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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:14 pm 
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Waddles the Duck

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The story is basically, you are a duck taken out of his own timeline, trying to find his way home. It's a typical sidescroller with a slight twist.

The game draws much inspiration from the game Eversion. (The primary game mechanic is based off of it.) Eversion is pretty cheap on Steam, and there's also a free version. If you haven't played it before, I strongly recommend checking it out! http://zarat.us/tra/eversion-steam/

Controls
Code:
      D-pad: Movement
      Select: When all else fails, press this.
      Start: Starts the game, pauses while in game.
      B: Run
      A: Jump


Grab the game itself on the download page for the event: http://nesdevcompo.nintendoage.com/contest16/

If you're curious about the (terrifying) source code, check it out on github: https://github.com/cppchriscpp/waddles-the-duck

Not quite sure what else to say about it, but there's my entry. Thread was severely delayed due to life and stuff. (to the point someone else made a thread for me! :oops: Sorry about that...)

*Update*: The judging is in, and this game scored pretty poorly. I'm soliciting any and all feedback to help me improve future games. Please post any thoughts you might have had while playing it. (You don't have to be nice)


Last edited by cppchriscpp on Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:28 pm 
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Just for reference, the "other thread" was here: http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=15486


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:54 am 
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Great game. The intro text went too fast for me to read, though.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:10 am 
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Awesome game. The bounding box for the duck collision should be smaller, IMHO, but I quite like the concept.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 3:21 pm 
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calima wrote:
Great game. The intro text went too fast for me to read, though.


Yes, this. I couldn't keep up with the intro text.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:21 pm 
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Thanks for the positive feedback, everyone! This is the first thing I've built in a long time that I was actually somewhat proud of, so it's really nice to hear.


With regards to the title text speed, I can definitely see the issue. I tend to mis-estimate how long people take to read things often - it's hard when you already know what a screen says. I will probably try to patch that up in the near future. It's been common feedback from people who I've shown it to in person too.

As for the bounding box for the duck, yeah, that's something I'm bothered by too - I built some kinda-crummy expectations into the engine about the sprite size early on, and as far as tile collisions go it's really hard to change them now. (Colliding with sprites is more on point at least.) I had thought I could re-design the sprite to make it look natural, but that didn't quite pan out. There are also a few jumps that kind of depend on that size, so if I were to change It I'd have to potentially redesign a few levels. (That's not to say I won't try at some point!)

I've also released the source to the game under the MIT license if anyone wants to play with it. I will warn you the code isn't what most people would call sane, and the tools are probably a PITA to set up right. Please don't base judging the game on it! ;) Link's in the first post.

(PS: I'm sorry for not responding sooner - I'm subscribed to replies but for some reason I didn't get emails for any of those - I just assumed the game wasn't really getting any attention! I'll be checking more often until the end of the judging period)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:02 am 
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The judging is in and... well, this game didn't do well. If you've got any feedback - good or bad, I'd love to hear it. I want to make games people enjoy, and I think I missed the mark here.


What I know so far:
- The intro end ending suck. The writing was bad, the text was too fast, and it generally felt rushed.
-- Would it have been better if I had left out these entirely, opting for something simpler?
- Collisions were sometimes wonky
-- How big of an issue was this? It didn't really trip up the people I saw play it - did it just make the game seem less polished?
- Figuring out the warping mechanic wasn't straightforward
-- I've only heard this feedback from one person- was it a problem for more?

At this point I don't plan on improving the game itself much, unless anyone really wants me to. Instead, any feedback I get will help me make a better game next time. Thank you for taking the time, to anyone who does!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:50 am 
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I figured out the warping easily, but there seemed to be no logic to it. Warping from the same place could go to icy or heated, apparently according to what was needed next, but it still felt weird that there was no rhyme to what came next.

The bounding box and to a smaller extent the jumping made it feel less polished. In a couple places I had difficulty making a jump, it had to be almost pixel-perfect.

