Updated Demo of FleaFall, feedback requested

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by Berb, Apr 3, 2005.

  1. Berb

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    Hello fellow indies,

    I've recently released a new version of FleaFall with lots of extra goodies. I'm getting very good critical acclaim, so far, and I even have some customers that even say they are addicted to the thing. However, I'm shifting less units than my most conservative estimate had predicted.

    If you have the time, please give it a bash and let me know what you think is missing from the demo version and if you spot any dealbreakers. I suspect the name of the game isn't helping, and there are few other things that concern me about the packaging, but let me know what you think.

    If you could also try out the SuperShrink feature, that would be much appreciated!

    Screenshots : 1 2 3

    Download FleaFall from:
    Download.com
    Softpedia.com
    Website

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts you have.
     
    #1 Berb, Apr 3, 2005
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2005
  2. maksum

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    Ok Berb, this is a GREAT game. I can see you're new here. You should tell us more about this... how you came up with the idea, development time, etc.. I for one am very interested.

    Anyway, this is very fun and unique. The art is very good in my opinion, and you've organized the tutorial and menus well. Gameplay is great I think. I freaked when you took away "jump help" after during the tutorial, but was glad to see it as an option to turn back on. One would have to be a lot better than me to play without it! :)

    You've obviously put a lot of thought and work into this and it shows. The name is GREAT I think and that's wonderful that you were able to get the domain.

    I LOVE that it's simple (Simple, Frantic Fun as you say) and believe that will work for you well.

    So what is "Super Shrink"? I didn't see any such option or feature. I would love to give you my feedback on it if I knew what it was.

    No real big complaints. The "cancel" jump thing didn't really work for me. If I pushed the other arrow key it would just rapidly alternate between the two directions and whatever I let go on is the way it would jump. No big deal to me.

    Good luck with this. As I said, I think it's great.

    Mike
     
  3. Berb

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    Hey Mike, thanks for writing.

    <begin history - jump to next marker to skip>

    I came up with the idea in 2001 where it began as a stupid little game with jumping coloured squares that hopped around a level made entirely of blue rectangles. I was working at (the now deceased) CreaturLabs as an Agent Engineer and showed the prototype to a few people who liked it as much as I did, to my surprise. That night I added the concept of getting the orb and a points system. Then it got really popular in the office.

    The company bought the rights off me to develop it for a bit which we did. The GBa market died however and soon so did Creature Labs. I got the rights back after a year and continued developing it with a Francis, a friend of mine.

    We released our version late in 2003 then spent about 3 months adding Network functionality. Released again and found that everyone found it too hard. Released new version recently with lots of extras and tutorials and jump help (it didn't have it before).

    I came up with the idea by playing around with prototype control systems. Bugaboo I remembered being fun on the Spectrum but I wanted to do something different and more controlable. Adding the limited jump height, ability to stick on walls, the orb objective and other fleas seemed to be fun to me.

    <end history>

    Thanks for all your positive feedback it's great to hear. I'll wager though that you won't buy it and I'd really like to know why. This is the problem, I get lots of good feedback but very few sales. Please be honest and let me know. Is the price too high / too low (lower percieved value?).

    SuperShrink is an option in the Internet Games. You can SuperShrink from the Lobby Screen or the Host Screen.

    -If you SuperShrink from the lobby screen the game will shrink into your windows tray and tell you if someone is hosting so you can join.

    -If you SuperShrink from the host screen it will do the same but notify you when someone has joined your game so you can start.

    It's just a simple way to keep the game running and checking for Internet games without having it taking up lots of processer time, memory and screen real estate. I'm interested that you didn't spot it. Did you try the Internet Game?

    The Cancel Jump is a bit of a misnomer in that it will still make you jump, but it will remove the horizontal power of the jump. It's for if you've powered up a big jump and then decide you don't want to jump so far.
     
  4. princec

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    Memory Access Violation
    XP Pro
    Athlon 64
    Nvidia 6800 GT
    1GB RAM

    Latest everything. It got as far as opening a screen before the crash dialog.

    :(

    Cas :)
     
  5. Berb

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    Ah, I've had one other person say the same. I think it's an Nvidia card problem (with my software, not the card). Could you try changing the bit depth from 16 -> 32 or visa versa and trying again? I'm looking into this one. Thanks for posting.
     
  6. simonh

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    I loved the first Fleafall - downloading this new version now.

    I know Berb has already answered you, but if you're interested you can read a little more about these things here. :)
     
  7. Gnatinator

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    That was very fun! Just played a game with berb online.

