[Feedback Request] "PlayDetective: Heartbreakers" Beta

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by ZuluBoy, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. ZuluBoy

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    Hi guys,
    I have been working on a game called "PlayDetective: HeartBreakers".
    It is an adventure game where you play the role of a private detective investigating infidelity in relationships.

    Here are the screenshots:
    Screen1 - Screen2 - Screen3 - Screen4 - Screen5 - Screen6 - Screen7 - Screen8 - Screen9 - Screen10 -
    Screen11 -
    Screen12 -
    Screen13 -
    Screen14 -
    Here is a video of the game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjYpRYTFI08.
    The video is not smooth and has a poor quality.
    In fact it is just a preview of the game, the most important part of the gameplay is not shown in this video.

    The game is in beta stage, and I need some feedback on the UI, fonts and graphics.

    Here is a link the demo version:
    PlayDetective:HeartBreakers Demo

    P.S: You can also post your comments on my blog
     
    #1 ZuluBoy, Jun 26, 2006
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2006
  2. RohoMech

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    so, in terms of the fonts, any chance you could AA them? They look fine, its easy to read them, but I think they'd look much nicer if they were blended onto the screen better.

    I think the characters look okay, cg people like that sometimes look really nice, but then also in certain poses look freakishly like a zombie.

    However, the houses and stuff look terrible in comparison. Like, the two styles of art seem different, I think if you could add more detail to the houses, streets, etc, your game will just have a much nicer feel to it.

    Anyways, I looked for a beta demo link on your blog, couldn't find it, so thus only comments on the pics you posted.
     
  3. ZuluBoy

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    RohoMech, thanks for your feedback.

    I agree, Anti-Aliasing is needed for the fonts. BTW I am using freetype as the font engine.

    A link to the demo will be available by the end of this week.
     
  4. RohoMech

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    freetype eh? I haven't heard of it, but did a quick search, it seems pretty nice. I think it said it can do AA fonts, I'll have to check it out, thanks!
     
  5. ZuluBoy

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    Demo version

    Hi,
    Here is a link to the demo version of the game:
    PlayDetective:Heartbreakers Demo

    The mimimum spec. to run the game is:
    - Windows 9x, Me, NT, 2000, XP
    - DirectX 7.0
    - MMX enabled CPU

    This demo contains a tutorial that you guys should try out. Please note that the tutorial is incomplete, and only shows 20% of the gameplay.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, but the most important things I need to know are:

    - How does it run on your machine ?
    - How is the graphics/sounds/UI ?
    - Is the tutorial easy to understand/follow ?

    Thanks.
     
  6. Maupin

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    I played for about 15 minutes, until the tutorial got stuck in a loop telling me to click "Next" again and again (outside Simon's office just after I found the money). I tried to play again, but "New Game" did nothing and I didn't want to go through the tutorial again.

    There doesn't seem to be a way to speed up the "typing" of the tutorial text, so if there's a lot one has to wait for it to be typed out. (The regular game text is friendlier, and stops typing and displays itself instantly if one clicks the mouse button.)

    I noticed some strange/awkward English: "This is how a typical ingame scene looks like." "Simon arrives to work."

    To be brutally honest, the biggest problem is that as far as I got, I didn't see anything that looked fun. That's my opinion... and I didn't see everything in the game, but there you go. It also doesn't make sense to me that the investigating tools (single shot camera ???, phone call from client, wiretap) all cost $800 each.
     
  7. RohoMech

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    I tried the tutorial as well, but it was a LOT of text, and sorta hard to read tiny text at that, so I was skipping most of it. I liked how you had the blinking indicator of where to click next, and you forced people to go through stuff, but the tutorial looks like its very long, I don't think people are going to sit through it :-(

    It does seem like you have an interesting idea, I just don't know if it'd fit with most casual game players...

    btw, "evidences" should be just "evidence"
     
  8. ZuluBoy

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    Thanks Maupin and RohoMech.

