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WarpZone

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A member registered Feb 04, 2017 · View creator page →

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No problem! :D  Glad I could help. But if that's the case, I'm afraid I'm going to have to add more more criticism...

The game I am critiquing on itch is out of date!

(Have you met my friend Builds?  Nightly Builds?  He's great at making sure all the feedback you get reflects the current state of the game.  And as a nice side effect, he makes people know your game's not dead and is still being worked on so it doesn't fall off the hype train before it even leaves the station.)

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Sorry, let me re-structure that as me telling you about the problems. Solutions in parenthesis.  That way it's easier for you to ignore the suggestions and focus on the feedback.


The #1 cause of death is because I didn't realize how much damage I was taking, or when, or why.

(I think the industry-standard fix for this is standard for a reason.  Visual and audio indicators on the player character, not on some life bar far away from where you're looking.)


The #2 cause of death/taking damage is because my character would change directions on its own when I left go of the left thumbstick. I'd move forward to the correct distance to attack, stop moving, and press the attack button, only for my character to face the wrong way on their own so the attack would miss and the enemy would hit me and I'd die. 

(Again, there is an industry-standard solution for this.  Proper thumbstick deadzones (Analogue inputs must be > ~0.2 or ~20% of max possible input in order to "count") would prevent or at least reduce this.)


Wall-climbing is just plain unresponsive in the following situations:  

- When trying to wall-jump off the bottom of a floating island you can just barely reach

- When trying to go from a wall you're ascending onto the top of a platform that's just one tile away from the ceiling.

- Both at once is absolute hell. 

Are you trying to be Spelunky or Dead Cells?  Because right now the wall jumping feels sometimes like sometimes one, sometimes the other, depending on subtle differences in the player's timing, rather than the height of the jump being attempted.  It feels bad.

(These are legal jumps, well within the range of the max jump height, but sometimes they work and sometimes they don't.  If you can detect when the player is likely trying to do these jumps and somehow fudge the rules so the player ends up where they expect to, like some sort of wall jump version of Coyote Time, it will make the game as a whole feel fast, fluid and responsive, but it might be as easy as simply not pushing the player away from the wall when they jump.)


Collecting treasure was annoying.  Collecting treasure should be fun! They're both hard to see because of all the slime and grass covering them up, and there's no feedback when you collect them, which would give a quick cheap jolt of "I did it right" dopamine. 

(Sound effect & number or spinning coin animation disappearing into the sky upon collection.  Draw the important collectible coins on top of the unimportant slime, blood, and grass special effects.)



At the bottom of the dungeon, the GUI sometimes covers up the action.  Enemies, chests, and other important gameplay entities are obscured by the HUD, and unlike the rest of the level, the player can't make the action visible by dropping down lower. 

(Just add a layer or two of solid dirt to the bottom at level generation to fix this.)

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Nice work!  This is a good, solid base for a roguelite platformer. 

The theme is kinda generic at the moment. It needs a gameplay gimmick, a novel aesthetic, and an emotional core in order to really suck the player in. The sooner you add those, the better, because they're the kind of thing you want as your pillars of game development.  Once you figure them out, they should inform all of your creative decisions.

Gameplay suggestions ranked in order from most to least important:

> My Xbox controller is a little old, and the thumbsticks tend to rattle a little bit when I let go of a direction. Make sure you have "dead zone" in the middle of the thumbstick. (I.E. the character won't switch direction unless absolute value of the input > 0.2 or so.)

>I'm pretty sure you are using "Coyote Time" for jumps, because I didn't feel like I was constantly falling off of ledges when I jumped, but the bottoms of walls need an equivalent of Coyote Time but for for wall-climbing.  It was WAY too hard to catch the bottoms of some floating islands and start a climb.

>I'm unsure if the above is the reason why, but I had trouble climbing walls sometimes. It feels less responsive/intuitive than Megaman X. That's a benchmark you should seriously be aiming for.  Less involuntary X movement when jumping off of a wall or more rapid change from the automatic movement to the player's input would fix the problem.

>At the bottom of the dungeon, the GUI sometimes covers up enemies at the bottom of the level.  Just add a layer or two of solid dirt to the bottom at level generation to fix this.

> Give the player feedback when the player character takes a hit, even if it's just them turning white for a frame and playing a sound effect.  (Needs to be different from the sound when the player hits an enemy because we're never not hearing that sound.)

