Feedback request: Starchon iteration 25!

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by Sean Doherty, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. Sean Doherty

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    2006.9.21 - Starchon i25 Released!
    Iteration 25 of Starchon is available for download

    Summary:

    Starchon is a cross between a shooter and a real-time stategy. You can't directly decide where to place your units or which sectors to attack. However, you have a lot of indirect influence over the outcome of the game. The game is real-time, so if you take to long in a sector, you will probably be overrun by the enemy in the adjacent sectors.

    Please give the game a try, and offer your input, because the game play is still being shaped!

    Known Issues:

    - Some memory issues still exist.
    - High Score not fully functionality at this time.

    Screenshots:

    1 2

    Download:

    Starchon i25

    Please select input device from the Option Menu (default Mouse).

    Mouse Controls:

    -Fire "selected" Energy Weapons - Left Mouse Button
    -Fire "selected" Missile - Middle Mouse Button or Left Control Key.
    -Thrust - Right Mouse Button or "W" key
    -Direction - Mouse to Payers Avatar Vector
    -Select Ice Blaster - "1" key
    -Select Particle Blaster - "2" key
    -Select Laser Blaster - "3" key (auto locks and only fires at Starship when in range; not the Sentinel)
    -Select Particle Rail Gun - "4" key
    -Select Sonic Blaster - "5" key
    -Select Trident Missile - "6" key
    -Select Carrier Killer Missile "7"
    -Select Cluster Missile - "8" key
    -Select Heat-Seeker Missile - "9" key
    -Select Tactical Nuke - "0" key
    -Toggle between Sector and Galaxy Map - Spacebar
    -Enter Slipstream - Click a valid destination from the Galaxy Map

    Keyboard Controls:

    -Fire - Right Control Key
    -Rotate Counter Clockwise - A or Left Arrow Key
    -Rotate Clockwise - D or Right Arrow Key
    -Thrust - W or Up Arrow Key

    I would love some feedback on how to make the game better!:)

    Thanks Everyone
     
  2. Gilzu

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    • It's hard to rcognize enemy ships, try to change their power-bar color (usually, allied bars are green)
    • on the mission select window,it took mw a while to figure out that *only* the marker next to the mission name is selectable - and even then, its color doesnt change significantly. why not make the entire line selectable ? and show a rectangle / change the entrie line color to show it can be selected?

    other than that, i really liked it :)
     
  3. Gilzu

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    also...

    you could easily finish every level by simply going uninterruptly through gates to the enemy base(s), blow them up, then going through each of the gates, fire at a bunch of ships - when they fire at you - you go to the next gate and fire at another bunch.

    also, you can lurk next to the hyperspace point, when enemy ships appear - they will imidiatly catch your fire :)

    try making a hyperspace jump take several seconds to recharge, and make the enemy base a little more secure...
     
  4. Sean Doherty

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    @Gil,

    Thanks for the feedback! I marked down all your comments and I'll try to address them in later iterations.

    About energy bars; I've been thinking about removing the energy bars from all the starships to add a little suspence. Do you think they are required?
     
  5. Sean Doherty

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    I would be interested in where people feel I should focus? If I gave you ten points (10 would be a lot of focus and 0 would be none), where would you place them in the following list:

    Overall theme/concept/title
    Characters
    Storyline
    Level design
    Controls
    Character actions and interaction
    Overall level of fun
    Graphics Quality
    Front End (GUI)
    Music
    Sound Effects
    Variety
    Difficulty
    Ease of entry/tutorial
    Bugs
    Length of game levels
    Replayabily
    Other Game Modes
    Multiplayer

    Thanks All
     
  6. Jesse Aldridge

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    I played this briefly. Very nice looking game.

    I was playing on my laptop and it was awkward controlling with the trackpad. I would have preferred to use the arrow-keys + space.

    I thought there was too much text. In my experience, people generally skip over chunks of more than 3-7 words. Maybe you could have some mechanic to slowly tell the story as the player goes along as well as explaining how to play.

