Has anyone had a chance to play my game?
Here is the game I've been working on as a hobby since the beginning of April:
Fangorodrim.zip (14 megs)
This is a real-time strategy game. I'm looking for feedback on where to go next with this. Its difficult to know if the game play is balanced. After 1000 games I have no idea if this is too easy or impossible to win or simply no fun to play. My perspective is shot.
1. You win by colonizing all of the sectors.
2. Should take about an hour to win.
3. Freeware game, no strings attached
4. Looking for feedback and bug reports.
5. Win XP, Vista, Win 7
6. This runs great on 2.4ghz system, 1gig ram.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Has anyone had a chance to play my game?
Havent had chance to play it yet. I wonder if the UI clutter is putting people off? All those orange borders around lots of UI elements doesnt help.
It might be your posts were still waiting to be moderated too (you have to have 6 approved before your posts automatically are seen).
www.mindflock.com - social AI-based games
downloaded and played on a 2.16 ghz dual core macbook w\ 2 gb ram, running Vista, and everything was fine technically, except the screen stayed black for a good 15 seconds. The second time I loaded it was a little faster.
For feedback on the actual game: I found the control a little sluggish. The rate at which you can turn your ship around is really slow, so I found myself waiting a while if I wanted to go stop and go in the opposite direction. Another problem with the control is that there's no way of dodging incoming fire while attacking the enemy. In order to fire off a few shots at an enemy, you have to take just as many of theirs. You should add strafing if you want to have this kind of combat in the game. I didn't get far enough to make a fleet to fight the enemy ships off because I kept dying before i could really do anything, so I don't know, maybe it's better when you have a bunch of ships to command.
I notice you also stretch a square texture to different rectangle sizes for the border of the UI elements. You can tell because the borders are stretched shorter on some sides and wider on others. You should probably take care of that.
Since you're giving it away for free, I'm guessing this is one of your first projects, and in that light, I think you're doing pretty good. Every new game you make is a huge learning experience, and while you still have a lot to learn in terms of UI, gameplay mechanics, and general design, you've done a lot for a < 2 month project. Don't stop here! keep going!
I feel like I didn't get far enough into your game to give you more helpful feedback. Maybe I'll try again in a few days on easy (so I don't die immediately), and give you something better.
downloaded and played on a WinXP machine with Core 2 Duo E4500 @ 2.2 GHz, 2 gig of RAM. Video card is Radeon X1650.
I have to agree with the previous poster that your ship's turn rate is too slow. I know that you want to have the user upgrade the ship during gameplay, but in my own games with a 2D top-down spaceship, players simply don't tolerate a clumsy avatar.
You can upgrade the ship in other ways, like better shields and weapons.
I played the normal diff level 3 times, and while futzing around got quickly killed by the periodic invaders. So I tried again with easy diff, and this allowed me to hold off the invaders while I produced a shield, research station, power plant (which didn't seem to do anything for me, cause I did the research, but didn't understand that I also needed to build one), and warp drive.
Then I warped south, and immediately got jumped by a bigger pack of aliens that killed me.
So here are my recommendations:
1) make the ship VERY nimble from the start.
2) increase the size of each sector; they're small and claustrophobic. Center the camera on your ship.
3) put 1-4 planets in each sector.
4) put two planets in the start sector, and start your first planet with improvements already in place that protect it (and your ship). That way the player has a safe home base, plus a template of what makes a fully assembled set of planetary upgrades. Then they can upgrade the second planet in the sector, before braving the warpdrive.
5) make the starting enemies even less nimble, so the player can run rings around them.
6) make an admiral face next to a pop-up of text, telling the player what to do next.
In general, you've made a good start here (I know, after all your work it's annoying to hear it's a "start"). But the game functions and can be fun with just a few tweaks.
Oh, and the alien laugh upon player death, and the "THE GALAXY IS DOOMED" text, are kinda childish (in my opinion). Ditch them.
Hope I helped!
Thanks guys for the great feedback! I wondered why I wasn't hearing from anybody. 6 approved posts, eh? I belong to many forums and this is the first time I run across that.
Anyway, I plan to make a lot of changes based on this feedback:
1. get rid of the boxes with a slicker interface.
2. faster base turn rate (it does increase with leveling).
3. strafing. What are the conventional keys to use for strafing?
