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Author Topic: Hex Factor (1.xx Release!)  (Read 9781 times)
vdecampo
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« on: March 01, 2008, 02:20:00 PM »

I have finished removing all the Windows dependency from my source code. Now running on the FBRTL and using FBGFX, FBSound and (for now) FreeImage.



Download the game from here...
www.ftpisland.com/files/HexFctr.zip 2.8Mb Win32

Still a few NEW additions I want to make now that I've got everything else working. Plus it gives time to gather some feedback for bugs.

Thanks and Enjoy!
-Vince
« Last Edit: March 10, 2008, 08:53:49 AM by vdecampo » Logged

Cheers!
-Vince
Lachie Dazdarian
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2008, 04:08:10 PM »

Ok. Played it 3 times. Once reached level 4, two times level 3.

First of, I really do hope you'll fix those menus somehow. I don't know why you are having problems with them. The title screen menu should be default, and I should be always prompted to it when I lose a game. Once I enter the options menu, I should be able to EXIT from it to the title screen / main menu. New Game option shouldnít be in the options menu. It should only be on the main title screen menu. Another thing. ESC shouldn't end the entire friggin program. It should prompt me to a Y/N message, and then to the title screen, unless I'm on the title screen.

Anyway, sorry for being anal about this, but I'm really sensitive about menu functionality in games.

The gameplay. Iím not sure how much it changed since the last version I played. I think I remember that in the old BETA version each level featured its own enemies. All the same.

I feel the AI is somehow warped. I donít know. The enemies seem to get into this aggressive mode for no reason and chop off half of my shield. Same with turrets.

Also, it felt to me (I might be wrong) that the second and third time I played the game it was much harder. Is there some aggressiveness variable you are not resetting properly with each new game?

Overall, I like the gameplay. Hunting the enemies, avoiding the turrets, and destroying them if possible. I do not like the lack of consistency in difficulty and level design. I think you should set a limited number of levels, design them properly, and perhaps add few new textures in later levels (maybe even new background!), and not only new enemies.

BTW, why does the reactor temperature sticks to the max value when I reach it? It should start decreasing right away by my opinion.

And make the FPS counter optional or type it out with the gameís default font. Itís distracting now.
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vdecampo
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2008, 04:33:15 PM »

@Lachie

Damn you ARE anal!  Grin

Quote
The title screen menu should be default, and I should be always prompted to it when I lose a game.

This is the first thing that shows up when you start the game, and comes up again when you lose. I'm not sure what you mean here.

Quote
Once I enter the options menu, I should be able to EXIT from it to the title screen / main menu.

Just press F1 again. It toggles the OPTIONS menu on/off. ALL options are available at ANY point in the game. You can bring the OPTIONS menu up while you are playing, or any other function.

Quote
ESC shouldn't end the entire friggin program.

Fair Enough. That is one addition I planned on making.


Quote
I think I remember that in the old BETA version each level featured its own enemies. All the same.

You are correct. I changed that. I thought it was boring having them all the same.

Quote
Is there some aggressiveness variable you are not resetting properly with each new game?

Yes they use a probability engine. I will double check that.

Quote
BTW, why does the reactor temperature sticks to the max value when I reach it? It should start decreasing right away by my opinion.

It is that way on purpose as a trade-off for having unlimited ammo. You need to make sure you do not over-use it.

Quote
And make the FPS counter optional or type it out with the gameís default font. Itís distracting now.

This is still in BETA. All the debug logging and messages will disappear when I finalize it.

BTW, what FPS are you getting now? 14-15?

Cheers!
-Vince
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-Vince
Pritchard
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2008, 04:38:45 PM »

Game Play:

The game play for the game used to be too hard, but it seems like you've made things a bit easier recently.  I'm enjoying the latest version because I'm not being murdered within the first three seconds.  Bravo.


The map space is pretty small, so these long shot distances, limited moving space, and enemies willing to travel 100 miles to kill you is a bit of a pain.  I end up being killed rather quickly.  Now fixing this problem with territory and enemy/shot crowing leaves you with another problem - The game would become too easy.  You provide too many weapons at first, I think.  Maybe you should let it be a tad more progressive, so if I survive the initial wave of the level, I have more items which can (barely) help me survive the next wave.

There's alternatives such as changing shot collision and potentially letting enemy shots run into each other.  There's too many alternatives for me to mention and tell you how I think game play should be though.  What happens now is in your hands.


I'm also going to suggest that you allow the ship to move faster if the mouse is farther away from it.  Some kind of quick, even if temporary, boost away from large crowds of enemies would be nice.  If you can handle the basic physics, I'd like to knock them the heck out of my way as well.


