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Thread: [BETA] Dawn of the Hulker

  1. #1
    Funkalicious TOdorus's Avatar
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    [BETA] Dawn of the Hulker

    Finally I'm getting near to getting it finished. I'll be working on the background story the next week and in the meantime I'm looking for some feedback on the game. So if you can find bugs, have a suggestion for interface/balancing/story, feel free to post!


    Dawn of the Hulker BETA (no preloader yet, give it a wait)





  2. #2
    my x booty it is that BIG
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    cool game coding wise
    didnt enjoy it at all
    its still missing that "fun factor"
    Project||[GAME]-on hold for now
    ------------------
    [Hero]-80%
    [Enemies]-1%
    [Weapons]-90%
    [Items]-0%
    [Levels]-10%

  3. #3
    Funkalicious TOdorus's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear that mixedtrinegro. Could you be more specific? Points it could improve on? That would greatly help.

  4. #4
    my x booty it is that BIG
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    i cant quite put my finger on it
    but i would say since is a suppose to be a big battle between good and evil add a lil more chaos to it...if that makes sence.
    Project||[GAME]-on hold for now
    ------------------
    [Hero]-80%
    [Enemies]-1%
    [Weapons]-90%
    [Items]-0%
    [Levels]-10%

  5. #5
    Pumpkin Carving 2008 ImprisonedPride's Avatar
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    Needs a preloader badly. I waited to play it twice and both times it locks up firefox.
    The 'Boose':
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  6. #6
    Funkalicious TOdorus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImprisonedPride View Post
    Needs a preloader badly. I waited to play it twice and both times it locks up firefox.
    It had a preloader for a while, but Mochi's servers tend to give me the finger every few updateds (but when I create a new game account everything is fine :s ). You can try this version with a preloader. I won't be updating that link as it looks now however.

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    the screen needs to scroll when the mouse leaves the stage. Or there needs to be a boundary so I know where the edge of the stage is.

    In the engineering bay, should not haev to hold cursor over weapon for 1-2 seconds without moving. Let the window pop up for whatever the cursor is over. Gets annoying to wait, then if yuo move accidentally, you have to wait more.

    Those are just the things I found annoying.
    Last edited by Flyingcow; 08-12-2009 at 05:56 AM.

  8. #8
    Funkalicious TOdorus's Avatar
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    Hi guys, guess who's back.

    I just finished writing a lot of filler. I've discovered I really dislike writing, so I guess my future games are going to feature a lot less dialogue. For any spelling and grammar errors (which I guess will be plenty) I refer you to the transcript of the game. This will make it easier for people to point out where I made a mistake.

    I hope to push this out of beta to finished very soon, so I can finally say goodbye to it and try if someone is interested in offering money for it. There are other ideas I want to develop into games, so this baby has got to leave the nest.

    For anyone interested if there are some changes to the actual game: a lot of balancing. The bigger battles should provide much more tactical challenge than before.

    transcript Word2003
    transcript Word2007

    the game

  9. #9
    Senior Member Awoogamuffin's Avatar
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    Hey there Todorus!

    I've already told you how I've had issues with the game on my measly mac, but I was able to play quite a bit this time, for some reason it worked!

    Anyway, I did four levels, and died twice then gave up, so here's my two cents -

    production wise the game is fantastic - it looks, sounds and moves wonderfully. but I'm afraid to say I can see where mixedtrigeno is coming from - it lacks a little bit of the fun factor, and I think the reason is that there isn't enough interaction.

    I mean, I select weapons and stuff, start the level, select my ships and tell them to attack. Then I watch. There isn't really much to do - I can play around with the advanced attack controls and stuff, but that's about it. Maybe the later levels are more involved, but as I said I got killed, tried the level again and got killed again. I'm sure there's a technique there, but unfortunately it takes so long that I didn't feel the urge to try again.

    One thing that could work is to make things faster - the ships could move faster, or have less shield, or something, so that it encourages experimentation and risk taking - as it is there's too much down time...

    Now I'll have a look at that transcript for you - within the game itself the only mistake I found was "unsubordinate" which should be "insubordinate"

    Keep up the excellent work!
    Check out my blog showing the development of my flash game, the Dregs of War

  10. #10
    Senior Member Awoogamuffin's Avatar
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    Hey there Todorus!

