Author Topic: Initial Impressions  (Read 663 times)

Offline dumpsterKEEPER

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Initial Impressions
« on: December 08, 2015, 06:18:13 AM »
I got access to the alpha this weekend, and wanted to write up my first impressions. I haven't had time to read all of the existing posts so there might be some repetition here. Perhaps repetition isn't a bad thing in this context...

On to my thoughts, in no particular order:

  • Overall I was very impressed by how smooth the game felt, despite it being a fairly early alpha. There's already quite a bit of variety in rooms, items and enemies and it sounds like there's even more to come. Very nice!
  • In general, the rooms felt pretty good in terms of size and shape, although the pace of engagement within them felt off somehow. I think it has to do with how the enemies are often behind walls or around corners, allowing you to draw them out on demand. One thought I'd had would be to have the walls and other barriers be capable of moving. In some cases, boss fights in particular, that could introduce a much more dynamic feel as presently the rooms feel very sterile.
  • I like the variety in the type, pattern and speed of the different enemy shots. I'll have to play more to get a better feel for how they all work. It may be related to the fact that all enemies are unlocked, but currently each run feels very different from the last, which is nice.
  • I really like the backgrounds scrolling past behind the ship windows. They give a very neat feel of depth to the rooms.
  • I've been primarily playing with the Steam controller, and the analog control on it is all kinds of wonky. I've been modifying the binds on it to try and find a setup that works well, but haven't found it so far. It sounds like the analog control is still a work in progress, but the Steam controller seems like good one to test specifically.
  • At the moment, it feels like I die much too fast. Probably in large part because I have woefully inadequate bullet hell reflexes, but also because of the aforementioned controls. I'd expect the feel of this to improve over time as things are balanced out more, so I'll see how that develops.

That's that notable bits for now. I'm sure I'll come up with more later, particularly as new builds are released.

Offline Misery

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Re: Initial Impressions
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2015, 07:32:28 AM »
Hey there, glad to hear you're enjoying it.

I'll give a few responses here:

1, Pace of engagement, I think I see what the problem here might be... too many enemies that just dont really "activate" until you get close to them.  I hadnt really thought about that bit too much but now that you mention it that might be something that could do with some looking at.  But you're right, there's alot of enemies with activation ranges right now.  I'll try to keep that in mind when designing more.

2, I agree, the backgrounds and such look really good!  I think the artists are doing a very good job with the game and those backgrounds and the aesthetics they create are my favorite part so far.

3, Analog control is indeed very much a work in progress.  The general funkiness of it is a known issue.  It'll get fixed up, likely sooner rather than later. Arcen has always been really good at getting the controls done right for their games.  Also I'm told that a "slowdown" button has now been added to the upcoming version (havent messed with it yet myself).  It's a concept seen in alot of shmups, usually bullet-hell ones, and as this game has ended up with quite a few bullets, it should be very useful.  Of course, proper analog will also help alot for players that want to use that since analog control is typically good at controlling speed in most games.  I cant say anything about the Steam controller specifically though.  I really need to get one of those and try it out; I use a PS4 controller myself and play with the d-pad and face buttons.  Cant do analog worth a crap in most games, never really could.

4, The hitbox for the player's ship is likely getting shrunk soon.  I think it's much too big and certain bosses in particular (as well as more cramped room areas) are just proving the need for it. It wont be as small as a true bullet-hell game, but even traditional shmups (or even something like Binding of Isaac) typically have hitboxes that are quite small.  Right now I think this one is a little too large.  But I do think the slowdown button will help alot too, for when you want to make smaller movements.   Though, chances are you'll also just get naturally better over time as you learn to deal with the patterns.   One other thing to keep in mind though:  MOST of the enemies are not gated by difficulty or floor level.  So, enemies that might end up being late-game only are right now appearing even on floor 1.  There's only a couple of exceptions, with enemies that are bonkers enough that they just NEEDED to be set to higher floors only even during testing.  I give no apologies for the difficulty of those particular foes, this being because I find it amusing.  Some are in need of a bit of balancing though, so they'll be getting tweaks as soon as I decide just what to do with them.  Some of them should be changed in the next update.

Some of the bosses are also a bit unbalanced right now; right now the Mirror boss in particular might be a bit of a terror.  It just got a change (it was WAY too easy before) and I may have gone a bit overboard... but I want to see what happens when players get to fight it before I make any alterations.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback!  It helps alot.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 07:33:59 AM by Misery »

Offline Penumbra

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Re: Initial Impressions
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2015, 07:10:17 AM »
the Steam controller, and the analog control on it is all kinds of wonky.

I find that using Mouse Region is really good. You get direct access to any location on the screen, and I don't miss-press anymore. You do need to change the left stick to be a keyboard emulation, because the engine won't let both the keyboard and gamepad work at the same time.

Do you guys know if that is a limitation of the Unity system? If not, I'll add it to mantis.