Friday, July 4, 2014

Plans

Just a quick update,

I Just got finished adding a charged melee attack to the game, which basically works like the one in Crimson Brave (which is in turn is like the one in A Link To The Past, but in a platformer). I might also add different charged attacks based on which direction you're pressing when you release the button.


I'm still considering whether or not the player should start out with all of these abilities, or most of them. I suppose it's because I've play-tested the game so much, but combat feels pretty dull without all the moves.

The problem is that if I make the skills obtainable, the player could miss a lot of them, or play through the majority of the game without some of the more fun attacks. Or, if I make them all obtainable early on, it could set up false expectations of the game, making it seem like there's going to be a lot more skills than there actually are.

Haven't decided yet. I ran into the same problem with Kurovadis's mid-air downwards attack.

That aside,

Development is going about as smoothly as it can at the moment. My health issues still haven't been sorted out yet, so I'm trying to work through them as best I can. 

My current plan is to limit myself to 7 days per remaining area of the game, in order to stop myself from focusing on extra content rather than what needs to be done. After the 7 days are up, I need to move on to the next area, meaning I need to work as if the result is the final product. The remaining days of this month will be used to wrap up the game, and create the CGs, and remaining music.

As much as people will joke about having another month deadline, this is literally the last month I can afford to work on the game. I can pay rent for this month, and then that's it. However, this is the kind of pressure I thrive under, so luckily it doesn't stress me out too much, health issues aside.

I'm just looking forward to finishing this and thinking "Good, now don't let that ever happen again, dumbass."

48 comments:

  1. One of the more common approaches to unlockable moves is to make them required to solve certain puzzles that allow progression. That said, it can feel stifling to gate the game like that, and frustrating if the player can't locate the required power up (plus the all depends heavily on the setup of your map).

    If the game has a map that the player can view, another option is to have certain checkpoints where, when the player passes through it, it puts symbols on the map for missed items and power ups. Or even if it just display the number of missed items in each zone, it would encourage the player to go back and explore to try and find what they missed, without giving it away.

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  2. When it comes to optional moves, I always found Super Metroid did it best: design a part of your level that is not mandatory, but locks the player inside when they find their way in, and the way out is blocked by a puzzle where you need to execute the special move.
    Then you add visual cues to indicate how to trigger said special move. It can be as dumb as a showy "PROTIP" panel displaying the command, it can be etched seamlessly in the background ala Aquaria, or it can be ridiculously cute critters showing you how to do it. Your choice, since that ties into game context.

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  3. Making them required to progress or to solve certain puzzles has the same problem, though. If I put in a move that's really fun to use, but you only get it near the end, then the player doesn't really get to experience it in as many scenarios as they could have. It would be like if you didn't get the backflip or the jump attack in Ocarina of time until the end of the game. It might make them feel more special, but would it harm the rest of the game?

    To me, the issue isn't really how the player gets them, or how they're taught about it, but what implications the absence of combat variety would have early on.

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    1. Why don´t you make a shop? The player can buy the moves he likes, just like the old librarían in Csotn, and the money can be money or maybe experience points just like kurovadis.
      You also can forget the shop and make the moves are obtained after player level up his experience.

      I hope you get better. Sorry my bad english.

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    2. Gaining extra moves can be a great challenge. In a 10 level game I would have the hero gain powers during the first 5 levels, and after that he would have another 5 levels to enjoy any of those cool moves. You can control which power he gets by having NPCs provide these powers to the hero (story driven), or even given a choice between speed attack and stronger attack (or something like that).

      That animation is awesome, keep up the good work!

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  4. Without knowing the whole game design, I would just keep it simple and have all the skills available from the start.

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  5. My thoughts on combat abilities is to leave most (if not all) in from the start, but don't draw attention to them otherwise. When it comes to platformers, I favor the Mega Man X intro route, and begin pounding buttons to see what happens. Then once I'm familiar with move, attack, and jump, I'm off running to the next area. Quitely leaving in abilities or key combination attacks leads to fun events (for me as a player) where I suddenly realize I can do something like dodge, roll out of the way, or raise a shield. This in turn leads me to rethink my entire strategy while playing the game. A good recent example of this was in BattleBlock Theater when I suddenly found out I could slide and kick projectiles away. Or in Enroico when I realized I could block with the shield half-way through the first level.

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  6. Not sure if you're a fan, but Egoraptor finally released a new Sequelitis for OoT vs LttP and it has a lot of good things to think about when he talks about general gameplay and level design.

    It's worth a look just for game designers in general but you seem to be doing okay anyway. Just giving you more to think about really.

