Iron Tower Studio ForumsRPGSystem Crash (Moderator: Gareth)Beta 1.1.1.0 Released!
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mkbonde
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« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2015, 10:04:26 am »

A silly runner for iOS and Android about a dwarf on a journey through a fantasy setting, appropriately the title is "The Dwarf".
My brother made this game  a few years back, which despite its buggyness and paint graphics got decent ratings and we decided to make a proper version (with me programming rather than him using drag-and-drop function in game maker while hospitalized).

It should be released on Android within the next few weeks.

It's been an excellent learning experience and has made me a lot more prepared to take on a more ambitious project now that I have a bit more coding experience under the belt.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2015, 10:08:37 am by mkbonde » Logged
Gareth
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« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2015, 10:31:51 am »

Hah, that's awesome! Drop me a note when it's released, I've got an Android phone, I'd love to check it out.
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mkbonde
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« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2015, 10:45:30 am »

Will do.

2 missions in so far, I will write down feedback throughout:

For the intro text of the campaign, I initially clicked on the screen after having read the first text as it lingers there for a pretty long time, unfortunately this lead me to skipping the rest of the intro (and starting over). IMO you should remove the 'auto-play', but rather let the player click-to-continue as reading speed varies tremendously.

I found it strange that the game didn't end immediately upon getting the right number of points (with hacking) and also that hacking points come after the resource phase.

3 missions in:
But a very fun game with good atmosphere!
Why are the dialogue options numbered, but I can't use the keyboard to select them?

First story mission complete,
SecOps Officer does not destroy a tactic on entering
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Gareth
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« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2015, 05:03:01 am »

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For the intro text of the campaign, I initially clicked on the screen after having read the first text as it lingers there for a pretty long time, unfortunately this lead me to skipping the rest of the intro (and starting over). IMO you should remove the 'auto-play', but rather let the player click-to-continue as reading speed varies tremendously.

Yeah, may be a good idea. I've struggled to find a good speed for all readers.

Quote
I found it strange that the game didn't end immediately upon getting the right number of points (with hacking) and also that hacking points come after the resource phase.

There's nothing that could really take advantage of it right now, but I let it play out the full turn because in the future some other effect might put the active player's OP back below the threshold during the main or combat phase. A triggered effect or something.

It is kinda weird because Resources allows you to play a card, then abilities tick, then main allows you to play other cards. Sure.

I was kinda looking at it as playing Resources being a sort of protected action that happens before anything else has a chance to do anything.

Thanks for the catch on SecOps, doh! I've got it fixed for the next build.

Quote
3 missions in:
But a very fun game with good atmosphere!
Why are the dialogue options numbered, but I can't use the keyboard to select them?

Thank you! And that's an oversight. I'll get that in for the next build.
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mkbonde
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« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2015, 05:43:53 am »

Look at Hearthstone, simplifying mechanics is a good thing!
You have plenty of room to make interesting cards even if you simplify some stuff such as gathering all 'beginning of turn' actions before resources (maybe even autoplaying credits), but this is probably not worth spending time on.

Not winning right when you get the OPs is a bigger deal IMO and slightly annoying when you have to go through your turn for no reason, if you have no cards at this stage where it makes a difference - scrap it.

I dare say the intro text in the beginning will be skipped by a majority of players if it stays the way it is.

I finished the demo and overall it feels very, very solid. The gameplay and story is fun and polished. Nothing feels glitchy. The backgrounds are excellent for supporting the story, and I love the way the GUI supports the theme, e.g. the points floating along the wires into the pool.

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Gareth
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« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2015, 03:58:06 pm »

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Look at Hearthstone, simplifying mechanics is a good thing!

Indeed! There are, honestly, a number of design decisions I'd probably choose differently now, with the benefit of hindsight and after playing some newer card games like Hearthstone.

I'll consider ending the game when you reach the OP total, rather than checking at the end of the round. There's already code that checks for surrender, so it can probably check for win state too without it being too much of a headache.

