you'd probably need to find someone who disagrees and ask them why?

Submitted

I also rated it highly on theme. I found it obvious what you had made one of then designed your game to make the most of it. The dual purpose design of your bullet as your means of damaging enemies and your spot to teleport works well especially in this jam https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5C1Uj7jJCg

Submitted

I remember plaything this earlier and really enjoying it, and I enjoyed playing it again! That being said, I apologize because I'm about to be a Negative Nancy (rolling with the pun here):

In a stream on Thursday, Mark Brown said that the reason he gave Only One examples in the jam theme video such as your "only one bullet" was that he felt they were the obvious answers to the theme (this was not communicated well in the video).  We have seen this in the jam with there being a large number of "only one bullet" games. I'm a big worried that "only one bullet" paints you into a corner when it comes to design options. That being said, your plays the best out of all the ones I've experienced, this jam or otherwise.

To utilize the theme of the jam well (in my eyes) you have to build the game around the consequences of your "only one" mechanic. In your and other games, we have seen the consequences of having only one bullet being:

  1. I must bounce the bullet in order to hit multiple enemies
  2. I only have one shot per level
  3. I have to make sure my bullet does not break
  4. I have to collect my bullet in order to fire again
  5. In order to effectively fight enemies, I must use some telekinetic-like power to recall or push or move my bullet
  6. Since there is always one bullet, I can teleport to it; if you had multiple, you wouldn't be able to tell which you would teleport to (I have only seen this in yours, and this mechanic is what makes yours stand out and be so much fun for me)

You have 4 and part of 5, but it might have been interesting if you also were able to push away the bullet (they do something similar here: https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/462860). Pushing away the bullet also works well with your teleportation since you can push it to a more safe area behind enemy lines. There are probably many other creative consequences of having one bullet that I'm not thinking of that you and other people can and will come up with. I'm not advocating for implementing everything here; I'm just listing what I saw in the hopes it inspires you.

Another thing I've seen people do is design enemies around having one bullet. The only example I can think of right now is an enemy that can only be hit from the back. One thing I don't remember seeing, but probably exists is a special enemy that can break your bullet if you're not careful (this could be frustrating). A variation of this could be an enemy that freezes your bullet or hits it back at you (so it damages you). That could cause one of the gameplay state changes Mark Brown seems to like where you go from being powerful with a bullet to running away.

I hope something in this post is helpful. Again, I want to reiterate this I really enjoyed your game. I'm just being a bit more negative here in the hopes of giving you helpful feedback.

Submitted

1.Level and puzzle design

2. Right now my goal is to make puzzle more intuitive and improve myself as level designer. 

It's a puzzle game where you solve puzzles with only one light from your magical wizard staff. 

https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/461880

I'm struggling to extract your game from the .zip... same issue as I'm having with ROOM above.

Anyone else able to open this one?

Submitted

I have 0 complaints with your puzzles. I had a lot of fun with them and never felt clueless and/or at a loss. The only thing I can suggest is that when you make harder puzzles in the future, playtest them a bunch.


My only real complaint (& I already mentioned this in a comment on your game) is that mirrors can get stuck, forcing you to reset. This is an easy fix though with a grab mechanic (or something more clever you come up with!).

Submitted

Hi everyone, 

My game is name HARPOON!!!. It is a top down shooter in which you have only an harpoon do defend yourself. Everytime you use it to get it back to use again. The goal is to create a feeling of tension because you can’t afford to miss. And also have a great feeling of satisfaction when everything go according to plane or you succesfully recover your harpoon at the last second.

 I really like working on this game and I want to update it. Before I add any content I would like to polish the basic "feel" of the game. 

1) How do you feel about the movements of the Player? It is too slow or too fast? Do you find it maniable enought? Do you think a secondary movement skill would make improuve the experience?

2) The harpoon is supose to deliver a feeling of strenght. Do you think it deliver on that feeling when you use it? 

Thank you in advance :-)

https://thebigroom.itch.io/harpoon-labyrinth


1) I am of the firm belief that almost every game can be improved by a dodge roll, but that's just me :)

2) I think it might be a good idea to make picking up the harpoon a click rather than a hold. If you wanted to use a hold input for anything, it might make more sense doing a hold/release to throw the javelin to add emphasis to the feeling of throwing? Something to try maybe!

