Author Topic: I want upgrades! give me ship upgrades!  (Read 3181 times)

Offline Misery

  • Global Moderator
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,040
Re: I want upgrades! give me ship upgrades!
« Reply #45 on: October 10, 2015, 12:13:09 PM »
Suggestion for why the craft would reset after each run:

It's a different craft each time. They're unmanned drones cobbled together from what little scrap and random junk you can spare from what's just laying around your cruiser waiting to be used as part of the repair effort, held together by string and duct tape and a lot of prayer. As such, they are basically guaranteed to last just long enough to get the job done, and then thoroughly fall apart as they re-enter the launch bay, with several important components burnt out as a bonus.

So, a new mission requires building a new drone.

...Maybe tie it into the loot system. Parts you find in the 'dungeons' can be used to outfit your drone for the next run, and the better you play - the faster you finish, the less damage you take - the likelier it is that some of the parts you stuck in the ship will NOT be fried when you're done, so you can reuse them for the next run. Might work best if the game's RNG is reluctant to hand you types of parts you already have (no plasma cutter if you've already got one sitting in inventory, for example), so the players can't just use one equipment setup over and over and over again, but have to keep mixing it up and using whatever parts they have on hand to counteract the attrition of things just sometimes breaking no matter how well they play.


UNRELATED EDIT BUT SOMETHING I WANT TO SAY ANYWAY: I'd like it if the controls were kept simple enough that the game is playable on a controller; I don't like using the mouse for aiming in shmups, accuracy be damned.


ANOTHER UNRELATED EDIT: Now that I think about it, the plans for The Game Formerly Known As Life At The End Of The Universe remind me more than a little of an indie game in early access that I stumbled across the other day, called Cryptark. I've got no idea how close they'll be in execution, but it might be something to keep in mind.


PROBABLY FINAL EDIT: Oh, duh, I'm a moron. I learned about Cryptark from Arcen's twitter feed. Oh well, maybe some people on the forum didn't already know about it.

Theoretically, the game will be playable just fine with a controller; anything shmuppy that cant be played that way is just asking for trouble, after all.  So that'll probably work out just fine.  Hell, *I* will be playing it exclusive that way during this entire process, including when I"m testing patterns that I"m making; I cant use a mouse and keyboard for this.  I just cant.  I've tried it in some games, and all it leads to is A: derp, B: embarrassment, and C: my arm flaring up, thus requiring me to go take more blasted Tramadol, because ouch.  But other than that I'm just REALLY inaccurate with the blasted things.  Anyone that can accurately play a shmup or platformer with keyboard or mouse controls has my great respect, for such skill.

Arcen's other most action-y game, the first Valley Without Wind, used a controller (if you wanted to) and worked out pretty well for it.  It's certainly how I always play that one.  It has a few issues, with the analog sticks, but I very strongly suggest that's actually on my end (using a PS4 controller here, and the software that makes it work can be a little bizarre).

Offline Misery

  • Global Moderator
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,040
Re: I want upgrades! give me ship upgrades!
« Reply #46 on: October 11, 2015, 01:41:06 AM »
So I've grabbed that Cryptark game, and...

....honestly, I think this one might have alot of examples of things NOT to do in this game, and also examples of things that'd do this game justice.  Since I think it's a very good example of many concepts, I figured I'd go into it a bit:

Negatives first, because it's me doing the posting here:

1.  Enemies blend in with everything else, due to the game's absolutely awful color scheme.  It's YET ANOTHER "there's only two colors in the visible spectrum" game.  Which in this game is "Green, and slightly different green".  Very, very bad idea.  You're GOING to get hit by things you cant see, because they look just like the level structure.  Every single enemy I've encountered has this issue.  *ALL* of them.   Only the major "systems" look different (all of those are purple).  For the love of all that is good and kitten-shaped, this needs to not happen in this game.  It's one of the worst mistakes that can be done in anything with shmup elements.  The good thing is that bullets stand out well enough, but there's lots of physical attackers in here, or turrets that arent meant to be stealthy, but that you just wont notice till they fire at you.

