Author Topic: A couple of questions that might help here  (Read 4848 times)

Online Misery

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A couple of questions that might help here
« on: October 16, 2015, 04:34:17 AM »
Okay, so, I have a couple of questions for those of you that have played this sort of game before, which should help some things in the long run here.

First of all, here's what's currently going on, at least for me:  My role in this whole thing has started, and I've had a chance to try the (very early) current version of the game.  I've seen some things, I've tested some things.  Needless to say, I cant mention what they are, which I must admit is darkly amusing, because I can be a bit of a snot that way, cant I...  But I've gotten an idea as to the very absolute core basics and how they're probably going to work out.  I think it's all very promising, even if there's not much to see at this time as you'd expect.  It's looking good.

But anyway, my role in this is a couple of things:  I'm doing enemy/boss/whatever attack patterns as I did last time, but I'm finding that this time around plenty of it is also coming up with ideas & suggestions for both parts of the game's engine, and also the actual gameplay mechanics and such.  Basically, using stuff like that to help as much as I can, so the devs can get the game as close to their vision of it as possible; and what they've envisioned for it is pretty darned great, I think.  I think many of you guys are really going to like this when it's done.  Arcen's games are typically pretty high quality... and I cant see this one being an exception to that rule at all.

However, I have a tendancy to use my own bias that I've gained from the sorts of games I play, a bit too much when coming up with stuff like this.  For TLF, this fact was just fine:  The Obscura were my main job, and they were meant to be overwhelming, intimidating monsters that COULD be fought, but SHOULD be avoided.  This fit my typical style of design very well.  But this time, that's not what I'm after here.  I dont want things I come up with to be super frustrating or just downright annoying.  We've all seen that sort of boss in games like this... the ones that dont really add fun or true difficulty to the game, but are JUST annoying, and really nothing more.  I'm doing my absolute best to avoid this sort of thing, but it's not always so easy, particularly when the game is still meant to definitely be pretty tough.  And while I know a good bit about game design in general and particularly about the genres that are a part of this game, I very definitely dont have even remotely near the experience and overall ability that the devs do.  So sometimes, some outside influence can really help.

And that's pretty much what I'm after here.  Some thoughts, ideas, and opinions from you guys on games that are of a similar style to what this is.  These things can help my overall thought processes in doing all of this, allowing me to more easily keep away from that tendancy to go overboard.  Seriously, it'd help a ton, it really would. 

So firstly, I'm wondering, for those of you that have at all played games that are in any way similar to this one, is which ones are your favorirtes, and which ones do you just not like at all?

Examples of the sorts of games I mean are Binding of Isaac, Rogue Legacy, Our Darker Purpose, Cryptark, Vagante, Spelunky, and even Arcen's own Valley Without Wind games (both of them).  Anything at all like that.  Even if it's something really obscure.   And yes, I know full well that something like Spelunky isnt even remotely close to being like this game in terms of gameplay, BUT it does use a few concepts that actually do fit what I'm doing, even if the reasons dont appear to make sense when you look at them.

So, for favorites, or ones that you just hate.... what is it about them that puts them into those positions for you?  What element stands out the most?  What do you think about the style of design for the enemies/monsters/whatever in the game, and their behaviors and the threats they represent?  What do you think about the overall pacing of the game, in terms of moment-to-moment stuff like combat?  How about the player's movement and overall "feel" of the controls and such?  If you find they have high replay value, what is it that keeps you coming back to them?

Again, those may not all seem like they make sense in relation to the specific things I'm doing, but I promise, that info is useful to me.  I'm trying to be as helpful in all of this as I can, and any additional info I might learn about stuff like this can really help.... even if it's only a small bit of info, every bit counts for something, and is very much appreciated. 

And who knows, the devs might get some ideas out of any answers you guys have as well.  Though they're already going off of tons of their own excellent ideas already. 
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 04:39:42 AM by Misery »

Offline x4000

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Re: A couple of questions that might help here
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2015, 09:43:54 AM »
For me, one that I've been having a ton of trouble with lately is Our Darker Purpose.  It's something that feels like it should be really fun, but:

1. There's a whole lot of text I have no interest in reading, mixed with stuff that I do like to read.  (This is a minor point, not sure why I put it first).

