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Paused (Pre-Alpha)

Publicly available for testing and feedback. · By ThoughtBread

You've just played the pre-alpha? We want to hear your feedback! Sticky

A topic by Hati created Oct 11, 2017 Views: 261 Replies: 12
Viewing posts 1 to 7
Moderator

After you have played the pre-alpha we would like to hear your feedback.
Currently the game is pretty early in development so your feedback can influence the way the game is going further on.

Please don't hesitate to open new threads for your feedback so we can discuss them together.

(+1)

So I played it and quite enjoyed it. The only thing I worry about at this point is having the game rely on a single mechanic. It works right now in such a short demo, but might get stale after a while. More feedback at the end of the video!

Moderator (1 edit) (+1)

Thanks :) and also thanks for making that video! Kinda hyped! :D

We plan further mechanics later on - the current version was specially focused on the puzzle mechanic we can do with the time shimmer.

The mechanics we plan currently to come in the next iterations are: 

  • flooding of the canyon you've just explored by completing a "boss"
  • diving and swimming in the flooding canyon to reach new areas and explore caves
  • and the using the staff on your back for actual combat

During the combat you can - of course - use the time shimmer to manipulate your enemies. Which gives us more freedom in enemy design and break some rules which are heavily established in action-adventures these days (like attack animation timings).

We didn't post everything on itch because it would clutter the page. :)

The pre-alpha will expand over time (as we finish the new features) with areas using that features :)


Again thanks for your feedback and glad you've enjoyed it. ( Note: did not yet fully watched the video :( will continue now )

(+1)

Sounds like you all have a lot planned! I'm really looking forward to what you create here! ^_^

(+1)

Thanks from the art department, too! We really apprechiate your feedback. :D

You're right, it all looks kind of same-y right now because there are only a very few assets. We'll work on creating more visual interest as development goes on. :)

(+1)

Gave it a quick try. I like the idea. Execution obviously needs a lot of work but it's not a bad mechanic (it's quite similar to level 6 in Braid). Perf is a clear issue, environment is obviously very bare bones, etc..

Platforming is a problem... in that large open area with the two moving metal platforms, I frequently fell when trying to get to the exit after solving the puzzle, mostly because the holes are not visible that clearly when you're traversing the outside area.

I'm a puzzle designer myself, so I have quite a lot to say about that aspect. Many of the puzzles can be cheesed by taking gears from an earlier area along with you.  Timed elevators and moving platforms create a lot of unnecessary waiting and would be better if replaced by floor panels. Synchronizing two out-of-sync platforms is really only interesting once. The bullseye targets don't give good feedback (no sound when activated, no visual link to what they're activating... wires on the walls would be a big help). Additionally, it's not always clear which bullseye targets need to be reactivated vs which only get toggled once and then remain switched on forever. Many of the gates are "no way back" if you take a gear along with you, which will make your players feel overly cautious and regretful as they explore the area. Can you get stuck if you drop a gear on the wrong side of a gate and then run under it before it closes?

All of those execution details aside... I think the most important problem is actually that I just didn't find any of your puzzles interesting. The puzzles feel very samey and, more importantly, have a poor analysis-to-execution ratio (you instantly see the solution, never feel satisfied after solving because everything is too obvious, and spend most of your time trying to implement the solution, which just feels laborious).


Compelling puzzle design is by far the biggest differentiator when you're working on a game in this genre; your puzzles need to be interesting for their own sake! If you rely too heavily on mechanics to carry you, your product will ultimately feel shallow. Combat and exploration will always be compelling if your mechanics and audiovisuals are good, but puzzle design is a different beast. You have to give people interesting challenges that they've never had before!

Right now, you have a nice tech demo that looks good enough for screenshots and gifs. But if you *really* wanna convince me that your game will be interesting, show me a good puzzle. I would focus very hard on trying to create one good, medium difficulty puzzle that's *fun on paper*.

Moderator


"Taking gears with you can help you to cheese some puzzles." 

That's true, and leads to the known issue that the player would then always carry on to a gear, because he could "need it later". We've seen this behaviour in one of our earliest gameplay tests. Without wires one of the planned solution would not fit in and the player just would think (even more than now) - "Well that was random.".

Yup, the wires are one thing we already have in the pipeline for feedback. Sound should play but probably is too quiet due to spatialization. But a sound for "puzzle solved" is already in our mind.

In the puzzle design the idea is to create one medium sized compelling puzzle is good. We didn't really focused on actual puzzle design right now and tried to explore what we can do with the limited mechanisms ( there are actually just 6 devices ) to bring them into interesting setups to give a hint where we want to go with it. Therefore I understand your argument that currently it feels more like being in kinda like mashed together puzzles (laborious).
But also more mechanism would not mean more interesting puzzles, we already know that - it just means easier variation but the player gets thrown something new on his head. And that's just how the puzzles currently feel - The player just get's introduced a new element mainly every puzzle - which destroys pacing. The level is not reflective in level & puzzle design for the final level. It's mostly a playable sandbox which allows us to show players what our idea is and see how they react.

I think the main issue is we haven't yet figured out how we want the puzzles to actually play and throw ideas of us together to see what can work and what not :)

Currently you can not really get "stuck" leaving behind a gear. As some doors open in an XOR pattern so you can access the area again but have to take the long route.

The activitation (how long does something stay active) issue we want to try to solve by actually using a more like energy system (which will be enhanced by the wires - visually) so doors actually use up energy once they open.

There is a lot missing - in terms of feedback for the player and additions to the game so we can leave players experiment alone and analysis how they play (the signs) in the game, as our intended solution will take a bit longer to create than just simple signs :)

Again, thanks for your in-depth feedback on the puzzles :)

too much lag. I would image all the windmills at the begging aren't helping.

Moderator

Can you post your specs, especially your GPU?

As said 

> This version is not optimized and requires a good PC to run. If you expierence stutters, framedrops or similiar - We are working on it.

Currently the required / recommended specs are quite high as we did zero extra optimization (except engine optimization - whcih we just did not touch).

We would recommend the following specs (not final or complete):

+ 8GB RAM ( Game currently just uses 500 MB as we profiled it)
+ 2,4 GHz Quad
+ NVidia 960 GTX - 2 GB VRAM ( this is probably the issue we currently have - as all textures, meshs etc. are loaded at once )

This game is sooooo ADORABLE! I loved it team! I want to play more. It was nice to chill out and play this for a while. And when you finish it, you just feel good. Look forward to seeing where this game can go :)

Moderator (1 edit)



Glad you liked it :) Thanks for posting the let's play.

Yeah we are working on the new features, improving stuff existing features along the way. 

(1 edit) (+1)

Hey there, thanks for the gameplay demo. Looking forward to Paused being expanded with combat and swimming mechanics. Would be nice to have those pressure plates / sensors light up a path, or small conduit type thing, to whichever gate or platform they activate as sometimes they are not nearby (to help with subconscious guidance for players). I like the soundtrack too, it fits well but sometimes abruptly stops/starts. It is also possible to lose gears through clipping or on higher ground, would be great to have lone gears reset back to their spawn point if they are not interacted with after 30 seconds or so (if not done already?).

I've also recorded some footage of my playthrough.

Moderator (1 edit)

Yes a conduit type-of-thing is actually planned and currently in the works. Might not show the full flow but gives you more of a hint. Still busy fixing bugs, working on the combat system and creating our first enemy. We might also add dolly shots to give you a clue about what you've done, if it is not easily visible.

Also we are actually adding a proper tutorial the signs were are quick-fix pre gamescom so we can let people play by their own.

For the cogs we thought about some reset mechanics. Reseting would make them easily exploitable maybe.