Submitted

1) The movement of the player is perfect. It feels like I am in complete control (contributing to a feeling of being powerful). I'd be careful if you're adding anything such as a dodge roll or dash since those can take control away from the player (making you feel less powerful) in exchange for temporary safety.

2) The sound effects (love the Wilhelm scream, btw) such as the thuds make me feel powerful. Hitting multiple enemies also makes me feel powerful as does exploiting the enemy AI. However, almost everything else in the game makes me feel weak and like I am up against impossible odds. The sort of feeling you get when taking on the zombie horde with only limited resources. One of the reasons for this is the harpoon. Having one harpoon means you are going to switch into a (powerless) running away state when trying to recover the harpoon. The delay on picking up the harpoon magnifies this because you have to stand still for a short while, exposing yourself to the enemy.

Some other things that made me feel less powerful were:

  • The zoomed in camera. Since I can't see the enemy (and some can jump across a good portion of the screen), my guard is always up. It is sort of like how you have to be prepared for what's around the corner or through the window in the older Resident Evil games. When I do see them, I usually end up using a more twitch-y reaction instead of calculated, controlled one since they are almost on top of me.
  • The number of enemies. Mowing down hordes of enemies can make you feel powerful (I felt great after hitting three in a single shot!), but if you're outnumbered and forced to run, you feel very vulnerable.
  • Enemies can jump over your harpoon. I think this is great, but it doesn't make me feel powerful. It makes my weapon feel weaker (since it can be dodged).
  • You can't win. The game is infinite, so you will die at some point. It's hard to feel powerful when you know that you're going to die (although some final blazes of glory do make you feel good).

That all being said, I really enjoyed not feeling powerful. It was satisfying going up against a powerful enemy!

Submitted

Hi!

I would like some feedback about the controls (and the player mechanics but they're tied) of my game. From what I saw they're confusing but I have few reviews.

As for my goal, during the jam I thought the idea would make a good mobile game but now I don't know. That's why I'm asking for more feedbacks (and suggestions if you have any).

Here's the link to the game : https://cocosar07.itch.io/oneshot

Submitted

I posted what I liked about your game in the comments but as for specific feedback I think it would be good to have all the information for the player in one place. When I am attacking I am looking where I want to attack. When it is on cool down was not obvious to me until I saw it up the top. This gave me the impression that it was not working. Once I saw the timer I understood it but I had to keep looking away from the enemies I was trying to kite. If you had the information on the mouse cursor like it was red on cooldown then slowly turned green when I could attack again I think it would feel more fluid. I had similar feedback in another jam I did with https://n00begon.itch.io/time-stream where you had to keep looking at the top of the screen rather than at the enemies. I think all the pieces are there you just need to make sure all the information is easy to access for the player and it will feel better. Like your screenshake and slow motion make them feel badass now you just need to make it more obvious when you can move so it feels more fluid.

Submitted

Thanks for taking the time to comment ! I tried your game and I definitely see what you mean about making the information easy to access. I'll keep that in mind for my next games. As for the mouse color, that would have been a good addition in the context of the jam (not really possible for a mobile game but I can add something on the player, or some visual feedback if you try attacking when it's not available).

It might also be worth defaulting the position the dash aims for as where the player holds down the mouse? There were a lot of times when I went to dash somewhere and then had to readjust my cursor away from the point where I wanted to dash... felt a little counter-intuitive. You've done a good job of juicing what you have though!

I think you could probably benefit a lot from watching people play over their shoulders, if you can get some people sitting in front of the game. See what they try to do first.

Submitted

Thanks for the feedback ! The idea behind the dash was to do a "swipe" in the direction you want to dash so I went full on with this idea even if there might be better alternatives.

The playtesting part is a great idea, I will see if I can find people to do it.

Submitted

I think the swiping would make for a great mobile game (people are already conditioned to it with games such as Angry Birds and Candy Crush).

