Wonder Golf Feedback

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by cyodine, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. cyodine

    Original Member

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    I'm looking for some feedback (both good and bad) on my soon to be released game. The game is an experiment in new gameplay and involves a cross between a dice-rolling board game, a turn-based artillery game, and golf.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRWL4ibx2IA&feature=player_embedded#

    Website and more screen shots:
    www.cyodine.com/WonderGolf

    You can download the 32.5 MB demo (PC only at this time) at the website or directly from www.cyodine.com/WonderGolf/WonderGolfDemo_1.0_Setup.exe


    I'm interested in any and all feedback including for the demo, the video, and the website. Thanks! :)
     
    #1 cyodine, Feb 8, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011
  2. Dan MacDonald

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    My retinas are on fire... I can't tell the difference between the foreground, background, or game elements.... :eek:
     
  3. DayDream

    Indie Author

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    Hi David...

    I have to admit I didn't download the game just looked at the screens and the video... and that was enough for me...

    It's hard to find the right words... and I am not sure what you were thinking when you did this 'visual feast'... Looking at it from an artist's perspective it would have to rank among the worst I have seen on this forum as far as visual overkill goes... There is so much detail and colour on your screens that the gameplay get's totally lost... It's unclear what's important and what is not... It's like a 70's phsycodelic fabric pattern.... I am asking myself how you can develop and test this without going into a fit?

    I would suggest toning it down a good notch... focus on the gameplay elements and make them stand out from the background... Let the player see what he's supposed to do rather than have his eyes wonder all over the screen trying to focus on what's important... Less is more... and you really do not need to have all photoshop fill styles in your game at once...

    Sorry for being this harsh and not including my usual screenmock - but I really wouldn't know where to start...
     
  4. flavio

    flavio New Member

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    I can't test the demo (Linux here), so I've seen video and screenshots. I agree with previous comments: you'd better refine the graphics, highlighting only the key elements. On the positive side, I like the gameplay idea, imho it may be a fun and interesting game. About the site, I dislike the background of the page, but I like the choice and the arrangement of the elements you show.
     
  5. cyodine

    Original Member

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    Thanks for the responses.

    I'm wondering if the "too many visual elements" applies to both the top screen shot (world map) and the bottom one (one of the hole maps)... or just the top one. I admit I wasn't entirely comfortable mixing all the textures for world map, yet each represents a different terrain zone. I tried to at least make adjacent terrain zones not clash too much with each other. I thought about using gray / tan for the entire world map, yet it just didn't seem to fit.

    So far I haven't had any complaints about being unable to differentiate the different graphical elements in-game; a part of this may be the context. You see, the world map is kind of like a board game, with deliberately lots of graphical elements.. kind of like a map of Xeen in the old Might and Magic games.... or the play board for the Life game. Most of the elements are static (although there's particle effects and animated textures); the main gameplay elements are just the road and the player's icon on the road. The hole maps are also generally static, each like a separate painting, most telling a story. Gameplay elements such as the player and obstacle balloons tend to be mobile. The background is easy to differentiate from the foreground due to the parallax scrolling of it.

    I'm thinking the stillness of the screenshots and the lack of pixel depth in the video (especially since the player's sprite is relatively small) probably isn't helping to differentiate the different graphical elements and their role. Yet, screenshots and videos are important to generating interest, and if they're off-putting, I'll have to think about this and figure out what to do.

    Perhaps if the world map graphics were 50% larger so that less textures and objects appeared at once, the game might not then appear as visually overkill. Either that, or I could break up the world map into multiple maps therefore not all terrain zones would appear on the map at once.... and hence less textures. I could also remove the outlining around the various background sprites on the world map and have those sprites blend in with the background textures, yet the # of actual gameplay elements is pretty limited and so I wasn't sure it was really necessary in order to differentiate them, and if not, I wasn't sure it was better aesthetically. I suppose I could also use blander, less colorful screenshots and use zoom-ins for the video. Not all the hole maps are as colorful as some of the examples.

    Anyways, you've given me some valuable stuff to think about.
     
  6. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Aside from being impossible to differentiate between foreground and background, you seem to have several conflicting art styles in there and it doesn't gel, visually.

    I didn't try it because of the screenshots, either.
     