    I didn't really understand the objective. I flew around, blew up an enemy. Realized there was nothing else. Hit escape. Clicked on an adjacent node to teleport there. Teleported all the way to the end. Blew up the space station thing at the end. Then I figured I had to kill the other dudes in the zone.

    Then I think I alt+tabbed for some reason, and when I came back the game was playing at like 1/3 speed, so I quit.

    Based on your list, I'd put Ease of Entry at the top. Didn't Miyamoto once say the first 10% of the game is the most important? I think that was him... Anyway, think of the opening in Link to the Past or the first level in Mario. Fun and nearly effortless to get into.

    Speaking of Link to the Past, like in most RPGs, the dialog comes into the box one character at a time. I think this prevents text overload.
     
  7. Jesse Aldridge

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    Ok, I played this some more. I think the #1 thing you could do right now is add RPG style character dialog. A portrait along with some text.

    Grizzled old dude, "Ok, rookie, let's see what you can do. Press W or right-click to accelerate."

    Pilot, "The aliens have taken sector 4!"

    Stuff like that.

    I got significant slowdown on level 3. But it's to be expected with my crappy gfx card. Still would be nice to have a "light" mode automatically kick in if the fps drops too low.

    The ship sprites are the best thing about the game right now in my opinion.

    Good luck!

    Edit: I also agree with everything Gilzu said.
    Oh, and regarding the energy bars, I think you maybe replace them with some other damage indicator. In my game, Swordfight, the characters used to have health bars, but I just changed it so a blood splatter sprite gets drawn over them. If a fighter has < 75% health, they are drawn as slightly bloody, < 50% health = medium bloody, < 25% health = bloody mess. Maybe you could do something similar, with like explosions or smoke or have "damaged" versions of the ship sprites.
     
    #7 Jesse Aldridge, Sep 23, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2006
  8. Gilzu

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    I actually really like the energy bars. they should just be in a different color.

    how about showing an energy bar for an attacked ship? like, if a ship was hit, show her energy bar for x ms?
     
  9. Sean Doherty

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    @Gil, I think that is what is done in Desperate Space.

    @Jesse, what are your system specs? You can check the FPS by pressing the "I" key while your in a sector. Did you happen to try level three at low detail?
     
  10. Gilzu

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    ...and in many RTS games.

    btw, i think the progress youre making is remarkable. I remember the first few iterations you've published and I must admit that this is a great example for most starting-out developers on how you can get great results by re-iterating on "make a better game by honest feedback" instead of just abandoning it after getting first bad response :D
     
  11. Sean Doherty

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    Thanks Gil! Why do you think the feedback quantity has gone down? Maybe people have already seen an earlier version and they aren't trying the new iterations?

    I do think I probably have learned a lot of things through this iterative process. The feedback from posting an iteration will generally enables me to get through the next iteration. I must admit that there has been some private feedback that has been pretty direct. That said, I've tried my best to take the input I've been given.

    I just have to keep reminding myself of the big picture. Even if this game doesn't sell a single copy, it will enable the next game, and so on... After all, this is my first game since 1995 when I was in school. Really this my first professional attempt.

    Thanks
     
  12. Gilzu

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    Thats something to think about. I think it has to do more with the frequency of the publication, the progress you've made and how well you publicize it.

    Thats also something you learn how to get better with. this time you learn how to publish yourself (posting press releases, prehaps building a fanbase?)

    I'm taking a slightly different approach by doing a 3-month cycle, each time producing a new game. In each 3 month iteration i conclude what was god/bad, but mostly I look how well i time-box it.

    anyway, keep on going, youre doing great :)
     
  13. Chris Evans

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    Most devs will tell you that they get their best response with the first beta release. Not just on these forums, but in general. With each update, the feedback will get smaller and smaller. Usually it will just be the devoted/diehard testers who will keep giving feedback with each iteration.