2.  Threats are numerous, but weapons are weak as heck.  It's not so much that this increases difficulty; it's that it increases tedium.  Things just take too long to kill, which means even an easy battle will drag out too long.  Isaac actually has this issue sometimes... the game makes up for it in that the rest of the game is just so GREAT that this one isnt too bad in comparison... and of course, you wont encounter this one on every run because of how character builds work.  BD can also have this issue.

3.  Ammo.  Holy exploding penguins, Batman, do I ever hate it when games of this type use ammo systems for basic weapons.  This one is kind of subjective, but I cant stand it myself.  It doesnt ruin the game, but it's VERY obnoxious.

4.  Doors that make no sense.  Like, locked doors that you can just go around by going around a very nearby corner, or ones that block off a corridor so empty that there arent even enemies in it.   If you've got a locked area in a game like this, there needs to be something important behind it, always.  Give the player some satisfaction after opening every locked thing.  Well, you could also give them a trap at times, which is at least something.


Now, dont get me wrong: as negative as I sound here, well.... I always sound negative, and this game is still pretty good.  But these are all issues that are pretty easy to avoid, and I think they should be focused on a bit during testing and balancing.  There's some things I really like here too, that are good in any game of this type:

1. Objectives to go after.  In this game, it's the "systems" that are found througout the ship and are marked on the map.  Every one of them does something INTERESTING and important, and choosing what to go after first is a pretty big decision most of the time.   That "tough decision" process is great for games like this.  Isaac is one that does this well... there's alot of different special rooms to find in there, and making decisions on which ones to go after first, and which ones you should be using your limited keys on, is very good for the game.  Nuclear Throne on the other hand, good as it is, DOESNT do this well.  Levels in that are kinda boring; it's all about having things to shoot instead.   The actual structure doesnt matter yet at all. 

2. Combat can take too long, as I said, but it's still fun and exciting.  Enemy patterns are a little on the uninteresting side, but there's always something to shoot at, and clearing out an area is satisfying to do.  Arcen's games actually tend to already be pretty good at this, so I think this aspect should be easy to manage for this new game.

3. Side goals.  What gets me about these is that not only do they give you a money bonus when completed, but they're also actually INTERESTING.  And they tend to be dangerous... deciding wether you should really try for a specific one can be difficult.  Managing to do one is satisfying, and can get you more STUFF.   Stuff is good, everybody likes stuff.

4. Huge mazes to explore.  Ya GOTTA have exploration in a game like this, and big complicated areas really help.  For Arcen, BD is the game that does this the best, I think.  Well, so does AI Wars, for that matter, just in a very different way.


So that's some thoughts on the design of that game, and how it might be applied to the concepts and decisions in this game.  I dunno how much of that is particularly useful, but I figured I may as well go into it a bit regardless, in case it can bring about a bit of inspiration or help prevent problems.

Offline ElOhTeeBee

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 66
Re: I want upgrades! give me ship upgrades!
« Reply #47 on: October 11, 2015, 03:19:29 AM »
Have you posted that feedback somewhere where the Cryptark devs would see it, too? It'd be a shame to let stuff like that go to waste, I think.

Offline Misery

  • Global Moderator
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,040
Re: I want upgrades! give me ship upgrades!
« Reply #48 on: October 11, 2015, 04:28:39 AM »
No, but I might do that later... format it a bit differently and stick it on there.  Of course, wether or not it accomplishes anything is another matter.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,699
Re: I want upgrades! give me ship upgrades!
« Reply #49 on: October 11, 2015, 11:49:03 AM »
Since zelda came up I feel the need to ask: will there be metroidvanian mechanics in the game as well?

I guess it really depends on what you mean by that, because that's super broad of a genre that is getting squishy like roguelike is.  But my gut answer is to say no on that one.

