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Messages - AlexVsCoding

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Game Ideas / Re: Narcissus
« on: January 30, 2012, 02:43:28 am »
I do like this idea a lot, and the visual style rocks. I do agree with Gemini that it should be a bit easier at the start and get more difficult as the game goes on so as not to overwhelm the player right at the beginning.

the visual style is awesome, but it would be way better if this were to start out a bit less...easy to die. Id like to get to know the feel of the controls before getting killed seventeen times. I really think this has potential though.

Hey Guys,

Thanks for the feedback, the difficult of the game has been a highly consistent problem since I rely on the input of testers as I can beat most levels I construct. I've rebuilt the levels with the aesthetics taken back so I can enhance gameplay by using a tiling system over the previous actor based block system before. Now have 10 levels of joyous steady learning and some pretty fun stuff at the end. Hope this is a lot better and please let me know if there's anything I can improve on!

1-2: Different Sized Block, Same position
3-4: Same Sized Block, different position
5-6: Different Sized Block, different position
7 -8: Inverted Jumping
9-10: Free styling

Enjoy ^^

Windows / Mac / Flash / HTML5 / Re: Gravity Game -- A Work in Progress
« on: January 28, 2012, 04:04:23 pm »
A really nice little game, great puzzles and clever use of physics. Found it difficult on some levels to be able to clear some of the blocks which flipped the player but the easy reset option allowed me to quickly trial and error. Awesome job!

Game Ideas / Narcissus Build Update!
« on: January 28, 2012, 06:37:56 am »
Hello Again!

Its been a while since my last post but deadlines have taken priority. Here is the updated version of Narcissus with updates which are listed below! Thanks to all who provided feedback and any more feedback would be greatly appreciated on the latest version.

1.   Tried D and U for controls but players didn’t find them effective controls; testers suggested that player 1 is always associated with the left side of the keyboard. Implemented W for up and down arrow for down.
2.   Had a soundtrack produced which provides me with an early template to be working with – when game begins the music starts and when the player loses the soundtrack restarts at the beginning again. Player can jump to the metronome on the track to help them jump (in first section but then slips out of time due to early development)
3.   Tweaked and refined issues with earlier levels so that jumps aren’t out of range or too high
4.   Looked back to the original game and noticed the player was a smaller size which gave the appearance of moving faster despite moving at the same speed as the larger player. Created characters half the size of the original and altered level blocks to compensate for the smaller collision boundaries
5.   Built final level which involves a new mechanic; flipping sides and running on opposite sides


Game Ideas / Feedback and Improved Demo Build Now Out!
« on: December 10, 2011, 03:44:02 pm »
Im terrible at this game, i like the art and your ideas though. I suggest C/U for the controls, because having them above/below each other is more intuitive for players brains to make that connection.
I love the art and the concept, but I seriously cannot get past like two blocks! I think you may need to tone the difficulty down a bit, at least at first.

Having tested the previous version of the games at varying extremes (so easy that players can cheat it and brain meltingly difficult (as described in the feedback, thanks btw ^^)) I think I've found the middle ground with the latest version I've released. Blocks which were causing problems have been fixed on the final level, and I've introduced having 3 different levels again. This is done to ease the player into the two different kinds of gameplay found on the final level;

Level 1: Jumping with one height of block with a varied position
Level 2: Jumping with multiple heights of block with a (generally) fixed position
Level 3: Jumping which combines the two different types of play blended together

Control wise I unfortunately didn't get chance to change the controls to C/U, look out for this in the next update and thanks for the suggestion! Might try D and U (D = Down/U = Up) to see if it that works.

Please take the time to enjoy the demo again and drop me a couple of comments about what you think ^^

As a quick question additionally, for Stencyl is there a particular testers guild to get Narcissus tested with since as you can tell by the difficulty curve is extreme due to playing the levels way too much?

Thanks again!

Game Ideas / Re: Some of my thoughts on the games we make
« on: December 10, 2011, 07:31:35 am »
For me, I strive for innovative and original games but am limited by the time I have to develop projects and to learn the skills to enhance them. I started using this software since I didn't have the time to continue to develop my actionscript skills due to University work taking priority, so this was a simpler alternative.

Also, with less time free I tend to play casual games. A quick 5 minute pick up and put down appreciation of a well designed game is all I have the time for.

Additionally, these short bursts of fun tend to leave people hungry for more; I'd rather play 5 minutes of addictive entertaining mechanic based gameplay than being fed an hour or more of total dross with stories about dragons or vampires.

Admittedly the market is swamped with doodle jump iterations and developers trying to get rich quick with cheap badly designed games, which is a shame.

But that's what we're here to fix, right? ^^

Game Ideas / Narcissus - Further Feedback and Updates
« on: December 07, 2011, 06:57:43 pm »
I think the controls would be a little easier to use if they were next to each other rather than above and below each other on one side. The problem is I need to use one hand to use both controls, and it's awkward to use the arrow keys in that way with one hand.

Ideally, I'd prefer to have X control the guy on the top and the down arrow (or some other key) control the reflection, allowing me to use both hands.

Thanks for the feedback, after collecting from testers and reading feedback on here, I have made the following changes:

First things first, after playing the demo online a couple of times and feedback from previous testers, I realized that the construction of the newer versions meant that the player could just keep jumping over blocks by pressing the up and down keys simultaneously, which is different to previous versions.