The key is to have bomb & drone tech before you move into other sectors. With bombs you fly in front of the enemy and drop. The drones protect the colonies. Thanks for your help!
Here is another screenshot:
A note of clarification for anyone else who wants to test this game: Fangorodrim is not a pure top down shooter. This was inspired by "Sins of a Solar Empire" which gives it RTS and RPG elements as well. For example, you build structures to gain access to energy, metal, research, fleets, ship repair, defense and more. Some structures require research before you can build them. Some abilities require research. There are some things you can't accomplish without first building a fleet. Some technologies are found throughout the galaxy (after survey tech is researched). If the first thing you do after researching Warp is move into another sector, you will die. There is a lot of depth to this game as it is, so I don't want people to be disappointed by the expectation of a fast nimble shooter, which this is not.
In the beginning of the game, your ship is weak and slow. When enemies appear, keep your structures between your ship and the enemy. Your attacks go through structures while the enemy fire is stopped.
All buildings should be clustered around the gravity well.
Optimal building and research order to start the game:
1. Build research lab
2. Research power plant
3. Build 2 power plants
4. Research mining facility
5. Build 1 mining facility. Note: Mining facilities must be built in contact with the gravity well.
6. Research defense drone.
7. Build 2 defense drones on opposite sides of the planet. This is why you cluster buildings around the planet. 2 defense drones can effectively fight off enemy invasions for a long time.
8. Research bomb technology.
9. Research warp technology.
Getting to step 9 should take 5-8 minutes. This is a good time to save your game. Hit <esc> and click the Save Game button. Then click the Return button to clear the main menu and return to the game. You are now ready to warp to the next sector and establish another colony.
This is why you researched Bomb tech early. As you may have discovered the difficult, painful way, your ship can not go head to head with the pack of aliens waiting for you in the next sector. Here are a couple of strategies to establish your second colony:
1. Wait in your home sector until you have enough energy and metal to quickly build a colony and 2 drones in the next sector (boring). Nevertheless, you still have to fight a big group of baddies once you get there.
2. Test your maneuvering and endurance skills early (fun). If you survive this strategy, you will certainly gain 1 or 2 levels in experience.
Hint: once the colony is built, the large invasions stop in that sector until much later on in the game.
Conquer the Sector (with your weak and slow ship):
Fly into the sector and wait in the middle for the attack wave to arrive. Be ready to build the colony on the way in and defense drones (around the planet) if you have the resources. Take out the kamikaze alien with a bomb. He will fly right into it as he makes a bee-line to explode in your face.
Once you see where the main attack force is coming from, move to the opposite corner and open up with the cannon. If you're lucky, you may take out a peon with this initial barrage. Right before you start taking damage fly past the group and drop a bomb. Stay in that direction for as long as possible because they will follow you and fly right into the bomb. Now you can fly circles around them, dipping in close and dropping tactical turds along the way. It is possible to take out 3 or 4 Peons with 1 bomb, but the Brutes absorb more damage. A good tactic is to have at least 1 defense drone providing support as you fly around the sector.
The minimum in each sector should be a colony and 2 defense drones. If you are playing the large map, research logistics until you can build at least 5 drones in each sector. The invasion forces get larger as you get more colonies.
Recommendation: Complete Shield and Survey research before you get to sector 4.
Hint: The factory repairs ships and restores shields.
@Reactor: I've read many of your game reviews and would honored if you would check out Fangorodrim and give me your impressions.
I've made a lot of changes to the interface:
Also, you now have a choice of ships:
I'm glad you posted today. I didn't see this post of yours. If you need to grab me in future, just fire off a pm my way.@Reactor: I've read many of your game reviews and would honored if you would check out Fangorodrim and give me your impressions.
Do you have an updated version to look at?
Yep, this is it:
There are a lot of things left on my todo list:
-Formation Editor for the fleet
-add strategic elements to planet types
-add more research depth
I look forward to your feedback!
I tried the new version and it was much better than than the first! Although this time I played it on easy, so I didn't die immediately. There are still a few things I'd like to bring to your attention.
1.It might be nice to make the click menus automatically go away when you start navigating. You can click to make them go away, but when an enemy is coming at you, you want to be able to move right away, and sometimes those extra UI elements make it hard to see.