Quote
Look at Hearthstone, simplifying mechanics is a good thing!

Yeah, I do fear that. It should also be a fairly easy thing to fix. Smile

Quote
I finished the demo and overall it feels very, very solid. The gameplay and story is fun and polished. Nothing feels glitchy. The backgrounds are excellent for supporting the story, and I love the way the GUI supports the theme, e.g. the points floating along the wires into the pool.

Thanks man, I appreciate that! I'm feeling pretty good about where the game's at right now, but it's easy to lose perspective of your own work. It's a relief to hear that I'm not just deluding myself. Smile

Cheers, and thanks for taking the time to test it.
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Llapgochmaster
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« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2015, 10:27:06 am »

Hey Gareth -- I played a bit more, caught some more typos, and then came here and saw that I wasn't too late to contribute feedback after all. So here's my previous email and some updates:

***********

Misc. Thoughts:

•Typo in first Jynx mission "withh"
•Don't like playing/watching remainder of match after victory/defeat achieved, unless their is some significance to margin of victory/defeat.
•Confirmation/cancel mechanics, I don't want to have to use the "play/cancel" button ever (or the spacebar), if I can avoid it. I'd like to click again on the target/agent/location to confirm, and click elsewhere to cancel.
•Want settings screen to allow me to streamline gameplay, e.g.
◦clicks to confirm as above
◦auto play credit if have one
◦skip match open summary (hands kept, who goes first) , and maybe add a little "coin flip equivalent" animation in its place to show who won the go-first toss.


◦auto-end turn if I have no credits left

◦auto-end turn if I have no plays
◦autosell excess cards
•EC countermeasures (e.g. Widget) also limit agent unopposed attacking damage? In other words an unopposed Rashard doesn't earn 2 OP during combat phase if 2OP worth of counterhack in place. Feature or bug?
•I've got a 1 Widget deck limit, but have seen 2 in action at once from the AI
•In black market, duplicates of cards beyond deck limit are useless, right? Unless we can expand deck limit later? If useless, seems unecessarily tedious to search for "excess baggage" and sell it. Autosell setting? Little flag on these cards on the market screen?
•Might be nice to highlight new card acquisitions the next time (and only the next time) you hit the market. 


Weird bug:

Played my turn... then it was my turn again? Playing a card (deploying an agent) caused the card to vanish and game to hang up (everything still running, but I can't take any actions nor end my turn, nor successfully cede the match, had to close game)


Verbose thoughts:

In general, the game is looking much more polished outside the duels. Background screens, expanded dialogue, music, etc. Gameplay is still engaging, even if it's been mostly pretty easy so far. The only deck that gave me much trouble was a hack-heavy deck that was hard to catch up to, especially as I'd spurned all counterhack and most neural feedback myself. Coming up on more specialized AI opponents will likely inspire more deck customization. I didn't feel the need to spend any credits yet, which seems a bit odd. Strategic spending to increase your effectiveness is usually a mainstay of early RPG gameplay, but when you're only slightly tweaking a 60-card deck, it makes sense for that dynamic to kinda go away.

I was a little bummed to see that some of the duel mechanics I didn't like much from the last beta were still around -- specifically the somewhat-clunky confirmation system, and the "keep playing after OP obtained" thingy. I still like the idea of having the game recognize massive victory/defeats in some way, even if just with a, alternate win/defeat screen, e.g. "sweeeeet victory" / "biiiiiiiiter defeat".


I didn't make it through a large fraction, I suspect, of your texts, but what I did see seemed really quite well put together. The typo I flagged was the only thing that really grabbed my attention.


*************

Update:

In the "Talbot's Daughter" mission, first contact text:
"for thills" -> thrills
"acquaintences" -> acquaintances

With the "street doctor support" duel modifier, an enemy mech was getting healed between rounds. That doesn't seem right.

