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komehara

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A member registered Mar 13, 2016 · View creator page →

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Funny, I intended to play entries from the latest Boss Rush Jam, but I found your entry Magical Girl Game Jam Mystic Matrix first, then saw this much earlier Boss Rush Jam entry on your profile!

I’m playing boss rush games as a study for my own boss fight game, and it was very interesting. The first bosses have very simple patterns, Boss 2 with horizontal shots at different levels and Boss 3 with vertical shots, rather slow yet require good timing and to pay attention for the pre-spell hints on the screen.

The last one suddenly switches to homing attacks that can go diagonally and that was much harder, until I realized you could hit the daggers, making it much easier. I stopped playing wildly and played safe dodging the large sword, it was much more reliable.

The art is also impressive! I myself gave up on higher dimension sprites which I found too hard to animate, but I see how you made the main character with a big sprite yet using flat surfaces so it’s not too complicated (unlike the bosses) and easier to animate. Maybe I’ll try this later. But the bosses are still big and complex, I don’t think I’d be able to draw like that for now.

The face art is also great, the dithering makes it really look vintage. It also contributes to showing the character personality, which you’d expect to be just a flat, basic character for the jam, but instead it shows confidence, is even a little cocky. I noticed the Blade Master’s face art later, I think a bug caused its face not to appear on the first line of dialogue before the last fight but after that it appears correctly and is also detailed, yet old school.

Now for some issues I found (although it’s an old jam so I don’t expect patches, but good to know):

MC design

  • MC can flip direction at anytime even during a grounded attack! But the place where it was the most useful was during the air spin sword attack: it starts with a circular motion forward, then on the back side. So if you jump, attack, and flip mid-way it reverses the 2nd phase of the circular attack from back to front attack, allowing a second hit! Using this during the last boss allows you to double the hits, you can now land 4 hits and sometimes 5 if you also hit during the 1st jump, then double jump, attack, flip back, flip front, attack again, flip back. Pretty cool!
  • The floaty jump then linear fall feels a bit weird but I suppose it’s OK gameplay-wise, there is no surprise where you go.
  • Curse was never an issue for me. Maybe it’s a balance thing, but even when spamming attacks including the Air Spin flip mentioned above, I could never empty the Curse gauge. Now if it was well balanced, I’m still not sure if it’d be a good idea, as the player must already do a lot of effort to dodge attacks (esp. daggers/swords) and land some hits, so a careful approach is already rewarded by not getting hurt; and you’d want to reward players who are really agile and able to land many hits while dodging the attacks. But I can’t really say for sure, maybe the Curse would work in some circumstances, like the Elemental Overload in CrossCode.

Boss design

  • Boss 1: I tried to do the classic “wait for huge attack and go behind it to attack it from behind” but it flips immediately when you go behind it. It looks weird considering it’s a huge mass, and even more during a heavy attack. That means the only way to escape the bug sword git is to escape farther from the boss, but then it’s not fun and takes some time to come back at it to damage it again. It’s quite common in other games where you cannot roll behind the enemy but the sword is so huge, you have to go very far and it kinda breaks the pacing.
  • Boss 2: I tried to land several hits during the 3 spot fire phase, but I only got hurt. I suppose it’s better to wait and dodge (the crouch is great here, to dodge the middle or high fireball without having to jump - in my own game, the character is so small than crouching doesn’t really help, so a taller sprite makes it more useful). Unless pro gamers know a trick or too like jump to dodge a low fireball then land a hit anyway?
  • Boss 3: I found it annoying at first I had to wait for a seemingly random number of thunder phases before having the boss come down so I can hit it. Turns out with the right timing, I can lure it and force it to go down every time after a thunder. But the timing wasn’t really clear at first, it seemed random as even if I would go under it a little late, it would refuse to come down. Boss 4: the sinusoidal wave fireball pattern appeared at the end, I could never dodge it correctly (always had troubles with that, as in Freedom Planet), I went far away to see it better and kinda dodged the remaining fireballs, then attacked and defeated the boss. Maybe if the pattern appeared earlier it would have forced to learn it better. Unless it was randomly picked?
  • Flame system: maybe this wasn’t implemented? Or I didn’t pay attention as I didn’t see the flames go off during the fight, yet I wasn’t super fast either.
  • Boss 5: daggers appearing out of nowhere are not an isue when small, but for the big sword it could be a problem if you’re mid jump and there’s no easy way to dodge it as it immediately flies at you.

