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Colin EUMP

A member registered Feb 04, 2014 · View creator page →

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I think you created a good base for a game. You're just missing an element or two more to make it fun and engaging. In particular, it's not clear whether there's a fail state, which is awkward in a game that's keeping score.

The visuals are pretty good. I like the overall look of everything. However, it is a bit confusing to have the chicks look so dark in such bright lighting. 

I think the gameplay's relation to skill is not quite there. As it is now, the game seems to have one exact state that is optimal at all times, with no meaningful choice on how to play. While it's not the only way to fix this, I think allowing things to pass either in the middle of the lifts or on top of them would give the ability to consider multiple items at once and thus allow better multi-tasking, without having to rely on the items sometimes falling through the top. From there the rate of things coming could be adjusted in various ways on the fly while still being fair to the player.

Lastly, I notice a bug in the collisions. The egg and the pumpkin both move with the next lift if it is moved while they're on the crack, but the chicks will stay in the same position while even moving clear off the previous surface.

I've just spent several minutes mulling over how to phrase my feedback. I was assigned your game as part of the weird "comment pact club" thing that was on the game jam submission form, and I was given advice on how to phrase feedback, but it doesn't help. My own instincts on being polite don't help either. So I'm just going to say it.

Your game feels like a freemium game.

To elaborate, the first attempt at your first level resulted in an never-ending stalemate with one of the robots where I had to give up to progress. The way I beat your first level was to up the firing rate and just overpower the robot. After that, I beat the other two levels by just tweaking my aim with the new guns so that my shots would just barely go around their shots, while switching lanes periodically if it wasn't working. While doing so, I didn't feel like I was using an intended strategy. I felt like I was using an exploit.

The impression I got from this is that the intended way to play your game is to try over and over again, losing each time, until the player can buy the next few upgrades. If that was your intention, don't do that again. Your game needs to be based on skill and meaningful choices before you even consider upgrades. As it is right now, your game instead resembles what I would expect from a game designed to encourage the player to pay money if they want to skip to the good parts.

That's not to say that your game is entirely. I've seen much worse, even from people with plenty of experience. The fact that your game's problems are entirely in the gameplay means that you did a decent job on art, animation, and especially programming. But when you come up with a design, or when you iterate on it, you should be paying attention to what choices and challenges you are actually giving your player.

I tried that version. It works.

The actual game works too, as a concept. I imagine it'd be really fun for a large portion of theatre buffs, and the spiders looked really good. Unfortunately, I got stuck on the second level, due to not knowing any of the lines of the passage and apparently being unable to guess what phrasing Shakespeare chose. I don't think I've ever actually read MacBeth, since there were other Shakespeare plays that got recommended first when I had access to them (ie. Hamlet).

I tried running the executable, but all it did was bring up an open file dialogue.

The variety is nice, but it's too hard to tell what the objective in each mini-game is. It's also unclear what the final goal is or if there's a final goal, which clashes with the star ratings.

On the job mini-game, I got to the really small platforms and then the character fell straight through one of them.

At first I thought the pipes that need dodging were where I needed to shoot the medics.

Each time I retried, the opening cutscene would show, but then after the first try, a new cutscene would occur and a different level would load. So far the only level I've beaten is the final one. Also, once the game gets to the final cutscene, it freezes instead of going anywhere.

The extremely aligned horizontal nature of the visuals made it hard to tell that the platform that was slightly lower didn't need a jump.

I would highly recommend against using visuals of such drastically different resolutions next each other. Further, I recommend avoiding scaling visuals up that much. It's really ugly and makes me not want to look at your game.

I tried running the game three times. On the first try, I could hear the music, but the screen stayed black for a while before the game just stopped and quit. On the second try, the ball on a crumbling bridge appeared, so I pressed w and d to move the ball to safety. Instead the ball went toward the camera, then curved around toward the direction I was trying to move it, resulting in falling off the side of the bridge. The screen then went black and stayed that way. On the third try, I waited until the ball had been on the screen for a moment before trying to move it. It moved in the correct direction, but because no combination of w and d went straight and there was a lot of lag, the ball fell off. At that point I hit alt-f4 and stopped trying.

I'm confused.

