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Progress Thread - Project Blue
http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=16785
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Author:  gauauu [ Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress Thread - Project Blue

This is a lot of fun. Great job!

Author:  lidnariq [ Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress Thread - Project Blue

Trivial tiny bug: on the game completion screen, a small artifact was redrawn (after erasing? Or maybe it had just been blanked via palette and itself not erased) in the top left corner. Probably off-screen on actual NTSC decks.

Author:  team_disposable [ Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress Thread - Project Blue

Wow I sat down to play five minutes of this, I looked up, and it had been an hour! This is awesome, the music and graphics are great, the engine is really solid.

Two things, which you can obviously feel free to ignore. I felt that ladders could have a wider point of contact - maybe two collision checks, one on each side of the sprite, if you are currently only doing one? it makes sense to have a wider area of contact as you have those loose physics and several times I would be overlapping the ladder, press up, but it not be valid.

Also, is there any acknowledgement you've reached a save point? Also also, save points restart you in a different position on the screen, so can be difficult to tell which direction you are going - this could just be me being a bit thick. And I can see a bunch of times you made it really obvious, like killing the player if they went the wrong way. I love that one where you pop up in a separate little box room with health and a ladder.

The boss was awesome. And there's a bit near the end where when you get good you can run through a whole bunch of screens that was really well designed and I really enjoyed.

Thanks for posting!

Author:  FrankenGraphics [ Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress Thread - Project Blue

Thanks for playing guys! :D Makes me happy you all seem to have made it through!

To address a few things:
Save points aren't signaled, just to keep you on your toes. I view it as part of the design to make the player uncertain enough to want to stay vigilant, but secure enough that the checkopoints won't throw you into the middle of a pickle or too far back. That of course stresses the responsibility to be able to come up with good spots for the invisible checkpoint objects. Orientation is one such thing i might want to address at a point. As it is now, Blue always respawn facing to the right which i've never thought about until now. Typical oversight from knowing too much about the layout of the level. ;(

I'm making a list of all your insights and reflections. :)

Author:  toggle switch [ Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress Thread - Project Blue

OP wouldn't let me add more attachments, but here's some screens from the compo version:

Attachment:
Project Blue.png
Project Blue.png [ 5.18 KiB | Viewed 2012 times ]


Attachment:
Project Blue2.png
Project Blue2.png [ 2.9 KiB | Viewed 2012 times ]


Attachment:
Project Blue3.png
Project Blue3.png [ 5.36 KiB | Viewed 2012 times ]


Attachment:
Project Blue4.png
Project Blue4.png [ 4.86 KiB | Viewed 2012 times ]

Author:  pubby [ Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress Thread - Project Blue

This game is great! I like the graphics and the way the objects interact. It took me awhile, but I did manage to beat it.

My only complaint is the lack of friction on the player's shoes. They felt more like roller skates and made the player hard to control. (but since FrankenGraphics is involved, maybe they are roller skates?)

Author:  toggle switch [ Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress Thread - Project Blue

since that seems to be a common complaint, i'll probably increase the acceleration/deceleration constant.

thanks for your feedback!

Author:  na_th_an [ Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress Thread - Project Blue

This game is plain awesome.

I love the variety of the screens. Each one has its own very original challenge and that's done wisely combining the game element. Kudos to the level designer for that. Animation is simply gorgeous, and everything seems to move so smoothy. I love it. I understand people complaining about the low acceleration / decceleration, but I kind of got used to it, and had it mentally justified by the setting. Maybe the game is set in a low-G space base, think of an orbiting space station or a small planet. This is like you would move around in the moon, me thinks.

The difficulty is high but I think it's well balanced: I managed to pass every situation I had problems on my first go on the next attempt. Good design!

Congratulations, the game is absolute bliss.

Author:  FrankenGraphics [ Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress Thread - Project Blue

Wow, thanks for that rosy review, na_th_an!!

Quote:
Kudos to the level designer for that.

Designers! :wink: It proved to be a synergistic experience being two on that front. If you want the details, we made one stretch of rooms each, focusing on the function rather than aesthetics (though narration is a function among others). Then i gave it a coat of theme and paint, filling in spaces with structures and took care that it didn't change the core function or balance of the room. Then we took (many) turns back and forth, ping ponging the level file between us, in order to tune it, and did a lot of test runs. When i close my eyes, i see blue jumpin' around at this point. :lol: I should also mention that the level editor toggle switch programmed made it all work. I can't imagine us getting very far if we had to type in the level. :lol: We also got some constructive feedback that helped us dial back the difficulty from a few testers - m-tee among them.

