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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:35 pm 
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What kind of compression scheme are you using? The maps seem to be fairly free-form, so I'm curious.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:03 am 
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@Rahsennor: I'm using exomizer to compress the map data. (and the graphics)
Exomizer's compression ratio is pretty good, but it adds a 30 bytes header to each file, while the new modified exomizer decruncher allows to use the same header for all rooms.

This doesn't sound much, but the formula is: 45 rooms * 30 saved bytes = enough space for more rooms. :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 2:06 pm 
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Thanks and congratulations for making this game! I was deeply impressed after reading this thread, the graphics & animations & colors & game engine are looking fantastic. Hmmm, well, and after playing the game... I wasn't soo impressed about the game flow.

For example, this simple task beats me, I've tried maybe 30 times, but passed through only 5-6 times, and everytime else I had to walk back towards right to climb up for retry (and re-fail) another time.
Attachment:
wolfling.gif
wolfling.gif [ 10.35 KiB | Viewed 3150 times ]

The new keep-momentum-after-jumps feature does probably improve some of it (though I couldn't find that new version being released anywhere yet).
The slippy (or descending) floor is making things also difficult - I drop from the platform even after successfully landing on it. Using dpad-right to stop slipping doesn't seem to help either.
There seem to be various possible jump distances, depending on if or how long dpad was held before jump. That's kinda cool, but hard to control. For cases like very-short-jumps and vertical-up-down jumps... are there even cases where one needs that jumps for solving the game?
After some hours of not so successful jumps with wrong distance, I've figured out that one can also jump at different height depending on holding/tapping the jump button. I don't know yet if that's making things easier - or if it just offers me more ways to fail ; )

Difficulty
As you might have imagined, I think the jumps are difficult to manage. Maybe it's getting easier after learning the game controls, but for beginners it's a bit frustating. For the scene pictured above it, it's also a bit uncomfortable to learn by retries (walking all the way back right, don't get hurt by the spikes, and then climb back up does kinda delay the learning process).
Then in the next scene, there are those skulls throwing fire-balls. They aren't too challenging, but passing them does slow down the game flow. I would disable the fire-balls in most cases, to make the game faster, and add fire-balls more sparsingly, or only later in the game.

The nice thing about wolfling is the animation and scrolling that invites to run freely. After all, a wolf can run faster and farther than the guinea pig in Gruniożerca 2 - or I would have thought so. In practice, the obstacles in wolfling do require some careful planning & training on how to pass them, without allowing too much free running. Maybe you could make the game start with less obstacles, or insert some easy passages between obstacles. Maybe just insert a long corridor without obstacles here and there, if it's compressed then long corridor vs short corridor won't even take up more memory.
EDIT: I've meanwhile figured out that the game gets easier after the first some obstacles, not so much because of more training (I still fail on the above jumps), but because there are longer stretches that permit running, and options to explore different passages. Having such options more at the beginning would be nice: Ie. offer passages with difficult and easy tasks, and allow users to chose which one they want to solve first.

Attacks
Using different buttons for attacking as human or as wolf is a bit bewildering, can't you use the same button in both cases?
Is there much of a reason to delay human attack until releasing the buttton? And if it's done that way: It would be nice if one could still change direction before releasing the button.
Attack during human jump seems to do some air-kick, which is nice. But the side effect is that one can't attack after landing. If the attack button is still held down at landing time, then I would make it to invoke the attack-on-ground (as if the button would have been newly pressed at that time).
Attack during wolf jump seems to cause the wolf to shoot forwards a few steps after landing. I haven't figured out what that's good for yet. If there's no purpose for that feature: I would also change it go to the invoke the normal attack pattern when landing with attack button held down.

Music
I don't know how to say it, other than saying that I don't like it that much. To me, it's pretty chaotic (in my emulator at least). It sounds like slow paced middle-age bagpipes, that might match game theme, except I don't really like bagpipes (they are often too loud, and they lack rhythm). The music in the game does have some rhythm, but it feels as if it would randomly start and stop after a few beats. And then there are all those sound sweep effects, that sound more like collecting bonus items in super mario, but not so much like music intruments. It's unique, but I am a bit troubled to get familar with it.
On the nice part, there are different songs in different scenes, only the fade-over from one song to another is a bit abrupt. Maybe it would sound better when doing some fade-out on the old song before starting the new one.