Progression

  • I appreciate checkpoints, this was an issue with other Boss Rush Jam games where I had to start from scratch and there couldn’t train beating a single boss. I prefer training on each boss, then do the real rush after beating the game once for speedrunning.
  • The skill unlock is nice! Although I didn’t understand the Air Spin at first, I thought I had to first press Attack then Jump (but maybe I just misread)

Controls

  • I tested gamepad, it didn’t work, and there was no control mapping on the page description so I assumed it was not done. Later, I discovered you had to select it in the controls settings! Since this is the first game on your profile and it’s easy to change the itch page description, I suggest that for now, you just add control layout (you can put the gamepad layout screenshot from the game) and add the instruction player must select the wanted layout in the Options. This way, no need to touch the game itself, yet players will be more likely to try the gamepad!
  • I think it’d be better to just enable all control layouts unless they conflict with each other. Currently Keyboard A and B do not overlap, and the gamepad never overlaps with keyboard, so all of them could be active, so the player can just test the layouts, test the gamepad and pick their favorite device/layout. Of course for more complex games it’s okay to pick between A and B, but still the gamepad could just always be enabled.
  • On my SNES-like controller, I had to use the left and top button instead of bottom and left for jump and attack resp. But I know not all game engines have great mapping (although nowdays Godot, Unity and Unreal all support button definition by placement up-down-left-right; some still reverse A and B on Nintendo-style gamepads but it’s rare that they confuse them with top and left buttons)

Bugs

  • when restarting game after finishing it, the Double Jump / Air Step skill is not reset, so you can use it from the start. In fact, if it wasn’t a bug I’d say it’s clever to ahve a New Game+ when you can use all the skills from the start

Ah, I see that you indicated you used deepl for the English translation on the main game page!

Too bad itch doesn’t give extra information on the game on the jam release page! Maybe next time we should let devs add additional info via jam-specific fields to fill on submission.

Since this is 3 years old, I opened a GitHub issue to avoid overlooking this: https://github.com/itchio/itch.io/issues/1609

Ah, I see! I must still have my password from the screenshot I took after finish the 3 levels, so I’ll be able to try the new skills by switching with Select / Tab.

If you patch the game I can also use that save to keep going on with the game!

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Nice game! I’ve played many jam platformers but they were quite rough and too static, so the unique elements (water, falling leaves, moving lava) in each level made it very dynamic!

I discovered you could jump on your own sword, Super Mario Odyssey style, a bit late, but it’s not required in any of the puzzles.

There were a few sections that seemed impossible to traverse without being hurt, I’m sure there a way but sometimes it looks like you have to stand on, like a half tile to avoid getting hit by the spike enemy falling from the sky, or plainly avoiding the spike tiles on the green planet.

Without up/down attacks it’s also hard to defend against enemies falling from ceiling or when falling on them.

On the blue planet, if you lose the bubble it becomes quite hard in the middle of spikes, you must decide whether to backtrack or keep going on… I wonder if it’s be better being punished by damage but keeping the bubble (but then it would break the mechanic and other parts of the level); or having lower spikes to jump over them.

Otherwise the checkpoints made it not frustrating so I could just go on and finish every planet. Clearly bosses would add a lot, but you may have to rework the move set at this point (up/down attacks maybe?).

Bugs

Bug: I could stand on destructible rocks on the red planet.

By the way, I noticed those destructible rocks in the hub and on other planets, but with no explosives nearby… I thought character would unlock a bomb power, but it didn’t in the end.

One bug when running the HTML version as standalone on PC (at least on Linux + itch app) -> there game window appears at 16:9, too big. You can shrink it manually but if it’s too small, scrolling bars appear. I tried to shrink it as much as I could, but I still had to keep a white bar at the bottom, otherwise a vertical scrollbar would appear on the side…

Looks like Password is generated but you cannot enter it?

I see skills in the menu but there are not implemented yet?

Too bad we cannot unlock the purple planet for now! Waiting for the post-jam update!

Was about to report the same. The text also says that the rift is closed, but it’s not.

Thanks! L-Sync suggested to use a play carpet to illustrate a child’s room, and then I had the idea to make it look like the main character was standing on some sort of overworld (as in classic RPG where it’s okay to have a giant character compared to the rest of the map).

Initially, the character was supposed to be able to walk on the houses (which would be part of the carpet, so flat), and then it would say “?”, as a kind of fourth wall joke as the character would obviously see they are flat, and the optical illusion would only make sense from the player’s point of view, trompe l’oeil style.

But eventually we added colliders to the houses to make them stand like real toy houses, as I had plans to let the bugs use them to live and store stuff.

Thanks, I’ll try some update after the 2-week voting period!

Pretty straightforward! Items are clear and easy to recognize.

Although, from the title and screenshot thumbnails, I thought it was a Sokoban about a maid who had to bring the trashes to the garbage location…

It’s easy to move the character and shoot, although you cannot aim up/down, I managed to destroy the plastic containers before they hit from from up/down anyway.

I was defeated immediately by one of them so I’m not sure if a health/recovery system was actually implemented.

Gameplay issues:

  • no incentive to release more fish instead of rushing to the end, but that’s expected for a game with a Score played outside the context of arcade ranking (maybe Score / release % could be displayed on end screen? but I also like jam games that don’t remind you you can do better and just congratulate you for ending the game, so maybe just showing an absolute Score is enough)

Technical issues found:

  • instructions look blurry, possibly due to half pixel offset messing up with the pixel perfect font (it could also be font size not multiple of native size)
  • on end screen, Shoot just spams some SFX and does nothing else after a certain time has passed, then you can restart game (to prevent player skipping the last message by accident maybe?)

