Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

Quicker than planned

I have that written on the front of my pants.

The penultimate preview of X is online now and panting for you to play it.

New in this are the options screens, which between you and me I'm really not happy about. I backed myself into a corner with using tweens and bitmaps for the majority of the text / buttons, which take ages to actually get into the game.
Once they were in I realised I'd messed up by not giving appropriate feedback on each selection. I should have re-done them, but it would have taken ages and been really boring, so instead I just dropped in a really cheap way to show the feedback.

If there's going to be a part of the game that really bugs me, it's going to be the options. But the rational part of my brain ( As opposed to the part that makes me want to delete the whole game and start again 'cause those options aren't as good as they should be ) is saying that people will only ever got to the options once or twice ever, that the pay off for the look & feel of the game text is greater than losing out on a bit of feedback, and, well, fuck it.

The main thing in terms of feedback about the options is the alternative control method ( Well two actually, but in a lame lazy way ), which to be honest I really struggle to get to grips with. I coded it a couple of days ago and obviously tested it, and after a while it wasn't too bad ( I'm kinda used to EveryDay Shooter on the psp so it's not a million miles away from that ), but since than I've not used it, and having a quick go today showed that I'd fallen out of the habit of playing X that way, and that I really didn't want to get back into it.
Not really giving it the hard sell am I ? Well it's a case of it's there if you want it, although to me the default method is always going to be better.


Comments (10) -

  • bas

    3/15/2009 8:52:58 PM |

    I see what you mean with the options, but if I wouldn't have read your post, I think I wouldn't have noticed. It's decent enough. Don't stare blind on the details - although I understand the feeling of wanting to throw a whole project down the drain for one little part that bothers me :-)

    The game looks gorgeous, keep it up!

  • 8bitjeff

    3/15/2009 8:54:05 PM |

    i have one hand free (baby in other one), please don't judge proper keyboard skillz...

    the game is absolutely fantastic.

    music - very well chosen and cinematic
    flockers - my favorite part

    i suck at it and never got a power-up, but i made it to level 7

    i hope someone sponsors this for big bucks (if that's what you want)

  • urbansquall

    3/16/2009 12:25:24 AM |

    Been awhile since I actually "played" the game. It has come very far and is a lot of fun. Remember to keep your promise to me. :)

  • Squize

    3/16/2009 1:24:28 PM |

    Cheers Bas.

    Yeah there was no real need for me to slate the game here, I'm sure that'll happen enough once it's out in the wild, but as a rule of thumb:
    twitter - Just swearing really
    blog - A place to be honest, people who read it are people we admire ourselves
    site - Flowery corporate clienty bollocks

    I personally can't stand blogs that say "Check our new awesome game, it's so awesome it makes nuns damp". Thanks for telling me what to think about your game. I'd rather read someone say "Yeah it's pretty good, couple of average bits, but not bad" and that's how we try and tone it here.
    Hopefully by us being honest people will be able to take that on board with their own games and it'll help them, otherwise the blog is just an ego trip, and I've got my gold statue in the garden for that ( Yeah, the one surrounded by industry awards ).

    Jeff, I'm used to typing one handed, but for very different reasons. Glad you're liking it, although if it didn't appeal to you then I know I'd done something badly wrong to the asteroids formula :)
    Big bucks would be nice, it's just the whole branding that needs forcing in there destroying the look & feel... it's a bitter pill to swallow.

    Pany, I think I showed you it around build 7 or 8, which seems like forever ago now mate. Yep, you get first chance to whore it out don't worry :)

  • Ben

    3/16/2009 2:12:59 PM |

    Hey Squize,

    Just wanted to mention that I played the game before reading the post, and I went to the options screen, and read it and changed the sexyness and sat on that page watching the background... and I never even noticed that the text looked different.

    I only noticed when I read the post and then played the game again. And I'm a designer.

    To be honest, I doubt anyone would ever pick up on it.

