View Full Version : Feeback wanted for first casual game TOTEM!

03-14-2008, 04:20 PM

Here is my first game. I am happy to have it nearing completion and would like to get some feedback. So if you have a spare moment please download the game and tell me what you think.

-screen shots



TOTEM (http://www.ferventinteractive.com/totem/TotemInstall.msi)


Fervent Interactive (http://www.ferventinteractive.com)

-System requirements.

Not real sure just yet. You will need directx 9c and .Net 2.0


Any is welcome.


There are a few bugs that I need to kill like the totems eating the others without breaking sometimes but its mostly bug free.


03-14-2008, 04:42 PM
Harsh system requirements--XNA? Managed DX? You can make an installer that automatically checks for .NET and downloads it (through a Microsoft bootstrapper) if the user doesn't have it, so maybe you should look into that.

I can see this is an ad-supported game. Interesting, although I'm not sure how well it will go over, especially if people are running software that notifies them when a program tries to access the internet. They might not even try your game in that case.

In any case, I'd definitely get a more professional-looking website to reassure people who come to look at your game.

You should use a bitmap font for the text in the game, and get rid of any standard Windows fonts, because they look cheap.

I like the basic gameplay well enough, but it seemed too easy based on the first few levels. The art looks nice for a free game.

There are a couple other minor polish-type things I noticed you lacking; try putting in a custom mouse cursor and hiding the standard mouse while it's inside the window, and make Escape take players to the main menu. The text in the top-right corner during gameplay looks out of alignment, like it's too close to the left edge of the arrowheads. The instructions screen suffers from the "wall of text" effect; make it more concise, add some pictures, and make the font better like I said before.

Other than that, good job on finishing, and nice work overall!

03-14-2008, 04:48 PM
Thanks for the reply.

Yeah I'm no web dev...I know the website is pretty sad but I just have no desire to make that better...

I guess ill just have to pay for a better one.

The font should be a lot like the powerups now..i changed it to load the font i used in the art. You are saying that this isnt the case?

are the menu buttons displaying a nice font?

Easy...yes it gets a LOT harder toward the end...4 totems all going at once with ice blocks and blocks that change...

good catch with the escape key..ill put that in tonight.

thanks for the feedback.

oh and its managed DirectX....

I haven't put too much time into deployment as you can see...I still need to do some work there.

03-14-2008, 05:45 PM
Yeah, on the instructions menu the font was a standard windows font (forget which one). The one on the top right during gameplay was the one you used in the art, but it still looked kind of pixelated and not-so-great to me (like it needed antialiasing or something).

03-16-2008, 07:50 PM

Fixed "Wall of text" will add images soon.

Fixed Font issue...still need to work on anti alias but at least its not a windows font.

Fixed bug that was flipping out the totems after going to the main menu and continuing the game.

Added the escape functionality

Added a custom mouse cursor

Added writing to application data folder for save files

fixed off center text at beginning of each level

New Website is on its way and I'll update again when I have that finished.

Thanks again for the comments. When you work on something for so long you begin to miss things that are obvious to others.

03-17-2008, 01:10 PM
A couple things:
I think you should use the traditional colour schemes on the totems... instead of your silly colour scheme. Also you know thats a tobacco bag in the corner right? Just thought I'd tell you... also, I didn't play it to much, but what are the tomahawks for? Keep working on it =)

03-17-2008, 01:36 PM
silly! :)

tried traditional....very hard to tell the totems apart.

didn't know that was a tobacco bag....now it's a carry all/tobacco bag.....very cool :)

if you click on the tomahawks, dynamite or campfire....then click on the totems different things happen.

the Tomahawks break the block you click on.

the dynamite explodes and takes out any totem block near the explosion

the campfire removes all ice from blocks on the screen (ice blocks later on)

03-17-2008, 01:38 PM
Didn't play it (.net isn't something I'm going to bother with).

Interesting concept. Agree about the fonts, also would horizontally stagger the bonus #'s to make the screen more interesting. Totally agree about using traditional colors on the totems - could be striking.

03-17-2008, 01:47 PM
fonts have been fixed...

I'll look into the stagger...right now the numbers show up where a totem breaks.

again...the totems were hard to tell apart with traditional colors...they also cost a lot more..(I paid my artist by the hour)....I'm not made of money so what you see is what you get...sorry

The totems in that screenshot are a little bright...the others are quite different..you should play it :)

03-17-2008, 02:39 PM
Well, I can tell what is what from traditional colourings... and thats not because I'm 1/2 native. Well maybe it is! But seeing a blue beaver totem did piss me off. =) But thats just my opinion... u don't need to listen =)

03-17-2008, 02:42 PM
a blue beaver totem pissed you off?


