Awaken - finaly finished! Ver. 1.0 aviable

Tryzna

  • Posts: 82
All right, public alpha test is out now!

Please note its very rough version and contains just first mission with default ship configuration however im looking for all kind of feedback. If you like the game, let me know. If you hate the game, make sure u let me know as listening to negative feedback is the only way i could fix the game, or stop wasting my time if the game turns out "unfixable";-)

One way or another, thanks for your time and hope you ll enjoy the first mission of the game!

Link to self extracting archive with the game: http://ulozto.net/xNnvpWBZ/awaken-exe


« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 08:51:58 pm by Tryzna »

Tony Hawk

  • Posts: 4
I wanted to test it ..but saw that to download it I needed to register with the site first.. I closed it
Best you upload it to a site.. or use DropBox and share the link from there.

Its been nice following your trials, errors & success.. Keep it up ;)

Tryzna

  • Posts: 82
Hi Tony! Glad you are interested, however you dont need any registration at all, unless u want to reate the file or leave the comment. Im using this service for more than decade allready and never had a registration.
However you can download the alpha from indiedb as well: http://www.indiedb.com/news/awakenunderwater-odyssey-alpha-aviable


SadiQ

  • Posts: 1780
Ok...gonna give it a good try and let's see what comes out of it. I´ll write what I feel bothers me while I play, and things will not be in any particular order, so let's start.
 First of all, the graphics look really cool, if I don't make the window fullscreen. Looks pixelated if I do so and it doesn't look that great.
The option to change the keys would probably get integrated at some point so I won't touch that subject.
A play button in the main scene would be nice so I don't have to navigate a menu to start the game.
The ability to open the Options panel ingame would be nice as well.
The speed of the ship is quite slow in my opinion. I would really love to use the mouse to control the ship with that much action in there.
There seems to be friction in the ship´s movement and it feels weird to handle the ship (to me at least).
A quick Retry button would be useful. Don't make me navigate trough some menu to restart the mission. Also, when the mission starts the small intro seems annoyingly long to me. I just want to get to the action fast.
When I die I'd prefer to skip the menu and be automatically placed back in the action.You could even add some checkpoints to make the game easier(you just fade the scene when I die. Don't do that, it feels like you want me to suffer instead of making me want to retry and improve my skills).
In fullscreen the squid squadron seems to be too close to me. I'm forced to just move back and forth at the bottom of the screen(and having ships hit me from behind feels like a dirty trick :P). Maybe let them stay in the upper part of the scene? I died several times when they show up, and the fact that I have to restart the mission from the beginning is annoying(mostly due to the (existence of a) slow menu). Maybe add some extra health to keep noob players like me actually playing? (in the form of a difficulty option?).
Now I'll play in windowed mode.
 Why did you choose 640x480 instead of 480x640? I feel the lack of vertical window forces me to the bottom of the scene. Most games of this nature tend to give the player some space to allow them to move up/down more than sideways.
I'm like a magnet for enemy bullets hehheh.
I seem to get some slowdown after I retry the mission several times. If I let the enemy ships get to the bottom of the scene do you kill them?

That´s about all I have to say for now. Things I dislike...slow menu, screen space and ship handling. Things I really love...graphics and sounds (the explosion sounds are a little to heavy in my subwoofer thou).
Let me know if you agree with what I feel should be changed in the game (to make it more to MY liking) or why you feel things should be left as is.
Hope you get some useful info from my useless post and I can´t wait to see how the game evolves.
Proud member of the League of Idiotic Stencylers! Doing things in Stencyl that probably shouldn't be done.

Tryzna

  • Posts: 82
Hello SadiQ! Great to have feedback like this, thats exactly what i ve been asking for! I agree with most of your points, so lets talk a bit about each of them.

Pixels and fullscreen - Yes, i disabled AA on purpose as im not ashamed about the pixelated graphics as i each pixel was carefuly hand drawn and while it may be just my personal taste, i just love pixelated games. However i more or less agree with you and i ve been allready thinking about letting player enable or disable AA in options.

Controls - mouse  and gamepad controls ll be added, however remaping of keys probably not in near future as unfortunately there are other priorities right now(Like print screen or multimedia keys freezing the game), but sure i want to include remaping in full version.

Menus - Current menu system is really just sawn by hot needle, while i like the look of it its far from functional in the way i would want. Inagame options ll probably be implemented in future updates. The funny thing is the retry button. Its actualy ingame and i implemented it for testing purpose, however for some reason i disabled it for the alpha. Thanks for your point here as i forgot about it completely.