    Nice work! Looking forward to seeing the final version, what've you got left to implement?

  • bas

    3/17/2009 8:41:10 AM |

    Hey Squize,

    I felt like leaving you some stuff to ponder on, but with the game still being under development, please discard my ramblings as you see fit.

    - In the medal screen there are some medals that I really didn't earn( yet! )
    - The green power-up feels like a power-down. I know I'm dead when I accidentally pick it up. Intuitively I expected to be able to press space and get my "normal" gun back.
    - When being killed by remaining enemy forces but AFTER killing all rocks, I spawn back into the NEXT level anyway.( Could be by design )
    - For me, personally, the transition between levels gets a wee bit tiring after seeing it so often. I'd, again personally, prefer it to be a bit faster.
    - Damn you, I should be working on my own game instead of playing yours.


  • Squize

    3/17/2009 9:04:27 AM |

    Cheers Ben.

    There's not too much left now, I think more graphics than anything else. I did the medals last night which was a really boring chunk of work to do and a nice thing to get out of the way.
    The global stats will be a biggish thing which will need testing too ( I've still got to define exactly what we'll be sending to the server. I want _everything_ but I'm sure I'm going to have to be more realistic ).

    Hi again Bas

    - Ah, you need the build sitting right next to me :)
    - I'm not a huge fan of it, but it does twat things well, so I will change to it to take out a smiter or at the start of a level if I've got a good level of missiles then I use the pulse to break up that first wave of big rocks quickly and then flip to missiles to do the work for me.
    When you max the pulse out it's quite a beast, but I do know what you mean. Think of it as level 6 on your toaster, who the fuck wants a setting that just burns the toast, but they still include it.
    - You always spawn onto the next level, reasons being two fold. Firstly it was part of my remit of being a bit casual orientated with this game ( "You've not died as such, you've upgraded a level!" ), and secondly from a technical point of view, it was just easier because of the way I've set the background plotting up. Thinking about it, Tonypa did raise a point about it a while back, about it not being fair starting from scratch when you've died on a level, so it was "ok, start again, but on the next level".
    I wonder how many players will just get killed on levels 4 and 14 to ensure they get those medals.
    - You're the second person to mention the transition, and I'm assuming both of you got quite into the game so that was a case of "Come on, I've seen it now, quicker!".
    I think it's important to have a pause between the levels, it raises expectation and provides a breathing space, so the transition along with the level complete results force that pause.
    After say level 6/7 there's no real progression as such, you've seen everything you're going to see, so it's important to have those moments away from the gameplay, so each level becomes a stand alone segment.
    - :D

    Thanks for the excellent feedback mate

  • Michael

    3/17/2009 11:47:51 AM |


    Just played/tried it, I shot everything on level 1, with the only thing left - being the spaceship, and was super confused why I didn't make it to the level complete screen, after a bit of head scratching, i thought i'd fire along all edges of the screen... and there it was a rock, stuck/not moving that was hidden in the bottom right of the screen...

    probably a rare bug... but a bug, apart from that, great game!

    Hope that helps

  • EvilKris

    3/24/2009 5:23:44 AM |

    Yo Squize-meister, thought I'd pop by and check out your latest.
    Dude, your games have gotten progressively better over the years, and this new one is close to perfect.
    If you don't mind a wee bit of criticism I'd say some of the graphics are a little bit too crisp and might look prettier with a minimal blur filter on. That said, the explosions are astonishing. Another minor point is the main theme matches the intro nicely -first time I think I've ever stared at the intro screen for longer than 10 seconds in fact- but gets a bit tedious going on throughout the game. I recommend a simple drum loop or maybe no background music at all and more crazy sfx.
    All in all nice work man. Should be quite an earner.

  • Squize

    3/25/2009 8:31:04 AM |

    Hey stranger.

    Thanks for the kind words, they never get boring :)

    As to replacing that stunning piece of classical music for a drum loop... piss off mate ;)

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