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Improving the game / Update / About the sequel

  • OldPat
  • 12/30/2016 03:09 PM
  • 2580 views
So, it's been three months. I feel like a slowpoke, since there were two things I really wanted to fix for this game. They still need to be fixed. I'm sorry.

League of Awesome Geeks, who made a Let's Play of the game (channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEPb6wTMLzAyvyiGh9OdJlQ ), spotted a bug when jumping on a roof near the Parisio Hotel, in Episode 2. Florien would initiate her "jumping animation" and then stick with it even after the "jumping phase" was finished. Attacking and jumping again would fix this little bug and restore her "walking animation", but nonetheless is annoying to see it right there.

Also, he made a very good point regarding the scoring system of the game. It's never explained exactly what gives you points and what not.
For example, he thought that "Indirect Kills" would detract points like the "Number of Alerts" do, while in fact killing folks indirectly is mandatory in order to reach an S-Rank.

Two very minor things, but that I'm looking forward to fix. The fact is, I wanted to wait more feedback before releasing yet another update, in order to catch and fix more bugs if there were anymore left. Meanwhile, I started developing the game's sequel.

So I'm asking to whoever played this game:
Do you feel like there are things that need to be changed, rebalanced or something like that? Have you spotted any annoying/minor/major bug/s?
I'm going to fix those two things soon. If you have something to share regarding your experience with the game, please do.

So yeah, the sequel is in development. A lot of things I'm sure I can't fix now for this first chapter, since they would require a lot of work, will be fixed there.

I'm trying to make the sequel a major improvement over the first game. The gameplay mechanics will be much more refined, there will be a looot of new gameplay possibilities.

RPG Maker 2003 is a pain. I had trouble adding new gameplay things, even small ones, because of sudden FPS drop and lag. So I worked in order to optimize the code. That phase is pratically done. It now remains to see how much I can put into the sequel in terms of gameplay possibilities.

I'm aware of most of the game's main flaws, like the random mirrors and the much-too-long cutscenes.
It was made for a Short Game Contest, and I had a story in mind that needed to be wrapped up quickly. Karma Flow 2 is not bound by any contest rules, so I will find a way to tell things with an appropriate pace in order to offer a satisfying experience.

The concept phase of KF2 is almost over (I've also uploaded some of its concept arts in my "Art" topic: https://rpgmaker.net/forums/topics/21225/ ).

What "scares" me the most is the fact that Karma Flow received very little "end-game" feedback here. Only my betatesters and pianotm (who I deeply thank) gave me their overall impressions.

So I also want to know from you if you've finished it or not. If not, what drew you away from the game? I would like to know in order to improve the sequel and let it flow better than its predecessor.


Thank you for your time and understanding. Have a happy new year!

Posts

Pages: 1
CAVE_DOG_IS_BACK
On sunny days, I go out walking
1142
I also felt similarly weird about the scoring system at first. I think in my notes I said that I actually got a really bad score on the second mission at first because I thought that not killing anyone but the target was the way to go.

Which, I mean, from a lore perspective it makes more sense to murder all the random baddies you see. and IMO I can see either approach being more 'fun' depending on player mentality, but from a 'video game player' perspective I would always assume that the harder approach (not killing anyone) would give me a higher score.

HOWEVER I was glad that wasn't the case because I kind of hate it when a game gives you a number of tools and then urges you to not use them.

Regarding a lack of feedback: I honestly think that is more of a problem with content visibility on this site. The front page has 8000 things staring a viewer in the face, most of which you have to scroll down for 5 years to see, and one of the first things that viewers of the front page see is the section devoted to "games that are being talked about," which leads them to clicking on them and talking about them, creating an infinite feedback loop. Karma Flow is really cool but I would have never known about its existence if I had not seen the forum thread asking for testers.
OldPat
OrudoPatto, kisama!
4948
I also felt similarly weird about the scoring system at first. I think in my notes I said that I actually got a really bad score on the second mission at first because I thought that not killing anyone but the target was the way to go.

D'oh! I just checked and... you're right, you too told me about that.
During that time I was really busy adjusting and adding things in the game that... I completely forgot about it (or somehow skipped?) ! Forgive me! ;\

from a 'video game player' perspective I would always assume that the harder approach (not killing anyone) would give me a higher score.

Yeah, that's right. Most stealth games usually reward non-lethal approaches and things like that. Strange I've never considered this during development.

Since Flo is an assassin and performing an indirect kill is slightly trickier than killing the enemy directly (which detracts Karma Points and that is bad for the score), I thought it would've been better to reward the player for things like that.
It needs proper explanation, yeah.

I could add a few extra line of dialogue for Marty in his second commercial in order to explain it or I could just add the received points in the "scoring screen" at the end of the mission (something like: "Indirect Kills: 5 = +50 points, Alerts: 5 = -50 points").
(Or do both).

