Hehe, that's a great idea!
I've been thinking about way's to return to this boaty / floaty mechanic in a multiplayer way...
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I'm really enthralled with this, although I couldn't get past level 2.
The curvy mechanic and that super-juicy gif got me interested immediately.
I gave this 3 tries, the first one without any context and the latter 2 after reading the tips and hints on this page. All 3 times I just couldn't get past level 2 (the darker level).
Totally agree with Eltucke that the sound design adds so much to this. Every shot feels impactful.
Control-wise movement felt great (I played with an xbone controller). I've never felt that type of control before in a FPS and being able to control crouch height is such a neat idea. Hopping from spot-to-spot also felt intuitive.
My big struggle was with curving bullets intentionally. The "fire on release" tip helped a bunch, I was able to start curving stuff regularly ... but was never able to properly control my curves. I found that relying on the spring / bounce was too hard to time and so most of the time I just played with holding down right click (to keep the dot locked) and using left click releases to try attain curves I wanted.
I kept wanting to try an alternative control scheme:
1) no swing / bobbing, so no need for right click AND
2) firing on left-click down (using mouse motion up until that point for curving)
I wonder if that would have helped?
Thanks. I think that track is an absolute banger, so I'm happy to promote Nana's stuff: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR8WNU7NJOQYJMfQgBAUSqg
Ah ye, that's diegetic UI alright. I wish I had time to make the health and stamina bars a part of the in-world bow :)
Hey Mandy! Thanks for such great feedback.
It sounds like overall you had good difficulty progression with this, so I'm thrilled about that. I've definitely had stuff way too difficult in the past, which has led to folks giving up early and not getting to enjoy fuller experiences. Your comments made me feel like I'm making progress in this regard and it's really validating.
On restarts and area progression: Great points. These are things that didn't occur to me while testing and now that you've mentioned them, it would really benefit from improvements.
You mentioned improvements to the HUD, I agree. I'm curious to know if there is something specific you had in mind or something particularly that stood out as irritating / visually gnawing to you?
OMG my spelling game continues to be terrible. Good catch on "Cick" :)
I actually had arrow key players in mind after your input on previous jams! I didn't know what would make a comfortable jump button though? Right shift? Right control?
Good catch on music not looping.
On the starting area: I personally like that you're able to use it defensively and that you as a player found ways to take advantage of that. My concern, like Ben, is that right now it's too easy to just hang out there forever and never move into the arena. I'm thinking this can be addressed with upgrades and level design. Ideally there would be upgrades that help you out defensively and some arena level designs that have natural advantages for defensive builds (breakable cover, a period of invulnerability when first entering the area, deployable cover, etc). Basically right now you can hide out at the start forever, that's a low-effort, high-time way to make progress... I'd like to find solutions that are higher-effort but higher-reward :) As you pointed out, that would be the challenge in designing this.
Again, thanks so much for your kind words, time and thoughts writing this.
Hey Ben! Thanks for such thoughtful feedback, appreciated.
On the mono-modal interactions... that's partly lazyness and time pressure :P Once I'd got bow physics working it was easier to just make physics buttons and interaction than building out a whole UI and switching to pointer input. Generally I prefer immersive interactions though, so I'm thrilled that came across. Sorry about the accidental upgrade removals ;(
On bow-vs-gun, I generally don't enjoy violent stuff so lent away from gun. You also technically don't kill the drones with arrows, just knock them... they only die to impacts with the environment. I don't think this is very clear in the current build but I'd want to make that clearer and more meaningful. I also like the sprint vs fire trade-off... and I also don't feel like it's balanced right. I wanted the stamina to be quite limiting initially to make stamina-affecting upgrades more tempting but I'm not sure that worked? I'd be curious to know if you have any thoughts on how to improve balance / feel there?
Oh yea, you're so right on the entrance door! I was pretty concerned that all the challenge would disappear because of it, I didn't get time to address that concern. I considered having bombs spawn after X seconds near the entrance to push the player out ... but your idea of a breakable entrance is great. It makes me think there should be MORE breakable cover in arenas and increasing it's health, size, etc should be an upgrade tree!