Oh, and the B button seemed unnecessary, since I was holding it pretty much the entire game.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:09 pm 
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I think the only real problem I had with it is that there's no subsequent "reevaluate your assumptions" puzzles later on, in the style of the brick wall "learn the puzzle mechanic" at the very beginning. (by which I mean, either the first puzzle mechanic should have been better hinted, or there should have been more Real Puzzles later on rather than just platforming)

A lot of the rest I'd say comes down to little polish things:
* I found the "normal/spring" music to get kinda grating after I'd listened to it too much. (On the other hand, I really liked all three other background musics)
* The first dimensional portals were consistently hinted with a pair of tulips, but the subsequent ones weren't ... that's ok, but the change isn't really ever explained.
* It'd be nice if there had been an extra ice block here so that you couldn't jump over it and get trapped on the left:
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:12 pm 
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The collision detection is highly flawed. I would hit item bricks from the side most times. Jumping on an enemy's head without being killed was way too difficult. In my own designs, I prefer to make collision boxes large for good things (killing enemies, getting items) and small for bad things (being hurt).

On the one hand, I had to hold B constantly in order to make jumps. But then I'd run so fast enemies would appear from off-screen and kill me before I could react (this also ties into having too large of a hitbox). The game teaches one lesson (hold the B button, always), then punishes it immediately.

Personally, I'm not a fan of triangular jumps. Add some simple acceleration and deceleration into it. Notice how Mario, even when he hits a brick, hangs in the air for a tiny bit. The sponginess in that interaction is key.

This last one is a minor issue, but you're setting palettes outside of vblank, which makes ugly color streaks flash on screen right before the level loads (only some emulators show this, but it's visible on hardware). It's an easy fix, wait for the start of a frame before updating the palettes. Even better, fade the palette in to ease the transition when a level starts, you're already doing that for warps.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:48 pm 
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Quote:
hond B all the time...

triangular jumps...

Notice how Mario, even when he hits a brick, hangs in the air for a tiny bit.


Yes. Physics could be better. Accelerate and decelerate in every movement, rather than fixed speeds.

More enemies to stomp and avoid. Do more with them.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:22 pm 
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Thanks for the feedback so far; that's definitely what I was looking for, and helps.

I think there's one really good piece of feedback implied here that no one's stated outright - I really should have gotten this out there sooner. I had the game in a very playable state a month or two before the end of the contest. I could very easily have made a post about it and gotten a lot of this feedback earlier - pretty much everyone on this forum is really open and helpful about stuff like that. Doing that could have really helped shape the game in a positive way.

I did solicit feedback from some friends in the real world, but they gave mostly positive feedback - they don't know the internals of the console like the people on this forum do; they don't know that the movement feels slightly off because I'm not considering acceleration/etc. It's not their passion.


Now, onto the real feedback. I'm not going to quote everything as that'd make this post unbearably long, but I did want to comment on a few things.

Quote:
I figured out the warping easily, but there seemed to be no logic to it. Warping from the same place could go to icy or heated, apparently according to what was needed next, but it still felt weird that there was no rhyme to what came next.


I had actually never thought about having more logic behind this at all. It's bloody obvious now that you've said it - I really don't know why it never occurred to me.

Quote:
I think the only real problem I had with it is that there's no subsequent "reevaluate your assumptions" puzzles later on, in the style of the brick wall "learn the puzzle mechanic" at the very beginning. (by which I mean, either the first puzzle mechanic should have been better hinted, or there should have been more Real Puzzles later on rather than just platforming)


One of the friends I showed this to right after the contest had this feedback too - I think it's really valuable feedback, and one of the worst misses I had. I didn't spend nearly enough time on level design - focusing instead on rather inconsequential pieces of the engine.

Quote:
* It'd be nice if there had been an extra ice block here so that you couldn't jump over it and get trapped on the left:


Ugh, crap... I was really hoping no one would find that. It's a limitation of the engine - I can't actually put blocks in that row. In retrospect what I should have done was moved the entire structure down a tile, and put an extra block on top. Too late now, I suppose.

Quote:
The collision detection is highly flawed. I would hit item bricks from the side most times. Jumping on an enemy's head without being killed was way too difficult. In my own designs, I prefer to make collision boxes large for good things (killing enemies, getting items) and small for bad things (being hurt).


