Author Topic: Feedback from SomethingAwful forums  (Read 1538 times)

Offline doctorfrog

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Feedback from SomethingAwful forums
« on: February 02, 2016, 05:39:35 AM »
To preface this roughness I'm about to dump here: The SomethingAwful.com forums are a fading angry nerd hangout on the internet. In it, a bunch of acerbic pasty white nerds debate things like video games opinions with as much energy and ferocity as any political or religious controversy.

They have a roguelike thread, and it bears all the characteristic brutality and unabashed love as any other hobby-thing on the internet. And there are some opinions about Starward Rogue there, and Arcen games in general, that I think might be helpful.

None of these guys are likely to create an account and participate in this community. They say their piece, they move on to the next game that catches their fancy, and in this way they are more like the average consumer that is or is not buying Starward Rogue. So here I saw a unique opportunity to capture feedback that might not otherwise reach Arcen.

So, here's a somewhat cleaned up dump of the brief and mildly heated discussion about Starward Rogue.

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Starward Rogue Feedback from Something Awful Forums:

This is from the roguelike thread. SA forum posters are an acerbic bunch, but they are huge nerds who have a lot of passion for their worthless hobbies, such as video games. I present this here for those hopefully helpful, and occasionally brutal, nuggets of feedback wisdom.

Lines of conversation are blocked off by "xxxx."

xxxx

Sage Grimm

I'm going to have to be the voice of opposition for this game. In the combination of bullet hell and binding of isaac gameplay, they hadn't learned from either source of inspiration.

- There are issues with the visuals, that you can lose track of enemy bullets into the background or your own shots and end up taking a hit that you didn't see coming. Binding of Isaac gets away with it by generally keeping the bullet density down and when it amps it up enemy bullets are easily distinguishable. Bullet hells tend to have clear backgrounds and make your shots semi-transparent. A heavy outline on enemy bullets would do wonders here as would *not* having enemy shooting the same colour as the player. And HOLY HELL do not have a companion that shoots DIRECTLY at you.
- Explosions from your guns hitting enemies block out their shots AND their tells. I didn't even know enemies had tells until I started writing this thing and took a closer look at some of the more problematic enemies. Explosions have priority over every other visual effect so in the case of small enemies they are entirely eclipsed by the particle effect.
- Furthermore, on the final final boss, the first section has bullets that get entirely washed out by the light glare outside from the background. This is really bad because this section requires you to run from side to side and has a smattering of extra bullets in the direction you're running towards.
- Your orbitals are about the same size and sometimes the same colour as the player. I've had a couple occasions where I've mistaken myself for my orbital.

- It's unclear if this is supposed to be a precision game or a lenient one. The bullet hell sort of implies precision and some of the room environments demand being careful with how you approach them, but the majority of the time you're just auto-blasting everything that comes into range. Your own hitbox isn't defined well and is significantly larger than normal bullet hell games (although around the same size as euro arcade shoot em up games!). The fire walker enemies are really visually interesting but the lingering fire isn't something you want to get near during a tense situation for how fuzzy their hitbox appears to be.
- You can get items that work until you get damaged but I've noticed there are occasions I've taken damage (into HP as well!) and it hasn't disappeared. I think that happens against lovably tiny transporters and the big blocks that disintegrate into visually hard to read asteroids.
- You can 'activate' enemies from off-screen which allows them, in turn, to blast you without a visual tell.

- Balance issues. There are rooms that are unholy affairs of turrets, attractors, repulsors, and spikes interleaved with small, bullet-happy enemies and some bosses that strike without notice (looking at you Invader and your laser if you get too close, super nice person). There are rooms that have a couple enemies here and there and no noticeable restriction on movement and enemies that literally do nothing except move somewhat fast once they get activated.
- Store-bought bonuses can be trade-offs, often never picked up because they are terrible options (turtle shell probably the most egregious: take less damage while slowing movement and dishing out less damage? No thank you) or always picked up because it's a no-brainer (-5 Energy for 1 HP!).
- HP sacrifice rooms don't provide good enough bonuses that you rarely use them. And in ONLY 1 secret rooms, sometimes there's only one option!
- Consumables are incredibly ubiquitous but not enough of them are good general room clearers. And there's an inordinate number of 'regen level' and 'skip to next level' that get spawned even though the former is tedious and the latter is dumb.

- Backtracking is a pain in the rear but the final bosses are bullet sponges; rushing through to the end is just asking for a bad time. It's a pain because rooms can be large, convoluted areas that have you will end up bumping against walls when you're running and the level itself can be large, long, branching affairs. Not all room hazards are removed upon clearing them so you can't just run on auto-pilot.

- I would have also pointed out that extending the run out to the real final boss was originally locked until you completed the game 10 times. But thankfully Arcen resolved that recently and I've got it open after only 3 wins.