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    1. Yup, I know about Egoraptor's work.

      While entertaining, most of the stuff he talks about in Sequelitis is pretty basic. But then, so is hue and saturation shifting, and yet I find myself explaining it to pixel artists looking for advice all the time. So I can see how his videos might be eye-openers for people who aren't already involved in game design.

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  7. How about a hybrid approach? For example, all skills are available for discovery by the player, but if they are lagging behind the number of skills the game expects him to have for his current place in the game, he wlll get a marker on his map to one of them saying he needs to check it out. It's kind of like how if you get lost for too long in metroid prime, the game points out a specific room you need to investigate, but in this case it's for optional stuff and ideally as many markers can be present as needed if he keeps ignoring them.

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  8. You want to make sure that the player knows how to use all the skills, and you want to make sure that they're comfortable doing all of them. I say give the player all the basic stuff first (that's stuff that involves single button presses), then quickly give them each upgrade in succession while telling them how to execute it when they do so. Ideally, each is located in a mandatory area, and there is no way to miss the abilities.

    If you include an opportunity right away for them to use that skill in it's intended way without forcing it on them, even better.

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  9. Wow, that is really, really good animation... pressured you apparently does wonders.

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  10. Perhaps every ability included from the start, with no documentation on how to use them. But, at segments where the ability would be useful or mandatory (only once for each ability) work in a 'reminder' on how to use it. Like the character knew all along, but didn't figure they needed too until then. You get every ability at the start, with no information about its usage or context, but still get to 'discover' them.

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  11. The novelty of elevated abilities tends to only be required in a game where the presence of all your abilities is not enough to create lasting novelty. In short, if something can and will potentially be used in any given area, be it for fun, convenience, or even just experimentation, then it should be available as early as possible. Having the roll so early in Kuro while less universal usage abilities, like the wall jump or roll attack, appear later allowed for shifting the gameplay and preventing potential stagnation. This can be achieved through design just as well as through power-ups (if you find yourself in much more vertical layouts in some area, wall jumping may become far more obvious as a convenience, and thus mix up the gameplay drastically just through the player's choices), but it requires encouraging players to mix up their learned biases a bit every now and again regardless. Ranged enemies in Kuro did this by eliminating the early game 'just shoot them before they get close' thinking, and slimes turned into 'roll to get distance then counter-shoot' affairs... the brilliant enemy design allowed combat to be kept from stagnation, as new enemies (and, following, new enemy mixes) made for better optimal strategies, and it deftly evades potential first order optimal strategy pitfalls. But this can be applied to the environment just as well, with or without hazards. If an area has a lot of slow, tricky jumps that are possible, but made easier by enemy bouncing, the player is encouraged into attempting such. Likewise, if there are stairs, but also a quicker or safer (but more technically difficult) wall-jumping shortcut, a player is encouraged, yet not forced, out of their 'comfort zone'. You can still get past an enemy you really don't know how to fight in Kuro if you fight the rest without damage, or you can panic-flee through, say, a spike room with roll-jumps and tank the damage if you're truly frustrated, and those choices are made possible and very balanced in their execution-- sure, you /can/ survive that spike room, but you're then hard-pressed to deal with the enemies that follow with your minimal health... though, even then, if you so wish, you could respawn a single enemy until it drops health, too.

    In short, if there's low-impact abilities that could be found later, then by all means, but early availability just requires more design-inspired shifts in optimal traversal, combat, et cetera-- but, honestly, you have just as good a handle on these principles as any game I've seen (be that Metroid or Megaman X), as evidenced by the fact that Kurovadis was actually the best example I could even find, more often than not, when thinking of good design for these things. XD

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  12. My opinion is that the most essential abilities should be available to the character relatively early in the game, so all of them should be unlocked within the first half, and that they aren't miss-able. You can then add non-essential abilities later in the game that either compound the existing skillset or have sort of specialized purpose in terms of combat.

    What constitutes as 'essential' is obviously something the developer would know best. What are the moves that you need to beat the game? And what are the moves that aren't as necessary but can still be quite powerful?

    In regards to the sprite, I'm wondering if her 'brandishing' is a hit stun or not... the animation seems pretty deceptive if not.

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  13. Obtaining the skills seems better if you ask me. Puts in some replay value. If maybe at the end it tells you which skills you got or missed. Either way, good luck with this. Not being able to pay your rent is embarrassing bro.

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  14. Ky, would you ever consider working on a privately funded game for a weekly paycheck? Mind you, this would be under the direction of someone else and, while you're full of great considerable ideas, this would not really be -your- game. We're talking strict deadlines, working with other artists, but making a consistent paycheck. Would that interest you at all?

