Loco Mogul v1.2 released

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by ApeZone, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. ApeZone

    Original Member

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    I can't believe a year has passed since I originally showed Loco Mogul in the Feedback Requests forum. I've now officially released it after a LOT of changes. It's also received a graphics face lift thanks to DayDream.

    [​IMG]

    You can take a look at it here http://www.apezone.com/locomogul.php

    I originally wrote this game in Torque Game Builder (TGB), with the idea of releasing a Mac version of the game. Well, that fell through after I found the Windows version didn't run on enough test machines no matter what I tried. But I'm not here to diss TGB, far from it. I found it to be an excellent environment to prototype games. It just has too much overhead, in my opinion, for the casual games market.

    I rewrote Loco Mogul in Python after writing a Python module for the Goblin 2D+ game engine. Not something I'd recommend for the faint at heart. We'll see how that pays off. FYI, as on old C/C++ coder, Python is really nice to code in. My new philosophy is to try to write less code with the hope of releasing more games.

    Anyone else writing their games in a scripting language?
     
    #1 ApeZone, Sep 15, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  2. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    Hmm the website is ultraslow here, can't open the page :(
    The game looks very interesting. I think you made a good move dumping TGB, if you had problems in the windows version, you could have many more on mac... :eek:
    Python rules. Hope to be able to play the game soon!
     
  3. ApeZone

    Original Member

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    Really, where are you accessing the website from? Can you try again, please.
     
  4. Jack Norton

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    From Italy, still doesn't load...!
     
  5. jankoM

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    From Italy's neighbouring country website works as it should :). I am already downloading the game. I love these lighter strategy games! Screenshots look much better and even the first version looked good to me.
     
  6. Jack Norton

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    Fun, using a proxy worked. Are you blocking Italy on purpose? :D
     
  7. HarryBalls

    HarryBalls New Member

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    Site worked fine

    Hello. We were able to download the trial without any problems.
     
  8. Hideo

    Hideo New Member

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    I played the demo.

    I'm after two weeks of coding for 12 hours a day, so I wanted a bit of casual game relax. I start the game. Music is annoying to say the least. I hit play. A comic without voice overs, so I'm forced to read. The game starts. Nothing happens and I'm forced to THINK what to do. Damn, I'm going to play some match 3 stuff.

    Graphics looks nice, but music is horrible. It sounds like a cheap wild west saloon. Yes, I know it fits the theme, but you really need something better to create mood. It's a music good for brawl over a bottle of whiskey, not for making strategic decisions and thinking. It's way to fast for a strategy game too.
     
  9. AlexWeldon

    AlexWeldon New Member

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    Are you from Newfoundland, or is there another geographical region of the world where this particular grammatical quirk ("I'm after...") is used? I learned it from my Newfoundlander friends and have never heard anyone else use it.
     
  10. ApeZone

    Original Member

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    Ha, no I'm not blocking Italy ... at least I don't think I am. I'll check.

    To each their own, but I love the music. My kids now hum it. :) I think it fits the game perfectly.

    It is a very light strategy game. It does require some minor thinking, especially to read the tutorial and tip balloons. :p

    I didn't really think of getting this on any portal other than Reflexive. They have thinking games there. :D

    I come from a background of slightly more hardcore games. Trying to do more casual games is hard for me. It reminds me of doing documentation. You know, you write the app, then you're forced to document it. By the time you finish, the docs are out of date. :eek:
     
  11. Hideo

    Hideo New Member

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    I'm from Poland. How should I say it? Is this a mistake?
     
  12. bard

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    What you said makes sense, so that's fine. Strictly speaking, though, it isn't correct. But hey, that's why English is fun. Just say words, it's all good. :) Instead, you could try something like "I've been coding 12 hours a day for two weeks".

    I remember Loco Mogul from the first announcement, so I can't wait to see the changes. It's a great concept. Downloading now. :D
     
  13. MrPhil

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    I'm a big fan of trains and strategy games so I've been very interesting in this project. The demo left me cold. Which isn't what I wanted to happen. I've thought about it and here are my suggestions:

    1. Using letters to match where cars go is too difficult, try using colors.
    2. The floating hints disappear too quickly and some are unreadable because the run off screen.
    3. Because of 2 it is really hard to figure out which cars are more profitable. I think you should dump the floating away text for this and use some sort of icon.

    I was really irritated at the end of my first game when I didn't have enough money to buy out even the cheapest investor, but it really got under my skin when the game mocked me for it.

    Lastly, several times I felt robbed by the levels. I'd have like 30 seconds and then discover I was suppose to make 6X more money to get the "crappy" level. I suspect I'm missing something that is making some of my levels so short because some where longer (but I still wasn't making enough money.)

    I really think you are headed in the right direction and it could be a great game. Don't stop now. Use all the feedback you can to push it to the next level.
     
  14. ApeZone

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    Hi MrPhil. I always try to improve my games with user feedback so I appreciate the comments. In response:

    1) I'll look again. Can't remember if I tried colored letters. You have to remember that some people are color blind, so a color-only solution isn't enough.

    2) Yes, they run off the top of the screen in the worst case. I figure, you'll know more-or-less what they're saying. I'll look into slowing them down.