    Well I had another bash at it - the thing is, the tutorial for the game is broken on my machine (it just sort of gives up on me), but reading your word file helped me understand some of the mechanics more, and I upgraded my ship accordingly and was able to advance.

    And now I'm really enjoying it! I think there's an initial hump that could keep a lot of potential fans away. I'm not sure what could be done to avoid that, but more and more I'm convinced that the game could do with a slightly faster pace (that said, it isn't horrifically slow paced like a lot of strategic flash games out there).

    After playing for a while, here are the small things that would help if you could change them:

    - Some way of dealing with the mouse leaving the stage - could it not just keep the mouse's last position before it left and act as if it were still there? That way scrolling and selecting multiple units would be much easier.

    - Time and time again I frustratingly accidentally deselect all of my units, and it's quite difficult to select them all again. I would really, seriously appreciate a "select all" key. Obviously, being able to group them (like in age of empires) with the number keys would be even better!

    - As I said, my poor mac sometimes gets unhappy, but in the zoomed out screen things run faster, so I spend a lot of time on that screen - it would be cool if I could get the status display (shields and whatnot) while hovering over ships on that screen.

    I specifically chose points that I imagine shouldn't be too difficult to change, and are more to do with the interface than changing the game mechanics. As for other ideas that could help in a potential sequel, well I'm going to keep them to myself until I complete the game, but I've already got a few ideas.

    Here are the things I like so far:

    - The navigation screen: I think you've intelligently distributed the combat points to encourage exploration for the next "juicy target" before I take on more difficult planets.

    - The movement: especially in the zoomed out screen, the movement of the fighters is really fluid and attractive. Mesmerising stuff!

    - The gradual acquisition of new technologies / crew members: a classic way to get a player hooked, and you've pulled it off wonderfully.

    So I still need to finish it before I give a final verdict, but the impression is much better now than it was last time. Unfortunately this is a problem for you - if the beginning doesn't get players hooked, you'll get far fewer repeat hits. Maybe a bit of work needs to be done to find a way around this. Here are a few ideas:

    - integrate the tutorials into the first few missions - instead of a separate part of the game, have the first few levels guide the player through his actions.

    - faster pace (have I mentioned this before?)

    - maybe before the first planet, have somebody tell the player what he should do in the engineering screen to get the best out of the new technologies - this might put the player on the right track, and get him more excited about getting more stuff (the first time I played, I was a little confused by it all). This idea is really just an extension of the first.

    I also have a few questions for you:

    Is there any penalty for using more powerful guns on my ship? As far as I can tell, the blue guns are the most powerful so far, and the tripple barrel most powerful of those. Seeing as there seems to be no price / weight system, what's to stop me just putting the most powerful option in each gun slot? If there is nothing stopping me, why bother having the engineering screen at all? Do you see what I mean?

    Is there any way to customise my destroyers?

    I saw in your tutorial that I can move ships with the m key, but this doesn't seem to work... it would be nice if I could move my destroyers more easily, so that I can try to position them for an attack.

    Is it true that my mother ship only uses its big guns if facing the enemy? If so, it would be nice if I could control the ship's rotation, because I often find it rotating so slowly that it never faces the enemy on a bombing movement path, and therefore never uses its strongest weapons...

    Anyway, I'll play some more and give more feedback in the future. good job!
    Last edited by Awoogamuffin; 10-23-2009 at 07:06 AM.
    Check out my blog showing the development of my flash game, the Dregs of War

