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joeytwiddle

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A member registered Jun 25, 2020

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Thanks for the responses.

I am not very familiar with sandbox games, although I am in favour of games that let the player express their own creativity (Minecraft and Captain Forever spring to mind).

I'm also fascinated how simple rules can produce unforeseen consequences, emergent phenomena. (Game creators do not always know the optimal strategies. It may take years for the players to discover them.)

I can certainly set some of my own placement goals. Thanks for the suggestion! I would like to balance optimal positioning along with redundancy, so the hive is not too fragile to attack. (So far I have managed to withstand all bear and wasp attacks, so I don't actually know what an attack looks like. So I think absorbing and surviving an attack should be one of my goals! Yay!)

I certainly wouldn't want to eat away at the sandbox style of the game. I was wondering if there might be a best-of-both worlds, so a player could choose whether to set their own goals, or achieve those suggested by the game. But perhaps the existence of one option negates the other.

On Freenode IRC you gave me some nice suggestions:

"What's the fastest you can get 600 jelly from scratch? What's the smallest population hive you can get 600 jelly with? Can you get 600 jelly without researching a jelly refinery? Can you get 600 jelly without upgrading anything but the Workshop?"

These are interesting ideas which I hadn't considered. Perhaps some suggestions like this could appear in the game, even if they aren't explicitly coded as challenges, as a starting point for people like me who never imagined setting their own goals.

I'll go back to the game with this new point of view (and --verbose) and see how I get on. Cheers!

(6 edits)

Really cute and positive-minded game!

Here is a bunch of random feedback. Just brainstorming...

- After completing a couple of hive, what is my incentive to keep playing? I would like some challenges, or some bosses to beat!

  (Challenges could be optional. There could be a list or tree of challenges, any of which could be achieved on purpose or by accident.)

- Perhaps some kind of a story or journey, where I can place each new hive on a different part of the forest, and each part of the forest has a specific challenge to meet / threat to overcome.

- How do I know what could be improved about my hive? Perhaps show me efficiencies of current cells, so I can see which ones are performing better or worse. Then I can try to work out why!

  (For example, this could be achieved with a heat map, so I can see which cells are efficiently hot, and which are inefficiently cold. It might help to flip through the different heatmaps for each different type of cell.)

- Similarly, let me compare the performance of different hives, so I can see if there is something about the current hive that could perform better (has performed better elsewhere).

- The spots on the exits are very small, so it's hard to see how many are taken and how many are free. Maybe extend the dots into bars, so they are larger and easier to see? (Or some other way of showing when they are over capacity. Maybe they could turn red when they are full.)

- Since the queen is the boss, perhaps she could give occasional instructions (challenges) which could yield a reward if they are achieved within the time period.

- Consider tweaking the menu: After a click it opens in a circle. How about after sub-click, the next circle appears centered around the clicked item, rather than centered around the original point.

- A recreation cell, which is a place where idle bees go to. This might be useful to 1. see how many idle bees there are, 2. position idle bees so they are near to where they might need to be in future, 3. give the hard-working bees a little break.

- If you wanted to simplify the game, you could skip the construction of empty cells and let specific cells be created directly. (Although empty cells might still be needed to extend the hive into new areas.)

- Building lots of the same type of cell becomes tedious. How about right-click on a cell to build the same thing as the previous?

  Ah I see now that it's Shift-click. This was introduced right at the start of the tutorial, but that was a bit too early, before I needed it. I did eventually see it in the Settings (and the second time I started a new game.) Perhaps the optimum time to teach this to the user would be when they have just built 4 identical cells.

- Offer keys '?' or 'F1' to pop up a list of the keyboard/mouse shortcuts.

- Fighting the bear was not very exciting. I couldn't see anything happening. Some possibilities: 1. add some scary music, and 2. show a progress bar for the bear's attack, and a progress bar for our defence. Whichever one fills first will decide the outcome.

- I feel I have too much freedom in how to arrange my hive. How about bonuses for putting certain cells in certain places (like Scrabble or Infinitode have)? Then I would have to think a bit harder about where I want to put stuff, to make the hive optimal.