Thanks! We’ll be working on some post-jam update to actually complete the first mission, but it will probably be done via dialogues anyway (possibly adding choices).

We had a plan to add items to find and pick in the room, but we’ll have to see if it fits in the mission.

Oh, that’s neat! It takes 45% of my total CPU but it does run at full FPS and no audio lag (in Godot 3! I hope Godot 4.3 which restore this perf!)

I really like the way characters move smoothly (although it felt a bit weird to move North across the NPCs, I then realized they were not enemies blocking you).

It would be really cool with proper skills and displaying damage, which is really what prevents me from getting into the game. But I see you keep working on JRPG / tactical battles so I’ll try your other games too!

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Hey, I noticed the game page is now private so I suppose some update is coming, and maybe some issues I’m mentioning have already been fixed, but since I cannot verify I’ll just post them there.

In order to play the game I had to pick my old download (too bad itch app just doesn’t tell me I can play the old version, I had to manually find it in the Downloads window).

So I finished the old demo, here is my feedback for the last parts:

Music

  • Some BGMs are a bit too “procedural” at times, it’s not clear where the melody goes, esp. the last one (danger mood)

UI

  • Battle dialogues must apparently be advanced by clicking on them (which doesn’t always work), Space sometimes work, sometimes doesn’t.

End of game:

  • the game doesn’t automatically goes back to main menu

Battle room:

  • Corrupted boss (not present in game) has a nice challenge, I had to try and discover that Attacking a Frozen body part breaks it with additional damage! Although eventually just slowing down and spam-attacking enemy is faster.
  • the boss regenerates too quickly though so I couldn’t beat it. Since it already takes time to destroy the two hands to hit the head, it should probably not regenerate on top of that.
  • cannot press Escape to exit battle and go back to battle selection
  • give up gives a black screen instead of going back to battle selection
  • Az: missing FX image exception when I receive the first hit

That was a nice one though, I’m eager to see the rest! Or even different games from the same creator!

On Linux Ubuntu 22.04, it starts but stops on the initial warning screen. Pressing Enter just toggles fullscreen.

I see a GameMaker 2.x version in the works on GitHub, maybe I should wait for that one?

Hey, coming from Lospec Jam 2. It looks nice, but pressing Left Alt on Ubuntu opens the Command dash which is quite annoying. Maybe you could add alternative controls like SPACE for the action (and also keyboard arrows to move).

Also, web version takes 70% of all my CPUs so I cannot play for too long. If you can export for other platforms next time it would be great, thanks!

Odd, I can play the Steam version fine in Big Picture, the linked thread in the other reply says workaround is not required since Apr 2022; and the itch version should work more or less the same.

I thought I had already suggested this somewhere but I can’t find the post, so I’m opening a new one.

As usual I’ll post in this thread first for discussion, then open a feature request on GitHub later if I get a clearer idea on the implementation (or on the opposite if I need more input from the devs).

This is the hover preview we get from usual browsing:

image.png

It contains the start of the description, screenshots and videos. It also plays the thumbnail as gif if it is one.

On the contrary, on a creator’s main page and on collections, hovering only plays the thumbnail GIF if any.

It does make sense as people on a profile or collection are more likely to click to learn more than people randomly browsing many games. However, sometimes there are many titles and I want to get a quick idea of what each looks like (and most thumbnails show a title, not an ingame screenshot). So it would be nice to have an option, either on user side or on creator side, to show previews of games on hover also on creator and collection pages.

I suppose it’d be better on user side to give them the choice, and so we don’t have to request all creators to enable it if the new option is not true by default. I would make the user-side option set to show preview on hover by default anyway, as it’s generally better to demonstrate new features then let users disable them so they don’t go under the radar (unless it’s really annoying for some people - in that case we can just make an announcement and prompt people to choose their setting immediately - we could reuse the notification system for this, but I don’t think a public announcement system exists on itch.io yet, would be a nice addition).

Alternatively we could embed a button to Disable hover preview (on creator page / on collection) directly under the Watch Trailer button of the popup. This way users can disable the setting for each kind of page immediately, but still reenable it in their preferences.

P.S.: not sure about the difference between Idea and Suggestion, but this is quite precise now so I set it as Suggestion

Looks like it works now that it’s all white! (all right?)

OK, I’ll be waiting for the update!

Personally I like the idea of blood arts as it makes everything connected to the blood theme, but standard skills would be nice too as there is only a normal attack. If the skill bonuses could appear more regularly rather than completely randomly it would be nice too.

Maybe you’re thinking of using blood for checkpoints? Would make sense since being able to defeat bosses perfectly means having a lot of blood and it also means you don’t want to fight them again.

