Discussion in 'GMC Jam' started by Alice, Aug 10, 2017.
Same thing I said earlier but nice to see you understand the same
I pretty much do game jams only for the sake of reviewing. The game I participated in is getting really bad scores (especially with my solo entries, shamelessplug), sure; but it's still fascinating to hear what people thought about your game and your work. Whether it's good or bad. The problem is, Wraithious, is that you seem to deem any negative reviews of your games as "hate", then proceed to disregard any and all criticism, constructive or not. That leads to you making the same mistakes, and getting the same (or, a higher) amount of low scores. I think if you instead paid attention to said reviews, you might be able to grow as a game dev and as a person for being able to take criticism.
3rd Jam, solo - 4th place, Best Story
4th Jam, in team - 2nd place, Best Story
Are there any Jams you participated in I don't know about? I just can't seem to find a game of yours which would get particularly bad reviews from everyone... ^^'
Either way, @Wraithious, I agree it would help if you could take reviewers' criticism into account. The perspective combined with badly chosen collision areas are probably the primary reasons why your games tend to score low; you either need to get much better at executing this kind of perspective in an aesthetically pleasing way, or abandon it altogether. u_u'
By the way, you mentioned you made an improved version of your Jam entry. Can I download it somewhere?
I'm not complaining about your or anyone else's criticisms of my game, what ticked me off is what you said about me entering game jams and insinuating I shouldn't be entering them, that was the problem I had, alice and misty criticized my game too, I have nothing bad to say about their reviews and I know my graphics style is 'unorthodox' and many people hate it, I've been trying to make it work for years because I like the way it looks once I get the scale and balance of player looks and landscape diffusion right, but in 72 hours I first mostly do the code and then work on graphics then debug and then if there's still time try to polish (there's never time for that lol) And I'm not looking for first place, I don't enter these jams with any hopes of getting even in the top 10, only to finish the game, make it not crash, follow my version of the jam theme, see how much I can put into the game, have fun doing the jam and hopefully create something people want to play. This jam alone I put ALOT of coding time into, but the last day I had put 19:16 minutes in and couldn't do anything more, so there were a few things that didn't work and look right.
Source code for this jam (fixed version, same amount of code tho)
Thanks yes I definatly do take your's and others criticisms into account and try to address my problems, and eventually I get my games into a nice working and (hopefully) good looking state, here's the link to my fixed version as I pictured it should be for the game jam https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4uEFC9Ii8BnLUdlQlZUajgyVUU
EDIT: 2:49am 9/1/17 All bugs now fixed AFAIK, looks much nicer now too, thanks for the suggestions everyone!
Well, this jam, actually. I teamed up with Sammi to make Tossup Shootout, which so far at least has been scoring pretty below average.
Tbh, i find your mechanic alright but it looks like it does not concur with the in depth graphics. It is something you need to balance with. Because i never had a problem with your orthodox mechanic buts how the graphics dont follow the depth correctly and makes gameplay confusing and difficult.
I think games that turned me down were those requiring me to read the ReadMe in order to play them. IMO, a game should be able to explain its controls and workings without the need of an external help file. That's part of the challenge of creating a good game.
EDIT: And some games just had the ReadMe inside of the game. Nobody likes reading for playing a game.
@Wraithious Help, they're reproducing like well-documented bugs!
Also, while the dialogue system seems to work better (now I get the response whenever I come up to the speaker), there are still many flaws. In particular, the equipment menu still seems not to acknowledge me equipping things ~90% of the time and the collision areas still are really random. Also, I feel like the day/night cycle could be sped up (and/or maybe the night could be made shorter), because it's kinda boring waiting for night to end so that I could proceed with daytime tasks. Also, I couldn't see particular hints about where I can get the time tool, and once I obtained it, I used it in the mansion, then left, and people started appearing out of nowhere. It was weird. I couldn't get to the scene where vampire king chases after me outside the mansion, either, don't know which conditions must be met for that...?
Hmmm, in principle and for production-level game, I'd agree that no external help file should be required. In practice, taking Jam constraints into account, I disagree, because the time one spends integrating help in their game is the time they can spend on polishing other aspects (doesn't apply to people who send games with external readme with time to spare).
