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Author Topic: Detonation Zone V2  (Read 22018 times)

YoSniper

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Re: Detonation Zone V2 *ALPHA 8*
« Reply #75 on: November 07, 2013, 07:50:44 pm »

Take all this with a grain of salt because I'm nowhere near an expert on game design. I'm probably wrong about some things.

I finally decided to try this game out after seeing it now and then, and it was more fun than I expected. I feel like levels 7 and 9 captured the spirit of the game. They were a nice mix of challenging platforming / dodging and figuring out what to do. Plus the room flipper kicker things felt integrated rather than thrown on at the end. I feel the same way about levels 1-3, they're good introductory levels.

I really liked the boss design. And the difficulty was pretty balanced. It felt natural figuring out how to damage it, but it took me too long to figure out that I needed to hurt it on all sides twice. I think there should be more feedback when its side gets damaged and destroyed, both visually and audibly.

I feel that most of the powerups are extraneous to exploring the core ideas of the game. I guess the main idea is the room-flipping mechanic, and its sub-ideas are solving puzzles with it and doing platforming / challenges with it, and another general idea of doing all this under time pressure / figuring out how to do it quickly / being skilled enough to do it quickly. If some part of the game doesn't explore these ideas, I don't think it should be in the game, since it makes it feel clunky and overly complicated. Ideally each mechanic should integrate with multiple or all aspects of the game. I think that lot of them wouldn't provide many interesting puzzles or challenges later on, and therefore would feel "gimmicky." Then again, I've only played the tutorial levels for each of them, so it's possible that they would work well with other mechanics in later levels.

Here's a somewhat relevant talk by Jon Blow (creator of Braid, The Witness) called Truth in Game Design. It's the typical super-high-level philosophical (pretentious?) Jon Blow talk, but I found it very interesting. http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1014982/Truth-in-Game

On a similar note, I personally would prefer it if there were no "tutorials" and instead new mechanics / powerups were introduced gradually throughout the campaign. I'm immediately thinking of Portal. In Portal, 80% of the game is a tutorial, but it doesn't feel like a chore like traditional tutorials do. You're solving puzzles, teaching yourself things, learning as you go.

Ok, enough with game design stuff I guess. I'm very impressed that you made the pseudo-3D graphics in Game Maker. I assume it's super complicated.

Also some thoughts on things. I really love participating in game jams because it's fun, you're with others, and you get to give and receive friendly feedback from your peers. Ludum Dare (http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/about-ludum-dare/) is a huge one that I love, and since coming to college I've been part of a video game development club and talking to friends there about game design, programming, art, etc. has been really really great. Also I don't know anything about GMC Jams other than that they exist, so maybe you'd like those. Point is there are better places for feedback than here I guess. And also do game jams. I know nothing about you or how you feel about this project, but I have felt and have seen others feel really bogged down working on a project over multiple years, and it seems more detrimental to unhappily trudge through and finish the project than to just call it done and move on to other better things. Game jams are also a great way to take a break from a huge project.

Sorry these thoughts are so disorganized
I really appreciate that you took the time to try the game out, and I agree with most of your points.

I could conceivably make the tutorial chambers into their own levels in some regard, although that will likely increase the overall number of levels both in the single-player and co-op campaigns (I would have to figure out how to do that on the co-op side as well.) I'll admit I'm running low on level ideas, and I have very few boss ideas, so that work is a slog right now.

I'm also planning on adding a few more elements to the chambers overall, such as launchpads, lava, and electric fences. I have next to no artistic ability so I have to rely on others for sprites for the most part, and pretty much anyone who is willing to draw for me without getting paid a fortune up front is busy with other stuff a lot of the time.)

Hopefully things will start coming together in due time, though. I'm not a big forum guy, and I don't know how well I would fit in with the Jams you mentioned. I typically don't like signing up for new forums.

Again, thanks for your feedback, and I am hopeful others will do the same. I'm always open to new ideas.
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patrickgh

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Re: Detonation Zone V2 *ALPHA 8*
« Reply #76 on: November 08, 2013, 01:55:37 am »

I really appreciate that you took the time to try the game out, and I agree with most of your points.

I could conceivably make the tutorial chambers into their own levels in some regard, although that will likely increase the overall number of levels both in the single-player and co-op campaigns (I would have to figure out how to do that on the co-op side as well.) I'll admit I'm running low on level ideas, and I have very few boss ideas, so that work is a slog right now.

I'm also planning on adding a few more elements to the chambers overall, such as launchpads, lava, and electric fences. I have next to no artistic ability so I have to rely on others for sprites for the most part, and pretty much anyone who is willing to draw for me without getting paid a fortune up front is busy with other stuff a lot of the time.)

Hopefully things will start coming together in due time, though. I'm not a big forum guy, and I don't know how well I would fit in with the Jams you mentioned. I typically don't like signing up for new forums.