2. I ended up in a position where I was low on energy or metal, and I'd have to just wait around for more enemies to come until I could save enough metal and energy to make power plants and refining centers. Between waves of attacks (which took a long time because I was on easy mode), I just had to sit and wait. You don't want things like to happen, just have the user waiting for something to happen on a relatively static screen, with nothing to do in the meantime... There are a few workarounds, but I suggest you make power plant development cost much less energy and refinery development cost much less metal, so you never get in that catch 22 position where you are in need of something but can't get more of it unless you have it so you have to just sit it out and wait for it to come to you. You could blame this whole problem on easy mode, but honestly Easy is going to be what the biggest newbs and least interested people will be playing, and making them sit and wait might just tip their interest in the wrong direction.
3. I noticed that you can't build things unless you have 1 more than enough of energy/metal. You probably want to change a > sign to >=. No big deal though.
4. There should be a big indicator for when a research task is done. I found myself wondering whether it was done and not knowing because I didn't have enough energy left for the icons to be lighting up anyways. Along these lines, I also find it odd that the "research completed' icons are the same as the "you don't have the requirements for this research" icons. You have to actually go to each one to figure out which is which. Just make a separate "research complete" icon, so that you can immediately see which ones are done.
5. I died pretty much the moment I ventured out of the first sector. I had 2 wingmen and a lot of research done, and I was taking out enemies pretty easily on the first sector, so I figured I was ready. The enemies on sector 2 took me out in a few hits! There shouldn't be that steep of an incline in difficulty, even on easy mode.
6. Your control scheme is pretty erratic and unintuitive, with controls all over the keyboard. You can't expect me to remember all that stuff. Thanks for adding strafing though. That stuff saved my life more than a couple of times. Turning radius is still too slow!
To recap, the game was much better than the first time I tried, to the point that I could get a feel of what you were going for before I died. I think the game has potential, so you still have a long way to go. Depending on how polished you want the final product to be, you could potentially benefit a lot by hiring an artist to rework some of the stuff like ship factory and mining station, etc. Nice improvements though, keep up the good work.
I'm pretty strapped for time at the moment (I didn't get that deep into the game), but I have a fair few suggestions. First, a question.
What's your vision for the game? I realise it's a free hobby project, but I'm wondering if you're hoping to pull off something really top-tier, presentation wise, or whether your dream is to nail the gameplay, and the rest is secondary. I ask because most of what I tend to pick up on are things related to presentation and usability (from the average person's point of view) to the standard I'd normally expect in a sold indie title.
If that's not much of a focus, I'll ignore those areas that need adjusting and just focus on the game
Anything you want to mention is fine. I'm working hard on the presentation (everyone's biggest complaint up until this week). There are somethings that I won't compromise on and that is the scope or vision as you say. This should not be confused with a fast nimble shooter game. People with that expectation will not have fun. The gameplay I'm aiming for is exploring, expansion, exploiting, exterminating. Plus elements of RPG and tactical battles. This concept came from playing Sins of a Solar Empire and the desire to take over one of the capital ships during combat.
Also, please look over the 2 page tutorial before you play. There are ways to approach the next sector without getting wiped out. If the tutorial doesn't make sense I need to know that.
Last edited by djcityscapes; 06-08-2010 at 09:47 AM.
Sorry djcityscapes, possible slight misunderstanding there... I guess what I'd like to know is who is it you're aiming the game at. Depending on whether it's hardcore real-time strategy game fans (who don't necessarily care about great graphics or sound), the average game player (who does), or some other group, it'll have a bearing on what suggestions to make. I hope that makes sense
CousinGilgamesh, thanks for giving my game another chance. Several of your points are well taken. Interestingly, some people say the game is too easy on hard so my job is to find the right balance and options and not lose sight of my original concept for the game. I'm at a loss what to do about the "too many keys" complaint. I'm open to suggestions (without sacrificing functionality).
Cool, thanks. It's late here (bedtime for me) but I'll be back tomorrow with feedback.
I have a few ideas about that.I'm at a loss what to do about the "too many keys" complaint. I'm open to suggestions (without sacrificing functionality).
Okay, here's some feedback.
The gameplay seems decent enough, but the impression I get is that, for people who're used to quality titles these days (which is pretty much everyone) they're going to take a two second look at it and pass on taking it for a spin. A few examples of visual roughness that hurt first impressions-
- The font is too plain.