Hearts
I can't make sense of the heart-symbols during the wolf-scenes. For a long time I've believed that it's a software glitch with vram corruption - but now I think that it's an intended feature for the wolf-scenes. But I could only guess if it's showing bleeding hearts? Or wolf claws? Or nine small hearts representing the cat's nine lifes?

Water
Do you have water in the game already? It might fit in nicely both outsides aund undergrounds. It could also act as one-way passage if the player gets carried away by the stream, and if you add a waterfall then one could chose to get carried to a basin downstreams, or to jump to a platform from the top of the waterfull.

Slopes
Since you have those nice stairs in there (without obeying to 16x16 pixel steps), couldn't you also add slopes that go up, or up and down? That could look nice outdoors. And castles could even have it indoors, I think back then there've been no strict legal requirements for having modern staircases in all rooms. On the oppsite: They might have avoided stairs on the main ways if they wanted them to be open for ox carts and the like.

PS. Holding button for morphing is fine to me. Somebody suggested using SELECT for it, but I don't like that idea (I would use SELECT for things like entering in-game options, but preferably not for actual game controls).


Last edited by nocash on Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:59 pm 
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I guess I already commented on it before but will mention again after retrying the latest build.

The graphics and animation are great. The camera movement is excellent. The music, I have no issue with it. The gameplay is fine except for the jump which is unnatural compared to other platformer. Losing velocity after jumping makes it hard and I always forget that I cannot jump again, which makes you fall or make you fail you jump. If it was part of the game play then it slows it down too. If you could continue jumping without losing velocity it would big improvement.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:08 pm 
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Hey, thanks for the feedback! Yes, the improved version of Wolfling will have refined controls. (the new controls have been tested by the lemon64 forum and by forum64.de people only) It's currently in beta test and should be finished this year. (I hope the Action 53 Vol 4 will be delayed long enough??)

@nocash:
- Your comments about the level design make sense. The new rooms might address some of your concerns. (but only some) I gave everything for the new map, but I guess it's still not on the same level as maps from commecial NES games. (I'm a padawan in level design)
- Yes, you're right, it would be much easier when Ling would punch immediately! But I didn't remove the haul delay completely, because I think it would be too easy. (I tested it and I never died)
- Wolf's health bar are wolf paws :)


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:45 am 
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I've somehow got selected as beta tester for the Wolfling - I hope there are more testers for the NES version?
Maybe also including more motivated and experienced gamers with hardware at hand for testing on real consoles.
I haven't been that much into playing games since 1992, and I am probably not the right one to do a full walkthrough.

Anyways, here some comments on the new beta version...

Controls
In everynes.htm, I've this description for the joypad (but no idea if other people agree on that):
Code:
Joypad Layout
   ___________________________________
  |    _                              |
  |  _| |_                Nintendo    |
  | |_   _| SELECT START              |
  |   |_|    (==)  (==)  ( B ) ( A )  |
  |___________________________________|

Jump and Run Games conventionally use A=Jump, B=Fire.

The old Wolfling version did actually use A=Jump and B=Attack/Morph. The new version has swapped that around, and it's now using B=Jump and A=Attack/Morph?
That's somehow unfamilar to me, with the new controls I tend to forget which button was what after about 1-2 seconds, my best solution is to do button tests every time before trying to use the right buttons in more critical situations.
If you could get back to the old controls would be nice. Or if you want to stay with the new controls: Then don't forget to update the in-game hints (they are still saying "Press B to morph").

Jumps
Momentum after wolf jumps is kept, but not the full momentum. When doing continous jumps you are getting slower and slower. And for human jumps, the momentum isn't kept at all?
If the DPAD is kept pressed for running, why not keeping the FULL momentum after jumps? Or, even INCREASE the speed (until max speed) after jumps as long is DPAD is kept pressed?
I don't know which is more realistic, but it would be more fun if you could run & jump fast.

Also, continous jumps work only if release the jump button for a moment and then press it again (while in mid air). It might be more fun if you could just keep the jump button held down.

