Windows WayPoint - A Space Traffic Controller Game (DEMO!)

Discussion in 'Work in Progress' started by HighlandCoo, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. HighlandCoo

    HighlandCoo Member

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    [​IMG]
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    Introducing.. WAYPOINT

    A game about being an air traffic controller, in SPAAAAACE.

    V0.3a SCREENS
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    V 0.2a SCREENS
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    V 0.1a SCREENS
    * snip* Forums will only allow 10 images per post

    DOWNLOAD HERE

    I'd be super grateful to get any feedback at all about the game - how it plays, the concept, the art, the sound, anything at all.

    Thanks for playing!
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  2. HighlandCoo

    HighlandCoo Member

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    UPDATED!

    - added new ship types
    - added new scenarios
    - various UI and quality of life improvements
    - added various new effects
    - various bug fixes

    Coming Soon!
    - Planetary Approachs
    - New Hazards
    - more scenarios.. hopefully I want to add the "branching" scenarios I have in mind. Once the ground work is down I can think about adding more complex and interesting situations. I was thinking things like
    * Engine Failure which needs engineer ships, then needs medical ships to assist with radiation sickness
    * A Terrorist threat from a nearby system means every ship coming and going from a particular gate must be checked by security
    * A celebrity will be passing through the system, keep all other traffic out of visual range untiul they leave the system
    ... and so on.

    As always, I'd be super grateful to get any feedback at all about the game - how it plays, the concept, the art, the sound, anything at all.

    Thanks for playing!
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
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  3. HighlandCoo

    HighlandCoo Member

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    UPDATED!

    - I did not get a chance to add the content I wanted this week.. but I did get LOTS of bug fixes in.
    - I went back to the original lo-fi black and white look. I think it is far more visually interesting and represents the theme of the game better!
    - various UI and quality of life improvements
    - added various new effects
    - I added the shift timer and version 1 of the end-of-game display. This is the start of the "MetaGame" of unlocking and upgrading new abilites based on your perrformance, that will be added as soon as possible.

    As always, id love any feedback on the gameplay, concept, graphics or any thoughts at all.

    Thanks for reading!
     
  4. IndianaBones

    IndianaBones Member

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    Brilliant. Art, music, sfx, concept all work for me. Just spent an hour on it. Core gameplay loop is addictive. Although my score always stayed at 0. The missions from signals add a nice variety to the gameplay. Little bit lost at first. Would be nice if the game started off a little slower and took me through the mechanics in-game. Start with a single ship to dock. Then a emergency signal etc... At the moment, there seems to be a lot incoming all at once. But once past that hurdle game was good. Took me a little bit to understand the fleet mechanics to. The engineer icon looked like it was a Settings Menu - so at first i thought the fleet buttons was a menu? Maybe make the cog into a wrench symbol? Is there a health/damage indicator for ships so I know when they are going to overheat and blow up?

    Is there a failure/game over state? Things just seemed to keep going whether i destroyed ships or got them to their destination. Map screen is nice but I didn't use it much, if its useful might need more explaining how it works. The icons on the map screen seemed a little confusing, it didnt map intuitively to the game space so i didn't use it. That's just me though, don't read too much into that feedback.

    Navigating between ships is good once i got used to it. However at the start I had the urge to be able to scroll around the game area, using keyboard or moving mouse to edge of screen. Was initially difficult to get my bearings as to where I was in the game world, where all i could do was snap the screen around between ships.

    But like i said, core gameplay is good, kept me going for an hour without pause. Menus are laid out well. Was a bit puzzled when I clicked on the resolution option and the question popped up "Are you sure?" - I didn't know what I was being asked to be sure about! :)

    Cool stuff. Lots of potential for building a deeper game around the current mechanics. Missions, goals, perhaps some kind of story. Terrorist threat requires you to dock ships carrying resources to perhaps build up an arsenal to defend against them, or whatever. Multi-stage missions perhaps, where you have one ship but it has to dock at several places before leaving the system.

    One bug was a signal mission where I had to perform a security check on a ship. I had successfully done this with other ships (select security, right click on ship to be scanned). But the security ship flew up to this ship, but didn't perform any scanning, so couldnt complete the mission. I eventually just sent the ship to its death outside the gravity well to get it off my mission list. :)

    I think the black/white aesthetic is great. I never played the colour version, but from the screenshots, I think the colours would be too distracting. The black and white feels more "spacey" and allows focus on the gameplay.

    Reading the signal mission text and responding takes time - perhaps its the intended gameplay, but I would then have to divert attention from guiding other ships and perhaps missing my target. Perhaps the accept mission option could appear quicker so I can hit it and get back to directing the other ships faster. Or pause the game when reading the mission text? Just a thought, depends if that is intended to add some strategy to answering signals within the time limit.

