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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:54 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:08 pm
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Location: World 9 - Warp Zone
Awesome game. How many levels / dreams do you have? 4?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:44 am 

Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 9:40 am
Posts: 400
Thanks! There are 10 levels + 1 epilogue (which is a sort of playable ending sequence)


PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:27 am 
Formerly WheelInventor

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:55 am
Posts: 1354
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Played it up to dream 6 but then unfortunately things needed to be attended to, so i savestated and will return to it next session... ^^

Anyway, comments so far:
Congratulations on the submission!

-As usual, your work is as atmospheric as ever. It's a great trademark you have. :)
-The rain makes for an unusually living and breathing NES experience. You managed to get a good balance between the 'particles' being quite intense and the graphics being very pleasing and non-interruptive. Great work! I Like the ghostly yet warm palette choices, the skeleton reminds me of "glowing in the dark" spooky toys i used to have as a kid. :)
-The leaves on the ground are a beautiful subtheme. They're sufficiently separated from solid simply by being monocoloured, although the blocks speak for themselves too.
-Music fits like hand in glove. Builds up creepy tension but is at the same time kind to the ear and relaxing to listen to repeatedly, which is good in a rather slow paced* puzzle labyrinth.

*for me at least it is somewhat slow paced (which isn't critique, slow paced is just as good as quick paced) - it might have to do with my lack of skill, i'm unusure.

-For influences (if any), i caught a whiff of... sokoban type games, maybe startropics?
-I like the contrasts, highlights and shadows a lot.
-The bedrrom chamber and corridor is my favourite piece, i think the slanted perspective here works great!
[-b]Spoiler:[/b] the new theme appearing in the 6th dream after "cycling through" some other themes before is a nice way to text the player that "now it is getting ramped up!" Well done!

As for critique, most of these nitpicks. If the body of text seems imposing, it's just because i wanted to describe it some and come up with a few ideas.

-It is sometimes hard parsing the perspective.
-I felt the combination of having a skull placed right in front of the maid + the punishment for shooting a made by mistake was a bit too severe. I had hoped the game would give me a moral warning, or maybe take damage as a punishment, but i didn't feel comfortable game over:ing because of it. Maybe a flash of lightning and maybe losing a heart (except the last one)?
-While the rain effect is soothing and smooth, i felt the flashing effect was a little too much, too often. I also got scared it was some harmful game effect i didn't know what it did and why it was triggered until i reasoned it was just the weather. Two ways that could be mitigated, should you want to:
--Consider lightning strikes in the real world. there's first a flash, then a period, then a (usually) low rumble. Unless lightning strikes within a kilometer, in which case it is terrifying and ear shattering. Mimmicking the first "mode" would help make the effect less acute. I think it would reassure the player that it is atmospheric.
--increase the timing between flashes by around a power of 2.
-lava can sometimes be a little too easy to fall into. This seems to be a combination of strict hit detection and sometimes a bit of diffuse borders between ground and holes.
-ice platforms feel a little unexpected in their behaviour. To me I cannot pinpoint what it is at the time, so i'm not sure if this is helpful. But they proved to be a difficulty spike for me.
-in the "sleep" sequence, maybe it would help orient the player telling how many maids there are left in total to rescue? Sort of to define the object of the game further and keep track of progress / stretch left. This is just a personal wish i had, though.
-lastly, the pushing currently requires a specific combiniation of conditionals which made it slightly unintuitive for me to figure it out "automatically"
-being close enough
-walking against it
-pressing fire

it could for example have been looser:
-being close enough
-facing it
-pressing fire

or looser still:
-walking against it
-time up to maybe 10-15 frames of walking against it as to filter out mistakes. Balancing is required.

Either topology has its merits and disadvantages. There are probably other topologies to experiment with, too.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:49 am 

Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 9:40 am
Posts: 400
Thank you for your post! Really constructive, this is the kind of feedback and criticism I need :-).
I agree with most of your suggestions. Some gripes come from limitations in the engine but I can think I can provide a better experience for the multicart.

- Perspective. I know, it is sometimes top-down and sometimes plain diedric. And mixed in a bad way. The main problem here is that I am limited to 32 different metatiles per level and these tend to run out quite fast. The limitation is there 'cause I am using a RLE derivative with single byte runs which provide good compression and fast decoding (3 bits for the run length, 5 bits for the tile number - works quite nicely with the screens in this game).

- I made the maids flicker (and be invincible) while Cheril is flickering (and not just if you hit them!), to make the player know that they are somewhat connected. Now I see that with so much going on screen sometimes it is hard to notice and one doesn't know if it is sprite cycling flickering or actual invincibility flickering. What you suggest about substracting lives but no the last one seems a good suggestion to me. Also, more forgiving placement would help.

- I had considered delaying the thunder a second after the flash but I ran out of time and completely forgot. I will implement this for sure. And make them more scarce, you are right. They happen too often.

- The original plans involved stuff happening in the intro sequence to each dream (things changing, for instance), but again: time constraints. I have to make something with it. I like the idea of some kind of progress indicator, but I'd like to integrate it with the architecture and not throw in just a counter.

- I definitely have to make more forgiving hit detectors for lava.

Thank you again, I've taken good note. Glad you enjoyed it :)


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