On autobattlers I've barely played any, but I tried SNKRX earlier this year and had a great time with that. Immediately felt like that shop & upgrade system was an exciting space to explore. I read an insightful post by the snkrx dev, which I assume you've seen because you're always so on this stuff, one thing that stuck with me is that the "auto" part of the formula is actually a detractor, because it's largely waiting or low interactivity which by definition is less engaging. That felt very true to me and so with this I tried to keep both the "play" and "shop" parts highly interactive. It's a really powerful system and it's so rewarding to see players stop and spend time considering their options in the shop. Two things I'd love to explore more here are:
1) teaching the shop (it's tricky by nature and takes people a while to figure out ... but once they do it's magic!)
2) testing class synergies (during the jam I just kept quickly playing through and seeing how things felt, but I imagine there are smarter ways to explore combinations quickly at higher levels)
Which autobattlers are you enjoying most?
Another good insight on the enemies, I would have loved to get to more type and challenge levels + larger area sizes.
Again, thanks for taking the time to play and share your thoughts.
Oh yea, like others, I really like the graphic design, sound design and general taste in this.
There's definitely a sense of atmosphere, discovery and progression. I thought the progress bar during an expedition is a really clever touch, adds just the right amount of suspense and time to let my mind start wondering "did I pick the right folks for that mission?!"
I misunderstood the temple mission initially. I sent people who didn't have enough sight and it said "it's for the best", which I kinda giggled at. Then I thought that was a clue to ensure I always sent a party with less than 3 sight, so I kept trying that. Ultimately I realised my folly and sent a more visually capable team. But it did make me think there's space to explore hidden information like that.
Like Asriela said below, I wish the currently selected location had a better visual indication on the map.
I see doggo, I wanna play doggo, this jam delivers.
It's really impressive how much content and systems (movement, quests, dialog, etc) you managed to put together in jam time. Massive props.
Like someone mentioned below, I also got stuck after chasing out the cat and the gate opened. There was definitely a moment of awe when I realised "OMG I'm not just confined to the back yard!". Writing this I see there's a post-jam version, maybe you addressed this?
My absolute favourite part of this is the human character art. It hits on so many levels: it looks interesting, it lets you produce assets faster and it's downright funny.
Woop, this was cool! Having tinkered with Twine recently, I'm kinda blow away by what you put together and managed to do it all in a weekend.
I gave this a few tries but couldn't get the third and (I assume) final item. I really liked that the place names were randomised, that felt like a pleasant surprise the second time I started a run. Also the mimic was such a nice touch!
One gripe that kept me starting more runs was feeling limited during combat. One engaged it's pretty much a fight to the death (unless you're stacked with potions, which I found unlikely). I wondered if allowing some kind of "flee" option would help this, but this only helps if you have enough $ to afford a potion and start a dungeon again.
It's funny that in the devlog you mentioned rushing the enemy art and yet those felt pretty endearing to me :)
I got to thinking more about this and I wondered two things:
1) Maybe hydro and solar can "wear" with each expedition. so you get to keep them, but only for 3 turns or something until you have to repurchase. Perhaps that keeps the challenge but makes it feel more fair.
2) It feels like the pylons are actually the most powerful upgrades because they can be placed anywhere. So I wondered if solar and hydro should be cheaper (only giving access to pylons later). Because I found myself placing pylons willy-nilly early, where instead it's better to place them away from water.
Oh, I forgot to mention in my first comment that seeing your old dead rovers was such a nice touch!
This contains a lot of beauty. I'm a fan of the minimal visual style, appealing colour selection and music choice. I found the controls were a little wearing after a while.
I'm so glad I played all the way through because the last 2 lines of the reconstruction poem had a really arresting twist. I don't think I've ever experienced that in a game before, let alone a jam entry. <3
This felt great. I like the minimal aesthetic. On point with the theme. The cybertruck got a giggle out of me.
It's pretty exciting to see that upgrade popup screen and get start imagining all the possibilities. Like someone else said below, it felt a bit unfair that I didn't get to keep my hydro + solar upgrades after death.
The currency is limited by exploration, which I liked. I kept wishing there was a way to "return to base" or intentionally end an expedition early for some reward?
This was wicked, really cozy.
I really liked the placement / arrangement mechanic. I spent ages carefully connecting an arm to the front of the head, for what I've dubbed Snoutasaurus Irregularis. I kinda wish I got a chance to take a screenshot of my glorious creation at the end.
Heh, like others I found the digging sound really satisfying.
It's a nice feeling to get that first piece and see the hydria? building up. I wondered around digging for more after filling the pot but couldn't find anything else.
