Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Second Feedback post for 'A Shooter'

Wow, I am so surprised I have already gotten a second feedback post. Only hours after reposting the game up after my alterations in response to the first post. Last time I used the Playtest I got virtually no input for a whole week. So life is GOOD.

Here is what my Peer said
  SDTV offsets supported for in game scores and HUD."

1. Not sure if I am missing something, but I do not see any way to change the offsets. On my 36" HDTV the player #0 is cut off at the top of the screen. The Stage: 1 is outside of the recommended safezone of 80% of the screen as well. You have a lot of realestate to work with... it wouldn't hinder anything to move the upper left down and to the right so the text starts at 128x 72y and the lower right text above 648y (those values are for 1280x720)

2. Do I have a life count? I don't see anything to indicate that I do. I blink red after getting hit. Looks like 3 hits and then I die completely, but it's definately not clear if the next shot is going to kill me or not.

3. Would like to be able to change the options from the pause screen without having to end my game to do so (ie to change rumble, change the control scheme, etc)

4. Would like to know that I got a highscore... I end up having to check the highscore table to see if I got the highscore or not when the game is over... and then I have to remember what my score was to see if I beat my last highscore.

5. Would like it if the collected powerups had a higher res, they seem a little jagged... (for example the apple) completely pixelized would be cool or just a higher resolution.

6. Nice variety in enemies and bosses as you progress through the stages (I mean the bosses have the same model but each have a different pattern which is cool).

7. Aside from the title safe issues... I did not encounter any other issues. Yanking out the memory unit, signing out and in of a profile, trying to purchase the game using a guest profile are all handled.

8. Movement of the ship feels a little sluggish, but I can live with that. I tried the game on easy and medium and on stage 6 there doesn't appear to be any difference (do you get more lives or something?)

9. overall a good Shooter. ( I do feel I have died cheaply a few times after using the smart bomb and then running into one of the bullets immediately after, but since I can start back on a stage after losing I can live with that. It seems it only happens if I move the ship to the left so that it goes off screen after using the smart bomb.)
Ok, So he was a busy bee and wrote a number of things. I will address each one in turn as I did in the Forum thread, only I will add more of the thought process behind each comment.
1. I have it detect 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio and adjust the properties based on that. However i am not sure why your HDTV has screen safe issues of more than 5% or so. Mine actually sees all the borders and is what I work on. I test on a 17" sdtv when i have my main code base ready. So I think I need a bit more info if you have any. I will look into this further though. I might also put an option to alter the position for people to play with if they want. - That was my reply. I do not quite know at this time why on his HDTV and not mine he has such a problem. In the mean time i have taken the precaution of bringing in the Hud elements from the game. Of course i have a lot of real estate, but i do not want my aliens bullets to be residing behind the scores and pop out and kill you, that would feel and be unfair.
2. Yes you have a life count. It is the large heart in the middle of the ship, which starts off green, then yellow, then red. It also gets smaller the less life you have (this was especially for colorblind people). You are correct that 3 hits and you are dead. I will be spending a bit more time on this, as a first time player... this is the most importnt thing about your ship. I will make it better, just got too many whacky ideas to sort through. - That was my reply. As you can see i am obviously concerned that the first time player will not notice the ships 'Heart'. So far i have Made the Heart Bigger, and therefore more noticable. I did think of putting an effect on top of it as it changes (also suggested by a friend), but i think that will just hid th Heart even further. Not sure atm, just what else i can do. I am open to suggestions though.
3. Hmm, the options screen from in game is an interesting one. It is also something i will look into, as it would be nice for it to work that way, but it will not be a fast change within my menuing system (the pause is the same level as the options). - That was my reply. I obviously could do this with work. But i am not sure i want to. Let us look at what it would give us. In game i could alter the control scheme. hmm, something that a person would do once? Maybe twice at most ever. How much development time is that really worth. The next things are Rumble and the Volumes. Well ok, you might want to alter the volumes in game, get that balance of music and SFX just right for ya. However the Rumble is something that people tend to leave on or off. Is it worth me spending a number of hours to get this, rather major change put in and debugged? At the moment I do not think so. I also think this will not alter the perception of quality with my title or effect sales of it at all. so for now, i will not be doing this.
4. This was brilliant, no idea how i forgot to put the highscore on the screen, silly me! I will be fixing that.- That was my reply. Well it speaks for itself really. So I have already put the Highscore on the top middle of the screen, in screen unsafe area, mwuhahha!
5. The graphics, none of them really (excepting a very few) are finished. My artist is busy moving house, so that part will have to wait. They should be nice graphics soon (i hope). But i have to take exception to ya not liking my graphics, geez. (not really though!). - That was my reply. We all know the graphics need some love. Hopefully soon. Did you notice what i did there though? I added humour and personality ito my reply to him. Not enough to say i am not laughing at you. But hopefully enough to engage the reveiwer. This is done so they might come back and re-playtest or review my game later. And angry tone with Peers giving feedback will get you roasted and ignored. Better to go the other way.
6. Thanks for the kind comments on the variety. Also noticing that the bosses were different, even though they ALL look the same (currently that is all 13 of them bah!) - That was my reply. It is always so nice to get compliments. Always acknowledge them, even if they are small or backhanded. Then hope this leads to more.