About the setting, it's actually not on mars/the moon (it's "the dystopian wasteland of neo hong kong"), but we don't aim for realism either. This conglomerate kidnaps street urchins and conduct unethical experiments on them to give them post-human abilities so r&d can tell the board of directors that they'll have an edge over the competition in the military & security market.


pubby wrote:
They felt more like roller skates and made the player hard to control. (but since FrankenGraphics is involved, maybe they are roller skates?)
Haha! It just *might* be why i felt very comfortable with the level of friction as it is ^^

Author:  na_th_an [ Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress Thread - Project Blue

This is the true joy of the compo. I've learned TONS of this game and others. And my future efforts will be better because you guys are setting the standards higher with each iteration!

Author:  toggle switch [ Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress Thread - Project Blue

thanks so much na_th_an!

for level design, i got to have two playtests, one with my brother and one with two friends, set up on an AVS at my house. the second one was a great experience since i got to see a 'group' interact with the game for the first time.

i really suggest for game designers to do this once they have a reasonably polished product, as i found the experience to be invaluable. you will be tempted to give the player hints, etc, to make their experience better and to make yourself feel better about the experience that they are having, but it's important to keep your mouth shut and watch them try to figure things out on their own (obviously if they get totally stuck you can help them progress, but at that point you want to give a serious sidelong glance to the part of the game that gave them trouble).

i ended up toning down a pretty brutal stretch in my area, and while the game feels far too easy *to me* at this point, i realize that's how it should be.

and yeah, like frankengraphics said, we were tag-teaming it for quite a while which was great. the level editor meant i got to hand off substantial amounts of work to her and could continue to build the engine out while she worked on level design. i could add features, and give her a new ROM, which she could then patch with the level editor, adding her work to the project with the click of a button. it was a really great way to work! i strongly suggest making level editors, to anybody who doesn't use them. i used processing (processing.org) to make mine, it's an extremely simple language to work with.

once i hammer out my real-world work for the month i'll tighten up the controls and hopefully some people will be willing to test the difference with faster deceleration. as long as it's a subtle change it shoudn't hurt anything gameplay wise.

Author:  FrankenGraphics [ Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress Thread - Project Blue

I had two testers i could observe, each on a separate occasion. But the situation Donny had with the two testers at the same time is pretty optimal.

I know from observing users in other software related projects that they're much more likely to "loosen up" about how they think and feel and will react more effortlessly in general if they have a fellow user to mirror and relate to. They do not feel any obligations towards each other, which they might feel towards you. Worse still if you're standing in a lab coat with a notepad in hand. :lol: It's generally better to attempt to be a fly on the wall or blend in, a bit like certain methods of anthropologists and ethnographers. Also good if the environment isn't clinical, but a "natural milieu", like a game shop, home party, visitor center (that's for the software in my field of work) or something like that. But the most signifant factor of all as far as i've experienced is definitely testers having peers in their company, and better still, if they know each other.

It can also be interesting, albeit a little manipulative, if they aren't aware that they are testers.

Author:  tepples [ Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress Thread - Project Blue

About the use of color $0D mentioned elsewhere:

On 2C02/2C07, $2D is fairly close to $00, and $3D is almost exactly $10. On 2C03/2C05, both are black. So I just ignore column D when making anything but test ROMs for column D. Otherwise, you could special case $0D to $0F in the fade calculation, in the same way Thwaite special cases $F0 (one level below $00) to $02 (dark blue) to provide an extra step.

Author:  toggle switch [ Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress Thread - Project Blue

Quote:
On 2C02/2C07, $2D is fairly close to $00, and $3D is almost exactly $10.


i made the same argument, but in in the end it was only 3 lines of code for the special case check, so no big deal.

once i tighten up the controls again i'll post it up again.

the next big thing i'm going to do with this project is move away from CNROM and towards GTROM, so i want to make a few quick edits to fix things up for the cart before i do that.

Author:  tepples [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Progress Thread - Project Blue

One step in the switch from CNROM to GTROM is to use 32K PRG ROM banking. The closest mapper in Action 53 to GTROM is BNROM. So if you want to port from CNROM to BNROM at the same time you tune the physics, I'm fine with that.

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