PDA

View Full Version : Feedback Request: To The World Tree V4 (Beta) - Single-player RPG



gdunbar
12-03-2007, 07:00 AM
Hi all,

To The World Tree is a game I put together for the IGF competition based on the engine I've been working on for the past year. I wasn't really planning to release this V4, but I've made so many good fixes that I couldn't help myself. This version is a smoother, better looking, and more playable than previous versions.

I really want feedback! People are downloading the game, but I've hardly heard anything. Please, even just a short mail on how much you played and whether you liked it would be appreciated.

Screenshots:

http://www.prankster.com/ttwt/images/screens_2007_11/ttwt-bridge1_small1.jpg (http://www.prankster.com/ttwt/images/screens_2007_11/ttwt-bridge1.jpg) http://www.prankster.com/ttwt/images/screens_2007_11/ttwt-vault1_small1.jpg (http://www.prankster.com/ttwt/images/screens_2007_11/ttwt-vault1.jpg) http://www.prankster.com/ttwt/images/screens_2007_11/ttwt-cellar_small1.jpg (http://www.prankster.com/ttwt/images/screens_2007_11/ttwt-cellar.jpg) http://www.prankster.com/ttwt/images/screens_2007_11/ttwt-bridge2_small1.jpg (http://www.prankster.com/ttwt/images/screens_2007_11/ttwt-bridge2.jpg)

Download:

http://www.prankster.com/ttwt/ttwt_2007_11_30.zip
Note: This download scanned with Norton Antivirus.
Extract the files from the .zip file.
Open readme.txt for further instructions.


Website:

http://www.prankster.com/ttwt

PR Blurb

In To the World Tree you control first a lone adventurer, and later a party of adventurers, as they journey through a mystical world of magic, battle, and mystery, in a quest for the legendary World Tree. To the World Tree is a single-player, party-based, computer role-playing game designed for computers running Microsoft Windows. Best of all, To The World Tree is free for your personal enjoyment.

More Info

TTWT uses a custom RPG system, described in the manual (the manual is online at the TTWT site, as well as included with the game). The graphics are done using a custom engine, basically using D3DX as the engine. The writing, art, and level design are all done by me.

I'm interested both in bug reports and feedback on TTWT, and thoughts on the longer term viability of making a commercial/shareware game with this engine. Candid thoughts such as "You really should hire an artist" or "Don't quit the day job" are certainly welcome in addition to the traditional "Nice work". Feel free to post feedback here or at the forums on the website http://www.prankster.com/ttwt, or even just email right to me at ttwt@prankster.com.

Thanks,
Geoff

DayDream
12-04-2007, 06:19 AM
Hi Geoff...

I did download the game - even though the screenshots nearly prevented me from following the link.

You did a good job doing everything yourself - but...

The game looks too much like a windows application with "ugly" popups coming up on various occasions... Windows games don't have to look like a mine-sweeper anymore.
Get rid of the popups and keep everything in one window - starting with your logo and including the dialogue boxes.

Those conversations are rather painful once they get a tad longer. Keep them short - no need to show the last text and options - the current one is more than enough. I would also suggest making it clear where to click and maybe even add a mouseover... (silly me tried pushing the numbers first)...

Just for the feel of it... it would be nice to see the person I am talking to - as the ingame figures are rather tiny...

After finishing the dungeon keeper off I was stuck for a bit - the door was open but there was nowhere to go in the small corridor - I didn't really see the button on the top right hand side until I was close to quitting in frustration (I might be a bit impatient for the game).

And now to my favorite topic - the visual side of the game (I should keep some kind of template for indiegamer art). It is coder art - and it shows in every aspect of the game.

An RPG is about capturing the players imagination - and with top notch RPGs like FF out there to spoil players a minimalist approach will be hard to sell. Your game looks so clean and geometric it's nearly sterile to me. The trees in the first scene are nice and evenly spaced.
There is not much variation in the tiles either - nothing stands out to create a unique look and feel.

The backgrounds are not used to help promote the current scenario - something nice behind the tiles might help.

My main critique is the use of windows boxes and menus - it just takes me out of the game each time they pop up. It would be nice to have a consistent graphic user interface that covers the lot (inventory, chats, journal, etc.).

I did like the light effects though - they work nicely.

Overall it's a huge effort and I hope you get to finish it. If you are aiming for more than "just a small, free rpg" and want people to buy it I would consider the help of an artist with some gui design skills and revamp and add some tiles, title and gameover screens, character portraits, etc.
The game lacks a consistent look and feel to capture the player and please the eyes.

mrkwang
12-04-2007, 07:58 AM
D/Led & tried few secs.

- TOO windows application style. This is game, and people might expect MORE GAME style.

- For SAVE file, it's very confusing. As I do SAVE, 'My Document' folder opens, and that's what I never expect to see with any Game. I think you'd better SAVE it within Game Folder itself.

andrew
12-04-2007, 09:29 AM
It does look very much like a Windows application (circa 1998), and the programmer art isn't helping much. The underlying engine might be fine, but the presentation kills it.