Forgot to praise the duel modifier mechanic. Nice way to mix things up a bit. Also to make duels significantly harder without using overpowered cards, and in a context that makes sense (e.g. you're on their turf, they've got advantages you don't). If those modifiers can reflect your choices & story plot point consistenly, that's a really nice bridge between the story and duel mechanics. I noticed that my first wharehouse raid netted me a surprise modifier, but not the subsequent ones. Slick.

Lastly, and I hesitate to comment on this, it seems as though I'm much more often "behind" my opponent in terms of available credits than "ahead". As a rule I've been keeping my deck at the 60 card minimum so that I can keep it as "rich" as possible, and yet my impression is that (even in the absence of other credit boost cards, like that asshole playboy that I don't have yet) I'm not seeing a random distribution of duel finance scenarios. This is obviously prone to bias, but since I started keeping track I've recorded 4 out of 4 games where I fell behind by at least a three-credit margin during the early-mid duel. Things tend to even out in the end since there are only 20 cards in our decks (right?). Are you nudging this at all?



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Llapgochmaster
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« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2015, 12:35:50 pm »

Quick bug:

When deck building as play tester (and elsewhere, I'm pretty sure), the "limitless" card attribute doesn't seem to be accurate. Neonmongers and Innocent Bystanders are limitless with a max. limit of 10.

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« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2015, 12:53:14 pm »

Okay, I was reflecting a little bit more, and I can't help but think that your tactical modifiers duel conditions thingy might be your killer feature. Now, true to my general playstyle, I did all non-story missions before story missions, so the demo ended before I made much progress in the game and I didn't get to see a lot of what you've implemented. I may be preaching to the choir, here.

I've seen card-duelers before with semblance of a story (e.g. Magic: the Gathering), but it's usually pretty damn flimsy and merely an excuse to step through a bunch of different decks. I think you're already ahead of the game, so to speak, in that your game world produces variety and challenge in a logical way. But if your RPG-esque choices show up as factors in the duels in a consistent, pervasive way? That's so cool.

This might be a bridge too far for your first release, given how exhausting producing lots of dialogue is, but I'd like to be able to respond to:

"This is just a smash and grab. Get in, overpower the night security, grab whatever's loose and then get gone before their backup shows up. Got it?".

with:

"JoJo, please. I'm a professional. If there's something worth getting in that place, I'm going to get it all. Their backup can get fucked and their backup's backup, too."

resulting in an additional or more extreme tactical disadvantage than a less aggressive dialogue response would get you.

Or maybe we get two offers for the same job, with the tactical landscape changing depending on who we work for, etc. Winning against the tougher version might net you extra rewards, or even new quest/dialogue options.

Anyways. That's my message -- this feature ties the two phases of your game together, and as such is what interests me the most in the gameplay.



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« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2015, 04:18:59 pm »

Since you're *clearly* still too busy schlepping furniture/hanging paintings/building a false wall to conceal your sex dungeon in your new place, here's another thought:

I'm obviously a big fan of the modifier cards. Because of their status as a "crossover" element between the gameplay phases, I'd like to see them get more emphasis, visually. Once the duel is underway, I think the way they are is fine. But perhaps at the start of the duel (and additionally, to combine suggestions, in lieu of the "who goes first" summary) if there's a modifier in play it could show up larger and front and center, and perhaps with a hint at why this modifier came to be. E.g. for the first warehouse raid, it could say something like:

"There's nothing like the look of shock that comes over the previously smug face of someone who thought they'd committed a perfect crime. The low-rent thugs who hit Doc's stash are no exception. Hello gents! Can we have your livers, then?"

This or something like it would seem to me like a good ROI in terms of leveraging existing mechanics and setups to add punch to the game.



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MaximillionMiles
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« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2015, 06:00:27 pm »

Ok, played System Crash a bit more here and there, whenever I could. Most of the cards seem pretty good, and balanced in general. I just want to type quickly my thoughts here on some cards which feel a little too strong or a little too weak.

