Some feedback on the 0.2.0 demo

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Viliam
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Postby Viliam » Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:39 pm

My feedback:

I immediately redefined keys to this: Enter = confirm, Q = cancel, Space = menu, Tab = switch, < > = select, P = pause. And having the Esc key escape the game immediately without confirmation is really wrong!

When the title screen writes the description about keys, I switched the game to fullscreen. Instead of letters only some white area was displayed. When I returned to windowed mode, it was still illegible.

Some people walk too fast.

Vanica was generated at the left-bottom of city on the small "hill", and had her head removed by a terrain tile.

It is a nice think that after speaking with people, their baloons disappear. But when I return from dungeon, they re-appear.

In combat I spend too much time waiting. There should be something like "when user clicks any key, scroll the icons faster, until there is some user action". Especially boring if this happens against very weak monsters.

When during fight I select an opponent to hit, the dead enemies are also included in the cycle.

When I buy something in shop, I would like to see (in a buying menu) if I already have such item, and how many of them; and especially I have such item equipped.
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Postby Viliam » Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:25 am

More details:

OK, now I see the Esc key only immediately returns from the main menu. In the game it asks. That's nice. Anyway, the immediate quit from main menu just "convinced" me not to touch that key.

Too bad I cannot post images here, so just listen to my story how Vanica's head got removed. (When I wrote about it, I did not know that characters appear on random places.) So: There is the house in the southwest corner of the map. South from the house, on the edge of the map, there is a "hill". Southeast from the house, there is another "hill", which has also a tree on the edge of the map. Now, Vanice appeared there, on the small place west from that tree. Her feet were visible, but her head was covered by "border of the hill" terrain.

And generally: The game looks great. Just please make the combat quicker, if the player desires so -- spending 2 minutes fighting against monsters who have no chance to kill me is boring. Good luck!
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Postby Jetryl » Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:36 am

Viliam wrote:I immediately redefined keys to this: Enter = confirm, Q = cancel, Space = menu, Tab = switch, < > = select, P = pause. And having the Esc key escape the game immediately without confirmation is really wrong!

...

OK, now I see the Esc key only immediately returns from the main menu. In the game it asks. That's nice. Anyway, the immediate quit from main menu just "convinced" me not to touch that key.


:axe: Give into the dark side, roots.


Viliam wrote:Some people walk too fast.

Vanica was generated at the left-bottom of city on the small "hill", and had her head removed by a terrain tile.

It is a nice think that after speaking with people, their baloons disappear. But when I return from dungeon, they re-appear.

In combat I spend too much time waiting. There should be something like "when user clicks any key, scroll the icons faster, until there is some user action". Especially boring if this happens against very weak monsters.

When during fight I select an opponent to hit, the dead enemies are also included in the cycle.

When I buy something in shop, I would like to see (in a buying menu) if I already have such item, and how many of them; and especially I have such item equipped.

When the title screen writes the description about keys, I switched the game to fullscreen. Instead of letters only some white area was displayed. When I returned to windowed mode, it was still illegible.


All of these things are issues we're aware of, and working to fix.
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Viliam
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Postby Viliam » Fri Jun 15, 2007 7:30 pm

Oh, I found what exactly irritated me about the Esc key. When I started the program, I configured the keys... and after it was ready, I automatically clicked Esc to close the settings dialog... and the game just quit! Of course when I started it next I had to configure my keys again. So the point is that immediate quitting in the title screen may be considered OK, but inside a dialog, absolutely not. The conditioning to close dialogs by pressing Esc is just too strong. (And it would be nice to save the selected keys.)


I thought about the Vanica with removed head. I did not read the source code, but if it looks like I imagine, I have an idea. I guess the randomly appearing units are scripted like "appear somewhere in this polygon, on good terrain". I suggest adding an optional parameter "appear somewhere in this polygon, on good terrain, accessible from this coordinate". The algorithm would perform a floodfill inside the polygons, on good terrains, starting from the specified point, and would choose randomly one of filled places. This could be relatively easy, and would 100% guarantee that unit will not get on some wrong place - where it cannot move from.

It could also make specifying polygons easier... you just draw a rough rectangle, specify a point, and it is probably enough. More heuristics: if you do not explicitly specify a floodfill point, then if the center of polygon is on good terrain, then the center of polygon will be used as a floodfill point. This way you just have to draw a rectangle, and it often will be OK.


An idea about battle speed -- if during battle user clicks the "menu" button, a special menu appears. In this menu it is possible to specify a "combat speed", as "1×" or "2×". This means faster scrolling of the timer diamonds.
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Postby Viliam » Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:32 pm

Yeah, and one important thing... when the game is paused, please turn off the music too. Especially during combat, because that one is really annoying. And when I have to do something, and pause the game for few minutes, it drives me mad.
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Roots
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Postby Roots » Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:48 pm

Viliam wrote:I immediately redefined keys to this: Enter = confirm, Q = cancel, Space = menu, Tab = switch, < > = select, P = pause.