2. The movement and shooting feel painfully slow.  On my 360 controller I'm literally hurting my hands a bit because I'm pushing so hard trying to get that little girl to just move a teeny bit faster.  This is my biggest issue.

3. The enemy design is clever and I really like a lot of it, but on the other hand a lot of stuff just runs after you or shoots at you straight from where it is, early in the game at least.  The problem with things that chase me is that they often move very close to my speed or faster, so I have to do that roll move a ton in order to get away from them.  My feelings on the roll move are really mixed.  On the one hand it's great because it allows for some cool tactics.  On the other hand, it's frustrating because I have to use it so much, and I lose control when using it.  Plus it contributes greatly to the cramping up of my hand since I'm now having to constantly use both sticks (or the stick/d-pad and the four face buttons) plus the right shoulder button.

4. In general every time I start a run I feel like there's not enough variety, to be honest.  A lot of the bosses are also very clever, but wind up dragging on about 30% too long, I feel like.  I'd rather that they do more damage to me but have a shorter fight so that it doesn't hit a point where I'm only taking damage due to my own impatience.

5. The emphasis on putting me in really cramped spaces, particularly those with spikes that are teeny and scattered around, bothers me somewhat.  I mean to some extent it's okay, and if it were bullet patterns I'm dodging then that's fun for me.  But when I'm trying to dodge boring bullet patterns repeatedly in a room that is static but littered with gotchas, there again I can feel like "I completely understand how to solve this puzzle, but it's just going to take me another 3 minutes to do it if I don't rush and possibly take damage or die because I don't feel like taking three minutes."


That said it is a great game for sure, and I don't want to come off as just bashing it.  It's extremely clever in a whole lot of ways.  The atmosphere is superb, etc.  It's worth you playing for sure, and this is NOT a review of the game!  But in terms of talking about particularly things that bother me with similar games (mechanics-wise) and thus that inform my own decision making on how to handle mechanics in my own projects, this is a big part of that.
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Offline ElOhTeeBee

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Re: A couple of questions that might help here
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2015, 10:02:24 AM »
At the current time, the only potentially-helpful input I have is that I really hated the dudes in Binding of Isaac that 1) only took damage when shot from behind and 2) usually tried to walk towards the player. They aren't nearly as much of a problem in what little I've played of Rebirth.

Offline x4000

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Re: A couple of questions that might help here
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2015, 10:21:06 AM »
At the current time, the only potentially-helpful input I have is that I really hated the dudes in Binding of Isaac that 1) only took damage when shot from behind and 2) usually tried to walk towards the player. They aren't nearly as much of a problem in what little I've played of Rebirth.

Those guys are basically Darknuts from Zelda.  My experience in Rebirth is that they just walk around at random mostly.  But yeah, that sort of thing bothers me too.
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Re: A couple of questions that might help here
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2015, 10:37:40 AM »
For me, one that I've been having a ton of trouble with lately is Our Darker Purpose.  It's something that feels like it should be really fun, but:

1. There's a whole lot of text I have no interest in reading, mixed with stuff that I do like to read.  (This is a minor point, not sure why I put it first).

2. The movement and shooting feel painfully slow.  On my 360 controller I'm literally hurting my hands a bit because I'm pushing so hard trying to get that little girl to just move a teeny bit faster.  This is my biggest issue.

3. The enemy design is clever and I really like a lot of it, but on the other hand a lot of stuff just runs after you or shoots at you straight from where it is, early in the game at least.  The problem with things that chase me is that they often move very close to my speed or faster, so I have to do that roll move a ton in order to get away from them.  My feelings on the roll move are really mixed.  On the one hand it's great because it allows for some cool tactics.  On the other hand, it's frustrating because I have to use it so much, and I lose control when using it.  Plus it contributes greatly to the cramping up of my hand since I'm now having to constantly use both sticks (or the stick/d-pad and the four face buttons) plus the right shoulder button.