Note: I recently discovered that itch app > Downloads popup shows latest updates, so I sometimes use that to check if I missed update emails. Oh, but it doesn’t work when I download the Windows version outside of the itch app, too bad. But I can download the Windows version via the itch app on a PC that has WINE, even if I don’t use it to play (too much CPU consumption), just to see updates. Either way, I regularly check boss fight games so I’ll end up seeing it anyway.

I continued playing a bit, it works on SteamDeck’s ArchLinux but you need to download Windows version manually from website then add it as external game to Steam library and run it with Proton (I used Experimental). Probably just works with WINE on other platforms.

I found a bug where you can jump a little before the master talks where a bonus will be, then you still fall during the animation but after that you automatically receive that bonus anyway (and probably only that, it was the bonus that gives you the two other bonuses at half purity so in this case I had to pick the other two anyway).

I was glad to discover alternative inputs: arrow keys + ZXC which I use more often than WASD + JKL (although in my own games I define both exactly the same way!)

Apart from the crash which only happened once (see my other comment), my biggest issue was that I couldn’t use the blood arts at all (I found two, one said to use A/D so left/right + K or L, another to hold K to attract blood and hit L, but neither worked - maybe I had to release K just before L? I also tried the alternative left/right+X/C, holding X and pressing C… nothing did work).

Finally, a training mode where you repeat the same boss again and again (with or without the bonuses) instead of restarting from scratch would be great to get a feeling of progress. Either it would really be just a training and you’d have to start from scratch to really advance and unlock next boss and its training, or it could be a full “easy” mode where you just have a checkpoint for every boss.

I like the boss rush challenge but it’s getting less and less interesting to fight the early bosses so it’s more just taking time than a real challenge and I’m not improving either because I can already beat the first two with no blood heal (so purity 100) so I have no benefit in beating them with slightly more HP at this point.

So it may be worth waiting for an update before I keep going? So I can get the crash fix, the blood art input fix and maybe the training/easy mode if you can do that. I’ll try the other Boss Rush entries in the meantime.

Same when using blood damage bonus and attracting blood so it hits boss, but at the same time it hit me and I probably died? Anyway if you already found the cause and a fix for it, that’s great.

Currently studying Boss Rush jam entries for my own game, first cool thing I observe is Attack -> Jump cancel which I’ll probably implement too!

Thanks, but I see no recent downloads of this game in my stats, and there is no web version. I also noticed you serial-commented on several on my games with quite generic feedback, giving me the impression that you are giving nice comments for the sake of it - maybe with the intention of helping devs get some visibility.

However, I’d rather you actually played each game thoroughly, even if it means spending more time on one and commenting on fewer games in the end, so I can get more qualitative feedback I can use to improve the game, or my other future projects.

Thank you in advance for your understanding.

OK, this is the last entry I’m testing from this jam.

The premise looks interesting, unfortunately I find the in-game English text hard to understand… Was is it translated as a second step from Russian? I can mostly understand what’s going on (first the spider attack, then morning wake up and the news about energy leaks) but the inconsistent pronouns and odd locutions make it sometimes hard to catch what’s going on precisely or what people are feeling (which is important for immersion and drama).

I stopped mid-way as I prefer playing the game later right if it gets some revisited English version, rather than going through a half-baked experience. If you update it at some point, you can reply to me so I’ll get notified.

So I can’t really give relevant feedback right now. Except on art maybe, I like the background styles, whether they were painted over photos, post-processed or originally made.

Hey, le concept a l’air sympa !

Pour faciliter l’installation depuis itch.app et permettre aux joueurs.euses de savoir si le jeu est disponible sur leur plateforme, tu peux tagger chaque build uploadé avec la plateforme correspondante (Windows, macOS, Linux, etc.)

I was adding some games downloaded via itch app to my Steam Library as Non-Steam Games so I could play them directly from Big Picture on my Steam Deck.

It works, but I noticed that the path to the game binary changes based on the game version (since the folder and executable name tends to include version number) - or if the game title changes (more rare, but can happen when leaving prototype phase).

Therefore, it would be nice to have a canonical symlink for each download channel (typically named [game-title]-[channel]) so I can set it on Steam once and for all. Then I’d just have to Update games via itch app from times to times (I also added the itch app itself to Big Picture following https://www.reddit.com/r/SteamDeck/comments/ufr30h/itchio_app_in_gaming_mode/, but I’m not sure how practical it is to actually play games since Big Picture controller remap may not work on apps indirectly opened via another app) and Steam would always open the latest version.

I don’t know how portable that is, I just tested symlink under Linux (ArchLinux, since SteamDeck) and it works. You’d have to check if it works well on Windows and macOS too.

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Wow, I didn’t expect such presentation! It got to be one of my favourite entries with “exorcist killing lie”!

The story was the right length, it looked like a pattern of “normal girl meets boy with power” at first but the characteristics of each character and the humour made it interesting all the way long!

I really liked the beginning with the “marry the first girl that comes” joke and other “dense” humour (funnily I also watched Violet Evergarden today which is on the more serious side, but the MC still manages to involuntarily pull a few jokes).