  11. #11
    Funkalicious TOdorus's Avatar
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    Glad to hear that it's working and bieng liked Awoogamuffin. Some good feedback there too. I can really work with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    - Some way of dealing with the mouse leaving the stage - could it not just keep the mouse's last position before it left and act as if it were still there? That way scrolling and selecting multiple units would be much easier.
    Opinions are mixed on this. Most seem to find it annoying that you can be taken away from the action because you hover offstage and the screen continues to scroll.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    Time and time again I frustratingly accidentally deselect all of my units, and it's quite difficult to select them all again. I would really, seriously appreciate a "select all" key. Obviously, being able to group them (like in age of empires) with the number keys would be even better!
    I totally agree. In the late game the players fleet gets pretty big, so I wanted a select all function myself anyway. While I'm at it I'll at grouping to answer to RTS-convention.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    As I said, my poor mac sometimes gets unhappy, but in the zoomed out screen things run faster, so I spend a lot of time on that screen - it would be cool if I could get the status display (shields and whatnot) while hovering over ships on that screen.
    The screen was more meant to provide an overview and quickly zip through the battle, but now you mention that some machines might take it better when you're in the tactical screen, it may be a good idea to have the interface avaible there too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    So I still need to finish it before I give a final verdict, but the impression is much better now than it was last time. Unfortunately this is a problem for you - if the beginning doesn't get players hooked, you'll get far fewer repeat hits. Maybe a bit of work needs to be done to find a way around this. Here are a few ideas:

    - integrate the tutorials into the first few missions - instead of a separate part of the game, have the first few levels guide the player through his actions.

    - faster pace (have I mentioned this before?)

    - maybe before the first planet, have somebody tell the player what he should do in the engineering screen to get the best out of the new technologies - this might put the player on the right track, and get him more excited about getting more stuff (the first time I played, I was a little confused by it all). This idea is really just an extension of the first.
    I really like the idea of a tutorial in the game itself. This was offered to me before, but now that you say that you need to get into the game before you get to see the beauty of it, it may be a good idea to keep the first battles novel by introducing some concepts. With the fast pacing: I was afraid I'd put some players off (me bieng one), when I need to click as fast as in C&C3 while playing a strategy game. Again, with the more powerfull techs the game becomes a bit faster.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    Is there any penalty for using more powerful guns on my ship? As far as I can tell, the blue guns are the most powerful so far, and the tripple barrel most powerful of those. Seeing as there seems to be no price / weight system, what's to stop me just putting the most powerful option in each gun slot? If there is nothing stopping me, why bother having the engineering screen at all? Do you see what I mean?
    It's a trade off system. Initially I wanted shields to be in there as well, so you had the choice between more shields or an extra turret. Now you have very strong Plasma turrets, which have a short range. Than you've got strong torpedo's, but they're a bit slow and bulk. And you've got missiles which aren't that strong, but home in so are good against fighters. If you add crews to the mix, you can further specialize or compensate for your turret outfit. While you unlock stuff the engineering section starts to become more and more interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    Is there any way to customise my destroyers?
    I expected more people to ask this, but you're the first. After a while the player accumelates a lot of ships and techs. This would make balancing a nightmare. I do intend the player to be able to have a complete customized fleet in a possible sequel. Ships would be harder to come by, enemies more specialized (to challenge players to experiment with weapon layouts) and the map more open (think fallout or rpg'ish).

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    I saw in your tutorial that I can move ships with the m key, but this doesn't seem to work... it would be nice if I could move my destroyers more easily, so that I can try to position them for an attack.
    You do hold the m key and then click? If so I'll have to look into this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    Is it true that my mother ship only uses its big guns if facing the enemy? If so, it would be nice if I could control the ship's rotation, because I often find it rotating so slowly that it never faces the enemy on a bombing movement path, and therefore never uses its strongest weapons...
    Perhaps I should add the maximum arc a turret can rotate in it's specs. You're probably using torpedo's, which can only turn... 30 if I remember correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    Anyway, I'll play some more and give more feedback in the future. good job!
    Thanks again for the praise and criticism. I'm currently working on the ending when you're done destroying planets, so don't be dissapointed when there's nothing there yet

  12. #12
    Senior Member Awoogamuffin's Avatar
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    Hey there Todorus!

    Well, I finished the game- so here're more thoughts.

    It was only when I got to the third-to-last battle (the central hub place with three space stations with lots of missiles) that I had to actually think tactically - up until that point I just lazilly selected all my ships and had them pick off enemy ships one by one (as I mentioned in the previous post). In this one, I realised I had to keep most of my ships away from the station, and only have my mother ship and the one destroyed with a torpedo launcher destroy them from a distance. That's when I really felt I could see the potential of this game that it doesn't quite fulfill, but is really close. I think that's where the fun factor lies, and needs to be exploited...