4. In general every time I start a run I feel like there's not enough variety, to be honest.  A lot of the bosses are also very clever, but wind up dragging on about 30% too long, I feel like.  I'd rather that they do more damage to me but have a shorter fight so that it doesn't hit a point where I'm only taking damage due to my own impatience.

5. The emphasis on putting me in really cramped spaces, particularly those with spikes that are teeny and scattered around, bothers me somewhat.  I mean to some extent it's okay, and if it were bullet patterns I'm dodging then that's fun for me.  But when I'm trying to dodge boring bullet patterns repeatedly in a room that is static but littered with gotchas, there again I can feel like "I completely understand how to solve this puzzle, but it's just going to take me another 3 minutes to do it if I don't rush and possibly take damage or die because I don't feel like taking three minutes."


That said it is a great game for sure, and I don't want to come off as just bashing it.  It's extremely clever in a whole lot of ways.  The atmosphere is superb, etc.  It's worth you playing for sure, and this is NOT a review of the game!  But in terms of talking about particularly things that bother me with similar games (mechanics-wise) and thus that inform my own decision making on how to handle mechanics in my own projects, this is a big part of that.

Ah, your thoughts rather echo mine on this one.  So that's interesting. 

I'm thinking that something important with this new game might really be to make sure that enemies/bosses dont have too much health, then, as I get the impression this really affects the fun level of pretty much anyone playing these.  ODP does that, definitely, but even Isaac does it as well, sometimes to a deeply stupid degree.  I mean, really, a Champion-version of freaking Gurdy (not Gurdy Jr) when you're having a really low damage run is just UUUUUGH SO BORING.  It takes 10 thousand years and you have to stop shooting at him every 10 seconds to shoot at the irritating THINGS he summons, since he doesnt do ANYTHING ELSE in that champion form.  And he's at his easiest in that form too!  It's so dull!

I actually hadnt really thought of this at all in relation to this new game until you'd mentioned this, despite the fact that this very thing drives me completely up the wall in any game it appears in.  DEFINITELY something to keep in mind, I think.  I seem to remember that I might have actually gone really overboard with hull/shield values on the Obscura and stuff as well, come to think of it, for TLF.  Which probably made those not as good. And annoying.

I do agree on the chasing bit too; that one I HAD thought of.  Mostly because of Isaac:  An attack you literally CANT dodge simply because your speed isnt high enough (Mullibooms, for example, those damn exploding jerks in the Basement) is to me a badly designed thing.  I've seen a bunch of other games of this type do that too, and it sucks just as bad in those, but that's the most well-known one. 

I'm curious, do you have any similar thoughts on Isaac or Rogue Legacy?  Those two specifically just because they're the ones I'm most familiar with, for the most part.

At the current time, the only potentially-helpful input I have is that I really hated the dudes in Binding of Isaac that 1) only took damage when shot from behind and 2) usually tried to walk towards the player. They aren't nearly as much of a problem in what little I've played of Rebirth.

I'll agree: Those are tedious as hell.  They make you really, really happy to get piercing shots.  Or Brimstone:  It's like going through Castlevania and getting to run over Stupid Flying Medusa Heads with a giant lawnmower.... very satisfying.

The bad news:  They're just as bad in Rebirth.  Along with a new and even more freakishly irritating variation.  Play Rebirth enough, and you'll really get even more tired of these guys.  They seem to start appearing more frequently as the game's difficulty starts "unlocking".  The "fun" part is when they start appearing in rooms with the indestructible bouncing skulls.  Even MORE ways for you to NOT be able to hit them!  Joy!

I cant imagine there being anything like that in this game.  I just cant see them fitting at all.  Well, at least not based on what I've seen of it anyway.

At the current time, the only potentially-helpful input I have is that I really hated the dudes in Binding of Isaac that 1) only took damage when shot from behind and 2) usually tried to walk towards the player. They aren't nearly as much of a problem in what little I've played of Rebirth.

