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Tentacle-Related Action Available NOW!!

  • NewBlack
  • 08/30/2012 08:10 PM
  • 5440 views
Hallor folks.

So as of a few minutes ago you can now download a demo of tCoCL for your ludic enjoyment. So please, do go ahead and download the demo and give it a whirl.

GET YOUR TENTACLE ACTION HERE.

A few notes about the demo:

* The demo consists of one level (the first) of the game.
* All relevant features are included in the demo (unless we add more later)
* Scoring is implemented, this means - We'd love to see screenshot of your score scrolls results!

So if you you manage to clear the level (kefka.wav) we'd love to see your results, preferably in screenshot form. So please post them up here on the game page if you play.

For the record we know that an S rank is totally possible so that's the rank to aim for it you consider yourself a true pirate.

Anyway, for the public demo we ended up including a few extra things (when compared to out closed testing version), one of which was facesets for the cutscene between the level boss and the player character. Now due to the fact that rm2k3 is limited to 256 colours per asset I thought I'd throw up a higher resolution/colour depth preview of that art here:



So yeah, play the game, post your screenshots of results. Please enjoy and leave any/all feedback you feel like. We've been working on this project for probably something like a year (not counting various hiatuses due to real life stuff) so we've love to hear what everyone thinks!

ENJOY!

Posts

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Keep getting wiped by the final bass, fml.
Happy
Devil's in the details
5367
After I killed the medusa thingie, nothing happened anymore. Is this intendeddd?
author=Happy
After I killed the medusa thingie, nothing happened anymore. Is this intendeddd?


Seems like you're catching all the potential bugs. No it's mean to continue after you pick up the guns from the jelly miniboss. :X
Feedback incoming:

-Beautiful art assets. I found myself wishing the characters would talk more just so I could look at the portraits again.

-Excellent music. Final Bass' tune was appropriately hot-blooded.

-Keyboard ergonomics felt a bit off. ZXC was an okay place to put the action buttons, and shift being so close by was great, but I ended up never switching weapons because of how much of a chore it was to leap my fingers up to the number keys. Maybe make C a weapon cycle option, instead of being another ink bomb?

-Allegedly ink bombs regenerate, but nothing I did seemed to make them do that. Likewise, I have no idea how weapons reload.

-Weapon choices were thematically appropriate, but their function was a little weird. I've never seen a shmup that emphasized such precision with the main weapon (the single pistol.) The shot has a moderately slow reload, and fires a tiny bolt. Given the comparatively tiny size of most enemies, I felt like some kind of sniper squid during most of the level. That said, I would happily take that pistol over the cutlass. I would happily take almost anything over the cutlass. There's a very good reason that melee combat does not feature prominently in most shmups, and the cutlass demonstrates that fully. By requiring you to get up into the grill of mobs, it essentially gives you no dodging room for their bullets or sudden movements. The higher damage output is nice, but all it does is bait the trap that is melee combat in this game. If there are eventually upgrades offered to give the sword bullet-deflecting swings, extended reach, greatly enhanced damage, etc, it may become more viable (especially in slow-time,) but it's an extremely circumstantial weapon at best.

-No bugs found, always a plus.

-Ultimately, this was very enjoyable to play, but more of that enjoyment came from atmosphere and quirk than from the shmup gameplay itself. I love the setting, and I think the difficulty is nice and forgiving (beat the level on my first run, scored a D,) but the slight clunkiness of the controls and the weird precision of the pistols kept me from getting too deep into a satisfying shmup flow-state while playing.
author=kumada
I would happily take that pistol over the cutlass. I would happily take almost anything over the cutlass. There's a very good reason that melee combat does not feature prominently in most shmups, and the cutlass demonstrates that fully. By requiring you to get up into the grill of mobs, it essentially gives you no dodging room for their bullets or sudden movements. The higher damage output is nice, but all it does is bait the trap that is melee combat in this game. If there are eventually upgrades offered to give the sword bullet-deflecting swings, extended reach, greatly enhanced damage, etc, it may become more viable (especially in slow-time,) but it's an extremely circumstantial weapon at best.


I would disagree xD I really enjoyed the cutlass. Take a look at my playthroughts in the main profile comments.

I used a controller, so it was easier for me to switch weapons. You could always use a program like Joy2Key to remap the buttons yourself. I do that sometimes for RM games.
@Ashes
Glad to hear you liking the game (Also the first time I see an E. Seems the rank range is somewhat nicely balanced).

@Kumada
First off, thank you for the detailed feedback. They are always welcome.

Some comments on the feedback:
I don't think it was ever written that the ink bombs regenerate, only the hourglasses do. Weapons are reloadable by ammo pick ups... which haven't been implemented quite yet. Typically, the chest at the end of the level should contain some ammo as well as gold.

