Something about hitting frogs reducing your sanity is extremely damn funny
Recent community posts
Upgrading your mobs was fun, but I did feel like I often had basically unlimited gold (except a few times against the final boss). I like the idea of gold being based on picking up things on the track conceptually though - measuring how far your wave is getting and rewarding you for it makes sense.
Might be possible to solve the economy issues with a 'phase' system where you get multiple chances to upgrade / enemy to upgrade during a level, and you get to choose your upgrades based on what the enemy is building / upgrading. So there's a set number of flowers per phase, and it's a bit easier to tell whether you're doing well. Definitely a tricky concept to balance though!
The way the princess vibes out at the end of the track is very funny.
Wasn't expecting the towers to literally be attackers haha. I think this game would benefit from a smaller map so the player can keep track of when and where enemies are being added to adjust their strats. The fast running lighthouses made me laugh haha
I like the idea of a single player tower wars game. I think it would be cool if the towers were rebuilt and upgraded, so both you and the enemy get stronger over time. Imps are very cute <3
This was good! Building your own pinball machine is fun. I would have liked the ball to be a little heavier / faster, but got laughs out of 'this is the perfect plan' *immediately fails* 'oh no!' moments. :)
Thanks Vectis, we're definitely interested in exploring the mechanic further! We were thinking some terrain elements moving on the beat, moving floors, time based locks, etc. So glad you enjoyed it.
He doesn't show up all the time, but when he does I tend to just run and try and keep walls between us. He's not a boss, but he's a rare spawn powerful creature. (Perhaps not as rare as he should be, haha)
I had a go without the instructions first and was quite confused. With the instructions I didn't have a problem understanding, you're quite a good technical writer.
As for strategy, I maxed archers in all 4 towers then spammed all money into healing them. That seemed to go alright for me in the time I played? I cycled between towers in a generally clockwise direction.
I haven't played it multiple times yet, but I can safely posit that yes, it would be easy once you get the strategy down, as the game is more about thinking of a strategy than executing a strategy (which is fine if that's what you're making, it just means you need to make a bunch of levels)
On the fun thing, I really like that the game is about multitasking (it won't be everyone's cup of tea, but there are people who enjoy it) and the formation system is cool (although I didn't really have to use it to defend my towers effectively).
I think it's worth playing around with making some crazy changes to what you've got and seeing how it affects how the game feels! I think it's a bit premature to worry too much about difficulty and such at this point; you're early enough in development that you can still try some wild game-play experiments! Sometimes this is referred to as 'finding the fun', and it gets heaps harder to do later in development when it's harder to change your project.
You could try some experiments using what you've got as a base to see if you can solve some of your instructional / strategy issues. Stuff like the following:
- What if there were two or three towers instead, but the game took place on a single screen, and was more zoomed out?
- Currently a lot of your action happens off-camera, and I watch it on the minimap. Having it all on one screen could help communicate the concept of your game at a glance to players, as well as making sure that they don't miss anything.
- If you did try putting the game on one screen, you'd probably have to slow player movement considerably to preserve the tactical considerations of where you put your characters.
- What if the towers were more capable, but even more directly dependent on your support?
- Maybe try making towers heaps better at defending themselves, but they run out of arrows unless the patrol retrieves them from slain foes, or towers do fine against weaker enemies, but large siege bosses appear that out-range the tower, or battering rams that are immune to arrows. Something that really obviously demands the players attention.
- What if gold is something the patrol has to retrieve / mine / fight for / steal, and carry with them rather than gold being generated in towers?
- What if the level itself had more natural obstacles?
- What if the endgame wasn't to spend a few minutes in each tower, but instead required you to destroy the heavily guarded monster spawner or something? You need to defend your towers long enough for your patrol to increase in power enough to attack a spawner, or something similar?
Some of these are easier to try than others depending on how comfortable you are with programming. Try the easy ones first, if you feel like it!
These are all pretty random ideas, and a game that used all of them would probably be a little confused, but what I'm trying to get at is that there's a lot of different directions you could take what you've got, and the best way to find out which way you want to take it is to try a lot of different stuff and see what you find the most compelling!