Morphing flicker glitch
The new version is having some bad flicker/scrolling glitch upon morphing (or my emulator isn't working).
Either the status bar, or whole screen are flickering wildly (with wrong scroll offsets) about everytime when morphing.
For morph-to-wolf it's flickering shortly before morphing, and for morph-to-human it's flickering shortly after morphing.
This seems to happen in NTSC mode (PAL works without that glitch).


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:36 am 
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I am still missing some training ground where one could just run and jump freely. Both for fun, and for getting familar with the controls.
One minor change would be removing/raising the ceiling in the first room, so you won't bang your head everytime when trying to do some jumps:
Attachment:
ceiling.gif
ceiling.gif [ 9.44 KiB | Viewed 319 times ]


For the jumps, I have just learned that one can push DPAD in opposite direction mid-air to set the momentum to zero. I doubt that it's too realistic, but I know feature from other games, and I guess it can make controls a good bit easier... although when pusing DPAD too early... I've just discovered a new way how to fail jumping ; )
I know, other people don't have problems there, but they are probably doing more sports and less smoking.
How are chances that you could add a safety platform underneath of the two holes? Then I could still fail, but I would have a chance to continue towards left (or have an easier way to go back right, for doing another try).
Attachment:
jump.gif
jump.gif [ 9.88 KiB | Viewed 319 times ]


Here comes a nasty new detail. In the old version I was thinking that the blocks with gaps were looking difficult. Then I just tried to run across that passage and thought "wow, that wasn't so difficult". That was my first "success" experience in the game : )
Now the new version has a new enemy added right at the end of the passage - so I stopped running and droped through the gaps ; (
Attachment:
blocks.gif
blocks.gif [ 9.59 KiB | Viewed 319 times ]


The room below, that is where I had the feeling that it's where the actual game starts because it allowed to explore different paths. And the way up leading to a longer passage where you could (finally) run freely - even if it was dead-end when not having collected some key in advance. To my dismay, I found that it's now blocked by a blue door : (
I've recently read somebody praising Metroid for being the first game with non-linear gameplay, where one could explore different paths and never needed to follow the same linear path to solve the game (which actually, I think Sorcery or Zork had such features before Metroid).
Anyways, nonlinear options wouldn't look bad in a game like Wolfling. Allow people to collect the yellow key and open the yellow door. Or allow them to go for the purple key first. It's more interesting when having that options, and motivating to be able to try something else if one part feels too difficult.
Attachment:
choice.gif
choice.gif [ 9.06 KiB | Viewed 319 times ]


And the game start sequence. In old version (red) Ling appeared mid-air and got thrown deep into the room. In new version (orange) it looks more as if she were politely waiting for door to open and then hopping into the room.
I liked the old version a bit better (apart from the mid-air approach). I think best would be to start with the door already open, and then show her getting thrown into the room (cyan) from offscreens. If you can't throw her that wide, maybe move the door 16pixels closer to the screen border.
Attachment:
start.gif
start.gif [ 9.71 KiB | Viewed 319 times ]


Well, I hope that heven't been too many new suggestions. Feel free to ignore them if you disagree, or if they take too much time. I know you just want to bugfix & finish the game at the moment, without adding more and more new details : )

PS. if you could still consider disabling the first six fireballs - that would make it easier to get started, I still think they are mostly boring and distracting (in terms of slowing down reaching more interesting areas) (and boring especially when you restart the game a bunch of times, and have to pass those fireballs over and over again) (whilst later on in the game they may be a nice addition).


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:42 pm 
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@nocash:
- Yes, (A) and (B) are swapped by accident in the BETA. (oops)
- Yes, Wolf should keep her moving momentum after jumping. It's a bug.
- Yes, the girl doesn't keep her moving momentum after jumping, I didn't like that. But she has more control in the air now!
- Yes, the girl starts at the wrong pos at game start! (oops) Nice find!
- map design: Good point, I will try to do some adjustments, but I'm definitely too lazy to change the complete map, sorry :)

If someone is interested in BETA-testing the final version of Wolfling, please write me a message. (It's a closed beta test, but the final version will be available for free download of course)


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