    You see, I want to have the challenge of picking the right ships for the right job. There isn't quite enough of that. I appreciate the emp to counter shields, but unfortunately I defeated the scientists guys before the pirate guys, and seeing as no other species has shield it made the emp pretty much useless. I'd enjoy more counters!

    So I feel there need to be more vulnerabilities and specialities, so that simply selecting all of my ships and having them focus on one enemy would never be a good idea, because maybe that one enemy eats a certain type of ship for breakfast. Instead, I would have to choose, and position my troops carefully. Maybe the changes for this to work would be too much to change in this version of the game, but something to think about, perhaps...

    As for the selection problem, you could link the solution to the above point by making ship types more explicit - 1 would select all "bombardment" types, so ships carrying torpedos. 2 would select "anti-destroyer" types, so those with missiles or heavy plasma. 3 would be "anti-fighter" - so those with fast plasma turrets... then the fighters could have their own specialities - anti-destroyer or anti-fighter types, which can also have there own selection numbers.

    This is already more or less implemented within your game. The problem is that the way things are balanced up now I don't need to think about it that much. You want the game to be such that without a clear idea in my head of how to use my ships' strengths to exploit my enemy's weaknesses, I would end up losing. As it is, the game got easier and easier as I progressed, and the last mission was just a case of bombard the stations then have all my fleet mop up the rest.

    To be honest, I suspect that with medium-heavy tweakage you could really make that happen, though I do have to say that I enjoyed myself, so if you're bored of working on this then maybe those comments could go into the sequel!

    Oh, I got m to work, I was just being an idiot.

    I found a couple of small interface / graphics bugs. Here they are:


    On a couple of the explanation messages, there isn't enough space for all of the text... what is the MRLS MK II well suited against?!


    On the manoeuvre thing, the message tells you about the previous one, not the one you're currently hovering over.


    The Bitmap for the glow effect of the planets seems to be too small, leading to cropping to the right and bottom.

    I saw a couple of mistakes in the text, while playing, which I'll try to find in the word document.

    But overall, a really professional job. Congratulations!

    Awoogamuffin
    Check out my blog showing the development of my flash game, the Dregs of War

  13. #13
    Funkalicious TOdorus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    You see, I want to have the challenge of picking the right ships for the right job. There isn't quite enough of that. I appreciate the emp to counter shields, but unfortunately I defeated the scientists guys before the pirate guys, and seeing as no other species has shield it made the emp pretty much useless. I'd enjoy more counters!

    So I feel there need to be more vulnerabilities and specialities, so that simply selecting all of my ships and having them focus on one enemy would never be a good idea, because maybe that one enemy eats a certain type of ship for breakfast. Instead, I would have to choose, and position my troops carefully. Maybe the changes for this to work would be too much to change in this version of the game, but something to think about, perhaps...

    To be honest, I suspect that with medium-heavy tweakage you could really make that happen, though I do have to say that I enjoyed myself, so if you're bored of working on this then maybe those comments could go into the sequel!
    Yes you're right that the game should exploit that feature more. I've had some thoughts about it, but I had to cut them because the project was already massive as it is. This is sequel material.

    • Only allow the player to have a limited amount of ships to take into battle.
    • Extra large turrets (so you have three classes of turrets)
    • Have a turretdamage type and turrets with varying health, so ships with weakly armored turrets need to look out for those.
    • Boarding. Some of this is in place under the hood already. Each control point is connected to other controlpoints. When a enemy boards it lands on the control points like hangars. A battle is fought (some races are better at these than others) and if succesfull the boarding party moves to the next control point. Every control point that is conquered is shut down, so also it's turrets/hangars, until the bridge is reached, in which case the ship is conquered.
    • Upgradable engines.
    • Shield modules


    Any more ideas are ofcourse welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    As for the selection problem, you could link the solution to the above point by making ship types more explicit - 1 would select all "bombardment" types, so ships carrying torpedos. 2 would select "anti-destroyer" types, so those with missiles or heavy plasma. 3 would be "anti-fighter" - so those with fast plasma turrets... then the fighters could have their own specialities - anti-destroyer or anti-fighter types, which can also have there own selection numbers.
    Well the problem with that is that it is very context driven and leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Maybe one player has a unique view on how to use a certain tech and therefore may classify ships differently. At the moment I have a select all, select all capital, select all fighters, which should help in most cases.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    On a couple of the explanation messages, there isn't enough space for all of the text... what is the MRLS MK II well suited against?!
    Good point. There's more of those in the game, I'll have to sniff those out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    On the manoeuvre thing, the message tells you about the previous one, not the one you're currently hovering over.
    Hmmm, this isn't the case with my computer. Does bug persist if you reload the page?

