Beta Greyout

Discussion in 'Software Releases' started by foxblock, May 1, 2011.

  1. foxblock

    foxblock Asleep

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    Sooooo.... I am, in fact, still working on this. Dunno if anyone though this was finished or abandoned or whatever - well it ain't.


    Between my exams I mainly focused on Greyout actually, as it seemed like the easiest project to get done and I really wanted to get it done and implement all things I initially planned for the game.


    Eventually my time sadly is scarce and so, before anyone gets his hopes up, there most likely won't be coop-multiplayer or a graphical editor.


    However there will be other things.


    (the bold lines are just stupid headlines to make the wall of text look more appealing and readable)


    What will be new?


    Most importantly a story, more levels and amazing original music by Nick May (

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/gwsi7TEQxKc?feature=oembed and more recently many people started streaming live game-jam sessions (for example during Ludum Dare), which have been very popular.
    So, I like to watch those, maybe someone would enjoy or find it interesting watching me doing something similar.


    Because as unfinished as the first version of Greyout was, still a lot of thought went into the levels (derived from ideas Jonathan Blow or other game developers brought up) and there might be potential useful information for (new) game developers or just players who were always wondering why the damned second level of the original Greyout is as hard as it is.


    Anyway, what I am asking is: Would anybody be interested in a video of me playing through the original version of Greyout (and later maybe Schizophrenia, too) giving some commentary on what went into the game design?


    That video would be scripted (and most likely edited), so I actually know what I am talking about and hopefully don't ramble as much random stuff as in the video above.


    I don't have too much experience in game development and would not call myself good or anything, but I still soak up many ideas and try to incorporate into the game (so I might be able to at least link you to someone more qualified) and also I am here in this community and you can ask me questions about the game directly.


    It's not just about me, it's about everybody


    Eventually I would like to get into a dialogue of game developers, with other people from the community doing similar things as I really enjoy reading the development blog of Paper Wars for example, but a video or text commentary more in-depth and detailed would be even more interesting (they did in fact do that once before the RIOT competition. There was a big, in-depth and highly interesting discussion about the game mechanics and why they went with 3 actions per turn, etc. on gp32x.de.).


    We are a rather close knitted community, so exchanging ideas and experiences like that could be fun and maybe even a teaching experience, so if there is some interest, I would love to see this idea carried out by other developers, too.


    Anyway, that's it for today, please leave some comments about this idea and Greyout, it's highly appreciated.


    PS: Nope, no release date yet.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2016
  2. Christoph.Krn

    Christoph.Krn Very Active Member

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    I think most people will have difficulties answering this because they don't know what would await them. So, as long as you think there are enough interesting things to say about the decisions that were made for people to learn something from it, publishing a first commentary video for one of the levels would be well worth a try.


    In case the video is aimed at beginners, weaving in some general game development information along with some pointers to game development tutorials would add some extra-usefulness.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2012
  3. PokeParadox

    PokeParadox Founder of Pirate Games - Penjin Coder Staff Member

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    Yes I would like to see a playthrough! :)
     
  4. bzar

    bzar A Commando

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    Interested o/
     
  5. foxblock

    foxblock Asleep

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    So this took me way longer than planned, but it's finally done!


    It's me talking 13 minutes about the development of Greyout. In this video I focus on the first three levels, what went into the design and how that transfers to the game as a whole.


    It's a lot more structured than my previous 30 minutes of rambling, so you might actually enjoy this one and learn something on the way ;)


    Please leave a comment about stuff I say in the video, my commenting (I am very inexperienced so anything helps really!), stuff you would like to see in a possible future episode (I only did the first three levels for now to get some feedback, I have something to say about the other levels, too).


    Enjoy.

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/VZXSUJ4U4qU?feature=oembed
     
  6. Nintendo

    Nintendo Nintendo Switch

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    So awesome!!! Any plans for development of this game via the PS Suite for PS Vita?
     
  7. foxblock

    foxblock Asleep

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    Nah, I have no interest in getting a Vita and honestly just want to finish the game and try out on of the many other ideas I had in the meantime ;) (still I am a perfectionist and don't rush things, so it's taking way longer than it should)
     
  8. bismuthdrummer

    bismuthdrummer Active Member

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    I thought you got the first level just right, the pit serves to teach that you can get stuck in the game but there is a way to restart without consequence. The danger elements are no surprise in a platformer (or any game!), and even if it happens to be your very first game it isn't that hard or demoralizing.