  Advanced levels could have lots of obstructions, so it's more challenging to lay out the necessary shapes.

- Ideally the mouse wheel would zoom into the place where the cursor is pointing, rather than into the center of the screen.

- When spawning a new queen in a new hive, my system reports a lot of memory is consumed. Perhaps it might help to ensure the old hive is freed from memory and garbage collected, before spawning the new one. I'm on Linux. "ObjectDB instances leaked at exit (run with --verbose for details)"

- You told me that all cells are equidistant (bees travel equally fast no matter the distance). Would you consider changing that, to make positioning more important? ^_^

  For example (and just for sharing) the following game Islanders is a curious redux. It increases the player's score for creating layouts with good proximity. And it doesn't even use any actors! 

- Rendering: The bees are cute but their colours are sometimes similar to the cell behind them, so I cannot see them clearly. How about a thin border around each bee? Like cell shading, which seems popular in games these days. (Maybe a transparent grey outline, which would contrast with the white jelly and also with the black beeskin.)

- Rendering: Light diffusion would really help to make the bees and the cells look more real. Not easy to implement though.

- Rendering: I think the Depth of Field option looks odd because the projection is isomorphic. If you could switch to perspective projection when zooming in, the DOF might look better.

- Rendering: When completely zoomed out, you could switch to a top-down view, with no projection. (I am not desperate for this. It's just a thought.)

  For example, the video game Carcassonne offers a perspective view mode and a top-down view mode. Players can choose whichever they prefer.



Thanks for the fun game! Interested to see where it goes in future.

(9 edits)

Cute game! Some feedback/suggestions:

Controls:

- When I rotated, I often found areas I was interested would fly off the screen. I think the pivot point is too low on the screen, and it would be better near the centre of the screen.

- With the mouse rotate, you could try pivoting about the point where the mouse drag started from. This would give the player fine control about what stays in view.

- Right-click on a tile could rotate the current tile clockwise.  (Perhaps Shift-click for counter-clockwise.) Currently tile rotation is done with mouse wheel, but I would like the wheel to stay consistent, and zoom at all times.

- Another option could be to have modal tiles: the first left-click places the tile, then right-click rotates it, then a second left-click finalises the placement.

- Carcassonne also does it modally, but with simpler controls: left-click places the tile, and then left-click rotates the tile. There is a separate button, a big tick button in the corner of the screen, to confirm the placement.

- When zooming with mouse wheel,  zoom into the point where the mouse is focused. (Like Google Maps!)

- Lots of games put panning on middle-mouse-drag. You could do that too (without necessarily removing it from left-mouse-drag).

- (My mouse wheel is digital rather than analog. As a result, the zoom jumps are really large. The map is either tiny, or huge! Configuration for the zoom rate could help with this. However, this might only be a problem with my desktop setup.)

Gameplay:

- If this is a casual game, why not add an undo button? Then I can experiment with making the scene just how I like it.

- Alternatively, give the player 3 pickup cards. At any point in the game, they can consume a card to pick up an existing tile. The tile could go to the top of the stack, forcing them to place it elsewhere. The empty space would then be free for another tile to be placed.

Multiplay:

- (I know multiplay is a lot of extra work. But it might not hurt to plan for the future...)

- Mode 1: Deck is hidden, except for the next card. Players place tiles in turn, and gain points for placing the final tile in a quest.

- Mode 2: Or, all players play alone, but with the same starting deck, to see who can fulfil the most quests with that deck. (This one might be easier to implement. It could even be played asynchronously, e.g. by email.)

- Based on mode 2, each day could seed a new deck for everyone in the community to play and compete.

I hope this nice game will receive the success it deserves.

(2 edits)

One thing you could try on Mac is to run the Windows version through wine.

brew install wine

wine "Dorfromantik Demo.exe"

This approach is working fine here on Linux, so I think there's a good chance it will work for you.

(2 edits)

Thanks. I did in the end just swap 1,2,3 with Shift-1, Shift-2, Shift-3. This works fine for me. I use Shift to build/act. I could recommend these as defaults for first time players.