>I dislike how the gold disappears behind slime, weeds, etc.  You should render the gold on top, just like you would enemies, because the gold is a functional gameplay mechanic!  GUI > Enemy projectiles > Enemies > Player > Collectibles > NPCs > Chests/Boxes/Pots > Interactive objects (lifts, moving platforms, buttons, etc.) > Dynamic decorations (blood spatter, debris, etc) > Collidable walls/floors > Static decorations (furniture, statues, etc.) > Background walls > Distant Parallax backgrounds

> Likewise, a  sound effect when you pick up gold would make collecting gold feel more fun.  Juice it or lose it!

> Whirlwind attack, while kinda fun to pull off, is no better than using your basic attack, because the enemies get knocked back, so you need to drain your entire magic bar just to kill one enemy who you could easily stab three times instead.  (Maybe this could have a place in future versions if there's dozens of mobs swarming you in a room?  But in the first dungeon, it's useless.)

Yes, these suggestions are "polish," but they're polish that affects the core gameplay.  Remember, Miyamoto spent ages perfecting Mario's jump before doing anything else!  You should, too.

Good luck! :)

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Thank you.  That's what I needed to hear.

Good luck with your other games.  I recognize that art was attempted here.

Edit: I deleted my posts because I realized that they added no value to the discourse about this game.  I can't fix the pandemic by getting angry about the pandemic.  Sorry again and good luck with your games

For what it's worth, I thought removing the PS1 filters when she's outside the game was very clever.

That's the most incoherent plot I've ever heard of in my life.  Literally nobody alive today remembers Ugh Ughhson, the world's first human caveman.  If people in the future are "losing their place in the afterlife" just because nobody remembers them, then all humans have always been losing their places in the afterlife all along.

I don't remember what the exact text of the event is, I just described what it does.  The text was something like "Fewer beesitters are being born for some reason."  So I cranked up the number of beesitters to compensate.  Then all the bees died at once. 

The player experience was indistinguishable from "Beesitters randomly stop working for no reason" because all the nurseries suddenly sat empty.  Adjusting the sliders did nothing.  The game just decided it was time for my colony to die.  I feel like I did everything I could and it was ineffective. 

I'm sure this is by design, but I don't understand why you chose to design it that way.  I was trying to beef up my numbers so I could start working on Honey, when suddenly the game decided to kill my colony.

Do you get what I'm saying?  I had a ton of nurseries and a ton of beesitters, and the game suddenly announced the event and killed my colony.

I get the impression the description of the beesitter-killer event was deliberately vague about the cause because it's not designed to have any counter-play.  If this is not your intended design, please explain how a hive with 30 beesitters could avoid this event or account for it after it pops up.  What was the player expected to do differently in this situation? 

I needed more nectar so I built more nurseries because bees provide nectar.  There's literally no other way to get more nectar that I know of, other than by building more nurseries.

I'm honestly more upset by the fact that it name-drops The Stanley Parable but without doing anything that The Stanley Parable was actually famous for.  Not that it would be as special if another game did the same sctick, but I mean come on.  If you're not at war with the Narrator, it's completely unrelated to The Stanley Parable.

Well now this "Beesitters randomly stop working for no reason" event keeps killing my population numbers for no reason.  If the goal of this game is to subtly educate people about Colony Collapse Disorder, then good job, you knocked it out of the park.  On the other hand if the goal of the game is to actually be a fun strategy game where you build and research a thriving beehive, then I'd like to please be able to turn this event off from the main menu.

(Seriously. Population crashed from 70 to 6.  Absolutely nothing I could do about it.  The game just decided it was time for my colony to fail now.)

Oh, thanks.  I thought Resources told you how much Resources you have.  Or had something to do with stockpiling Resources.  I kept thinking, since the door is structural, it would be under the same menu category as Nursery and Workshop.  Looking at it now, I realize you had the ++ integrated into the icon.  Maybe consider renaming this to "Resource Production" or something similar?  I know short words look nicer, but this game throws a lot of concepts at the player at once that aren't handled the same way they are in other RTS games.  When you can't use existing tropes or genre conventions, you should be as specific as possible.

Role didn't make much sense to me, either, the first time I saw it.  It has a picture of a bee.  But you don't use it to build  bees?  You use it to build rooms.  Rooms don't have a role.  They have furniture in them.  After playing the game a bit more, I eventually understood that "Role" is short for "Rooms that require a bee to have a specific role in order to use them."  Except that the Nursery also lets you change a bee's role, or at least lets you influence the role distribution of newborn bees.  I'm not sure what else you could call it besides Role.  Maybe Job?  But that doesn't really change things.  If I think of a better solution to this, I'll let you know.

