[Feedback] Jeweltopia Beta 2

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by soniCron, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. soniCron

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    Even if you have already tested the previous version, this second beta has changed dramatically from the first and may be worth your while. Thanks! :)

    Okay. You guys tested the first beta and let me know all the technical issues. I've fixed most of them (a couple still elude me) and spent a great deal of my time focusing on the gameplay. The gameplay has been completely revamped (using the core mechanics that were already there), and this is mainly what I want feedback on this time around.

    Download the setup (~7MB)

    Screenshots: (same as last time around)
    http://www.solaristudios.com/jeweltopia-beta/1.jpg
    http://www.solaristudios.com/jeweltopia-beta/2.jpg
    http://www.solaristudios.com/jeweltopia-beta/3.jpg
    http://www.solaristudios.com/jeweltopia-beta/4.jpg

    Notes:
    While beta 1 was released for technical testing (did it run? did it run well?), the comments about gameplay were mainly a sanity check. Many suggestions have been implimented, and a lot of time has gone into structuring the gaming experience to be pleasant and enjoyable. I still want to know about bugs, but my main concern now is with the new method of gameplay and the related difficulty and progression. PLEASE REMEMBER this is designed for the casual audience, SO IT IS GOING TO BE EASY! The tricky part for you to master will be knocking out high scores on the later levels. (If you're an advanced player, try playing "Endless" from level 11 up and try for scores of 150K+)

    Known Issues:
    • Couple swapping bugs where jewels end up in odd places
    • Presentation hasn't been changed much (clarified gaming rules and fixed the tutorials so you actually understand the game, this time) -- presentation comes next round (beta 3)
    • Still only 3 songs (save you the huge download)
    • Lenght of levels ramps up over time, but when it gets up there, it really gets up there! Upper levels can take 15-20 minutes (maybe more) to complete. As it stands, I'm handling the progression linearly, and it's far more suited for a curve. This is under works.

    I believe the speed problem has been destroyed. Please let me know if you were previously unable to run it, and now can. Also, please let me know how it runs on your sub 1GHz machine.

    Okay, I've said enough! Off with you! :)
     
    #1 soniCron, Mar 9, 2006
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2006
  2. Sirrus

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    MUCH better in my opinion...

    The pacing of the game moves much faster and allows you to really get into it, instead of just waiting for new gems to fall.

    The timing of the Refill is good - gives you new gems at just the right time to keep the gameplay moving - BUT - I saw the words "Refill" waay to often :)
    Maybe remove that text for levels past the first five or so?
    At that point, they will know what the game is doing...

    In any case, you've definately made good changes here so far - its quick paced, gem matching with a twist that should entice non-casual gamers as well.
     
  3. Nexic

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    This is WAY better than the previous version, the snappy swaps make it much more exciting. However I still think the smiley face mechanic needs changing as I suggested before. I still also feel that horizontal swap make the game feel too restrictive.

    Oh and quite often I couldn't really see anymore moves because I had so little blocks left. How about some extra logic? If you go for so many seconds without making any swaps and you have below a certain number of blocks in play the next row instantly drops?
     
  4. soniCron

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    The smilies will be dealt with during the next iteration and I'll be exploring the alternative swapping mechanic as well. (The smilies should at least be flying up to and refilling the hold meter. Are they doing this?)

    Interesting. That logic exists. If you have fewer than 12 blocks and they're stacked no higher than 5 high, then it'll drop two rows and fill your holds for good measure. Was this behavior not happening for you?

    Thanks for taking the time to try out this second beta! I know it's hard to get excited about multiple beta releases, but I think this is enough of a change to warrant attention. Again, thanks for the great feedback and your time! :)
     
  5. svero

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    It's getting better. I think it still needs quite a bit of work before it's ready to release though, but definitely headed in good directions.

    I like the music but I found it kind of loud and annoying for background music. Id tone the default volume on it down and definitely add some volume dragger options.

    I also find those in game help windows a little in the way at times. I think I'd prefer a more traditional hint popup with a "dont show me this again ever!" checkbox for those.

    In game there needs to be more emphasis and direction regarding what's going on. On the one hand it all seems to be there. You get some shapes.. hearts flow in the meter and then it fills and the number on the right goes down etc.. and yet for some reason, and Im not quite sure how to fix this exactly, but there seems to be a disconnect between what I do as I play and what happens on the screen. Whem Im in danger I dont FEEL im in danger. When Im winning or doing well i dont FEEL like im doing well. Compare that to chuzzle where.. if I eliminate some chuzzles they go into that bottle. That bottle filling up sound is so striking and in you face. It's very clear without thinking about it what's going on there. In your game I lack that feeling. And then when the bottle fills up and they all flow out with the oooo sound. Your game.. nothing.. just immediately cuts to a screen with a medal. I dont feel like I've really accomplished. Its just a little rough around the edges on that stuff. If you can make all that right in the player's face and dead obvious I think you could have a winner.