The AI can use a little more variety.  Some faster, some slower, some with low turn rates.  I never really get far enough in this game to see what other kind of enemies you have present to us, but I'm not too interested with the ones I see.  Small numbers of highly interesting AI beat out large quantities of boring ones.  The learning and surprise curve isn't so exciting, either.  I think those ground gunners are the problem.  They come too soon, too many, too powerful.


Now here's me asking for new game play elements completely:

- Obstacles with stuff hidden behind them, possibly used for guarding as well.

- Ship power ups as well as weapon power ups.  Progressing the ship as you go along.

- Items which may be good, may be bad.  Stuff like auto boost, where you're boosted very fast in the direction you're moving towards.  Can be helpful, but can also be terribly bad in certain situations.  It would help broaden the game play, however.

- Chargeable weapon shots.

- Weapons which spawn smaller weapons.  These could be mines which you and enemies should avoid, missiles with sub-missiles, small explosives, whatever.

- A temporary defense bubble which recharges slowly over time.

- etc etc.

Graphics and Interface:


The main interface isn't so good, as the controls are kind of annoying, as I said before.  I wasn't sure how to get out of the help menu and back to the main menu at first.  I think I might have quit on accident by hitting escape.  Please have the F7 help menu able to be exited with the same controls that are used in-game.  Mouse or Space or Enter.  Thank you for having a help menu here, btw.


The graphics are decent but the explosions being completely solid kinda suck.  Try using some alpha or a different type of explosion effect.  The ones you currently have are pretty distracting.


The interface also isn't too pretty.  Your hotkeys for weapon selection (and in fact, the only way to select them) should have a graphical object mapped to them somewhere on the GUI.  Just small buttons representing each weapon along with a number next to them stating how much ammunition you have will do just fine.  It'd be great if this icon was consistent with the items dropped by enemies.


The scenery doesn't change much and the golden ring around me looks cheap, making the game look a little beta.  I suppose style's something I have to consider here, but the art style itself isn't being drawn out to its full potential.  Some improvements for the overall cleanup and styling of art is something you might want to consider.  Overall I think a lot of it's polished, but you can have advanced graphics that suck and simple graphics that are awesome.  I'm impressed technically by some parts of Hex Factor, but not aesthetically.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2008, 04:45:06 PM by Pritchard » Logged
vdecampo
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2008, 04:57:24 PM »

I hear over and over
Quote
I get killed too quickly.

Should I include all the tips on defeating the enemy in the help screen, or should I let players discover them? This is what I find attractive in a game's design.

Quote from: Pritchard
Your hotkeys for weapon selection (and in fact, the only way to select them) should have a graphical object mapped to them somewhere on the GUI.

You can select weapons via the keyboard (ie: 1,2,3...) or with the center mouse button. At this point I am not going to be changing the GUI. Hex Factor has been available for demo for over 6 months and there havn't been any requests to change the GUI so much as the MENU.

Things can always be better, graphics, sound, level design. It is what it is, a free game for the FB community. I just need to button up some small bugs and lose ends. I won't be redesigning the game.

Thanks for your reviews.
-Vince
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-Vince
Lachie Dazdarian
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2008, 05:22:29 PM »

I get 15 FPS. Maybe that's why I find the game easier than others. Erm...unless the movement is time-based.

The problem with F1 is that it's not really an obvious key in menus. ESC (or SPACE/ENTER) is an obvious key for canceling and exiting a menu, like the options menu or the help screen. You can say whatever you want, but your menus are simply not intuitive. You might consider them great, but most find them unnecessarily confusing. If nothing else, disable ESC completely while the user is in menus so he wonít accidentally end the program.

Earlier I meant to say that when I press ESC I should be asked if I want to quit and then be prompted to the title screen.

And what I think Pritchard wanted to say is that the user should be able to see the amount of ammo for all the weapons constantly, which I think is a good idea.
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vdecampo
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2008, 08:10:20 PM »

I have uploaded version .99

Changes include....

1. More Intuitive Menu Navigation
2. Updated Shield Graphic
3. Alpha Blended Explosions
4. (Fix) Agressiveness vars not resetting
5. Added ESC to abort game-in-progress
6. Added ESC to exit game
7. Added ESC to exit help/options
8. Changed font

Cheers!
-Vince
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-Vince
vdecampo
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2008, 08:27:53 PM »



Beat That Score!!!