And the art direction / presentation is top-notch, with the frames, black and white with nice textures (screens) and more abstract shapes that make even the more geometrical backgrounds stand out. I quickly noticed the main frame changing on pulse beat, which are some point was perfectly matching the BGM beat (unfortunately it got unsynced later, I suppose there was no explicit sync code, but if the BGM started at a certain offset, since the beat period was the same, it just got synced).

The way frames are shown and moving is makes the game very dynamic, and part of the characters’ emotions actually go through this, rather than just facial expressions as in classic VN.

Dialogue is also well-paced and funny.

Surprisingly there is no battle animation / dedicated sprites and everything is done via sound and motion, but we understand what’s going on (maybe an exception is the last battle where the girl’s curses are done exclusively via SFX - for accessibility an FX would be welcome to accompany each attack).

I noticed that your team has a very different distribution from what I’m used to, with several people on overlapping art fields. This may explain the extra polish of art in BG, characters but also all the meta work with frames and motion design (and the eye catches too! Too bad I couldn’t screen capture them in time!)

Issues

  • on a weaker machine like my laptop, the game is quite CPU consuming and each dialog box took some time before it displayed the “continue” arrow. As a result, I had to wait for a few seconds before I could press Space/Enter to advance. Clicking on the box with the mouse instead seemed to solve the issue. Maybe it’s a thing of Naninovel, and you could set it up to immediately show the arrow to continue dialogue immediately. The issue is not perceptible on a stronger machine like my SteamDeck, since the arrow appears immediately
  • Keyboard/Gamepad nav is not 100% reliable, esp. in the Save/Load menu where you the selection may not go where you want

Spoiler

At the end, when the wallet is thrown, the animation suggests it’s going horizontally but the following CG shows that it was sent upwards in the sky to lure the enemy spirit, since the snake also goes there. Only with the following dialogue did I understand that both the wallet and enemy spirit was there. But part of the good presentation is also that things are well explained in text in case it wasn’t all clear in visuals.

Really, like “exorcist killing lie” that’s a very good one-shot, if you walked to an editor’s door you’d probably get published! … if they accepted dynamic, digital manga, obviously. Unlike “exorcist killing lie” I see it more as a pure one-shot than a pilot for a bigger world and plot, since the MC’s power has one very clear use that fits this particular mission, but nevertheless I’ll be following your future games!

I tried again from the Downloads popup and now I get:

“An error occurred during installation No manager for installer unknown”

image.png

I was eager to play this game since I had been interested in Kid Paddle’s algebraic fight into an actual video game for a while.

The corruption system really makes sense to give a penalty to imperfect match proportional to the difference, while giving an extra change to the player to make things right (or fail to match once more and propagate corruption further).

My second run went pretty well, I kept using unit 20 => divide in 2x 10, square 10 to 100 and easily reach big numbers. At the end I picked the “merge digits” card which was super powerful and allowed me to reach the boss’s HP in just two steps.

The game is pretty and is a technical “sugar” as usual with the engine. Even grass moves!

The ingame interface is nice as instead of selecting a pair of objects you click between them, and move units around to prepare this, making the game more toy-like and funny to work with (maybe inspired by educational tools that let kids move numbers and letters around to form words and bigger numbers).

Now for a few issues:

  • after the last fight of an area, GO! appears but then the soldiers don’t move and just celebrate. They should probably just reappear and celebrate, without the GO which gives the impression there is another phase after the last one.
  • I didn’t get that you were deactivating bonuses in story mode: I assumed all bonuses were disabled by default and just clicked to start. So at the end of the area, I was sent back to main menu, tried next area and discovered I needed 3 more starts, but I had gotten 0 since I had so many helpers active without noticing! It’s obvious when you try to toggle helpers that they are deactivated (text is struck and star score increases), but the first time if you don’t try it, you don’t notice the 0 star (thought it was a hiscore of something) and just end up playing for 0 star. May be good to explain this better to players who want to play hardcore and assume bonuses are disabled by default.
  • the Sword (attack) button is far in the top-left making mouse play pretty slow. Fortunately I discovered classic PC shortcuts 1-2-3… numpad keys for quick access of Attack and Spells. This could be added as a hint so players not used to MOBA don’t have to guess them.

Hey, I reached level FEU A VOLONTE and thought I found the solution, but my Canardeur is stuck although it seems it should be able to go on. As if it was stuck by just 1 px step too high.

Should it work this way or should I try something else? (I have an idea using the 3rd character if needed)

OK, in fact I was looking at itch app Downloads list and I saw an update there, but I think it was just the old update that fixed the Boost during pause issue.

The first boss is the Imposter.

OK, I had the impression the game was saving at every step since I was seeing a mini-transition screen after each scene, but I suppose it was just a loading, not a saving screen (it appears and disappears super fast).