Additional feedback! Sometimes one of my characters gets attacked off-screen while I am focusing on another one. I believe there is an indicator for that (pulsing green border?) but it would be great if it was more visible (perhaps a larger red pulse), and perhaps accompanied by a sound when it first occurs. Usually when I notice, it is too late!

Another thing that might help this is if fights lasted longer. For example, if all the actors do less damage, or all the actors have more health. That would give me time to respond when an attack happens. It would also mean less waiting between waves, because I would still be busy finishing off the previous wave! Obviously this would be a big change, but perhaps an interesting experiment.

(4 edits)

Feedback: It's a fun game but I have some suggestions. (Maybe for your next game!)

Lots of people have mentioned issues with the key layout. Since we switch character more often than we build, I don't think it makes sense to use Shift when switching character. We could put characters on plain 1,2,3,4, and for building/launching we could use Shift-1,2,3,4 or 7,8,9,0 or letter keys.

Sometimes I wanted to bring the character to the part of the map I am currently looking at (e.g. to meet up with a crew mate). But as soon as I select him, the camera moves to his location! One solution to that might be: Tab always jumps direct to the character's location. But when pressing 1,2,3,4 to select a character, the camera selects the player but doesn't jump to their location. Then I could press 2 and right-click, to bring the character onto the screen. If the key is pressed a second time (when the character is already selected), then the camera can jump to the player (e.g. by pressing 2, 2).

I found the difficultly ramped up a little strongly at first, but then it became too easy. The first three games I died very quickly on levels 2, 3 and 4 respectively. It felt painful to be slaughtered so quickly after landing, and then sent all the way back to the start. (The first level is a bit slow to keep repeating.) Basically I wanted the chance to retry the level. (Funnily you can replay the level, but only if you quit the game before the ship is destroyed!) Some arcade-style games used to allow 2 retries, and I think that could work here.

On my fourth play I understood the game better (and maybe had some luck), and I realised I could go back to earlier levels to stock up, so I slaughtered the creatures and completed the game! Perhaps having easy, medium, difficult modes could make it less painful for beginners, but add extra challenges (and secrets) for players who want to keep coming back.

I found my cannons were a bit weak. If I left them alone, they would quickly get destroyed before I could run across the map to heal them. (So my tactic was to put cannons beside the ship, and keep an engineer at the ship at all times. A bit boring!) Perhaps if the creatures did not attack the cannons (or only did so briefly) then I could be confident to place them anywhere, and they would work more like a tower defence, shooting at creatures as they pass by (and needing only occasional healing).

I was sad at the end, because I thought I could land in the wormhole. I thought I had one more location to play, but no, the game just ended on me! Perhaps make the wormhole look less like the landable planet locations. (E.g. make it larger, and not round. Don't label it like the planets are labeled.)

Anyway it was a cute and fun game to play overall. I enjoyed it. Thanks for making it!

My first three games I thought it was pretty tough, I didn't like being dropped into a difficult new level, dying and being sent back to the start.

But on my fourth game, I completed it!

My strategy was to pick up more crew members from the distress beacons. When I was low on crew or on resources, I would go back and play an earlier level planet.

I surrounded my ship with strong turrets, and kept one character repairing them. My crew couldn't fight very well, so they just had to hide and sneak past enemy lines.

(4 edits)

Just played through the game. Pretty nice! It does a good job of highlighting some of the issues a government must consider, and the various things they must balance. In my first playthrough I achieved most objectives, but only got solidarity up to 55%. I will work on that.

I worry that with all the helpful info, the game might be a bit too easy. Therefore I have a suggestion:

- Offer a medium difficulty mode, where we cannot see the results of the choices until after the choice is made! (Don't show the changes to the three meters.)

- Offer a hard difficulty mode, where the movement of voters is also hidden until after the decision is made.

- (Optional) Only unlock these extra difficulty levels after a successful playthrough on the previous difficulty level.

Just some ideas, to add some extra challenge for experienced players. Thanks!