    Also Im wondering if you ever considered right clicking to turn your swapper into a verticle swapper. (and vice versa) Maybe that ruins some later play stuff or makes it more cloney, but I felt as a player that I rally wanted to do that.
     
  6. tolik

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    Smoother and nicer! Will require rebalancing since random clicking in 10 levels gave me gold.
    With random fast clicking came glitches (see attachement).
    This will be tough to fix, especially if I'll try to run some resource consuming garbage in the background that will make the game run jerky.
    Now the game is polished so well, that low quality music stands out even more.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Nexic

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    I didn't notice it happening, though when I did get 'stuck' I remember having one column that stood quite high (maybe more than 5). Perhaps you could raise that?
     
  8. papillon

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    Huge improvement. This was much more fun, and I wouldn't have stopped playing to post yet except that you still can't alt-tab, so I had to! :)

    I think you need to find a way to add one more bit of info to the instructions, though, which should solve Nexic's problem of feeling restrictive and not being able to make any more moves - show the player that they can swap horizontally with a blank space! Horiz swap only is really not restrictive at all, once you start knocking unwanted blocks out of your stack.

    It's something that doesn't occur to the brain right away as a valid option, and it makes a big difference in the playability of it.

    (My apologies if Nexic already knew this, but I wasn't clear on it originally and was stumped sitting there with tall piles that didn't seem to have any good swaps in them - until I realised what I was missing.)

    I agree with svero's comments about needing a better end-of-level show-off effect (The smiley face doesn't even make it all the way across before it cuts to the medal) and more clear indication of 'Uh-oh' when you're near the top.


    (DId I mention that I find myself going back and playing this? You've got Candy Crisis level crack here. :) )
     
    #8 papillon, Mar 9, 2006
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2006
  9. lakibuk

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    Graphical glitches:
    - Transitions between screens look sloppy. Especially between level select and game screen. You see artifacts in the back (remains from previous screens).
    - Flickering alert bar does not go away after game over. See attachment.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. AnthemAudio

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    Ok, I was the guy who wanted this game to be more Tetris Attack but was assured on multiple occasions it wasn't supposed to be TA.

    Be that as it may, I got mostly what "I" wanted from playing the new Beta. That is faster popping, the ability to make switches while things are popping (even if that window is very very small.)

    Gameplay wise, I think it's really great now. The speed, the combos. It is a little too easy, but I'm not your market.

    Quick thing about combos, yay they are in! But I would like to see them recognized more as a reward/incentive/good feedback thingy for the player. If not a bigger font size for "combo" then a voice that says "Combo!" like the new "refill" cue (which is cute)

    But I did try Endless more this time, and I didn't notice if this was there before, but there's a slider on top to jump to more advanced stages. But I found a niggly little bug there. You can grab the slider and place it anywhere you want, but if you drag it to 25 (like I did) you can't let go of it without clicking back on the little arrow. This is only if you drag the arrow ALL THE WAY to the right, otherwise it works fine.

    I was unsure why I was losing so quick, my MAD TA SKILLZ0r help me see these patterns quickly and create big combos but my game kept ending even when I got the blocks down near the bottom. Is it that hard?

    Still love the music!

    Tony
     
  11. Rubs

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    Yeah, obviously the game has changed for the better. I liked all your changes, looks good!

    Three things that annoyed me most:
    1) Bugs in the game, when the field is suddenly screwed: blank spaces remain or bricks stall like on the screenshot in previous post.

    2) I couldn't manage to read some tips, because they appeared just so fast just under my cusor while playing and I dispatched them. Maybe add some "Close" button not just make the whole tip clickable so players don't close them accidentally.

    3) Again, only fullscreen and inability to switch apps is a serious disadvantage for me. You need these "boss-defensive" technologies at the office :). You can Alt-F4 of course, but the game is lost then...

    Keep up the good work!
     
  12. Sharpfish

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    This is a lot better now I can play it ;)

    Some quick points then i'm off to bed (will try to play it on faster machine tommorow for more gameplay things).