  7. dantheman363

    dantheman363 New Member

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  8. andrew

    andrew New Member

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    It just seems very random. It's a rainbow mix of colors, texture resolutions, blurry vs sharp things, perspectives (top down vs side shots), shading styles, etc. Comes off as very psychedelic, but unfortunately in a "bad acid trip" kind of way... I'm not an artist so it's hard for me to suggest constructive improvements.

    (Also, FYI many of your web links are broken, looks like there are random "../" paths embedded in things...)

    - andrew
     
  9. DayDream

    Indie Author

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    Ok... I couldn't resist... and being up at 5.30am I gave the title a quick spin... as the joker type is not really magical or wonderous but just outdated and very 90s imho...

    I tried to stick to your 'busy and somewhat crazy' feel and reworked the title screen...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Cartman

    Indie Author

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    Didn't take long for DayDream to come along. Mr. Fixit strikes again. :)
     
  11. cyodine

    Original Member

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    Hopefully the web links are fixed.

    The mockup title screen does look good, although I'm not sure about the man or the golf ball.. the main character is kind of the ball.

    I'm still figuring out how to proceed. My options are limited due to financial constraints, so I may have to tweak some stuff and do the best I can with that. Maybe despite the artwork (or because of it), people getting high might like it. Who knows. ;)
     
  12. Olofson

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    Well, doing the same thing as everyone else should logically give similar results. So, by being radically different you should either fail miserably, or be tremendously successful...! ;)
     
  13. cyodine

    Original Member

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    #13 cyodine, Feb 11, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2011
  14. lightassassin

    lightassassin New Member

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    Version 3 is the most improved in my opinion.

    For your color stick/power/aiming thing, may I suggest some different shades of colors, primary bright colors are a bit much.

    Still some color conflicts here and there, but it's an improvement, the textures you're using are still a fair bit sharper compared to other items and it shows. Don't ask me how to adjust/fix that... I can see issues, but I can't tell you what, ie. I'm a noob for art.
     
  15. dantheman363

    dantheman363 New Member

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    If you are trying to keep the game less "busy" looking, then I would suggest version 2 or 3.
     
  16. Dogma

    Dogma New Member

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    Can you explain why you have this art direction? It reminds me of the style of those monty python intro's, but clearly not as good (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rutX0I6NxU,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49c-_YOkmMU&feature=related).

    I will try to provide some feedback, it might sound a bit harsh, but I guess it is better to hear it from me now that you can still improve it instead of once you have released the game. The gameplay looks pretty solid and enjoyable. Even the art style could work if you make it very silly, like monty python, hilarious stuff could happen when you hit something.

    I do think you need an artist, the art looks completely random, did you create everything from scratch? To me, the art style looks like you went to a flea market, bought a lot of random stuff, and thrown it in a basket. I mean, what do a pyramid, a bonzai tree, balloons, a greek, a mage fox, some sort of monster and some randomly tiled clip art, all with completely different perspectives and styles have in common?

    This game can work, but you need to find an element in the art that ties it all together, or it will just remain very bad art direction.
     
  17. cyodine

    Original Member

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    Each hole has a title a that is displayed at the very beginning that describes the story (or sometimes setting) depicted by that hole. Some of these are funny or silly, some action-oriented or thought-provoking, a few almost sad, (my 4 year old nephew even considers a few to be somewhat scary) etc.. With almost 80 different themes, the aspect that holds all the different holes together is their sense of surrealism. i.e. Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, Labyrinth, Candyland, etc..


    A variety of reasons exist for the number of visuals on the hole map. Each hole is despicted on just one screen. There's no need to scroll to view all of that hole's map. The game is turn-based and so being able to absorb the entire game view in a single glance isn't necessary. Each hole also tells a story, usually involving the interaction between several different game visuals. Due to the random movement of the player on the world map (rollng dice for movement) and the repetition of the path along the world map, individual holes may be viewed multiple times throughout the game's 20 missions. I didn't consider extra detail not noticed during earlier views to be necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I was going for the detail-rich painting look. In fact, each hole map is framed with a border like in a painting. (If this was a fast paced side-scrolling, then any details that detract from game-play would be far worse. However, as a turn-based golfing game, the game-play is simplistic enough that I think the extra details enhance the game experience rather than detract.)