Small intro/ingame issues - Well, well, i agree with you the mini-intro should be skippable, but every event during the mission is more or less synced to the music and if would want to skip the intro i would have to skip part of audio track and i dont know how to do that in stencyl(without need of having separate "cutted" music track).
Difficulty, its difficult to argue here, but i ll try to explain my vison. I never liked ability to chose difficulty in my thirty years long gaming career as it feels pointles to me. Why chose hard difficulty if i can quickly finish the game by picking the easy one right? It ruins the challenge and in case of classical shmup game it can significantly shorten the gameplay time as 99% of shmups can be completed within hour.  My opinion on it is why would pepople purchase arcade game if they can finish it on first few tries? For me the magic of arcade shmup is the thrill you feel when you have last life and fighting boss of never finished level. As i ve said, its hard to argue here as its really a general design question, but have a look at for example Hotline Miami or Meat Boy(i know my game can not be compared to these two, but still), if they would have easy mode difficulty setting, nobody would even notice them as people would just run through them and forgot they even played them. What makes these two games fun is the thrill of beating something what seemed unbeatable on first try.
However i know there is a lot of balancing to be done, i allready got reworked shield system on the table waiting for implementation whitch ll in fact make the game easier, but ll be playing kind of "mind game" with player creating illusion its even harder as im dropping the 3 lives system and replacing it by bit stronger shield. However it ll create another layer of gameplay as it ll add importance of clever use of Wraiths abiliy of remote shield recharge.
(Tip for defeating adult squids: just stay right behind them, they ll never hit you if you ll stand still;-))

Resolution - well it was a hard decision when i started works on this game as most of the vertical shmups chose vertical resolution. I ve been thinking a lot about it and in the end i decided to go with horizontal. The reason for that was that this game is heavily influenced by my two favourite games, Raptor and Tyrian and they both chosed horizontal screen to great success(Jamestown managed this as well).  I dont denny the second reason to chose horizontal screen was the fact i did not know how to make vertical screen and place hud by the sides to hide blank black bars;-)
Going vertical would be much easier, but i accepted the challenge and if it worked 20yrs ago with Raptor, it must work even now, i ll just have to design levels more careful.

When i look at it, it looks like i dont agree with you in anythink, but dont take me wrong, I just stated my reasons why are things like they are. I know nothing on the game is perfect and i have to take all critique in to consideration and posts like yours helps me to reconsider my decisions and pick the right choice.  I tt ll be really hard to balance game difficulty to make the game beatable by non-shmup fanatic, while making it rewarding for genere veterans, but thats why i released this test version, to gather valuable feedack and make the adjustments acording to it.

Again, thanks for writing down your point of view as i really appreciate it and hope i ll be able to balance the game to fit the taste of most players, while keeping my vision of the game.

With regards

Tryzna

« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 10:12:17 am by Tryzna »

SadiQ

  • Posts: 1780
You'll have to be careful with the balancing of lives/shield settings as the game will play different with a mouse than a keyboard/gamepad.
For the skippable intro..if you're enemies are tied to the music then you could just let the player spawn freely for a while without enemies (you'll probably have to give him something to do before the enemies show up). That way they'll feel the immediate respawn and you won't need to deviate from the soundtrack (which people might not have it on).
For the resolution you'll probably have to see how the other games handled the claustrophobic feeling that comes from having the enemies in such a close range, so that might not be a serious change on the gameplay.
As for you not agreeing with me...it's fine :), I just wanted to let you know what a player might not like in the game (if the player is like me that is), but you'll probably have to try to find a balance in the design to satisfy your desires and the possible expectations of your players.
Proud member of the League of Idiotic Stencylers! Doing things in Stencyl that probably shouldn't be done.

Tryzna

  • Posts: 82
Thanks again for letting me know whats does not feel right. Its hard for me to recognize these flaws you mentioned after all the test runs and i depend on reviews like from you. Yes, it ll be hard to balance everything right to create that "one more try" urge and  it ll take a lot of polishing of my game vision to make it convincing. It may look like i disagreed with your points, but in fact i agree with all of them, just want to solve some of them other way than suggested;-)

Tryzna

  • Posts: 82
Hello everyone!

