Snowman "reloaded"

Ziz

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I don't think you can really judge how hard it actually is, since you designed both the game mechanics and the levels.
Yes, maybe you are right. However other people are fine with Snowman. :)
In fact Snowman is done for me. I invested much time and I am happy with it. Now it is time to finish other projects, not to implement more stuff, that my be useful. To be honest, the feedback for snowman reloaded was very demotivating and frustrating. Yes, I won a lot of money, but people seem not really interested in this platformer anymore. The other entries were just worse, less useful for them or the voter had mercy, because I invested so much time.

greetings Ziz,

PS: Version 2.0.12, which fixed foxblock's bug is released!
 

_wb_

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It took me quite a while just to get to level 2 in easy. I'm still stuck in one of the sublevels in level 2. Maybe others also think it is too difficult, and instead of trying again and again until they succeed, they just give up and move on to something else.

In Microbes I have difficulty settings that make the game almost impossible to lose. I think it's a good idea to do that. Some people play games just for fun you know :)
 

foxblock

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In Microbes I have difficulty settings that make the game almost impossible to lose. I think it's a good idea to do that.
I strongly disagree.

Many games present you with a task and a reward for completing this task. Snowman is such a game.

You are thrown in a hard level and you get a reward for completing this level, which is access to the next level, a congratulations screen at the end and a score you can compare against your friends and enemies.

Furthermore it presents you with mechanics you are supposed to learn and master. Managing your snow reserves is something you need to plan and master. Exploiting enemy patterns and combat is something you need to master.

In a way this is a dialogue, the creator of the game presents you with a challenge he created and you have to react to this, adapt to his obstacles and eventually overcome them. Learning and mastering new skills in the process, as well as building your own strategies and maybe even exploiting weak spots of the game.

This is what is fun to me at least, not the specific act of blasting away circle-like enemies with simplistic while balls of "snow", not jumping over an endless abyss over and over again.

All of the above is meaningless if you take away the challenge.

What is a reward worth if it's basically just presented to you on a gold platter? How are you supposed to achieve new skills and develop new strategies if the game is easy enough for any strategy to work? If a fail state is so hard to reach that you are basically free to do anything, how are those acts of "anything" meaningful in any way, how can those be "fun"?

Granted this is talking on a very high level about a rather simplistic platformer. I think it's true nonetheless, especially if you are shooting for a C4A score there are tons of possibilities to develop strategies in various levels (which snow not to collect, which enemies to kill, etc.).

Also granted removing the cost of jumping will not make the game trivial, yet it will change the very core mechanic and make some passages meaningless (even if that's just on one difficulty setting). I would still be interested to see how it would play out in particular, but I think the problem of the game being to hard can be tackled in another, non-intrusive way (by adjusting level individually, removing enemies, adding snow, etc.).

Finally, there are so many good games being released every day, every week, every month. There is no way you are going to complete them all and I think there is no need to.

Play a game until you feel like there is nothing left to "learn", play until you are not having "fun" any more (though the definition of "fun" might vary), or rather play until you are not "engaged" any more. This does not necessary involve completing the game, especially if there is no "story" or you don't care for it.

Completing Snowman just grants you with a C4A score (although you actually can submit it at any point), if you care for that you probably also care for mastering the mechanics (the game is possible to beat and there definitely is a skill- and learning-curve), if you don't, well then just don't try to complete it.
 

pmprog

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I too have been trapped one "jump" away from the exit. Rather annoying really. Especially if you're not in a place where you can die, as there's no "Restart level" option (at least that I found).

I've still not finished the first level either (think I'm on the final stage though), but I don't play it all that often.

I also get my buttons confused, and nearly always press the wrong buttons. Don't know why though

Don't take this post as a complaint, rather just my feedback.
 
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_wb_

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In Microbes I have difficulty settings that make the game almost impossible to lose. I think it's a good idea to do that.
I strongly disagree.

Many games present you with a task and a reward for completing this task. Snowman is such a game.

You are thrown in a hard level and you get a reward for completing this level, which is access to the next level, a congratulations screen at the end and a score you can compare against your friends and enemies.

Furthermore it presents you with mechanics you are supposed to learn and master. Managing your snow reserves is something you need to plan and master. Exploiting enemy patterns and combat is something you need to master.

In a way this is a dialogue, the creator of the game presents you with a challenge he created and you have to react to this, adapt to his obstacles and eventually overcome them. Learning and mastering new skills in the process, as well as building your own strategies and maybe even exploiting weak spots of the game.

This is what is fun to me at least, not the specific act of blasting away circle-like enemies with simplistic while balls of "snow", not jumping over an endless abyss over and over again.

All of the above is meaningless if you take away the challenge.

What is a reward worth if it's basically just presented to you on a gold platter? How are you supposed to achieve new skills and develop new strategies if the game is easy enough for any strategy to work? If a fail state is so hard to reach that you are basically free to do anything, how are those acts of "anything" meaningful in any way, how can those be "fun"?

