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I like the concept. Keep it up!
> Changing the camera manually does indeed lag your directional orientation (I did this so you can't cheese your turn friction because it will be tied to a stat
This really shouldn't be necessary. I'm not a programmer so bear with me, but changing the camera angle should only affect the input, not directly affect the physics, so it should have no effect on your movement that you wouldn't get from simply moving the stick a different angle. You just want your inputs to be relative to the camera position.
I would think you would want the minimap to be omnipresent given how important it is (to most of these games). It's been a while since I've played this type of game but I think that's usually the case?
It's intuitive for me to do something like select some units, then click and drag on the minimap to position the camera and then click where I want to go in the main view. Of course, the 45 degree offset you have makes this somewhat awkward.
One thing I didn't mention in the video is that I find it frustrating that the minimap disappears when I have units selected because I want to use that to move the view around and/or see where to send them or other things.
Hi, I gave it a shot (this is from some days ago).
The video size was large; it took a long time to upload and literal days for Youtube to finish processing! It seems your game's graphics aren't nice on video encoders. 😅
I hope you find it useful!
I think you're on the right track!
I've been designing this game too much as a balanced multiplayer game and not enough like a crazy single-player experience.
Yeah, this is something I call symmetrical game design, where the enemies have the same power levels and follow the same rules as you do. Some devs seem to be drawn to this kind of design, and it definitely has its benefits in the kind of game feel it can provide, but also has downsides and design challenges it introduces. There's a number of stuff that works better with the freedom of asymmetrical design. An example would be in a traditional shmup, having the player bullets move fast and the enemy bullets much slower is a dramatically better experience than if the dev followed some self-enforced rule about how all projectiles need to be the same velocity because that's what "makes sense." I think you have the ability to strike something of a balance. You could keep a lot of the consistency in how parts work between player and enemy but also find certain ways to inject boosts to the players abilities to empower them further.
One of planned features to mitigate this are passive buffs called "Mutations" that can be exclusively picked up among Zooid drops - so you can either choose a new zooid or permanently change stats of your current and future Zooids. You could consider them as Zooid upgrades you have proposed.
I'm not sure how into this I am tbh. For one thing, it's a bit weird to give the player a choice between an upgrade and a sidegrade. Wouldn't they choose the upgrade each time? Sure there is *some* value to diversifying your options but I would find it hard to justify that over making my existing abilities stronger and more compact. You might end up balancing this choice by making the upgrades quite weak overall which also seems like an unfortunate solution.
I think the idea of being able to spend nutrition to upgrade existing parts is much better. It's intuitive and satisfying to the player, and it functions directly (in the build mode) in the area of interaction between size and power of the player. It's a common element in things like tower defense games, where there are spacial limitations at play and it's impractical to simply keep adding more towers so instead you can upgrade them, and there's some interplay there where you have to make decisions between adding towers or upgrading. I think this is something that is perfect for Sipho, especially since the idea of being small and nimble at least some of the time is very appealing but not often very practical for combat since you're so vulnerable. It's also nice to think that if you have put together a build that you like you can reinforce it further with upgrades rather than have to pull it all apart and try to rearrange and fit more pieces in to try to make use of your newly found nutrition (I found while playing the idea of ignoring newly gained food was often preferable to messing with a build I was already happy with). Lots of benefits to be gained from going down this route, I think.
The planned feature you mentioned could also work alongside this idea. Maybe the prospect of being able to upgrade new zooids you pick up would increase their appeal vs. the passive upgrades you mentioned.
I always find your game difficult to do on-the-fly analysis of since it's just so weird. 😄 So I'll share a little of my thoughts after-the-fact.
What I think is that your game is perhaps doing a bit too much to try to physically simulate things and it's affecting the action gameplay negatively. Often action games benefit greatly from simplifying out things like motion and aiming so that everything is tight, responsive, well-controlled and predictable. Not every game needs to play like a shmup but I think your game is going so far in the opposite direction that neither the player nor you guys as the developers are as in control of it as you want to be. It's easy to see why you want the physicality of the experience because of how it fits the feel and aesthetic of your theme, but ultimately I'm spending a lot of time just trying to kill other things and feeling at the mercy of the game a lot more than feeling like I'm applying, and developing, player skill to get a result. I think this is something that affects a lot of builder games, and you could argue it's just the nature of it, but to put it another way, a lot of the game time is spent outside of the builder in action gameplay, and I want to be able to enjoy that consistently. I think if we separate gameplay elements out as "more or less physically complex," elements of more complexity should be chosen carefully that benefit the gameplay, and things that don't should be simplified.
As far as the building mechanics, the thing that stands out to me most is that I can't really see what more or less optimal play looks like here. There's some subtle things that I can obviously discern as better or worse to do, but it seems like I have so many options and no feeling that many or any of them are particularly excellent. I'm sure there are more and less optimal builds, but as the player (especially new player) it's hard to see or feel that there's a clear path to becoming more powerful. I know you guys are aiming for a little bit of roguelite flavor in the progression, and one of the defining features of roguelites is that as you acquire upgrades your character gets really obvious boosts of power (in varying directions). And crucially, powerups also synergize with each other, which is exciting and leads to variety in "builds." Sipho doesn't need to be exactly this, but I do wish I could find some things that I could combine in some way that make me think "oh sick, this is going to be awesome." I also wish when I unlock more potential through acquiring food, which is basically Sipho's form of "levelling up," that I actually felt the excitement of getting to become more powerful. Instead I tend to feel like I just get to become "bigger," and often clumsier, and I don't really look forward to it the way I think I'm supposed to. I think I've made some suggestions pertaining to this in the past but I think for instance having the ability to spend nutrition to upgrade individual body segments instead of just adding more is something that could go a long ways towards improving this while still being reasonable to implement.
That's probably enough to take in for now. 😄 If you want any more thoughts just let me know!
There's all sorts of things you could do. I can drop some more ideas on you if you like.
I like to think of things like this in the form of "mechanisms." For example, in Iconoclasts you attach your wrench onto special bolts and crank them to open doors and move things around in a level. There's parts in classic Sonic where you use your spin dash to turn wheels that activate things. Tons of stuff throughout the Metroid franchise, like I mentioned. Zelda too. The more mechanically interesting it is the more satisfying IMO.
directional attack isn't a bug, it always attacks left or right when you're going diagonal
"Bug" may or may not be the right word here. What I meant to get across is that, while using the keyboard, trying to quickly change direction from left/right to up or down and then press the attack button results in the game registering it as diagonal and attacking sideways when you wanted to attack up or down. So the way to fix that would be to check the last directional button pressed and attack in that direction.