Please Alpha Test My Game =)

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    Hello everyone!

    I'm about to go on holiday for a week, and it's distressing me that I won't be able to continue working on my game during that time. So I figured I would do the next best thing - upload it in its current state for fellow Construct creators to play, so that I'm at least getting feedback while I'm away from my desktop. I'll still be able to access the internet and post here, so I should be very active in discussing the game with you <img src="smileys/smiley1.gif" border="0" align="middle">

    Now, ideally I would like to wait a bit longer before uploading it, because there are still a lot of visual bugs and glitches I'm trying to iron out, and I've literally only just begun work on the UI. But time is an issue, and it's still very playable, so we'll see how it goes!

    The Game

    This is a platformer, where you play as a wolf who has inherited elemental powers. The world around him is falling apart. Animals are driven to madness. Humans have mysteriously vanished. When darkness falls, unnatural creatures descend with it. Only the oracle may be able to help. With these new-found powers, you are the only one who might succeed in reaching her up on her mountain-top.

    You have the powers of Fire, Water, Wind, and Earth. Each has a different effect on the world and creatures around you, and they are yours to play with as you wish. Collecting Motes (the equivalent of Mario's coins, or Sonic's rings) powers you with energy which can in turn be spent on these powers. So instead of finding power-ups scattered around the level, your elements are the power-ups, and you may use them whenever and however you like. Motes are plentiful to encourage usage and experimentation of the elements.

    There are essentially three different routes to take through a level. A low path, mid path, and high path. Each has its benefits, and you will likely find yourself switching between all three. But my hope is that players will each develop their own preference based on their playstyle, with a preferred element as well.

    I want the game to be easy to play - with an appealing art style and fun gameplay. I also want it to be challenging to master, with a point based score system. So instead of rushing through a level as fast as you can, it's about how high a score you can achieve. Faster runs will provide a larger time bonus, but you will also receive bonus points for not dying; taking no damage; for each enemy killed; for each mote collected; a small bonus for only using three of the four elements; a medium bonus for only using two elements; a large bonus for only using one element; etc. The score system isn't in place yet, but this is the direction I'm heading in for the game.

    Player choice is important. One player might be able to achieve a high score by sticking to the top route and focusing on Wind abilities for fast movement. But another might achieve a higher score by taking the low route and using Fire to kill enemies along his path.

    The level playable is a daytime forest level.

    The Controls

    WASD movement. With W being jump, and S and W together allowing you to drop through platforms to lower levels.

    Arrow Keys for elemental abilities.

    Up Arrow - Wind - Dash forward

    Right Arrow - Fire - Flaming Jaws deal heavy damage to enemies

    Down Arrow - Earth - Root smaller enemies to the spot, and rip environmental obstacles asunder

    Left Arrow - Water - Shield yourself with spikes of ice, preventing damage

    In the final game, there will be two abilities for each element. Above (and in this playable demo) are the basic instant-cast abilities. Secondary abilities will be sustained, so holding down the Wind key for example will double your movement speed, draining energy for as long as you hold the key down. All of these abilities can be improved and leveled up.

    Red Motes are hidden throughout each level, and each Red Mote grants you one point to spend on leveling up an elemental skill at the end of a level. There are three Red Motes to find in each level, and one earned for reaching a high enough score at the end of a run - so four total in each level. The score system isn't in place yet, but the three hidden Red Motes are in place for you to find.

    TL;DR / Summary

    Play the game and let me know what you think! I'd love to hear any and all feedback, comments and criticism. There are three different resolutions, and a different download for each (I suck at programming, but I'm getting there <img src="smileys/smiley17.gif" border="0" align="middle">). Choose from the options below.

    I would also love to know what framerates you guys are seeing. I see 60fps constantly at 1920x1080, but then I have a powerful computer. I'm worried some areas of the game are too intensive. So please let me know in as much as detail as you can how it runs, and what your basic PC specs are if you know them, ie:

    Min: 60fps

    Average: 60fps

    Max: 60fps

    CPU: i7

    GPU: 2GB GTX560 Ti

    RAM: 16GB DDR3 1600mhz

    There are plenty of issues with the game, many of which I know about, but please don't hold back! The spiral energy bar has very recently been added and is based on Newt's example in this thread which he kindly gave me permission to use: I'm really struggling to get it to work as well as his does, which is a shame because it fits so well thematically. I might have to switch to a basic straight line energy bar. There are plenty of other little bugs and glitches, but please let me know what you think, and I'll put the feedback into motion when I return <img src="smileys/smiley1.gif" border="0" align="middle">

    Many thanks for your time, and bravo if you read the entire essay! Thanks to anyone kind enough to spare the time to test this out <img src="smileys/smiley12.gif" border="0" align="middle">

    1280x720 windowed

    1680x1050 fullscreen

    1920x1080 fullscreen

    IMPORTANT: You will need the Python26.dll file included in your Construct installation directory to play this game. If you can't locate it, you can also download a copy of mine here. Make sure it is in the same location as the .exe, for example: both on your desktop, or both in the same folder.