So the short of the long rant is, best wait on this Arcen game because it looks like they're doing their usual extensive iterative balance patching until long after the first release. It worked out well for AI war, maybe they'll work out the kinks here too.


xxxx


Tuxedo Catfish

While I appreciate the in-depth review, all you really had to say was "bullet hell with life bars and regenerating health."


StrixNebulosa

As a positive or a negative?


Tuxedo Catfish

A negative, usually. It basically broadcasts that the developers are either unfamiliar with the genre or think they know better; if it's the former they probably shouldn't jump straight to hybridizing it with another complex and frequently misunderstood genre, and if it's the latter it's a hell of a glove to throw down so you better be ready.


Killer-of-Lawyers

   agreed. innovation is bad in any medium and all games should be clones of those before them.
   

Post poste
 
I've never gotten above three regenerating health, and it only regens between rooms. It's more of a baby shield than anything else.


StrixNebulosa

Ah, interesting. I disagree. Bullet hells are typically arcade games/linear shooters. This isn't. It's a roguelike, and running it with one hit point would demand incredible amounts of focus and caution in literally every room, sapping the fun out of it unless your reflexes were excellent. The HP/shields open it up for mistakes, but unless you're playing at very easy, those HP will go quickly if you're careless. In addition, having multiple hitpoints let them add dangers to the rooms themselves.

It's a hybrid, and I feel that the addition of more health makes it far more enjoyable.


Sage Grimm
   Ah but one shield = one shot, no matter how much damage is attached to it. Typically most sources of damage take off 2 HP.

Going back to innovation, I really like the idea of the redshift mech. Global movement tied to your own movement/shooting is an interesting trade-off to not starting with shields and near as I can tell never having it as a level up option.


Tuxedo Catfish
 
Games should learn from their predecessors. Innovation without knowledge and understanding of what's gone before is just going to repeat old mistakes.

e: That said, taking a closer look at Starward Rogue, it looks more like a relative of Hotline Miami than of Dodonpachi.


TooMuchAbstraction

If you don't understand the systems you're taking inspiration from, you're almost certainly going to do a shit job. Of course you might be that one-in-a-million that stumbles onto a truly new innovative way to interpret some gameplay concept. Do you like those odds? I don't like those odds.


Killer-of-Lawyers

   as someone who plays the game rather then makes it I like those odds. not only that, but the outsider works tend to inject new ideas in old musty genres even if they're completely crap.

also people who don't know a particular genre making games doesn't stop the people who do from making their own refined new games as well.


Tuxedo Catfish

It's better than not making anything at all, but that's not really the point in contention. Stuff like "cosmetic explosions block out visual tells" is exactly the kind of thing that familiarity with past experimentation would save you from, even if you end up going in a wildly different direction.

The worst-case situation, at least from a player perspective, isn't "you make a totally crap game and nobody cares." It's that you inject new and interesting features into a game with basic mechanical blunders that suck too much to overlook.

xxxx


Deargodalion

   I played Starward and it wasn't exactly to my liking. The coolest thing was the dude that time only advanced when he moved or shot. That is an awesome mechanic and I wish it was expanded upon. The game on the whole was probably only a 5/10. An okay homage that didn't hit home.
   

XXXX


TOOT BOOT
   I dunno, I think part of Arcen's problem is that they always want to do some weird twist in their games that never quite works out that well in practice and the games flop for that and other reasons.
   
XXXX


IronicDongz
   
>Sage Grimm posted:

>    Your own hitbox isn't defined well and is significantly larger than normal bullet hell games (although around the same size as euro arcade shoot em up games!).

This is the big problem. An unclear or otherwise bad player hitbox is the kiss of death for bullet hell games, and from what I've seen Starward Rogue's is too ambiguous for me to be interested.

XXXX


Killer-of-Lawyers
   It's easy for me to get lost in the swarm of colors, but I don't know what the best fix for that would be. I mean, the colors and the pumping music are part of the appeal to me.

Maybe just recoloring the character and making the cross hairs more visible would be a good start.

Either way, definitely relay them the feedback or tell them to come over here. Goons are vitriolic, but it's a pretty constructive vitriol.


RPATDO_LAMD
You can still use a variety of colors, the important thing is having separate palettes to choose from based on whether it's a friendly or enemy bullet. You've got something like 16 million colors to choose from, so no enemy bullet should be the same color as any friendly bullet.


Killer-of-Lawyers

   Yeah, I think that's the biggest thing. The player, the players robot buddies, and the enemies should all have distinct palates, in addition to the enemy/friendly bullet distinction.
   

victrix
   Hit reaction is enormous too, as is clarity of danger - you want feedback when your bullets hit, just having them vanish with no visual or aural sfx is a big no no, and if your shots cause explosions, they should never obscure an enemy charging/firing a dangerous attack.
   