    The terrain textures are obviously fill patterns. I could go with a full elevation and lighting effect, perhaps use something like Bryce (although I'm still very new to it), yet the advantage of the fill pattern is that the hole maps are able to be real small in data size, like only 10k, just by storing contiguous blocks of the same texture as well as the location of any of the sprites. The small size will be useful if I support the online sharing of maps. The texture brush fill will be useful also for players if I distribute a map editor.


    As for the mismatching art style in the sprites themselves, this is indeed due to canned art, as probably suspected. Finding the right sprites to tell each hole's story seemed more important to me than conforming to a set visual style. I modified sprites that clashed too bad stylistically, yet a definite amount of different styles still exists. The themes for each hole are frequently surreal, the diversity of them itself and how they're integrated in the world map also has a surreal feel to it. I was hoping to semi-pass off the
    different art styles as being surreal as well. As for hiring an artist to try to fix things, this project really is being done with a shoe-string budget. (Even the sound effects are taken from freesoundproject.org.)


    There is a silliness to the gameplay irrespective of the theme of the maps. When you bump into most of the sprites, they do make a sound: a growl, a purr, a heh, a sigh, etc..


    "I mean, what do a pyramid, a bonzai tree, balloons, a greek, a mage fox, some sort of monster and some randomly tiled clip art, all with completely different perspectives and styles have in common?" The title of this map is "Fox Becomes the Hunter" and it depicts a wounded soldier trapped in some arena like pit with a monster. Up above, hovering over the monster, is a fox mage. That hole exists in the desert region of the world map and uses structures based on it. The tan color of the maze texture matches with desert vibe, and the maze itself somewhat symbolizes the soldier being trapped and played with like a mouse, as well as the intellectual complexity of the inhabitants (fox mage) for that hole. The gold plating texture around the border of the texture adds an extra layer of complexity and desert nobility for the inhabitants. The plants on the map help enhance this nobility by hinting at the hanging gardens, or at least depicting desert wealth. Perhaps viewing this map in the context of the other desert region maps helps illustrate choice of sprites. The balloons on that map are found on all the maps, although the balloon colors will vary depending on the hole map to better fit in with the colors there. The balloons act as mobile obstacles, yet can be popped by launching pets at them. When popped, the balloons drop coins which can be used to upgrade the pets.


    I'm content with the actual choice of themes for the holes for the most part, even if the actual sprites composing them aren't ideal. And I know trying to defend this less than ideal sprites a.k.a "bad art" as being a product of surrealism is probably pretty lame. Yet, I guess i'm just trying to do the best I can given my budget. Maybe I should have made a deep simulation or puzzle game with minimal graphics instead of this experiment in heavy clipart usage. ;)


    As for the cluttered world map, I suppose I'm still not completely happy with it. Unlike the hole maps, it is probably 2x2 screens in size and does scroll. It repeats each of the 20 missions and so lots of detail isn't necessarily a bad thing, I think, especially since the game play on the world map involves just rolling dice and moving that many tiles along the easy-to-see road tiles. The mini-sprites along the path represent the nature of the hole that each road tile is linked to via symbolism like found in Heroes of Might and Magic maps where a single creature guarding a treasure represents an entire battlefied (or perhaps a single sprite on the old Xeen maps representing several spawns of a variety of creatures related to the depicted one). I'm still toying with resizing the world map so that less features are visible at once, yet this also means a player won't be able to see as far forward or behind his current position to compare his/her location to other players or the trailing monster without scrolling the map. The world map also uses texture blocks to reduce file size. Perhaps dumping this approach and relying on a straight image for the world map would be better; I could then blend different region textures together easier. I could also then make the world map with something like Bryce.

    Anyways, I've attached a thumbnail and full sized link for several of the hole maps with the title for them (which shows up to the players during the first few seconds of each hole). Perhaps this will help illustrate at least the reasons for the sprite placements, if not their texturing / perspectives / coloring / etc.. The last few hole maps depicted show other hole maps in the same desert region so you can see how they share certain aspects, as well as perhaps why they differ in the ones they do.


    [​IMG]


    WonderGolf/images/Temp/HoleMapsWithTitles.jpg
     

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