    If anyone wants to go above and beyond the call with helping me test my game and wants to check out the events, PM me and I'll send you the .CAP. be warned though, I'm an artist, not a programmer. The events may be nicely arranged in their own little groups, but there are a lot of them and they are probably horrendously optimized. Full disclaimer: I take no responsibility if your eyes bleed.

    HUGE thanks to Tulamide! He has been incredibly supportive, and helped me with a lot of the programming. The angle detection is pretty much entirely his work. Without him I would still be painting ridiculously large 2048x2048 textures, slapping hundreds of them into the game, and wondering why Construct crashes whenever I click "Run Layout". Thanks man <img src="smileys/smiley1.gif" border="0" align="middle">

  • Just wanted to make a preliminary post about this, I'd like to take a little more time and give you as much feedback as possible.

    I just have to say that these graphics are beautiful, I love the concept, and this is very impressive.

    Good work to the both of you!

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  • Thanks Crowtongue! Glad to hear the first impressions are good <img src="smileys/smiley1.gif" border="0" align="middle" />

    Something I should mention: fire probably feels underpowered right now. It deals two points of damage instead of a standard jump attack which deals one. Spiders have one health point and stags have three, so there's no immediate feel of fire being all that powerful or useful. I'm planning on adding a third enemy (likely a boar) with two health points so that fire can one-shot an enemy that a regular attack can't. I'm also thinking of placing some more large thorn obstacles that fire will be able to destroy (different to regular thorns you can jump over). Fire will be upgradable in the final game, allowing the attack to deal three points of damage.

  • +Graphics look good.

    +The wolf's animation is excellent.

    +The music is good.

    -I despise WASD movement controls with a passion.

    -The game runs really slow and choppy.

    -When I jump I just fall through the screen into the white area.

    -When I die, it just abruptly sends me back to the beginning with no indicators. You need either a cut scene, or a death animation for that.

    My computer is a Dual Core AMD Athlon, 2.4 Ghz, NVIDIA hardware, RAM 3GB's. I'm probably getting 10 FPS, if that.

    As an aside, I'm curious to know how you got the music to run without a music folder? I've always had to have a sound/music folder included with my .exe. Maybe this is a fix that now works for CC 2.0?

  • The Wolf and the environment are good animated. The music gives the game a nice atmosphere.

    I can run the game without lags, but the game is really cpu/gpu comsuming, dunno what it is.

    Getting hurt, will emtpy the whole energy bar. Sure, they're games, where you die immediately but I think it won't hurt to half the damage for some things you get. Just my personal opinion. Maybe implement another "mana pool" for the special attacks with other blue balls or whatever. It's a bit annoying, spending my precious health points for the abilities(that also empty the whole hp-bar with 1 use if I remember right).

    So, overall, the first impression is good. Maybe yes, let the player choose for wasd or arrow keys.

  • Thanks guys <img src="smileys/smiley1.gif" border="0" align="middle" />

    MrMiller - which resolution are you playing at? I'm not sure why you are falling through the screen... there are plenty of visual errors but that shouldn't be one of them. You weren't playing a resolution higher than your screen's native resolution were you?

    The death is instant, but that will be changed with both an animation and a fade to black <img src="smileys/smiley1.gif" border="0" align="middle" /> There are also 7 checkpoints through the level which should be working correctly, but they were added very recently so I wouldn't be surprised if something about them is broken.

    Regarding WASD movement - I have been planning to add 360 controller support, but I'll also add the option for arrow key movement too. I want to get space bar working as an alternate jump button in both keyboard modes too.

    Zyblade - Thanks! Tulamide created the music for this game. He wouldn't believe me when I told him it was a good piece, so I'm glad you mentioned it <img src="smileys/smiley17.gif" border="0" align="middle" />

    I'm probably going to have to spend a lot of time optimising the game, cutting down texture sizes, reducing animation lengths, slimming down event sheets etc. Glad to hear it runs okay for you though.

    Getting hit does empty the whole energy bar, and I've considered altering that to 50%. But using an ability only consumes 20% energy, and I've tried making motes plentiful (except on the high path) to encourage players to spend it often. The Water ability (left arrow) acts as a shield, taking damage in place of your energy. The danger in reducing damage to only 50% energy is that it depreciates the value of the Water ability. But I will definitely take this into account so thanks for the feedback!

  • MrMiller - which resolution are you playing at? I'm not sure why you are falling through the screen... there are plenty of visual errors but that shouldn't be one of them. You weren't playing a resolution higher than your screen's native resolution were you?

    It was the 1280x720 version. My monitor resolution is 1920x1080.