As for the lack of feedback: I dunno. It could be. I mean yes, it's part of the reason probably. The fact is there's a big gap between download\views\subscribers and "endgame impressions", which are only three in total, two of which from you betatesters (you couldn't escape from my urgency to know MuaHhaHAhahaHAHa ehrm).

Just wanted to know if there was someone among the subscribers who played it and somehow stopped because of some, I dunno, strange game breaking bug? Because that someone thought the game design\level design was bad in some sections? Things like that.
Knowing will be of some help to me.
I realize there might be a whole lot of other reasons (maybe someone didn't appreciate the game's genre, maybe most of the downloads\views come from unregistered guests, maybe someone finished but doesn't want\have time to write a full impression\review and I can understand that, etc...)
but just in case, you never know.

I want the sequel to NOT have any reason for anyone to give up on playing it! 8D
So any feedback is appreciated and will help the cause.

That's all, just a quick reminder that everyone can come here and kick my butt with criticism, that's fine. xD


CAVE_DOG_IS_BACK
On sunny days, I go out walking
1142
1 review for 200 downloads actually feels normal to me on this site. most people don't want to put the effort forward to review a game. hero's realm has ~32,000 downloads and 16 reviews, for example, so the download/review ratio is actually a lot weaker there. obviously the lack of feedback is intensely frustrating though. it feels like up until a point where your game is really exposed, getting feedback is always going to be like squeezing blood from a stone

OldPat
OrudoPatto, kisama!
4948
author=CAVE_DOG_IS_BACK
1 review for 200 downloads actually feels normal to me on this site. most people don't want to put the effort forward to review a game.

Yeah, I know and it's more than comprehensible. I don't want to give the impression that I'm worrying too much over it. I just threw it out there, since I'll be working on the next update soon and any feedback will be appreciated in order to avoid yet another update (I'd dare to say it's unlikely that I'll have to make another update after the next one since the game has been tested, and tested, and tested like hell and no other bugs have been found, but you never know. Those bastards hide in the most unthinkable places).
I want to patch things up and then go back to the sequel with my mind at ease.

I don't write "update blogs" often, so I don't want to give the impression that I'm slowpoking too much, doing nothing and that I forgot about this game. I still remember those two things that need to be fixed and I will fix them. My attention simply shifted to the sequel and other things during this past month.^^'
Dragnfly
Beta testers!? No, this game needs a goddamn exorcist!
1809
Happy New Year, you guys!

I'll admit I was kind of frustrated to see the lack of feedback and downloads too, considering how much I pimped the game to people.

For the score explanations, I'd recommend just putting it on the screen. Marty's tutorials are awesome and hilarious but they're already long enough and any player who understands your indirect kill system should be able to understand how the scoring works if you have an "Indirect Kills: 5 = +50 points, Alerts: 5 = -50 points" by those parts of the scoring screen.

After the testing was done, I took a pretty long hiatus from this game. It's just something I do when I'm done testing a game so that I don't start disliking it. When I came back I still really enjoyed the gameplay and especially the final battle.

Sorry that I don't have much more to say. I like it, I recommend it to people who I think would also like it, and... that's as far as it goes. One friend even told me he liked it (he's a huge MGS fan) and I told him to come here and comment and he said that he couldn't be bothered to make an account. *shrug* it's just the era we live in, I guess.

I can't think of much to change in this current game. For a sequel most of the stuff I'd like to see is pretty standard:
bigger maps, more side missions, more equipment, maybe another playable character who is different in some way, and of course new kill methods. I really want some way to lure enemies a short distance to a spot where they can be hit by a train or car or something.

It's not sadistic because they're the bad guys LOL
OldPat
OrudoPatto, kisama!
4948
author=Dragnfly
Happy New Year, you guys!

I'll admit I was kind of frustrated to see the lack of feedback and downloads too, considering how much I pimped the game to people.

For the score explanations, I'd recommend just putting it on the screen. Marty's tutorials are awesome and hilarious but they're already long enough and any player who understands your indirect kill system should be able to understand how the scoring works if you have an "Indirect Kills: 5 = +50 points, Alerts: 5 = -50 points" by those parts of the scoring screen.

After the testing was done, I took a pretty long hiatus from this game. It's just something I do when I'm done testing a game so that I don't start disliking it. When I came back I still really enjoyed the gameplay and especially the final battle.

Sorry that I don't have much more to say. I like it, I recommend it to people who I think would also like it, and... that's as far as it goes. One friend even told me he liked it (he's a huge MGS fan) and I told him to come here and comment and he said that he couldn't be bothered to make an account. *shrug* it's just the era we live in, I guess.

I can't think of much to change in this current game. For a sequel most of the stuff I'd like to see is pretty standard:
bigger maps, more side missions, more equipment, maybe another playable character who is different in some way, and of course new kill methods. I really want some way to lure enemies a short distance to a spot where they can be hit by a train or car or something.

It's not sadistic because they're the bad guys LOL

Happy new year!