    There was once crash bug, sorry I forgot to capture it, about a gui object not being able to find an instance. It happened the first time I played after 10 or so minutes? On my second game it didn't show itself again. If I see it again I'll let you know.

    A minor suggestion, consider putting all the controls on the mouse, if possible. Maybe you could click and drag to set the direction and speed of the ships you are guiding. Would translate better to touch screens if you ever go that route. Also might make it more immersive. The keyboard controls are fine, its just something that you might want to test to see if it makes the game better or not. But might break the game feel of giving ships set commands. Just a thought on the UX, take it as you wish.

    Overall, really cool stuff, was immersed in the game, thanks to the sfx/music/gfx and responsive gameplay, all the pieces fit together nicely.
     
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  5. HighlandCoo

    HighlandCoo Member

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    Wow thanks for this feedback. Really useful and constructive. To say thanks, Ive written a rambling response below :)


    - "Although my score always stayed at 0"
    * Was that in the end game screen or somewhere else? I just want to be sure you are playing the latest build as, in the latest build, you dont see a "score" until the level ends and it seems to be working ok??

    - "Would be nice if the game started off a little slower and took me through the mechanics in-game"
    * Agreed! Right now there is only 1 level were I am "cramming" everything in. Eventually there will be several levels which will layer on new stuff as you progress.

    - "Is there a health/damage indicator for ships so I know when they are going to overheat and blow up?"
    * Right now, ships just die immediately if they get too close or too far away from the sun. Im considering if thats the best way to work and how to communicate that better via the UI.

    - "Is there a failure/game over state?"
    * Not yet! :)

    - "The icons on the map screen seemed a little confusing, it didnt map intuitively to the game space"
    * Fair point.. it needs work. :)

    - "The engineer icon looked like it was a Settings Menu - so at first i thought the fleet buttons was a menu? Maybe make the cog into a wrench symbol?"
    * Fixed!

    - "Navigating between ships is good once i got used to it. However at the start I had the urge to be able to scroll around the game area, using keyboard or moving mouse to edge of screen. Was initially difficult to get my bearings as to where I was in the game world, where all i could do was snap the screen around between ships."
    * Ive added functionality to move the camera with the keyboard (WSAD) or the mouse (moving to the edge of the screen) as long as you dont have a ship selected.

    - "display menu showing "are you sure?" prompt"
    * Whoops! Fixed. :)

    - "One bug was a signal mission where I had to perform a security check on a ship. I had successfully done this with other ships (select security, right click on ship to be scanned). But the security ship flew up to this ship, but didn't perform any scanning"
    * Yes Ive seen this too but I havent been able to replicate it reliably. It is "on the list" and I will find it and kill it eventually!

    - "Reading the signal mission text and responding takes time - perhaps its the intended gameplay, but I would then have to divert attention from guiding other ships and perhaps missing my target. Perhaps the accept mission option could appear quicker so I can hit it and get back to directing the other ships faster. Or pause the game when reading the mission text? Just a thought, depends if that is intended to add some strategy to answering signals within the time limit."
    * Yes it is intended that answering comms should distract from commanding ships. Eventually the comms will be proper conversations with some branching options. Right now they are basically mission screens, but thats not their true final form. :)
    Ive considering putting the game into "bullet time" when you are responding to the comms.. I might test this out and see how it feels.


    - "There was once crash bug, sorry I forgot to capture it, about a gui object not being able to find an instance. It happened the first time I played after 10 or so minutes? On my second game it didn't show itself again. If I see it again I'll let you know."
    * Thanks! Ill take a look at this.

    - "A minor suggestion, consider putting all the controls on the mouse, if possible. Maybe you could click and drag to set the direction and speed of the ships you are guiding."
    * Im kind of married to the idea of keyboard control.. but you are right it should be tested out. So Ive changed the ship movement to mouse control. See below a terrible GIF showing how this currently works. Id be keen to know what you think? This is now available in the build linked in the original OP.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks again for the feedback. I usually put up new builds every Friday. Id be grateful to hear more of your thoughts as I move forward.

    Fly safe.

    R.
     
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  6. IndianaBones

    IndianaBones Member

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    The build I was playing, the executable has a Date Modified of 26/07/019 4:05pm - Seems to be the same one as the google docs link from your previous post.

    Here's the start of the game of the version I have. Score is on the left hand side just above the map. I never got as far as a level end screen, how is the end of level triggered?
    upload_2019-8-12_23-25-34.png

    Ah I see. So there must be an internal timer once the ship is too close or too far from the sun, because if i get them back to safety quick enough, they don't blow up. I had assumed they were taking damage and therefore had something like a fixed amount of hp! :)

    After using the map a bit more I notice it is useful, it shows ships as flashing triangles that turn red when they are in danger. It might be nice to draw the danger zones around the sun and the outer limits as red circles on the map to better indicate the play area.