Does it just pick one of the ones the player clicked on at random then give a happy ending?

To this day, I've yet to see a UE4 game that I could run without lag.

Judging from your documents, it would appear that you managed the main things you set out to do. However, I noticed your design plans seemed to be just how the game should look and the broadest progression. Is that normal for formal planning? I would've expected more details along the lines of how high the pixel could jump as a multiple of their own size or at least what sort of control scheme to use.

Regarding the game itself, I noticed a couple pixels that needed to be 3d to get but that I couldn't reach due to being still 2d. It made sense after the switch, but in the moment it seemed like a bug, especially since there was no indication of how to progress.

Anyone who made a jam entry and comments in the submission page for another entry will be marked with a link to their game. You just have to be looking at the comment from the submission page rather than the replying page.

That said, a link to my game for your convenience:

The visuals are nice, but trying to play the game didn't go so well. The in-game instructions teach almost nothing, so when I tried to take over the first enemy, I spend most of the time trying to figure out why I couldn't move. Even looking at the game page, I still don't get why it was only working half the time.

Besides that, the movement speed of the enemies is really slow, and it's not always clear where they're able to see. I'm also not sure why the black enemy with what looks like a shield couldn't be mine controlled from the front. Wouldn't the parasite's leap go over the shield?

The constantly shifting background on the game page is distracting.

I think the concept is interesting and the story had me for a bit, but after a while I started losing interest. You've got a lot of long sections of writing that only really serve to keep up the tone. This wouldn't be a problem if each a bit more lore, as it is, it just feels like extra reading. I think if you work more on this, it'd be a good idea to go back through your writing and see where you can fit in more inferences about the actual life-style of the player character and the specific ways in which the city is horrible while still keeping each section about the same length. The additional options you mentioned on the game page are a good idea as well.

If there's any way you can fit in an option to make the text go faster, that would be a good idea too. In my experience most people who are old enough to be reading this sort of material can read faster than your text appeared.

I tried it twice. First time I got only 100 cause I rammed a ship on accident. The second time I got 8200 cause I tried saving a stranded group next to a torpedo boat.

I think the ship controls are nice, but I don't think they fit in an arcade-ish game. I think I'd prefer either faster gameplay or more narrative objectives. Still, the visual style is nice to look at.

I think the game would've benefited from descriptions with a more consistent level of detail. I saw a lot of them that seemed to be just occupations and a bit on whether the person is ethical, then I saw the choices "white technician" and "black technician". This confused me because the first images that came to mind were a cartoonish hacker that does good for society ("white hat") and a cartoonish hacker that steal data ("black hat"), so I wasn't sure why the "white" one would be the one that gives money.

Also, some of the descriptions seemed irrelevant. For example, I'm not sure what the difference between a "celebrity" and a "social justice warrior" would be.

I got to the flag with Zoey next to it, but I'm not sure if there was something else I was supposed to do.

I think the smaller, faster shots should've had either a vocalization without any strong attack (such as a long "sssssssssssss") with a somewhat lower volume or the vocalization you used but at a much lower sound volume. That way they wouldn't end up being louder than the stronger spells and it wouldn't be as obvious that a sound clip is being constantly repeated.

It seems to work from what I can tell. It just has the usual game jam feature of being short. The only issue I had was the pop from getting hurt is oddly loud compared to the spike noise.

There's a very noticeable delay every time I try to dash that makes it impossible to attack some of the skulls without getting hit, in part because it seems to be bigger right as they're about to shoot. On top of that, if the character gets hit, right after I push the button, it seems to result in the same visual feedback as if I hadn't pressed the button at all. I also can't tell the difference between letting the character fall and pressing s.

At the start of the game, there seems to be text at the top, but gets cut off by the top of the game area. My resolution is 1366x768 in case it matters.

Despite the frantic gif you put for the cover art and overuse of particles each dash, the game feels slow. There's a lot of waiting for the skulls to not have shots blocking the way, especially the blue skulls. I played until I got to two blue skulls at once, and stopped because I was tired of waiting for a safe shot.

