Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Polish, Interface, bug fixes

I’ve got a lot done today, it’s just hard to pin down exactly *what* has been done. Lots of small fixes went in, and some fairly obscure bugs were caught (like the ECM effect noise lingering after ships died, or the ECM effect not being skipped if its entirely offscreen).

I also carried out a bit of a tidy up and revamp of a ton of small issues on the main deployment screen, which is where you may spend about half the game time, and added a whole bunch of tutorial messages. GSB is one of those games that looks great in videos, and people trying the demo will likely want to see things blow up right away, and thus skip all those helpful messages about selecting ships and zooming the camera. The new system watches how you play, and (for example) if you haven’t used the camera zoom after 20 seconds, it will freeze the game, and pop up a quick one-time message prompting you with a hint on how to do it.

I think thats the best way to handle these things. Every FPS on earth teaches me to use WSAD to strafe, to right click to reload, or to hold down shift to sprint or crawl yada yada. Why can’t they give me a few simple tasks, and only bore me with laboriously crap and slow voice acting IF If turns out I don’t already know most of that stuff.

People learn at different speeds, and in different ways, and games should eb flexible about making sure you tell people how to play, without patronizing the hardcore.

I might be moving house soon, meaning I’m dealing with estate agent stress. I just *know* that the moving day will co-incide with release day for GSB. It’s an inevitable conspriacy to kill me through stress.

8 thoughts on Polish, Interface, bug fixes

  1. So when are you moving? (just kiddin)
    Perhaps you should put a disable to the pop up instead of a one time message.

  2. I’m a big fan of adaptive systems, I’d never thought of it being applied to a tutorial before, though. Seems like a great idea!

    I like the idea of being treated with a little respect by the tutorial, assuming you show it you know some standard genre conventions.

  3. Make sure that the tips disable themselves if they aren’t used after a certain number of game hours. It will look weird if I don’t get the zooming tooltip for days because I zoom so frequently, and then suddenly it appears as if I didn’t know that…

  4. I think that instead of freezing the game it should only slow the game down because I don’t think ANYONE would want this game to pause when they don’t want it to, and would probably be much happier if the game only slowed down for a few seconds so they could read the tip if they wanted to or could just keep watching the action.

    Don’t worry I’ll send you a severed head covered in a questionably milky liquid on the day you release this game and move just to help you uh… snap. =-P

  5. Like every RTS that tells you that right-click does stuff, or that in every FPS E is to use things? I hate those.
    Dignified tutorials are an epic idea that more games need to embrace.

  6. I really like the idea of tutorial messages appearing only if you haven’t worked it out by yourself in a certain amount of time. I’d like to try that out in one of my own games some time. Certainly worth the extra time integrating that into your game.

    I fear that a lot of bad tutorials, like bulky text tutorials are down to the tutorials being rushed near the end of the project almost as an after thought or late realisation that the game is too hard for others to play without instruction.

    For online games (where people won’t read paragraphs of text), I like when the controls/gameplay tips are built into the level design. Nitrome games tend to do that well, and you can move at your own pace.

    I have exited game demos before where you had to read loads of text before playing, and game was too hard to figure out if I skipped it…

    One thing that annoys me sometimes is when they have an option for a tutorial, and you put the effort in watching it. They then re-cap the tutorial in at the start of the main game to catch the people that didn’t see the main tutorial…
    Or tutorials that force to you watch them first time, even though you might have just re-installed the game (Black & White was like that before they patched it)…

  7. I love your sense of humor, and I really like how your game is turning out.

    Keep up the great work.


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