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Edifice Players: I Need Your Thoughts

  • Craze
  • 01/16/2012 05:32 PM
  • 2609 views
To put you in the mood:



Two questions.

1) If I started a Tumblr blog for the more menial Edifice updates, would anybody be interested? I guess it'd be silly running my RGSS3 Wordpress, personal Tumblr, game dev Tumblr, and this game profile, but I feel like posting frivolous updates on the profile and WP wouldn't be worthwhile.

2) What did you love, like, dislike and hate about the released version of Edifice? Edifice's Ace remake is a very different, but still similar, game, and is also a very serious project in terms of "I am going to make a release a polished, quality indie game." So, I need your thoughts, as harsh as possible. There were lots of good and bad things in Edifice, and I need your help sorting them out.

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1) You know at least I would.

2) THE SIDEVIEW BATTLE SYSTEM WAS THE BEST PART You have pages and pages of notes from me regarding the beta :P but if anything else comes to mind I'll be sure to let you know.
I didn't play it for very long and it was a long time ago when I did, so take my comments for what they're worth (very little). The numbers seemed a little tight to appreciate without a spreadsheet or something. By that, I mean it was difficult to gauge how effective I was being until I had whittled myself into my demise.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13616
author=Jude
The numbers seemed a little tight to appreciate without a spreadsheet or something. By that, I mean it was difficult to gauge how effective I was being until I had whittled myself into my demise.


There are no stats anymore, just your HP (which is less abstract now due to reasons) and your AP (which works like an MMO energy system basically, as opposed to "here is 300 you can never get back"). So, hopefully, that's fully mitigated.
Highly suggest more concrete roles for characters. I remember distinctly just using whoever. Diablocide did this a lot better for some reason.

Also: lesbians. Always.
Feedback, incoming:

-Very nice integration of mechanics and plot. The intro, while it doesn't mess about with any sort of preamble, does introduce a lot of mechanics without forcing them.

-Items are very clear in their use, and descriptions even include a nice bit of fluff sometimes.

-non-random encounters. Thank god.

-pre/post-battle chatter is nice and immersive.

-'blessing' on characters seems to trigger whenever they're targeted by an ability. "Break bonds", for example, seems to set it off. I kinda like this, though. It adds an additional layer of viable strategy to the game.

-Bitter root et. all seem to come with multiple charges per item, but nothing in their description indicates this.

-Character roster gets a little boggling at the start, and I'm still fiddling with it, trying to understand who's good at what. This may be one of those games where you just need to keep your head down and play until it starts to make sense (much like a roguelike.)

-I've only done one set of floors so far, but I'm enjoying this. It's a little grindy/crawly, but that pretty much comes with the territory. There's an obscenely high level of polish here, and a lot of attention was obviously paid to attributes, items, and whatnot (enough that it's a little off-putting the first time you crack open a menu. The tutorial windows do help to offset this.) Battle moves a hair too slowly for my taste, but that's probably only because I haven't found a way to turn off attack animations yet.

All in all, seems like something I could play for hours.
A wild crashbug appeared!

Floor 4 (the one that looks kinda like the inside of a pyramid,) first combat encounter (the skeleton directly to the right of the entrance) got me this message (I hadn't done anything unusual beforehand other than buying skills for the whole party,) :

Script 'YEM Battle Engine Melody IV' line 2096: NoMethodError occurred.

undefined method 'viewportB' for nil:NilClass
Got the exact same error again, this time off of the first skeleton on floor 3. I had just reorganized my party (which I did when I got the other error. I neglected to mention that, due to reasons of derp) but had not done anything else.
Well, time to play this one again.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13616
You really don't have to subject yourself to it just for me. kumada already showed how buggy it is. :<
Sure, but it's also a lot of fun. Bugs =/= game experience ruined. This just needs a couple tweaks.
I played Edifice v2 for around 10 hours, completing two six-floor runs.
I'm a bit late to the punch but I'll offer what I thought were strengths and weaknesses in your game, as a roguelike. (I should probably have posted this as review haha)

STRENGTH: Combat
Balance was pretty solid through-out, I used the majority of the characters to maximize combat and survival potential in each area. I think the author did quite well in this regard overall.
The difficulty seemed reasonable; I didn't feel particularly pressured with the lack of healing, but I did feel challenged to make it to the final floor in good order to defeat the end boss as well as maximize kill-count for items. No characters actually died but many came close.
It was also nice not having to worry about characters dying every battle and focusing on the survival aspect, rather than just DPS delivery; this is quite unique and well implemented into the game.

Combat itself wasn't terribly complex, but was still quite engaging; the status effects and elemental affinities seemed well thought out.
Each status effect felt valuable at times. Although I got a lot of use out of neuroshock, I didn't feel it was out of balance; towards the end of the game I gravitated toward disabling specific enemy abilities using weak/silence, as stun was never reliable.
Many games don't succeed with status effects and elementals, but I think edifice has done both correctly; they don't feel like a crap-shoot like in most games.
This is Edifice's crowning achievement to me, as far too many games have gotten these two things wrong time and time again.

STRENGTH: Randomization
Choosing optimal battles to fight and looting chests was fun. I probably enjoyed the random-party battles more than setting things up myself; I think it was because it was more challenging and I couldn't always deal with things perfectly.