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    The Bitmap for the glow effect of the planets seems to be too small, leading to cropping to the right and bottom.
    Yeah that's been on my todo list since ages, but it never got priority. The desert type planet is even worse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    I saw a couple of mistakes in the text, while playing, which I'll try to find in the word document.

    But overall, a really professional job. Congratulations!
    Thanks a bundle! I'll get started on your points this weekend. In the meantime I've added the selection controls you asked for:

    A = select all
    S = select all capital ships
    D = select all fighters

    shift or control + left mouse = add or remove from selection
    shift + number = store a group
    number = select stored group

  14. #14
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    A lot of effort

    Looks like you put a lot of effort/love into this.

    Unfortunately, I couldn't understand how to play it quick enough (and the tutorial just annoyed me, so I skipped too much of it ) and only finished two battles. During those two battles I was just way too confused. Mainly about how the ships move and react. I think you need to explain more, but in a somehow shorter and more direct way.

    I think a lot of people will turn away pretty quickly for the same reasons I did, but maybe there is a fanbase for you out there somewhere. I know a lot of people like space strategy games (usually including myself).

    Anyway, I have to give you props on the amount of effort you've obviously put into this.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Awoogamuffin's Avatar
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    Hey Todorus - I've had a look at the changes - I really like how you've integrated the tutorial into the first mission.

    My problem, however, is a weird bug whereby the mouse cursor doesn't move unless I click, which makes scrolling around pretty difficult. Is that happening on your machine as well? It wasn't like that before for me...

    Did you make the changes before or after Thomas Aquinas' comment? If before, then maybe there's too much tutorial within the first mission - things like battle groups could maybe be introduced in a later mission (when you have more ships, for example).

    Another little thing - when they're talking, I often just press space because the text is going too slowly, but if the current bit of text is too big, I end up losing some of what the guy is saying - this could especially be confusing in the tutorial for new players.

    That said, apart from the mouse cursor thing, it already feels like an improvement. Good work!
    Check out my blog showing the development of my flash game, the Dregs of War

  16. #16
    Funkalicious TOdorus's Avatar
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    @Thomas Aquinas & Awoogamuffin

    Thanks for the feedback. I just showed it to one of my hallmates (dormmates) and got a similair reaction. Translated it was something like: "... kill! I want to attack! Fight! Kill 'em attack!", while clicking wildly on everything. Yes, there was some passionate bad grammar bieng exclaimed. I'm going to take the advise from Awoogamuffin and rethink the order in which I explain things. Make it possible so players can get started from the outset and introduce additional layers later. I understand not everyone comes from a martial arts background where you've learned that you can't just go wildly swinging at everybody. You first need to learn how to fall and how to train without causing injures to you or yourself before you go to the cool stuff.

    One thing I already decided is to put every capital ship the player has to have the Prey tactic as a standard. This is alike standard RTS fare, the unit moves into range and fires. Predicatble behavior.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    My problem, however, is a weird bug whereby the mouse cursor doesn't move unless I click, which makes scrolling around pretty difficult. Is that happening on your machine as well? It wasn't like that before for me...
    I did change the code for the mousedown, but it's only a conversion to scaled coordinates (to allow selection in the tactical view). I can't think of anything that would affect the scrolling as this is based on the orignal (unscaled) mouseposition. It never takes the scaled variable. It doesn't happen on my system. The behavior on your machine is somewhat unique Awoogamuffin, which is valuable, but I really need to debug on it before I can give you an answer. This is just too much shooting in the dark.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    Another little thing - when they're talking, I often just press space because the text is going too slowly, but if the current bit of text is too big, I end up losing some of what the guy is saying - this could especially be confusing in the tutorial for new players.
    I noticed this as well. This is where the hint at the top of the screen becomes helpfull (I added this after Thomas' reply), so that even if you skip it entirely it is still there, but less intrusive. Todays a tutorial finetuning day, so I was constantly changing stuff. Just took a break, so it's back to coding.

