Entry #7

New Game: a question to you

2010-03-11 13:53:28 by TheBoob

As some of you have seen, I released a new game with Jazza called Doug Out. It takes place in the world of Karryon, and introduces some more characters in depth. If you haven't done so, go ahead and give it a play here: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
529929

This game was a very fun challange for myself as its not something i would normally create on my own, but with jazzas ideas and some insight from myself, i think its pretty fun. Now obviously there is nothing groundbreaking about the game itself, its just sorta 2 minigames mashed together, but after reading some of the comments im, quite surprised, and would love more insight if anyone wants to give it.

As far as i can tell, some of the biggest gripes about the game is that Doug is too fast. And that in addition, the game becomes too difficult at around level 15ish.

Now let me first say Jazza and I have put a lot of thought into the difficulty curve of the game, and it wasn't just like "hey, lets mash some numbers in and release it right now". But my question to you is although we did put a lot of thought into it, maybe our process wasn't correct. Here is some of the thought process.

The game starts so the day lasts 1 minute. As you play the game, each level adds 10 seconds to the day timer. So level 10 lasts 1 minute + 10seconds*9 (or 2:30 minutes). We initially made the game become *impossible* at around level 30, but after testing decided to make the game become "imposible" around level 10, we mainly did this for 2 reasons:
1 we thought no1 wants 5+ levels of EASY.
2 because level 30 means you have been playing the game for over and hour.

But apparently i was wrong, Ive read more than a handfull of comments saying its too hard at level 15+ and that it should be fixed.

So i guess my questions to the masses (for future reference): How long do you want to play a simple minigame to achieve a high score. I thought that people would want to play for 10-15 minutes, submit their score, and if they thought they could do better, they play again (heck, i thought it would be best if it lasted 3-5 minutes, but we didn't think we could fit it in that scope). Is a high score more about playing a quick game, or showing your dedication over a long period of time?

I do read all comments in game, and they help me learn! So keep them coming, even if they are super angry, ha!

Im going to write another little article about the making off, with more in depth analysis into the game itself, that will be comming soon.
My next game is another platformer and is REALLY close to done, its coming soon so keep your eyes open.

PS: There was an ACTUAL bug that caused money problems at level 20+ which is now removed.
PSS: Due to popular demand, Doug no longer takes ale from the keg if he is IMPOSSIBLE to hit: ie: if he does not stay up for long enough for McSweeny to even do the animation to hit him, he will not take your ale on that go.
PSSS: these changes may or may not actually be live on newgorunds at this moment, but will be shortly.


Comments

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GodliestGodliest

2010-03-11 14:39:29

What you want is a game that never gets truly impossible but rather just gets to fucking hard it is for 99,9% of the people impossible yet you can see how someone extremely skilled can beat it. Think if Tetris got impossible after a few "levels", it would've made the game so much worse, now it just gets to a point where most people can't get past but through practicing you can. That's what makes making these "simple" mini-games hard: they have to have a simple way to play them, present the player with an increasing challenge and make the player able to improve and get further through practicing.

Just watch that guy who plays Tetris at fastest speed (you can't even see the fucking blocks until they hit the ground) with them being invisible. It's not impossible, just extremely hard. That's a well-designed simple mini-game.

TheBoob responds:

You know that feeling when like, you know something, but untill someone else says it, you cant put your finger on it. Well i think you have summed it up perfect.

Impossible because of player skills (reaction time, etc) = good
Impossible because the game doesn't allow it = bad

I now have this written down next to my computer monitor, ha


Tigg-DudeTigg-Dude

2010-03-11 14:40:27

I quite like to play this sort of mini game for about 20 minuets in one go. But, that doesn't mean i wont revisit the game and play for another 20 min at a later date. Let me know how things turn out because i think game play time is a big issue for these 'mini' games.

TheBoob responds:

Thats what i think we were aiming for (maybe even a little less). 10-20 minutes per play, but unlimited amount of "come back and play again later"


cakeman16cakeman16

2010-03-11 14:45:08

I would of made a save game option to push it the extra mile and lowered difficulty. That was you do get the sense of a good game and you arnt playing for 5 hours Straight


I-smelI-smel

2010-03-11 15:26:22

This game felt really slow, so I played about 3 levels and stopped.
A more up-tempo minigame though, like Gravity Hook or Super Briefcase or something I could play for like half an hour.
Then maybe another ten minutes a couple days later.