As for the keyboard ergonometry, you're of course right. Doing it this way is a bit clunky, but once you start getting more weapons, it'll end up somewhat needed to have quick access to any given weapon, especially given the tiny delay each time you're switching a weapon. That said, making the C key cycle through the weapons in addition to the current solution is not a bad idea, so I might just get into implementing that.

As for the weapons themselves, yeah the pistol is going to feel rather untypical for a shump, given the reload, need to keep hitting the button for shooting. I can probably quickly feel a bit awkward, and it might be fine tuned somewhat still, though it will remain the same at large. We have plans of making weapons upgradable as well, so that you can more easily stick with the weapon you find more comfortable. The "Octogun" obtained mid stage in level 1 would probably be more comfortable and give a more typical shmup feel, and with some ammo extending, it should make for a fine primary weapon.

The Cutlass is kind of fine right now though (although still potentially subject to upgrades). It's very effective against enemies who takes more than one bullet to kill and who doesn't shoot back, and is also a weapon which will allow you to kill bosses faster at the risk of taking more damage. I personally use the Cutlass a lot myself and play somewhat similar to how Link_2112 does in his videos, and one of our beta testers seemed to prefer it as well.
I'm not going to lie, I played it twice and died at the final BASS. Second round I was a little more used to the controls and finished it. Problem is I have a laptop with no number pad so switching weapons was a huge problem for me. Other than that it's not game breaking and I understand what you are working with here. I really love the game overall and can't wait for the full release.
author=Kazesui
The Cutlass is kind of fine right now though (although still potentially subject to upgrades). It's very effective against enemies who takes more than one bullet to kill and who doesn't shoot back, and is also a weapon which will allow you to kill bosses faster at the risk of taking more damage. I personally use the Cutlass a lot myself and play somewhat similar to how Link_2112 does in his videos, and one of our beta testers seemed to prefer it as well.


I stand fully corrected. The cutlass is beastly.
My verdict...
1) Beautiful graphics. I'm amazed by all work put into them, specially in the bosses' animations. And besides tiny graphical things I've pointed out before, the only other thing I didn't quite like were the 'portraits', but I'm confident those were made in a hurry for the demo.
2) Nice music. It was fitting enough, but not too memorable. (Then again, I don't know much about music) I'm slightly disappointing by the lack of ambient sounds, though. I dunno, bubbles after every kill, and maybe some sonar echoes in the distance or stuff like that.
3) Nice controls. I experienced some lag with Zero Base and I was expecting this to feel the same but I'm actually very pleased of how smooth it played. I'm also used to play with the keyboard so changing weapons and stuff was no issue for me.
4) Overall good mechanics. Just some thoughts: I second kumada's opinion that the main weapon requires too much precision. I think there should be a way to refill more ink bottles and maybe even health. And bosses should definitively have their own health bars.
5) I wish there was at least a hint of a story, but I guess I'll have to wait for the next demo for that... =P

Finally, my rank...


Not bad for a first run, right? right? xP ...Btw, maybe it was just me but I felt the final bass was too tricky. It alone took two of my lives and i barely made it-- For a demo I think this is nice, but for future releases maybe you'd consider toning down the difficulty a little? I dunno.

Anyway, keep up the good job, guys! I'll keep practicing in the mean time. =)
author=alterego
My verdict...
1) Beautiful graphics. I'm amazed by all work put into them, specially in the bosses' animations. And besides tiny graphical things I've pointed out before, the only other thing I didn't quite like were the 'portraits', but I'm confident those were made in a hurry for the demo.
Thanks :3 You're sort of right about the portraits (they were made specifically for the public demo and I wasn't 100% happy with them myself), however I didn't think they were too bad? I'd like to know more specifically what bothers you about them. So critique away.

author=alterego
2)Nice music. It was fitting enough, but not too memorable. (Then again, I don't know much about music) I'm slightly disappointing by the lack of ambient sounds, though. I dunno, bubbles after every kill, and maybe some sonar echoes in the distance or stuff like that.
Noted, glad you liked what was there. It is a little skimpy on the sounds so I guess there is room for improvement and improving the overall atmosphere.