The tutorial calling itself "hand-holding" seems like it falls in the category of derisive naming that Extra Credits has discouraged in its videos. It also doesn't feel good to have the tutorial wait till after something bad happens to give instructions. I don't see any other listing of controls, either, so I'm not sure what alternative the game is expecting.

Lastly, your descriptions all mention kicking, but the character dashes.

I got through the first room, but I don't get what about the second room relates to the journal. You've got multiple pages dealing with letters but the only ways of interpreting them I can think of (substitution or hidden messages) don't result in anything.

I fought the giant skeleton, but I skipped the other boss. I was finding it hard to tell whether the fireballs were going through open doors in the middle of the room, and just generally awkward to fight the fire breathers, so I just avoided them. Overall it was fun.

The visuals look nice, but I'm not sure the range of vision is enough for any more complex challenges without making the game completely trial and error.

In the first section, that first drop looks like it leads to a new room rather than a restart. I dropped down multiple times before realizing I wasn't getting anywhere.

At the part where it says on a note "The path to success is steep", the game warped the character noticeably forward toward the checkpoint.

I'm not sure if there's multiple paths, but I got to a part where I was dropping down recklessly to a platform below, leading to a path of platforms with falling rocks between. Given that each platform goes away a little after standing on it, I'm not sure how to guarantee safe timing. I managed to get through, but it didn't look like it was possible on every attempt, nor guaranteed to even have a safe timing frequently (meaning that if my analysis is right, there's a random possibility of players trying over and over and never getting a chance at success).

I did manage to beat it, but I didn't really get much sense that I got anywhere. I think if you continue working on this, adding set pieces within each section would help.

I played up to the fibonacci sequence part. The first bits were fun, but I started losing interest when it got to the caesar cipher. The chart doesn't specify which ring is the code and which is the result, so I had to basically just guess which direction A=4 would imply. Plus, not being able to look at the chart while doing the puzzle made it tedious. For the fibonacci part, I tried continuing the sequence, but when that didn't work I was left with nothing to go on, and not really any reason to keep trying, since it didn't seem like there'd be any new jokes and such as a result.

I got to the question and wasn't sure if it was an actual level or not. The answer would appear to be "yes".

Well, it worked at making me hate Microsoft just a little more. The installer tries to sneak in an extra app that definitely shouldn't be in there.

That does fix the 5th room.

It's too late now, but if you make any more games with subtle clues and meta puzzles, I would recommend getting it really thoroughly proof-read by someone else. The typos give the impression that the player shouldn't look too hard, which is especially contradictory with the decoding part.

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I took another shot at it, since you mentioned changes. Room 2 seems better, but when I beat Room 4, I got this error:

FATAL ERROR in Vertex Shader compilation
ShaderName: shd_distortion

D3DXCompile failed - result

at gml_Object_obj_trippy_background_Draw_0
stack frame is
gml_Object_obj_trippy_background_Draw_0 (line -1)


Oh, I guess I should also mention the other issues I had: Room 4's key is really hard to read, and for Room 3 I couldn't figure out what meaning of "overflow" would apply, since the normal programming meaning would just result in dropping digits. I also had to use this autohotkey script to figure out the morse code since I have no training.

Your game seems well-balanced and visually interesting, but I think it's less engaging without some form of measurement for how well the player is doing. Alternatively (or possibly "in addition"), some way for the game to become more interesting after a while would've helped, even if it was just an occasional board with 2 gaps.

I see I'm not the only one who thought of that for "extra media".

The game is fun, and the aesthetic is nice. I think I prefer seeing this type of concept on a larger scale than a game jam would allow, just cause the levels only have so much to think about otherwise. Though it's possible I've just played too many tile-mapped grid-based puzzle games.

I generally try to name something that could be improved on, but I'm drawing a blank. At this scope, with this genre, I'm not really sure how this game could be better. I did find the later challenges easier due to having the drone to use, but they were also more interesting.

I got to level 4, then I stopped. The game is fun at first, but after a while the slow pace wore me down.

I think the optimal play-style probably is only 2 hands. Specifically, I felt myself just immediately switching to normal typing positions. That wouldn't make much difference, but with the controls gradually overlapping between commands and interfering with each other, I think all the hands being one person would probably be more strategic. Also 3 hands on a laptop keyboard would be quite a squeeze.

