Sunday, June 23, 2013

Epic Blog Post

Tonight I am going to post about some of the feedback I have received about my game and the changes that I have decided to make to it.

Level Changes

First, there was one room in particular that has received criticism as being awkward and difficult by play testers. It is room 6 in the first level of the game. This map begins with the player falling from the room above it into a center area surrounded with enemies. Originally the map was designed with a turret on each top corner that players had to ride a platform to and kill in order to advance to the next area. However, this was very confusing, because there wasn't a clear link from the turrets to the doors, so players had trouble navigating the room.

To fix this, I initially put buttons in place of the turrets. This gave players a clear location for where they should be going and trying to get to. However, the number of enemies in the area was still too high, so I reduced the total number of enemies in the room, and added an enemy spawner, so that there is a steady stream of enemies in the room, providing a more consistent challenge. The current version of this map area is shown below.

Art Changes

This change is a work in progress and is not in the current beta build for this game. In the feedback, I often see that players are unsure of what button, switch, or level activates what. I have decided to add a new art function that will visually link a switch and an activator.

In the game Portal, there are very similar puzzle elements that use a similar mechanic. In this game, they solved the same problem by adding a line connecting the two. 

Below is a screenshot of one such room, which contains a confusing switch activator system.

I have included below a sketch of how a line connection system in the game could look, as it is currently planned to be implemented.

The second version makes it much more clear what the player needs to do in order to proceed.

Character Changes

The last change that I plan on implementing, deals with complaints about the characters themselves. In general, players felt that the two playable characters were too similar, and that Mike (blue) was clearly superior to Tom (Red).

The main complaint I got with Tom, was that his shield didn’t feel responsive enough. In order to use it, your character must be still, and there is a delay associated with the player attack that can sometimes keep players from deploying the shield when they want.

I have decided to make the following changes to Tom, although they have not yet been implemented:
  •        Remove delay in deploying the shield after firing.
  •          Allow the player to shift the direction they are facing while blocking
  •         Allow the player to block while in the air, but not while accelerating upward (jumping)

I am also considering allowing the player to move while blocking at half speed, and possibly to fire at a slower rate while block and stationary. These changes will be considered after the above changes are implemented and more feedback is gathered.

In addition, I want to make gameplay as Mike feel more unique. So, I have decided to change the way that mike attacks his enemies.

First, I am going to change the condition on when Mike attacks. Currently, players can hold the attack button down to attack at full speed. However, this will be changed, so that players can still hold the attack button to attack a specific speed, but also have the option of tapping the attack button to attack even faster. This will give Mike the more agile, attack focused gameplay in contrast to Tom’s more defensive focused gameplay.

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