Granted this is talking on a very high level about a rather simplistic platformer. I think it's true nonetheless, especially if you are shooting for a C4A score there are tons of possibilities to develop strategies in various levels (which snow not to collect, which enemies to kill, etc.).

Also granted removing the cost of jumping will not make the game trivial, yet it will change the very core mechanic and make some passages meaningless (even if that's just on one difficulty setting). I would still be interested to see how it would play out in particular, but I think the problem of the game being to hard can be tackled in another, non-intrusive way (by adjusting level individually, removing enemies, adding snow, etc.).

Finally, there are so many good games being released every day, every week, every month. There is no way you are going to complete them all and I think there is no need to.

Play a game until you feel like there is nothing left to "learn", play until you are not having "fun" any more (though the definition of "fun" might vary), or rather play until you are not "engaged" any more. This does not necessary involve completing the game, especially if there is no "story" or you don't care for it.

Completing Snowman just grants you with a C4A score (although you actually can submit it at any point), if you care for that you probably also care for mastering the mechanics (the game is possible to beat and there definitely is a skill- and learning-curve), if you don't, well then just don't try to complete it.
I don't see how adding an easier difficulty setting takes anything away from the challenge and excitement of the harder difficulty settings. If you don't want the easy stuff, only play at hard. To some (e.g. young kids), even an easy game can still be a fun challenge. Some people may get their kicks from finally beating an insanely difficult game, but others may prefer to cruise through a game without ever really having to think. Of course those are two extremely different ways to play a game, and I agree that the former probably gives the deepest satisfaction, but I don't think making the latter also possible takes away any of that. I'm not proposing to remove the "hard" difficulty setting, I'm just proposing to add something.

Also I think it makes perfect sense not to have C4A scores for the easiest difficulty settings, but only for those that are really a challenge.

You may be right that making jumping free changes the game too much. Maybe make every snowball worth 2 snowballs, while you need only 1 snowball to jump, or something like that. Or increase the capacity of the small and/or big belly.
 

foxblock

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I'm just proposing to add something.
I get that and, well, I am saying that you are not really adding something to the game by adding this difficulty setting.

What you are adding is essentially a slippery slope. Think about a hint system in adventure games, a built in walkthrough in puzzle games - you cannot complete one part, switch on the help system "just for this one part". Fast forward a few hours and you are playing on cruise control.

As a kid, I enjoyed the really hard games, Duck Tales on the GameBoy, Contra on the SNES, etc.

Finally beating another level after countless tries gave me a huge kick.

I agree that other people enjoy different experiences, but my point is those people should just play a different game, there are enough out there.

Games are usually very carefully crafted and tailored to the vision of the creator. If the creator made a game hard, he probably had something in mind in doing so.

Not adding a "very easy" mode is essentially the creator saying "hey, I know this is hard, but you will learn much more and I want you to experience this".

If you, as a creator, have a specific idea in mind, try to push it, don't add ways around it.

Trying to appeal to every audience will just make your experience bland and uninteresting (or it's just a lazy way of doing proper balancing).

I like your proposed changes much more, changing the capacity or cost of attacks/damage without removing it completely, is something I could get behind.

EDIT: What you might confuse with too high difficulty overall is the absence of a smooth difficulty curve. Super Mario Bros. for example is a hard game, but it had very easy starting levels for the player to learn and master all moves.

Snowman does not really have that. Levels start to pick up in difficulty way too fast and there are some extraordinary hard and some extraordinary easy levels in between, in short the difficulty curve is kind of a sine wave. Smoothing out that would probably help a lot to ease players into the game and make harder levels less frustrating at the same time, too, since the skills of the player have advanced (a process for which there is little to no room for at the moment).
 
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I don't think you can really judge how hard it actually is, since you designed both the game mechanics and the levels.
Yes, maybe you are right. However other people are fine with Snowman. :)

In fact Snowman is done for me. I invested much time and I am happy with it. Now it is time to finish other projects, not to implement more stuff, that my be useful. To be honest, the feedback for snowman reloaded was very demotivating and frustrating. Yes, I won a lot of money, but people seem not really interested in this platformer anymore. The other entries were just worse, less useful for them or the voter had mercy, because I invested so much time.


greetings Ziz,


PS: Version 2.0.12, which fixed foxblock's bug is released!
That's a real big shame man. I really like the Snowman games...first when you launched ages back then when you did a reload.

I'd personally love to see more platformers from you.
 
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Ziz

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Thanks for all your comments. Especially the long comment from foxblock.

Please don't get me wrong: I will not improve Snowman anymore except bug fixes. Snowman is at it is. At some point I just have to finish development.

However your advices are not senseless! I will use your impressions and the experience made with snowman for my next projects.
 