author=alterego
3)Nice controls. I experienced some lag with Zero Base and I was expecting this to feel the same but I'm actually very pleased of how smooth it played. I'm also used to play with the keyboard so changing weapons and stuff was no issue for me.
Yeah, I didn't think the weapon switching would be too much of a biggy personally (although a weapon cycle as kumada suggested will likely be a nice addition). Years of playing FPS on the PC has taught me to use the number keys pretty easily for weapon switching.
author=alterego
4)Overall good mechanics. Just some thoughts: I second kumada's opinion that the main weapon requires too much precision. I think there should be a way to refill more ink bottles and maybe even health. And bosses should definitively have their own health bars.
Not to be harsh but I really think a lot of this is down to the fact the game has a learning curve. The thing I personally like the most about this game is that it has a large skill element and it's not meant to be easy (this is largely thanks to Kazesui). That would, to me, be really boring (and perhaps a little pandering?). A lot of the decisions in the design are very much deliberate (or deliberately not changed to something easier because of the interesting challenges and dynamics that arise from a system with built-in limitations for the player to come up against and make work for them as well as they can). Only having three ink bottles so you need to think tactically about when and where to make the best use of them, lack of boss HP bars, the single-shot pistol with unlimited ammo that demands precision of the player, the relatively high-damage sword that puts you at greater risk when you use it - all of this was decided upon as the way we imagined it working best based on the way the game is meant to play. And although some tweaks to weapon balance may be made - If you could just go through the level holding down shoot and spamming the screen indefinitely with huge bullets I don't think this game would be anywhere near as interesting and challenging to play as it currently is. Weapon balancing is something we've put a lot of thought into for this game. Every weapon has pros and cons and it's meant to be that way.

Bottom line for me is, I guess - If this game was just "Gradius/R-type/Zero Wing, but underwater and with kooky aquatic characters" it wouldn't be a project I personally would want to work on, or really play. It's meant to be different to other shmups because trying to make something different is more fun than making something based entirely on an existing model and calling it something new.

End ramble.
author=alterego
5)I wish there was at least a hint of a story, but I guess I'll have to wait for the next demo for that... =P

Although not present in the demo, if you head over to the main page for the game there is something of a storyline outlined in a hide tag in the game summary :x


author=alterego
Finally, my rank...


Not bad for a first run, right? right? xP ...Btw, maybe it was just me but I felt the final bass was too tricky. It alone took two of my lives and i barely made it-- For a demo I think this is nice, but for future releases maybe you'd consider toning down the difficulty a little? I dunno.

Anyway, keep up the good job, guys! I'll keep practicing in the mean time. =)

;~; actually the game will probably get harder rather than easier in the future D: But you will have new weapons, upgrades, all that jazz. Emphasis is on giving the player a tool set and a world with certain rules and mechanics and seeing how they approach the task of making it through as best they can. Once you get into the flow of the game you start to find a groove and stuff it starts to get a little less frustrating? I think anyway :X

Thanks for the detailed feedback! A D isn't too bad, at least you didn't game over! :D

I think this game is pretty easy at the moment, at least as far as shmups go. As long as you're increasing player options along with difficulty, go ahead and crank that sucker up.

Also, speaking of options, I think a good place to put the "this is how you play the game" tutorial is as an option off of the main menu. It feels a little bit too hand-holdy to just cram it at the start of the campaign.
author=Ashes of Emerald
I resent that, lol XD


Haha, sorry :x

author=kumada
I think this game is pretty easy at the moment, at least as far as shmups go. As long as you're increasing player options along with difficulty, go ahead and crank that sucker up.

Also, speaking of options, I think a good place to put the "this is how you play the game" tutorial is as an option off of the main menu. It feels a little bit too hand-holdy to just cram it at the start of the campaign.


First levels are first levels. It's meant to ease you in yet still have enough substance to sink your teeth in a bit. Later levels will be much more complex and varied and generally more challenging without being outright unfair, or at least that's the plan.

The tutorial only runs on your first time opening the .exe, once it's showed once it should never show again. I don't personally think it's that hand-holdy to let people know which keys do stuff in a non-default game where you have limited resources you might not want to accidentally waste, also it doesn't really give you any direction in how to really apply the tools you've been given, it just literally tells you what keys do stuff. Aaaand that tutorial was pretty much only for the sake of the public demo and is not representative of the final product etc. If we didn't include it we'd likely have comments saying that it was negligent to not include an explanation of the controls. You know, usual stuff o_o

So, noted.. But not gonna be like that in the actual game anyway :3
Regarding the portrait art. I'm not sure. It doesn't feel like they have the same finishing touches than, say, the backgrounds. They look smudgy and fake somehow. They need more detail, a more 'traditional' look in order to fit... You know, consistency and all that.

About the difficulty. Well, I think some of your decisions are more valid than others. If you don't want for ink bottles to refill I can understand that, but not having a health bar for bosses I feel it actually hampers 'tactical thinking'. You're withholding information from me, and I can't properly assert what's the best way to spend my resources. You may as well get rid of the ammo bar for a similar effect. And if you don't want to have an actual bar, any other hint would suffice, like a change in color or something... All in all, I just hope you don't make the game too hard for lazy rpg maker players, specially those of us who aren't really into the shmup genre. But I trust you guys. Keep it up! =P
I definitely don't mean that you should take the tutorial out entirely, but I think making it an option off the main menu (maybe with a sub-menu to reconfigure controls?) would improve accessibility. It's definitely not bringing the game quality down, but I was chomping at the bit while I was playing through it. "C'mon, lemme just shoot things. I'll figure out the controls as I go." I am probably much more anti-tutorial than most players.
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