But on the subject of the radial menus, this is probably the most important suggestion I can make:  Don't make the player fight their own muscle memory when learning new systems!   Every single time I opened a menu after researching something, it felt like everything I'd previously learned went right out the window because now the things I have to click on are in a different place.  It's friction.  It's a reason players would churn out before learning the game.  And you'll never personally experience this for yourself because you made the game, you're not learning it from scratch the way a new player would.  You'll just have to take my word for it that this makes learning the game more uncomfortable than it needs to be.

The solution: Radials should display all the hexagons that will ever be there, and the ones the player doesn't have access to are just blank or greyed out or invisible.  That way, as the player builds understanding of games systems, they are also building muscle memory.  If you only listen to one suggestion from my post, please listen to this one.  It's the biggest obstacle to learning the middle of the game right now.

I must be not getting something.  The very first thing the tutorial tells you to do is make an exit.  I click on cells, I build new cells, I left click, I right click... I click all over the place... and it never shows me anything to click on to "make exit."  All my bees are apparently going to starve to death in their own hive because the game tells you to make a door but it doesn't teach you how to actually make a door.

All right, I just had a decent run, by which I mean my RNG was uncanny.  4 missile systems by area 2 and plenty of pulse launchers before the end boss.  I couldn't get past the second to last boss, in part because I tried to practice aiming the energy weapons.  I don't want to give you the impression that missiles are OP, because then you might nerf or remove them rather than fixing all the unusable weapons, but everything other than missiles is pretty much impossible to aim, especially against a fast moving enemy bobbing up and down, which is pretty much all of them by area 7 or 8.

What exactly is the intended gameplay experience, here?  Right now it feels like you're bobbing around taking carefully timed shots with your cannons at the start of the game, which only works if you get right on top of the enemy and maybe nudge an expendable block into their core or only thruster if the opportunity presents itself.  Then you get missiles if you're lucky, or a wall of random trash guns if you're not, bind them all to 1, and do drivebys on the enemy until you've worn them down enough that you can afford to slow down enough to actually aim at something important.  All too often, though, you'll end up trading hits with the enemy, which is NEVER a good trade past area 2 or 3, because all the enemies have crazy amounts of armor and/or horizontal speed you could never in a million years find or buy by the endgame, let alone that area.   They you get to the Island at the end, and obviously it's an OP crazy-pants over-the-top boss like in FTL, but it has so many layered shields that even missiles are useless, so you need to use the pulse weapon that passes through shields and hits blocks.  But since that weapon functions like a cannon in terms of how well you need to aim and time it, you basically are a sitting duck for the boss, plus you're trying to use a skill you've long since stopped using for most of the game.

The real problem is the core combat loop.  Assuming I don't have crazy good missiles, shields, and movement, to the point where I can kite the enemy along and pick off shields and weapons systems until it's safe to drift close enough to take out thrusters, there's just too much going on at once.  In my head, I need to somehow keep track of my cooldowns, the enemy's cooldowns, the speed the enemy ship is currently going, the speed I'm currently going, whether or not my guns are aimed at the enemy yet, and in order to look at all that stuff at once on a big screen monitor, I'd need eight separate eyeballs that can swivel independently.  And that's with me binding everything to 1 and just mashing right click whenever I think I have a clean shot.  If you want me to somehow World of Warcraft hotbar individual weapon systems and use them strategically?  Popping their shields with a bank of shotguns or machine guns and then firing a penetrating horizontal laser into their core?  That's basically impossible.  I know one dude I have ever met in my entire life who could keep track of that much complexity in realtime, and he solves mazes instantly by looking at them.

Each individual part of this game is great, but the sum of its parts is just a frustrating, borderline unplayable mess.  It has amazingly deep systems, but you bought that depth with way too much moment-to-moment complexity for a realtime game.  You get these split seconds in which you can fire, and you have to set those moments up, and if any one of like, five different dynamics isn't as well-aligned or timed as you thought it was, you miss.  Meanwhile, the enemy basically never misses unless I'm out of range.  It's like you picked a core mechanic that was easy for a computer to do but hard for a human.

Fortunately, there's an easy fix for all of this.  A way to make all this agony go away, make the game more accessible, and you don't need to develop persistent systems or dumb the game down in order to streamline it.  Are you ready for this?  This is gonna blow your mind.  All you have to do is change a single number.