As for internal help, sometimes with lots of text, I'd be really careful, especially with statements like "Nobody likes reading for playing a game." There are things like visual novels, and they seem to be doing pretty well, despite requiring massive amounts of reading. Just because you personally don't like much text in the game, doesn't mean nobody does. Some ideas just work best with relatively large amounts of text or dialogue, and it doesn't make them terrible to use in games. ^^'
It's kind of like "Show, don't tell" rule. It's a good response to people overusing text where other media can get the idea across much better. Misunderstood, it can lead people to reject every single piece of verbal communication, even in the context where words are the best choice.
finally put something up in my voting slot, I currently only have my top 3 ranked, but I did put up all my comments on the games I have played so far (though, they are short, and unhelpful)
I will start putting up the full rankings either tonight or in the next day or two...maybe when I have played enough games that I wont have to change all the numbers later...
I've recorded 1.5 hours of reviews. I do think that a lot of people have to work on their presentation. I've booted a bunch of games, looked at the wall of text telling me how to play the game and pretty much just lost all interest in playing them.
If you have a lot of controls, don't drop the bomb in a big wall of text, introduce them with images or teach them along the way.
I'll take one of my earlier jam games as an example:
This tells the player how to jump and how to dash. The player then has to figure out how to use the dash themselves.
In a lot of games in this jam, this information would instead be presented:
Press "A" and "D" to move left/right.
Press "W" to jump.
Press the left mouse button to dash.
Use the mouse to aim your dash. Aiming up after jumping will launch you extra high. Aiming forward will dash you forward.
The picture takes about 2 seconds to get through and doesn't interrupt the game at all.
The text, while explaining a really straight forward system, takes a while to read and blocks access to the game. It also prevents the player from figuring out themselves how to manipulate their movement in different directions, which is just removing fun for no reason.
I'm not saying that my way is how to do it properly, but rather giving an example of how unneccessary all those textboxes are. It doesn't take more time to draw those controlls than to write the text document, and it makes the game less accessible.
haha jeez well I guess I have more work to do! I didn't realize that bug with the 'rabbit syndrome' haha I see the mistake tho, the way I had it planned is when you find the hidden time dilator and the vampires appear in the mansion you shoot them with the silver stake and find out they're now immune to it, then you go out side and use the time dilation and win the game. I'll work on that today and see if I can clear up the collision issue, my collision line (it's really just an image with the player bouncing if colliding with it) outside is low to compensate for the fake 3d effect in the upper regions so the player can move properly near the houses doors without looking like they are climbing the walls of the houses, thanks for your input I'll get working on fixing these things
@ghandpivot At times like these, I wonder...
...is my game that much of an offender? Is it not that much of an offender? Hard to tell, because I've seen games like "Hunted", and my game controls are nothing like that (and I could totally see why you'd complain about "Hunted" help screen). At the same time, they are introduced right at the start, all at once. Then again, the game itself involves a good deal of text in general (puzzle clues) yet still should have the good gameplay-to-text ratio, I think (figuring out how to match the puzzle clues)? So I'm not sure if people complaining about walls of text have my game in mind or not... ^^'
The thing is in the game jam you can supply a readme which is just info about the game or a readme_please which is important because it
1. describes bugs in the game with possible workarounds, which will save you time and frustration
2. describes important gameplay points so that you aren't wasting time to try and figure things out.
You have to consider that people playing your game and reviewing/voting on it will spend anywhere between 1 minute and 5 minutes playing your game, and if there's problems or un-obvious things in your game you really want the player to know about it so they can quickly and more fairly play your JAM game. I agree with you and Alice and others that long tutorials and/or readme's in a production game are redundant and tedious and not fun. Instead, for a production game I think the best way is to have a game website with all that info and a walkthrough that the player can read if they get stuck or are just curious.
I enjoyed your game, and the text suited it. I enjoyed reading it - because it fit the style of the gameplay.
It's fine to have that stuff, it's just a suggestion that the next time you start working on a game, make the tutorial thing a part of it, or at least start thinking from the beginning how you're going to explain your controls if they are complex.
Or sometimes, just give out hints. For example:
1) In the crossbow part in my game, I did not explain anything. The Barvix dude (in-game) said "just approach the crossbow and start the killing spree". So the player would approach the crossbow, try to move up and down, then hit the attack key, and kill the zombie fruits. Now, I could've made it into a tutorial: "Go to the crossbow, move up and down, then press attack to hit, then after killing them go back to Barvix" but that ruins the fun. Sometimes it's better to let your player figure out what to do.