I don't see how this control scheme is any more intuitive than what we already have. Plus the two major keys (confirm and cancel) are on opposite ends of the keyboard! :bash: How the hell is this supposed to convince me to change our default scheme, Jetryl? :eyebrow:
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Postby gorzuate » Fri Jun 15, 2007 9:39 pm

Roots wrote:How the hell is this supposed to convince me to change our default scheme, Jetryl? :eyebrow:


Because you're the only one who wants it the way you want it. Look at everyone complaining about it. (I believe this is mainly just for the main/boot menu, not once you get into the game, but I could be mistaken...)
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Postby jsmith71 » Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:57 pm

Roots wrote:
Viliam wrote:I immediately redefined keys to this: Enter = confirm, Q = cancel, Space = menu, Tab = switch, < > = select, P = pause.


I don't see how this control scheme is any more intuitive than what we already have. Plus the two major keys (confirm and cancel) are on opposite ends of the keyboard!

Personally, I don't see how that's a problem.
Look at the standard Esc = cancel, Enter = confirm setup. Opposite ends of the keyboard. :p We all have two hands, it's not like it's a chore. In fact I'd venture that it's more comfortable with a more spread-out key layout.

Personally, I'd go with something similar to Viliam's configuration:
Enter/Space = confirm, Backspace = cancel, Esc = menu, Tab = switch, < > = select, P = pause.
Just from my experience with the keyboard layout of numerous different games, and the preferences of myself and others, I'd say that would be pretty intuitive to most people.
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Postby Viliam » Sun Jun 17, 2007 11:01 pm

Roots wrote:Plus the two major keys (confirm and cancel) are on opposite ends of the keyboard!

Well, that's because "confirm" is kind of an opposite to "cancel"... :D

Anyway, I was not trying to convince you, I just say this is the setting I preferred. It allows me to start playing the game without having to remember that "F" = yes and "D" = no, or maybe the other way.
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Postby jamesu » Mon Jun 18, 2007 8:38 am

Here's an idea with regard to the control scheme:

When you first start up the game, you should be forced to define your own controls.
This should be done in a graphical manner (e.g. having a little view of the character in the game world, then moving on to the menu's and battle screen's popping up). In each case, the game indicates which action is is trying to bind (e.g. the character keeps moving forward for walk forward), and then asks the player to press a control on their keyboard / gamepad indicating which control they wish to bind to it.

There, no default control scheme - instead a fun way to make your own - everybody wins!
( ok, maybe not... :) )
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Postby Burnsaber » Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:16 pm

Ok, I finally played the Demo through (I've been occupied by Dominions 3 at the moment).

First of all I want to say that you've done some amazing work there! Of course it's just a demo and shit, but you seriously have makings of a great game there.

Anyways, here are my nitpicks. (there NPCs are too fast and etc.. but I wont bother you with those, you already know that).

I think that the "aim for a body slot" - mechanic is a bit underworked right now. I had to do some testing to even notice anykind of difference in the damage. Sometimes my succesfull headstrike would do less damage than the body hit I did right before. I know it's realistic (even headshots can be only scratches), but if I take the risk to aim to head and increase the risk of missing, I want to be rewarded. Why should I risk a headshot if I can quite possibly do more damage with a body blow that hits more often?

Of course some monsters value their body parts differently (zombies and skeletons probably don't care for their heads.. etc), but it should be initituative what is the difference between hitting some monsters head and body. I'm quite sure that scorpions are quite fond of their heads.

I don't know if it just a "demo" thing, but things that look scary should be scary. That "floathing-blue-head-with-horns-that-looks-like-a-eldricht-horror" was a real downer. It hit for ~5 damage! Fucking ~5! It looks like it should hit for 30-50. Same thing with the burning tree.

IMHO, there should be somekind indicator of how "badass" some scorpion is. Of course all scorpions can't have 40hp, there should some deviation, but if I am suddenly fighting a scorpion with 80hp, I should be able to somehow notice the difference. Perhaps some general verb infront of the name? Like "Dangereous" Scorpion or "Big" scorpion or something.