Burning Rain

Yeah, I think your first point hasn't been stressed enough: there were times I was being hit by something and not notice it until it was too late. Hell, I even managed to step on the mine and not notice it, because there's no digital cue, and the only visual cue is a slight reddening of your mech. It's my fault of course, but that still shouldn't be happening. Also, picking up a strong gun and having it go plink plink is really strange. I'm used to shmups making you feel considerably more powerful with every new gun.

XXXX


John Lee
 
Now, I m a huge Arcen fan, and I can't say a lot of your complaints bother me in particular; they're fair ones.

But really, the music? The guy who does almost all of their music is Pablo Vega, and I almost universally adore his work. Shit, I have the AVWW and AI War soundtracks, they're great to listen to. Different strokes, I guess?

quick edit: Oh wait, I forgot I was pages behind on discussion, my bad. Pablo Vega still owns, though.


Killer-of-Lawyers
   Very much so. I love me some archen tunes, but I know a lot of people that haaaate them.

XXXX

doctorfrog posted:

    Sure, I'll forward any critique you have to say. Couldn't hurt.

    I agree with your first point as well. Chris Park can't be feeling super great right now. But also if he's the only dude running the show, I could just do my part and funnel the comments to him rather than suggest he go out looking for them.


Sage Grimm

Yeah, do it. There are some good ideas buried in there but I feel by releasing it as is without that further polish, even if support is going to be pretty constant for a long while afterward, is going to hurt potential sales.

xxxx

« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 05:46:32 AM by doctorfrog »

Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: Feedback from SomethingAwful forums
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2016, 06:56:08 AM »
Some decent feedback smattered about.
Click here to get started with Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports.

Thank you for contributing to making the game better!

Offline Captain Jack

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Re: Feedback from SomethingAwful forums
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2016, 07:41:42 AM »
SA's declining? Drat, I like LP archive. Then again, they're a few hundred completed LPs behind already...

Anyway, the bullet color thing is an EXCELLENT point. Misery might be able to deal with it personally. Oh and more hitboxes yaaaay.

Offline Rythe

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Re: Feedback from SomethingAwful forums
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2016, 09:04:11 AM »
While the bullet color thing is a point, I actually really like the rainbow nightmare thing Starward Rogue has going on now. I'm able to quickly parse what bullets are doing what, and what bullets are coming from what.  The shape and behavior of my own bullets are unique enough that I can tell they're mine, even if there's some other similar colors out there. ...On the other hand, the white chassis starting energy weapon that does the scatter bounce shot explosion is a definite exception to that and probably a problem.

But overall, I feel there's a tradeoff here that more experience with Starward Rogue would clue them in on, in that there's so many unique bullet behaviors that the rainbow maelstrom is needed for a player to understand the dangers going around them quick enough to allow them to react correctly. Trying to cordon off the color palates runs a risk of losing some of the information and distinction that we currently have. Not to say it can't be done or there's no improvements that could be made, but it needs to be done with the understanding of what works really, really well about the current setup.

The drone platforms, however, actually overload my ability to parse the action, and so I've stopped using them even if I like them in theory. The problems with them is that they're all different colors and shapes spinning around your mech constantly. It gets to be too much when the action ramps up. My hopeful solution would be to shrink them and give them identical chassis of an identical color, but let them mount different weapons to distinguish what kind of drone they are, and the weapon bits can have a touch of unique color to help with that.

I also need to say that I really enjoy the music Pablo Vega did for Starward Rogue and regret that circumstances have given us so little of it in this case.

But after thinking about this SA feedback for a bit, it kinda seems like they're approaching Starward Rogue as someone for whom The Binding of Isaac was the be all end all. Whereas I remember the complaints I posted about The Binding of Isaac at the start of all this and just realized that Starward Rogue answers all of them. Starward Rogue is basically the game I wanted after bouncing off Isaac so badly, which explains a lot of why I'm really enjoying it. It might be a shame that Starward Rogue is this late to the party, because I think it has a much broader appeal than the icons of this rough genre/style of game, and there might be a lot of potential buyers who've just given up on the whole thing after bouncing off all that came before (along with being inundated with the glut of games in general).

What really clued me in to this is the complaint about shields and their general mutterings about the formula in general.  Shields serve a core and needed role in Starward Rogue, in that sometimes the RNG turns a room against someone where, unless  or even if they're Misery, they're going to have to burn some shields to get through relatively unscathed. Your shields are one of your expendable resources and tools you need to be proactive with, and I can see this just playing on 'normal' difficulty. So shields are a big part of what makes Starward Rogue challenging and tricky rather than punishing and unfair when you hit a randomly hard room, and so it seems to me that complaints about them being added in probably means they just don't understand Starward Rogue (or prefer a punishing, incredibly niche experience).

