Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dev log: Mothrina Engine Version 2, planning phase

First off, I'm really beginning to wonder if anyone even played my little adventure.  

In case you missed the link the first post, I'll plug it here again.  I'm starting to sound like a broken record at this point, but hey, I'm really desperate for players.

Mothrina Chapters: The Ruins of Death

I have posted it just about everywhere I can think of over the last few days, and have not heard back from anyone.  Not even a little piece of "that was fun" or "your game sux!111".

Well, ok.  One person mentioned the controls were broken on the AGK steam forums and tweaked the code to support their (strange) keyboard.  And a few other users there complemented me on releasing the source code with the game, as they could poke around and learn how to better structure a larger project.

That's all I really got though.  None of those things really let me know if the game itself is good or just tedious or makes people angry or sad or just bored.  No idea how anyone reacted to the story, no idea if I was too vague with the clues and what happens or if there was "just enough" for a thinker to piece what happened to the Ruins of Death.

Some say "Silence is Golden", but for this instance, I don't think that applies. :/

Info on version 2 if you view the full blog post.  Cut time.



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Well, just because I'm crazy(and because I need to keep busy), I've already started working on version 2 of the engine.  I'm flying blind as far as improvements, but so far I have been laying down plans and object foundations to make the month long game system much closer to what I originally had in mind for a digital version of Mothrina.

Saves are the first priority, of course.  I strongly suspect the lack of save is part of why I have not heard anything about my game, even though the quest is actually rather short.  It clocked in at 30 min to about an hour when me and my tester tried "new player" testing it, which is a little longer then most "video game checkpoints" by about 15-20 min.

Other features planned for version 2 include, in no particular order:  

-Chests of loot anyone?  Yes, that means inventory, and equipment, are in place.  You players have no idea how much of a mess this is to implement, though some of my Mothrina Pen and Paper campaigners probably have a vague idea if you remember how "loose" the equipment and items were.

-Better editor support.  The old editor is quite awful, it gets the job done for dungeon layout but that's about it, and you constantly need to refer to outside documentation when setting up events.  This whole setup could be a whole lot better.  My new editor is a bit ambitious, but will be much easier to see what you are building, less prone to building "double flickering walls of doom", and look a lot more like the finished dungeon you would be walking through.  (I am planning it to be a 3d iso view of the dungeon floor, instead of the current 2d sprites that don't even show what the floor is textured with.)

-Events that actually support spot checking as per the Mothrina rules.  That means things can be invisible till the player characters actually roll to notice them.  I'm still working out the mechanics on how exactly this will work, and when the player can "reroll" the event.

-Rolling up your own characters, instead of playing defaults, and actually managing a "guild" as a party member storage system.  The guild leader will have to take an apprentice, you, for "training" of hiring people and putting them in parties.  It's a bit of a lame excuse, but better In Character then the usual "everyone is at the local inn".  But it means you can manage parties of people without worrying about paying guild taxes or signing paperwork.  Pretty sweet deal that.

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On the first one, I was debating adding save support, click enabled navigation, selecting of enemies by sprite, and then doing a "re-release, non-contest" version that would allow people with less free time to "chip away" at the quest.

This re-release would probably be distributed as a "pay-what-you-want, even free" type of deal, with 0.00 being the minimum.  So, donation funded, in other words.  I know the adventure is short and the game really shouldn't be for much money at all, but I'd like to allow players who enjoyed it to show their support and encourage me to keep at this.  I already have a website in mind that allows this sort of deal, and allows players to "come back later" and tip me after playing.

Of course, that idea would require players to exist.  Which I only know of like, 3 of them so far.  Well, the contest site does run till Oct, when the judging reviews come out, so maybe things will pick up sometime before or around then.

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For now, since I have no idea how many people would want a "re-release with those missing features" of the first one, it's time to go onward with version 2's engine code!  

Mothrina Chapters 2: The MOTH STRIKES AGAIN

Do moths even attack people?  Maybe giant moths will attack your torch?  No, huh?  Fine, I'll try again.

Mothrina Chapters 2: The BIG ROLLING MOTHBALL HALLWAY OF DOOM

...Yeah, it's not working.

Mothrina Chapters 2: LIKE A MOTH TO A FLAME, THIS WILL BURN AND BE LAME

...So I don't have a title yet.  Bah.

The story hasn't quite sprouted it's wings.  It probably needs to hide in a drawer for a while, like mothballs.  Or maybe give it a few days to hatch.  Or maybe I just need to stop making moth related jokes because they are all clearly bland and brown and lack any bright colors.

*tumbleweeds blow by, tomatoes are raised*

Right...  I'll just show myself out for now then.  It will come to me later.  Ideas for story always do.

3 comments:

  1. Upon watching your video, I think the "delay" is in AGK simply not reacting to letting go of the key in time. I had previously thought by "delays" you meant the actual delay of the steps, like holding down W and nothing was moving for a while. Thank you for clarifying with the video what was actually going on.

    I suspect the culprit is in the way AGK is emulating a "joystick" input using the keys. I'll try making it just read raw keypresses and see if that "feels" better.

    While I can't change the contest entry download as per the rules, it is within the contest rules to offer a link to a "better, improved" version of the project in the description area, for the sake of players playing it. And I really want version 2 to have no control issues like this one. So I'll see if I can get a fix out, pronto.

    On the "30 seconds and give up" comment above(I somehow missed that one from last time): If someone can't read the instructions on the title screen, or read the readme manual upon being confused about it, arguably they are not going to enjoy playing this type of game. :p

    I think this is a case of "wrong audience" more then "the game interface is flawed".

    The audience I want is someone who will be willing to poke and experiment with things, with the patience to read text. Anyone else is probably not going to find the game mechanics long term "fun", regardless how smooth or flashy I make the interface. If I had to be blunt about it, this is a game about reading text, clicking on stuff, and using the player's imagination and thought process to understand the story of what happened here as you read more stuff. Not exactly "Candy Crush 2" material. :)

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    Replies
    1. For context (I deleted a bunch of comments of me having issues playing the game):

      There were problems with the keyboard.

      I think they all went away! :)

      Delete
  2. Commentary on your game:

    Hardware:
    32 GB DDR4 RAM, core i7 5820K @ 3.3 GHz, crossfire r290x
    Windows 7

    Aaaah, it is the return of the goblin breakdancers! Scurvy horde, the lot of them. We must obviously slay them with thunder and fire and ice and...heal?

    First off, there is no visual feedback on anything, its a bit jarring. Maybe this is a rough edge, but you need a more straightforward -> Start Here option. You forget, I am not the developer who knows what buttons to expect to press, and what starting sequence to expect.

    With combat, you need visual indicators to keep track of what is happening...right now its a bit "WALL OF TEXT". Not bad if I were playing a forum play-by-post, but not what I expect out of an RPG.

    And I think there was a glitch at the beginning of the game or something where I was in the credits instead of the actual game...may have just been me not able to read or something :P

    But yeah, game/ui needs work. Biggest suggestion is you may want to focus on gameplay/user interation, rather than trying to build fancy UIs that don't quite work. A normal user I think would have just gotten frustrated 30 seconds in and concluded the game was just broken.

    Good start though, I could see myself playing the sequel.

    ReplyDelete

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