2) In the Nexusrex battle, you have to deflect the bombs he throws. I did not explain that. You go to the battle, Nexusrex throws bombs. Maybe you get what to do, maybe you don't. If you don't, Misu (follower in-game) does it for you, and then you know. Then you do it on your own.
Just examples how you can make your games more self-explanatory. It adds to the quality experience. The player needs to feel that they are in control, that they are figuring things out to play the game, not being told what to do.
I only enter jams in order to make a game for a short period of time in order to try something different. Worrying about where you score kind of takes a way the fun of that imo.
For me, it adds to the fun.
"This time, I want to score higher. How do I score higher? People vote higher when they enjoy a game. How do I make a game more enjoyable? By focusing more on gameplay and making it more varied and interesting, by not having much bugs, etc, etc, etc" so it all eventually leads me to making a better game. If there is no competition, there is no motivation. Without that, I would just make a bland game and not care about it. But I do care.
I did not have your game in mind. Your game is text based, that's a different thing all together. That being said, I did not play your game very long because it felt very similar to the flower game from one or two jams ago which I played a bunch of. I think that was yours aswell?
Ah, yes, the flower game was by me and Mercerenies (he actually coded most of the flower puzzle). And yeah, the general premise is pretty much the same, though not making a bunch of minigames this time, I decided to polish it up a bit (e.g. now the game clearly shows which conditions are already met, and which conditions are broken and require backtracking).
(also, thanks for clearing this up ^_^)
I mean, I'm not saying my motivation is the only valid one for people to have. It's just I never tend to have time to enter jams so when I do, I never really think about how high I can place and rather just enjoy being a part of the community.
If some of you guys are afraid of reading .. liek.. every jam entry here had a readme didn't it? =P
has your nightmare come true? xD
(tho I personally just try the game, then read the readme if I feel like it later on)
My game didn’t have a read me. I don’t even tell you the controls in game.
Nocture, I know your game is official called Ping. But I say Pong, to highlight the fact that it is exactly the same as 1972 Pong, except slightly more buggy and with an extra 2-paddle control scheme.
I did not overly enjoy 4D Viking Assault, but I am wondering why it got last place. And why my game got third to last place, other people told me they really enjoyed my game and I did not sleep for 2 nights just to make sure my game was long and had good levels with a bonus ending.
It's easy to say "You should include the controls etc in game instead of a readme or text" and talk about why that is good, and I agree that it is. But jams have such a short time limit that I know I don't always have time to include anything like that, most of the time I'm still trying to get my game to work. It's nice to see in game tutorial or instructions but I completely understand if you only had time to quickly list your controls in a readme file.
I feel like we're losing a bit of chill here
That's not quite the argument I'm making. I want to help people understand that presentation should be a higher priority, especially in a jam with tons of games. If a stressed or uninterested person plays 50 games they're likely to not even start playing yours if there's a lot of steps to go through before being allowed to access any gameplay whatsoever. Making the game accessible is a top priority, I don't care if there are a few bugs here and there if the game is easy to pick up.
It literally takes only a minute or two longer to illustrate the controls than writing them out in a textdocument, and makes a HUGE difference. Everybody has the time to do that, it's just not prioritized properly.
Hmmm, I kinda agree and disagree. I agree that making a simple background and slapping it on a room where it's relevant isn't too much of an effort, really, and can greatly improve the experience. Also, in some Jam games it'd really help to switch from a readme to that, at a little cost of time (it's not like Games Topic is closed immediately after time is up; a few additional minutes can be spared to improve the game this way).
At the same time, it's not as easy in each genre. Platformers are among the easiest targets for ingame controls integration, because they can be learnt gradually - you don't need to double-jump, wall-jump and enemy-stomp right off the bat. You can learn to walk, then learn to jump, then maybe add some double-jump to that or other features; not everything is immediately necessary.
On the other hand, while I think Snail Man's game overcomplicates things in the first place and throws the player in a super-hectic situation from the very beginning, I think the game-integrated tutorial wouldn't be as easy to include even if the gameplay itself was simplified (while still staying true to its general ideas, such as spaceship takeover mechanic). All of the controls must be known before starting the game proper, which requires either a semi-advanced instructions at the beginning (they probably need only a screen's worth of large font text, though) or a dedicated tutorial (which is time-consuming).
The point is, some genres are easier to incorporate seamless learning than others (not saying it's impossible for the latter, just unproportionally more time-consuming), and not every method from one genre can be easily transplanted to others. The point still remains, some games could have the learning aspect designed better with relatively low effort (taking no more than ~10 extra minutes).