Double the turret rotation speed.

You're welcome.

Wow.  Seriously?  The enemy island values are fixed based on the level and the generation is completely random?  That's astonishing.  It really goes to show how eagerly the human mind assigns value to random noise.  I was so sure adding a shield caused the opponents to get shields early, for example.  Now that I know that's not the case, let me play some more and see how I feel about the experience.  I was second-guessing things that weren't an issue.

That said, RNG shouldn't make it impossible to win.  (Yes, even in a roguelike, assuming progression or learning the game's systems aren't a deliberate part of the intended player experience.)  Just about the only mechanic I didn't learn on my first run that reached stage 8 was that those energy weapons that bypass shields are probably what I need in order to stand a chance against the last boss.  (Later on, I sort of guessed that you might be doing the FTL thing of a weapon type being impractical and under-powered most of the game but then pretty much necessary for the last boss, but I haven't made it to the end since then.)

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I've been playing the game some more and it's gotten to a point where I just can't anymore.  RNG just plays such a huge role in whether or not you have the parts you need to make a viable island.  Twice in the last day, I started a new game to find three forges.  Every enemy ship always has better weapons, defenses, and movement than you, no matter what you build.  If this only affected the enemy island design, I could sort of see it.  Sure, it's weird that you can replace all your stone with dirt or un-equip most of your weapons to weaken a boss, but it also seems to scale with stage somewhat, and maybe the enemy needs an advantage in raw numbers to compensate for their lack of brains.  But where I lost all hope was when I discovered that the quality of your island affects the loot that drops.

Having trouble finding horizontal movement items?  Just get your lateral acceleration down to 20 or so, the game will start dropping them.  Not finding any weapons?  It's because you foolishly equipped the few weapons the game gave you, so it decided that you had enough weapons and stopped giving them to you.  Just cut yourself down to a 2x2 brick with one cannon, two thrusters, and the warp drive.  Of course, one false move and you're dead, but that's basically the way the start of the game plays anyway.  Oh, you took a hit and died?  Better esc to the title screen and start over.  Otherwise you'll end up with no lives left in the late game when you need them.

What ever happened arbitrary challenges?  Whatever happened to RNG actually being random?

The more I play this game and the more I start to understand how it works under the hood, the more angry and frustrated I get.  I love the concept and the core mechanics seem fun.  Building your base is fun.  Getting loot is fun.  The combat is fun when it actually works.  But it feels like every time I'm just starting to enjoy myself, I get screwed by RNG or physics.  Maybe if you could see the cooldowns on each block so you know when the enemy's about to fire, or maybe if you were allowed to buy as many of one item as the enemy can buy, it would be less infuriating.  Or, hell.  Unlocks.  If I were getting pop-ups that say "You've unlocked <name of item,>" maybe I'd be able to tell myself that RNG in future games would be less shitty than RNG in the game I just played.  Maybe that's why roguelites do it in the first place, I don't know.  

What I do know is two of my favorite games are Shellcore Commander and Enter the Gungeon, so you'd think a game that combines them would be the best thing ever.  But so far it's been pure torture.  Looting mechanics are supposed to drip-feed the player dopamine, but all I'm getting on my end is pure cortisol.

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Seems like every single run ends in an infinite battle where I can't kill the enemy and the enemy can't kill me.  Both ships lose their lateral thrusters and then the enemy cannons itself back and forth off the sides of the screen.   But because the cannon range is so short, the shots can't actually hit you, so it just keeps recoiling back and forth off the side of the screen where you can't see it.  You can't hit it, and it can't hit you.  Infinite nothing gameplay.

NONE of the decisions I make while building my island prevents this outcome, and piloting the island is always a total crapshoot, so there's literally nothing I can do to prevent this.  One time I stuck my core on a healing block just to see what it did-- not even altitude could kill me!  It takes a game with potential and makes it unplayable, since I literally never know when the game's going to suddenly throw itself into an unwinnable state.

Why not do what all base-building games do and give the core a small ammount of basic gameplay juice?  In some games this would be resource generation-- here, it should definitely be lateral movement.  Not fast movement.  Not good movement.  Just enough that you can maybe try to pursue some sort of change to the game state when the enemy decides to troll you with an infinite cannon recoil loop. 

Seriously, I can't even get through the first area without this happening.

One thing I can tell you from personal experience: Don't just record gameplay!  It doesn't work.  Instead, look at trailers for successful games (Indie and AAA) and copy what they do!