Again, thanks for your feedback, and I am hopeful others will do the same. I'm always open to new ideas.

Yeah no problem, I enjoyed playing DZ.

As for future levels, I think what I was trying to say was that I think you should try to do unique and interesting things with the mechanics the game already has rather than adding new mechanics just to add to the level count. Level design is arguably the most important part of this kind of game. You said you're running low on ideas, which sucks, I know that feeling. To find inspiration for level design I ask a lot of "what if...?" "I know it's absolutely ridiculous, but what if...?" kind of questions, then sketch out levels based on those ideas, play around with them, see what works and what doesn't, and adapt them from there. Some ideas will stick, others won't, and others might make you ask other what if questions. I find this method a lot of fun.

Another way to think about level design is discussed in that talk I linked. Think of design not as inventing something new, but uncovering truths that already existed in the universe. Game design is asking the universe a series of questions, and curating the results such that they form a cohesive product. As an example, I really fucking love The Impossible Game's level design. For one, the game as a whole has good design (at least in my opinion), but two, I feel the level design explores every single possible combination of the level elements. All the block formations, spike formations, patterns, and everything like that feels fully explored. And in addition, Level 2 (gravity flipped) and Level 3 (disappearing blocks) feel like the 2 most important "gimmicks" to explore. I've probably grown to appreciate this since I've sunk so many hours into the game, but watching a video of all the levels should give a pretty good idea. The universe is SO SIMPLE and has SO FEW ELEMENTS, but the level design makes every section of every level feel unique and deserving of its existence in the game. I also find this way of thinking of level design to be fun. (Maybe I just find level design fun? not all the time anyways) Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vW8nXTzroos

I felt that interesting platforming both involving and not involving spikes was unexplored. I can think of a ton of tiny situations like jumping around a pillar on a narrow walkway, jumping diagonally over a pit, utilizing walking on the sides of spikes, landing between rows of spikes, avoiding jumping into ceiling spikes, etc.  I think I just love intricate jumping sections of games, haha.

As for other communities, I'm not a big forum guy myself at all, but recently I've found a lot of IRL people also interested in games and game development to talk to, and I feel like that's been really beneficial. It sucks to develop games proverbially in your mom's basement. Plus game jams are a great way to toy around with stuff and try out skills you don't normally use, as well as hone existing skills. I highly recommend Ludum Dare, there's a lot of people (on average 1400 every jam recently) and they give very positive and useful feedback, both in comments on your games and in their IRC.

Wow, wall of text v2. Wasn't really expecting that.

YoSniper

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Re: Detonation Zone V2 *ALPHA 8*
« Reply #77 on: November 10, 2013, 02:22:15 pm »

Just updated to alpha 8.1 for a couple of bug fixes. Haven't done anything with the tutorials or jams yet, but am still keeping that in mind.
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YoSniper

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Re: Detonation Zone V2
« Reply #78 on: December 31, 2013, 05:49:18 pm »

Just updated the OP for people who are following this topic. Bosses and survival levels will be scrapped, but more elements will be added to make for a steadier, more interesting game.

Future plans also include more co-op levels and versus mode.

I have a potential candidate for drawing up comic-book style cutscenes in return for helping him out with his game, so hopefully this coming year we can make at least some progress on that front.
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arcticfox1985

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Re: Detonation Zone V2
« Reply #79 on: January 29, 2014, 04:58:19 pm »

Is it Brett Donnelly? cuz that would be freakin awesome. I haven't seen much of v2, but would it be possible to design the level editor sorta like the Neditor from N1.4/Reality? That was one of the most user-friendly editors ever, not to mention you could edit the level code to make objects do weird things (okay that's probably not a good thing). The N 2.0 editor is too clunky and your original DZ editor wasn't-----actually it was pretty good. It got done what needed to be done if you had an idea of what to do beforehand.

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YoSniper

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Re: Detonation Zone V2
« Reply #80 on: January 29, 2014, 06:46:08 pm »

Is it Brett Donnelly? cuz that would be freakin awesome. I haven't seen much of v2, but would it be possible to design the level editor sorta like the Neditor from N1.4/Reality? That was one of the most user-friendly editors ever, not to mention you could edit the level code to make objects do weird things (okay that's probably not a good thing). The N 2.0 editor is too clunky and your original DZ editor wasn't-----actually it was pretty good. It got done what needed to be done if you had an idea of what to do beforehand.

winners don't die
No, it's not Brett Donnelly. That would have been too good to be true.

I'm surprised that you found the DZv1 editor user-friendly at all. It had to come with a manual, and I practically exhausted every key on the keyboard for the most ridiculous functions. Frankly, I'd be amazed if anyone else prefers the old editor over the current one.

One of the main reasons why I had to practically start over from scratch is that I needed a lot more modularity in the game as a whole, and I didn't have the flexibility to even have a second player. Starting over has really given me the opportunity to simplify everything, and even now I have to be conscious of potential lag issues...
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