Hmmm, I've built up a few other nitpicks with corners and missiles. Should probably just toss those in mantis, tho'.

Offline Strix

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Re: Feedback from SomethingAwful forums
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2016, 10:05:42 AM »
Two responses to Rythe: I couldn't get into Binding of Isaac at all thanks to its aesthetic, so I'm not familiar with the genre of games, unlike the other posters in the thread. Second, I agree completely about that buffer of shields - I simply don't have the reflexes or focus to bring my A-game through every single room (and there are rooms that will ding me through sheer bad luck) - so count me in as a shield lover.

Finally, keep in mind that you're looking at a compilation from the roguelikes thread. We DO love a punishing experience! :P

Offline Misery

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Re: Feedback from SomethingAwful forums
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2016, 10:38:47 AM »
Ooooooooooookay.   There's ALOT to respond to here:  This is likely to be a long response from me.  If you want to post the reply on SA, just so they can hear a bit of my/our thoughts on this, feel free to do so.  Or dont, whatever. 

Please everyone, keep in mind when reading this that I'm obviously not Chris; I have some ideas as to some things he might say in response to some things, but I cant quite speak for him.  And I'm not the one that runs the show.  I can fix some things on my own... but only some.   My realm of expertise is VERY specific.  My whole thing is to give the game it's bullet-hell nature.  Enemies that DONT do this, probably werent designed by me (I cant make them NOT that way yet also still INTERESTING, it's just not in my design style to do that).  When it comes to bullet-hell stuff, I'm very definitely an expert.  Been doing these for years, and have gone far enough to do things such as beat Mushihime-sama on Ultra (after 10 squillion years of practice).  Yes, I know this sounds like I"m blowing my own horn here; it's just an explanation, though, on the level that I'm coming from.  However, my knowledge in OTHER things is sometimes the direct opposite.  I cant do item design worth a crap, for instance.  I can help BALANCE them in some situations, maybe... but I cant come up with them, or determine what pools they should be in.  There are a couple of the Incredibilities that are my idea, and that's about it, and even then it took me forever to come up with those.  Same with room designs or other things.   So, one way or another, I can only answer so much on aspects like those.

So, keep that all in mind as I go about this...

Also this will not necessarily be in any proper order.  I'm going to respond to things as the responses occur to me.  I'm not the organized type.


Quote
While the bullet color thing is a point, I actually really like the rainbow nightmare thing Starward Rogue has going on now. I'm able to quickly parse what bullets are doing what, and what bullets are coming from what.  The shape and behavior of my own bullets are unique enough that I can tell they're mine, even if there's some other similar colors out there. ...On the other hand, the white chassis starting energy weapon that does the scatter bounce shot explosion is a definite exception to that and probably a problem.

There are two reasons why bullets become the different colors that they are.  The first, and my preferred reason for things of this nature, is that it denotes the different "layers" that make up a pattern.  This is important, I think, and some games become alot harder JUST because they do not do this.  Let me show you something here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuOQBL1T2o8

Skip to 1:47 in that video, and watch that very first attack.  A tad confusing, isnt it?  The attack is actually made of three seperate layers; one of which is easy-ish to see over the other two, which is the round shots.  The other is the small forward shots, and the other is the backwards small shots.  These layers combine to form that hideous mess, and in addition to that, the pattern has no randomness to it; that is an AIMED attack.  But when you encounter this guy for the first time... good luck mentally grasping all of that.   All of the bullets are the same exact color, and you cant see the different parts that make up the pattern until you've spent enough time staring at it.  As much as I like Mushihime, this is an issue with it's design that has always bothered me.  As opposed to something like Ketsui, which uses a combination of red and blue bullets for most of it's attacks.  You are able to spot the different layers of a pattern and how they're moving in relation to one another, and this helps you to process what's going on.  Less of the "need to stare at it", and more of the "start off by actually dodging it".  I use different colors in boss patterns to denote different layers of their attacks. 

But the second reason is a bit more iffy.  One way or another, this game needs to sell as best it can.  And unfortunately, part of that is the visual appeal.  These blasted things need to look flashy, colorful. Particularly thanks to games like Touhou, this is what shmup fans, particularly on PC, have come to expect.  If this werent done, it would be very "drab" and "boring" to many.  Yes, from a mechanical standpoint, this is derpy.  I know this, and alot of hardcore bullet-hell fans probably also know this.  But there's no choice here.  It HAS to be done.  So various enemies/bosses/whatever use a variety of colors.