    I agree.
    The reason is that I am still writing the tutorial (20% completed).
    I posted the demo to get an early feedback. Now I understand that I should have waited until it is 100% completed.

    What if instead of having one long tutorial, I make several short sub-tutorials, will it help?

    What makes you think so? Could you please elaborate?
     
  9. TimS

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    My notes while playing the demo:

    1.) - Main Menu screen: guy with the magnifying lens, the badge, and the other two things look like they are all from different games. Sticking to one style of art will help.

    2.) - Overall the menu screen(s) look like programmer art. (After checking the credits I realized that they ARE programmer art... as is the rest of it. This should be avoided at all costs in non-freeware land, unless your programmer art doesn't look like placeholder stuff.)

    3.) - Main Menu music is WAAAY too repetitive. (all of what I mentioned about programmer art applies for programmer music / sound, also)

    4.) - "New Game" does nothing? (after reading the notes in this thread about the completeness of the game, I guess this one doesn't much matter... but if you ARE going to force the player through the tutorial once, make sure to tell them.)

    5.) - Now, into the tutorial game interface. There's popup windows that go away when I click. There's a yellow square thingy also popping up here and there. If I don't click, the windows very slowly fill up with some amount of text, accompanied by an EXTREMELY slow typing sound. Initial impression to the beginning of the tutorial was, "wha?"

    5a.) - popup windows are an ok way to do a tutorial, but make sure that they don't make you want to kill yourself when you're being taught the game. I literally read about 2 before I started clicking like a madman to get them to go the hell away. The text should scroll onto them WAAY faster than it does at the moment, and if the user clicks the mouse while it is still scrolling, it should finish instantly. Then if you click again, it should go away. This is pretty standard "text-in-videogames" behavior since the NES days... no reason to innovate here.

    5b.) - Use a real typing sound if you want it to sound like typing. The sound you have is about one keystroke per displayed word... which is just odd.

    6.) - When the first character model (the woman) popped up onto the screen, I think I said something akin to "Sweet Jesus". Out loud. This is after I was already somewhat prepared since I'd seen her in the screenshot. In my opinion (and I'm no art guru... this is one programmer to another here...) those characters need to go. I think all of the art could stand to be reworked by a game artist, but those people will give your potential customers nightmares. Sorry to be harsh (I seem to say that a lot around here... ) but it's just my opinion on the matter.

    7.) - All of the above lead me to furiously clicking my way through what was probably a tutorial, and then when the game "started" I figured I would just explore with the UI and click on stuff and try it out, but nothing seemed to do much of anything. By the time I got to this point (shortly after the "bye honey" scene) I was running for the door.

    8.) - I found the door quickly and intuitively. There's a positive comment!

    So I guess to sum up... find an artist partner (maybe one that can double as a UI designer?) to add to the credits and everything may work out in the end. The game itself could be the most fun experience ever created, but those who download the demo will never witness it when confronted with the above mentioned issues. I hope I've not been discouraging... I mean, you have a LOT more than a lot of people already done... Just needs to be spruced up a bit.

    Thanks and bring it back later! (also let me know if you need me to be more specific about any of my gripes)

    -Tim
     
  10. ZuluBoy

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    Thanks Tim.
    What do you have against the characters?:confused: they don't look natural or what? :)
    BTW, the characters were made using Poser 5.0.

    No, not at all!!! You offered a very constructive criticism.
     
  11. TimS

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    Well there's your first problem. A good rule of thumb when creating people models is: don't use Poser. OK that might be an extreme overexaggeration, but Poser people typically are identifiably Poser people... and a good sign of bad art is when it is obvious what tools were used to create it. (This often has to do more with the artist. For instance, a LOT of digital painters will use poser to pose a human form, and then paint over it to get the look they want, which turns out great... but Poser... especially older versions... shouldn't be used for finished characters in my opinion.)