After looking into the issue further, I identified that the problem was down to the spacing of the blocks. If you look at how the original version of the Narcissus played (see earlier videos on blog), the blocks are thinner and a larger range of heights are available for the player to use. Jumping on the taller blocks in earlier versions made the player fall in between the gaps when they jumped instead of dropping down to the ledge below. The speed of the player in the new version was slowed and the number of blocks increased.

After feedback from a number of testers, the suggestion to separate the controlling keys to opposite ends of the keyboard instead of arrow up and down was taken on (Thanks Ceric ^^). I used up for up and x for down. I will be doing further research into what the optimal control settings are for keyboard based co-op games is. In later versions for touchscreen devices, this wont be as larger issue since the screen divide will be used for this purpose (e.g. top of screen up, bottom of screen down)

To increase the difficulty and variety further I introduced varied heights of blocks for the player to interact with (E.g. Short, medium, tall, really tall). In sections where both players are dropping simultaneously the player has time to make a short break, or as you'll find out in the new demo, mess with your co-ordination and melt your brain capacity.

The online demo has been updated with one level of a higher difficulty rather than three easy ones. In the next week I will be meeting with the sound engineer team to sort out the score for the autumn and winter levels.

Enjoy the latest version!

Game Ideas / Narcissus Demo Now Available!
« on: December 04, 2011, 10:05:56 am »
Hello Again!

The demo for Narcissus is now available here!

Enjoy, all feedback is appreciated ^^


Game Ideas / Narcissus Build 2
« on: November 18, 2011, 06:06:35 am »

The latest version of Narcissus is built and available for viewing at the link below, along with a list of improvements and developments ^^

Windows / Mac / Flash / HTML5 / Re: Bandit the Fox
« on: November 14, 2011, 03:43:01 am »
Love the aesthetics, very Team-Fortress-esque.

I did feel the learning curve was (as you mentioned in your influences via Super Meat Boy) incredibly rapid. Whilst I do love trial and error based games, even SMB does give the player a couple of moderately simple levels to begin the game with to get them used to the gameplay, then ramp it up to insane difficulty. This would stop people from giving up early and in turn increase your audience (with perseverance I did make it to the 5th level then I had to get on with University work).

Despite this, the easy to control character made gameplay smooth and the vertically based gameplay meant when you reached the top of each level with it being such a climb to the top gave me a real feeling of achievement.

Jazzy soundtrack which gave the game an cheesy feel to it (which was great!)

Overall a nicely built game, really enjoyed it. As mentioned above, potentially make earlier levels (maybe even just the first level) a little less forgiving, but that might just be me who can't play platformers :P

Game Ideas / Narcissus
« on: November 13, 2011, 07:47:17 pm »


Basic Summary

Narcissus is a platform based running game which combines single button platform runners with the twist of having a second character reflected in the surface of the water.
Both characters are independently controlled by the player, allowing for an addictively difficult single player experience or hilarious co-operative gameplay with a friend.
The player movement is controlled using the up and down keys on the keyboard; the up key makes Narcissus jump (top player) and down key makes his reflection jump (Upside down player). The majority of gameplay should only require the player needing to press one key at a time. Dependant on length of time the button is held defines how far the player jumps.


o Beautiful Environments with contrasting visuals.
o Co-ordinate between two different screens to make gameplay twice as difficult!
o First jumper game to have the potential for splitscreen co-operative gameplay.
o Simple Controls yet addictively difficult gameplay

Latest Build Footage

Improvements to be made

o Divider to be placed in middle of level to separate the two players up with which (if player collides with line restart/Game Over)
o Walk cycles need improving
o Need to improve collision boundaries for boxes
o Aesthetics need building in (see previous post to see how visuals should look)
o Death sequences need to result in a large splash
o Extension of level length
o Proper menu needs building
o Incorporation of additional block types/widths/heights
o Creation of musical score/sound effects

Hope to have at least a prototype online for the community to test by Christmas, any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Chit-Chat / Re: Introduce Yourself!
« on: November 13, 2011, 03:51:14 am »

My name is Alex Johansson, I'm a second year student studying Computer Games Design at University. I come from an artistic background, always carrying a pen and notepad around with me since the age of 12. I have always been fascinated by the fact that you can fit an entire world onto one tiny little disc, and despite being terrified of even the most normal of games as a child I've grown to love them over the years.

I've always had a drive to get into the games industry but have until recently have not had the opportunity to design games for myself since I've always focused on the design/aesthetic side of games. Despite the ever growing pile of game ideas I've accumulated over the past 7 years, I've only ever taken one past the concept phase which has too been put on hold in production since I lack the time at University to focus on programming. (Linkies to my coding based struggle AlexVsCoding ^^

After going to Eurogamer and watching a panel of leaders of the industry in the UK discuss what employers look for, it became clear that I needed to start building games. After being suggested to check out Stencyl by Indie Developers whilst there, I downloaded and started hammering out prototypes for old games in Stencyl, which is a utterly fantastic piece of software ^^

Gameswise I have an Xbox but rarely have enough time these days to spend playing games, along with having spent an entire day thinking, working, debating and building games the last thing I want to do when I get in is play anymore :P

Having had Stencyl for a couple of months, I've only now decided to access the community with the interest in collaborative work and harnessing enough knowledge to make games from cradle to grave. I look forward to working with all of you ^^


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