Castle Capers - my first full HTML5 game

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by adshead, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. adshead

    adshead New Member

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    Hi all,

    For the last 2 months I have been building a HTML5 game using the impact.js framework. It's a brilliant framework with a great level editor.

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts about the game - particularly if there are any issues with sound as HTML5 audio doesn't seem very reliable at present!

    http://landofpixels.com/

    Cheers,
    Dud
     
  2. Indiepath

    Indiepath New Member

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    Saw this over on the impact forums - I really liked it! Good luck with it.
     
  3. HarryBalls

    HarryBalls New Member

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    Congratulations. Looks good.
     
  4. richtaur

    Indie Author

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    My thoughts:

    * The zombies appear too quickly and take WAY TOO MANY hits to kill. Killing zombies should be fun and I found myself trying to jump over them to avoid them.
    * Shouldn't your character take damage and be invulnerable for a few seconds? It's maddening to have a few zombies hang out inside your character while you take tons of damage repeatedly.
    * You've got new graphics for everything else, why are you still using the Biolab Disaster character, except he's bleached white? Anything you can do to remove the look of having used a Biolab template will improve your game.
    * Screen and font is too tiny!
    * Does the game just end at the castle? I couldn't get in.

    I don't mean to be negative, just trying to provide useful critiques :). HTML5 is great isn't it?
     
  5. adshead

    adshead New Member

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    I think you right about the zombies - so I have halved their strength. Great thing about HTML5 games - you can tweak them whilst they are live!

    You don't seem to have solved the puzzle of finding the key to open the gate yet. I won't spoil it but for a clue try shooting something thats not moving! The zombie level is just the first of many - you've barely started!

    I purposely chose to adapt the biolab character because he reminded me of a knight, which is why I turned him into a white knight who has to fight the black knight.

    Screen is too tiny? Not sure what you mean here as the game screen is bigger than most HTML games out there right now.
     
    #5 adshead, Sep 7, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
  6. jpoag

    jpoag New Member

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    I agree with Matt: there are some serious game balancing issues. I know you don't want the game to be too easy because of limited content, but that shouldn't stop you from making zombies easier to kill.

    Most of the issues would be solved by an invulnerable period when spawning and after taking damage.

    Here are the issues I had with the game:
    * First Level was too hard (Lots of Game balancing issues)
    - Zombies Spawn camped and killed 8/9 of my lives in 10 seconds.
    * Second Level is too hard.
    - The first time I played the game, I lost all 9 lives on the second level. (this is bad)
    - The second time I played, the destructible platforms had not been reset (but the keys had). I had to reset the browser.
    - The third time I played, I fell through the geometry at the far right end under the bridge. I wound up under the screen (but not visible). I had to reset the browser.
    - There are too many fish. I sat for several minutes killing fish. There should be a respawn timer for something like 7-10 seconds.
    * Third Level is acceptably difficult
    * Fourth Level is acceptably difficult
     
  7. Bram

    Indie Author Greenlit

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    Well done.

    I liked the intro: simple and effective... nice shreek, music change, and darkened colour when the lady is captured.

    It reminds me a bit of jet-set-willy, but in wide-screen and with a weapon.

    I got stuck in the water, health stayed at 25, did not die, but could not get out of water, and remained invisible.

    Bram
     
  8. adshead

    adshead New Member

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    Yes I know the zombies spawn camp but thats only if you let them follow you all the way back to the start of the level. Now that I have halved their lives it should be easier to get through.

    You don't really need to kill the fish but I will reduce their number. On any level you just need to get the keys to open the gate/door. Some levels that may require you to kill things but on other levels you may be able to get by dodging things.

    Good point about not resetting the levels - I think that is a definite bug which I will fix.
     
  9. adshead

    adshead New Member

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    Jet set willy style (and difficulty) was what I was aiming for.

    In the water it was possible you were underneath a block hence couldn't get out - although you should have eventually died so I will investigate
     
  10. GaiaDreamCreation

    Indie Author

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    I tried three times and I had the same problem every time. As soon as the black knight gets near to the princess, the game freezes. It even froze the third time I loaded the game, but during the splash screen. I use IE 9. Otherwise, the game looks good to me for the few seconds I could play.
     
  11. electronicStar

    Original Member

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    The bridge part is really not good, too difficult, especially when HTML5 makes my browser hang every other second.
    The part in the castle I had to stop playing because of the stutter in the animation
     
  12. Olofson

    Original Member

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    I found the key to the castle pretty quickly, but my impression was that it was mostly dumb luck. I just accidentally noticed that a certain object took damage and thought "Hmm... Maybe I can destroy that?" - but instead, I got the key. :D

    Also, I'm having some major performance issues on Firefox 6.0.1/Linux/x86_64 here. Animation is silky smooth sometimes, and more like a slide show at other times. It just seems to change without any obvious connection to anything from what I can tell right away. I'll try restarting the browser and stuff, as it's not exactly unusual that it acts up in various ways all on its own...

    Other than that, I'll just go with the others; some balancing issues that might scare less experienced players off, but it's a nice looking, enjoyable game!
     
  13. adshead

    adshead New Member

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    Sadly it seems IE9 is not that great yet at supporting HTML5 audio. it seems to run flawlessly in Chrome, Firefox and Opera, and Safari
     
  14. adshead

    adshead New Member

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    Hmm - on every machine I tried I get a smooth 60FPS. It is possible you browser is throwing exceptions which can slow things down (basically because it's throwing multiple exceptions per second). IE9 seems to be the most problematic browser at present.