What confused me about the controls was that I didn't walk to where I clicked. I either walked past where I clicked or stopped short of where I clicked. I also had a few times where I swear I swiped one way, but flew another. As Crime Dog said, watching people play should help you figure this out. Also, it was hard to figure out where I would stop after dashing (this made the switches very frustrating). I think adding a marker of where you will land after dashing would fix this.

Submitted

Hi Everyone,

My game is It only takes one.

I would like specific feedback on how the game made you feel. It is an abstract game but I was trying to make the player interpret what is going on. I am curious what your view on it is and whether it worked for you.

Here is the link https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/462278#post-884531

Hi n00begon!

I felt that each of the other entities in your game did a good job of feeling abrasive/unhelpful, but the part that really got ME personally was toward the end.

When those slightly more blue shouty people vortex you in and debuff your speed, I found myself thinking 'shit man, just leave me alone, I just want to reach the top of the goddamn screen'. And tell you what, I've had a lot of days where I've felt like that.

It's a good mechanical representation of trying to get through a day with a depression, you did well.

If you were looking to improve it further, one area might be making the character at the end who does you kindness a bit punchier mechanically. Removing the speed debuff from the shouters is excellent, but it would be nice if they also followed you as you moved to help you feel like you two were interacting.

Of course, that's only really relevant if you interpret it like I did, which was meeting someone who you could share your day with.

If you're going the random act of kindness from a stranger who ISN'T going to be in your life from there forward, perhaps there should be a part at the end that is impassable until the stranger is kind to you.

Perhaps an effect like pushing through wind, or something similar. I think you tried to do it with the crowd earlier, which was really effective, but one more beat which REQUIRES the strangers help would I think make the message hit harder!

Submitted

Hi Crime Dog, thanks for the feedback. The end person will follow you around. In an earlier build they rushed towards you and stuck to you and the feedback I got was that it was that they were a significant other. I was trying to make it a more general person than that so they will keep a 'respectful distance' from you. This was added right at the end so I think that the main thing that players experience is that they just stand still and you can walk up to them but they won't react (Because they are not moving when you are in their bubble) which did not come across quite as I had hoped.

Yeah an extra beat at the end would be great, I left a lot of ideas out to get it in on time but it is one that I would like to revisit.

Submitted

It seems like I got the same interpretation as Crime Dog. I felt depressed/sad until the end and then waited a good minute just listening to the music and thinking about the game. As the character at the end didn't follow me I just pushed it to the top with me :) The crowd part was also a strong one, having to force your way to the top.

Submitted

Thanks for the feedback :) . Damn I seem to have messed up the end character. When I play it I think I usually push along the side so you can see them walking towards you. I have also heard that it can not trigger the end set of music so maybe there is just a straight bug I need to find in there. I need to remember to set aside time on the last day of a jam to grab people to play test it.

Submitted

Hello!

I already got feedback from people that my game is hard to understand, mostly because of lack of proper introduction to the main gameplay mechanics.
My game is a puzzle-platformer with only one platform. You have to set the teleporters to move the block around.
Because of the lack of proper introduction I made it under the description, and my question is:

1. How hard and frustrating it is to learn the mechanics of the teleporters? How much did you understand it from the game + the description and how much levels could you pass?
2. After the jam ends I am planning on making an introduction from scratch, meaning that in the beginning the teleporters already set by themselves and the player only needs to figure out how to pass them. Slowly the player will get exposed to all the teleporters mechanics and only after that the player slowly gets to set the teleporters by himself.

Here's the game:
OneBlock

The constant death during the tutorial while I was trying to figure it out slowed the learning process considerably, and I was often dying without actually learning anything. Every death should really be a lesson in a game like this.

Your idea of having the teleporters already set is a good one, I would build on that.

A level or two where you just have to platform existing teleporters to give you a chance to get used to the platforming physics is good.

I think the next step after that would be to design a number of levels where you have to MODIFY an existing set of teleporters to make the cycle more favorable for you (for inspiration, have a look at timing-based platforming challenges in existing games, then modify them so they become impossible and the player has to fix them by affecting the teleporters).

I think your idea is a little hamstrung by the theme here, as the idea of changing the cycles of level elements in a platformer manually is a really cool twist on the genre, but being restricted to a single block (especially having it dissapear as soon as you move) really limits what you can do.

