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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 5:54 pm 
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Ok, first, these games are awesome, incredibly well done. Great work with them.

That said, I'm having trouble figuring out how to rate them, and thought I'd see if others have advice. Basically, I played the first one alphabetically (Cheril), and thought it was amazing. Great graphics, great engine, etc.

Then I played Lala. And it's amazing, but so similar. Many graphics felt similar (those bats!), the same engine -- felt like a variation on the same game. (which is fine, but makes it hard to judge properly)

Individually, either game would get incredible ratings. But I'm not sure about rating them both at the same level, since one feels so close to the other. But then, in that case, which would get the higher rating? Would I rate one highly and the other low? But one isn't clearly that much better than the other.

I don't have any intelligent answers, but thought others might have good input about how to best rate these great games.

(I'm not including Wo Xiang Niao Niao here, it didn't feel as similar)

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:07 pm 
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I think Lala had better music, better cutscenes.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:05 am 
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I don't want to sway the voting in any direction, so i'll try to keep this as short as possible:

I think the issue with judging you're raising might be a consideration for the "originality" score if you deem it so*, but not the other scores.

Thought experiment: Say a person or team submitted two hypothetical games - let's call them "pocket animals blue" and "pocket animals red", which was absolutely the same game sans different in-game collectibles. Would one or both of the games have worse art and sound for it?

*ultimately, you're part of the jury. You have the mandate to decide whether it matters to you or not.

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Last edited by FrankenGraphics on Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:10 am 
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In order to be a better developer in the future, I'd like to know which things make both games so simmilar, because I thought they were different enough and I was obviously wrong.

They use different engines, and different gameplay mechanics. Goddess is about exploration and mild puzzle solving, with lots of backtracking. Lala is more lineal. In Goddess you have to use the superpower ability in the key moments. In Lala the gameplay is based upon creating platforms mid-air to progress - although you don't have such ability in the first level, maybe you didn't get to the sky palace?

Of course they are both platform games, in which you basicly run and jump.

So, any suggestions for the future? :)

Thanks.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:14 am 
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I dunno what the rules say about it, but if an entrant can only win once (i.e. only their highest entry gets prize-ranked) it might be a non-issue, and everyone could just rank both as if the other didn't exist.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:12 am 
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Quote:
What make both games so similar


-Both are action platformers
-both have a similar 'feel' (music, jumping, avoiding bad guys)
-both are inside a dark castle with puzzle elements
-both have a main objective of finding a key, opening a door, and finding other objects

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:16 am 
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Fair enough, both are action-adventure platformers, but I thought that the different gameplay mechanics (the gameplay in Lala is centered around creating magic platforms mid-air and timing your jumps) and level advance (exploration & backtracking vs. going forward as fast as possible) made them differentiable enough. I was wrong, it seems. I'll try to avoid entering more than 1 game of the same genre if such a thing seems to detract from them.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 6:59 am 
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Is the code similar enough that they could practically be made into a multicart sharing most engine code?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 7:17 am 
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No. As I noted before, they don't use the same engine.

Lala is flick-screen oriented, albeit it uses two nametables and scrolls accross them just modifying the registers. Goddess has true scrolling with arbitrary horizontal size. Of course both are coded by me so you'll find routines which look simmilar in both games, but are otherwise unrelated. Data is organized differently.

I made Goddess available at github and commited while I was developing it https://github.com/mojontwins/GoddessR
You can gran Lala's sources from https://github.com/mojontwins/Lala

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 11:35 am 
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Having just played Lala, I see where the impression comes from. The jump curve is exactly the same, the screen transitions look the same, and some enemy sprites appear the same.

I liked Lala much more than Cheril, though.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 1:36 pm 
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na_th_an wrote:
No. As I noted before, they don't use the same engine.

My apologies then. I stand corrected.

Like calima said, the jump curve, the screen transitions, the similarity in the header setup, the similarity in enemy movement and how death is handled, all made me think it was the same engine. I'm impressed that you had time to churn out another engine for this competition!

Quote:
In order to be a better developer in the future, I'd like to know which things make both games so simmilar, because I thought they were different enough and I was obviously wrong.