The retro feel is nice though.

Ah, that old nostalgic feeling of playing a low res game with few colors and controls that make one wonder why they'd be designed that way.

I got to the third floor. How many are there?

The artwork is nice. The music isn't bad. The second portion was much more difficult to get through than the later portions, but that's normal for a game jam. Here's some thing you may want to look into if you make another platformer or similar game:

  • The camera doesn't need to follow the character at all times. I would recommend either of 2 methods: 1. not letting the camera move up until the character is on a platform, then moving the camera up to match the new platform, and not letting the camera move down until the character is below a certain point on the screen, or 2. not letting the camera move up or down until the character is outside of a center area with height just a little more than the character's maximum jump height. Either of those methods will stabilize the camera enough so that ground and ceiling don't constantly go in and out of view
  • Having a single consistent jump height tends to not feel very good. It's better to find some way to let the player control the jump height within a minimum and maximum (with the minimum being high enough to not feel like the character is being pulled down immediately). I typically prefer to do this by having a downward acceleration due to gravity along with a second downward acceleration theoretically due to drag whenever the player is moving upward but not holding down the jump button. I've noticed more recent mario games tend to have a more linear jump though, with releasing the button being what causes gravity to set in at all (paired with having a maximum fall speed equal to the jump speed)
  • Doing the exact same jump repeated will get boring very quickly to anyone who plays platformers a lot. Even if it's just to fill in a vertical climb, it's better to vary the relative positions of your platforms more.
  • You can get away with a lot by slowing down the animations of a 2d character.

The game looks and sounds fun. The mechanics seem like they'd be well balanced too. The only issue is that there's not enough feedback as to why the player is failing. 

So, I don't like these types of games, and I while I don't think you should necessarily follow my opinion if you make something like this again (better to listen to the opinions of those who like the genre), I think you've made a very good example what bugs me about these types of "puzzles."

I got to the second room, did the first steps and came across this result, which I am specifically writing this way to avoid spoilers but still give some indication of what's gone wrong:

D - 7 = 6
6 - E = F8
5 - 0 = 5
2 - D = F5

I imagine the clamping methods usually used with the context in question could help, but only if an order were provided, as merely assuming a consistent order would still leave 2 solutions. There's also the option of interpreting casually, which I did. It didn't work. Even if it had, I still would've had to assume a hex order, which still would leave 4 solutions. Neither normal reading order, nor an arbitrary meaning for "one" worked, regardless of casual assumption for starting with 1 or the more sensible order within the context (starting with 0). With that many possibilities, trying to guess what you were thinking is rather tiring.

Also, having to use arrows to enter in the codes doesn't help in the slightest.

Thanks, I know what the problem with the was then. I don't know how to fix it properly, but the quick fix version is easy and should be good enough.

Thank you for playing it and giving feedback. Ugh, those dang moving platforms again. The amount of bugs they generated was enormous. Regarding the audio issue, did the card hit a block that was sitting still or one that was moving? Also, did the issue stop on retrieving the card?

Bad news. My resolution is 1366x768. In case it helps at all, I just checked again to see if there's anything else to gleam from the issue. The area the in-game cursor covers is in the top left, so only the bottom and right of the screen are out of reach. As such, I was able to take a screenshot with the cursor as far from there as possible and find that the size of the in-game cursor's range is either 1121x574 or 1122x574, depending on which pixel is the actual anchor. In addition, if the taskbar is told to go away, it adjusts the range by a couple pixels more in both directions. I also found out that if I move the game window at all, the limited range goes away completely, but at the cost that the game is no longer scaling down at all, nor does it fit in the window.

415 fish caught.

I just twirled around, since I couldn't tell where the fishing hook would be.

The visuals and music are nice.

The first thought that came to mind was "my right ear is lonely". That was fixed shortly thereafter, but only after I checked to make sure my headset was working.

I ended up playing through twice, because I accidentally went through a door before getting all the passages and I couldn't find a way to go back.

As a simple puzzle game, it works well.

The healing power of capitalism?

This was an amusing read. I got 4 endings, I think. Other than that, I noticed a green lump that was only visible when passing by, and I couldn't tell if it was intentional.