Ziz

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I released a new version, in which I implemented my newest mapping improvements in sparrow3d. So you can now change the mapping if you want. Just edit the controls.cfg in the appdata folder. I know, juggling with numbers isn't such an awesome experience, but I think you would manage it, if you really want to change the mapping. ;)

Maybe I implement a dialog for changing the mapping ingame once. But don't count on it. ;)
 

Ziz

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Hey Ziz,

do you think you would ever release Snowman to the Debian repositorys?
Hm... I never uploaded something on my own to the debian repositories. Furthermore a debian version would be compiled on the debian servers with the default compiler settings, which means sparrow3d and snowman would think, they are compiled for a PC. That means: No fullscreen and the keyboard as input device instead of game buttons.
If you want to play snowman on pandian, just unpack the pnd on your own and start the game with LD_LIBRARY_PATH=. ./snowman ;)

However for the pyra I could of course create a debian package especially for the pyra with all pyra changes included.
 

ZXDunny

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I'd also like a "free jumping" option, it would open up the game for me. I'm not much of a gamer and my reaction times are quite slow - if all developers followed Foxblock's way of thinking, I'd be stuck with games like Candy Crush et al with no hope of ever getting to see more than a couple of levels of a developer's work.

For large cinematic games (FPS and such) I enjoy the experience of traversing the story and seeing the ending; for games like Snowman (which I cannot, no matter how hard I try, get off level 1) I'm missing out on interesting level designs. Obviously I'm not going to get a high score but then that's not what I'm interested in. People who do play for their score and prefer harder difficulties can avoid the easy mode.

As it is, I haven't played Snowman in a while now; there's no point.

D.
 

foxblock

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if all developers followed Foxblock's way of thinking, I'd be stuck with games like Candy Crush et al with no hope of ever getting to see more than a couple of levels of a developer's work.
You are misinterpreting my words. I am not saying all games need to be hard, I am just saying some games need and more importantly want to be hard, deal with it.

Though as I have said before, I would like to see a "Free jumping" option, too, just to see how it would play out.
 

ZXDunny

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if all developers followed Foxblock's way of thinking, I'd be stuck with games like Candy Crush et al with no hope of ever getting to see more than a couple of levels of a developer's work.
You are misinterpreting my words. I am not saying all games need to be hard, I am just saying some games need and more importantly want to be hard, deal with it.
Yes, I understand what you're saying but I believe my point still stands. To intentionally restrict your creative content to just those who have the skills to endure it is short-sighted - this is not a game where the goal is to score highly (no matter how the author intended it) as there are levels to explore and a clear path to progress. Had it been purely about high scoring then a design where that progression was absent would be more appropriate. Consider Pac Man - the goal there is purely scoring; there is nothing more to see after the first level. However, Pac Man is still insanely popular.

Refusing to cater to less capable gamers who nonetheless would like to see later levels and at least try them is cutting off your nose to spite your face. What is the point of later level designs (and different graphics etc) if the user is unable to see them?

Though as I have said before, I would like to see a "Free jumping" option, too, just to see how it would play out.
I think it would be beneficial and would open up possibilities for new play styles - being able to jump at will would enable me to worry less about getting shots off to kill things before they kill me and be able to avoid danger. Also bonuses could be more meaningful for snow left at the end of each level - instead we have a resource management game that reduces Snowman to little more than a puzzle game where you have to work out when and where to use your snow in order to finish.

D.
 
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Ziz

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Hi and thanks for your interest in my game.

I'd also like a "free jumping" option, it would open up the game for me. I'm not much of a gamer and my reaction times are quite slow - if all developers followed Foxblock's way of thinking, I'd be stuck with games like Candy Crush et al with no hope of ever getting to see more than a couple of levels of a developer's work.
This is not true, sorry. I think most games are doable, even for casual gamers. Especially with the open pandora and their massive possibilities of emulating stuff, you should find more than enough games to play.However, don't overestimate my work. In fact the new level have just a bit different music, I change the colors and the enemies shoot and split. ;)

For large cinematic games (FPS and such) I enjoy the experience of traversing the story and seeing the ending; for games like Snowman (which I cannot, no matter how hard I try, get off level 1) I'm missing out on interesting level designs. Obviously I'm not going to get a high score but then that's not what I'm interested in. People who do play for their score and prefer harder difficulties can avoid the easy mode.
I don't know exactly, what you think you will gain, when I implement your proposed game mode. It would take the WHOLE challenge. You could just walk around, killing all your enemies, unlock the levels and see the "beautiful" level designs. However, that is not, how the designs work! The trick of the levels is to solve them, not just to have a look at them. Believe me: This is boring. So in fact you have the choice between boring and too hard.

instead we have a resource management game that reduces Snowman to little more than a puzzle game where you have to work out when and where to use your snow in order to finish.
And the idea of an action puzzle jump and run is bad, because? I don't see a reduction.

I feel really sorry for you, that you don't like snowman. However your proposal would negate the whole idea of the game.

I really thought about the things said in the discussions here. I even thought about, why I even make games. Do I make games for new game ideas? As hobby, so that the product is important, not that people like it? For other people to give them something to play? I didn't find an answer yet.
 
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ZXDunny

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Please don't take what I say as criticism per se - I am talking mostly about games at large. However, I do really like the gameplay mechanics in Snowman; the idea of a platformed shmup with real tactical planning hasn't really been done as well as this before to my knowledge. It's just really frustrating to get so far and to run out of snow and be unable to jump out of the way of certain death :)
 
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