Strong cards:

Jojo - His stats are not too shabby, but his ability is what really makes him valuable, allowing you to pick from a wide variety of agents to put on your hand. A big chunk of the agent cards available are Runners, so most decks can use him well. Magic has proved that "tutoring" cards is incredibly useful, and Jojo proves it here. Either upping his cost or lowering the pool to, say, runners costing 4 or less would make him more balanced overall.

Reroute - Basically, every deck can use this card. It's so versatile and useful and cheap, there's no excuse to not use it. In other games, like HearthStone or magic, you can have a lot more agents on field, and the drawing phase is only 1 card a turn, so "return card to your hand" isn't as overpowered, but here? A free shot into a lane of your choice, or removing a useful card, or forcing the enemy to pay again for an expensive card, or returning a weak or wounded card in your side to put a stronger one in its place... And it even works on mechs! It's too useful. Up the cost to 4, at the very least. Even then, it should still become a staple in most decks.

Cyberware Junkie - Another versatile card. It's less powerful than the other two, but still sees a lot of use from me. Countermeasures 1 and Hacking 1, on top of being decently bulky? Count me in. I'm not so sure about this card though, maybe it's more about my preference for cards that can cover more than one base than it being truly stronger than it should. If any alteration it's needed, it's minor. Lowering its health a little, something like that.

SAI Pacifier Mk3 - This card was pretty good before and it's pretty good now. It's ability to freeze all enemy cards is crazy useful, and has turned more than one game for me. And if you're lucky enough to get to a stage where you can unleash two, one after the other? It's just brutal. Either make it weaker, or make it more expensive. I would take it over the ASH Patriot II any time of the day (by the way, the flavor text of the ASH Patriot II has a typo in "epitimizes").


Weaker or underused Cards

(I'll leave out certain cards, like Neonmongers or Marty Tang, because they were obviously meant to be weaker starter cards you move out of by the end of the game. These are cards I feel were meant to be more powerful than they are)

Weapon Stash - Let me see... Pay two credits and get any modifier you want in your hands, or pay two credits and bring down Lewis, which also puts a modifier into your hands? It's not just a weak card, it's pointless.

Madame Ming - Her problem is the mirror opposite of Jojo's. While he has a very wide range of agents he can bring, Madame Ling's range is too small. She's not terrible, but her special ability doesn't really shine like it should. And it's weird, thematically, that Jojo can tutor Yakuzas, but she can't (but she can tutor Neonmongers...   Haha, no Or Blackjacks, which might admittedly be useful occasionally). I feel if you allowed her to also search for Yakuza Soldier and yakuza Captain, she would become much more useful for rushy decks, which would be cool.

These are the ones that come to mind. Overall, good job on the game as a whole, Gareth. I will send you my savefile soon via e-mail. Good luck with the game.  Smile
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« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2015, 03:42:39 pm »

Right, I'm back. Mostly.

Thanks for the feedback, guys!

@Llapgochmaster:

Thanks for the heads up on the typos. Will sort them out.

Quote
•Don't like playing/watching remainder of match after victory/defeat achieved, unless their is some significance to margin of victory/defeat.

Seems like you're not the only one, I'll see what I can do.

Quote
•Confirmation/cancel mechanics, I don't want to have to use the "play/cancel" button ever (or the spacebar), if I can avoid it. I'd like to click again on the target/agent/location to confirm, and click elsewhere to cancel.

A reasonable request, but there are plenty of states around those buttons. I'll see if I can get to it before release.

Quote
•Want settings screen to allow me to streamline gameplay, e.g.
◦clicks to confirm as above
◦auto play credit if have one
◦skip match open summary (hands kept, who goes first) , and maybe add a little "coin flip equivalent" animation in its place to show who won the go-first toss.

◦auto-end turn if I have no credits left

◦auto-end turn if I have no plays
◦autosell excess cards

I'm unlikely to get to that before release, I'm afraid. It might be something for post-release patch.