But in addition, many of those colors were chosen BEFORE backgrounds were applied.  I agree on the whole bit about some of the more "glaring" backgrounds getting in the way. In some cases (boss rooms, which I can control) I might take out the "windows" that are part of the background, leaving just the dark floor.  The reason I have not done this yet is, again, the "visual appeal" aspect.   I actually need to ask Chris on this one before I do it, I think, as I'm sure he knows that that aspect is important as well.  I dont LIKE that aspect being important, as I know full bloody well how it can interfere with the ability to see what's going on, but for what this game is, it has to be there.  It's unavoidable.... and mostly out of my control.

Now that being said, certain small things I CAN change.  The bit about the glare during the fight with the first of Terminus's two guardians is a definite issue.... and one I'm probably going to do away with by simply removing all windows from the room.  It's the final boss of the game, it's made to be very difficult; it's not a normal room that needs to look constantly pretty because those are like 95% of the game.   This only hadnt been done because I've been too swamped with other issues.  But I'll look into doing that today, I think, now that I've been reminded of it.   Though, I think the BEST solution is to do something about those backgrounds that create the glare.  I'll talk to Chris about this when I can.

Quote
But after thinking about this SA feedback for a bit, it kinda seems like they're approaching Starward Rogue as someone for whom The Binding of Isaac was the be all end all. Whereas I remember the complaints I posted about The Binding of Isaac at the start of all this and just realized that Starward Rogue answers all of them. Starward Rogue is basically the game I wanted after bouncing off Isaac so badly, which explains a lot of why I'm really enjoying it. It might be a shame that Starward Rogue is this late to the party, because I think it has a much broader appeal than the icons of this rough genre/style of game, and there might be a lot of potential buyers who've just given up on the whole thing after bouncing off all that came before (along with being inundated with the glut of games in general).

What really clued me in to this is the complaint about shields and their general mutterings about the formula in general.  Shields serve a core and needed role in Starward Rogue, in that sometimes the RNG turns a room against someone where, unless  or even if they're Misery, they're going to have to burn some shields to get through relatively unscathed. Your shields are one of your expendable resources and tools you need to be proactive with, and I can see this just playing on 'normal' difficulty. So shields are a big part of what makes Starward Rogue challenging and tricky rather than punishing and unfair when you hit a randomly hard room, and so it seems to me that complaints about them being added in probably means they just don't understand Starward Rogue (or prefer a punishing, incredibly niche experience).

I agree with this completely.  Not just about the Isaac aspect, but even moreso about how people look at it as a bullet-hell game.

One way or another, this is NOT a pure bullet-hell game.  It just isnt.  This is not a scrolling shmup, straightforward, going in a line with a boss at the end, very linear.  This is, essentially, Arcen's overall take on the genre that is currently led by Isaac.  A game like this does NOT work without a health bar or something similar.  It just doesnt.  Dont get me wrong:  When it comes to shmups, normally, I avoid health bars like the plague.  Either the player goes down in a single hit, or I probably wont play it.   But again, this isnt a pure shmup, and it's not meant to be. 

And part of that is the fact that this game is NOT meant to be JUST for shmup fans.  This is meant to be for many possible types of players, in the same way that Isaac and it's brethren are.  A game with something for everyone.  Most people cant do the hyper-precision dodging.  They just cant.  And we are all aware of this.  This is why the genre uses health bars to begin with.  Even I would not for a moment even consider suggesting that the game NOT use this.

Hell, ALOT of players get completely stuck, unable even to defeat the Warden for the longest time.  The game's challenge is already high enough; the HP and shields provide a very needed buffer that allows them to play and ENJOY the game without the frustration that typically goes along with the shmup genre, and which is also often what puts people OFF of that genre.

The shields though are a little bit of a different beast.  They exist for one reason beyond just the "frustration" thing:  They exist to provide a buffer against the inherant problems that inevitably result from using alot of RNG in a game like this.

I think, for those of us that play this, we've all had those moments where you enter a room, and something "cheap" happens.  You take what is essentially an unavoidable hit, from an enemy that does NOT fit the design of the room.   This, too, cannot be avoided, as mechanics issues go.  The game chooses enemies at random based on their category, and enemies are not individually assigned to rooms; instead, the categories are.  Any given spawning point for an enemy will be linked to exactly one specific category, which contains all sorts of different enemies.  Inevitably, this leads to the occaisional enemy appearing in a spot that is very wrong for them.   The shield provides a bit of a buffer against this issue; you dont just instantly take permanent damage from such a thing.   But also, again, it's meant to help those that just arent used to the "pure shmup" ideas.   So it's both of those things.