If you can implement auto-save after each battle / important decision it would be great! Like Darkest Dungeon (I think?) or Healer’s Quest. If the game is using manual saves on selected slots rather than auto-save on the same slot then you could allow manual save after each battle or something (but I’d need to be reminded of it… unlike Renpy games which are standardized I may not think about it).

OK, I’ll reach you on DevTalk, although I’m mostly interested if there is either per-battle save or a good difficulty balance because currently the first boss battle is quite long so I’m worried about losing it, closing the game and having to redo the minion and boss battle again.

OK, full keyboard is good for me but there was that bug where you lose focus when you press Escape and so you need to click once (although you don’t see the cursor) to grab focus back so it wasn’t totally full keyboard either I think. As long as I have ways to learn what the status icons mean, it’s OK (for instance Octopath on Switch works well with just the gamepad, but there is a status tutorial (which could be replaced with the PDF guide for this game - or additional text on status change).

Aha, I wanted to write a website support chatbot parody but this one is not bad either! Although I went into a semi-loop at some point (I had to answer what I was doing twice, I replied Sorting documents and then It is boring the second time). You don’t really predict how to reach the right place in the dialogue, but it just happens and it’s quite fun when it does!

(coming from: Unity 3D Francophone Discord)

Hey, I tried your Slice Manager from GitHub and it worked great, but I needed to slice a bunch of items from a downloaded spritesheet so I also tried Better Slicer next, but it did nothing in Aseprite v1.3.2. Is it supported?

I can give more details on GitHub issues and a sample spritesheet if needed.

Hello, I’m back and testing the last version now after a while. With a fresh mind I can also tell you what issues I still notice or discovered due to not playing for a long time:

Setup

  • first, my game started 1 fight before the 1st boss, while I remember having defeated the boss and stopped soon after that last time.
  • in fact I just tried again after defeating the minions and I’m also back to before the minions! I’d rather be sure the save system properly works before going further before the boss takes quite some time to beat
  • the game’s maximum resolution is 1080p. On a 1440p monitor, the main menu (and the rest of the game) looks OK, but the settings menu itself still looks blurry. Maybe it’s due to the Unity default widget textures just being too lores, and it will be fixed once you fully customise the UI?

UI

  • the UI is still very raw at places (I mentioned default Unity buttons but there are also many buttons using primary colors that look proto), since release is approaching it’s something to work on seriously over this year. I see there is no UI/graphic designer in the team, that will be an important addition to the staff, not only for the overall in-game look (since it’s a VN / turn-based RPG you can say that UI is a big part of the aesthetics)…
  • … but also for promotional art. If your case I see you already got a Steam page with capsule art and all, but you can still improve things like the color palette. For instance, the blue of the BONDS in the MAGNETIC BONDS logo is bit dark. It’s not too hard to read but you want maximum clarity on the capsule art. If you find a good stylized Japanese font for マグボ, it will also help stand out (e.g. Freedom Planet’s katakana sub-title uses a nice font with a golden gradient - OK maybe the 3-level gradient is a bit too much and not that easy to read, but you get the idea)
  • on the same idea, a few messages (e.g. “Victory”) have very low contrast (yellow on white) making them hard to read.

Battle

  • dropping back into the game, I had forgotten about non-trivial inputs (namely E/R to switch character and boost, Shift to cancel). It would be nice to have a Help / Input reminder menu somewhere (in the Escape menu I suppose) or have the controls reminded in the PDF Guide (easier since no need to implement feature in-game). Personally when I don’t have time for in-game controls I write them on the itch page, which you can also do (but that won’t do for Steam, as people are less expected to read the Steam page while playing!)
  • … but to me, the best is in-game HUD indicators, namely showing the E/R keys near the character avatars and boost buttons to indicate E/R switches character or increases/decreases boost level
  • E/R effect actually depends on context and that’s a bit troubling at times: you want to boost and instead you switch character. More exactly, in the top battle menu and skill menu, E/R switches character (or fails with error if no character available, which can give the impression that Boost is not available when trying to boost). When selecting an enemy, E/R changes Boost level. It differs from Octopath which allows Boost level change on skill selection, so I easily mess up. I like however that unlike Octopath, you can Boost at the last moment during enemy selection. => in the end it may be better to allow boost on both skill and target selection. To avoid confusion completely and also allow player to change character during skill selection, you can also assign different buttons to character switch and boost level change. It would be more complicated to remember and use all these keys though (but if inputs are remappable, players can choose to either use contextual boost/switch character or dedicated buttons).
  • if you support gamepad (very recommended for Steam), I suppose E/R would become L/R triggers which is very intuitive (Octopath uses it for Boost already). Would could still use LT/RT on Xbox or X/Y to switch characters. Alternatively a Chrono Trigger-style left/right button to switch character from the top menu (then it’s better to show all character action boxes as in Chrono Trigger - it can be overwhelming to some, so there’s some UI decision to make)
  • the Escape pause to increase Boost indefinitely hack has been fixed!
  • otherwise my observations are the same as last time (too many OT, nice to defend at last moment…), and my strategy didn’t change (defend when enemy turn gauge or Rage approaches 100%, else use most powerful skill, consume all Boost when available - I’m considering to use 2 Boost instead of 3 since if I wait for 3 I will “waste” some Boost increase as it gets clamped on the max level)
  • I tried to use the mouse to inspect enemy status alterations/weakness, but I couldn’t see my cursor. Is it disabled during battle? I’d recommend PC-compatible RPG to support mouse, it’s very useful to hover all sorts of information (as in Darkest Dungeon). Otherwise you need a way to navigate through all UI elements to inspect them (I know, it’s hard to do, even Octopath doesn’t do it - I only know CrossCode to have a full help with navigation to get a hint on every element on screen, and that’s just in normal menus).

