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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:22 pm 
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I'm making a platformer and am trying to get the controls to feel right. The controls are probably the most important element of the game so getting them perfect before I start adding all the other gameplay mechanics is probably a good idea.
I'm not sure how good the controls are because I know the engine inside out and have learned how to make it do exactly what I want.


Anyone here willing to give me a hand? Just download the .exe and see how long it takes you to get a feel for the controls, and how you feel about them. Are they not responsive enough? Too responsive? Falling speed to slow? Too fast? Are the controls unintuitive?

Don't be shy with your critique; you telling me what's wrong and needs fixing can only help.

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=37NKEX1J

There's not much of a game there yet. Just a few different rooms you can change between at will, one hazard (touching it resets the room) and a "goal" which does nothing.



Controls:
Left and right arrow keys: movement
Z: jump

Spacebar: Next room
Backspace: Previous room


Pictures!
Image Image Image

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Last edited by OldSoulCyborg on Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:33 pm 
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AKA: Raxicori
Not bad, moves a bit quick, but I adjusted easy enough. The whole sticking to the wall and sliding up it thing was a little weird but once I knew how to use it I was able to breeze through the levels, not sure if you intended this or not. So in conclusion, its fast and sticky. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:23 am 
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Thanks for checking it out, and the feedback.

Yeah, it moves kind of quick. I felt it was a problem with that version but felt it was the best I could get. The problem I was having is that I felt the next step below the current speed was too slow (currently 4 pixels per frame, so 3 pixels per frame is a loss of 25% speed).


But I slowed it down anyway and made some other changes, and now I like how it controls.
So here's the new version with slower controls (plus a secret new feature!):

Download

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:14 am 
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The controls are pretty interesting, but I like them. I really like how you can scale walls, but it does make the game a bit "sticky" like Raxicori already said, as when you jump you're kinda expecting the character to fall, and he sometimes sticks. I'm sure it's something you'd get used to as you played the game (I was already getting used to it after playing the levels a few times) but it's surprising and unusual at first. Also, and I know it makes no real sense, but I'm so used to characters jumping straight up that jumping off the wall at an angle is not what I expect the character to do. I'd get used to that playing the full game, I'm sure, but when getting near the top of a ledge I kept pressing "jump" to jump over it, but my character jumped out from the wall. I have to unlearn a lot of years of unrealistic platforming now! :lol:

There is something that feels a bit off about the controls though, and I'm not entirely sure if I can pin down what it is.

Update - I played it a bit more and I think it has to do with the speed of the player. He appears to move at a constant speed when just walking, but jumping causes him to accelerate through the air, then decelerate when he hits the ground. I think that might be what is putting the controls off for me, as his normal movement speed is so fixed that it throws you off a bit when you land from a jump going just that bit faster, then instantly slowing to the usual speed.

Playing around with it a bit more, it's so quick that I might just be imagining it but it almost feels like:

If you let the arrow key go, he stops instantly.
If you press the arrow key in an opposite direction he slides ever so slightly before overcoming the inertia, rather than instantly changing direction.

I was sliding the character back and forth quickly to check that out, so I could just have ended up imaging it, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

It's nice overall, though, and a nice little engine. What version of Game Maker are you using? I had to create a Zelda game within a few weeks last year, and really hated Game Maker at first as it seemed to make everything far harder than it should be, but I grew quite fond of it by the time I was finished. It's a pretty awesome little program. :wub:


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:02 am 
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Did you play the first or second version?


Quote:
when you jump you're kinda expecting the character to fall, and he sometimes sticks


I should probably make it a prerequisite for "sticking" that you're actively moving towards the wall when you touch it.

Quote:
Also, and I know it makes no real sense, but I'm so used to characters jumping straight up that jumping off the wall at an angle is not what I expect the character to do.


:shock: Not played N? Or any platformers with walljumps in them?

Quote:
He appears to move at a constant speed when just walking, but jumping causes him to accelerate through the air, then decelerate when he hits the ground.


That's intentional, supposed to be a kind of forward leap (if you're traveling fast enough). Also the faster you're moving the lower your jump will be.
I'm going to have to adjust it a bit because it isn't working exactly how I want it to (when it feels natural to players is when it's how I want it to be).

