XSpelunker (new MSXDev'17 entry)

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Por wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

imagem de wyrdwad

27-08-2017, 05:47

Hey Santi, I had a chance to play the game for an hour or so now, and I have some feedback, if you're interested.

First, I wanted to say that the game itself is pretty addictive and fun, and though I do have some criticisms, I'm by no means trying to put down you or your project -- it's awesome, and you're awesome for making it! Wink But there are definitely a few issues I have with it that I think could make it a better game if improved upon.

First of all, the hit/collision detection in this game is really off. Rather than getting right up against a wall, you're always stopped pretty far away from it, which makes it hard to maneuver quickly when you're under attack by a lot of enemies. This also makes dropping off of platforms hard to judge, since you can literally find yourself standing on thin air NEXT to a platform because its collision extends so far out beyond its edge. I think if this were improved upon, the game would feel a lot more intuitive to play.

Second, the jumping! I have a few issues with the jumping, but my biggest is jumping off of vines. Double-tapping up to jump off of vines is really, really imprecise when using a controller, and I've found myself dropping the controller and just moving over to the arrow keys on my keyboard whenever I've had to do it, because it's just... really unintuitive and easy to screw up. In fact, a good number of hits I've taken from enemies were a direct result of me being unable to do this quickly enough when being chased by bees or trying to dodge monkey projectiles, which is very frustrating. If I may make a suggestion: since you can't attack while climbing a vine, why not make button 1 (the A button) function as a jump button when your character is climbing? That way, there'd be no need to double-tap up while also trying to hold right or left (which is extremely finicky on a controller), and I imagine it would also free up a few bytes of code on your end (since double-tapping a direction requires more than one operation to check for). It's win-win!

I also think the jumping in general doesn't really "feel" all that intuitive. Now, to be fair, this is something that's true of a lot of games of this type (Maze of Galious and La-Mulana, for example, have very stiff jump arcs that are hard to get used to), but other similar indie games like Caos Begins and Ghost show that jumping can be made very fluid in these types of games. The biggest issue is that when you do a long jump, you're mostly locked into that jump arc, and when you do a shallow jump, you have very little horizontal movement at all, which makes it very easy to misjudge a jump and either ram into an enemy or fall too far and take fall damage, feeling helpless to do anything about it the entire time you're in the air. I think it would make the game a lot more fun if jumping were fully controllable in mid-air, allowing players to move left and right however they see fit even after they've left the ground. This would allow you to pull off some pretty cool aerial maneuvers, and the added freedom it would grant to players would make traversing the game's landscapes a lot more fun IMHO.

And some general quality-of-life improvements I'd suggest:

  • You currently have it set to auto-select the knife after you've used a bomb, stone, or arrow, but I kind of think it might be good to keep the bomb, stone, or arrow highlighted in these situations, since chances are, your first one may have missed, or you'll need to hit an enemy more than once, and it's really difficult to re-select the weapon you want when you're being chased by enemies.
  • I keep winding up in levels where there are FOUR MONKEYS spawned on the same vine, which is pretty much an impossible situation to get around without taking damage. I really think it would be best to limit the number of monkeys that can spawn on a single vine to two instead -- but that might just be me!
  • When you say there are 12 stages, do you mean 1-1 through 12-4, or 1-1 through 3-4? Like, are you counting one stage as everything from 1-1 to 1-4, or is each of those sub-stages one of the twelve total stages in this game? Because if it's the former, and there are actually 12 x 4 = 48 stages, then I think the "perma-death" system you had in mind will preclude most people from ever seeing this game through to the end, since it's so challenging and frustrating. I would suggest adding in at least a continue system if you get all the way through the four subsections of each stage, if not a password system to continue even after turning the game off. Honestly, even if there are only three stages with four subsections each, I think having a continue system might be kind of nice, as I really don't see myself ever beating stage 2-1 otherwise (I keep getting there with one or two health, and very quickly dying). And I've always said that it's better to make your game too easy than too frustrating!

Anyway, those are my main suggestions on ways to potentially improve the player experience here. I really do like what you've done with it either way, though, and will certainly play again!