Even though the mechanic or gimmick for each is different, the things I mentioned above made them feel really similar to me. The player movement, and style of vulnerability and enemy movement is what did it. The basic challenge of avoiding the enemies "felt" the same in both.

Either way, I don't want to come across as being negative. Both games are extremely high-quality.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 6:26 am 
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You didn't sound negative, no worries! I just want to learn from my mistakes so I can make better entries next year.

This is a learning process. I've learned quite a lot about the NES from Lala (which was finished in late summer) to Goddess (finished on Jan 31st), and that's what counts.

Thanks!

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:54 am 
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@na_th_an

First, i was going to wait with further comments on projects until after the judging has been done, but since you seem to want a discussion now, would it be ok to post a few (rather subjective) points?

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:25 am 
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Of course. Go ahead!

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 10:42 am 
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I've had problems with the jumping routine. Lala felt the most responsive. The other two felt unprecise, floaty, and unnecessarily hard-to-predict to me; in slightly varying ways, and with different effect because of the different environments and goals.

Replaying Cheril, i find the main culprit to be that it seems to be using accumulated acceleration when jumping, just like when running. This leads to an exponential rise curve, which could work great for rocket propulsion or hovering or maybe a mid-air jump/float function, but feels unreliable and wrong during a standard off-ground jump. It's as if the gravitational pull is switched between above and below depending on the phase of jumping. As an side effect, jumping becomes hard to predict, a feature which gets worse with one-hit deaths and abundant risks of falling to another screen and having to climb your way up again.

I'd set up upwards momentum as a one-shot set CONST at the condition "jump button pressed = true". Then, i'd possibly have timer (A) count # of ticks before gravitational deceleration starts eating away on the momentum. To get some control, i'd let timer (B) count down from the effective max length of the jump button being held. If [jump] is released, timer B is set to 0. Both need to be 0 in order for deceleration to start (essentially your standard falling procedure). A has a shorter time setting than B. Alternately, with a different conditions framework, the timers could be baked into one timer. The set value of these two timers + the value of CONST + the rate of deceleration/gravity + max gravity can then be tested back and forth with different values until jumping feels more precise and predictable, relative to the stage layout and enemy placement. Note that being the developer and having played the level time and time again obscures how the game mechanics feel for the target audience. It needs to feel good without having routines, prior knowledge, muscle memory and so on, which can be tricky as a one-person team to estimate.

If time is on the horizontal axis and movement on the vertical, it looks something like (1) or (2) but should probably be more like (3):
Attachment:
jump_curves.png
jump_curves.png [ 595 Bytes | Viewed 437 times ]


In the case of Wo Xiang (according to my memory), the inverse-gravity/accumulating momentum is double trouble, even if the "floaty" effect felt a little less pronounced than in cheril - precision is key when you position yourself to bounce off an enemy, yet i have difficulty getting the timing right positioning myself, because it takes me too much time to get there, and time to fall down. It doesn't feel responsive to me. The way i'd have it would be the jumping to be quick enough to make bumping enemies in the beginning a relative piece of cake without too much practice or having to think about a hard-to-pinpoint delay in the jumping scheme, and then progress the difficulty in the form of enemy speed and/or maneuvers. A sharper turn from jumping to bumping may help define the movement. Additionally, i feel that pressing down should be a complementary mode of bumping; though that's a minor side note.

I think the TLDR of it is that 1) the base difficulty shouldn't come from the jumping mechanism itself, but rather from what level/enemy design challenges the mechanism is meant to surpass, and 2) Jumping momentum should be a uniform curve, unless there's special circumstances.

These points are from a personal user perspective, of course. And all that said, the platforming challenge gets fun to me after a while, when i've taken the time to adapt to the controls. But that's possibly an if, because that's a threshold you need the user to get over on the first play. Had it been cartridge-only times, you'd bought a physical copy and would feel the need to get the most out of the game by adapting to the physics, but in download free to play-times in a sea of entertainment, controls that take some time to adapt to are accompanied by the risk of losing audience based on the first minute impression.

Edit: I hope this is helpful, and not just critical. I'm aware i have the maybe too common trait of being able to bring up things i percieve as a space for improvement, but have a harder time bringing up the stuff that i percieve as good to equal proportions.

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