    By the way I can do the bridge in about 15 seconds ;)
     
  15. adshead

    adshead New Member

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    As I mentioned to somebody else - the stuttering is possibly caused by an exception being thrown lots of times per second - and that is often sound related as HTML5 is great at supporting audio yet. I haven't tested on Linux but you could try opening Firebug (if you have it) to see if exceptions are what is causing slowdown. other players have reported no problems with Firefox 6 and even Firefox 7 beta.

    As for difficulty - I think todays players have gone a bit soft. I remember jet set willy and Manic Miner - insanely hard.
     
  16. jpoag

    jpoag New Member

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    Open up the javascript console and paste this:

    Code:
    var elixirs = ig.game.getEntitiesByType(EntityElixir);for(var i = 0; i < elixirs.length; i++){elixirs[i].check=function(a){if(a.name=="WhiteKnight"){a.health=99999;ig.game.fairy.play();this.kill()}}};ig.game.keysCollected = 99;
    You have to do that at the beginning of each level, but at least you get to play the game.

    I was unsuccessful at modifying the EntityElixir prototype so that every elixir is automatically spawned with 99999 health. If anyone figures that out, then the 'cheat' would only need to be entered at the title screen. However, Keys Collected still needs to be modified every level.
     
  17. Olofson

    Original Member

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    Haven't tried that - but just restarting the browser eliminated the problem here!

    (I have a lot of tabs open, and the machine is running for days and weeks on end with Firefox constantly running on one desktop - and freaking out every now and then.)

    Yeah, I know. People are complaining about Kobo Deluxe being fast and unforgiving. Not sure what they're talking about... ;)

    That said, we're not designing games for coin-op arcade machines here. (Or maybe some are, actually...? :cool:) After all, it's just entertainment - and it doesn't necessarily have to be frustratingly hard to be fun. Of course, players are different, but that's what selectable skill levels, multiplayer ranking systems and the like are for. :)
     
  18. adshead

    adshead New Member

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    Agreed. Its very interesting the different comments I have been getting from people about the difficulty. I may make it a little easier so as to make it more accessible because the game actually has quite an amusing ending (around level 10) and I'm worried people won't persist in playing it through to the end and get to see it.

    I think my next game will be far simpler - something that is not so much a game but just something you can play with like sand particles or putty!
     
  19. jpoag

    jpoag New Member

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    This is a good game with Great Potential.

    There's a point in every game where being too difficult isn't fun anymore. Games are supposed to be fun.

    Metrics
    It seems to me that the game is losing a lot of play testing information.

    I'm not seeing Google Analytics (or something comparable) on the webpage, nor am I seeing any game metric functions (with server reporting) in the code. You should be collecting user information (browser, time-on-page, referrer, outbound, etc...) and gameplay information:
    • How long on each level
    • How many deaths on each level
    • Max Level before game over
    • Number of game starts (plays)
    • Average/Max times between player movements(jump,left,right)
    • Average/Max times between player shots
    • Average/Max times between Entity kills
    • etc...

    Using playtest information, you could balance the game play so that more people get to see your 'amusing ending' without getting mad and giving up.

    Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
    Move your game play values into a global table. Have the Entities lookup the value when spawning and store it locally (in a class member) or in the prototype. This way, all of your game balancing references a single table that you can swap out for different game modes (or testing).

    Automation
    You could also do A/B testing using a server/database generated/stored table to help automate the play testing. Because each level could be thought of as discreet units, you can have play testers play the levels in different/random orders. Playing the same level over and over can skew the play testing results as the player becomes better and better.

    Leading the Blind
    When you're 'balancing' the game without concrete feedback, then you risk making the game worse. For instance, the first level was way too hard, so you halved the lives of the zombies. Now, it's boring. I simply stand there and press 'c' until all the zombies are dead. At least with the really hard zombies, I had to move every once in a while to keep a lead on them.

    Invulnerability
    I still think a invulnerability period after taking damage (1-2 secs) or spawning (3-4 secs) will solve most if not all of your game balancing issues. This is a pretty standard mechanic. I know you're shooting for the 'Jet Set Willy' style of play, but 'Jet Set Willy' didn't have a health meter. That changes the dynamic of the game.

    Modus Operandi
    You should probably also have different game modes. Easy, Normal, Insane and Timed.
    • Easy: Longer invulnerable times, lower Health for Enemies.
    • Normal: Perfectly balanced game play.
    • Insane: What you have now.
    • Timed: Insane Mode with infinite lives, but only ~20 minutes to complete the game.

    Get Social
    With game metrics in place, these game modes could produce badges for players. For instance, 'Player X reached Level 3 of Castle Creepers in Insane Mode.' Give the badge a funny little award, like a 'Rat-Kabob' or 'Dirty Sheets', add a hyperlink to your game and post the badges on Player's Facebook feeds using the Open Graph API.
     
  20. adshead

    adshead New Member

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    jpoag - Thank you very much that is really useful feedback. To address some of your points:

    Adding the level of metrics you suggest would be really useful - however it is a lot of extra work for one person so it may take some time!

    Although I don't use Google analytics my web site does have awstats and that in itself is quite useful. For example I get measurements about how long people stay on the site and that is the primary reason I decided to keep the first level easy. In hindsight it was way too hard. Although you now say its easy, for someone who has neve played before it will still provide a nice challenge as an introduction to the game. I have also made level 2 easier for similar reasons. Since doing that I have definitely seen an increase in the amount of time people spend on the site. The site has only been up less than 3 days and so far i have almost 3000 unique visitors so its a good start.

    I will definitely be looking to add more features in this and future games like social elements etc - although I haven't decided yet whether to concentrate on web or mobile phone development (or both).
    If you want to see an example of an Android game I wrote just before this game then check out Wheel of Death - but be warned its pretty gory!

    https://market.android.com/details?id=org.adshead.circus&feature=search_result

    Regards,
    Dud
     

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