03-17-2008, 02:50 PM
Now we did use traditional colors...no they are not shaded and textured because it cost an arm and a leg. I don't mean to offend anyone with my choice of color but a blue beaver seems alright. blue = rivers waters and lakes...thats where they live.

Is there some other guide I should have gone by?

WHITE: This color is used, along with other light colors, as a background and predominating shade. As a rule it symbolized the skies and spacious heavens. It also stood for purity, peace, and death.

Red: Generally this color stands for blood, war or valor. Sometimes it is used as appears in nature, such as the crest of a red-headed woodpecker, the scarlet tanager or frequently the tongue of an animal.

Blue: This color was most commonly used as the symbol for the rivers, waters, and lakes, also the skies. Certain tribes even used used it for mountains in the distance. It stands for sincerity and happiness. Berries formed a large portion of the natural materials for this color. Western clay and pigments of the canyons also lent varying hues to this effective color.

Yellow: The natural abundant materials made this color a very popular and predominating one. Clays, roots, and tannic barks furnished the natives with dyes. Yellow reflects the symbol of the sun, light and happiness. Yellow dye is readily make from tree moss.

Green: It may easily be realized that this color represents the earth, the hills, the trees, and mountains, so common in all Indian legends.

This color may be obtained by mixing two primary colors, yellow and blue, or it may be made from simple acid action on copper. In certain sections of the west and northwest copper was rather abundant. Other parts of the country used the juice of grasses.

PURPLE: Huckleberries give a very good substance for dyeing and the Indians used this commonly. Purple is an excellent color for recessed Portions of the carving and for symbols of a reverent nature. It stood for mountains in the distance and general conventionalized signs.

BLACK: Mud from sulphur springs and other earth deposits made this color available to the Indian. As a rule it stood for power.

03-17-2008, 06:01 PM
a blue beaver totem pissed you off?


Maybe that was a little to extreme of me =) But still, more traditionalists will be a little upset at the colour scheme. You see, if I was to do this I would do the more recent style of a nice brown wood texture, with the traditional red and black paint job. But thats just me,

03-17-2008, 07:10 PM
well I totally agree...but texture and shading costs extra...and i just don't have the money to get it all done.

Here are another screenshot. I think the Totems all look pretty good together.


03-17-2008, 08:44 PM
That's better. Still, if you have a fun game (and I don't know, not trying to be a dick but any hassle to download a casual game and I skip it) then a couple of bucks on art is something you should really think about. If you have a fixed set of assets you can usually advertise and get a decent fixed cost.

03-17-2008, 08:45 PM
i spent $400 on the art alone....i'm giving the game away for free...gimme a break guys.

03-18-2008, 08:05 AM
I think the totems actually look pretty good. They're iconic and that's what you want I would think.

Jesse Hopkins
03-18-2008, 08:05 AM

03-18-2008, 08:36 AM

I really thought they looked pretty neat, especially for a game that is free of charge.

I probably made a mistake using managed DirectX for a casual game but it's what I know. I'm used to C# and DirectX and did this more for fun than anything else. The next game I make will be an XBOX/Windows XNA game.

Aside from the art (as that is pretty much set in stone because it's bought and paid for and I'm not dropping any more cash on it) are there any other comments?

All you really need to play the game is the latest directx runtimes (managed are included in the normal dx installer) and .NET 2.0 which everyone should have by now anyway if you update your windows OS.

03-18-2008, 01:53 PM
Just curious, why do you plan on going to XNA? I've been down that route, and deployment is even less fun than working with C# and MDX. I suppose there's that new Live Community thing coming on the 360, but who knows what form the revenue model will take or if it will even be worthwhile.

03-18-2008, 02:29 PM
well...I love both c# and DirectX

I Know them very well. I have mucked around with xna and I really like it too. I don't really know what Microsoft has planned but I cant imagine that they would just continue on without making some sort of deployment solution.

Deployment with c# isn't that hard...by now most people have .net2 and the DirectX part is no more difficult than deploying with a non managed game. I just haven't gotten around to fixing up my installer (next on the list of to-do)

TOTEM was more an exercise of my engine than an effort to make any money. My next game will be a turn based strategy and will be much more complicated and non-casual. I learned a lot of dos and donts making TOTEM so next go round ill be much more prepared to make a more complete game. With TOTEM I will also be able to set up my installer for use with any future product.

03-18-2008, 02:55 PM
Also...after looking at what Torque X offers I'm thinking about just porting my top end object model over to use their engine. I mean all that for $150 with source looks pretty darn good.

still thinking about it all but Torque is tempting.

03-19-2008, 08:30 AM
Ok I think I have it installing the required redist of directx along with the install.

most folks have .net

so if anyone out there has a redist installed before november please give it a try and see if it works cause all my machines have dx installed up to the latest.