Overhauled my screenshot production process and took some more recent ones.  I really don't know what else I could be doing wrong.  The landing page is definitely the weak link.  People apparently go to the twin stick shooter genre page, see the animated gif, click on it, find out that the game is pretty much exactly what the animated gif made it look like, in a landing page that you guys claim is excellent... and then they leave without buying.

What am I doing wrong?

Oh.

That's just mean.

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I don't mean the adage is false.  I mean any person who ever said "I will personally pay you for this game by donating, but only if you make it free first." is a liar and a fraudster.

I brightened up the header on the landing page and tweaked the favicon.  It's still a dark page, by design, but I think this made a difference.

I mean... if you show a relative percentage, and I know what my numbers are...

As someone who started with a free game, added features to it, and later started charging for it, this is bumpkiss.

Aaaaand done!  Blast Pulser is a paid game now.  Special Thanks again to all my Early Adopters for helping me test out the early alpha.  You guys really earned your Free.  Expect buggier beta builds and more time between Final builds as I start to work on bigger, more complicated features.

Don't be afraid to charge, people that get the game for free can be considered "rewarded" for being the first ones to trying your game, so is fair that they got it for free.

That was always the plan, to get feedback early in the development process and then gradually increase the price until it's feature-complete.  It even says so on the landing page.  It's was just the timing I had a problem with.  It's been less than a week and I feel like itch, the website has been constantly trying to hurry the process along while itch, the community has been collectively dragging its feet. 

Game + Soundtrack

Can't do a soundtrack, it's not my music to give.  ( Again, it says this on the page you're critiquing. :P )  I figured I'd start doing this by bundling my own games once I get more than one made.  Maybe I could do an HD/SD thing.  I dunno.

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People are starting to encourage me to Shut Up and Take Their Money, so starting at midnight, that's what I'm gonna do!  If you or a friend wants Blast Pulser for free, get it now!  Do not delay!  Use this link and bind Blast Pulser permanently to your Itch app before Midnight!   After Midnight, the price goes up!  Well... the price starts to exist.  I know $2 is still pretty low, but I wanted to leave myself room to grow when I start putting in all the crazy features I really wanted to have in it.

(Seriously, thank you all so much for the amazing interest you've shown in the 5 short days it's been up.  I can't believe how fast things have been happening.  None of this would have been possible without you.)

I mean, things kinda blew up after it hit the front page.  And they didn't un-blow-up again after it got off the front page.  People are still downloading.  I have no idea where they're coming from TBH.  It looks like they're still coming from itch.io's main page, but that doesn't make any sense since I'm not on the front page anymore.  Maybe I'm scared things are gonna tank if I start charging.

Sigh.  Only one way to find out...

"Climb?"  Is it hierarchical?  Do I do a thing to get it to go up?  I thought a mod or an admin just decided.  I also thought games only get one crack at the frontpage since that's how it works on Steam, appstore, istore, and pretty much every other games portal on the internet.

I is confused.

This is interesting to me, because my experience so far has been the opposite.  My game's a twin stick shooter, and the traffic from https://itch.io/games/tag-twin-stick-shooter is 4x the traffic from https://itch.io/games/free/tag-twin-stick-shooter.  But both of those pale in comparison to the traffic that came through the frontpage and Newest.  But even when traffic peaked, literally nobody tipped.

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Aaaaand just like that, it's over.  My 15 minutes of fame are up.  Less than 1% of the people who saw the link clicked on it, but of those who did, slightly more than half of them chose to go ahead and download it for free.  Does anybody know if these numbers are good or bad?  Now that I'm off the front page, it's all Long Tail from here on out, so I need to figure out what I did wrong ASAP.

I dunno, I heard demos don't work.  Youtube videos drive sales.  Game Demos just cost you sales because people play the demo and decide they've had their fill.  At least, that was the conventional wisdom way back in 2008 or so.

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AAAAA.  What do I DO?  The plan was to keep gradually building up the game, and start charging once people started donating.  That hasn't happened yet.  Zero donations.  But now somebody put my game on the front page!  It's listed among Most Popular in its genre tag!  I did an update with two new turret types but that's hardly enough to justify going from $0 to $2.  But if I don't switch it over now, I'll miss out on the biggest traffic spike ever.  Or is that just a misconception on my part and if it were on the front page at $2 right now, nobody would be downloading it?

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This guy managed to find a way.  Darned if I can figure out how he did it, though!