The item bricks bug I knew about but couldn't find a good solution for in time. You should have seen the bugs that didn't make it into the final release... this is the first platformer I've written for the NES, or anything really, and it really shows. The enemy stuff is definitely valid.

At any rate, I had never considered that sizing idea before - it makes a lot of sense and I may very well adopt it in the future. Thanks for the tip.

Quote:
This last one is a minor issue, but you're setting palettes outside of vblank, which makes ugly color streaks flash on screen right before the level loads (only some emulators show this, but it's visible on hardware). It's an easy fix, wait for the start of a frame before updating the palettes. Even better, fade the palette in to ease the transition when a level starts, you're already doing that for warps.


Good eye! I thought I had caught all instances of that; I didn't realize it was causing problems until pretty close to the end of the competition.


To address the recurring feedback, lesson learned on the movement/physics. I thought it would feel natural enough without proper acceleration/deceleration in movement, and I was definitely wrong about that. I just got used to it because I spent so long staring at the stupid thing.



Last thing, to anyone who felt this game was a complete waste of their time, I apologize. Based on the detailed scores, I can tell I got a bunch of 1s - that tells me a lot. I can't give you that time back, but I'll try to make sure if I enter again, it's something worth playing. It was eye opening to see this game scored second-to-last in polish/completeness - far behind a game that could not be beaten. That really clued me in I did something (well, many somethings) really, really wrong. Perhaps I mean I thought about the entire contest wrong. (Note: I actually really liked Wo xiang niào niào, but not being able to finish the game at all seemed unfortunate. This soumds more negative about that game than I want it to, but I'm struggling with words here, sorry.) So, I'm sincerely sorry for wasting your time.

Thanks again for the feedback.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:04 am 
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cppchriscpp wrote:
Last thing, to anyone who felt this game was a complete waste of their time, I apologize. Based on the detailed scores, I can tell I got a bunch of 1s - that tells me a lot. I can't give you that time back, but I'll try to make sure if I enter again, it's something worth playing. It was eye opening to see this game scored second-to-last in polish/completeness - far behind a game that could not be beaten. That really clued me in I did something (well, many somethings) really, really wrong. Perhaps I mean I thought about the entire contest wrong. (Note: I actually really liked Wo xiang niào niào, but not being able to finish the game at all seemed unfortunate. This soumds more negative about that game than I want it to, but I'm struggling with words here, sorry.) So, I'm sincerely sorry for wasting your time.


You do not have to be sorry to put your hands at work! I do not think anybody estimate that their time was wasted by any entry, judging imply to spend some time with games we do personally not like.

Ok I am biased because I liked Waddles the Duck. The floaty physics when you jump, while feeling weird, is justifiable for a duck, differs from other games and (with other imperfections) remembers me than I am not alone to learn my way through the competition ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:53 am 
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cppchriscpp wrote:
Last thing, to anyone who felt this game was a complete waste of their time, I apologize. Based on the detailed scores, I can tell I got a bunch of 1s - that tells me a lot. I can't give you that time back, but I'll try to make sure if I enter again, it's something worth playing. It was eye opening to see this game scored second-to-last in polish/completeness - far behind a game that could not be beaten. That really clued me in I did something (well, many somethings) really, really wrong. Perhaps I mean I thought about the entire contest wrong. (Note: I actually really liked Wo xiang niào niào, but not being able to finish the game at all seemed unfortunate. This soumds more negative about that game than I want it to, but I'm struggling with words here, sorry.) So, I'm sincerely sorry for wasting your time.

Thanks again for the feedback.


I think you're being more negative than is necessary. Part of a competition is weighing games against each other, and there were some really great games this year. But all of us developers know that making games is hard work, and I appreciate anybody's effort to do so. I didn't love Waddles the Duck for various reasons, so I didn't rate it highly, (sorry!) but I don't think anybody's time was wasted. I appreciate that you put the effort into creating a game and letting us play it! So I say well done, even though it didn't score well compared to the others.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:05 am 
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RogerBidon wrote:
The floaty physics when you jump, while feeling weird, is justifiable for a duck, differs from other games
And it could be justified with changes to the sprite, showing the duck flapping...


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