Basically, try and riff on what you've got and see how different you can make different versions of the prototype.
In a way, by making this jam game, you've narrowed down the entirety of all existing game design patterns and elements to a handful that you find really interesting (a number of which aren't traditionally found together).
Think of what you've got here as your ingredients! How many recipes can you make? How different can you make them taste? Which ones are your favorites?
Don't be afraid to try stuff that doesn't work, or anything like that. You can fix it all later.
I guess I'm proposing the game design equivalent of sketching. You've got a set of elements that are really easy and fun to remix, and I think you should play with them more before you settle in and try to balance stuff!
I like the feeling of being lost in a videogame, but...
I hate the feeling of being lost in a videogame.
It depends on the game.
So, for context I will turn off every navigational aid in an open world game if it'll let me, and some of my fondest gaming memories involve being lost in games like Morrowind.
It's a very similar question to 'should the character of my game move fast?'.
The answer depends entirely on the context of the entire game around it.
That's kind of a cop out answer, so to elaborate a little further, let's change the question:
What does the player get out of being lost in your game?
- Is it an interesting experience?
- If it isn't, should it be?
- If it shouldn't, why can the player get lost?
Basically, is getting lost in your game interesting, and do you want it to be?
Currently, I don't think your game benefits from having players feel lost, because being lost in your game isn't interesting. Getting lost and finding my way again doesn't really lead to me making any compelling decisions as a player, it just extends playtime.
(Sidenote: I didn't get lost in your game particularly due to that signal prompt.)
Now, you could make getting lost interesting if you wanted to!
Maybe getting lost leads to stumbling into greater challenges, or greater rewards.
Maybe it drains resources, and players have to improvise to survive.
Maybe the actual process of navigation is an interesting challenge (orienteering with maps, landmarks, vague directions, etc.)
There's heaps of thing that you could do, but do you actually WANT to them?
Because it's totally valid to just not have the player get lost at all. (In fact, it usually allows you to designer tighter, more exciting levels)
If you're making a top down action game (which I think this game is), getting lost is probably just a distraction from what your game is focused on, which is chainsawing hordes of the undead.
Horror, as a genre, relies on dis-empowerment (horror), or the threat of imminent dis-empowerment (survival horror: the threat of running out of the resources you need to survive).
Your game doesn't dis-empower the player (I am a chainsaw wielding flannel god of death), which is fantastic for an action game, but also means it's not enough of a horror game for any of the genres traditions to be relevant to you.
This is a very long answer to a very short question, so to sum up:
1: If you go the action route, don't let the player get lost
2: If you go the horror route, only let the player get lost if you can make being lost interesting
If you really want to hybridize action and horror, I'd look to survival horror for examples. The genre manages to balance both elements with varying degrees of success.
I think I've mentioned this elsewhere, but your game is one I'm planning to come back to.
I'll probably need a little more time than I have right now to give you a really good answer on this.
I was planning to sit down and play it again at some point over the next few days, so I'll hit you up here (or somewhere, think I'm following you) when I get the chance to reeeeally sink my teeth in.
I think more than anything a game like yours is one of those where you really FEEL out what's good/not good (although a better designer than I might have a more objective answer).
I'll get back to you!
It's all good!
The two terms get used interchangeably a lot, even by designers, so it's really easy to get them mixed up.
Part of the issue with game design not having a proper taxonomy of terms, I suppose!
Keen to see your future levels, I think level design is one of the most enjoyable parts of making games once you get into the flow of it!
Hmm, I think you could maybe lean harder into the one screen thing?
Having to keep an eye on the dragon is good, but I think it would be great if there were more mechanics which required you to see what was going on in different parts of the screen, as that's your main mechanical twist.
I'm sort of torn on the torch, because it effectively undoes your twist! A small light radius is effectively the same thing as a small screen, right?
I think if some of the other mechanics were based around characters and unexpected interactions, you could get a chuckle out of seeing a wizard who's been working in his workshop the whole time becoming a roaming enemy when he gets annoyed at you flooding his workshop during solving another puzzle, that kind of thing.