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    1. I'm open to job offers, but it depends greatly on the nature of the project itself, and the skill of the rest of the team. It would have to be something that interested me personally, otherwise I could make more money by doing small, two week projects either on my own, or by collaborating with a single artist to split profits.

      However, first things first, I need to finish this game. The thing is, I don't really run into financial problems as long as I actually release games consistently. It's because I haven't released a game in around a year that I'm in a tight spot. If I collaborate with someone else, it would probably be for fun, rather than for financial reasons.

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  15. You might be giving yourself too much to do, making a different special attack for each direction. Maybe you want to limit that a little bit? Also, as for having those abilities from the start, I think you should have to unlock them. Its true combat might be dull at first, but just think how much better your combat is compared to other games already, without the extra attacks.

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  16. Tripoteur VentripotentJuly 5, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    While I am personally OK with buying special moves at a shop, it may not work for everybody. The initial lack of variety fails to give a good first impression, and people may not have the patience to unlock every move one by one. Additionally, acquiring moves in a shop may not be a good fit for the setting of the game, and either way might feel less like a reward for a specific accomplishment and more like the result of "grinding". It's often best to feel like you've earned something because you've achieved something special rather than just worked your ass off for it.

    Spanner-chan the Assault Engineer, for example, was quite pleasant to play once all moves were unlocked. Pretty intense and impressive looking, all that good stuff. But the initial gameplay was overly simplistic and, frankly, not a lot of fun. It may have discouraged a lot of players. Still, it was fun to be able to use all unlocked moves in all areas of the game (such as they were, since it's never been completed), so I agree that having a move available in the last stage only would be a lost opportunity.

    In the end, however, no system is perfect. You're well aware of the flaws involved in each of them and will have to make the best of it. If your past games are any indication, you'll make the right decision.

    Speaking of past games, I've got to say, Eroico is a work of art. Movement, platforming, combat, they all feels fantastic and mesh well with each other. The music is very good and the general atmosphere is just great, with the occasional nice bit of humor. It's short, but then again, it's five bucks. I've been mentioning it here and there, but obviously, since it has erotic elements and communities can be very sensitive about that, it has little chance of piercing into the main gamer population.

    I've wondered more more than once... wouldn't it be a good idea to release a non-erotic version so it can penetrate a much larger market? Even if it's cheap, additional sales can't hurt, and upon learning that the original version has erotic stuff in it, people might actually buy that version too (on top of the other one). You've probably thought about this and surely have a reason for not having done it, but if you're short on cash, it may be worth considering again. In any case I asked myself why quite a few times and could never figure it out, so I thought I'd ask.

    Keep up the good work. You have exceptional talent and I'm looking forward to future games. And even if you do choose to offer a mainstream version of your games, don't give up on the "hentai" community! I enjoy a good game as much as the next guy, but they're just plain better with sex.

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  17. Can't wait for you to start releasing games on a more consistent schedule!! Too bad this market is still niche enough to where most people aren't paying for product and thus there are not many creators.

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  18. Here's an idea - have a basic set of charge attacks, and then find new ones in the game. Then, in the menu, have it so that you can select which charge attacks you use to match your playstyle. Perhaps the spin attack fits your style, or perhaps a more Megaman Zero-style charge, or maybe you like the charge attack that sends a wave of energy forward.

    The trick of course, would be balancing the power to the utility of these charge shots.

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  19. I don't mind having to collect things at all. but if you really want, you could considerably weaken them untill you get upgrades, much like kurovadis started you with a downward punch but you got more exciting ones as you discovered weapons. if that's not really workable though I really personally love the metroid feel of going out to collect things. Maybe some people wont like that, but you wont hear me complaining. I honestly wished kuro had more nick nacks to get a hold of. it might have even been fun to simply axe the level up mechanic or made it considerably harder, and instead adding more items that boost stats.

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  20. Do you plan to make a demo to give us an early taste of the game or are you just going to release the game when it's finished?

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  21. Why not have it set as a skill tree where you can gain experience and work down a path you like focusing on a different style of fighting and you can set it to where they can only unlock so much by level so that it's not overpowering and they can earn the moves at a pace the player can get comfortable with. Maybe even putting moves that can be found that can act separately from the skill tree which can be used for story progression like a roll or an attack to destroy an obstacle

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  22. Ever think of doing something weird with the payments, like say if the game was 10$ then people could pay the 10$ or pay 10-40$ if they wanted to, think of it as more of a tip from loyal fans that know how hard you have been working, i know double fine did it and they made more then they would have made if they just charged 30$ for their whole bundle

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    1. He already has a donation button on the site he uses to sell the games.