I have no time left to beat the boss now, and the save system seems to fail again so I’ll wait for your confirmation that it’s working again before I try to beat it again. Then I’ll continue the demo as much as I can.

Similar feature request on GitHub: https://github.com/itchio/itch.io/issues/69

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I noticed an inconsistency between Grid and List (column) view for collections:

  • Grid shows the most options with add/edit blurb and remove
  • List has the fewer options with just add/edit blurb
  • both miss the reorder buttons, which are only available in the Library view (https://itch.io/my-collections)

It would be more consistent to give all the commands (add/edit blurb, reorder, remove) from all views.

Grid view widget (removed pictures to make image smaller):

image.png

(the text buttons in French mean “Add comment”, “Edit comment” and “Remove…”

Same on List view:

image.png

(these ones are translated - may be worth making localization uniform since the buttons are supposed to say the same thing! It would be more correct to use “blurb” everywhere which could be translated as “résumé” in French, rather than “comment” - although admittedly “comment” makes sense when commenting on someone else’s game, while blurb is good to introduce your own game)

Library/All collections view:

image.png

OK, I admit I rushed to the end of the prologue a little but here is my feedback:

  • presentation is interesting with point-and-click style “one text color per speaker”. When character sentences are inserted inside “she said”-style narrative sentences, the character sentence is precisely colored, that’s very neat detail
  • the MC is quite interesting at the beginning, where they “say the right thing” in a very rational manner to make other people feel good. So it’s like the philosophy that “being clever leads you to do good anyway” which I like, but at the same time, they do so only to reach their goals, which also makes them sound manipulative and reduces my own empathy with the MC. Later in the story, this feels less and less, though. Which leads to the next point.
  • each narrative section seems quite disconnected from the others. As mentioned, the MC’s style changes but the theme and focus also seems to change. The only link is the mention of the criminal case, and in fact switching to a battle scene is okay (since that’s the jam’s theme too), but the 3rd section where they just play around in the apartment really feels disconnected. Characters show each other emotions we are not sure how they are justified (second character is ready to live and die with MC, just because they did a good talk in the first section?), and while I understand they can relax, second character said in the previous scene she wanted to stay with you tonight to discuss the case - which you don’t do at all, except mentioning the fight (which you covered as a bomb explosion, see below)
  • there is no explanation for hiding the fact that there is a killer and saying there is a bomb. Actually, the reason given is to protect the second character but I don’t see how
  • some typos/broken end of sentences and unexpected pronoun during the fight (killer named “her” before MC identifies them)

Now for the big issue:

  • while the fight scene is really tense at the start (actually surprised me that MC reveals good fighting skills), it quickly becomes long and repetitive, after the choice, all options take a few pages but not many new things happen. The first 2 options repeat the same things a lot, and the 3rd (correct) option too so I thought all were leading to game over, then I realized the 3rd option actually led to something else at some point so the fight could continue and I could win it

Which leads me to the critical question: have you used generative AI for the text, or were you simply trying to give the same length to all three options, which led you to repeat the same ideas multiple times?

Nothing really triggered me in the first section, it really looked original. But the battle scene really made me remember of the redundant paragraphs I would get when prompting NLP text generators. After the battle, text becomes “normal” again and dialogue flows more naturally (except in the apartment the characters discuss things unrelated to the case, but that seems to be an authoring issue). But I still had this doubt still in mind and it caused me to skip through the text much faster than before, as I didn’t know if it was worth paying attention to every word or not.

Paradoxically, I spot some big sentence typo (breaking the last words of the sentence) in the battle scene so it means either it was actually manually written, or you were at least rewording generated sentences yourself, only using them as a template.

On your profile it’s written writing is your main stuff, so I’d be surprised if you used such a tool for this, esp. if you could write the rest so far. If battle scene writing is not your forte, it’s okay to keep it simple, and in fact it would give shorter but more intense scenes. If you use AI at some point, you must state it, and in this case you should also not submit your game to the jam.

Of course, if you actually wrote everything yourself, being told this was done by an AI may be offending, so I would apologise and simply say the part after the choice was too repetitive.