    I have this bone to pick with games nowadays.... they hold your hand way too much. Let me figure some things out. Give me problems to solve, even right away. Unless your audience is below 8 in age, I don't see a requirement to walk me through each mechanic before employing it. Some of the best games I've played present many of their mechanics in the very first level, Super Mario Bros. 3 comes to mind in the platformer realm. That game's first level had the infinite falls to death, jumping turtles with wings, and the raccoon suit which was hardly obvious as to its immediate purpose. I suppose they expected players to read the manual?


    The more valid concern seems to me to be: are the mixture and extremity of mechanical or intellectual demands placed upon the player unreasonable at this stage in the game? I don't think your first level was unreasonably challenging in any respect.


    That rant aside, I do love your game and concepts, please keep on with the excellent work. This is one of the best games offered on the Pandora because of its clever design and superb implementation, and I love the new ideas you're presenting.
     
  9. bzar

    bzar A Commando

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    ^ Do you like how wars: commando lets you figure out you can run in the first place? :p


    On topic: will watch video later when not about to board a train :D . I love stuff like this :)
     
  10. foxblock

    foxblock Asleep

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    I have watched people play the game and while everyone got over the first level, they did after way too many tries and in a demoralized state. Then the second level hit and most of them did not really want to go on.


    So in that sense, even with the second level gone (yeah, I removed it completely), I still think the first level was too hard and did not accomplish its goals in the most efficient manner possible.


    Sure it showed you can get stuck and that kind of was the point of the pit, but you will get stuck in the game sooner or later anyway and isn't showing a tooltip (as much as I dislike them) then a much better option, than forcing it so early in the game?


    In the current version I designed the second level so you can easily get stuck (and need to restart) if you don't get the puzzle right and the situation is not as forced - it works way better in my eyes (I guess you will have to judge that when you get to play it).


    I agree that modern games hold your hand way too much and that is why I want Greyout to be more like

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/8FpigqfcvlM?feature=oembed
    Thanks, that means a lot! :)
     
  11. bzar

    bzar A Commando

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    Watched video, liked.


    Have to say I hadn't noticed some stuff that were supposed to be hints for the mechanics, but I actually enjoyed more figuring them out by myself. Like for instance, in the original second level I liked how the wrapping was not obvious. It made the discovery all the more gratifying. There really isn't much you can try there, so you'll bump into it soon enough. The rest of the level was a bit platformer-difficult if you consider non platformer veterans in your target audience :) .


    Looking forward to more :)
     
  12. Christoph.Krn

    Christoph.Krn Very Active Member

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    I'm not a video creator, but nonetheless here are two considerations:

    • When the visual part of the video is paused (like at ~1:48), make immediately clear that this pause was not caused by technical difficulties (for instance by displaying something like a 'pause' sign in the corner that blinks twice and then stays solid until gameplay continues).
    • Either create a series of videos with one level per video, or put timestamp links to each level into the description.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2012
  13. foxblock

    foxblock Asleep

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    Thanks.

    That was my full intention, sadly in my tests it felt like people were not enjoying the search and got demotivated by it.


    While I don't want to guide players through the whole game, just discovering a mechanic should not be as painful in my eyes. The puzzles are whole other story, I would much more love players to be stumped there and possibly have a revelation later on.


    I don't really care if some people won't or cannot finish the game (which is what big developers seem scared of nowadays and which is why you see all that hand-holding and "Very Easy" difficulty), but I want them to get at least to the interesting part, which is two characters sharing the same place, but different understandings of matter.

    Point 1: Well I figured doing the overlay would be obvious enough... did you try to adjust your flash player in that situation? (Though I agree the timing was off on the first bit, it was just how my recorded clips ended up falling together).


    I will keep it in mind for the next episode though.


    Point 2: I don't really see a point. But timestamps are rather easily done, so why not.


    Thanks for the comments so far, if you have any questions or suggestions for a next episode please don't hesitate to post them.


    Also non-developers please don't be put off to post here, just because of all this dev-talk, every voice is welcome :)
     
  14. bismuthdrummer

    bismuthdrummer Active Member

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    I'll try to get some of my friends to try playing the game and see how they do.