600,000 and made it to Level 10!  Grin

-Vince

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-Vince
Lachie Dazdarian
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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2008, 01:31:16 PM »

Much better. I'm glad you came to your senses. Tongue

Reached level 7 this time. 386000 points.

I must say I don't like the look of the new shield. I mean, that thing in the middle is completely unnecessary. And if it has to be there, it should be of much more transparent color, something barely visible.

I think I noticed one bug. If it is a bug. I seem to be able to accumulate more shield than the max value. I remember very well that I got hit several times and my shield remained on max. Itís obvious I had more shield power than the shield bar could show.

Other people noticed this too. The game should switch be back to the main weapon automatically when I spend all the ammo on one of the remaining weapons.

Anyway, I wish the game had a goal, different setting in later levels and more complex AI, but perhaps that would be asking too much. The game is what it is. A simple space shooter.

Edit:

Forgot to say. The game sound effects become deafening quite fast. I think the problem is that you play a sound for each projectile fired in a level, while I think, you should play the sound of a projectile being fired only when that projectile is fired in the proximity of the player. Just too make the game sound effects less intrusive.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2008, 01:36:11 PM by Lachie Dazdarian » Logged

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vdecampo
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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2008, 03:23:21 PM »

Quote
I think I noticed one bug. If it is a bug. I seem to be able to accumulate more shield than the max value. I remember very well that I got hit several times and my shield remained on max. Itís obvious I had more shield power than the shield bar could show.

This is by design.

Quote
Anyway, I wish the game had a goal, different setting in later levels and more complex AI, but perhaps that would be asking too much. The game is what it is. A simple space shooter.

I do take your concerns seriously. I was contemplating a Boss at the end of certain levels or even achieving some specific goals. If an idea strikes me, and it's pretty simple to implement, then I will do it.

Quote
I must say I don't like the look of the new shield. I mean, that thing in the middle is completely unnecessary. And if it has to be there, it should be of much more transparent color, something barely visible.

I'm open to suggestions....

-Vince
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-Vince
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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2008, 03:35:22 PM »

How much longer do you plan to continue development, anyways?  Version .99 makes it seem like you're quite content with the current design.  I recently found that the best strategy isn't to really run from enemies, like I thought it would be, but instead to RAM THROUGH THEM.

You plan on releasing the source ever as well?

PS:  ONE LAST REQUEST:  Add a virtual mouse, *please*.  I don't like being able to drag my mouse out of the window.  You can continually keep the mouse in the very center of the window and track the movements of the mouse each frame, and add that change to the virtual mouse.  Consider a virtual mouse at least.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2008, 04:24:31 PM by Pritchard » Logged
Lachie Dazdarian
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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2008, 04:15:31 PM »

Quote
Quote
I must say I don't like the look of the new shield. I mean, that thing in the middle is completely unnecessary. And if it has to be there, it should be of much more transparent color, something barely visible.

I'm open to suggestions....

Like I said, paste those lines below the ship with some low alpha blender. And I personally would like them to be the color of the ring around the ship. Like this, the ring is of one color spectrum, the ship is of second color spectrum, and the stripes below are of third color spectrum. A bit too colorful for my taste. Tongue

Anyway, any chance you consider my sound effects suggestion?

If you need ideas about the expanded gameplay, how about you protecting some object in one or two levels. Or running from one check point in the level to another in some limited amount of time, while the enemies are blocking your path. And I really think that implementing slightly different tiles and new nebula background in later levels isnít asking too much, and it would make the game much more exciting.

But like I said, this might be too many requests for a game near its completion.


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vdecampo
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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2008, 10:50:27 AM »

Quote from: I recently found that the best strategy isn't to really run from enemies, like I thought it would be, but instead to RAM THROUGH THEM.[/quote

Yes, that is my technique as well young Skywalker!  Grin

Quote
How much longer do you plan to continue development, anyways?  Version .99 makes it seem like you're quite content with the current design.

Well if I had this much quality feedback whan I first published the demo, I wouldn't been so close to release. But I can always go to version .991, thanks to the Dewey Decimal System!  Cool

-Vince
« Last Edit: March 03, 2008, 12:07:15 PM by vdecampo » Logged

Cheers!
-Vince
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« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2008, 12:04:48 PM »

Hah, no offense, but I thought I was doing bad reaching level 13 and dying because I didn't pay attention to my health xD
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vdecampo
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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2008, 12:08:27 PM »

Hah, no offense, but I thought I was doing bad reaching level 13 and dying because I didn't pay attention to my health xD

Talk is Cheap! Press F12 and post a Screen Shot! Press  Grin
-Vince
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-Vince
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