    Negatives out of the way first:

    . Bug(?) Using WWWWWWWWW as my name (a hangover from working in QA - typically the longest pixel width string and very often NOT taken into account further into games where it overlaps fields etc), on the main menu it said "welcome WWWWWWWWW please click here if you are not WWWWWW" (3 characters were chopped off". I assume this happens no matter how long the name? maybe just say welcome NAME click here if it's not you rather than putting it twice anyway (saves fixing a bug). Sorry if this has been mentioned.

    . Frame rate. I can play it now! :) It's very choppy but a mammoth improvement it is actually *just about* playable. I would hazzard a guess of lows of ~ 6fps and highs of around 20-30. Sometimes it seemed really smooth then as soon as the action kicked in it would get very slooow. The problem was the stretching/squishing. At these low frame rates it does look quite bad and very obvious. I don't know how you could do this in flash but in my current WIP my 2D gui has animation that allows squashing and bouncing etc.. but I CHECK the FPS and if it is lower than say 25fps Do not allow the bounce effect (though it's not perfect by any means) obviously I also have caps on all my timedeltas/movement/anim maths so that a really slow frame rate won't allow "overshooting" in movement. Of course this is in C++ which is extremely flexible in what you can do for conditional tests without masses of branches and possible actionscript overload. If you can, maybe check for really low fps and turn of gui/screen squashing. It should speed it up as a side effect too and keep it from varying so much.

    .Already mentioned by many but this game is screaming out for a windowed mode. I do NOT like playing puzzlers in full screen for whatever reason, even being a "hardcore" gamer at heart. These kinds of games always look sharper in a window and are a pleasent side activity to the main (work app) activity that you SHOULD be doing ;)

    .A few minor things here and there (the 3 big lozenges on their left hand sides have some messed up pixels, crying still looks "stuck on" like a quick few lines in photoshop rather than keeping in the shiny style (some glassy teardrop sprites would look nicer imo), and the "click to close" text on the bottom of a lot of the tip windows looks like an afterthough which detracts from the glossy sheen of the rest of it.


    Now the positives:

    .I love the look of the meter up the top right, very colourful and "feels" good to use up/fill up segments.

    .The clicking on pieces is no problem (re my original "in between" comment) now that it works on my system I can see that you have a nice border thingy around the pieces and can click anywhere

    .The actual gameplay was very nice, it made me THINK and it also made me feel quite a bit more "empowered" than in a typical matching game because I could move anything I wanted at anytime rather than "only if it makes a match" which I really do not like in typical "bejewelled" style games. In fact I was getting flashbacks to Meteos as I played, even though it is entirely different it was the mechanism of allowing you to "set up" blocks, sorry, jewels even when you had no match ready for a big match/cascade or just because you wanted to. This means there was no "dead time" because you always had something you could do without "hunting for the sole match on the board". Very nice.

    Like I said I will try to play it again tommorow properly on a very decent system to really get into the gameplay. It caught my attention though, it made me feel like it was worth doing it - the fun was in the playing. I agree maybe with Steve that it could do with more obvious incentives AND definitely needs some transition and "cool down period" before jumping to the medal screen (medals also looked nice btw).

    I think this is v.close to being a very decent game that could cause a stir even with it's lack of the usual production quality graphics used in most of the competition. The only real fly in the ointment is still the frame rate but purely because of what kind of game it is. I would love a 640x480 windowed mode which would make the game look really shiny and I'm sure would be a lot faster too?

    Good work and good luck with the next iteration.
     
  13. Talisman

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    I played right through my trail period and enjoyed it. The refils came when I needed them (or a few moves before). The new hold system was lovely and simple.

    I got the "bugs where jewels end up in odd places" once.

    Endless level 11 was long, and when I finally finished it, I was disappointed that there was no reward besides starting level 12.

    The smiley flying away is quite subtle and easy to miss; I didn't see it for a while.

    I did not like the chipmonk voices. But I got used to them.
     
  14. soniCron

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    Thanks, everyone, for your feedback so far! I'm so pleased that so many of you found the game enjoyable this time around! :) Presentational issues, such as volume control, Smiley feedback, win/lose screens, etc., are currently being revamped.

    @Steve (svero): Interesting idea about the right-click to vertical mechanic. I will play around with that when I start implimenting the drag-swap mechanic. Thanks!

    @Anatoly (tolik): I'm so glad you found this version more enjoyable! Thanks for the technical feedback!

    @papillon: Interesting perception about the blank space swapping. I hadn't considered that, but looking back, most of my local testers didn't seem to understand that either. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Also, I'm really pleased you enjoyed the game so much! And attributing its addictiveness to Candy Crisis was both well received and insightful. I really wanted to appeal to a cross-section of gamers (core Bejeweled players and core Tetris Attack/Puyo Puyo players) and it is possible this may happen!