    @B-ZaR


    I do like Wars: Commando very much, but I do think there is a lot of running around involved. I would like Greyout to be less like that and more like Mario, but I'm not knocking anyone's work here, just preference is all.


    I have beaten Greyout (the title level is really hard!), but I haven't beaten Commando because I suck at the hardcore arcade platforming where you have like 1 exact pixel to jump from to make it to the next platform. I got a little farther than the first tank and haven't picked it up in awhile. I do want to beat it, though.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2012
  15. bzar

    bzar A Commando

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    For each his own, I guess. Some games succeed in leading you to the right decision without being obvious about it. You mentioned some level design techniques to achieve this in your videos, but some could be refined. For example the wrapping kill blocks are not explicitly wrapping. I for one did not get that clue, because I just thought there was an endless source of them. If the top one would go side to side, only peeking from the wrapping but still being clearly visible on both edges, the connection would be easier to make. On the other hand having to jump at the edge to get to the first wrap is also a bit unnecessary. Some kind of indication of the level borders would've been helpful too, since now the right side looks like a multi block thick solid wall instead of being the edge. Both would make figuring the wrapping out easier, but still not obvious.

    [offtopic]If you run to the jumps there are actually very few real pixel jumps. Most of the game you can just run-jump from anywhere on the closer to the target half of a block. If you beat it, you'll be the second one in the world to do so AFAIK. :p [/offtopic]
     
  16. foxblock

    foxblock Asleep

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    Yeah that second level overall was not well designed.


    I guess I could have given those blocks some sort of imperfection (like a mark or crack), but that was not possible at the time.


    I actually was hesitant to force the player to jump on the first wrap, in the end I went with it because I thought making it flat would be too obvious as players would accidentally step over the border and therefore discover wrapping. I explicitly did not want that and rather wanted the player to figure it out "properly", but I guess what happened most of the time is that one got frustrated, tried everything and eventually discovered the mechanic by accident anyway (though I guess it was still a more striking experience).


    EDIT: One also has to keep in mind that the first version we are discussing here was released without any outside testing whatsoever ;)


    This all is solved with pattern drawing in the coming version (you know where I just repeat the level at the sides like this).


    I have considered changing the tower level to be a bit less frustrating, but so far I felt it was not doing its purpose at all and was just an unnecessary jumping challenge, which the game is not really designed for as the player's movement is rather limited.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2012
  17. craigix

    craigix Mega GP Mania

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    I think the concept of this game is fantastic. Wonderful idea behind it.


    HTML5 version? :)
     
  18. pmprog

    pmprog Advanced Member

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    I can't believe I've still not played this game yet :eek: Looks great, and that music sample vid sounded pretty good.
     
  19. Lavelle

    Lavelle Still Fresh

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    Aww, thanks for the shoutout in the video intro, not necessary though, I can't wait to play this game, is there any easy way of playing on OSX? It's nice to know other people pull their hair out making levels in this style (I made Shift). I highly recommend putting some kind of metric measuring in to see how people handle the tutorials / die everywhere. :)
     
  20. foxblock

    foxblock Asleep

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    Thanks.


    Creating a HTML5 version would require me to convert all C++ code into HTML5 code, as well as the Penjin library code - the whole process would be a big PITA I imagine and I'd rather spend my time on new projects after this one is finished, so sadly no.


    Besides, as great as it is (in terms of portability and stuff), I don't think HTML5 is ready for games yet, there are quite some performance problems and I like having direct file access in C++ for reading/writing the level files, highscores, etc. (sure you can work around that, but I don't really want to have to do that).

    Thanks, if you have not yet started I would recommend holding out for a while and wait for the final version. Can't give you a release date though, but I hope it won't take me too long.

    Hey, thank you, I loved the Shift series and it was somewhat inspiring, so credit where credit is due. Also glad to see you around.


    I haven't yet looked into cross compiling it for OSX, it should not be too hard and I definitely want to be able to do it at some point, but yeah... simply haven't found the time yet (and also can't test it directly, which makes things a bit tricky).


    Metrics are great indeed and I track some very preliminary stats, but I just keep them locally in the save-file, nothing is uploaded to the server, so I would really ask people to send me their files.


    It's very basic though (I think it's overall deaths and deaths per level, I am not sure, because I haven't used it for anything yet) and I probably should improve on this a bit in my next game.
     

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