oh damn, this is on Linux? Let me see if I can fix it
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The game itself can be pixel perfect, even if the camera is moving at a higher resolution. Because when you translate the game to the screen, each pixel is actually 2-6 pixels wide/high. Everything within the game, effects, sprites, tiles, etc... can all line up perfectly at the lower resolution (though they dont need to, it can look really good if they dont).
Awesome, I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed it. Thanks for the video, I will watch through this later today when I'm done working.
Interesting you picked up on the development of the "action" relative to the rest of the game. Making this game has definitely set me on a certain path for future projects. I don't think I will do "combat" again. I love making the items and effects interact, and building the world, but the action is not where my heart is.
And yes, hefty and forgiving is exactly my intent, glad that is coming through. I love rogulikes in theory, but being knocked back down to zero over and over is too dispiriting for me. After making my last game, I had to think long and hard about what punishment in a game even means, why it even exists. And I've tried to apply that to this current project. No, Hope does not end your run. It has its own little punishment, but also ways to abate the punishment.
I'd love to chat more, I love talking design. Thanks again!
Wow, this is so much more than I was expecting. It's really excellent. Factorio is one of the games I've played most in my life, and this certainly stands up against it. I will be playing this fully once it releases. Tutorial was great, the possibilities feel dizzying. Interaction system feels intuitive, only took a short bit of time to use it fluidly. Very fun seeing unexpected things happen, and chaos unfold. When the roller started bulldozing me and a tree through everything I build it was hilarious. Gotta be better about welding.
Deserves a better name and player sprite, that's my only comments. The name is really wacky and doesn't capture what the game is about at all, in my opinion. Perhaps its memorable, but conjures images of a silly cowboy game or something. Consider the most important vector of a game becoming popular, people telling their friends about it. "Dude, have you tried Roody Toody? It's awesome!". It doesn't sound cool, it requires a lot of "I know it sounds dumb but trust me" type stuff. Or think about when you try and explain what you're working on to your dad. "What is the game you're making, son?" Do you really want to say "Roody Toody"? This stuff is important. Factorio is a perfect name. It sounds mathematical, complicated, and kind of sophisticated. It instantly primes someone for what to expect. Minecraft, Infinifactory, SHENZEN I/O. Those are good names. Even Satisfactory, a kind of stupid name, is better. And your game is already better than that one. Anyway, I've said my piece there.
The concept of the player sprite is great, I like that he is 1 block in size exactly, that's perfect. And the mask coming down when going into welding mode is an excellent touch. But at first he looks like a tard with some orange clown hair. He doesn't have an iconic look, when I really think he should.
Great work. Carry on
Haha thanks. The Trial of Greed is supposed to spawn infinite gold, but suck your Hope away really quickly. I think there is a bug there that prevents you from succumbing to despair. Thanks for trying it out!
Wow, this is amazing. This is the closest I've ever felt to playing MMX, even when considering the MMX "clones", like 20XX/30XX. And this is no clone! MMX was probably the game I played the most of as a child, and inspired my first game (Frauki's Adventure!). But this game is significantly better than that, so well done. There are a couple things I think could be improved, and a couple random ideas.
- The font in the dialog boxes is really bad. It looks ugly and is hard to read. You can get 10x better fonts for pennies, or for free.
- The camera could be improved. The game is at 240x190 or whatever base resolution, but that doesn't mean the camera should be moving in that space. The camera should be moving in the full unscaled resolution. That will reduce the jitteriness of the game a lot. Also, the camera could stand to be tweened to the player, instead of perfectly locked on. It just makes the game a lot easier for your eyes to track things, and makes it look more professional. Of course, you first need to get the camera moving in unscaled space, or the movement will look blocky and strange.
- The difficulty of the first boss is too high, in my opinion. I was loving the difficulty up until that point, at which time it seemed to jump. I loved the challenge of MMX games, and will always remember the first time I beat Chill Penguin. But the difficulty jumps too much too quickly at the first boss, in my opinion.
- In my game, I made it so that if you attacked while jumping, you would attack somewhat above yourself, instead of just in front. I think that could be really beneficial here, because you have aspects that cause you to float while attacking. Jumping up into an enemy and missing an attack off to the side doesn't feel great.