Isaac has the same issues sometimes, particularly the RNG bit.  With SO MANY rooms, it's inevitable that you get some "bad" ones every now and then... and I think everyone that has played that knows the frustration of going into one of those bad rooms, and taking an unavoidable hit.  In THAT game, that's permanent damage.  You must find a heart in order to undo the effect.  And NOBODY likes having that happen.  It doesnt matter if it ruins your run, or if it doesnt affect it much; the high frustration and irritation is still there.  We REALLY wanted to avoid that.

Unfortunately, all of these things can create issues for players that are coming from JUST one side of things.  Players coming from the shmup side will sometimes not like the health bar or shields, and players coming from the Isaac side may not like the bullet-hell nature, and other aspects that are very shmuppy.  Fortunately, this actually seems to happen very rarely.  Most people that have played this seem to have been very happy with the game overall (from what I've seen, anyway).  Even as a hardcore shmup fan myself, I'm pleased with how this combination of the two came out.   But I know how and why others may not be. 


Now, there are some issues where I absolutely and totally agree with what the guys at SA are saying here.  I'll go into a few of these:


Repulsors / attractors:  Yyyyyyyyep.  These things bug me.  They have from the start, and they always will.  Were this up to me, they would be removed from the game and replaced with.... absolutely anything else.  They could be replaced with exploding clowns for all I care.  I dont think they fit the game at all and they can cause seriously messed up situations, causing unavoidable attacks;  the cardinal sin of not just a shmup, but of THIS genre too.

Orbitals: YES these are definitely too big, arent they?  This aspect bugs me alot too.  Something needs to be done here so that, no matter what, the player's mech ALWAYS stands out above these guys.  It really can get confusing as to where YOU are, versus where THEY are.  On paper, this may sound bloody stupid, but anyone that's had this happen knows exactly what I mean here.

Hitbox:  This is a big one that, if I have my way, will be altered.  It's just too much of a mess.  Again, this is NOT an aspect I control.  I dont set these things, and in the end, this decision will be up to Chris.  I have, however, already sent an email his way explaining my concerns about this.   Were this up to me, the hitbox would be just a bit smaller than the mech's head.  Some people might say "that's too small, this isnt a full bullet-hell game!", but no, it is NOT too small.  Even a game like Isaac uses a hitbox that is bloody TINY compared to the actual size of the character.  This game needs it way more than that does.  The bad part?  Some of the stuff planned for Misery mode will NOT be viable unless this is changed.

Invader's laser:  This got just a very brief mention in there, but I agree with this and will likely change it.  I dont think bosses should be using beams; I dont know why I didn't think about this one before (I'm spacey like that, sorry).  The Charger also needs a similar change but again, I just hadnt gotten around to it; it's been a low priority due to it's extreme rarity.

Activated enemies from off-screen:  Not a bug.  Some foes are active from the start.  There's ALWAYS a reason for this... wether the player agrees with it or not.  And there's always going to be that type of disagreement between the game design, and some players, with games like this.  I cant think of even one game I own where this does not happen for me (goddamn Isaac and it's goddamn stupid slow walking skull things, and then the TIMED nature of getting to the boss rush, arrrrrrrrrgh).  That being said, enemy balance isnt perfect, and some things probably need to be looked at.  Now that we have more time available, this can be better done... but dont always expect changes. Plenty of things will not be altered.

Bosses being bullet sponges, discourages rushing:  I'm sorry, but I had no choice here.  They were getting torn apart like they werent even there. FREQUENTLY. And the game DOES encourage exploring and levelling up, and this is the course ALOT of players have been taking, which is what leads to high-end foes getting obliterated if they dont have enough HP to withstand the onslaught.  Again, remember that this game is NOT Isaac; Isaac tends to very heavily encourage rushing in many situations (boss rush, the Hush, some challenges).  THIS game doesnt do that; basically everything about it encourages exploration, as I already said.   But in the end... believe me, this aspect has been by far the most difficult thing to balance in the game so far, for the things that I have control of.   As balance issues continue to be found, this is likely to keep fluctuating.  We had a VERY short development period and only so many testers, so only now are some issues finally coming to light.  I wish that hadnt been so, but it was unavoidable.

HP sacrifice rooms:  Some items could use buffing, yes.  But the current prices on the items, being typically around 5 HP, were thought up (by me) because the original prices (1-2 HP) were SUPER abusable.  This was making players into unstoppable tornadoes of screaming doom within TWO FREAKING FLOORS.  I've watched that happen more than a few times now; it needed a change.  However, some items do need a small boost now that it has been done, now that it's no longer so easy to acquire these items in huge numbers.

Consumables:  some of these could use a boost, sure.  I dont ALWAYS agree with this one though.  That regen level one:  Needs to be more rare, but should not be otherwise altered.  Reminds me of a particular item in Isaac.... which, honestly, is one of my favorite items in the game.  I know, my own specific opinion doesnt mean much when it comes to this one, but I'm stating it anyway.   The level skip one needs to be MUCH more rare.   Well, they both should be very rare, really.  That being said, these arent meant to be "room clearers" with super heavy effects like they are in Isaac.  That's just not how they're meant to be.  .... I think.   Again, I dont design these, so I can only speak so much for them.