STRENGTH: Items
Many of the consumable items were useful both in combat and out; it never felt like I had too many, or too little.
Essence upgrades were a great addition, it was quite fun to kit out the characters; if it wasn't for a rather annoying bug, I probably would have done quite a few more runs. Could've used another few tiers of high-end items to purchase though :)

STRENGTH: Characters
I found most of characters useful to my strategies and overlapping skills didn't bother me particularly. I think more could have been done to make them unique but it was satisfactory for me.
Spending XP to improve the characters was good fun, though it did feel a bit linear. I seemed to get choices every battle or two which helped maintain my interest in building the characters up.
Many wouldn't agree, but I thought it was nice to have a huge group of characters instead of a handful. As things moved along I really enjoyed outfitting them and improving on them.

STRENGTH: General
The interludes and banter between party members each floor was a good idea, I think it gives players an extra incentive to keep climbing floors. It's a small but important thing to help the player identify with the characters.
Aesthetics for the game were mostly good, the only complaint is some of the monster art; ultimately it didn't bother me as the game was quite addictive.
The side-view combat looked good and moved at a brisk pace; it didn't get frustrating with extended encounters or lengthy ability animations.

WEAKNESS: Combat
The game really needed a bestiary for keeping track of elemental affinities of monsters and bosses, it was frustrating bringing the wrong characters to boss battles; players shouldn't be required to keep a notebook or guide handy!
Maybe combat could have used a character switching mechanic, limited or otherwise; this might have helped in battles where you're stuck in deadlock due to not having the right ability against a hard foe.

Information was lacking at times, for instance, if you couldn't remember what a characters abilities were during combat, you were unable to browse them unless it was his/her turn; the author was probably going to get around to doing this by the looks of it, as you can switch characters but not issue any commands to the character or browse their skills and cooldowns.
Elemental affinities, once discovered, should have probably been displayed during targeting, saving players from a lot of mental anguish in remembering every single thing encountered.

WEAKNESS: Randomization
I have to admit I was disappointed in the level of randomization in Edifice. Although it fulfilled the task, it was hardly roguelike standards.
I'm not sure RM is capable of intelligent map randomization but I couldn't help but feel the game was still quite static.

Bosses could have used something like a mutation system to further spice things up. (think Diablo elites, where a set of monsters could have been faster than usual, elemental specific, etc)
Perhaps each run could have had clues dotted around as to the bosses abilities and elemental make-up; the more you explored the run, the more you'd know about the boss, but the weaker you'd be when you confronted it.
The bosses in the game felt less like a challenge and more like an exercise for the brain to remember what the boss was weak to/could damage the party with, and while there's nothing wrong with set encounters, I think the game could have been longer lived with more variation on boss encounters for replayability.

WEAKNESS: Reward
Although I enjoyed the kill-count mechanic, the rewards for defeating the entire floor did not have sufficient justification in terms of reward. Perhaps had the scoring system been in place it might have been worth shooting for. (I'm assuming the score system would let you unlock themed runs or special encounters etc)

WEAKNESS: Accessibility
The game is initially not particularly accessible, mainly due to the sheer number of characters and elemental affinities; it's difficult to keep track of who can do what. Personally it took about 5 hours before I could actually remember who could do what, and often I would still get confused. Maybe symbols showing each characters main elements and role would have been useful at a glance.
I think the initial floors should have been more dedicated about learning status effects and affinities while introducing characters into the party as you progressed. Ultimately doing entire runs to recruit new characters would be a blast, obtaining these characters might help you take on richer/deeper runs that are difficult with your first group of characters etc.

Conclusion
In its current state I would probably rate the game 4/5 as a dungeon crawler, the only technical issue I experienced in 10 hours was having essence go missing when I had more than four equipped on a character, which kind of killed long-term value for me, unfortunately.

Edifice is successful as a party-based roguelike; but had it a few more dynamic features, the planned scoring/soul system and a bunch of bosses/themed runs it may have lasted a hundred hours for me. Couldn't have hurt to have character re-incarnation or recruitment either :)
Perhaps you might look at doing a Suikoden-style game where you run around as king recruiting characters for both battle and to expand your fortress. This is essentially identical to Edifice's structure- given your experience with balancing the many characters and encounters in Edifice, I'd love to see how it would turn out!

It's too bad you're moving on from this project, because I think Edifice is a pretty solid core for dungeon crawling.
Keep up the good work in future, Craze.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13616
moose, thanks for that; it's extremely informative. I'm glad to tell you that I've already acknowledged and worked on changing up almost all of those issues. =3

The only thing that doesn't really apply anymore is randomization - I've decided that as a one-man band, creating higher-quality but static locales is the best way to go.

moose
WEAKNESS: AccessibilityThe game is initially not particularly accessible, mainly due to the sheer number of characters and elemental affinities; it's difficult to keep track of who can do what. Personally it took about 5 hours before I could actually remember who could do what, and often I would still get confused. Maybe symbols showing each characters main elements and role would have been useful at a glance.
I think the initial floors should have been more dedicated about learning status effects and affinities while introducing characters into the party as you progressed. Ultimately doing entire runs to recruit new characters would be a blast, obtaining these characters might help you take on richer/deeper runs that are difficult with your first group of characters etc.

THIS, holy shit THIS.

I agree entirely with everything you say here, and this is what I've been working on improving the most... and it's highly amusing since I'm pretty much doing exactly everything you say here.

I feel that, bugs aside, accessibility is the #1 weakpoint of Edifice, and so... yeah.

+3 cool points for moose!
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