I've seen jam games with in-game tutorials and instructions. If one is unable to include them in their jam game, because of time constraints or lack of how-to, that's not the player's/reviewer's problem. If the player doesn't like the way the info is presented, that is a development problem. If the developer can't create a solution in the time allotted, that's a developer problem. These jams are voted on for a reason. To bring out and highlight the best built games. Voting is highly subjective, and voters/reviewers are quite fickle from one entry to the next. But if the developer loses his audience 30 seconds into her/his game, it's not the players fault...that's a development problem.
I've also seen jam games where there were no info/help what-so-ever, but the game was so intuitive, it didn't need any.
If a developer can do these things, especially in a short amount of time, and still have a fun game in the end, that developer deserves to be scored higher than the one who spewed out a wall of text about controls, bug work-arounds, and game-play strategies to be studied by the player for 20 minutes (and referred back to from time to time) in order to get thru level 1.
It's just a fact that most reviewers don't have that kind of time when they've got 40+ games to play, review, and organize into votes.
Long rant, but hay... whatever. I guess here's where that old, snarky saying "git gud" may actually be appropriate, along with "You are what you eat!" (well, maybe not that second one, I just like saying "You are what you eat!")
I think everything you said here is right, but I'd like to suggest that not every game idea is a good fit for a 72 hour jam. When making a jam game, scope is the major factor, and everything needs to be accounted for. Jam winners do this well.
Depends on what someone expects from their Jam game.
If they try score as high as possible, they'd likely need to stick with something relatively small and easy to get into, possibly checking other high-scoring Jam games for reference.
(probably focusing on audiovisuals and/or special effects will be a large part of it)
If they want to test out some big/experimental idea of theirs and can accept their game won't be scoring too high, but still want to gather some feedback (especially from more thorough reviewers), they better go ahead with that. As long as they don't complain about low scores and reviewers quitting early afterwards, this should be fine.
tbh, I was never bothered by the whole Read Me thing, I always read them before playing. Of course, if it were a real game that to be released publicly, its not a bright idea but this is just a jam. Its all part of the routine. If the person haves no time to implement the instructions into the game, then at least implement them into the Read Me instead. Thats no problem. Of course that if the person adds the instructions into the game then well done for them. Although its better to avoid long ass text on instructions because nobody has the patiency to read all of it. At least I do but a good game needs to have a certain balance.
GMC JAM 6 HYPE HYPE HYPE!
calm down matharoo there's time
OK, so here are my thoughts about this whole controls discussion:
If your controls or the point of the game are even remotely complicated or unclear, you should explain it (unless it's an ARG or something where figuring out the rules is the game).
In game explanations are always better than out of game ones but thanks to the jam player it's not a big deal to open a readme. Generally you'll want to explain things as close to the point where they are relevant as possible, partially so that they won't have to keep it in mind while they get there but also because it's much easier to understand with context. It also looks more polished (but takes time, I know).
Don't over complicate the explanation, people can only keep so much in mind at a time and they can learn from experience.
Adding small hints and indicators is another level of polish. For example, a small arrow could appear when you're next to a door or an 'E' could be displayed when you're near a chest. Similarly we've got red colored text if you can't afford an item in a shop, highlights when you mouse over buttons, etc.
That was actually an issue for me (granted, not a big one). Sure I could easily figure out the controls but it took some time for me to realize the game had actually started. A prompt that said 'Move with the arrow keys' would have told me not just how to move but also to move.
Edit: @Alice Just got to your game. I think it did a good job explaining not just how it worked but also how well you were doing with the checkboxes. If anything I'd consider the layout of the text in the first level which got a bit confusing as the controls are put in between the hints and the text explaining the hints. Not sure how I would have done it there though.
I'd say, when it comes to instructions, do what you want, but intelligently.
Reading a basic text file README, reading a fancy PDF, reading a printed document or book, reading in-game text, completing in-game tutorials, playing game levels that gradually add mechanics, or just mashing buttons until something happens: these are all different experiences that your player can have. As a designer, you have to ask yourself: what will the experience be like for the kind of player you have in mind? and then: how does that relate to what I am trying to create-- my narrative, my message, the feelings I want to express? There is no "always better;" there are only different tools, some of which you may find useful more often, and some of which you may find useful less often.