So when do invites start. :D

Well, this time we'll do a super small group of sanity-testers, then we'll open up an early-access-style purchase thing through our own website where you get the DMR-free version immediately and then a steam key later when it comes out on Steam.  Let's us weather things financially a tad better, gets it into the hands of anyone who wants it at a solid discount, and then also let's us have our Steam release on a date where we're not getting hamstrung by the market.

Anyhow, November is looking very doable for the start of the alpha still. :)

I don't play these games but, good luck!

Understood.  And thanks! :)

For the love.. he's still in concept phase..

We're still in concept phase on some things, but we already have an internal playable prototype of some of the basic mechanics, and are rapidly moving toward having a fuller prototype in the coming week.  We had a lot of the pieces of this already developed in prior games, or set aside during the development of TLF, etc.  I've also been concepting a bit on this for well over a year, and more seriously in the last six months.

Not to say you're wrong that it's still super early, but this is a fast-moving project and that's precisely why I picked it for now. :)

Suggestion for why the craft would reset after each run:

It's a different craft each time. They're unmanned drones

Yep, that's basically what we figured out -- sort of.  They're controlled by a new head/brain of the Hydral in each one.

UNRELATED EDIT BUT SOMETHING I WANT TO SAY ANYWAY: I'd like it if the controls were kept simple enough that the game is playable on a controller; I don't like using the mouse for aiming in shmups, accuracy be damned.

I will personally either be playing this on my 360 controller or my Steam Controller, one or the other.  So you can bet the controls for that will be rock solid.

(But fear not those on the other side of things: the keyboard+mouse controls won't be neglected either.)

Anyway, yeah, that's driving me absolutely batty with Our Darker Purpose: the game seems cool in a lot of respects, though kind of rough, but the gamepad controls oh my goodness.

ANOTHER UNRELATED EDIT: Now that I think about it, the plans for The Game Formerly Known As Life At The End Of The Universe remind me more than a little of an indie game in early access that I stumbled across the other day, called Cryptark. I've got no idea how close they'll be in execution, but it might be something to keep in mind.

PROBABLY FINAL EDIT: Oh, duh, I'm a moron. I learned about Cryptark from Arcen's twitter feed. Oh well, maybe some people on the forum didn't already know about it.

Erik handles most of the twitter stuff, so I actually missed us mentioning that one.  I don't know if that's just a friend company of ours (we have many, through various of us, and this one would be through Erik), or another company he works with directly.  Looks like an awesome game, but I don't really see overlap there in particular.

Arcen's other most action-y game, the first Valley Without Wind, used a controller (if you wanted to) and worked out pretty well for it.  It's certainly how I always play that one.  It has a few issues, with the analog sticks, but I very strongly suggest that's actually on my end (using a PS4 controller here, and the software that makes it work can be a little bizarre).

That one was designed with the keyboard + mouse in mind and it really suffered for that in my opinion when it came to playing with a gamepad.  The biggest examples of that were the platforms that you had to place.  Valley 2's redesign was partly to be more controller-friendly.  But that had its own problems in terms of how it neutered the game in some respects (though for a Contra-like I think it's great).  Suffice it to say, there are plenty of examples of cool games in these genres that work well with a controller, and I know what I like and don't like well enough that I'm not worried about it neutering the experience to offer proper support there.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Misery

  • Global Moderator
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,040
Re: I want upgrades! give me ship upgrades!
« Reply #50 on: October 11, 2015, 01:08:07 PM »
Anyway, yeah, that's driving me absolutely batty with Our Darker Purpose: the game seems cool in a lot of respects, though kind of rough, but the gamepad controls oh my goodness.

Huh, that's odd... I hadnt seen any issues like that with that game myself, or I probably would have mentioned it to you beforehand.   Just curious, but what exactly is it doing that's such a pain?  It seemed fine when I was playing it.  Or at least, I dont remember any issues.