And there, that's enough from me for now; again, I can only go into so many things here.   For other aspects of the game, you'd have to hear more from the others on the team.  I can only respond to those issues I have a direct understanding of.

Anyway, I hope this has given a bit of insight into some of the design decisions behind this game.  But the number one thing I cannot stress enough, is still the bit where this is NOT a pure shmup.  It isnt.  It's not meant to be.  If you're going into it expecting that.... well, that's not what you're going to get.

And yes, some issues will be looked at (hitbox, argh) when possible.  But dont expect instant changes.  This stuff can take awhile.


If you actually read this far into this, kudos to you!  I think most people wont.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 10:43:17 AM by Misery »

Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: Feedback from SomethingAwful forums
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2016, 12:01:48 PM »
There are two reasons why bullets become the different colors that they are.  The first, and my preferred reason for things of this nature, is that it denotes the different "layers" that make up a pattern.  This is important, I think, and some games become alot harder JUST because they do not do this.  Let me show you something here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuOQBL1T2o8

You're a sick bastard. Just saying.

Invader's laser:  This got just a very brief mention in there, but I agree with this and will likely change it.  I dont think bosses should be using beams; I dont know why I didn't think about this one before (I'm spacey like that, sorry).  The Charger also needs a similar change but again, I just hadnt gotten around to it; it's been a low priority due to it's extreme rarity.

If the laser didn't just suddenly come out of nowhere, it'd be tolerable. If it had a charge-up time with a clearly visible visual cue, I think it's fine actually. It says "don't get close to me!". Now though, it's more of a "HAHA! Screw you!"
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Offline Misery

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Re: Feedback from SomethingAwful forums
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2016, 12:11:45 PM »
There are two reasons why bullets become the different colors that they are.  The first, and my preferred reason for things of this nature, is that it denotes the different "layers" that make up a pattern.  This is important, I think, and some games become alot harder JUST because they do not do this.  Let me show you something here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuOQBL1T2o8

You're a sick bastard. Just saying.

Eh?  I didn't design that crazy thing.  Got a bit of inspiration from it, but I didn't make it...

Invader's laser:  This got just a very brief mention in there, but I agree with this and will likely change it.  I dont think bosses should be using beams; I dont know why I didn't think about this one before (I'm spacey like that, sorry).  The Charger also needs a similar change but again, I just hadnt gotten around to it; it's been a low priority due to it's extreme rarity.

If the laser didn't just suddenly come out of nowhere, it'd be tolerable. If it had a charge-up time with a clearly visible visual cue, I think it's fine actually. It says "don't get close to me!". Now though, it's more of a "HAHA! Screw you!"
[/quote]

Yeah, there's no wind-up time like there is with the beams used in rooms.  For now, the biggest issue is that players with short-range weapons are unable to avoid getting hit by it since it's instant.   Cant have that, and since making a change to the beams is probably a bit much (I imagine Chris has other priorities right now), just changing it to.... something... is gonna have to do. 

Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: Feedback from SomethingAwful forums
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2016, 12:17:00 PM »
My point wasn't that you designed it. It's that you survive it.
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Offline Misery

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Re: Feedback from SomethingAwful forums
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2016, 12:24:50 PM »
My point wasn't that you designed it. It's that you survive it.

The scary thing about it is that it's actually one of the easiest boss patterns in that particular mode.

They just get worse from there. 

The second boss, and the stage 5 miniboss in particular can be all sorts of nasty. 

Offline Cinth

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Re: Feedback from SomethingAwful forums
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2016, 02:44:35 PM »
I'll stick to 1942. 



The dark ship tile set needs some adjustment.  I've already mantised it, but it is very harsh on the eyes. 

Orbitals - yeah, the only one I use regularly anymore is the basic drone.  It's to easy to lose your mech in the mess and they really over power you in every way.

Invader's laser - The damn thing doesn't even come from the main boss body.  It comes out from just in front of it like it's disembodied.  This boss just needs a second phase.  P1 kill the buddies. P2 dodge boss shots.  Done!.

Hit box - Meh what ev.  I have no clue.  I don't have any experience with stuff in the genre to be able to come back with anything.  Though try doing anything in the later floors with "Large and in charge".

HP sac rooms  - 5 hp is nearly every hp the Flame Tank has.  Basically, you cut the FT out of the 1st floor upgrades.  These might benefit from a increased cost per one picked up.

Consumables - Meh, I hardly use them.  I've taken to grabbing them in cleared rooms so I can see the effect.