After more than a month im back with another update! Again, a lot happened as i ve got another one week long vacation and spent it by improving Awaken and polishing everything as best as i could. Lets break all additons and improvements in to few sections:

NEW USER INTERFACE & SCREEN ORIENTATION CHANGE



As you probably allready noticed from the screens around, the game screen orientation was changed from horizontal to vertical. Awaken was originaly designed as simplified raptor/tyrian clone for web browsers and both of these games have horizontal screen and i was going to keep screen this way for several reasons, however the main reason was i did not know how to alter the screen to vertical orientation properly with possibilty of having different objects like hud to the sides of the gaming scene.
Now half year after i started working on this game i realized its quite easy and after i spent dozen of hours playing various SHMUP games for analyzing reasons i decided to alter Awaken to vertical screen as it offers many advantages when compared to horizontal scene. Its much easier to design enemies right now as i ve got a lot of vertical space aviable now while player have more time to react to the threaths so i can throw more foes at player while keeping situation managable for him. Basicaly this change means - more enemies on screen = more bullets aiming at player = more explosi intense acti fun.

Going along with this, i needed to rework user interface and while its still work in progress i like the direction of all this allready. However there is still a lot left to do.

NEW WEAPONS



All the weapons player ll be able to unlock during storyline campaing in order to prepare his ship for challenges and end game solo missions are now present in the game. You can divide them in to laser and plasma. Lasers are best for focused damage output directly in front of the ship, while plasma do the oposite. However as players ship has 3 item slots(front deck/wing pods/drone bay) it is possible to combine weapons to match everyones needs. And if thats not enought, then specialized pieces of weaponary are just around corner, however it ll take little more effort to unlock them as they can be aquired through achivement system.

BOUNTY TOKENS & SCORING



Yeah, i was against this feature since begining but while analyzing many arcade shooters, i realized the ability to collect anything that falls of from dead enemies adds a bit of fun. I felt like im reinventing the wheel when i finaly added bounty tokkens, but thats life and sometimes opinions changes under the wight of arguments(enriching scoring debate with my friend in this case). But lets talk a bit about scoring mechanism in Awaken.

If you kill the enemy you got score value(x multipier) and increase your score multipier a little. When you kill multiple enemies you get score bonus, a bit of multipier increase and a bit of shield recharge. The ammount depends on how long your kill chain is.

The multipier decreases on its own over the time, so you have to stay agresive to keep it growing.

When multipier is above 5.0 the enemies ll start droping Silver Kraken Tokkens and when your multipier is above 10.0 enemies ll provide Gold Kraken Tokkens.  Tokkens ll provide additional score bonus, the faster you collect it, the bigger the bonus is. Its represented by simple ingame animation, as when dropped, the tokken grow up fast and then starts shrinking, and after about 2 seconds it disappears.
This is one of the ways how to make player even more agresive and force him to move closer to the enemies, while rewarding the extra effort by score bonus.

Hope you ll like these additions as i ve spent quite some time implementing them, hope you ll watch new dev. diary video to see everything mentioned in motion, and i especialy hope you ll be interested in future updates!

VIDEO: http://youtu.be/22j9ULdzgYQ

With regards & thanks for reading

SadiQ

  • Posts: 1780
Nice work. You'll still need to allow people to test the games as things like controls and difficulty level should not depend entirely on your decisions.
Proud member of the League of Idiotic Stencylers! Doing things in Stencyl that probably shouldn't be done.

Tryzna

  • Posts: 82
Nice work. You'll still need to allow people to test the games as things like controls and difficulty level should not depend entirely on your decisions.

Hi SadiQ! Thanks! Sure thing! There ll be more tests in future, but i plan to stick with "in house" testing for now. As most people dont even care to tell me the game sux hard i made this decision and ll stick to it until at least campaign part of game ll be finished. Then i ll release another test version for public and ll let the game collect the data i need to make difficulty adjustments.

And while im allready writing reply i ve got another update:

As "core" of the game is finished and now its just about adding more content and then glue everything together by menu, fiting tool and such. I decided to take a break from scripting behaviors and pixel drawing as I dont want this game to feel like its (dont know if you use same phrase in english) "stitched by hot needle". So I grabed my tablet as it served more or less as a dust collector and started sketching additional enemies i would like to have in the game.
I chose this approach as it helps me sort ideas before i ll start creating enemy sprite and i can provide better ressult if i have reference image like this in front of me while trying to transform the idea in to 100x50 pixel field.
Sure it takes more time, but i belive its worth the effort and as a added value i have something to spam on twitters, facebooks and this forum;-)

 

Tryzna

  • Posts: 82
Hello guys! After some while i ve got some news regarding my project and im back to tell you about them.