7. I am glad there no other issues, and thanks a bunch for trying stuff.- That was my reply. This is a HUGE relief so far. The reason is simple. Most games in Peer Review fail for MU pulling reasons, then second on the fail list is the Profile manhandling. Awesome result so far with my rewrite of this stuff.  

8. The movement of the ship is balanced to the enemy bullets, and it can feel sluggish, but the trade off is excellent, as you have a lot of accuracy. Which is better to slip the bullets with..- That was my reply. We all will feel differently about this. But the remark he made allowed me to iterate something about my product.  Something very very important. That is 'I designed it that way on purpose'. This may seem trivial. But some reviewers will totally believe that the ship speed or any other thing just happened to be that speed etc. It is good to show you have actually put thought and design and balance into this work. I love replying to these kind of comments. Makes me feel all proud that i set things this way. We must of course be careful not to be a braggard though :O
8a The easy and normal difficulty settings effect several things.Enemy rate of fire and the number of HP each enemy has are the two main differences. Once again the second part of his comment allowed me to share with the world (ok, XNA world) just what my design goals are and how i implemented them.
9. Your final comment was interesting and caused me to look into the smart bomb, i hate people feeling like they have died cheaply. They should know why they died and feel that they can do better next time. So the smart bomb was designed to be smarter than i should have made it. It is now cured (maybe i am) of being so clever. You will not die on it again. What happened was the bullets it linked to were still active for 0.5 of a second after they were smart bombed. Now they are immediately unhittable. - That was my reply. Here i apologise for something not being right. It was my design idea, as previously blogged about of course. But sometimes things are not easily understood. So back to the drawing board and vanquish my silly idea. Ahh well. It is always good to apologize, unless the feedback is getting on your nerves. This is what you signed up for right?

I then had some final thoughts. I love my final thoughts, as i try very hard to connect with not just the Peer who gave feedback, but also with other Peer who may look at this thread. What I say now might just influence them to come give me feedback too. In the first sentence you will see I describe myself as trying to give the best experience I can. In the second part I am saying that i really want you to do this more or again, and to please you i am going to get on with it now, look at me work hard at your behest. (of course i am realy doing this!)
"I am glad you liked the pickup and start on any completed stage idea. I feel it is important to give people options if they pay for the game.
Once again, thanks for your time and consideration playtesting this for me. I will get on with fixing all the issues you have highlighted for me. It will get better and stronger thanks to people like you."

Well that wraps the analysis up for now. I think i have explained myself quite well. I also hope you can see that Feedback is not something to be taken lightly. It is also something that should Never be taken for granted. Be self effacing and enjoy the Feedback. Even if it does not Gel with your feelings at first.


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