    Personally, I like to have a small group of testers from my forum play the late alphas/early betas. Even with them, the feedback dwindles with each update but I usually can count on a couple of guys to continually give me feedback. Then when the game is far enough along and everything looks good (from my perspective at least), then I post the game on various developer mailing lists and messages boards (including this one). I know I probably have one shot to get a decent amount of feedback since everyone is busy with their own projects so I only post the beta when it's really solid.

    Though I will say I've noticed that feedback in general on the Indiegamer has dwindled over the last several years. In the Dexterity and early IG days, an announcement thread on average got 15-25 replies, good/interesting games got a lot more. Nowadays most feedback requests get replies in the single digits if any. Even the good games only fair a little better.

    I'm not sure why this happened exactly but I'm guessing the huge influx of match-3s and uninspired casual games caused a lot of people here to rarely check out the News & Announcement forums. The downside is that now there are quite a few interesting games and games with real potential (like this one) that get overlooked.

    With that said, always expect your feedback to get less and less with each iteration. Once you release this game hopefully you'll get some diehard/loyal fans, which can help you with preliminary alpha/beta feedback with your next game. The first game is always the hardest to get tested.
     
  14. Rainer Deyke

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    I did not download this game, so I can't give feedback on the actual game. However, I can give some feedback on why I did not bother to download this game:
    • It's a space shooter, which is only slightly less saturated of a market than match-3 games and breakout clones.
    • It has mouse controls. This is usually enough to make me lose interest in the game, even if it also has keybaord controls. I'm not going to play a shooter with a mouse, and in my experience games that support both keyboard and mouse are generally difficult and awkward when played with just the keyboard.
     
  15. Sean Doherty

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    Rainer, Thanks for the info. For my research, what kind of games do you play? Would you consider a game like Flatspace or Starscape a space shooter?

    Thanks
     
  16. Nexic

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    I think you are seriously wrong to say 'space shooter is over saturated'. I think you would be right to say that about the space invaders/galaga style. But it's not true with something like this.

    I think by that you're trying to imply this game is a simple clone with no originality - but you're wrong. Play it and then form judgment?
     
    #16 Nexic, Sep 23, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2006
  17. Sean Doherty

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    Nexic, are your saying its true or its not true. I will say the keyboard controls can probably use some additional attention. I'll add the keyboard tweaking to my to do list for a future iteration.:)
     
    #17 Sean Doherty, Sep 23, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2006
  18. Nexic

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    I corrected my post, I missed out the 'not' in that sentence!
     
  19. Rainer Deyke

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    Usually I play rpgs, strategy games, and some action games with strong rpg or strategy elements. I like games that stimulate my mind - either the right half (the world and story in a rpg) or the left half (the strategic decision making in rpgs and strategy games), preferably both.

    I haven't played Freespace, so no comment on that. I did play - and buy - Starscape. I would classify it as a space shooter. I bought it based on the demo, which seemed to imply a strong plot, a lot of interesting interactions with different aliens, and the ability to realize customize ships. However, I was disappointed by the full game. The plot was bland (and most of it was already revealed in the demo), the interactions with the aliens were mostly limited to finding alien base in each zone and handing over a bunch of resources, and the ship customization aspect was trivial throughout most of the game. I think Starscape had the potential for a really interesting rpg/shooter hybrid, but ultimately dropped the ball on the rpg aspect. What's left is a more or less standard shooter - great if that's what you're looking for in a game, but not really my cup of tea.

    No, I'm just saying that the description and screenshot failed to sell me on the idea of downloading the game.
     
  20. wazoo

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    I like it!

    I had a blast with it.. :)

    My only feedback is that it's not immidiately obvious (at least to me) that after destroying the aliens in a sector, you need to bring up the map (with "space") to move to the next area.

    Maybe just for the first few areas, show a small notice/reminder of how to move to the next sector? *shrug*

    Apart from that, it kicks butt!

    (I'd also agree, that it'd be a neat effect to have to charge your jump engines or something)
     

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