- The text scaling isn't smooth. It's terrible in fact. If you have to disable the text scale effect to fix it, I'd do so. A lot of people will ignore the game because of this one thing.
- There's a window bar on the game, and no full-screen option (not scaled).
- Sometimes the buttons grow larger upon mouseover, and sometimes only the text does.
- Some of your hud elements seem to have been designed really small, and scaled up, making things look overly pixelated.
- The general graphic design is poor. For example, the yellow text which says, "Build" and "Research" on the hud is borderline unreadable.
I could list a hundred issues, and so could many other people no doubt. But, the main point of consideration is summed up in the control layout. It just doesn't seemed designed with the average person in mind. I think zoombapup said it best the other day when he said the idea is to make games for other people. Obviously your game as a hobby is designed for yourself as well (or primarily) but there's a nice balance to strike here- asking the question of what it is other people would find entertaining and easily understandable.
Would your tutorial be better in the game menu than an external rtf file? I think so. People like it when things are easy for them, and look nicer. Would players appreciate the controls being visible in game, next to the menu after pressing escape? Would players appreciate them being based on common control schemes, like WASD for movement? I think so for both, considering your current control scheme has a fair few uncommon keys, requires two hands, and a third for the mouse Would players think any area of the game needs visual improvement? I think so, considering the games the average player is into these days.
I hope all of that makes sense. If it doesn't, let me know and I'll explain things better!
Anyway, here are a few other things I noticed about the game-
- If I hold down movement keys when I press escape (in game) the ship still moves. This is a great way of cheating!
- I can press escape, then instructions, and then escape again to bring up the main menu over the instructions, which are still sitting over the first menu!
- There's a Return button in the main menu, even when you have nothing to return to.
- Can something that's being built be cancelled?
Thanks Reactor. I still have plenty of work to do. Does this site have a "positive" feedback forum? J/k.
WASD = standard movement keys = good.
adws = uncommon control scheme = bad?
I'll be back after I've addressed these issues. Thanks for your time!
Edit: Minor point, but Alt-Enter = Full Screen
Last edited by djcityscapes; 06-09-2010 at 05:07 AM.
Heheh, my mistake there For some reason I had it in my head the arrow keys were the way to control the ship. But, ADWS is commonly written WASD. On this topic, another control quirk- if you hold one strafe key (for example, E), then hold Q, and then let go of it, E no longer kicks back in as strafe right.WASD = standard movement keys = good.
adws = uncommon control scheme = bad?
The average person will liken this to requiring a jump start for their car every time they need to go somewhere. It works, but lots of people don't know how to do it, and many don't like to The normal thing to have is a full screen button (if starting windowed- which is the opposite to the majority of games) in an options screen, along with things like sound/music volume controls.Edit: Minor point, but Alt-Enter = Full Screen
Also, I believe the gameplay has improved with more depth. I'm still open to suggestions and bug fixes. Hopefully, the issues number in the dozens now rather than "hundreds"
Fangorodrim.zip (11 megs)
Nice work on fixing some of the more obscure issues.
I think a lot of what will keep people from looking at the game is still there- the dated/bad design (font excluded, since that seems to be something of a Torque issue- unless you can't get around it with a different font system) and a few other graphical uglies possibly caused by not laying out your textures correctly. I highly recommend learning about basic graphic design, and how to both spot and deal with technical graphics issues. If you can improve things in that area, you'll have a lot more people playing whatever games you make in the future.
The same also goes for sound. Fangorodrim's music, while not horrible, isn't inspiring, and the sound is very much underdone. If you can work on those two things also, you'll help draw people into your game's world.
One final suggestion is to (possibly) move on from Torque. I don't know if it's a fault with Torque or something the Torque workflow leads people to do, but most of the Torque games I've seen have a roughness to them. The old-fashioned font scaling is a good example. If you can't afford to switch from Torque, ask around about how to use the engine to avoid producing poor/dated results. I'm sure it's possible.
Hopefully, the issues number in the dozens now rather than "hundreds"
EDIT: Almost forgot- the new menu was nice.
Did you make it to sector 2?
Sadly no. My spare time is a bit short at the moment, and is why I haven't commented on the gameplay much. If I get a moment I may be able to play a while on the weekend.