Those guys are basically Darknuts from Zelda.  My experience in Rebirth is that they just walk around at random mostly.  But yeah, that sort of thing bothers me too.

Unlike the Darknuts they only walk around at random until you get in line with them: They'll then charge forward slightly faster in that direction and not turn until they hit a wall.  So if they're being annoying that's the time to hit them.  It's very much not a fun mechanic at all.  But alot of games keep doing it.  I wish they wouldnt.

Offline crazyroosterman

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Re: A couple of questions that might help here
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2015, 11:14:07 AM »
I don't really have anything to add here that hasn't already been said from asides from(and I seriously doubt this would happen any way) I really hope that the weapons you use don't have percentage chances of missing I find that utterly infuriating for no dam good reason and is part of the reason I was never able to get into ftl.
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Re: A couple of questions that might help here
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2015, 12:02:43 PM »
I don't really have anything to add here that hasn't already been said from asides from(and I seriously doubt this would happen any way) I really hope that the weapons you use don't have percentage chances of missing I find that utterly infuriating for no dam good reason and is part of the reason I was never able to get into ftl.

I'm pretty darn sure that's not going to happen, indeed.

I will agree though, that just bugs me sometimes.  Though, FTL was a game that had alot of "RPG" mechanics to it... you couldnt take your ship and like, actually MOVE it and dodge stuff and neither could the enemy, so it's all calculations and RNG.... so at least it made sense.  But it was indeed kinda annoying.

Offline crazyroosterman

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Re: A couple of questions that might help here
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2015, 12:18:38 PM »
I don't really have anything to add here that hasn't already been said from asides from(and I seriously doubt this would happen any way) I really hope that the weapons you use don't have percentage chances of missing I find that utterly infuriating for no dam good reason and is part of the reason I was never able to get into ftl.

I'm pretty darn sure that's not going to happen, indeed.

I will agree though, that just bugs me sometimes.  Though, FTL was a game that had alot of "RPG" mechanics to it... you couldnt take your ship and like, actually MOVE it and dodge stuff and neither could the enemy, so it's all calculations and RNG.... so at least it made sense.  But it was indeed kinda annoying.
yea it made séance and I'm not saying it even a bad thing I just find it really irritating I wouldn't even care if it was an option you could put turn on or off really.
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Offline Cinth

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Re: A couple of questions that might help here
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2015, 02:17:09 PM »
I'd say do what feels good to you and make it the hardest difficulty (lol).  Then take that and nerf the crap out of it for me ;)

Examples of the sorts of games I mean are Binding of Isaac, Rogue Legacy, Our Darker Purpose, Cryptark, Vagante, Spelunky, and even Arcen's own Valley Without Wind games (both of them).  Anything at all like that.  Even if it's something really obscure.

Out of all of these, I know of only AVVW 1/2.  I had to google up some videos.  Why do all of these look like almost every late 80s - mid 90s console game ever made?  I'm not speaking to the graphics either, just gameplay.   I think I saw LoZ, StarTropics, Defender 2, and every adventure game I've played (way to many to remember).

My question is what makes these rouges?  I don't get the genre label at all. 

Sorry for being that off topic.
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Offline Captain Jack

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Re: A couple of questions that might help here
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2015, 02:46:18 PM »
Procedural generation, permadeath, and a certain lack of persistence between runs.

The games look as they do because of the tools and manpower the developers have available to them. It takes a lot more work to make something look good with a 3D or semi-realistic style than 2D sprites. That isn't likely to change for a long time.