    Suggestions:

    1. Make down button clear your message buffer.

    2. The jumphelp should be on by default (especially in multiplayer). Its like way easier with it.

    3. The graphics are a little rough in some areas. Most notably the aliasing on the fonts, sparkles on the orbs and the orbs themselves (The orbs should look more special, they should stand out better).

    Oh and btw, i've got supershrink going right now. If anyone else wants to play we can get a good game goin (hopefully before my limit runs out;))
     
  8. Berb

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    Gnatinator beat me at my own game. The shame.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Good suggestion for the buffer clearing cheers.

    With the jump help, I understand why you say that but my personal feeling is it makes the game look messy when it's on. As a purest and someone who has played this a lot, I prefer it off. I'd be interested to know what you think after playing it a while. Maybe I should have it on by default for the demo version...

    Yep, I have no tranparency levels to play with. Would this put you off buying it?

    BTW: You can play online forever. When the time limit runs out you can still play online, it's the rest of the game that times out.

    Hi Simon, hope you enjoy the new version! Let me know if you think it's an improvement.
     
  9. BongPig

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    I loved boogaboo the flea. This is a whole lot better!
    I cant think for the life of me why this isnt selling.
    Some ideas.
    Maybe its simply too off the wall for your average casual gamer?
    I mean, the fleas are tiny. Its just players are not used to controlling such a tiny hero. Personally I like it alot, but im not your typical casual gamer.
    Maybe im doing something wrong, but other then the training, it only seemed to have one level available to play in the demo? Is this right?
    If so, then that somewhat puts me off considering buying this game. With one level available, I get the impression that all the levels will be the same except for different shaped landscapes? That would bore me pretty quick.
    Are there more features or gameplay mechanics to be had?
    If not, you should seriously consider adding additional mechanics and gameplay elements as well as other landscapes.
    If however there are lots of other features, I didnt get that impression from the demo.
    Regards the controls. I think they are fine but again I find myself asking, why doesnt this game play with mouse? Then I realised I could use left/right mouse buttons. This isnt at all clear in the demo. It gives the impression that the game is keyboard only.

    In truth, im stabbing in the dark here. I really like the game. Its wacky and fun, but maybe not accessable enough for the casual croud. The graphics are very unusual with the tiny fleas and all. And the controls are very simple but again, very unfamiliar.

    You might want to consider making the earlier levels more zoomed in? So the fleas are alot bigger, with much smaller areas to travel around. This might make some players more comfortable initially. As the levels progress, you can zoom out slowly for bigger areas and smaller fleas. Hopefully by then the player will be more at ease with it all, and wont mind the tiny fleas.

    Once again. *I* really like it. But I wanna know what more is in the game before I consider buying it.
     
  10. BongPig

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    ... also, have you submitted this to the portals? I cant see why they wouldnt be interested in at least working with you to get it portal friendly.
    Popcap have recently opened thier doors to developers. Even offering to work with the dev getting the game in a cool state.
    A game like this belongs on casual portals.
     
  11. alfie

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    Downloading now.

    A few things struck me about your website (maybe it's impacting on sales):

    1. The copyright notice only states 2003. I suggest you change it to 2003-2005. People may notice it and think it's an "old" game.

    2. I think that reasonably large picture of FleaFall in a standard PC CD Rom box wastes valuable space on the front page. When I first looked at it I thought "I can/have to buy this on a CD". It just confused me.

    3. Having to go to dl.com to download the game demo could be confusing and risky. People expect to click on a link on your site and download. Plus when they get to the dl.com page they may look at the download count and think "not many people are trying this, so why should I bother". Even a worse case scenario would be if some idiot posted unwarranted negative feedback at dl.com, and a potential downloader saw that.

    Hope this helps and glad to see you back, I recall checking this game out on here or Dexterity forums a long time ago.
     
  12. Berb

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    BongPig: First of all, I love Mutant Storm, I hope that did well for you.
    I think you are right on all counts there. I think it is too off the wall. My impression is that it appeals mainly to gamers like myself, which is bad because even though I like a lot of indie games, I've only bought a couple. Had this come out on the Amiga/GBA it might have sold a lot better.

    Yes, there is only one 'proper' level in the demo. Your instincts are pretty much on the money in that the main difference between levels are the landscapes. On top of this the AI gets harder and there are a few game variations (Thief and BasketBall - you can try them out in the Multiplayer section of the Demo).