Unfairness in rooms and enemy combinations - I think I've mentioned it a few times, but it's a hard one to get addressed from my chair, ya know?  I've tried to give you all enough quality feedback so you can make any adjustments.  There are still some issues that need to be ironed out.  There are a lot of enemies that seem a bit samey and one note. 
Some rooms I wonder if they had been tested over and over to get as many combinations of enemies spawned in them as possible.  Some of them just plainly need to be looked at again since there are so many new enemies in the game.  It's part of the polish I think the game needs.
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline Misery

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Re: Feedback from SomethingAwful forums
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2016, 02:47:42 PM »
I'll stick to 1942. 



The dark ship tile set needs some adjustment.  I've already mantised it, but it is very harsh on the eyes. 

Orbitals - yeah, the only one I use regularly anymore is the basic drone.  It's to easy to lose your mech in the mess and they really over power you in every way.

Invader's laser - The damn thing doesn't even come from the main boss body.  It comes out from just in front of it like it's disembodied.  This boss just needs a second phase.  P1 kill the buddies. P2 dodge boss shots.  Done!.

Hit box - Meh what ev.  I have no clue.  I don't have any experience with stuff in the genre to be able to come back with anything.  Though try doing anything in the later floors with "Large and in charge".

HP sac rooms  - 5 hp is nearly every hp the Flame Tank has.  Basically, you cut the FT out of the 1st floor upgrades.  These might benefit from a increased cost per one picked up.

Consumables - Meh, I hardly use them.  I've taken to grabbing them in cleared rooms so I can see the effect.

Unfairness in rooms and enemy combinations - I think I've mentioned it a few times, but it's a hard one to get addressed from my chair, ya know?  I've tried to give you all enough quality feedback so you can make any adjustments.  There are still some issues that need to be ironed out.  There are a lot of enemies that seem a bit samey and one note. 
Some rooms I wonder if they had been tested over and over to get as many combinations of enemies spawned in them as possible.  Some of them just plainly need to be looked at again since there are so many new enemies in the game.  It's part of the polish I think the game needs.

Unfortunately, actually testing individual rooms is very difficult to do, for these purposes.  There's too many, and then too many possible combinations of enemies that go in there.

That being said there's now finally more time to deal with some of the individual enemy issues.  Though, really, I'm not quite sure where to start.  Well, no, the Charger needs looking at.  But I'll have to figure out where to then go from there....

Offline Cinth

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Re: Feedback from SomethingAwful forums
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2016, 02:55:53 PM »
Unfortunately, actually testing individual rooms is very difficult to do, for these purposes.  There's too many, and then too many possible combinations of enemies that go in there.

That being said there's now finally more time to deal with some of the individual enemy issues.  Though, really, I'm not quite sure where to start.  Well, no, the Charger needs looking at.  But I'll have to figure out where to then go from there....

Difficult, no.  Tedious, yeah, you bet.  It would be better for each creator to look at them rather than me.  I'd make some wholesale changes to a LOT of rooms (because no one like CALTROP LASER MAZES).  I'd also be thinning out the repulsor/attractors everywhere.  I don't think you want that facelift.
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline ptarth

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Re: Feedback from SomethingAwful forums
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2016, 03:11:19 PM »
Quote
People being mean to Invader

You guys be nice to baby!   :'( >D

Why does the crying icon look like he is a weight lifter flexing his pecs instead?


More seriously, the laser had a couple of good ideas behind it.
  • It acts as a keep back device. With the zamboni movement, there is a big tendency to either try to get behind Invader (and thus immune to most of its pain) or to get to the upper right (where you can shoot it and kill the spawning invaders). The laser encourages you to keep your distance. A ring of fire or whatever would achieve the same effect, but this is a unique weapon.
  • Weapon diversity. There are no mainline enemies that uses the laser weapon. I'm trying to change that.
  • Misery & Pepicolo were suppose to add this awesome animation as a cue to make it more obvious. The cue time is 1 second right now, but the cue blends in too easily. It doesn't come out of no where. It fries you as soon as you get close. Also, Misery and Pepicolo didn't know they were supposed to add the animation. I've been trying to make one in between snakes and the day of the dead (and now lightning), but I haven't gotten anything yet.
  • Position. The idea was that the Invader creates a ball of energy between its mandibles and then launches the laser at you. The mandible placement is okay, but without the animation, it isn't quite working.
Note: This post contains content that is meant to be whimsical. Any belittlement or trivialization of complex issues is only intended to lighten the mood and does not reflect upon the merit of those positions.

Offline Cinth

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Re: Feedback from SomethingAwful forums
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2016, 03:14:01 PM »
You can still sit in the upper right and nuke Invader without getting hit.
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.