If you do stick with the one block idea, I'd double or even triple how long the ticks last for blocks; currently the platforming challenge is very high, right from the word go.

Another way to reduce complexity might be to not have all of the teleporter functionality active from the start.

You already do this a bit with the maximum-time limitations on certain teleporters, but it could be good to only have some of the more complex functionality come in later too (you could colour code the teleporters or have them in some way visually different when they have extra functionality. Bonus points if the visual difference is a tactile thing I click to activate or modify that function).

Sorry for the wall of text!

To summarize, the strongest part of the game in my opinion (for whatever that's worth) is modifying the cycles in platforming challenges manually to make them possible, or favorable. There's a huge design space to play with there, just be gentler on the players and maybe drop the one block limitation post-jam if you find you're not getting great levels out of the restriction!

Submitted (3 edits)

Thanks for the reply!

Yes, I need to work on the teleporters introduction, I will publish when it's ready.

Hmm, about being restricted by one block I don't think I'm that restricted. I made the game because I saw the potential in it and the idea of the teleporters came because I thought about a platformer with only one platform. I have a couple of ideas tho for making levels with 2 or 3 blocks in it, but I don't see my game having a bunch of blocks because then I don't see how the teleporters might work and make sense.

About the ticks, yeah, it might be a bit fast, but also if I make them slower it will make the repetition function obsolete, because then its too simple to get to the door/portal in time. What im planning is to make the experience and learning slower. In the begining the player cannot edit the teleporters and they will be set up in a way that requires the player to both think and react fast, so the player gets the chance to train before the real puzzles. Also I'm thinking about adding a 4 tick teleporter.

Yep, there is a huge design playground in the idea and that's why I really wanted to create the concept and to see where I can go with it. I didn't know how much time it will take me to do all the stuff since it's my first game jam. Here you can see my full playthrough and check out all the levels you might not got there yet (I edited the video so it won't be too long. In real time I've played about half an hour):

Submitted

My game is a puzzle platformer apparently similar to Swapper.

1. Does the level progression teach the mechanics well enough throughout to not be frustrating but also give the player those epiphany moments?

2. Are there enough twists for the game to continue to be engaging throughout this jam prototype?

3. If I were to continue with this game, what sort of art style/ theme would you think would suit this game?

(I’ll also try and start helping people with their stuff once I get back to my pc)

  1. Early level progression was great! Best epiphany moment was definitely the one where you have to jump across a bunch of switch-blocks, I thought it was going to be impossible until I realized I could stall the top clones momentum on the bit hanging off the roof. Really cool.

However, I got stuck here:

Couldn't get past the first challenge with the vertical line of cubes.

It felt like a big difficulty ramp, but maybe the answer is simple and I just haven't had enough sleep, haha.

2. Until I got stuck, I felt like there were enough. Not sure how much further the game goes beyond this level, so maybe someone who got further than me can answer?

3. That's a tricky one. I actually can't think of anything entirely cohesive off the top of my head, might have to sleep on it. The hive mind aspect suggests a lot of themes, but it's hard to think of one where killing / removing all of the remainders makes sense from a thematic perspective. Unless you could replace death with a gentler theming, while still keeping similar obstacles?

Submitted

My game is called Broken Robot and it's a puzzle platformer where you can only press each button once per stage.

https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/462219

1. I would like some feedback on how I use the theme in the game itself

2. My goal was to try and make a game that would focus a lot on the theme. I have found some games that I liked but I didn't think used the theme to the extent they could have.

Yeah, I'd say being able to only press each button once is pretty on theme!

Can you be a little more specific on feedback for how you use the theme in game? Is there a specific mechanic that you worry is off theme? Is there an area where you wanted to use the theme and couldn't?  The more specific you are, the more helpful the feedback you get is likely to be!

Submitted

Hi there!

For my entry of the jam, I created a 2D Platformer based around light, where you need use the latter and its shadows to your advantage; for example you can double-jump in light and/or use shadows as solid blocks to either walk on, or wall jump on, but ONLY ONE can be on at a time. Here is the trailer for my game, if you want to understand the mechanics better : 

Now I am pretty happy with the movement of my character (it's diffcicult but that's what I wanted to achieve) even though some think it is TOO difficult, but that not why I am here... Many have critiziced the level design of my game, and frankly I really suck at level design, but not many have given me ways to improve specifically the level design...

