Sunday, September 24, 2017

RE: Cursive Design

I always love going to gaming meetups and getting some testing done. It's gratifying to see changes that I've made begin to have their intended effect, and it's motivating to see the problems that I still need to fix, and the tweaks that need to be made to increase the effectiveness of other features. There's no new build this week, but I thought I would share some of the notes I took this weekend:

  • Players are finding it difficult to aim at 90 degree angles
  • The movement of the player arrow is simultaneously too sticky and too slippery.
  • Mouse dexterity is a skill that needs to be taught. I can't ask too much of the player off the bat without teaching them things such as how to be comfortable moving the mouse as you fling yourself forward
  • The levels I have which intend to teach players mouse dexterity are still too hard. Players understand what they must do, but it's taking them too long to do it.
  • The yellow line which predicts the player's attack path should always be accurate. In the case of moving objects, it's often inaccurate because objects will have moved in the interim. I might freeze moving objects while the player is charging to prevent that.
I believe I need to just scrap the way the player currently moves and do something simpler instead. Pushing the player with physics results in a really natural flow, but unfortunately it's not good for stopping on a dime. The current way that I make the player stop on a dime also causes the player's acceleration to feel abrupt and uncomfortable.

The first thing I want to do to address the problem of mouse dexterity and players being unable to aim at clean 90 degree angles is to give the mouse cursor a makeover. If the mouse cursor were easier to see all the time, then I believe that players would have better control over their attacks. I'm considering also adding a dotted line that always draws to where the mouse is. this might clash with the yellow extendable line which predicts the player's attack path though. A second thing which would help would honestly be to just put objects in the level which encouraged the player to go to a specific position and look in a specific direction. Maybe just a spotlight would do.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Adjusting for time

There's a new build this week!

Hi there everyone, sorry for not posting more, but the last two weekends have preoccupied me with:

  1. Traveling to a convention and doing a lot of convention things
  2. Attending a wedding and doing a lot of wedding things 
I did a tiny amount of work this week:
  1. I decided that the review at the end of each level should just be time based rather than charge based, and that it should just compare your most recent time with your best time for each level.
  2. I decided to change the color scheme of all the tutorials in the game
I'm afraid that doesn't make for a very snappy screenshot
I initially implemented the review at the end of each level because I wanted to provide people with the feedback of knowing when they had completed a level as well as can be done. I'm changing it because I didn't like the idea of people finishing a level and immediately being told "you can do better!" I knew I didn't like it from the start, but I decided to let it sit for a while. While letting it sit I also came to the conclusion that "number of charges" was not the correct way to measure success in this game. I don't want to encourage not charging, after all. Simply tracking time is probably the better way to go. Be as frantic and charge-spammy as you'd like - as long as it gets the level done.

(I think, on a separate level, I wanted the review being charge-based to disincentivize people from using multiple quick charges to clear goals that you are supposed to use wrap walls for, but that's a problem that needs to be solved in another way)

I changed the color of the tutorials of the game because I ran into someone who told me they hadn't noticed them! So now they're blue, and not grey. In hindsight, it's easy to see why making your tutorial the same color as your background is unwise.

As always, the charge-up noise is by Javier Zumer. I use and modify it under this license.