I think this game has massive potential. It's really cool and with some work it could do well. At minimum, you should get a Steam page ready to go. I'd also look for publishers, if you want to go that route. Contact me if you want me to put you in touch with some people.
I just went and did a "timing audit", so all the transitions and times you're not in control are a lot quicker. I also removed some instances where your control is taken away, so everything overall feels much snappier. Good stuff. I was previously pausing control on entering a level, so that the player couldn't roll backwards and get stuck in the entryway. Instead, I just instantly activate the door geometry. Some of the larger items you mentioned will take a bit more time.
If you have a minute, feel free to try the new build and give your thoughts on the update.
Wow, thanks. That is some extremely useful and actionable feedback. Im going to go through and tighten up all the timings. Great point about matching the pace of the fighting. It's something I'm used to, so it gets really hard to see.
The variety is something I'm working on now, because it does get quite repetitive to fight the same guys over and over. Plus I am adding variety in the levels. Leaning into the archer only levels and such is very smart, I will think more about that one. I think there's a lot I can do in that area.
Nice work, it's a fun movement mechanic and the game is insanely polished. Only last minute tweaks I would consider are a few flow type things. You could reduce the amount of time you show the "Space Juice" logo, and tighten up the in-between timings when you restart a level. Seconds are precious here, especially if someone is flowing with the game. The delays are friction points. In that vein, when completing a level, you might just want to give a "next level" button, instead of having to go out and to the home screen, select the level, etc... Again, it's small, but if someone is in the flow, protect that.
Another small thing to consider, is helping to indicate what is happening when you leave the "bubbles". It feels like the controls just lock up, which isn't great. But now I see that it's because there is no atmosphere, the rudder mentioned does not work. If the little "trail" would still whip back and forth as you steer, that might help. But then again, it might create other frustrations. All you need, really, is something to happen when the user hits left/right, visually, so that they know their controls aren't locked. Perhaps even allow just a really small amount of turn outside of the bubbles. That would both message what is happening better, and also potentially create some really fun and tense moments when a player is juuuuust able to get back in.
Great work, and good luck on the launch.
Great feedback as usual, thanks Spec. I just added a bunch of the items you mentioned to my list, I'll get those sorted out. And enemy/level/prop variety is definitely a top priority. Thanks.
Damn, this is some serious progress. Well done man. The game is getting really good. Absolutely love the new intro. Visually, everything looks better and more crisp too. Most importantly, the play experience is really smooth. It no longer feels crushingly difficult or tedious at all. In fact, it's starting to feel quite fun! I tried to go nuts on aggressive symbols, and just shred people. Then Spike got me good. I will go back with more defense next time I face him. That sort of thing is a lot of fun, experimenting and seeing what works. It feels great when I get a giant web of red symbols though and just shred an enemy like they're nothing.
Keep doing what you're doing.
Oh yeah, one small suggestion. You have hover tooltips on lots of things which are great. They might be nice on the actual reels too though. Because sometimes when my reels stop, I can't quite remember what each symbol does. Being able to hover over it and see a tooltip would be nice.
I made a pretty classic feedback mistake, of suggesting a solution instead of just trying to clarify the problems. The problem is that it's frustrating to ascend. I leave it in your capable hands how to resolve that.
I suppose I consider it more of a core design problem. But not a major one, rather a very fixable one. The odd part about it now, in my opinion, is that the natural inclination is that shooting down will make you go up. But in this case, you shoot up and that prevents you from going down. It kind of breaks the mental model of "the gun has force that pushes against my character". I would try to hold that concept as a central premise, and then build upon it. Imagine if shooting an enemy below you pushed you up more than shooting the ground. That is the sort of thing that can really emerge, and the player can add it on top of their understanding. Like, "ok my gun pushes me away. lets try shooting down. oh cool, that makes me go up! now let me try hovering with it and shooting an enemy below. oh wow, that makes me really go up!". That is the type of coherent system that is fun to experiment, and learn the nuances of.