Por Pippo

Hero (521)

imagem de Pippo

27-08-2017, 09:49

Simply wonderful, Santi!! Big smile Big smile
You did a magnificent work, really! Big smile
My real congratulations.
Please, go on this way. Smile

Por santiontanon

Paragon (1636)

imagem de santiontanon

27-08-2017, 10:28

Thanks for the feedback guys!! Big smile

@wyrdwad: wow, thanks!!! That's exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for at this point! Smile
- About the collision: yes, it takes a bit to get used to. The problem is that I do collisions at 8x8 block level to save some bytes of code. But if I can save space from somewhere else, I'll definitively look into doing pixel-level collision. It's been in my "improvements" list for a while (which is quite long, but I only have 1 byte left at this point! hahaha)
- About jumping/dropping on vines: hmmm, ok, I play with keyboard, so, I didn't realize that'd be hard with a controller. Your suggestion of using "button 1" for jumping off vines is very interesting though! how about double tapping left/right for dropping? was that hard too?
- About the jump: I've been considering that for a while. Fully controllable jumping is actually easier to implement, so, this "inertia" jump is basically an experiment. I got used to it at the end, but it people find it cumbersome, I'd be happy to move to a simpler jump where you have full control.
- About the # of stages, no, no, it's just 3 sections of 4 stages. So, 12 total. It takes about 7 - 8 minutes to beat once you master the game Smile

But, really, really thank you, this is great feedback, all noted down for the next version! but I first need to optimize some space, to fit it all Smile

Por wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

imagem de wyrdwad

27-08-2017, 10:53

Double-tapping to drop wasn't a problem, actually. Really, double-tapping up to jump off the vines wasn't a problem either, as long as I only wanted to do a "shallow jump" without much distance (though I did keep accidentally grabbing the vine again half the time, which was kind of annoying!) -- it's just if I wanted to do a jump with any kind of distance to it that I found it nearly impossible to pull off reliably with a controller, since you can't hold right or left while double-tapping up on a standard D-pad -- you have to kind of double-tap the diagonals and hold left or right on the second tap, but if your timing is off even a little bit, it doesn't work and you end up doing a shallow jump instead.

Glad my feedback was helpful, though!


Por Sandy Brand

Champion (279)

imagem de Sandy Brand

27-08-2017, 11:44

Oh, good job, looks like a fun game! Smile

Por Hydragon

Paladin (718)

imagem de Hydragon

27-08-2017, 15:25

santiontanon wrote:

@Hydragon: That'd be awesome! Smile

Currently still live streaming on Twitch, but letting you know I also just had my first gameplay attempt of Tales of Popolon, which took me over an hour to explore and eventually finish the game, it's an amazing piece of work.

Por gdx

Enlighted (5508)

imagem de gdx

27-08-2017, 16:39

Nice game!

wyrdwad wrote:

I've always said that it's better to make your game too easy than too frustrating!

A game too easy is not fun. xspelunker is not too difficult. The movements a bit rough of the character just needs a little improvement especially when the character climbs the rope.

Por wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

imagem de wyrdwad

27-08-2017, 21:14

gdx wrote:

A game too easy is not fun. xspelunker is not too difficult. The movements a bit rough of the character just needs a little improvement especially when the character climbs the rope.

I don't necessarily agree that a game that's too easy isn't fun -- I've had plenty of fun with some PATHETICALLY easy games in the past! -- but either way, I do get what you're saying. I also think that a game which gives you one life and no continues, however, is a little TOO unforgiving, and generally crosses that fine line between challenging and player-hostile. It's appreciated by some gamers, sure, but I think it's a big turn-off for more gamers than not.

That said, my suggestion to include a continue system was more if the game had 48 levels, in which case I think most of you guys would agree with me that a continue/password system is needed. If it only has 12, then you can pretty much disregard that particular suggestion, since it's totally fine as-is challenge-wise.


Por santiontanon

Paragon (1636)

imagem de santiontanon

27-08-2017, 23:20

@Hydragon: nice!!! I hope you enjoyed it! Big smile

As for easy/hard/etc. I'd like the game to be hard. But definitively not unfair. So, I've noted down a few things you guys said here, and a few others that some friends gave me after playing today, and I'm going to do some adjustments (e.g., set upper bounds on certain enemy spawning functions, etc.). I also want to play around with player control on ropes/vines.

I'll post updates here Smile

Por Manuel

Ascended (18794)

imagem de Manuel

27-08-2017, 23:43

This looks like quite something I've never seen before on MSX. The scrolling, the details of the levels, the complexity, the freedom of the player to roam... Yep! This could be a winner. You should really consider expanding the game engine a bit for a larger game, after the competition!

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