Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Beta Tester FeedBack

Today I added 5 Beta Testers to Newgrounds to test my game. I got a lot of feedback.
Also. I just played "Tiny Dangerous Dungeons" on newgrounds...

I am thinking I need to incorporate some type of upgrade element to my game design...
My Thought:

Possible powerups:
1. Brick bashing with head. (Helmet Accessory)
2. Smashing bricks with feet. (Steel Boots) Maybe jump land SFX changes when you get upgrade?
3. Smashing charge (Break bricks on side)  (Steel Shoulders Accessory)
4. Invulnerability shield to a certain color of bomb?
5. Maybe incorporate the flare boxes into puzzles???

What am I currently working on at this very moment?
Support for easy,puzzle-hard, twitch-hard, and hell-hard level versions.
I want 50 of each type, for a total of 200 levels... That's a lot of levels.
If I spend 30 minutes per level... 100 hours.. Oh my. I want them all done in less than a weeks time.
I will tweak them after.

I may need to write a level categorization tool that creates a .JSON file to categorize my levels.
As renaming levels to re-order them could become quite a pain...

Before I start making more levels... It might be wise to plot out the flow of what I want to be learned when.
Because the story arch of all difficulty modes must be parallel if I want the dynamic difficulty adjustment
I have in mind to work..

Oh another thing. Implementing the collection of coins to in a level could help me gauge how good a player is.
If a player gets 100% of the coins in a level, I kick up the difficulty one level.
If the player gets ANY COINS but not all, I keep the difficulty where it is at.
If the player gets NO COINS, the difficulty is dropped.

How do I encourage people to collect the coins?
Because I like challenging levels.. But I am not one for coin collecting in games. 
I personally don't like it.

So... As a player.... I would get demoted to easy, unchallenging levels unfairly...

Hmm... Also have a time benchmark. If they dont collect any coins, but hit your time benchmark,
Then increase the difficulty. If they hit the time-failure lowmark, then decrease the difficulty.
But only if they have not collected all the coins...

Hmm... I will have to think over how to balance the coin metric and the time metric.
But I've got a good decent concept right now. I'll get to figuring that out when I have needed things programmed.

Anyways, here is the feedback I got. Post it here so I don't lose the message on newgrounds:

Overall, I'm pleasantly surprised at this game and I think this would be a well-received game once you're completely finished. I know the cons section looks kind of long but that's just because I explained the criticisms. ^^ Because I think this game has more positive than negative points going for it.
- Nice graphics & soundtrack. Its a very nice looking and sounding game. Also the game flows really well, no lagging at all. And the bomb blasts are cool looking.
- Really fluid motion/controls. The character is very easy to control and I had no problems with making him move.
- Unique game/gameplay. It doesn't feel like a game I've played a hundred times before.
- I didn't run into any potential glitches (that I know of) so the game seems very well-designed.
- Fun! I really like the direction this game is going, I pretty much sat and played through all of the levels in one sitting.
- I liked the fact that there were so many levels and didn't stop at a lower number. I think if you added more it wouldn't hurt either but if you decide to keep it at 40 I think that would be just fine.
- I feel really slow on the uptake considering the game is called 'MakeChoice' and I didn't realize this until playing through the first few levels again, but I like the fact that there seems to be more than one way to clear the levels, or that only one choice is the right answer. That's a neat feature.
- Lack of 'how to play' or 'controls' screen. It was easy to figure out what to do as you only needed the arrow keys, but I can see some really picky people complain about that. I know you probably will put this in the final product but I felt like mentioning it. I didn't know that the character could break blocks by jumping until around level 10 so that could be something to add to a pre-game explanation. Also it'd be nice to maybe explain the bomb types. I noticed that each bomb exploded differently and some could even be triggered by touching them, and that determined the order I would set them off in order to complete the level.
- Some levels seemed REALLY easy even after I cleared more than half the levels. The difficulty levels weren't really consistent. One level would be moderately challenging and the next would be a cake-walk. Maybe change the order of the levels around and make them get gradually tougher. If you make tougher levels then maybe you could implement an auto-save feature so people could come back to it later.
- The flashing/shaking when bombs go off can be a little disorienting in some levels. I actually like this effect, but sometimes there is some rapid flashing that I think you should at least mention in the description. I think toning it down is up to you.
I think my biggest nitpick about the game is the inconsistency in the difficulty between each level. It's still fun to play and I enjoyed it so I think if you do this it'd make the game more solid. Hoped this helped and thanks for giving me the opportunity to try out your game! Good luck with the rest. If you still need anymore feedback or have any questions let me know!

Alright. I had to check out some NG stuff to figure out how to access the beta area. Once playing the game, I found no serious bugs or anything that made the game unplayable, aggravating, or generally seem unprofessional. Some solid work indeed on the programming side of things.
Here's a list of smaller notes I took while playing the game. I feel some of these test the boundary between "player giving feedback" and "backseat developing", especially since a lot of my review process is mechanics based and is based on some stuff like "what would I do in their position". Feel free to ignore, think about, or consider these as you see fit, but this is just stuff that came to mind. A lot of these things also revolve around the idea that at its core, flash does things very abruptly and mechanically, and experienced NG'ers tend to spot this and feel like the experience is lacking a manner of polish. A few things in the game seemed to give me this vibe, but please don't take it personally.
-Level 16 feels copied directly from 15, too little change, could definitely be intentional as many puzzle games do this.
-Clarity is low, especially in explaining or diagramming the way various bits interact, although some learning along the way is good.
-Most of the UI transitions seem very quick and choppy, or a better way to put it: overly logical. It seems when I see really dynamic effects done for lighting or flare they seem more thrilling and "polished" due to their lack of predictability.
-I think I'm seeing the player rectangle keep moving a split second after level ends over the black background. Feels quirky.
-Retry screens posted after failure seem more instantaneous and less blended, in addition to reading "next level: (level number)" makes it feel more like resuming from a set point in time than retrying the same point in game.
-The solidity of the giant buttons seems questionable in the scheme of physics. The way they occlude player movement, overlap with geometry, and a few other points make them seem slightly inconsistent with their tangibility.
-31 seems very similar to 30, once again can be rather intentional, as many puzzle games do this.
-Players can run over gaps quite easily. This is sometimes used to their advantage and sometimes to disadvantage, as intentionally squeezing into a one block gap can prove a bit tedious. This could be done intentionally or it could be something worth tweaking, like say making an option/ability to "walk" or slow down to make the process easier; just pitching ideas.
-SFX Turning off does not include the sound of the player jumping.
-Not sure what's going on with keys, there are 2 distinct banners on either side that seem to say "BLAS" but then seem cut off. I could very possibly be misinterpreting.
-The lack of on-sreen text for anything such as hints, level descriptors, or certain menus seems somewhat ambiguous. A miniature text prompt or line area would seem to increase clarity and user friendliness as it is very familiar.
-Player sprite seems oddly low-definition compared to the sprites of the surrounding terrain.
-Soundtrack felt a bit linear, but definitely supplied to a full-spectrum "rave" feel when combined with the colors, flashing lights, and general ambiance of the game.
Overall I would review this one in at 7/10 and probably (although it feels very borderline decision) 3/5. It kept me interested, playing, and thinking a bit... but failed to supply "wow" or intense "fun". I think if this was polished over a bit more and decreased in the choppiness I felt, I would be inclined to rate this an 8 and 4 accordingly. You did also explicitly mention that this is one of many testing various mechanics, so considering the role I think it accomplished that quite wonderfully.
Hope this helps, and hope the game is received well upon release. If you make any considerable changes I would be more than happy to re-analyze this and supply fresher feedback. ~WCCC

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