Quote
•EC countermeasures (e.g. Widget) also limit agent unopposed attacking damage? In other words an unopposed Rashard doesn't earn 2 OP during combat phase if 2OP worth of counterhack in place. Feature or bug?

Feature. Think of ICE cards as security programs protecting the server, whether that server is accessed directly by agents getting to a terminal unopposed or hacking remotely. Also, that makes those cards more generally useful than simply as hacking-counters. I've learned that pure counters are not such a good idea, they end up as dead weight in an AI's deck if they aren't facing a player with those specific cards.

Quote
•I've got a 1 Widget deck limit, but have seen 2 in action at once from the AI

How many do you own? For non-limitless cards, the deck limit is either 4 or the number of copies you own, whichever is the lowest.

Quote
•In black market, duplicates of cards beyond deck limit are useless, right? Unless we can expand deck limit later? If useless, seems unecessarily tedious to search for "excess baggage" and sell it. Autosell setting? Little flag on these cards on the market screen?

•Might be nice to highlight new card acquisitions the next time (and only the next time) you hit the market. 

Good suggestions, I'll try (but I can't promise) to get to them before release. Otherwise it's something for a post-release patch.

Quote
Played my turn... then it was my turn again? Playing a card (deploying an agent) caused the card to vanish and game to hang up (everything still running, but I can't take any actions nor end my turn, nor successfully cede the match, had to close game)

Definitely a bug. I'll hunt for it. When that kind of thing happens, please send me the log file if you can.

Quote
In general, the game is looking much more polished outside the duels. Background screens, expanded dialogue, music, etc. Gameplay is still engaging, even if it's been mostly pretty easy so far. The only deck that gave me much trouble was a hack-heavy deck that was hard to catch up to, especially as I'd spurned all counterhack and most neural feedback myself. Coming up on more specialized AI opponents will likely inspire more deck customization. I didn't feel the need to spend any credits yet, which seems a bit odd. Strategic spending to increase your effectiveness is usually a mainstay of early RPG gameplay, but when you're only slightly tweaking a 60-card deck, it makes sense for that dynamic to kinda go away.

Thanks. Smile

It's worth noting that the missions in this beta were all easy, as they were the first 16 of around 100. I'm still trying to figure out where and when to ramp that curve up. Will tweak it, didn't want to be too rough out of the gate.

Quote
I was a little bummed to see that some of the duel mechanics I didn't like much from the last beta were still around -- specifically the somewhat-clunky confirmation system, and the "keep playing after OP obtained" thingy.

Yeah, understandable.

Quote
I still like the idea of having the game recognize massive victory/defeats in some way, even if just with a, alternate win/defeat screen, e.g. "sweeeeet victory" / "biiiiiiiiter defeat".

A good idea, and I've noted it down, but something that will have to wait for post-release. I'm going to get version 1.0 out the door then work on new gameplay modes/challenges/splash screens etc to spice things up.

Quote
I didn't make it through a large fraction, I suspect, of your texts, but what I did see seemed really quite well put together. The typo I flagged was the only thing that really grabbed my attention.

Thanks!

Quote
With the "street doctor support" duel modifier, an enemy mech was getting healed between rounds. That doesn't seem right.

Maybe they have a while-you-wait mech repair shop across the road. Tongue

Quote
Forgot to praise the duel modifier mechanic. Nice way to mix things up a bit. Also to make duels significantly harder without using overpowered cards, and in a context that makes sense (e.g. you're on their turf, they've got advantages you don't).

Thanks! And yeah, I like them too. Balancing a card game difficulty curve is bloody hard. It is, as you say, a nice way to introduce subtle difficulty modifiers.

Quote
If those modifiers can reflect your choices & story plot point consistenly, that's a really nice bridge between the story and duel mechanics. I noticed that my first wharehouse raid netted me a surprise modifier, but not the subsequent ones. Slick.