    You've got a good project here. I look forward to seeing how it progresses.

  • Okay, thanks for getting back to me on that. I've just read a thorough article on optimization techniques for Construct, and I'm pretty sure my game is GPU limited. I use a LOT of particle and shader effects (especially blur effects), so I have plenty of ideas for improving frame rate there.

    I'm also going to half some of my textures again. Tulamide already convinced me to half ALL of them once. I genuinely had some 4096x4096 background textures at first... I hate the Stag as well. I'm convinced it's bland and ugly. It was my first attempt though, whereas my wolf took five attempts to get to where he is now. The stag textures are quite large (up to 512) and there are far too many frames in his animations. I should be able to improve on him a lot when I redo him. I'm looking forward to optimising now <img src="smileys/smiley1.gif" border="0" align="middle" />

  • You might consider applying similar shading effects to your sprites in Gimp or Photoshop before importing the sprites into your game. This way, you can keep the look you want without maxing out real-time resources.

  • Yeah that's the plan, and ensuring my particles all use the same texture. I'll see if I can find out if plasma effects are intensive too. I could always manually create and animate a foam texture for my waterfalls instead of relying on plasma.

  • Ok so here is my full opinion.

    If anything sounds a little harsh it's not meant to at all, I think your game is great.

    Particularly I like the animation and all of the layers in the graphics and the idea.

    Graphically I feel like some of the effects clash a bit with the style. Mainly the fire power and the waterfall effect. They jump out in a way that makes them feel a bit corny. I'm not sure how I would get them to mesh better, but for example the cloud effect on the mountains in the background is an example of an effect that meshes well. I think if it works well you barely notice it's there.

    I'm running the game on a laptop with an intel i5 processor at 2.3 ghz and with 8 gb of ram. I played the lowest setting and didn't notice too many performance issues, there was a spot where 2 spiders were on the screen and one of the elks and it got a bit choppy, and seemed to stay that way for a while after. Not consistently choppy though, just sporadic jerks here and there.

    Control wise, I don't have any problem with using WASD, but I feel like I would use the arrow keys for movements, and WASD for the magic powers instead. For most people I think their right hand is their dominant hand, so it would probably make more sense to have that one in control of the movement.

    I might speed the wolf up a little bit, but leave the jumps a little slower like they are, just to give it a good flow.

    I found the branches a bit frustrating. I feel like I would change it so the branches on the same tree that are parallel you can run straight across, but you can't stop in the middle. That would make it feel a bit more fluid and more fun to jump around from place to place.

    I think the spiders work alright as an enemy but would figure out something for them to do instead of just waiting for you at the edge of their platform.

    All in all I find this pretty inspiring, I'm glad to get to play an early version of it, and want to encourage you to keep working on it!

  • Another vote for arrow key movement! I'll definitely include the option from now on <img src="smileys/smiley1.gif" border="0" align="middle" />

    I don't like the waterfalls much either. I don't think Plasma is going to work for them, since they don't start flowing until they are on screen. I have no idea how to paint and hand-animate water though, so this will take a while to find an attractive solution. I enjoy artistic challenges though! It's the programming challenges that give me headaches <img src="smileys/smiley17.gif" border="0" align="middle" />

    Interesting point about the fire effect. It might be because I'm using a kind of pastel colour scheme, whereas the fire is a really bold colour with high contrast by comparison. I'll look into that one.

    You're right about the speed too. I was mainly playing in 1280x720 when developing, and the smaller screen size made him feel faster. In full screen it does feel a bit too slow. I don't want to speed him up too much, since a higher level wind effect doubles his movement speed for as long as you channel the ability. But it certainly needs tweaking.

    I think that's a good suggestion about the branches too. If it comes across as a mild annoyance, then it shouldn't be there at all. And I can see how many players will try running straight across from one branch to the next, only to fall down.

    Thanks for the feedback! <img src="smileys/smiley1.gif" border="0" align="middle" />

  • I had thought of a suggestion for the waterfalls but not sure if it helps. Remember the section in the middle where you run through the water and it wobbles? I think I would use a bunch of different layers like that and have them just continuously wobbling downwards, and then at the base I would put some fog giving an effect like this:

    Of course this is always easier said than done, right?

  • Yeah, it's also trying to ensure that it isn't resource intensive, which the wobbling water is. I used to have all three layers of the water wobble, with waterfalls creating ripples when they hit it. But that was really expensive. The wobbling water is made of 4 pixel wide blocks lined up next to each other, which led to thousands of objects on-screen at once in the waterfall section. Had to change it so that the back two layers are just static tiled backgrounds.

    I'll play around with GIMP for a while when I get back home and see what I can come up with. If only it was as simple as painting a damn waterfall <img src="smileys/smiley17.gif" border="0" align="middle" />

  • Got a python.dll error.You might consider telling people to have python installed before downloading your game.

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