Quote:
Playing around with it a bit more, it's so quick that I might just be imagining it but it almost feels like:

If you let the arrow key go, he stops instantly.
If you press the arrow key in an opposite direction he slides ever so slightly before overcoming the inertia, rather than instantly changing direction.


You're not imagining anything. I hadn't noticed it myself and was a bit puzzled at first trying to figure out what was causing it.
I check to see if neither of the arrow keys is pressed, then I apply slowdown to the player's movement. The slowdown was a little sudden (took like 2-3 frames to get back to 0 from full speed) so I made it more gradual.
The thing is, if you go immediately from running in one direction to running in the other the slowdown doesn't get a chance to kick in; what happens instead is the acceleration you get from pushing the opposite direction arrow key (which was a smaller force than the slowdown) slows the movement down.

Quote:
What version of Game Maker are you using?


8.0 Pro.


How does it feel to press towards the wall to climb? I wanted to keep the controls as simple as possible, but was worried people would find it odd and would rather press the up arrow key to climb the walls.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:04 pm 
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OldSoulCyborg wrote:
Did you play the first or second version?

The second one.

Quote:
:shock: Not played N? Or any platformers with walljumps in them?

I have, but I didn't feel like I was walljumping when playing your game, more like climbing up it, as if on a ladder. When Mario, or the N Ninja, is stuck against the wall you expect them to kick away because they can't climb up it, but as it's so easy for your guy to just climb straight up I kept expecting him to jump in the same direction.

Quote:
How does it feel to press towards the wall to climb? I wanted to keep the controls as simple as possible, but was worried people would find it odd and would rather press the up arrow key to climb the walls.


It's nice, so I don't think I'd change it to needing the up arrow.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:38 pm 
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Quote:
I didn't feel like I was walljumping when playing your game, more like climbing up it, as if on a ladder. When Mario, or the N Ninja, is stuck against the wall you expect them to kick away because they can't climb up it, but as it's so easy for your guy to just climb straight up I kept expecting him to jump in the same direction.


Hopefully when the animations are in place it'll make more sense since you'll have an action you can connect the motion to.


Here's two new versions. I realized the movement as it was before was a little too much for the game I'm making so I toned everything down a bit.

Test 3: Download

Test 4: Download

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:58 pm 
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Yeah, an animation would most likely clear up that confusion.

Those two links aren't working for me at the moment. Megaupload gives me a "The file you are trying to access is temporarily unavailable." message. :cry:


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:13 pm 
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The Alchemist Penguin wrote:
Those two links aren't working for me at the moment.


I'm getting that too. Strange.
Test 4 is working for me though...

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:51 am 
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Movement animations are done. They're a little rough (and so tiny!) so they'll probably go through some changes before the end, but they're functional.
The exit is also functional, so touching it should transport you to the next level.

Test 5: Download

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:43 am 
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The lack of attention this has been getting has driven me to drastic measures.

I have recorded a video of the current version of the game and uploaded it to Youtube! There's a few small hint of what the game is all about to be found in the video.




I just need to make a few more levels/rooms, and implement one or two things and then I'll upload a new version for you guy(s) to try out.

In the meantime I would love some comments on the last test I uploaded. I think it's pretty much the exact same movement code I've got now and all or most of the animations.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:35 pm 
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Yeah, the animations really improved it. It felt really nice bouncing around the place now, really smooth.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:48 pm 
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Thanks! Not just for the nice words about my work, but for coming back!

Work has been progressing steadily on this. There's sound effects and music and all kinds of cool new stuff. I should have an update to this ready for download later tonight.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:15 pm 
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Here's the link (takes a while to process so may not be available just yet):

Download:Demo

The final game will start out easier, have way more levels (100+), have more hazards (ones which are active), more music (the further you get in the game the more intense the music) and it will be housed in something that looks like this:
Image


Things I'd like feedback on:

Are the sounds/music appropriate? Do they feel right compared to the rest of the experience?

Any particular levels you feel stand out due to:
  • Fun
  • Challenge (i.e. too difficult)
  • Not good enough

Discover any bugs?

Anything you feel might work better, ideas and suggestions, whatever.



The controls are the same as before (left and right arrow keys for movement and climbing and Z to jump), with one secret addition.
Oh, and you can press Shift to turn off the music.