    Additional points after playing again today, feel free to use or ignore them as you wish:
    - Volume + and - buttons. I feel the - button should be on the left instead of the right
    - Volume doesn't appear to affect music volume, only sfx
    - The background machine-like atmospheric "humming" present in the game seems to be a lot louder than the other sounds.
    - Volume doesn't have an indicator like a slider bar or number (e.g. 0-10) to indicate the current volume level.
    - When holding/releasing space to view/hide the map, the whole map surface flashes white for a moment.
    - In the ship summary in the top right, perhaps the currently selected ship should be highlighted with a white box and the others not. It would make it more obvious which ship is currently selected.
    - The exclamation mark flashing next to the newly arrived ships makes me feel like some kind of emergency is happening to them, I feel a bit panicked seeing them all, blinking away there. It draws a lot of attention away from the main action. After testing it a bit, I think it actually means they are just new ships I haven't clicked on at least once yet. My suggestion would be to keep the marker, just don't make it flash.
    - When a ship is in danger, could you make the red warning circle with an exclamation mark into a triangle instead, to differentiate it from the normal circle with exclamation mark that is telling me it is a new ship? And have a short warning emergency siren sound to draw my attention to it?
    - If I see a ship on screen, and then I left-click on it because I want to control it, the camera snaps/jumps to center the ship on screen. Can I suggest the camera smoothly pans over to it so that it is less dis-orienting? This is just for ships that are visible in the current view - the ship buttons in the top right probably don't need such a thing, as the ship could be very far away, and if I'm clicking on the button, I want to go directly to it.
    - A more distinct sound for when a ship is destroyed, at the moment it seems to have the same sound as for when a signal mission is missed/ignored
    - Does the sun have any gravity effects? I think good gameplay is more important than scientific accuracy, and I think the system works well as it is, but some might question this aspect, given that the planets/moon have gravity.
    - Is there any significance to the way the word gravity rotates around the circle, or is it just to keep the word on screen so its easier for the player to read?

    ----- WARNING! It seems I was playing an older build. Just managed to download the itch.io version, so some of the above comments may not apply anymore -----

    Latest Build Feedback Follows:

    - I like the mouse controls for the ship, but now it seems if I have a ship selected, clicking on the GUI buttons, mission confirm dialogs triggers the ship to move as well. Ships should ignore movement commands if I'm clicking on button or GUI element.
    - In this build, ships explode immediately when in the danger zones - I kind of liked the old build, where there was a small window of opportunity to save them.
    - It might just be my graphics card (Intel HD 4000 Integrated) - but I'm seeing a lot of graphics flash as a white square briefly when they come into view:
    upload_2019-8-13_3-18-59.png
    - I really like the trajectory indicator showing the current path of the ship!

    Ok, so that's all I have time for right now, I need to play this new build a bit further before giving more feedback!
     
  7. HighlandCoo

    HighlandCoo Member

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    A wee sneak preview of planetary landings...

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. IndianaBones

    IndianaBones Member

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    Played the latest build again. It's looking good. Apart from the ships accepting commands when I click on the GUI buttons, its plays really well.

    The difficulty is a bit higher I found than the previous build. Mainly due to the ships insta-death, and also because they seem to run out of fuel very quickly. A fuel indicator would be helpful I think.
     
  9. HighlandCoo

    HighlandCoo Member

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    UPDATED!

    - Added planetary landings
    - Add first iteration of the tutorial/plot messaging system. * This is very barebones at the moment - please bear with me!
    - various UI and quality of life improvements
    - added various new effects.

    Im currently thinking hard about player engagement, pacing and progression. Im leaning towards a system where you need to achieve "X" to unlock the next level, and within each level I will tell little mini-stories via the signals you answer and the situations you resolve.

    Im not 100% happy with how your engineer/security/medical ships are currently represented.. I think Im going to tear all that down and replace it with a central station (which is where you are sitting in-game) and that station can send ships out. The station will be customisable, upgradeable, etc. This gives me even more scope for engagement and progression. Im actually thinking I could make it a ship. Like battlestar galactica or the helicarrier. So it would make logical sense in game that the ship could move from system to system and you could keep your upgrades.

    As always, id love any feedback on the gameplay, concept, graphics or any thoughts at all.

    Thanks for reading!
     
  10. HighlandCoo

    HighlandCoo Member

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    No update this week! Ive been working on the new method of deploying shuttles to resolve emergencies.

    This is exciting stuff as it lets me add loads of other progression and customisation features (later) like new shuttles, new crew, shuttle and crew special abilities, etc, etc, blah blah.