JACK-IN-THE-DARKJACK-IN-THE-DARK

2010-03-11 16:01:52

Well, i found that buying more than 2 extra kegs was useless, since its impossible to move your mouse to where doug is and then click, the only way to do it was to wait to him to drink a keg and smash him in the remain one, this also gave me enough money so i could continue playing the game until i got bored (dunno what stage that was).
Also i never knew if a was winning or losing, i always made money to buy 3 kegs for the next day, but hardly a power-up, maybe a minimum income for each day could work?


RegularjoeRegularjoe

2010-03-11 18:33:21

One good way to get people keep playing a minigame is to allow them to take it at their own pace. Consider the infectionator game. If you want to get a record time, you need to be very precise. However, you can just grind for money on lower levels if you get stuck, so everybody with patience can get to the finale.

Personally, when I played the Doug game I got bored after around 7 levels, when I realized that I wasn't really doing anything each level except playing whack-a-mole with Doug. I would not replay this game, because it is so repetitive. It was nice at first though.


BalvucBalvuc

2010-03-11 20:10:09

'Hate to burst your bubble' n whatever, just had to say it.
Also, I think when you use PS many times, you should repeat the P instead of the S,
as I guess it means Post Scriptum.
What.

Forget it I need some sleep.

TheBoob responds:

good point about ps, but you just had to say what?


GianniGianni

2010-03-11 21:47:03

I think the way the game is currently is fine for the general public, who usually have a short attention span such as myself and won't play it for more than a few levels if it's slightly interesting, and a few more levels if it's really interesting.

Then you get those mysteriously hardcore minigame fanatic types, who feel this urge to push themselves as far as is humanly conceivable on these minigames, and when it comes to them, they won't admit it sometimes, but they like it rough.

The game started easy, gradually got more difficult and required focus to manage, and then became just too much for me to do without repeated attempts in the time limit I would usually spend playing a minigame on here.


FrozenFireFrozenFire

2010-03-12 00:36:16

Looked great but yeah it's just not that much fun. It's like making a game about cleaning your room, not a very interesting concept. It's a great minigame but that's probably why it wasn't so well recieved, it's a minigame and gets about 5 minutes of people's time and then they get bored and move on.

That's the trouble with flash games, you gotta get them hooked or else they just move on with no real setback. They don't have any obligation to play your game when they can just click a few buttons and find another free game to occupy their time.


FroodjakleFroodjakle

2010-03-12 02:02:45

Frankly, the biggest problem with your logic of making it impossible after level 10-15ish, is that it breaks the entire game. By level 10-15, you won't have earned enough money to experience the game, you'll still have only upgraded a few things, and Doug moving faster to an literally unbeatable speed makes the extra barrels and extra damage worthless.

What I see here is that you altered part of the game to make it more of a quick-session type of game, but forgot to edit everything else to take that into consideration. You have Doug moving fast to prevent you from playing for very long, but in order to experience the game and upgrade your weapons, barrels, and ale quality, you have to be able to repel Doug efficiently, or your game is officially broken.

TheBoob responds:

Well this is actually a very good point. You cant get ALL the upgrades. But this was how we planned it. You have to pick and choose your upgrades, you can max out ale, but that means you dont have enough money to max out your weapon too. Or visa versa.

I guess this does sorta communicate a feeling of "you havn't done everything you can in this game" which may be bad. But i personally like the feeling of "i have to think about what i choose to do next", not just "ill buy this upgrade cause i can, and next level ill buy the next one".


FroodjakleFroodjakle

2010-03-13 00:44:59

I agree completely. Making upgrades too easy to earn can ruin a game just as badly as making them too hard to earn, but that's just the point, you have to find the right balance. Unfortunately, Doug-Out lacked that, with Ale being the only really useful upgrade past level 5 or so, and hardly being able to access your other upgrades until that point.

Again, It's all about balance. You have to make sure every upgrade has a value equal to it's price; Not worth less, not worth more, but equal.

The upgrades for ale are cheap, very cheap, and yet they make you rake in the cash MUCH faster with even one or two upgrades. They're extremely cheap compared to how valuable they are.
However, buying extra barrels, while not horribly expensive, is practically useless due to the short days that only require 1 refill at most, and Doug tearing through your extra barrels in no time.
Likewise, buying weapon upgrades is quickly made useless because of, like I said before, Doug moving too fast to even get a hit in.

Another thing you have to take into account is that you and Jazza planned the game to be a quick, 5-10 minute minigame, and that's perfectly fine, but listen to the community; It's pretty clear that they want a game with more length to it, 5-10 minutes worth doesn't seem to satisfy them, or let them experience the game like they want to.
Having a plan for your game is commendable, but remember: Plans have to change sometimes to accommodate the needs of the player, if you want a game to be successful.