...

This might be a bridge too far for your first release, given how exhausting producing lots of dialogue is, but I'd like to be able to respond to:

"This is just a smash and grab. Get in, overpower the night security, grab whatever's loose and then get gone before their backup shows up. Got it?".

with:

"JoJo, please. I'm a professional. If there's something worth getting in that place, I'm going to get it all. Their backup can get fucked and their backup's backup, too."

resulting in an additional or more extreme tactical disadvantage than a less aggressive dialogue response would get you.

Indeed, it's a cool idea and one I've had myself. I can script it so that your choices in the story are reflected in the missions you face and the modifiers in those missions, yes.

But. Unfortunately there is a but. It was too much to add branching on top of everything else. So I decided that, for the first release, things are basically set, no choice of approaches. Missions might throw you a curve ball in the form of a modifier, but you won't get different modifier versions of the same missions. Not in v1.0.

It is something I want to explore in expansions though, along with new game modes for the Neon Arena etc.

Quote
Quick bug:

When deck building as play tester (and elsewhere, I'm pretty sure), the "limitless" card attribute doesn't seem to be accurate. Neonmongers and Innocent Bystanders are limitless with a max. limit of 10.

Will depend on how many copies you own. In the tester campaign, you have 10 copies of every card.

Quote
Once the duel is underway, I think the way they are is fine. But perhaps at the start of the duel (and additionally, to combine suggestions, in lieu of the "who goes first" summary) if there's a modifier in play it could show up larger and front and center, and perhaps with a hint at why this modifier came to be. E.g. for the first warehouse raid, it could say something like:

"There's nothing like the look of shock that comes over the previously smug face of someone who thought they'd committed a perfect crime. The low-rent thugs who hit Doc's stash are no exception. Hello gents! Can we have your livers, then?"

This or something like it would seem to me like a good ROI in terms of leveraging existing mechanics and setups to add punch to the game.

Yeah, it would be a good idea to give the modifiers active on the current mission more emphasis at the start of the match. I'll see if I can do something there.

@MaximillionMiles

On the subject of the tutoring agents:

JoJo is slightly more powerful than other tutors in this set because yeah, there are more Runner agents than any other type. But each of the types will be getting focus in upcoming expansions, which should balance things out a bit.

Which, I know, doesn't make that much of a difference right now. But I will say that specific deck strategies may find Madame Ling more valuable than JoJo (as you said, rush decks. Criminals tend to be higher-risk, higher reward cards, with strong attack for their cost).

And, oh, oops. The Yakuza cards should all be Criminals. I'll fix that.

Reroute - Yeah, Reroute has been on my radar as potentially overpowered too. I'll rebalance it. I may up the cost or limit the power of the agents it can return. I like it cheap for rush decks, but it is, as you said, too generally powerful for its cost.

Cyberware Junkie - I'll keep an eye on it, but to me the generalist nature of the card means it's not going to see much play in really focused decks. I'd say there's almost always going to be something better to put in your deck to support your strat. But maybe I'm wrong.

SAI Pacifier Mk3 - Yeah, I probably need to make this weaker. Very strong.

Weapon Stash - Noted.

Quote
These are the ones that come to mind. Overall, good job on the game as a whole, Gareth. I will send you my savefile soon via e-mail. Good luck with the game.

Thank you!



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Llapgochmaster
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« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2015, 08:10:53 am »

Yep! Gotta draw a line.

1. Hackers and ICE: If hack agents have their direct attacks countered by ICE, maybe you could add that to a tutorial screen or something at some point. It's a bit wooly as a mechanic, as it's not clear that hacker agents *only* deal hack damage given that they can beat up street thugs as well as hack the server. But I appreciate the balance issue you bring up. Whatchagonnado, hard to get everything making sense.