Have you heard of a game design technique called the false ceiling? It's when a game looks like it's going to end at a certain point, but then surprises you by continuing past that point.
It's usually a nice little addition to a game, but in your case I think it may be mandatory to get the most out of the concept.
Having the castle transformed, or the context changed, by player actions which create new challenges would be excellent.
Effectively, I think you want to basically design dozens of levels, but then contrive a way that they can all be the castle, modified by some event (usually caused by the player).
Does that make any sense?
Hey! I remember you game!
The controls are fine, I think maybe the player character should accelerate to a slightly higher top speed.
I would love to have a little dash, or a dodge roll (see enter the gungeon for a top down example).
The level designs were quite good, I'd juice them up with more incidental breakable stuff in them that keeps the axe bouncing: think computer consoles, pipes that blast out steam which hurts enemies (and you!) when broken, etc. etc.
We had the rather odd challenge of having to make saying 'no' juicy: We used sound and a subtle headshake.
Would be interested to hear your thoughts? Is it juicy ENOUGH?
Link to Negative Nancy here! --> https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/462193?after=40#post-887310
Hey, just chucked your game a rate! It's a really cute aesthetic, had a good time with it.
Those cupcakes made me hungry though.
We had a similar moment when we accidentally doubled the dialogue text in Negative Nancy, and it created a drop shadow effect that looked so much better. (for context -->https://itch.io/jam/gmtk-2019/rate/462193?after=40#post-887310)
It's the best when stuff just works out (feel like it's a rarity in game dev, haha)
- What makes a good level? What makes it fun?
We'll come back to that one! Let's start with your difficulty curve question.
- And what is the perfect difficulty curve for such a game ? is it OK to challenge the player instantly or not, etc. ?
As a rule, the perfect difficulty curve generally looks (roughly) like this:
The game progressively gets harder, with slight dips in the difficulty to allow the player to relax after particularly tricky challenges.
As to how HARD a game should be generally, I think it really depends on who the game is for and what you want it to be.
Personally, I think a game should be as hard as it needs to be to show off it's mechanics; some mechanics pushed to their limit get really tricky.
- In my case, how can I improve the level design of my game?
First up, one of your jobs as a level designer is to be a teacher! There are three things you should keep in mind at all times when designing a level.
- What does the player know already?
- What do I want them to know by the end of level?
- How is the level going to teach them what I want them to know by the end of it?
This, and how you test the player's knowledge, is generally what a difficulty curve actually is.
However, it's important to separate the concepts of difficulty and punishment in your mind, as they're not the same.
Difficulty is how hard something is to do.
Punishment is how severe the consequences of failing to do it is.
Take this early level of yours:
You teach, and test, the double jump mechanic in this level.
While death isn't a huge punishment in your game due to the quick respawns, it's still probably not necessary as a consequence for failing.
If the consequence of failing my double jump simply meant I had to try again with better timing rather than an infinite fall to my death, it would teach exactly the same lesson, but be less frustrating (others have mentioned but I think there's something up with your doublejump code, it doesn't always trigger when I press 'w').
Same difficulty, lower punishment for failing.
So back to:
- What makes a good level ? What makes it fun ?
A good level tests only what you've been taught and teaches what you will later test, but that's not all.
A good level might offer epiphanies, 'aha, I get it!' moments that the player feels great for figuring out.
It might also allow the player to be expressive, using the mechanics of the game in a way that just *feels* good (see pop-corn enemies in a shoot-em-up game).
Level design is an art as much as it is a science, but it's great fun too!
If you can, try and test your levels on people you can watch play them. You don't need to ask their opinion, you'll quickly see where they get frustrated, and you'll be able to interpret what they were thinking by watching what they try to do.
In summary, teach the player, make them an expert at your game, then let them express that expertise in ways that feel good to do!
Really cool concept!
As others have said, platforming could be a little tighter but it's a great idea.
I would love to be able to cycle between the lights with my mousewheel so I don't have to aim for them and click while platforming!