This semester, I took an Introduction to Game Development class, and we had to build a game in a group project. I was unsure where to post, making a new thread for this one and only post didn't seem reasonable, and Nokanqy had mentioned that this could be a good spot for users to share their games. It is a very short game, and we had to reduce the scope a bunch of times. This is NOT for sale, download it, have fun (hopefully) and if possible I would love all the feedback I could get. I can give more details about my involvement in the project, but I'd rather respond to that from any questions you might have like: which software we used, planning and other design questions. Using Unity we have built a copy for Windows. Also I do not own every asset in the game (you'll see what I mean, but for example: the map tiles). Anywho, without further ado, my first game:
Title: The Casualties Report
Genre: Multiplayer, Co-op, Survival, Arena
Note: The build has Player 1 mapped to a keyboard and player 2 to a gamepad (I was using an Xbox 360 controller).
Note 2: Keyboard: Movement -> W,A,S,D; Left Click -> Activate Ability + Basic Attack; Right Click -> Cancel Ability; Skills -> Q,E,R,T
Note 3: Gamepad: Movement -> Left Joystick; Aim -> Right joystick; Activate Skill + Basic Attack -> Right Bumper; Skills -> A,B,X,Y
THANKS, HAVE FUN!
Ok, I think I kinda finished the game. As in completed waves with the bounty hunter (kiku?) and cannot find a way to beat the second one with numbers robot.
Feedback below spoilered for those who don't want to have their experience colored by my commentary:
! Technical difficulties:
- I use a trackpad instead of a mouse and had difficulties with the game actually recognizing my inputs now and then. Mostly with the regular attacks, as there would be times I'd be clicking constantly and nothing would happen, whereas other times I'd be shooting lasers/slashing repeatedly.
- Let's talk about the second wave for the robot… much as I tried, I was not able to complete it, and I noticed in part there was a section where the small green enemies would fly around the screen and latch themselves on to me with impossible speed, draining my health. Naturally, the reaction would be placing bombs around me as quickly and often as possible, but the enemy speed would have them surround me rather fast over again and I would die. I was able to get to this wave with almost full health too, and still died super fast.
Putting it under technical since the speed of those green guys doesn't seem consistent with other waves where I can outrun them and plan accordingly.
- There were times that the hook special of the bounty hunter didn't stun enemies. Like I would bring an octorok close to me and it'd be blue, but it'd continue to shoot.
! Also of note is I only did single player due to lack of a second player.
! Design comments:
- I appreciate the mechanics of the game dictating the gameplay. For example, when I was reading the differences between the robot and the bounty hunter I simply assumed one to be shooty and the other more of a melee character, which was true, but the special abilities and enemy types led to more tactical differences.
For example, the bounty hunter feels super strong and it's easy to chain from one super dash to slashing, or to turn the tables on enemies with the shield that takes their health or the black hole of death. BUT, when dealing with the octorok while trying not to take damage I had to give more thought to things, and bam, the hook thing became useful.
Robot took a lot more getting used to, but once I realized how much more effective bombs were than running around I got dramatically better at the first wave. I like that for this guy the shield plants you in place (hope that's intentional?) forcing me to resort to bomb spreads and mines around me instead of shielding and running away.
In short: there's clear tactics to each character that take playing with them to figure out, and I could see it being fun in multiplayer to collaborate with each other to overcome weaknesses
! - That said, the difficulty curve for the robot was much much higher, and like I said in the tech. difficulties section, I was unable to finish the game with it. From that sense, if I were to play this with people I would be compelled to play as the bounty hunter a lot more. Do they have the same health/defense? Can't say I noticed. And hey, this is a case where the abilities and trade-offs are obviously meant to balance them, that much is clear that thought went into it, but only once play-testing happens can you realize what character people gravitate to the most. Curious to see how other people respond to this.
! - The learning process was... kinda non-existent. While there was a screen explaining differences between the characters, the game started me up immediately and I was suddenly and harshly dealing with a bunch of enemies crowding me. Having small waves before what is currently the first one to introduce enemy types would be nice. Like, introduce a wave with just one enemy type (green crabs). Then a wave with a second enemy type (octoroks?), which involves a different approach. Then once you assume the player has learned how to deal with each in isolation, you can have a stage with both of them in it. Then, have a wave where people deal with green crabs while introduced to a buff dude, to learn that they're similar enemy types but the buff dude is stronger while moving slower. Thus, the player learns about how to deal with that enemy type, and then you have buff dudes with octoroks. And then all three!