I suspect the sensitivity controls work but they're very small increments so it's not immediately obvious that it's changing. So that's good feedback for me, thanks.
Hmm, with the drones I kinda wanted them to only break on impacting the environment. So if you knock them over too gently then they don't die. I can see how that's not clear and can be frustrating. Esp in a game like this with limited, persistent health.
So glad you liked the upgrade system, that's where I spent the bulk of my time :)
Hey Itizso, thanks for your input here.
Strangely the day I posted my previous comment asking Evan about streamer visibility / discovery, this game got it's first YT play vid :P The last 2 days have seen 12, 19 & 44 views respectively. Far from mass appeal but it's looking positive. I think polishing up the game page + gifs would help a lot here.
I gave some thought to your games getting attention. In my mind there are 3 reasons a streamer picks up a game (highest priority first):
1) They're getting paid by the publisher / developers to promote the game.
2) They think the game will be entertaining for their audience and/or help them reach new viewers.
3) They're personally interested in playing something and hope it will be entertaining too.
Based on my thinking, something being fun to play is always secondary to how entertaining it's content is to viewers.
In your specific case with Physics Practice, I think it's got a really cool thumbnail which pulls people to view the page. The page looks amazing, so almost everyone is going to stick around and try out the game. The web version and short play session length means almost no friction to people trying it out (probably a few times) and likely to return to it later and try beat earlier scores. I personally don't think the gameplay lends itself to being very viewer-entertainingness-friendly though, so I assume that's why it hasn't received the attention we're talking about.
I know what I'm saying here isn't particularly ground-breaking and you didn't really ask me for feedback but I figured I'd share my thoughts in case it's helpful in some way?
Oh and thanks for the Xanderwood recommendation, I've sumbitted Kickflip for a let's play :)
This is really insightful and helpful, thanks for taking the time to write this.
Person grinds are a great idea!
I agree with you on the goals being cryptic. Initially I thought it would be fun to decrypt them but Danny added better explainers for each of them right at the end of the jam and that's so much better. It's a lesson for me in having more trust in the moment-to-moment play being fun enough and not feeling the need to make stuff cryptic / puzzly (in this type of game).
Overall we were aiming for more of an exploration feel rather than THPS / Goat Sim trick chaining. So my design was heavily inspired by this old gem: https://armorgames.com/play/2893/achievement-unlocked
The feedback on compressing the level is really good. I kept it spread out to allow speeding around between stuff, but as you pointed out there's frustration around losing momentum too easily and often. Maybe solving the momentum issue means the level feels better as is? Danny noted pretty early on that he wanted to minimise momentum loss, we just didn't get around to it in jam time.
Great notes on audio too. No errors on your side, just no time to flesh that out during the jam. My experience with sound effects is that sometimes adding just a few effects actually detracts from the immersion because there's an player-feeling that there should be more sounds on everything. Kinda like an uncanney valley for sound scapes? But ye I hadn't thought about it from the perspective of humor before :)
One thing I really wanted to try achieve with this jam was make something that was fun to stream and watch someone else play. I feel that's something you (and the FreeLives team) have been so successful at. Sadly this hasn't got much attention in that regard. I'd love to know if you had any quick thoughts on why that might be? I think the itch page is pretty dismal :) but I felt like the gameplay and visuals are fun enough? Am I just being delusional / optimistic?
Again, thanks for the feedback.
PS How did we miss Tony Horse :'D
Thanks for the kind words.
We also wanted to try a "showboating" mode where you hold a button to do tricks in front of the Hoomans and make them extra happy. Didn't get time for that during the jam :)
Cool vibes, I particularly liked the 2D tileset in this.
I also never managed to get past the watermelon. I found that sometimes I was able to get upside down and quickly tap upwards, flapping my feet to fly short distances. :)
There's lots of content in this! I particularly like the character designs and the comedic cuts during the cinematics.
Unfortunately I couldn't find the book on the first level :'(. I managed to get myself onto the magnetic platform but then wasn't really able to move from there?
Oh yeah, this oozes style. Like others, I found the page & game intergration to be pretty delightful.
I also really struggled with the controls. I think it's because the pivot point for movement was the center of the level and not centered around the snake?
Based on how cool this was, I eneded up checking out other stuff you've got on itch. You've got a really cool body of work up.