I'm glad you still like the game and it's good to hear that there are other people who like it as well (MGS fan too! Yay!)
Thank you for spreading the word.^^

As for the stuff you'd like to see in the sequel:
I can say that all of them will be present in KF 2 although...
"Bigger maps" it's still a big question mark.
That's because yes, I've managed to optimize the code A LOT. It's much less of a mess in comparison to its predecessor. And that's something I did because I really want to expand the game's maps and give much more freedom.

But there are still some things that may prevent bigger maps from working well:
- Bigger maps = more difficult mapping. I'll have to try to differentiate each areas by using just one set of tile per map. It may prove to be difficult (also considering the fact that my mapping skill isn't all that great, but I'm trying to improve).
- Although the code is much more optimized, it's still not guaranteed to work well on big maps. There are a lot of things I have no control over. For example the Pathfinding plugin. Bigger maps will surely result in much more complicate calculations in order for that plugin to find the right paths and it may slow things down (considering the fact that I'm trying to implement pathfinding for more NPCs in comparison to the first game, in which only the targets, the bosses and the dog in the second episode had one).

It's just something that I need to properly test. No way to know until I have a prototype ready to be played.
The other solution would be to have more than one map per level and to give the player the impression that it's just one big map (for example by having no transations when teleporting from one map to another).
That, however, will require much more work with programming in order to make targets and other NPCs move from one map to another and for everything else to work.

I will find a way.

Thank you again and have a Happy New Year!


(Car incidents as killing methods is something I look forward to implement. 8D)


Dragnfly
Beta testers!? No, this game needs a goddamn exorcist!
1809
Oh, cool!

Sorry that I can't help with the map issue. I don't know RM2003 at all.

I have some stealth mechanics in the game I'm making and I've been getting around the map size issue by just limiting where the enemies can go. Basically, the enemies never get close enough to the edge of the map to cause problems. But my method of limiting the distance the enemy will chase you creates those funny/weird moment where a monster will follow you right all over until you get one screen away from the edge of the map and then it will just sit there, staring at you, unable to go any further. I have a story reason to explain that but I don't think there's any logical reason why it would happen in your story.

While it's fun to picture a bunch of goons staring at Flo as she's just a few feet away, flipping them the middle finger, it really doesn't make any sense.

For the mapping, I use the same tiles and/or section of parallax from the exit edge of one map as the entry edge of another. This keeps it looking seemless but this is in MV. 2003 may not let you for some reason. It also means that I need to make areas the size of the entire screen as buffer zones and it can be really hard to make these areas look natural because they're so big.
OldPat
OrudoPatto, kisama!
4948
author=Dragnfly
I have some stealth mechanics in the game I'm making and I've been getting around the map size issue by just limiting where the enemies can go. Basically, the enemies never get close enough to the edge of the map to cause problems. But my method of limiting the distance the enemy will chase you creates those funny/weird moment where a monster will follow you right all over until you get one screen away from the edge of the map and then it will just sit there, staring at you, unable to go any further. I have a story reason to explain that but I don't think there's any logical reason why it would happen in your story.

While it's fun to picture a bunch of goons staring at Flo as she's just a few feet away, flipping them the middle finger, it really doesn't make any sense.

Actually, I've been thinking of doing something like this(more or less) in order to improve performance.

I'll explain: I wanted to split the map into sections and put a certain number of enemies in each of this sections. Whenever the player is spotted, if he leaves that area, the enemies there will stop following him and the enemies of the other place the player is currently located will start chasing him.
Basically, enemies AI and line of sight deactivates when you leave their area of operation. This might help improve performance. Karma Flow 1 had like 20 enemies patrolling the map and each of them had activated line of sight and AI (that's 20 parallel processes!)
Also, when placing a land mine a parallel process recursively calculates its distance with all of the 20 enemies around the map to see if it can explode or not.
Splitting the maps into sections will result in that parallel process to calculate the distance between that specific Land Mine and the enemies of that area alone.

Kinda like how Open World games use the "streaming technique", by deactivating far away objects in order to improve performance.

Of course, it might be something easily exploitable by the player in order to avoid alerts and things like that (it can cause situations like the one you depicted). It needs to be tested.
It's also easy explainable with "this enemies are in charge of patrolling that area and won't leave it as they have their orders. But the dudes in the other one will take care of you if you happen to stumble upon that area and an alert has been raised".
Ssssomething like that. xD
Bigger maps will certainly help with this aspect. Realistically, enemies won't follow you all around the city just because they saw you. In MGSV, for example, leaving an outpost you've been spotted in will make the enemy stay there and simply call HQ saying that there's an intruder, alerting all of the other outposts.
Dragnfly
Beta testers!? No, this game needs a goddamn exorcist!
1809
Yeah. If it were a medieval setting then it might be hard but it's not like these guys don't have radios and phones. No use leaving your assigned area when you can just radio over to the next zone and tell them that Flo has been spotted makes perfect sense. And then it's just a matter of having a switch for if enemies chase you once you enter the next zone or not.
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