This time it ll be quite short as i spent most of the time polishing of existing content and i dont think you ll be interested in reading how i made texts in user inrface alligning to center of its windows or about layers in background changing its perspective based on players position on X axis.



I have decided to take step forward as i feel like im running in circles last couple of months, reworking and re polishing many of the game elements not making any real progress. Thats why i decided i ll finish first rough version of complete game in about a month! Yes i know it sounds scary but i have to do it this way as im running out of time.
I hope this approach ll alow me organize the time i spend on the game much better as idea behind this is to organize everything that needs to be added/fixed/polished in to the list and then every day just replace one little broken "component" of the game with newer version.
I have to organize my time better as december is coming fast and i ll be supper bussy at work then leaving just about a hour of time i can spend working on this game. Thats why i want to have game at least at Beta by begining of december, and spend all the free time just polishing and difficulty balancing.



With the recent additions to the game like new enemies, and background set for fourth storyline mission im left to make background for fifth mission, 5 additional enemies and 3 bosses and then starting with the boring part like creating menu and ship upgrade interface, add challenge and end game missions designed for fully upgraded ship.

Still lot of work to be done, but finaly i can see the light on end of the tunnel.

Oh and i almost forgot to mention new website: http://www.lurkerslair.com/ 

Tryzna

  • Posts: 82
Hello everyone! Im back with fresh unedited gameplay video! Sadly the game is before complete sound rework so i still cant present full Awaken experience, and there are few bugs awaiting fix, but still, viewer should allready get idea what is this game about.

VIDEO: http://youtu.be/Fx2I1ZnMW3M

The majority of the game is finished and there be just few addition to the "action parts" of the game. First and most important is allready mentioned sound rework as current sounds are nothing more, but placeholders.



Another important addition that ll follow but its still on bottom of priority list as it does not affect gameplay directly are the additional backgrounds. Current backgrounds are made from 3 or more layers autoscrolling at different speed and i plan on to adding another few layers, but non repeating to break repetetivnes of each level by a bit. Im not planning anything fancy, just little details that enhances the experience like more dense clouds for a while, debris field, fly over a fighting Leviathan and simmilar.
Other than that the game is almost in the state it will be presented when full version status ll be reached.

Hope you ll enjoy the alpha gameplay video!
Thanks for reading & watching!

Tryzna

  • Posts: 82
Time for a little update!

As a game developement reached another stage and i ve got almost all assets(missing sprite for final boss only and couple of behaviors)related to actual gameplay ready for assembly i have decided to implement somethink extra that was not planned at all. The modular ship customization & alternate fire mode!

This addition changed a lot of related things and if you want to read about it at game indieDB profile: http://goo.gl/6g573H

However i prepared a short and quick preview for you can see right below, showing three of 27 possible combinations how you can build your ship;-) Hope this addition ll catch your interest as the beta release is getting close!;-) Thanks for reading!


Tryzna

  • Posts: 82
Hello again! It was a bussy weekend for me and unfortunately for me, but fortunately for the game i spent it fixing and enhancing allready implemented game elements.
I fixed combo detection behavior as before time to time it failed to detect the combo so i simplified it as much as i could and now it works perfect. Gameplay adjustments were done as well so i belive a bit of extra fun was added to the game and it feels much better then before. Explosions of big objects were reworked as before when big enemies like squid bomber died, their actor started creating random sized blasts all over its body and dissapearing after half second under the explosions.  It looked good, but did not felt right.
Reworked explosion creates big blast covering whole actor, then actor gets killed right after creation of big blast. Then big blast creates particles underneath it self and push them in random directions with random force. The partilcles themselves are creating smaller blasts at their XY as they are moving away from explosion.
It sound simple, it was simple and i hope the effect looks great and you can observe detail of it on the gif below.



And as a little extra i captured bit of reworked first mission gameplay as well.  Hope you ll like the direction game is taking same like me and see you next weekend! Hopefuly with final video dev diary as following should be game trailer . Yes release is within two-three months range now! Finaly;-)


« Last Edit: October 13, 2014, 09:42:27 am by Tryzna »

Bombini

  • *
  • Posts: 1295
A lot going on :)
Do you have a new test version?