Sunday, May 29, 2016

Visible timers and further bug fixes to lines

The newest build is up here!

Not a huge update today. I implemented radial timers on linked goal nodes so that you can see how much time is ticking down as you attempt to clear that goal. In Gerald Kelley's Abzorb postmortem, he mentioned that in his game players rarely if ever paid attention to elements outside of a very tight radius around the player. If that holds true for Pierce, players won't notice the radial timers I've put in. My hypothesis is that, in Pierce, player's attentions are less focused on the arrow and more focused on the obstacles. We'll see.

I also cleaned up a bug with guide lines which caused guide lines to linger erroneously. It was most noticeable when projecting guidelines through two wrap walls of different lengths. Should be good now!

As always, the charging-up noise is by Javier Zumer. I'm using and modifying it under this license.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Indie City Games feedback and progress.

Sorry! No new build this week!

I happened to be very swamped with work and other things that needed taking care of during the time I usually devote to working on Pierce. I did, however, take the game out to show to some developers at a meetup called Indie City Games. If you're a game developer and in Chicago, you should really think about going. I got a small handful of people to play, and their feedback was interesting. Here's what I found out:

  • The numbers above goals which require X/X hits to destroy need to be more noticeable. Maybe they could also flash when they reset to zero.
  • The linked goals should give way more feedback, considering the time limit you have to complete them in is not static from level to level. They also, come to think of it, could use some visual marker to show which linked nodes are linked together. This has been keeping me from implementing levels with multiple groups of linked nodes. It also would clear up some confusion with players believing that non-linked nodes are linked. And FURTHERMORE, if I'm visually showing which linked nodes are linked, I need to also be visually showing which objects correspond to which switch. This was a big bullet.
  • Level 10 is by far the most hated level in the game! This doesn't exactly surprise me. The timing puzzle in that level is difficult to figure out. I'm convinced that the puzzle has merit, but I clearly need to tweak it to be less frustrating.
  • People seem to like the feel of the game, even watching it, before they've played it. The charging mechanic makes people feel excited. The game, "Pops," one person said.
  • People also seem to like the feeling of being able to solve all the parts of a level in a single charge. That was surprising, but not in hindsight. The feedback for bursting a goal seems to be at a good level. People really want to explode those goals, and explode as many at once as possible... Some of my best levels right now can't be solved except in at least two charges... That's probably okay, since I still give people the joy of bursting several orbs in a single go. But it's important to know that in the future a challenge mode could exist where the game counts how many charges you use, and grades you using that number. Kind of like the "par" at a golf course.
Next week: I'll at least have started on addressing those first two bullets.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Linework, Continued

This week's build can be played here!

Not a big update this week. I added the guideline functionality to warp walls, and did some polishing up on how the lines are displayed. Of note, guide lines colliding with bounce walls will more accurately show you where the player is going to go. See, the player is displaced by a distance proportional to its length, so instead displaying the guidelines like this:

It's more accurate to display them like this:

Not as pretty, but I plan to eventually let all guidelines intelligently adjust their start and end widths so that it seems like one contiguous line.

As always, the charging-up noise is by Javier Zumer. I'm using and modifying it under this license.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

To Understand Recusion, One Must First Understand Recursion

This week's build lives here!

Not a big function update this week, but I took the guideline-rendering feature I added last week and refined it a little. It now recursively spawns additional guidelines as needed. That is all!

I mean, I'm sure I'll find out later that I did this in a really messy way that I will want to clean up... but for *now*, that is all.

And look, I even have screenshots this week!

As always, the charging-up noise is by Javier Zumer. I am using and have modified it under this license.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Doing Lines

New Build is up here!

A while back I tried to get the guide line that emanates from the player to interact with walls so that it correctly displayed the path you would take after charging. I gave up after trying to figure out a way for this method to recursively call itself. Then a friend of mine suggested a different take on it, which really helped me wrap my head around how this needs to work.

Currently it only works on Wrap and Bounce walls (Warp walls are for next week) and it also only works for one interaction (the lines emanating from Wrap and Bounce walls do not cause the same behavior to occur if they hit *more* Wrap/Bounce walls) so I may need to make this recursive anyway. However, with this first version I have a much better understanding of what it would take to do that. Yay for friends.

As always, the charging up noise is by Javier Zumer. I have used and edited this asset under this license.