If you haven't done so already, I'd go back and play some of the classics of the isometric RPG genre (Final Fantasy, Fallout, Neverwinter Nights, etc) and study how they approach user interface and visuals...

- andrew

gdunbar
12-04-2007, 01:50 PM
DayDream,

Thank you so much for the detailed and well-thought out feedback. I really appreciate it! Getting good feedback has proven harder than I had thought.


Hi Geoff...

I did download the game - even though the screenshots nearly prevented me from following the link.

You did a good job doing everything yourself - but...

The game looks too much like a windows application with "ugly" popups coming up on various occasions... Windows games don't have to look like a mine-sweeper anymore.
Get rid of the popups and keep everything in one window - starting with your logo and including the dialogue boxes.


Currently I'm using MFC for the UI, as that was the easiest way for me to get a working UI going. Nobody likes it, though, so I'm investigating what can be done. Likely I'll move the interface into Direct3D itself. In fact, I'll post below a mock-up of what it might look like.



Those conversations are rather painful once they get a tad longer. Keep them short - no need to show the last text and options - the current one is more than enough. I would also suggest making it clear where to click and maybe even add a mouseover... (silly me tried pushing the numbers first)...


The conversation dialog does kind of suck. I'll see what can be done here.



Just for the feel of it... it would be nice to see the person I am talking to - as the ingame figures are rather tiny...


I'm not sure my "budget" (haha) provides for pictures of all "talkers". It would be possible to display a small render of the character in the dialog, however.



After finishing the dungeon keeper off I was stuck for a bit - the door was open but there was nowhere to go in the small corridor - I didn't really see the button on the top right hand side until I was close to quitting in frustration (I might be a bit impatient for the game).


No, this is a really good point... area exits need some sort of visual cue. A sign, at the very minimum.



And now to my favorite topic - the visual side of the game (I should keep some kind of template for indiegamer art). It is coder art - and it shows in every aspect of the game.

An RPG is about capturing the players imagination - and with top notch RPGs like FF out there to spoil players a minimalist approach will be hard to sell. Your game looks so clean and geometric it's nearly sterile to me. The trees in the first scene are nice and evenly spaced.
There is not much variation in the tiles either - nothing stands out to create a unique look and feel.


Fair enough. As an aside, I'd prefer to keep the interface more minimalist and concentrate more effort on the levels and in-game visuals.



The backgrounds are not used to help promote the current scenario - something nice behind the tiles might help.


Some of the later levels have backgrounds. I experimented a bit on the earlier levels, but it's hard to make something look good. I suppose there's a reason most RPGs simply show a black background when you're in a dungeon somewhere.



My main critique is the use of windows boxes and menus - it just takes me out of the game each time they pop up. It would be nice to have a consistent graphic user interface that covers the lot (inventory, chats, journal, etc.).


Again, this is the MFC interface shining through. I'm a little daunted at the amount of work to bring everything into Direct3D, though. I'll probably bring the main interface into D3D first, which will help the main gameplay, at least.



I did like the light effects though - they work nicely.


Thanks. My engine should be able to provide a lot of dynamic feel to the levels, such as flickering lights, flashing runes, or what have you. Figuring out how to best showcase this is a work in progress.



Overall it's a huge effort and I hope you get to finish it. If you are aiming for more than "just a small, free rpg" and want people to buy it I would consider the help of an artist with some gui design skills and revamp and add some tiles, title and gameover screens, character portraits, etc.
The game lacks a consistent look and feel to capture the player and please the eyes.

Thanks again for the feedback.

Geoff

gdunbar
12-04-2007, 01:59 PM
As I mentioned in my reply to DayDream, I'm considering what best to do with the interface. One mock-up idea is presented here. The current UI looks something like this (it's MFC based, so what do you expect?):

http://www.prankster.com/ttwt/images/screens_2007_11/ttwt-bridge2.jpg

My mock-up of what bringing the interface into D3D might look like is here:

http://www.prankster.com/ttwt/images/mockui.jpg

Top Left: Display information about the current mouse-hover.

Mid Left: Party member quick info.

Bottom Left: Quick-actions for the currently selected character.

Bottom: Message window.

Top Right: Game menu buttons (Save/Load, Pause, Select All, Return).

Bottom Right: Mini-map.

The display is just a Paint Shop mockup, so it's a little messy, and all the buttons are not properly aligned. But that's an approximation what I could make the in-game interface look like without undue effort.

Comments/critiques welcome.

Thanks,
Geoff

Pyabo
12-05-2007, 12:03 PM
Your iso perspective seems really odd to me... or is that just my eyes? What are the dimensions on your tiles?

gdunbar
12-05-2007, 12:47 PM
Your iso perspective seems really odd to me... or is that just my eyes? What are the dimensions on your tiles?

It's not isometric, it's 3D, with a distant camera and a small viewport. However, I do limit the camera to 2 positions (forward and backward), more due to the trouble of camera control than anything else. Tiles are 10x10 (feet).

Geoff