2. Deck Limit Thing (Widget): Hmmm. Pretty sure I had two when I hit the deck limit at 1, which is why it was so glaringly annoying! Creating a new deck with that profile I can load up two. So let's assume I was trippin' as what I describe seems pretty unlikely.

3. Deck Limit Thing (Max Cards): I think I have a problem with the phrase "Max in Deck". It sounds to me like a hard limit, one that's independent of how many you cards you own. A useful one, too, since as you go about building up a deck you can see where you're maxed out (no matter what you buy/obtain later). I'd propose that you limit its use to that case, and then maybe just give us a "derp" noise when attempting to add more cards to a deck than we actually have.  Maybe give the "x2" count below the card a little pulse/flash, and/or flash the lock icon.

Actually, come to think of it, the inventory/deckbuilding screen strikes me as still being a bit awkward, as you have to integrate info from the right and central panes when that info could be presented in one place. Maybe add some differences between merely checking out your stash vs. editing a deck. Clicking on a deck, for instance, could cause all the card counts to flash from "x8" to "2 of 8".

Does the "8| refer to your temp max., card count, or global max? I dunno. That part is still a bit of a mess. If I'm building a deck, I don't care at all about cards beyond the global max (unless I'm simultaneously scrounging for funds) but care a lot about being limited by a card where I could spend some credits to fix the problem. Maybe "2 of 8 (10)" where "10" is the global max. I'd be happy to have all that info in one place, I think. But I dunno, this is tricky and I'm stumped. A different screen for shopping vs. deck building would be clearer, conceptually, but seems like UI bloat.

Good luck with the home stretch.

J


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Llapgochmaster
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« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2015, 08:16:50 am »

Small thing:

I just noticed, by accident, that I can click and drag the map around. A little bit. So little that it looks more like a bug than a feature. This appears to happen at any resolution (tried 3).



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« Reply #29 on: February 19, 2015, 04:12:50 pm »

So, I've been thinking. And my thoughts are tending along these lines: I think you ought to go ahead and sink more time and money into System Crash in order to make its RPG elements stronger.

I'm gonna guess that's a proposition unlikely to please, and it may be, in practical terms, impossible, but hear me out.

1. You have a hybrid card-dueler/cyberpunk RPG, with nice art. The trouble is that the RPG side is a facade. There aren't any choices to be made, and because of this it also doesn't *matter* which dialogue choices you make. You can access slightly differently toned conversations but you might also decide to just hammer 1 (once the keyboard is supported!) every time someone starts talking to you.

2. Replayability: I think you've got a problem. As the game stands, I'm having trouble seeing why I'd want to go through the campaign more than once. Choosing the snarky dialogue options instead of the stoic ones isn't enough incentive. The card-dueling may be enough to keep me around for some time longer (ACHIEVEMENTS, AMIRITE?), but then again it might not. If the Neon Noir campaign had a few branches to it, and the card-dueling was still fun, I'd be tempted to try them out.

3. Your calling card: We've talked about this before, in slightly different terms. This first game is going be your calling card in gaming land for quite some time. It should stand out from the crowd in being original (check), well put-together (production values, check) and well-designed (this is my quibble, too RPG lite). If you can at all afford to wait even longer to release (and you do need to consider what other projects you could be working on instead), then I think it only makes sense to do wait. Your target audience mostly doesn't know you exist. They'll be patient.

So here's what I propose. You've got the mechanics in place to provide a real RPG experience. Branching dialogue + tactical modifier cards will do the job. You've invested considerable sums and much of your own time into System Crash's art. It's a cool place to hang out. But lifeless. Why not take the same approach to the "quests" and dialogue? You sketch out the branching plot structure you have in mind for Neon Noir, and then hire somebody to do the heavy lifting -- writing all that additional dialogue.

In conclusion, I believe you have a gem of a game within reach. Leaving the RPG elements sub-par makes the game world you've invoked feel static and lifeless, and thereby compromises the whole package. Putting in the time and money here, with no additional game development, is a smart investment.

Food for thought.

J




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