    Unnatural sums it up, but doesn't do it justice. They're just creepy in a lot of ways. Both characters look like they share a bad hairpiece... but are shaded extremely oddly (like the dark top of the female's collar... ) That collar, by the way... looks more like one of those plastic bells vets use to keep dogs from gnawing out their stiches than it looks like cloth of any kind. The eyes are "back-from-the-grave"... I think that's a big part of it.

    -Tim
     
  12. ZuluBoy

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    Thanks Tim.

    Why not? I am neither the first nor the last indie that has used Poser.
    A good example is Kudos from Cliffski. It uses Poser characters, and anyone can find a lot of "defects" in them.
    I don't think players will really care about those minor visual defects as long as the gameplay is ok.
     
  13. TimS

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    Exactly. The characters in Kudos ALSO look kinda creepy, for the most part. His characters are still orders of magnitude closer to "human" than the shots seen here. Sure you still get primarily creepy-eyed slightly alien people, but his are more passable due to texturing, lighting, etc. I think it may have something to do with what version of Poser is being used, or experience with using it. It isn't just me either (it may not be everyone, mind you)... I showed the screenshots of your game and Kudos to my girlfriend and she also said that the people looked wrong and unsettling.

    Also -- cliffski's use of Poser is in tune with the program's strength (posing people, oddly enough). Where the eyes might look a bit off, the postures and poses that are visible of each character throughout look very natural. I'm not sure how many individual pictures of your Poser people show up throughout your game, but if you're primarily using it for headshots (and a small number of them), it wouldn't cost that much (if anything) to get some nice pictures done by an artist. Production values go up, amateur look goes down (or away entirely if this step is repeated for the rest of the art... ;) ) How can that be a bad thing?

    -Tim
     
  14. RohoMech

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    I think several tutorials would help out, it won't feel so long and people will feel like they are making progress.

    In terms of casual players, I think most casual players only play for 5-10mins at a time or so, like, they aren't going to sit down and play for 30 minutes. Also, your game seems like it'd have a lot of reading in it, which, reading is almost like work :p
     
  15. ZuluBoy

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    Demo version

    Hi guys,

    I have finally managed to complete the demo version of the game.
    The official site is www.playdetective.com there you can find the latest screenshots and a video of the game. The demo version can also be downloaded from there.

    You can post you comments here or on my blog.

    Thanks.
     
  16. Rainer Deyke

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    The graphics, in particularily the character portraits, are painfully ugly. I actually had to cover the character portaits with my hand in order to read the text in the screenshots without being distracted by the freakishly ugly character portraits. If you can't replace them with better art, you can still improve the game by removing them and leaving a blank space. They are that ugly.

    I lost interest in the game when I found out that the gameplay involves cliche casual mini-games as opposed to real detective work.
     
  17. linchear

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    I was just watching the Demo on YouTube and noticed during the scrambled picture puzzle, there were portions of black tiles that looked identical. The demo player was swapping black spots back and forth, until they solved the puzzle. That to me would be really annoying.
     
  18. ZuluBoy

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    I agree that the art can/should be improved but, on the other hand, the majority of the people who saw the screenshots think that the art is "OK" for a game.

    It seems that you haven't played it because in the game you actually do a real detective work ( collecting evidences using phone calls, eavesdrop devices, cameras ).
    In fact, the casual mini-games ( match-3, mixup puzzle, text message cryptograms, quiz) are just means of earning money.

    I will try to fix that ASAP.
     
  19. impossible

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    Who is the majority? Its clearly not the majority of people that have commented here. If its just friends and family members... I'd say "OK" means they think its bad and don't want to hurt your feelings. Even if it isn't, just having "OK" graphics doesn't really fly, trust me I know :).
     
  20. Rainer Deyke

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    True. If the purpose of the demo is to sell the full game, then the purpose of the screenshots is to sell the demo. Your screenshots failed to convince me to download the game.
     

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