So I was wondering:

  • What makes a good level ? What makes it fun ?
  • In my case, How can improve the level design of my game ?
  • And what is the perfect difficulty curve for such a game ? is it OK to challenge the player instantly or not, etc. ?

Thank you in advance for everyone who took the time to answer my questions :)

PS : Here is my game entry if you want to test it out

Hey, great trailer!

I'm pretty tired and about 5 minutes off bed (Australian time here), so if you don't mind I'll pop back tomorrow so I can give you answers that actually make sense, and aren't just the sleep-deprived ravings of a madman.

Submitted

xD Of course man! There is no hurry ;) Thank you for doing this!

  • What makes a good level? What makes it fun?

We'll come back to that one! Let's start with your difficulty curve question.

  • And what is the perfect difficulty curve for such a game ? is it OK to challenge the player instantly or not, etc. ?

As a rule, the perfect difficulty curve generally looks (roughly) like this:


The game progressively gets harder, with slight dips in the difficulty to allow the player to relax after particularly tricky challenges.

As to how HARD a game should be generally, I think it really depends on who the game is for and what you want it to be.

Personally, I think a game should be as hard as it needs to be to show off it's mechanics; some mechanics pushed to their limit get really tricky.


  • In my case, how can I improve the level design of my game?

First up, one of your jobs as a level designer is to be a teacher! There are three things you should keep in mind at all times when designing a level.

  1. What does the player know already?
  2. What do I want them to know by the end of level?
  3. How is the level going to teach them what I want them to know by the end of it?

This, and how you test the player's knowledge, is generally what a difficulty curve actually is.

However, it's important to separate the concepts of difficulty and punishment in your mind, as they're not the same.

Difficulty is how hard something is to do.

Punishment is how severe the consequences of failing to do it is.

Take this early level of yours:


You teach, and test, the double jump mechanic in this level.

While death isn't a huge punishment in your game due to the quick respawns, it's still probably not necessary as a consequence for failing.

If the consequence of failing my double jump simply meant I had to try again with better timing rather than an infinite fall to my death, it would teach exactly the same lesson, but be less frustrating (others have mentioned but I think there's something up with your doublejump code, it doesn't always trigger when I press 'w').

Same difficulty, lower punishment for failing.

So back to:


  • What makes a good level ? What makes it fun ?

A good level tests only what you've been taught and teaches what you will later test, but that's not all.

A good level might offer epiphanies, 'aha, I get it!' moments that the player feels great for figuring out.

It might also allow the player to be expressive, using the mechanics of the game in a way that just *feels* good (see pop-corn enemies in a shoot-em-up game).

Level design is an art as much as it is a science, but it's great fun too!

If you can, try and test your levels on people you can watch play them. You don't need to ask their opinion, you'll quickly see where they get frustrated, and you'll be able to interpret what they were thinking by watching what they try to do.

In summary, teach the player, make them an expert at your game, then let them express that expertise in ways that feel good to do!

Submitted

First of all, thank so much for taking your time to do this, I really apreciate! This will help me a lot fot my future projects...

I agree completely with everything you said, especially the part about the difference of difficulty and punishment. I had never actually thought  it or heard anyone express it, in that way.  I will definetely keep that in mind, Thank you! And yes, after submitting I saw that there was a problem with the double-jumping code, not always registering W or UP_ARROW presses :(

Again, Thank you so much! I learned a lot about level design, I will definetely save thi comment for further use. I'll try to implement as much you have said either in this project after the jam or future projects. 

Thank you again!

(+1)

It's all good!

The two terms get used interchangeably a lot, even by designers, so it's really easy to get them mixed up.

Part of the issue with game design not having a proper taxonomy of terms, I suppose!

Keen to see your future levels, I think level design is one of the most enjoyable parts of making games once you get into the flow of it!

hi we could use feedback on the controls and design of the levels https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/462132?before=7#post-851500 thats my game tell me what you think plz

Hey! I remember you game!