For players who die and have to start over, it would also be nice for them to feel their increase in skill, as they go back to that first level and are able to quickly end the wave with mastery of skills.
This would also give time to let the player flesh out their control and abilities with more of a safety net and comfort than suddenly being overwhelmed by enemies and inevitably dying (both first runs with each character I either died or lost huge amounts of health and then got insta killed in wave 2). While it is the case that many people would die and be compelled to try again, there ARE people who would instead just stop playing altogether.
! - There wasn't a pause function <<;
or was there? I tried pressing multiple keys and nothing happened, but maybe I just missed it?
! - Let's talk about the character select UI. What it has going for it is that it clearly introduces both characters and explains how they are different.
My issue with these is that the descriptions and structure involve a lot of reading. OK, relatively not that much, but still, they're blocky paragraphs and means that instead of just being able to jump into the game I have to read.
And then, based on reading about things I can't possibly know much about (assuming I have never played before or don't know what this game is), I have to make a choice, a choice I am not informed enough to make. Inevitably means I pick a character for shallow reasons ("I guess I'll go with Samus instead of Portal robot"), and then don't know how much of what I'm doing pertains to the character until the point I die and go try the other character. Assuming I do instead of just quitting the game.
That second one is hard to deal with in a small-scope game, but that first issue can be dealt with with more basic UI.
For example, things like mario sports games have where they have the character, and then a word and a color naming their gameplay style. Robot could be things like range, or tactical, whereas the bounty hunter is more speed and close-combat. You could still do this with flavor text too, like "KIKU - 'time to get up-close and personal'; "124253 - 'you'll explode before you reach me'", instead of a long paragraph with story-telling about a story no one is going to be interested in (it's an action game) with some of these key words thrown in.
(Btw, the robot needs a simpler name >>;)
- Other UI consideration... I like that the weapons are in the bottom of the screen in a game where enemies approach mainly from the top. Clean, ensures the UI isn't obstructing anything, good stuff. Ways to go further: color coding weapons so their borders let me know what to expect before using them.
Like, say I didn't read the lines about the weapons... but, I see that this purple circle is yellow, and when I press it it's an AoE attack... now I know if I pick the other character that a yellow border (around the bomb spread for example) is going to be an AoE attack, and will only be compelled to use that when enemies are surrounding me without having to botch it, learn from that, and then wait (and die) while waiting for the re-charge.
On this, a side note is that the mine power-up feels like the most crucial for the robot, but also the most unintuitive. When I read that you would dash and then drop a mine before doing so, I kept pressing the keys to dash to the right and nothing was happening later on (since Kiku's dash works with keys.) As I learned it worked with clicking, I would still often make the mistake to click in the direction I wanted to dash to, but instead I would drop a bomb in that direction and dash straight into the enemies, dying (it was hilarious btw.) I DO notice that there are little indicators when you activate a power about where it goes and how it would function, but the mine overall still feels unintuitive and it gets confusing going from one character's dash ability to the other's. The indicators are also hard to read when the enemies are all crowding you like you have the last must-have toy in black friday.
! I think that's all that comes to mind for now design-wise. OH, the music. Who did the music? I kept the character select screen on while writing that last part and the song in there is such an earworm. Pretty good stuff. Feels distinct and fits the game properly, and hasn't gotten grating. I dig it.
! Hope all that helps! I realize of course it's a first effort and given that there's a lot in here that show work and dedication and great design choices. Playing just a little bit reveals the presence of possible advance strategies using weapons and skills and environments, and even good possibilities of co-op from asymmetricality, and it's fun in that the challenge is clear and the rules and ironed out and fair. Lots of good stuff in there, and with more polish it can definitely evolve into more.
This is a reminder too I need to begin investing in development tools and get working on stuff for myself. Been busy with design docs and studying, but I want to get my hands dirty already.