    Here is a little vid of what I have running so far - its ugly, but it works - which is very exciting.

    [​IMG]
    As always, id love any feedback on the gameplay, concept, graphics or any thoughts at all.

    Thanks for reading!
     
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  11. Toque

    Toque Member

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    Has a very cool look
     
  12. Zubaran

    Zubaran Member

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    Great stuff!

    Just finished the demo. Here are a few thoughts :
    - At first, I had a hard time even understanding what I had to do and how to do it.
    - It felt like there were too many ships to handle too early.
    - That's why I believe you need a proper tutorial, presenting mechanics in a safe environment, one after the other.
    - After I got the hand of it, I enjoyed myself a lot more!

    - The perfectionist in me couldn't stand losing a ship. I would reset the game every time that happened.
    - Took me five resets to finish a shift without causing an accident.
    - Having to handle several ships felt stressful but finishing a shft with no casualties felt rewarding!

    - Graphices and sound are great.
    - The UI felt a bit overwhelming at first. A sparse use of color could help, at least in the future tutorial.
    - I write "sparse" because I like the black & white and aesthetic and the artifacts on the "screen".
    - Maybe the ships could use (colored?) navigation lights?

    - I liked the concept and did feel like an space traffic controller!
    - Will gladly try the next demo!

    Cheers,

    Z
     
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  13. HighlandCoo

    HighlandCoo Member

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    Thanks for the detailed feedbackl I totally agree the difficulty and pacing need tons of work, plus it needs a real tutorial of some kind. Its all on my to-do list somewhere... ;)

    .. can you give me some more detail on that? The UI does have some color already (white is normal, yellow is attention, red is urgent) but I'd be keen to get some suggestions. My current plan is to keep the actual "gameworld" harsh black and white, but with the UI elements clean, crisp and with some color.

    Thanks again for your thoughts. Fly safe ;)
     
  14. HighlandCoo

    HighlandCoo Member

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    UPDATED!

    Ive completely re-written how we deal with "situations".

    BEFORE
    - a signal comes in
    - after a short conversation, a situation is created for you to deal with
    - select a ship of the appropriate class (security, tech, medical) then manually then select which situation it should fly to
    - the ship deals with the situation, then the situation is destroyed

    AFTER
    - a signal comes in
    - after a short conversation, a situation is created for you to deal with
    - click on the situation to create a new mission
    - on the mission scren, select the shuttle you wish to use, and the crew members you wish to send
    - click launch to launch the mission
    - the shuttle will deal with the situatiuon then return to base (the shuttle and its crew are unavailable for other missions until their shuttle returns)
    - the situation stays visible until you left click and it will show a summary of the outcome, XP and Reputation gained, crew wounded, etc

    EXCITING SCREENSHOT
    [​IMG]

    This is still VERY work in progress, besides adding more mouse clicks to the process, it really is functionally the same as the original system (a ship goes to the situation and resolves it) BUT the new method gives me some cool options
    - personalised shuttles and crew members
    - shuttle upgrades
    - crew XP and upgrade tree
    - branching situations depending on the crew skills and shuttle equipment
    .. plus this means you can address a situation without having to manually find the correct ship which was fiddly and annoying :)

    - There are also several bug fixes and visual improvements
    - Ive updated how the camera works. You can now use WSAD to move the camera around when ever you want. And left clicking on the minimap moves the camera around.

    As always, id love any feedback on the gameplay, concept, graphics or any thoughts at all.

    Thanks for reading!
     
  15. Booyaa

    Booyaa Member

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    Very nice game and very hard. For a minute I did not know what to do at all. I did nto even notice there is a ship. But I used to control very fast. But when I was trying to slow down ship I had incoming call, but it was too fast. I did not even click on it. I think that the target full line (I hope it shows target of the ship) is broken. One time it did not show up at all and when I missed the targe then it broke and the line was not connected to target. I had a bug crash too. It happend after one ship crashed and I selected that ship in traffic (right top). Sorry, did not copy the report.
     
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  16. HighlandCoo

    HighlandCoo Member

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    Thanks for the feedback! Yes the difficulty and pacing is all over the place right now. Its a work in progress. :)

    Unfortunately without some idea of the error that you saw, it will be really hard for me to track it down. If it happens again and you can grab a screenshot and post it here that would be really helpful.

    Thanks again for your thoughts. Fly safe ;)
     
  17. HighlandCoo

    HighlandCoo Member

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    No updates this week. Im working hard on creating more levels, so that I can implement the overall meta-game of rep+cash to unlock levels, upgrade crew, etc.

    Behold! The most boring GIF you will see this week! (This is me testing the level select & unlocking code)

    [​IMG]
     

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