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Last edited by OldSoulCyborg on Sun Oct 24, 2010 2:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:21 am 
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I couldn't hear any music, maybe because I didn't get far enough? Although it is pretty hard to get far within 30 seconds! The "depositing loot" system is pretty addictive too. I did notice that the icon you use for the deposit appears behind the spikes, but that was the only bug I could see. The actual gameplay seemed solid.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 1:01 am 
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The Alchemist Penguin wrote:
I couldn't hear any music


:fp:

I know exactly why. I load the track externally and forgot that I had, so all I uploaded was the .exe (instead of zipping the .exe along with the /Music folder).

Updated version

The Alchemist Penguin wrote:
Although it is pretty hard to get far within 30 seconds!


It may not have been 100% clear, but you get 5 seconds for clearing a level, as well as for depositing loot (more loot = more time) I'm trying to strike a balance here; you can try and clear the level as fast as possible, but that nets you very little score, or you can go for the gold which takes precious seconds. You don't get extra time or score immediately for collecting the gold though so it can be very risky (especially if you die and lose it all!).

What's the furthest you've gotten? There's only 9 levels in total (though at this stage they loop back to the first).

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:25 pm 
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Forgot to mention this:
Enter - Go to the next level.
Backspace - Go to previous level.

Should make testing easier.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:17 am 
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New version up:
Download!

So what's new?
Well, for starters it has partially improved graphics. The graphics themselves are actually very much improved, but only in the first level.

It's also easier. Sooo much easier.
Says the guy who made the game and has no problems whatsoever running and jumping through even the later levels. But I did just get a score of 52085. I probably cycled through all 9 levels 5 or 6 times. Eventually I just stopped playing and let the timer run out.

You get one extra second for completing a level (meaning 6 seconds in total), and there's way more gold/loot in the levels and one or two more multiplier gems.

---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----

What's next?
I'm working on a few new hazards.
One is a cannon that fires a bomb at you if you're close enough to it and it can "see" you. The bomb is set off after bouncing off a surface and it explodes a moment later. It kills either on direct contact or if the explosion gets you. It'll take a while to get this working right as I have to figure out how to make it accurate enough; if the player stands perfectly still the cannon will hit every time, no matter where the player is (so long as there are no obstructions).
I'm also thinking of a variation on this that shoots an arrow at the player.

I also need to just make more levels. I'll be splitting the levels up into four difficulty settings (each with its own unique visual theme and music):
  • Easy - about 12 levels - you'll play through about 6 randomly selected levels before moving onto medium
  • Medium - about 16 levels - you'll play through about 8 randomly selected levels before moving onto hard
  • Hard - about 30 levels - you'll play through about 12-15 randomly selected levels before moving onto brutal
  • Brutal - about 100 levels - each level you play is randomly selected and you play on this difficulty until game over


As you progress through the game you'll move on from Easy to Medium and from Medium to Hard and finally from Hard to Brutal. The goal is to have Brutal be so difficult the player has to keep moving all the time, collecting gold and gems (or not if he's low on time) and getting to the exit as fast as he can. A lot of the work on the game will be in balancing it right to make sure players can't just stockpile extra time in the easier stages and breeze through the harder difficulties. I also have to try and make it so that a single death isn't necessarily the end even if you're playing on Brutal (while also making sure that even if you are doing really well on Brutal you don't have minutes and minutes of extra time to waste).

---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----

Okay, so this topic isn't really getting the attention I was hoping for. It doesn't help that it's in the least active part of the forum... would it be frowned upon if I advertised this topic (one-time only, no reposts or bumps) in General Gaming?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:33 pm 
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What did you code it in?

I have to say I feel jealous because I can never get myself together to get any where with making a game or any kind of decent programming.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:44 pm 
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lex-man wrote:
What did you code it in?

I have to say I feel jealous because I can never get myself together to get any where with making a game or any kind of decent programming.


I'm using Game Maker.

It's fairly simple to use, but it's still something you have to learn and try to understand and that's neither quick nor easy. It's taken me several failed/abandoned projects and a couple that I finished, over about a year and a half of using it, to get me to this level. And I still have problems doing the simplest things.

Don't let that dissuade you though. If you want to give it a try. Just remember to keep it simple, and keep at it. It may be hard to let go of some grand idea that you've had in mind for a while (if you have one), but you pretty much need to if you want to learn. You don't ever start at the top.

You can sign up at the Game Maker forums and ask the regulars there for advice.

http://gmc.yoyogames.com/

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