Also, because it is a side-view game with gravity, going upwards is an extremely common need. It really should be quite simple and smooth to happen, and be easy to accomplish almost immediately for any reasonable player. That's because it's simply not fun to be floundering around trying to "move up". Mastering that doesn't feel good, because it's not cool or flashy or that interesting. Imagine in a 3D game, if climbing a ladder required some timing mini-game, and if you messed up a little bit, you crashed back to the ground. On this point, I would honestly consider just making it so that shooting down make you move up. There is a lot of play in such a system, because when you are trying to "super jump" with your machine gun, you're not shooting enemies. Also, it leans into the theme of "never stop shooting". There could be a lot of play and nuance in such a system, like, at what point after you jump is it optimal to start shooting? How little time can I spend shooting and still get to where I am aiming?
Some thoughts as I play:
- Charming look. I like the details of the guy falling to start the level. The look of the world and characters are pretty good.
- Inconsistent use of the buttons. Sometimes space does something, sometimes enter, sometimes A. I'd try and make any "activate" button the same as the jump button, from start to finish. Skipping cutscenes, selecting menu, etc...
- I personally don't feel that the jump is too floaty. I think it feels fine for what you're trying to do here. If it was less floaty, then it would make the other mechanics significantly more frustrating.
- I think you're trying to be way too clever with the camera. There are lots of articles online about a dozen different camera tricks, but honestly my opinion is that most of them are trash. Pushing the camera in front of the player, dead zones, etc... In my experience, the best thing by far is to keep is simple, and just lerp the camera towards the player. The best way is just to move the camera X% of the distance to its target every unit time. Adjust the % up or down for a snappier camera, down for a smoother camera. It's smooth, never noticed by the player, never gets in their way, never causes an issue. Perfect.
- It's extremely frustrating that if you're up against a wall and try to hit it with the hookshot, it fails and you just fall down.
- I'd try to give the player a little bit of a window from when they hit into a wall from their hook, to when they can jump. If hitting into the wall from hooking it caused you to bounce up a little, and during the ascent you could jump, it might make the game feel a lot more fluid.
Keep it up, it's definitely some great progress since I last tried.
Excellent progress since last time I played (4-6 months ago I believe). The game already has a really strong perspective, which is awesome. That's often the hardest part for most games to develop. You very clearly know what the game is trying to be about, and lean into it. That's perfect. To get from where the game is now, to the finished product, I think there are a few questions that need to be answered.
Firstly, what is the actual play pattern you want for someone sitting down to play your game? Currently, when you die you just go back to the menu. To compensate, it seems like you've given the player a huge amount of health, relative to the damage you take. I think this is really the major piece that needs to be figured out. There are so many options here, and how you answer the question will really be what ties the game together. If it's going to be a linear set of levels, there needs to be a lot of messaging around what level you're on, when you complete a level, where you are trying to get to, etc... And then the death system should really tie into that. You could also do a sort of hub area, with spokes you complete.
Second, I feel that there is a bit of a mechanical hodgepodge going on. Which for a game with this level of chaos happening, isn't great. Things like levitating while you're shooting something are cool, but when lots of things are happening, it kind of gets lost in the mix. My hunch, correct me if I'm wrong, is that these sorts of mechanics are added when it feels like "something is missing". But generally, the missing part is more related to point #1, rather than any problem with the movement mechanic itself.
Personally, I think a more clear and simple relationship between the player, the gun, and the walls should be established. Once those three things have a well defined, easily parse-able and learn-able relationship, you can start playing with them to find the depth. The pattern for ascending in a level is currently somewhere between MMX wall climbing, shooting enemies (potentially above you), shooting the ground, jumping, and creating a pile of shells. Basically, I think some elegance is in order here. There is a mismatch between the pacing of the game and the complexity.
Also, I think the camera could be improved. It has a lot of "discontinuous" movements, like every time you jump. It jerks and jitters around quite a bit. A smooth continuous lerp towards the player would be far better, I think, because the movement is generally quite slow. Every discontinuity in the camera displaces your aim and your visual comprehension of the scene.
Anyway, it's great work overall. I think if you get the play pattern sorted out, refine the mechanics a bit more, you will have an awesome and successful game. All the other pieces are in place.
Hey, just played through the first world again. Will finish the rest of the demo soon. The puzzle design, progression, and feel of the game are all excellent. So my feedback will wander a bit, and share a few things I've been pondering.
