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.