Of course, when you try to understand the experience the player will have, it's worth asking yourself what they might do, and how that will affect their experience. What experience does the player have if you put the directions into a README_PLEASE and they ignore it-- and how does that relate to what you want? What if you put all your instructions in a big wall of text, and the player forgets half of them?
We've been working on Diverge after the Jam. I've read the reviews and made some changes.
Probably the most changed feature so far would be the improved lighting system.
I guess a small (or maybe not so small) tutorial could be written on how to seamlessly guide the player into understanding the game mechanics?
When it comes to possible means, I can think of:
text-based instructions - most straightforward to make, sometimes work best, sometimes can be daunting to read; ask yourself if they are really necessary, and if so, try keeping them to the point
illustrated panels - a fancier version of textual instructions; can save a good deal of unnecessary words, but should still be used with care
dialogue - a variation of text-based instructions, more integrated with the story; referring to specific controls might undermine the immersion, though
gameplay area elements - the instructions are part of the game environment or float somewhere around; particularly good fit for many 2D platformers, I think, as long as a little break from immersion isn't a problem
user interface elements - including the little hotkeys next to actions icons, for example
feedback - indicating that a certain action is possible, especially with a key to perform the action (e.g. down arrow appearing when player is in front of the door); as long as you don't tell player to "press F to pay respects", you should be fine with these
hint on need - more advanced form of feedback; the game usually doesn't show specific controls or indicators when the player explores the area, but might appear after a short while when it sees the player fails to perform the action they seem to want; tooltips appearing a short while after hovering a button could be an example of such a hint; can be good to avoid clutter and maintain immersion, and doesn't make the player feel like they're babysat
tutorial - stage dedicated to learning, optional or mandatory; good to provide explanation, but executed in a blatant way may cause an impression of "babysitting"
conventional controls - using a commonly recognised control scheme allows a seasoned player to get started; more explicit instructions should accompany these, as some people are not as experienced
What do you think? Is it a good list? Is there something you would add?
.-. I'm just uh... gonna continue working on Soul Catchers. Make it actually good.
Edit: better than 14th place good
Those all seem like solid and good ideas, I'd like to add that you could have a room or building in the game (or a link in the menu) with a big sign above the door saying 'beginner's lounge' or something, and when you go inside there could just be a bunch of people in a shop type of setting that also have signs above them indicating what they want to teach you about the game.
Excellent list you got here. This would definitely help out. Key note: its highly suggestive to provide instructions if the game uses a uncommon key map. Its alright to provide for common usages such as WASD, arrow keys, spacebar and such but that depends on the type of game one is making and in case the game uses something completely different key press, its important to provide such instructions to avoid confusion.
That would fall under the dialogue category on that list
Yeah, nah. I still think a readme is fine for controls and I'm not going to prioritise that extra bit of presentation over mechanics or bugs. It may not take that much time, but in a time sensitive situation like this, even the seconds can count.
The only time I see it as an issue is when you have complicated mechanics or systems and you give me a couple of pages of text to read. But even then I try and be a bit forgiving because underneath it might have some very satisfying mechanics or gameplay.
now showing my current top 5! 15 games down, 21 to go!
Now that we have a weekend, I hope more people will find time to play and review Jam entries...?
I've ten games left to play. The reviews should be up by tomorrow.
I want (will) review all games, probably will do that till next saturday.
@The M Just made a joke out of everybody who'd played my game including myself, so I had to go back and beat him.
Took me a few tries though.
Wait, @ghandpivot, is it just me, or combos give literally no bonus compared to regular score?
I mean, after you score a ball, you have your combo counter increased by 1 (or apparently 20 for golden ball), and once the combo is collected, the exact combo count is added to the score. Which means that each ball gives 1 (or 20) points immediately, then 1 (or 20) points once the combo is collected. And if you lose, the accumulated combo is automatically reclaimed, so there is no mechanical difference between racking up 5x combo 10 times or 1x combo 50 times. With no hi-score being odd, each ball giving its score twice (on hit and on combo reclaim) is even more likely.
@ghandpivot Your game is too hard, at least for me - I can't go over 30 score now. Do you have some tips that can make be better? I like the game.
I just focused on not falling off over scoring points. A good number of them just go in on their own.
Of course, I only got like, 90... so. But I didn't spend very much time doing it either. Make of that what you will.
What, I do the same and can't get over 30. D: I must suck
hey, I got two. Doing better than me
A plus ball and a minus ball?