The controls are fine, I think maybe the player character should accelerate to a slightly higher top speed.

I would love to have a little dash, or a dodge roll (see enter the gungeon for a top down example).

The level designs were quite good, I'd juice them up with more incidental breakable stuff in them that keeps the axe bouncing: think computer consoles, pipes that blast out steam which hurts enemies (and you!) when broken, etc. etc.

Submitted

I did the design for our single screen Metroidvania. I think the biggest thing I want feedback on is whether or not the Dragon, disappearing walls, and torch is enough to justify having a single screen? Anyone can make a small metroidvania, but to compliment this concept, there should be additional mechanics!
MICROVANIA - A One Screen Mini-Metroidvania with a Twist! 
https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/462198

*Dragon*
The dragon was our way of giving the player a reason to be able to see the whole castle at any given point. You've got to keep an eye on them as you explore.

*Disappearing Walls*
The disappearing walls means we don't have to spoil puzzles in advance (Without them, you could just stare at the screen until you figure it out right from the start.) and also means we don't need a Mini-Map which is usually required from Metroidvanias because they are often sprawling labyrinths.

*Torch*
Ok, ok, ok... I know its WAY too dark. But the player carrying the torch is supposed to make it easy to spot the character against the background. You should be able to squint and see where the player is in relation to the camera. (In the newer internal build, we have the character actually HOLD the torch, it's on the main path, so you can't miss it, and the global illumination is lighter so you aren't blind without the torch.

We've also added screen tilting in the internal version to allow the player to properly SEE into each room and keep the player character framed.

What other mechanics or ideas could we push to compliment our mini-metroidvania? <3 


MICROVANIA - A One Screen Mini-Metroidvania with a Twist!
https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/462198

And a few notes to help you play it! (The Game Jam build has a few bugs and quality of life issues) 

  • - It works with Keyboard OR Gamepad 
  • - You can view the controls in the menu (Esc or Start) 
  • - The Player has 3x Health but will be instantly killed by Dragon Fire
  •  - If you die twice, you should close and reopen the game (it breaks more and more with each death) 
  • - There are two Winning Endings (You Kill the Dragon, or You Give the Dragon What it's Looking for!) 
  • - There are 5 secret Gems hidden throughout the game if you can't find the last one, keep looking!

Hmm, I think you could maybe lean harder into the one screen thing?

Having to keep an eye on the dragon is good, but I think it would be great if there were more mechanics which required you to see what was going on in different parts of the screen, as that's your main mechanical twist.

I'm sort of torn on the torch, because it effectively undoes your twist! A small light radius is effectively the same thing as a small screen, right?

I think if some of the other mechanics were based around characters and unexpected interactions, you could get a chuckle out of seeing a wizard who's been working in his workshop the whole time becoming a roaming enemy when he gets annoyed at you flooding his workshop during solving another puzzle, that kind of thing.

Have you heard of a game design technique called the false ceiling? It's when a game looks like it's going to end at a certain point, but then surprises you by continuing past that point.

It's usually a nice little addition to a game, but in your case I think it may be mandatory to get the most out of the concept.

Having the castle transformed, or the context changed, by player actions which create new challenges would be excellent.

Effectively, I think you want to basically design dozens of levels, but then contrive a way that they can all be the castle, modified by some event (usually caused by the player).

Does that make any sense?

1) We have had tonnes of great feedback on what people would want to see from our game, thinks they like, things we could add and things they didn't like. We feel like one of the biggest issues is the level is too big and it is easy to get lost (we actually halved it during development). It does have an ending and a UI prompt to get there! We felt due to the theme being a little dark and horror orientated that we wanted the player to get a little lost. What do you think?

2) Bret thinks he the only survivor left on earth, he has a boombox with a torch and a radio built in and he has a chainsaw but they are too heavy to use both at the same time. One day, Bret receives a mysterious transmission containing coordinates and has to cut his way through zombie hordes to get there!

https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/461633


Hi Joshuahuk!

I like the feeling of being lost in a videogame, but...

I hate the feeling of being lost in a videogame.

It depends on the game.

So, for context I will turn off every navigational aid in an open world game if it'll let me, and some of my fondest gaming memories involve being lost in games like Morrowind.