    @Karl (lakibuk): Thanks for the heads-up about the warning bar. However, I don't understand the artifacts you're getting from the menu transitions. Perhaps you could take a screenshot of such artifacts? Is anyone else getting these? This sounds serious...

    @Tony (AnthemAudio): I'll look into the slider bug. (A workaround is probably in order.) As far as the game ending: Did it say you lost? Or were you completing the level? Please explain this issue further, it sounds potentially serious. Thanks for testing the game!

    @Rubs: I think I've discovered the cause of the anomalies you were experiencing. (== and floats don't mix, obviously.) Thanks for your time and I'm glad you enjoyed the game!

    @Paul (Sharpfish): I tested the names with narrow letters, but didn't try W. Also, I am looking into several things that should improve the framerate on low-end systems. As it stands, the popping effects are about 4-8x too intensive. This will be changed. Windowed mode will be addressed when I have the time to make my own wrapper. I'm glad you were able to run the game this time, and I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'll be looking forward to your feedback when you have a chance to test it on the faster machine. Thanks for your time!

    @Talisman: Thanks for taking the time to try out the game! I'm glad you enjoyed it enough to play through the trial period! Thanks for the great feedback and I'll fix the length of time it takes to run through the upper levels. Thanks, again, for your time!
     
  15. Pyabo

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    Finally got around to trying this out...

    Overall, I think you've done a great job. Very nice production... the graphics all look good together, the sound effects and animation are very nice.

    My only complaint with gameplay was that it felt like the Refill was happening at odd times. The counter would be on 3 and suddenly I would get new blocks appearing... is this intentional?

    Installer: You *are* planning on desktop icons and whatnot being OPTIONAL, right? I hate it when programs add a desktop icon without asking.

    One seeming bug... after exiting the game, my Windows desktop windows are not coming to the foreground when I click on them. Rather odd. I have to minimize everything else in order to see a window now. Anyone else run into this one? I'm running Windows XP SP 2... on a GeForce card with recent drivers.
     
  16. soniCron

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    There are two situations in which a new row falls: The counter gets to 0 and the board gets too empty. I'm glad to hear someone has a problem with the board auto-refilling when it gets too low. I was a little wary of the new functionality, myself. On the one hand, it's great for beginners because it doesn't require them to stop their flow and drop new blocks. On the other hand, the dropping of blocks is precicely what is trying to be avoided with the hold counter. Anybody have suggestions or additional insight?

    *laughs* Sorry about that! I just quickly packaged it up without much thought. (There's not even an official icon, yet!) The final release will make desktop icons optional. Again, sorry for the inconvenience!

    I think I've experienced this once before, and it seemed to go away on its own. If it's the fault of the fullscreen app, then I have no control over this. And I can't see how it's Flash's fault... *yech* Anyone else having this problem?

    Nevertheless, thanks for taking the time to try it out, and I'm glad you enjoyed it! Your feedback is greatly appreciated! :)
     
  17. Pyabo

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    The keyboard issue *did* seem to go away after I hit the shift / alt / ctrl keys a few times. Might have been the result of a key in a "stuck" state, which I've seen occasionally. However, I wasn't then able to reproduce the window behavior with any key-and-mouse-click combination, so I'm really not sure what was going on.

    Frame rate looked fine to me also, by the way.
     
  18. bantamcitygames

    Administrator Original Member Indie Author Greenlit

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    I finally got time to play for a few minutes and here is my feedback:

    - Graphics are nice and smooth
    - Sound fx are fine
    - Music doesn't fit perfectly, but it isn't too bad. It feels too much like rock for the type of gameplay and graphics.
    - Gameplay mechanic was easy and gameplay overall was ok.
    - Effects and Medals were a nice touch
    - And as for the speed performance it ran smoothly on my Athlon 850, with 128 ram and really crappy video card. Trust me, if it runs on my computer you have covered about 99% of the casual market.

    I think this game will sell ok overall.
     
  19. Mike Wiering

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    Hey! I had exactly 100000 points and only got a silver medal! (And below it said: 100000 = gold).
     
  20. soniCron

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    @Bruno (BantamCityGames): Thanks for trying it out! I'm glad to hear it runs fine on your old machine! :)

    @Mike (Mike Wiering): Uh oh! Thanks for the heads-up! *runs off to fix the ">"*

    @Everyone: There have been numerous comments about the music. Is the general consensus that you guys just don't like the music, or you feel it's unfit for the casual audience?

    And, again, many thanks to everyone who's taken the time to try out this latest beta! I'm so pleased with the response I've gotten! Thanks, again, guys! :)
     

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