    3) What sort of icon would you recommend to convey relative rail car value AND relative waiting time.

    I guess I'm a fan of Monty Python so the end of game text reflects this. You really got upset? I guess humor doesn't always transfer. I'll see taking the edge off of it.

    You felt robbed by the levels? I don't understand the 30-second comment. There is no timer, unless you're talking about the demo timer. Can you elaborate on this. I don't see how a level could be shorter. Are you talking about the size of your railroad? Should I be dumbing down the goals?

    Out of curiosity, did you look at the Player's Guide. It gives you a deeper breakdown on things.
     
  15. Moose2000

    Moose2000 New Member

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    I really liked it. I played it through to the end of the demo time, and then fired it up a couple more times because I hadn't had enough yet.

    However, I didn't buy it. The list of 'full version features' at the end left me with the impression that I'd basically seen all the game has to offer. I really think you should either add more trains to be unlocked, or only make one train available in the demo version.

    Other points:

    I agree with the earlier post about the letters. Colours, icons, something more immediate, would be an improvement.

    There should be a tooltip or something showing me how much it's going to cost me to click where the mouse is.

    In general I didn't think there was enough reinforcement about the costs and rewards of everything (building different things, delivering different cargoes). I think it would benefit from something as simple as firing off the amount of money just spent/earned from the cursor as it happens.
     
  16. Red27

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    I also really enjoyed it, and can definitely see it's potential, but it also definitely needs more work and tweaking before you release it.

    I agree totally with the above comments about using colours for the stations (rather than letters), and also about using icons for relaying information about money yo'ull earn (perhaps say a tiny dollar sign, a couple of medium dollar signs or three large dollar signs as a scale).

    The exploration and track building as it stands is by far the most interesting part. The "run train" section was pretty dull if I'm honest; I really didn't know what was going on - I think you need to work on a proper tutorial section to "grab" people in. I'd suggest a very quick exploration / track build between two towns (so 30s to 1min), then a run train section that shows how the money is earned. 3 or 4 levels like that, then enter the 1st level proper.

    To illustrate my point, my 7 year old son (a member of a potentially lucrative market sector) really liked the idea of the game, but was totally confused during the "run train" section (which should be the killer part) and thus totally lost interest.

    This is not meant to be a negative critique, far from it; I think we can all just see the potential this game has and want you to make the most of it.
     
  17. Levio91

    Levio91 New Member

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  18. ApeZone

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    Thanks for all those who've commented on the game and for the plug. I appreciate it. I'll private message each of you who offers constructive advice and offer you a free copy.

    And thanks for the honest critique of the demo. I'll tweak it to make the difference between it and the full version more clear. I'll also not offer locomotives for upgrade and probably only offer 3 of the 10 levels, with a tutorial level being added.

    I'll look into making it clearer on the rewards of picking up waiting cargo too.

    I put some simple action point messages on level 1. Things like: "Send you train to the closest station with a bouncing rail car". Maybe I should reserve this for a sandbox tutorial level as you stated, but with more details.

    It's too bad about the run train phase. It's a turn-based click management model that can be quite addictive. My 6 year old loves it. I guess you need to know what to do. Again, it appears the action points on level 1 didn't do their intended job.

    Please feel free to offer some ideas on the areas that are most tricky for you. Things that you may have finally understood or if you have questions that aren't answered while playing. It seems like the reasons for the choices in the run train phase is the biggy from your comments.

    I've taken Phil's advice and colorized the station letters. Here's a quick screenshot:

    [​IMG]


    All this reminds me of when I released my first game, Starships Unlimited. Nobody was able to play it. After many suggestions and updates it eventually went on to do very well. You'd think I'd learn. The manual for Starships Unlimited is over 200 pages, though. :eek:

    thanks,
     
  19. MrPhil

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    So I played some more. What I didn't realize playing before is that the timer isn't ticking down but some how related to the trains movements! I was just clicking like mad trying to 'beat' the clock! So it was hard to read the text and figure out the next move! I'm not sure if that was just me or something to worry about in general.

    I'm not sure about the icons. I'd start with $$$ and a clock face with a red zone relative to time left.

    About the text, if a station is near the edge of the screen you can't read cause they run off the edge of the screen. For example, the 'Undo message' was completely unreadable the first time I saw it for this reason.

    Here a sort of golden rule to me: The GUI must make the important information to the decision at hand stand out and quickly be understandable. People want to make interesting choices, not sift through data.

    The screen shot looks great.

    I didn't not read the manual. It is my philosophy that manuals are for a small subset of gamers, especially at the casual level. The game should pace itself in a manner that they'll naturally learn. I think this is one of the reason 'Fairway Solitaire' is so successful. It is the best example of introducing a very complex game at the right pace and no manual is needed.
     
  20. ApeZone

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    Loco Mogul represents a transitional game for me and I guess it shows. I'm in the process of making improvements along the lines you and others suggested. Hopefully, I'll get it right.

    Interesting insight about seeing the watch and figuring you have to beat the clock. It will help me to correct that. There's a popup from the waving man that tells you about train movement and time counting down but I guess that gets missed.

    thanks,
     

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