I'm really sorry roots, but I'm not fond of the controls. I really tried to use them. It's simply not fun to stop to think if F was "No" or "Yes", besides I accidentally kept hitting the wrong button all the time. The starting controls should be inituative, I've seen people quitting awesome games after 5 minutes of playing because they didn't like the UI. Of course you can change them, but casual gamers often don't bother and just quit.
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Postby Auris » Sun Jun 24, 2007 7:11 pm

Ok now to the gameplay. I played it through after until the final boss was dead and it told me this is really the end of the demo :D

First thing I noticed when I started the game I tried to move the sword icon with the mouse and nothing. No mouse at all was really surprising to me I thought my bulid was broken somehow. So please, yes, yes mouse support for the next release at least for the menu :approve:

Next I thought my return key was broken. The 'f' key for the menu action is really very uncommon never seen it before. However I gave it a chance for the game and I must say I liked it because it gave the typical crpg feeling and all keys like next to each other made controlling the character very efficient.

Ok now first what I loved about the game:

The bubbles above the heads are just awesome, no hearing the same thing twice or missing the one important talk anymore!
Making the dialogue quicker by pressing 'f' key is also nice, but I suggest also that by pressing 'd' key the whole dialoge is finished.
Music, graphics great work can't say more here. Dialogue is also very fun to read.
The battle system is great too. It gives you a lot of tactical possibilities (for example aiming for different bodyparts) instead of just bashing the next best foe.
Sprites of wounded foes, I love that one too so you know who is next to die and don't attack the wrong one :heh:

Ok now what I didn't like:

Having to chase all of the NPCs to talk to them is just not funny (one whould be ok but not all of them). As well escaping the foes is almost impossible. Moreover I think the player speed feels just wired at all: for me the player travels on the feeled speed of one pixel per second :frustrated:

The edges are way too sharp. If you try to get onto that narrow bridge that feels not the way it should be. Also when moving around it seems all obstacles are just big rectangle-shaped pixelblocks.

Battles where 90% of the time is just waiting that anything happens makes me want to avoid battles all the time, which wasn't even possible because of the player vs. monster speed :axe: I know the Grandia II (or maybe another) game had a similar system and I really fell in love with it. It had the same stamina bars but it didn't feel like you are just waiting there. Maybe it was a lot faster or more animations during waiting time I don't know but maybe you can bring it the same way in and it would be just perfect.

The wounded scorpion image looked to me like it had grown some mold on the back :eyebrow:

And finally a few bugs:

In combat it is possible to attack yourself or already dead foes. Don't see any sense in that.
When pressing 'space' to pause the game in the trade menu it makes the list of items go infinite long (and segfaults when you go out of visible space).
When pressing 'space' in battle mode and it's your turn, foes will attack you all the time even if you had not finished your turn yet.
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Postby rujasu » Sun Jun 24, 2007 8:59 pm

Auris wrote:When pressing 'space' to pause the game in the trade menu it makes the list of items go infinite long (and segfaults when you go out of visible space).


I just want to point out I am aware of this bug and have a fix for it, so this problem will go away in the next version. :)

BTW, thanks for all of your feedback! :approve:
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Postby ChopperDave » Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:41 am

I know the Grandia II (or maybe another) game had a similar system and I really fell in love with it. It had the same stamina bars but it didn't feel like you are just waiting there. Maybe it was a lot faster or more animations during waiting time I don't know but maybe you can bring it the same way in and it would be just perfect.


Yeah, that's what we were basing the whole time meter idea off of. I think the reason it seems faster in Grandia is two-fold: one, like you said, there are more animations, things to keep your eyes on the characters instead of the meter; two, the Grandia meter is circular, while ours is linear. The circular bar gives the illusion that the portrait has to travel less distance for it to become your turn, when in reality it doesn't.

Unfortunately, at this point, I don't know how much we can do to alleviate the waiting without just flat-out reducing wait time. If we do that, then there's no point in an active battle system at all -- we might as well be turn-based. We'll see if we can come up with something to make the wait less boring.

In combat it is possible to attack yourself or already dead foes. Don't see any sense in that.


Targeting dead enemies is a known bug that we will be fixing. As for attacking yourself, we will eventually limit this so that only certain skills allow you to target your own allies. We have this feature if in case we have a skill that has both negative and positive effects, or if you want to slap your party member to knock him out of confusion or something.

So please, yes, yes mouse support for the next release at least for the menu


The game is actually meant to be played with a gamepad, if you have one. AFAIK, we won't be doing mouse support since mouse/keyboard is not the primary control target.
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Postby Auris » Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:38 pm

I thought a bit on the meter thing and I think it will resolve itself on big parts when there are more characters in the party (of course only if all get different starting points and/or recovery rates). Eye candy should also help over the wait time like animated death of enemies.

The game is actually meant to be played with a gamepad, if you have one. AFAIK, we won't be doing mouse support since mouse/keyboard is not the primary control target.

Oh that explains a lot, thanks for clearing that up :heh:

Another thing I noticed while playing and forgot to post is that NPC's and enemies sometimes collide with each other or with walls and then are stuck there. That can be expoited just by waiting till the (hard to kill) foes are stuck and won't attack you anymore even when passing close by :D

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