Buuuuut...

It's a very similar question to 'should the character of my game move fast?'.

The answer depends entirely on the context of the entire game around it. 

That's kind of a cop out answer, so to elaborate a little further, let's change the question:

What does the player get out of being lost in your game?

  • Is it an interesting experience?
  • If it isn't, should it be?
  • If it shouldn't, why can the player get lost?

Basically, is getting lost in your game interesting, and do you want it to be?

Currently, I don't think your game benefits from having players feel lost, because being lost in your game isn't interesting. Getting lost and finding my way again doesn't really lead to me making any compelling decisions as a player, it just extends playtime.

(Sidenote: I didn't get lost in your game particularly due to that signal prompt.)

Now, you could make getting lost interesting if you wanted to!

Maybe getting lost leads to stumbling into greater challenges, or greater rewards.

Maybe it drains resources, and players have to improvise to survive.

Maybe the actual process of navigation is an interesting challenge (orienteering with maps, landmarks, vague directions, etc.)

There's heaps of thing that you could do, but do you actually WANT to them?

Because it's totally valid to just not have the player get lost at all. (In fact, it usually allows you to designer tighter, more exciting levels)

If you're making a top down action game (which I think this game is), getting lost is probably just a distraction from what your game is focused on, which is chainsawing hordes of the undead.

Horror, as a genre, relies on dis-empowerment (horror), or the threat of imminent dis-empowerment (survival horror: the threat of running out of the resources you need to survive).

Your game doesn't dis-empower the player (I am a chainsaw wielding flannel god of death),  which is fantastic for an action game, but also means it's not enough of a horror game for any of the genres traditions to be relevant to you.

This is a very long answer to a very short question, so to sum up:

1: If you go the action route, don't let the player get lost

2: If you go the horror route, only let the player get lost if you can make being lost interesting

If you really want to hybridize action and horror, I'd look to survival horror for examples. The genre manages to balance both elements with varying degrees of success.

Wow! Thank you for taking the time to write this! I'll admit, we were torn as a team as to whether we should let the player get lost. Originally, the world was a quarter the size it is now and I rebuilt it on that basis. I even made spaces to reward the player for wondering off course. Nothing especially exciting as we didn't have time for additional programming but we are likely to do more with this project so I will definitely bare that in mind.

I am playing Resident Evil 4 as we speak which is a weird horror/action crossover. I think they nailed the blend of limited resources and satisfactory zombie killing. I'll pass your response on to the others in my team and we will hopefully use it to focus the games genre.

Submitted (2 edits)

I made a Card game and I've gotten great feedback about the game being difficult and a bit luck based but I have something I'm wondering since I havent gotten specific feedback on.

The game: 

https://ilprinny.itch.io/one-card-income

1, Question: What cards feel Under tuned or over tuned, what enemies feel frustrating when they appear and what are relieving to see.

2, Goal: I'm working on a post jam patch and have plans to continue working on the game in the future to see if it has potential. I would like it to be relati6balanced while testing (a hard task but still gonna try)

I have some ideas already on what to change as I've been working on a post jam patch, but no one has given specific feedback on what they think are the good/bad cards on either side.

I think I've mentioned this elsewhere, but your game is one I'm planning to come back to.

I'll probably need a little more time than I have right now to give you a really good answer on this.

I was planning to sit down and play it again at some point over the next few days, so I'll hit you up here (or somewhere, think I'm following you) when I get the chance to reeeeally sink my teeth in.

I think more than anything a game like yours is one of those where you really FEEL out what's good/not good (although a better designer than I might have a more objective answer).

I'll get back to you!

Submitted

sounds good! I would really appreciate it

Submitted

Hi I made Kingdoms Flame: https://dragon-hatcher.itch.io/kingdoms-flame

For feedback I was wondering:

1) Is the game generally to hard to understand even with the instructions. If so what parts

2) Is there enough strategy in terms of different decisions you can make or is the path always obvious 

3) Does the game get to easy after you've played it once. I seem to be able to beat it without to much difficulty and I am wondering if that is because I made it or it really is. (Don't bother answering this if you don't feel like playing the game multiple times)

4) Is it generally to easy to hard, is it fun?