    Things on the TODO list are: Power-ups (of which I've done some versions of to test), and movable and deformable lanscapes among other things, but as we all know you have to release at some point. We released before Christmas 2004 and everyone said they'd buy it if it had Internet gaming in it. So we added that, and now it seems (not unjustly) that even more extras are wanted. My gut feeling is that even if I did add all these extras, the return on effort would be negligable. Would you really buy it if it had these extras in?

    The game originally was key driven exclusively. However, after watching people play it and getting feedback from someone who is looking to put it on to some major channels we added extensive mouse support. It does tell you you can use the mouse during the tutorial but I agree it isn't obvious.

    I'm intrigued by the zoomed in idea. I'll have to look into that. Thanks.

    No, I haven't submitted to portals for 2 main reasons. 1. I have an external company looking into that for me. 2. I wanted to see how it sold on it's own first and what feedback I got. Also there seems to be an Nvidia card problem which needs to be resolved first.

    Popcap are great and I'd like to work with them to get it out.

    I have a thought: If the single player and multiplayer games had lots of power-up things in them but the Internet game didn't would you be more inclined to buy it?

    Thanks very much for your feedback.

    Alfie: Those are good suggestions. I'll fix that up ASAP. Thanks. And yes I was on the Dexterity Forums a long time ago, you have a good memory!
     
    #12 Berb, Apr 3, 2005
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2005
  13. Gnatinator

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    Good point. :D

    I guess I wouldnt worry about it then.
     
  14. baegsi

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    Cool game! Nice refreshing idea. Congrats!

    I think to really boost that game, two features would be nice to have: power-ups and some additional interactive elements. It would add a little more variety. Look at worms, for example.

    You are onto something with that game.
     
  15. alfie

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    Reading BongPig's comments about the flea's being too small, too off the wall for portals/casual gamers got me thinking:

    To make it more appealing why not change them to some cute looking aliens(if there is such a thing) and make them larger. You still retain all the environments the way it's played etc and the goal of getting to the Orb (the Orb now is obviously the space ship/method of getting them home, and maybe there is only room for one). You could have a little backstory so the players have a purpose: Save the Chosen One from planet x.

    Something like the above would I think be more accessible to a casual player, bearing in mind that Flea's are itchy nasty little things...maybe Fleas are putting them off.
     
  16. Bmc

    Bmc New Member

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    Cool game. As far as making it more casual... better mouse control (it's not bad but could be a little better) and make the fleas bigger.

    edit: after playing past the training stages I also gotta say it's a little difficult for the casual market. I couldn't even get 1 orb.

    a)Show the cursor, instead of hiding it.
    b)get rid of the left/right mouse button scheme and have it so the curve changes relative to the height and distance of the cursor.
    c) let the user click and drag and release or click once, move cursor and click again to jump.

    edit: I see the curve doesn't show up on the actual levels. You should think about changing that.

    Someone mentioned changing the fleas to aliens... please don't even consider that. I love the fact that you control fleas:)

    Oh and I definetly think you should submit this to someone like popcap.
     
    #16 Bmc, Apr 3, 2005
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2005
  17. BongPig

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    Burb,
    You make a good point regards putting in the extra work only for it to make little difference to sales.
    So, I would suggest trying to get a portal involved. They would be able to advise you as to whether the concept is strong enough, and if so, what kind of work needs to be put in. In many cases you may even get funded while you do the extra work if they are interested. If however the portals dont bite at all, then maybe the game really isnt right for the casual market... assuming thats your target audience, right?

    O, and thanks for your kind words regards Mutant Storm.:)
     
  18. princec

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    I can try tomorrow when I'm back at work. In the meantime I'm going to play it here at home :)

    Cas :)
     
  19. simonh

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    Just tried the new version, didn't really notice too many difference from the old version apart from the jump help and the shrink mode which are both great additions.

    I would leave the jump help on by default, it really does make things clearer.

    As for why this is not selling well, I have no idea! Maybe as others have said it is just a little too 'off-the-wall' for the casual market. Sadly though I'm not sure how it can be made more casual without altering the game substantially.
     
  20. Jim Buck

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    simonh just wiped me off of the floor in an online game. :)

    This game is excellent. The hopping around sort of reminds me of Wik and the Fable of the Lost Souls. I wonder if there's some ideas from their control scheme that you could incorporate? (I personally like the controls the way they are, but as said earlier, VERY casual un-friendly - most people would get frustrated.)

    With just the right controls, I think this game could even do well on handheld platforms like the PSP. The online aspect would make it a killer app for that system. (By the way, if you ever end up going the route of handheld with this game and you need someone to do the PSP port, give me a holler - I've been eating, sleeping, crapping nothing but the PSP for the past 1.5 years at my full-time job. :) )
     

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