    btw, you can set the setspeed a lot higher in the options menu

  17. #17
    Funkalicious TOdorus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Aquinas View Post
    Unfortunately, I couldn't understand how to play it quick enough (and the tutorial just annoyed me, so I skipped too much of it ) and only finished two battles. During those two battles I was just way too confused. Mainly about how the ships move and react. I think you need to explain more, but in a somehow shorter and more direct way.
    Thomas could I convince you to try the game again? I've just made a few big changes to the tutorial and interface to accommodate players that want to get in the game fast. Since your earlier experience was confusing you'd be an expert on telling me if I succeeded. If you could try it I would be much obliged.

    Ofcourse everybody else is ready to try the new interface and tutorial too. Do get back and tell me what you think.

    Next up is the intro dialogue and engineering tutorial! People need to be able to get into this game quicker.


    EDIT: and I'm obviously looking for an alternative to F1 as a help key. Any suggestions?
    Last edited by TOdorus; 10-27-2009 at 11:24 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member bluemagica's Avatar
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    hmm, it's definately improved since the last time I saw it, but it still needs more work to make the gameplay reach everyone

    1) In the tutorial, don't throw stuff at once, tell the player one thing at a time, and let him get used to it a bit...mainly you have to show need of strategic commands, early in the beginning. As of now, one could just start the battle, let the fleet acquire a target, then sit back, and enjoy.

    2) What exactly makes the game that long to load? You know, there are a large number of players who would give the game only a few minutes to load, and then move on to the next.....and from the first few missions, I really don't see much graphics that could add to the size......look into lowering the size of the file a bit!

    3)The scrolling is still pretty hitched. I would suggest scrolling with button clicks, or the keyboard.....not being able to quickly scroll into position, just cause i scrolled a bit off the stage, can be pretty annoying.


    4) In the dialogues, don't show the numbers, like 1/16 and so forth....and also it would be better if there were a mission summary, hints , and objectives panel, just like in strategy games.....if that's too much, think of a way to mark the important stuff in the dialogues!

    5) Selection is nice and all, but it gets hard during battle, where trying to select my own ships, most of the time gets the enemy selected!
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Awoogamuffin's Avatar
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    Hey Todorus!

    First off, I've just got to say, great work on the changes you've made. Selection is soooo much easier, and I love how you've made the tactical screen completely interactive. It feels much more natural to manipulate now, and therefore more enjoyable! Good stuff.

    You're definitely on the right track regarding the initial barrier to entry. But judging by the comments, it seems like it's still not getting through to people (we really are that stupid). Here's my suggestion for the first mission (this is really just an extension of Bluemagica's first point):

    Start with a static enemy on the same opening screen as your ships (maybe a carrier, or drone), and have the tutorial guy say:

    "Ok, to attack the enemy, you first need to select your ships. Click and drag over them, or press A to select them all"

    [wait for ships to be selected - I don't think you need to tell the player he can add individual ships by holding down shift because that's pretty much expected!]

    "Very good, now click on the enemy to have your ships attack him."

    [wait for ship to be destroyed - so the player starts by destroying something! Great! He's happy!]

    "Captain, there's a space station up ahead. Its shields are low, but its weaponry is very advanced!" [maybe it has big missiles or something, but will be destroyed by 8 torpedo hits]

    "Sir, a full-on attack would not be advisable - those weapons would make short work of our fleet. Instead, we should use the range advantage of our torpedos"

    "Select the mothership by clicking on it"

    [wait for ship to be selected].

    "You can change a ship's attack behaviour [brief description of each behaviour]. Set the mothership's behaviour to "prey""

    [wait for that to happen].

    "Now make only the mothership attack the station - the greater range will ensure success"

    etc.

    This approach may be a little hand-holding, but it's the best way to make sure that the player knows what is going on. I think information should be kept to a minimum, with extra information being introduced later on

    "Captain, the mothership is under attack! Select all fighters by pressing D and have them come back to defend! Hold down G (for guard) then click on the mothership"

    "We now have emp fighters - they will be particularly useful for shielded ships. Maybe they should have their own group. Press space to pause the game then select all of the emp fighters."