Now for art: unfortunately I have the same question, did you use generative art AI? Because it has several symptoms:

  • across the game, characters have the same features (hair length and color) but their actual face details and styles slightly change on every new illustration
  • in the apartment scene, it becomes obvious as the second character changes expression: she also changes face art style! And moreover, while the composition remains the same, the details of the whole environment around her all change, with the plants’ leaves and couch’s folds changing! This is typical of reprompting a generative art AI with the same words (+ a small difference to change character expression) due to the random seed / exact set of parameters changing each time. There is no reason this would happen with manual art, where only the character expression would change.

In your profile you also say you illustrate in position 3, so maybe it’s not your main thing, but again, it’s okay, we all illustrate at the level we can or team up with illustrators. There is no need to force yourself to work alone but end up resorting to those tools in the end. Again, if you use generative AI, you must state it and not submit to jams where it is forbidden.

I checked your other games and they sounds like neat little games, properly handmade (I can’t tell for the thumbnail illustrations since I can’t detect anything on a single piece of art, but I see nothing weird about the game content anyway). There’s nothing wrong going on gradually from these and improving your work’s quality over time. And jams are here to meet other people and work with different skillsets, so you should take this as an opportunity to learn and work with others. It’s also totally fine if you work alone, I’ve seen very good novel-style VNs made for jams by one-person teams out there. In fact, several of them relied on either public domain photos/illustrations or photos they had taken themselves.

I hope you can continue on the path of game dev and will one day feel like a fully-fledged member of our community.

As explained in the Disclaimers, the game currently doesn’t run on a native PICO-8 (mostly due to my custom patch to remove token limitation)… but I haven’t tested it on unofficial emulators (fake-08, zepto8) - I also use a Linux handheld, it uses ArkOS and zepto8 as fallback, but since I already own PICO-8 I just installed it instead and never got to try the emulator. So if your emulator has an option to ignore token limitation, it may be able to run it. Otherwise it will fail as soon as you enter in-game, with a token limit error message (but you should be able to see the title menu and maybe the stage intro).

I don’t have my handheld at the moment, but I suppose it would play multi-carts the same way as single carts: put all the .p8 files together in the usual carts folder, at the same level (in ArkOS each console has a dedicated folder, but they apparently keep the pico-8 folder itself for the official binary if you have it, so instead carts go to a sub-folder /roms/pico-8/carts). Alternatively, the .p8.png should also work.

Unfortunately, I cannot give you more information without knowing your specific setup, and the doc for your platform/emulator will probably be more useful to you. There is nothing special with the game itself so if you can run a single-cart game, you can probably run a multi-cart game the same way. The token limitation break is your biggest issue and it’s not specific to Linux/emulator.

I’m curious if some emulators can run the carts so tell me if you can make it work!

P.S.: and obviously there is the solution to run the Linux binary, I have done it myself but it was a hassle on a GameBoy-style handheld: I had to plug a keyboard via USB, press a combination of keys to enter Terminal mode, use the keyboard with command line to navigate to the game’s Linux binary and run it… And I’m not even sure input mapping was correct. So I didn’t recommend it to you. I wish ArkOS had some “Other” category where you can run arbirary binaries and it still provides you with some input remapping overlay, like Steam Big Picture + add external games to your library. But I get it’s not really it’s original purpose.

Porting tilemaps is time-consuming indeed if you don’t have a dedicated script. I don’t know if you’re switching from manual tiles to new auto-tile or old auto-tile to new auto-tile; I don’t see a conversion script for either just doing a quick search, and I don’t know how feasible that is.

If you really have too many maps it may be worth writing your own and distributing it to help other devs working on long-running projects; but if you’re switching from individual tiles to auto-tiles, that may be too hard, I myself have the same issue with PICO-8 native map vs a new 3rd party “PicoMap” that supports meta-tiles.

I have an older Godot 3 project but I didn’t have much to add so I decided to just keep it in Godot 3 (which requires a little mental gymnastic every time I switch from Godot 4), but for a bigger project like this it’s probably worth it. Good luck!

If you need more Linux testers using various distributions you can open a newsletter / form or something and start seeing if you gather enough people to consider it satisfying. I’ll be glad to subscribe.

In my experience Godot Linux export is quite reliable (second after Renpy in terms of “just build blindly on Windows, macOS and Linux and if one platform works, all 3 probably do”, certainly thanks to the use of export templates), but I’ve mostly been using Godot 4 lately so that’s probably something works checking after the Godot 4 port (but you can start the newsletter / subscribe form already to start gathering people).

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When trying to upload an image with a very long name, say 132 characters (easier to repro on Linux, due to Windows file path limitations), the upload will fail:

  • silently when uploading an image for a comment on some game page
  • with a fancy error when trying to uploading a BG texture for a game page in Edit theme mode

The fancy error is very long and contains website HTML itself:

image.png

Thanks for the guide! I noticed that embedded web versions of the game also take precedence on the standard width of 960 for the banner, and will extend the banner width if the web game size (that you can set in page settings) is bigger. That could be a nice addition to the page top banner size explanations.