How's the Steam Controller, by the way? I dont know *anyone* that has one and your post is the first time I've seen the thing even mentioned on a forum, so I dont know much about it, other than that it looks quite interesting.

Also I'll just say, even without having tried this new game yet, I cant see Cryptark overlapping it in any way; mostly because I just have a very hard time seeing you guys produce the sort of game that it ends up being, as gameplay goes.  Just doesnt seem your style.   That being said, highly recommended despite the negative parts of my ramblings.  It's one of those games where it's not finished, but if they stopped and just sold as-is, I dont think there'd be many complaints.  Very polished.

And there, that's enough absolute derailment of the topic from me...

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,699
Re: I want upgrades! give me ship upgrades!
« Reply #51 on: October 11, 2015, 01:12:04 PM »
ODP doesn't show me what the keys are for the gamepad, period, even in menus, which means that everything is an excercise in trying to figure out if there is even a gamepad version of the keyboard stuff it says.  Some of the things are mapped absolutely to strange things, like the right analog stick going different directions to open menus.  Apparently also to pick up objects, although I couldn't get that to work and was having to hit the F key on the keyboard while playing with the gamepad.  I just have switched into the beta branch and am hoping that will resolve some of the issues.

I don't have the Steam Controller yet, but I will well before this game hits 1.0.  I had the opportunity to get a dev one, but at the time we were working on SBR and I couldn't really justify asking for one for that, so I just signed up for the preorder like anyone else would.  I guess we get those in about a month?
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Misery

  • Global Moderator
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,040
Re: I want upgrades! give me ship upgrades!
« Reply #52 on: October 11, 2015, 02:06:50 PM »
....oh.  The controller isnt out yet.  Sure, yeah, I knew that, of course....

That'd explain why I havent heard anyone raving about it yet.

Bloody strange looking controller though, I can say that much.

As for ODP, yeah, I definitely wasnt getting things like the "cant pick up items" bit when playing it.  I didn't have to use Joy2Key for it at all even (which is what I use for things that inevitably never support controllers, feh).  That's pretty strange that it's doing that.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,699
Re: I want upgrades! give me ship upgrades!
« Reply #53 on: October 11, 2015, 02:58:17 PM »
There were other folks complaining about it, too, but mostly from March.  Are you in the beta branch?  Maybe that was since fixed but not yet rolled out to the main branch yet.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Sounds

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 130
Re: I want upgrades! give me ship upgrades!
« Reply #54 on: October 12, 2015, 11:46:09 PM »
In terms of upgrades: Is this new game going to have any similarities to Drox Operative?

I love that game and play it regularly.  :)

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,699
Re: I want upgrades! give me ship upgrades!
« Reply #55 on: October 13, 2015, 09:00:56 AM »
Very different from Drox.  That one is much more of an RPG, which nobody will ever mistake SR for.  That one also has lots of menus for customization, whereas this will have no menus.

This one is much more about finding things on your run, and choosing to use them or not.  And being able to purchase upgrades with limited credits on a given run, too.  There's a lot less control here about what you get, and thus you're adapting to your own abilities as much as you are the enemies.  When the next run starts, then you restart in terms of your situation.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Misery

  • Global Moderator
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,040
Re: I want upgrades! give me ship upgrades!
« Reply #56 on: October 13, 2015, 09:04:56 AM »
Quick note:  I sent you an email just now about the thing you'd asked me to put together, the example stuff.

Mostly it goes well, but there's a problem that is most likely involving me overlooking something really obvious, so yeah.

I hadnt forgotten how aggravating THAT part could be, nope.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,699
Re: I want upgrades! give me ship upgrades!
« Reply #57 on: October 13, 2015, 09:06:25 AM »
Just got the email, thanks. :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,699
Re: I want upgrades! give me ship upgrades!
« Reply #58 on: November 17, 2015, 12:03:21 PM »
Just a heads up that folks might be interesting in a redshirts phase of the alpha, which is around now: https://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,18148.0.html
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!