I think that what you are doing is incredible and I am super impressed with the feedback you are giving everyone

Hi dragon_hatcher!

I had a go without the instructions first and was quite confused. With the instructions I didn't have a problem understanding, you're quite a good technical writer.

As for strategy, I maxed archers in all 4 towers then spammed all money into healing them. That seemed to go alright for me in the time I played? I cycled between towers in a generally clockwise direction.

I haven't played it multiple times yet, but I can safely posit that yes, it would be easy once you get the strategy down, as the game is more about thinking of a strategy than executing a strategy (which is fine if that's what you're making, it just means you need to make a bunch of levels)

On the fun thing, I really like that the game is about multitasking (it won't be everyone's cup of tea, but there are people who enjoy it) and the formation system is cool (although I didn't really have to use it to defend my towers effectively). 

I think it's worth playing around with making some crazy changes to what you've got and seeing how it affects how the game feels! I think it's a bit premature to worry too much about difficulty and such at this point;  you're early enough in development that you can still try some wild game-play experiments! Sometimes this is referred to as 'finding the fun', and it gets heaps harder to do later in development when it's harder to change your project.

You could try some experiments using what you've got as a base to see if you can solve some of your instructional / strategy issues. Stuff like the following:

  • What if there were two or three towers instead, but the game took place on a single screen, and was more zoomed out?
    • Currently a lot of your action happens off-camera, and I watch it on the minimap. Having it all on one screen could help communicate the concept of your game at a glance to players, as well as making sure that they don't miss anything.
    • If you did try putting the game on one screen, you'd probably have to slow player movement considerably to preserve the tactical considerations of where you put your characters.
  • What if the towers were more capable, but even more directly dependent on your support?
    • Maybe try making towers heaps better at defending themselves, but they run out of arrows unless the patrol retrieves them from slain foes, or towers do fine against weaker enemies, but large siege bosses appear that out-range the tower, or battering rams that are immune to arrows. Something that really obviously demands the players attention.
    • What if gold is something the patrol has to retrieve / mine / fight for / steal, and carry with them rather than gold being generated in towers?
  • What if the level itself had more natural obstacles?
  • What if the endgame wasn't to spend a few minutes in each tower, but instead required you to destroy the heavily guarded monster spawner or something? You need to defend your towers long enough for your patrol to increase in power enough to attack a spawner, or something similar?

Some of these are easier to try than others depending on how comfortable you are with programming. Try the easy ones first, if you feel like it!

These are all pretty random ideas, and a game that used all of them would probably be a little confused, but what I'm trying to get at is that there's a lot of different directions you could take what you've got, and the best way to find out which way you want to take it is to try a lot of different stuff and see what you find the most compelling!

Basically, try and riff on what you've got and see how different you can make different versions of the prototype. 

In a way, by making this jam game, you've narrowed down the entirety of all existing game design patterns and elements to a handful that you find really interesting (a number of which aren't traditionally found together).

Think of what you've got here as your ingredients! How many recipes can you make? How different can you make them taste? Which ones are your favorites?

Don't be afraid to try stuff that doesn't work, or anything like that. You can fix it all later.

I guess I'm proposing the game design equivalent of sketching. You've got a set of elements that are really easy and fun to remix, and I think you should play with them more before you settle in and try to balance stuff!

Submitted

thanks for the feedback!

No worries! Thanks for sharing!

Submitted

https://unknownunknowns.itch.io/josephuss-problems
I already plan on cleaning up the graphics and possibly doing some simple animations to help convey whats going on better.
1) I added the 1 minute time constraint to fit with the jam theme, but worry/feel that it might be better without it.
2) I already plan on cleanup the graphics and adding instructions/tooltips to help better convey whats happening in it.  And possibly doing a mobile version since i think it a solid fit with limited graphics and input.

Submitted (1 edit)

https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/461529

I gave myself the challenge to make the player take on three games at once, so these games of course needed to be simple and work together.

So that is what I am going to ask:

1. Do the games work well together?

2. Are the games too complicated or too simple?

3. Do you have any ideas for other games or other additions?

I'm already giving my thanks to everyone who gives me feedback.