No matter how many lines of text I add to my description, the button never appears above the fold.  My game is free with optional donations, exactly like Neon Collapse.



Update: Figured it out.  Apparently I just wasn't using enough superfluous text:



  • Right now, when I look at my page while I'm logged into itch, the Download button is below the fold.



  • If I double the amount of text before the button, it still doesn't make a second Download button at the top.



  • If I quadruple the amount of text before the button, it makes a secondary button at the top.  But this makes no sense since you have to scroll 3 full pages to get itch to realize the button's beneath the fold and correct itself.



You need your button to be above the fold.  Need need need.  Everyone says so.  Literally everyone in every web-based marketing anything ever says so.  Don't like marketers?  Only care about the opinions of developers?  Tim Ruswick, Developer of Philophobia and creator of Game Dev Underground, says so.  Button must be above fold.  Your business needs that to put food on your table.  Therefore, you need it to live.



I don't think itch's current system even knows where the fold is. 






You have to admit, a factor of 3 is a pretty big margin of error.  My screen is 1920x1080, for instance.  How big does itch *think* my screen is?  Does it take into account formatting?  The text specimen I used from Google Texts?  My header image?  The fact that I'm using Firefox?  The fact that I'm logged in and there's a grey top-bar at the top?  My operating system's UI elements?



I actually don't think you should give people the option to choose where the Download button is.  I think proper Download Button placement, supported by every A/B test ever conducted by the entire human race, should be mandatory on all pages.  I think it should be at the very top of the document, just under the Header, in case your customer is easily bored by the wall of text and can't be bothered to scroll down to find it, and another one at the very bottom of the document, just above the footer, in case your customer read every word on your page before getting bored and don't feel like scrolling all the way up again.



Sorry for typing so much, but this boggles my mind.  Everything else about the itch.io experience is excellent.  Why would you mess up the one thing everyone says is the most important?

I figured it out.  (For real this time.)  It's social engineering.  The reason they did it like this is to force you to list all the controls on the page.  Even if you have a menu in the game to rebind the controls.  Even if you use the same control conventions as every other game in your genre. Even if you sunk a ton of elbow grease into in-game tutorials.   Honestly, I can live with that?  I just don't like finding out about it by second-guessing the admins.

They coulda just said "Your Download button will probably end up below the fold if you don't list your game's controls."

How's this for the life bar?


I must be weird.  I prefer when comments are negative, or at least challenging of my design.  To me, "this game rules" is just as useless of a comment as "this game sucks."  Tell me why it sucks so I can try to do something about it, and I'm a happy camper. 

But that's just me.  When reviewing everyone else?  Yes, please use constructive criticism!

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Blast Pulser is a twin-stick shooter with AI-driven minor enemies, procedurally-generated bosses, and an awesome soundtrack by Deceased Superior Technician.

You can play it for free  cheap now at https://warpzone.itch.io/blast-pulser.  The price will gradually go up as I add new features, so get it now before it's finished!  Feedback, suggestions and bug reports are greatly appreciated!

The Landing Page

https://warpzone.itch.io/blast-pulser

I think it looks pretty good, but what do you guys think?

When should I start charging?

I uploaded an MVP with no minimum price, with the idea that I'd start charging for it when it was worth charging for.  Until then, I'd be getting free playtesters and maybe even building a little bit of a community.  How would I know when it was worth charging for?  Well, I figured when people started making donations, that would probably be a pretty good sign.  

But then I took a look at Analytics, and I noticed that I was getting a lot more traffic (literally 2x-3x as much) from the non-free versions of pages as from the free versions of the same page.  ( tag-twin-stick-shooter vs free/tag-twin-stick-shooter, for example)

Now, this doesn't prove that the people who were browsing non-free games would have clicked on mine if it had been priced at $2.  But it does suggest to me that maybe a bigger percentage of itch visitors are willing to spend money than I originally thought.

I dunno.  Am I overthinking this?  (Total traffic's still in the double-digits, so probably.)

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Nope.  I'm using color very deliberately in this game.  Red glowy things are things that WILL hurt you.

I might do some other visual effect, maybe some kinda green electrity arcing along the guns or something.  But it would just be for effect, not precise enough to time your shots by.  This isn't Dead Space. 

It needs a life bar, too.  Possibly also some other kind of gameplay-related data, at some point.  Maybe I'll do it in the form of a ring around the player's ship or something so you don't have to glance at the corner of the screen.  We'll see.