      I know it's not the same as what your suggesting but, fans can still give him extra if they want via donation if they feel strongly about supporting his work. They just have to click an extra link.

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  23. LOL o.o you said you want to make only fast a Little game that not even should be really good . . . well I think you are bad in doing things bad (if you understand) The Little game Looks even now just awesome! XD I knew it! Even if you don´t try to make a game perfekt, it gets awesome anyway´s! XXDD Well perhaps it is just because you are Kyrieru, you are not any standart Game maker. ; )
    PS: just as you know I´m now even more confident about what i said earlier, I ALWAYS will buy your games >= ] (except if you Change your buying/paying site)

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    1. Well, game design is a skill, so if I were more competent I'd be able to make a small game that's great, and just cheaper. I should be able to come up with a simple design that I can be confident in without thinking "this isn't good enough"

      The problem is that if a game begins as a short project, and becomes long, it will usually have flaws as a result. In this case, all of the game's flaws stem from the fact that it didn't begin as a project of this size, and so it wasn't designed properly from the ground up.

      In the future, I'll be trying some short games that don't skimp on the quality, but are shorter, and cheaper. These won't replace long projects, but hopefully they will be a means of filling the gap.

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    2. Ouh Yeah! And I´m SO gonna buy the All! Go Catch em all! XD Please just promiss me only one Thing - never die (in real same as in Gamedesigner Speach) (If you understand) (ähh if not well please never give up your work here or at least for a few years) = )

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  24. As always, the smoothness of the spritework is amazing. I'm willing to wait as long as necessary if you keep up this level of quality. Too many games I feel are ruined by shoddy, choppy, half-assed graphics. It's good to be reminded why I keep checking this page.

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  25. Hello, nice to meet you. I'm big fan of you in Japan. I was impressed when I play Kurovadis and Eroico for the first time. I'm rooting for you. I'm sorry for poor English.

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    1. Thanks, I appreciate it ^_^

      Your project looks interesting as well, If rather crazy..

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    2. This gentleman's website is... wow. The blog posts seem to be some art form of their own in some twisted way. The English is simultaneously incoherent and surprisingly easy to understand.

      And there's a cute jitome Alraune! I approve!

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    3. DHM: 超変態村?

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    4. sry but ähh I only can english and Spanish and German XP

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    5. Aw shit, this guy's blog is amazing.

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    6. It's so cute

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  26. just want to share what happen in my game .. I put all of the moveset at the start of the game but judging from the few youtube reviews it seems that not many people use it T___T ... they simply use the basic attack .. they also don't bother to learn the combos/backstab system.

    There is a screen explaining the control at the start of the game. It's pretty cluttered since it has lots of moveset .. guess that turns people off & they just skip it without reading it

    so based on that experience I sugest to start with some small but fun movesets & gradually adding them. Hopefully this wont overwhelm the player at the start of the game

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    1. Believe it or not, there are people who played Kurovadis up until the end before realizing that you could do melee attacks -__-

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    2. I totally believe that XD !

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  27. But than again it would be unfair dir the experienced Players who are mentally able to use more than three Buttons on the keyboard. But i know how important simplicity is.

    In Comic Zone for the sega you had basically two Buttons for attack, but with the buttons for movement You could do many different attacks, like Holding left and attack, or left and down, or Turning around and attack. Simple but you could do so many different attacks and you could learn them all by your own without a shitty Tutorial.

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    1. It's less a matter of whether or not players are capable of using more buttons, and more a matter of whether or not you should have more buttons in the first place. The less the player's fingers have to move, the more precise the controls are going to be so long as the direction combinations are implemented well. It can also feel much more natural, such is the case with pressing up+attack to do a jumping uppercut. It gives the player a good sense of direction and movement when attacks and actions correspond with directions. (Which is why going up a ladder with the down key would feel really awkward)

      Not to mention, if you have too many keys then it becomes impossible to press some of them at the same time, or quickly in sequence. For instance, many modern FPSs use the Q,E, and R keys, which usually means that the player has to stop pressing a direction for a moment. Fine with a mappable mouse, but objectively flawed otherwise.

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    2. Then Why you don´t put like Street Fighter in the Menue (pause button) a list with the Combos?? ^.^

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    3. There aren't any combos in this game beyond pressing a direction and attack, so it's not really necessary.

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  28. Common You know what he meens ^_^ IF you make in an other game Combo things XD

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  29. I hope you keep the animation you have up there, as it looks really badass.

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