    "Press SHIFT + a number to assign them to an attack group. From now on, you can select them by pressing that number"

    etc.

    Maybe every time a player dies or surrenders, have a randomly selected tip appear

    "Remember you can select all ships by pressing A"

    "Crew members with high repair skills are useful in the fighter hangers"

    "After acquiring new technology, remember to go into the engineering room before starting a new mission"

    etc.

    (By the way, in the navigation screen you might want to have someone tell the player where the engineering room is after the first planet!)

    F1 is a good key for help, but maybe you could also have a button at the top right (like the surrender button) with a question mark on it - confused players will be instinctively drawn towards it!

    On a final note, I have to agree with Bluemagica that the scrolling feels weird - but as you said, that might just be a matter of taste.

    Anyway, these are just some suggestions. I really think you're on to a winner, just so long as you can get players past the initial hump.

    Good luck!

    Awoogamuffin

    [EDIT] PS: my mouse problems have gone away. Don't what was happening last time.
    Last edited by Awoogamuffin; 10-28-2009 at 07:54 AM. Reason: adding a Post-script
    Check out my blog showing the development of my flash game, the Dregs of War

  20. #20
    Funkalicious TOdorus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluemagica View Post
    2) What exactly makes the game that long to load? You know, there are a large number of players who would give the game only a few minutes to load, and then move on to the next.....and from the first few missions, I really don't see much graphics that could add to the size......look into lowering the size of the file a bit!
    Old Vanilla 7.73MB
    Old +Mochi 8.26MB (what you were downloading)

    New Vanilla 2.16MB
    New +Mochi 2.79MB (what you're going to download from now on)

    I'd rather not talk about it. It's quite emberassing, really There is a quality loss however. This is especially noticable on the planets so I think I'll switch those back to the old way of storing assets. I get the impression that prerendering is quicker too, so happiness all around.

    Thanks for the much needed kick up the old butt bluemagica!

    Quote Originally Posted by bluemagica View Post
    1) In the tutorial, don't throw stuff at once, tell the player one thing at a time, and let him get used to it a bit...mainly you have to show need of strategic commands, early in the beginning. As of now, one could just start the battle, let the fleet acquire a target, then sit back, and enjoy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    You're definitely on the right track regarding the initial barrier to entry. But judging by the comments, it seems like it's still not getting through to people (we really are that stupid).
    I'll take a look at them again. Thanks for the great suggestions Awoogamuffin. Since I keep getting the feedback that I'm a complete douche at writing, you've probably written the tutorial right there.


    Quote Originally Posted by bluemagica View Post
    3)The scrolling is still pretty hitched. I would suggest scrolling with button clicks, or the keyboard.....not being able to quickly scroll into position, just cause i scrolled a bit off the stage, can be pretty annoying.

    4) In the dialogues, don't show the numbers, like 1/16 and so forth....and also it would be better if there were a mission summary, hints , and objectives panel, just like in strategy games.....if that's too much, think of a way to mark the important stuff in the dialogues!
    The scrolling and progression numbers seem to be a matter of preference, so both are staying. You can already scroll with the arrow keys if you like. I've left that out of the tutorial (just as I left out how to select and scroll). I'll add that arrow key info to the tutorial, as that's far less obvious.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluemagica View Post
    5) Selection is nice and all, but it gets hard during battle, where trying to select my own ships, most of the time gets the enemy selected!
    Again, I left something out. In this case that the space bar is the big fat pauze button just for that reason. That should remedy that too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awoogamuffin View Post
    Hey Todorus!

    First off, I've just got to say, great work on the changes you've made. Selection is soooo much easier, and I love how you've made the tactical screen completely interactive. It feels much more natural to manipulate now, and therefore more enjoyable! Good stuff.

    Anyway, these are just some suggestions. I really think you're on to a winner, just so long as you can get players past the initial hump.

    [EDIT] PS: my mouse problems have gone away. Don't what was happening last time.
    Thanks for the support Awoogamuffin. You're a real motivator. Good to hear that the mysterious mousebug has realized it can be even more mysterious when it's not there at all.

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