- It's worth thinking about whether or not you want to use your real name in distributing the game. Personally, I like it and think it's a good idea. It didn't seem to hurt the Stardew Valley dev so who knows if it matters.
- You should start your game fullscreen. It's similar to the difference between watching a movie on your phone, vs. in the theatre. A fullscreen game is implicitly asking the player for their attention, and promising that it will be worth it. This game is worth it. A windowed game is not really occupying the players mind, their email tab is open behind, their calendar is shooting up notification in the corner, their discord icon is flashing. Giving the players the option to window the game is plenty.
- After a ton of trial and error and experimenting, I have personally found that breakpoints are a far superior method of scaling for a pixel-perfect 2D game than letterboxing. The idea is this: At 1x resolution, there is a min and max width, and a min and max height you are willing to allow. The "ideal" 1x resolution might be 480x270, or whatever. But the game is guaranteed to work down to 420x230, or whatever, and up to 520x300. Once you have determined that, you can look at the size of your window, and determine whether you are going to be at 1x, 2x, 3x, etc.. I go all the way to 8x. The end result, if you take the smallest window and slowly start increasing its size, the screen area will grow, grow, grow, then snap to 2x, then grow grow grow, snap to 3x, etc... All the while, it fills the entire window space as best as possible. With well tuned breakpoints, the vast majority of screens will be completely filled, with pixel perfect scaling. I made a video showing what it looks like
- On your sound toggles, the control should be exponential, because hearing is logarithmic. Read here for more info: https://www.dr-lex.be/info-stuff/volumecontrols.html Simple fix that really improves things. With this, a sound control halfway down will "sound" like its at half volume, instead of staying mostly the same, and then getting really quiet at the end.
- More to come...
Great stuff man, love it. I've been playing MtG and roguelikes for like 20 years, so this is perfect for me. Your UI work is top notch. I really need to crib some notes from you on making a satisfying UI. The card art looks great, very nice use of AI. I've thought for a while that a card game would be a good candidate for such a thing, because you don't need, or even want, perfect coherence with each piece.
I have a display issue. My monitor is 1920x1200 by default, and that causes the left and right side of the screen to clip. I know monitor resolution stuff is a huge pain in the ass, but you might want to sort that out. In my last game, I got dinged so many times in reviews because I didn't handle different resolutions very well.
Overall, it's an excellent fusion of slay the spire and MtG, both games I really love. You've got something really nice here, it's fun and very well polished. Just get your Steam page up hahah.
This is awesome! I've seen it posted but haven't had a chance to play until now. Very nice. Few thoughts as I play through:
- Get that camera lerping... It's so easy, 5 minutes of work at most, and adds a ton to the "polished" feeling of a game. What I do is, for each x and y, is find the difference between the cameras current position and the desired position (over the player). Then multiply that by the frame delta time, and then multiply by the "lerp force". Higher lerp force gives a tighter camera, experiment to find the right value. As the difference between the camera and target grows, it moves faster, then nicely slows down as it approaches the target.
- Main attack feels fantastic. Nice effects work on it. Kind of surprising it starts so massive, but I like it.
- The mana system, or whatever it is, that depletes as you use your attack is really smart. Dropping to a less powerful version is great, because you avoid that "why isn't my crap working" moment, while also enocuraging smart use of the resource. Well done.
- Secondary attack is really satisfying to pull off against a big group of enemies. The level and enemy design works with it too, allowing you to funnel enemies into a line and blast them. Very satisfying.
- The skeletons dash is a little odd. because of the attack covering, screen angle, etc... they at first seemed to just disappear. Then when I realized they were dashing, I didn't really feel threatened by it.
- Tutorial was really slick. Good.
- Character is funny. I like that you do a lot with only a little writing.
- Wow, combat is really good. I actually found myself using all my abilities, which is pretty rare. In most games without a really well balanced combat abilities, I can just lean on one thing to get through.
- I do think there is a big of a legibility issue though. My main attack is so visually dominant it's hard to keep track of the situation. The dashing enemies make this worse. It's not a huge deal, but more combat readability would be good. The enemies might need their own light as well, if they don't already have one. If they do, maybe increase its potency a little bit.
