This week I was busier than usual, and decided not to work on the game until after the Indie City Games meetup, which occurs every two months or so. At the meetup, I showed off the game and got a few people to try playing. I immediately observed some things, and learned even more when they were done playing and I got to interview them:
1) I need to tutorialize harder. People don't know that you can use WASD to move. I'll need for the game to detect whether you're using a controller or not, so I can have the game mention the analog stick if it is relevant.
2) This level is absolutely too difficult:
A lot of people understand that you're supposed to make multiple charges in quick succession though. A lot of people also understand that you don't have to make full charges. What people don't understand is that the player object takes time to rotate to face where you want it to face. I wonder what would happen if the player rotated instantaneously upon releasing a charge...
3) For the second meetup in a row, people kept mentioning how rewarding it feels when all the goals disappear together. They love the levels when you can solve everything in one go. One person told me they wanted the linked goal nodes to disappear as soon as they cleared all of them, instead of waiting for the timer to run down. I think the lesson here is that hitting a target cleanly is an inherently joyful activity. I mean, we've known this for years - it's why headshots exist - I've just never thought of it that way for this game.
4) This level is intriguing:
There is no one clean solution to this level. I just thought having switches and kill walls in this configuration would be interesting. It seems I was right, because more than one person called it out as being particularly fun or as making them feel clever. I'll have to try to recreate this type of level.
5) There seems to be a bug involving enemy shields and pressing and holding Mouse 0 (left click) while you are mid-charge. This is a bug I'll have to look into for next week.
And that's it! For next week I'll be acting on all this information, prioritizing the parts I've written in red text.
And, as always, in the build linked above the charging-up noise is by Javier Zumer. I use and modify it under this license.