As for gameplay, there's a certain purity to SNES era mechanics. Besides, there are only so many ways you can throw items, shoot a bullet or jump. Developers from the 90s hit on most of the good ones.  :D

Offline Cinth

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Re: A couple of questions that might help here
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2015, 03:00:57 PM »
I'm not referring to graphics quality, just the gameplay.  These look (as in seem similar in play) to the NES games I listed.  If I sat down and thought hard enough, I could probably pull some Atari analogs and add to that list (and a couple old arcades)
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Offline Rythe

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Re: A couple of questions that might help here
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2015, 03:29:02 PM »
I actually couldn't get into Binding of Isaac. I lost the thread of why I was playing it after a few hours. If I remember right, I was turned off by a system that was high on repetition and luck of the weapon draw, and there wasn't a point beyond that. I remember the turn-based variants (ToME, Dungeons of Dredmore, Bionic Dues) more fondly and played them a bit longer because they had more variety. Bionic Dues in particular for the game systems. ToME because I still haven't seen its entire story arc yet, even if it's a rather bland thing moment by moment.

But for a rogue-like, twin-stick shooter akin to what you're working on, I'd have to go with Ultratron as the thing I'd actually play again. Now let me go play it again so I could tell you why. :p

Offline Captain Jack

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Re: A couple of questions that might help here
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2015, 03:55:23 PM »
I'm not referring to graphics quality, just the gameplay.  These look (as in seem similar in play) to the NES games I listed.  If I sat down and thought hard enough, I could probably pull some Atari analogs and add to that list (and a couple old arcades)
I thought I'd answered this as well? They play similarly because they're built on the same gameplay principles as those NES games. It's intentional, they want to put their own spin on the genre rather than come up with their own entirely.

Offline Rythe

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Re: A couple of questions that might help here
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2015, 04:43:27 PM »
So Ultratron because it's twin-stick candy. You get to pick your upgrades between levels, and otherwise frenetic fun.  I think the crux is it provides more variety and flavor in quicker, shorter doses than most. Downside is I get the feeling that part of the difficulty of the game is trying to see what is actually going on half the time. Visual clarity wasn't particularly a thing for this game.

Offline madcow

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Re: A couple of questions that might help here
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2015, 04:55:37 PM »
I'll go into somewhat about the games you listed and which I liked/didn't like.

Of the ones you listed, I really love Binding of Isaac and Spelunky.

Some of the keys that I like in Spelunky were:
1. Item management in that game is fun.
2.  Enemies tended to have very predictable and honestly easy enough to dodge patterns - the difficulty comes in from combinations and careless or greed on your part.
3. The runs tended to be fairly quick.
4.  Decent variety of special items. And there was the occasion rare room with strange spawns/conditions in it that really varied things up.
5. It had really fun. Intense bursts but then you could go at your own slower pace until the next especially difficult obstacle.

Binding of Isaac I really enjoyed because of a combination of the deep and interesting item combinations, the item/health/risk/reward management that could be offered (do I fight the boss or keep search. So I make a devil deal, etc). And the fact that most of the enemy patterns are easy enough to recognize while still being varied.

I really liked Valley 2, and I think the class system and upgrade customization was a large part of it. I also really liked that a game pad could be used and that some of the attacks were built around the contra style of control (that was my biggest dislike in valley 1. Mouse + keyboard felt like the only way to play). Whereas valley 2 really felt made for it and the classes had a very nice variety that complimented it with different play/control styles

I haven't played our darker purpose or many of the other games on your list. I have played rogue legacy and after the initial excitement of the game faded. I honestly didn't find it enjoyable. The grinding for gold was awful (if you didn't have enough gold to upgrade something it felt like a waste of a run). The RNG of stats, especially considering how bad the bad effects could be was not fun after the first few times you saw it. Your basic attack never changed, so the play style never really felt varied. And something about the feel of combat just never clicked for me.

One game I'll mention as one I love, but probably outside the scope is Nation Red. It's not a rogue like or anything just a regular twin stick shooter. What it does very well is that it has 1.  A cool upgrade system with lots of interesting perks that you can pick between semi-randomly (when you level you get a list of 7 or so and can pick one of them) 2. it has lots of interesting weapons to pick between - offering varied play styles 3. It has tons of temporary power ups which can be really fun. It's even possible to spend your level upgrades to make these temp power ups better. It's incredibly satisfying and fun to get that temp power up right when you need it, however most games seem to lack them these days.

Anyways. I hope some of this has helped! Written on my phone so sorry if it wasn't the best organized or full of typos.