- Oh sweet, a new character. I really like how she controls similarly enough to the last one where I don't have to learn a whole new setup, but differently enough where it feels novel.
- The dashing enemies feel a lot better here for some reason. I think because with her primary attack, the combat is a lot more readable.
- The knight guy is fun. Again, similar but different enough to be interesting.
- Oh damn, the red knight girl is the most fun one yet. This almost like a SSB character system, with a control template and then a ton of design within that template for each character. Pretty brilliant.
- The crossbow girl is fun af. The roll is a tad janky though, especially with the camera not lerping.
- From the Time Guy Demo I learned a trick which I started using. When you get hit, flash a red border around the screen. It helps a lot with messaging an important piece of information. Might be useful here too.
- I like the character switching system. Found it by accident when I hit tab. Neat.
- With Arcana, it's a bit easy to lose the cursor. Because it's the same color as her attacks
- Feels like it got a lot harder after I went down the elevator. But also I'm not very good haha.
Well, hopefully there was one or two useful things in my ramblings. This is a very fun, polished, and charming project. You have great comedic timing. This was my favorite demo that I've played so far. Great job!
>novel and sarcy about the premise
Ah ok, I see. In that case, I would strongly suggest changing the name of the game. Because "Reindeer Story" reads as completely sincere. Something like "Cthulu Saves Christmas" instantly reads as wacky, you can tell the tone from the name alone. Something like "Super Reindeer RPG" could work, because it's so obviously ridiculous. Naming a game is really hard but really import, imo
There's tons of really good details here! This feels like a solid core for a game.
The timing attacks feels really good. I'd consider completely leaning into those, instead of having some attacks be instant, and other use the timing system. Often a big delay before an attack feels bad, but you've massively pulled it off here. The way the camera stretches out, the countdown bar appears, and then the camera snaps back to the player is great. The basic arrow could just have a really quick timer or something. More powerful ones could have a longer timer. I think there is a ton of gameplay and enemy design space that you could get out of that system.
Other random thoughts:
- The arrows appear to increase their speed over time. Not sure if I like this. Seems odd.
- Holding down an attack button should make that attack repeat at the soonest opportunity.
- The potion throwing system is excellent, I love it. Might have to steal it, actually.
- The damage popups could have some better motion. They stop on top of the character and pile up a lot.
- I don't like that when you click an item to pick it up, it doesn't leave the slot you picked it up from. Maybe I'm just too used to my own system, but it made me confused for a bit, thinking I wasn't able to pick things up.
Great start. There are some really fun ideas here.
Great progress since last time I played! This is shaping up really well. Few thoughts as I play through:
- Diagonal movement speed needs to be normalized. You move a lot faster diagonal than orthogonal. Might want to look into Vector2. Once you start using them and get comfortable with them, they are infinitely useful and you will be using them all the time.
- Holding the mouse down should work to continually move you, and holding it down on an enemy should move you towards that enemy and then continuously attack.
- Dungeon gen feels a lot better than last time I tried.
- Got a freeze up. I was trying to open a chest, and clicking on it a bunch to get it to open. Now I can hover over things, but I can't move, and the enemies and everything is frozen.
- Reloading, and then trying to load back into the character just hangs on the Loading... screen
- Reloading again seems to work
- Red goblin eyes in the dark are a great touch
- The difficulty feels good, easy enough on the first level, with a nice bump up on the second
- Freeze again when I went to pick up a shield
Overall, it's feeling good. I think the biggest improvements could be in the character movement, making that feel a little more smooth. Holding m1 down to keep moving around would go a long way. Normalizing the diagonal speed would too. Good work dude!
Just tried playing again. For me... the balance feels wayyyyyyy better. It felt great in fact. I still had to scheme to find health, and the leperchaun still beat me. Which is fine, I wasn't expecting to beat him first try, especially since my reels were all clogged up with tourist photos. But I was able to do what I was expecting from the game, punch casino weirdos, play some mini games, check out the different reels, etc... The reels stopping only taking one press is great. Now I feel like I can time the first one to try and edge things towards what I want, without having that grinding tedious feeling of trying (and failing) to time the reels constantly.
The writing is funnier than I expected. The theme of the game (Santa and reindeer and such) seems completely asinine, so I was expecting something pretty crude. You got a few chuckles out of me though. The combat system is actually pretty smart too. I haven't played a lot of RPGs in the last 15 years or so, so I don't know what's out there. But having to dodge around when the enemies attack is a hell of a lot more fun than just clicking through menus every combat like in a lot of games. It's nice that the enemies can attack at the same time too, so you're dodging multiple things at once.
Keep it up. I don't really know why you chose the theme you did. It doesn't appeal to me at all. I assume it is some sort of furry thing, and if so, then I guess it would appeal to that niche. But I can see a lot of people dismissing it out of hand as a game for little children, unfortunately. Don't know who it's aimed at, I guess is my point. So that doesn't put me in a position to give a lot of useful feedback.
The game seems well polished and juicy though, so nice work there. I'd just be careful about instances where you warp a sprite around (like when the dodging phase starts. You warp into the square area. Or when a cutscene starts). Tweening a sprite into location is a lot better, because it maintains the illusion that you're controlling a physical thing.
Really nice, great job so far. Feels very fun and polished already. I didn't understand the AP system at first. But once I got it, I really loved it. It's very smooth and adds a lot to the system. Like someone else said, like Fallout 1/2, but without the insane clunkiness of those games. I would consider changing out the red "X" when you're out of AP. Before you "get" the AP system, it's very frustrating and obnoxious to see a red X and not know why you can't do anything. Last DD there was a game, Lunchbox Reverie or something, that had a really clever and intuitive way of messaging "exhaustion, can't act" right on the player. I'd check that out for some better ideas. Plus, drawing attention to the AP is a good idea. In fact, it's so core to the whole thing, I'd consider just putting the AP dots right under the player, instead of in the HUD. Enemies could use them too, and it might provide some great strategic moments to exhaust the enemies.
Ok, second point. I honestly think that most AGDG games miss the mark in term of difficulty (myself included), and this is no exception. It's a sort of blind-spot of a developer to keep tuning the game harder, because you've probably put in hundreds of hours playing it, and know every little trick and tactic so the game feels right for you. But for a new player, the difficulty is just smothering. Difficulty ideally should be the spice in a dish, helping bring out the full flavor of the mechanics. Too much makes the entire game unpalatable. Because you get creamed so fast as a new played (or rather, *I* get creamed so fast), there is no opportunity to build tension. I die before anything matters. If the difficulty was tuned down, then after playing for like 10 minutes on a life, you start getting invested in your progress and items and all that. Then, each encounter is infused with tension and high stakes. That is what makes games like this engaging. As it stands, I keep dying so fast that I don't really care too much.
Lastly, please learn from my mistakes. Do not put the word "quest" or "adventure" in the name of your game. Another anon described them as cursed names, and they were exactly right. I names my last game "Frauki's Adventure!" thinking it was cute and on the nose. No. When most gamers see a title like that, they instantly categorize the game as trash. I see there is humor here, lean into that. Stevens Sausage Roll. Pizza Tower. Milk inside a bag of milk inside a bag of milk. Liberal Crime Squad. These are the kinds of names you need if you have a funny/odd game that you want people to notice.
Wow, just had a giant post typed up with a lot of feedback and accidentally left the page. Damnit that's annoying. I will try and recreate it...
Excellent core gameplay demo. You put a lot of work into the messaging and systems design. This is already fun, and I think once the actual game is built out on top of it, you will have a great game to show for it.
Some thoughts and feedback:
- I would increase the base zoom level. Most players wont alter it. Higher zoom feels a lot easier to control, because your click targets are bigger, and you can more clearly see what is happening.
- Increasing the click radius for enemies and items would be nice. Just makes things easier, and makes you feel more in control of whats happening.
- Highlighting an enemy or item when you hover over them would be a great feature. Right now I feel that it's a little hard to tell exactly whats going to happen when I click, when it isn't what I want it feels frustrating.
- Shift+click should be added, it makes ranged weapon use so much easier. When holding shift, every click should be an attack, not movement. It is especially important for kiting enemies with a ranged weapon.
- A little indicator on the ground when you click to move is a nice feature. Not crucial, but nice.
Great work dude, really looking forward to seeing this evolve.