Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

Big Bad Beta time

About two weeks later than I originally planned here's the beta of Ionic...

...but first the list of caveats that always go hand in hand with a beta.

* The title screen image is brand spanking new, ie just in there today. I'm not a 100% happy with the flow yet, it needs some tweaking.
* The animated planet is brand spanking new too, so I've not had chance to test it performance wise. It looks like it could be a cpu melter, but hopefully not, 'cause it does look sexy as hell.
* All of the baddie images are placeholders, borrowed from cronusX. It will look more varied.
* The music is a placeholder, nicked from one of the Alien Breed games I think.
* The HUD is going to change, I've got the assets, just not the time to drop them in just yet ( So the door edges which obscure it slightly now won't in the final version ).
* Lot's of little things that need some final love.

I imagine there are dozens more things that I've forgotten to mention, you know how it is.

With this beta I'm basically after views on the gameplay / balance / instructions. Is it fun ? Does it work like you'd expect it to ? Did you manage to complete it ( Or did you give up first ) ? Did you even feel the need to complete it or was is just leaving you bone dry instead of gushingly damp ?

Basically I'm after everything and anything that springs to mind. The more honest the better, if you think it's shit feel more than free to say so, although try and justify it a little please ( This isn't Kongregate, although you will get a point for posting ).

Ok, enough of me being needy. Thanks in advance for taking the time to give it a bash.

<Link removed as the game is gold and up for bidding. Thanks to everyone who played it>

Squize.

PS. I've noticed on the mac running Firefox the scanlines on the radar magically get in the way, making the cursor flicker like a mare between the handcursor and the normal one. If you get that on a non-mac machine let me know please. Joy.

Comments (16) -

  • Matthew

    11/27/2009 7:59:33 PM |

    Ionic feedback

    - Distortion on the initial story screen is great, but I would mix it up a bit, make at least one of the distortions a bit longer

    - Tutorial text is quite hard to read due to font and/or size (use of colour helps though to highlight important bits)

    - It would help to have the information on what each weapon you have available came up more quickly in the little pop-up boxes when you are buying something

    - It's hard to tell the different weapons apart. Could you vary the colour more, or color-code based on type to help? This could just be a personal preference though.

    - The first level is really big and I spent all of my money putting up defences on the left side. I didn't realize that enemies would also appear from the right and my core was defenceless to those attacks. I think the early levels could do with being much smaller than this, or only one sided so the enemies only come from the left.

    - I found I was using the arrow keys the most to move between the different sections of the ship, but it is too fast and not smooth enough. The slider and the click to move are perfect for fast movement so I felt the arrow keys should give me smooth, slow movement. This was especially true when the enemies turned up as I was trying to move with them using the arrow keys to see how far they got and how my defences held up

    - Definitely too hard so far. Even after a few plays my core was being destroyed, I just didn't have the money to put up enough defences to protect it and having to deal with two ends of the ship at the same time wasn't that enjoyable

    - When I started playing I kept thinking the coloured bar underneath the ship layout map was the slider to move along the ship. It is a bit confusing and I'm not exactly clear what that coloured bar means, something to do with the waves of enemies?

    - It would be nice to have more information about how you did on the Game Over screen such as how many waves of enemies you made it through, your total spend, what you used etc. a mini stats table

    Overall view: I think the tutorial works well as it is apart from the text being hard to read. I think too much is thrown at the player at once mainly due to the size of the ship, the lack of money, and the enemies coming from two directions. It is fun and could be really fun with some balancing and a rethink on the ship size. I see why you need it that large to give you ample time to defeat all enemy waves as it gets harder, but because you can't see the whole playfield like you can in a lot of tower defence games it just seems a bit overwhelming.

    Sorry if that came across very negative, it is looking very promising.

  • chrisError

    11/27/2009 9:01:02 PM |

    finally I get five minutes piece and quiet so I can write up my thoughts...

    ok so this is an odd one as I've seen it from it's very early dev days, but I shall try to forget all that and concentrate on what's in front of me now.

    Pixel Font:
    I find this really hard to read, it's a nice font and it's lovely and crisp I just think pixel fonts are made for headers / labels and anything that is 'body' needs to be a normal readable font.

    Turret Palette:
    Mouse doesn't turn into Hand icon over this.

    Scrollbar / Attack waves / map:
    I still get a little confused between the scrollbar and the Attack Wave thingy.

    The Resource manager is really hidden away, but this might actually be a good thing, I'd like to think that I'd play Ionic a few times and not really bother with this, but then as I start to build a real strategy this section would become useful then. As long as I know it is there later on.

    The Flame Thrower in Space seems of dubious science to me.

    I won't comment on the visuals at the moment as I know you are still updating lots of things (however I do love the Chap in the corner.) However on the visuals front I love all the fliter / render effects they genuinely really add to the game and don't feel slapped on at all.

    basically I love it, one of my fav Flash games ever and I cannot wait for it to be 100% finished.

    ChrisErrorx

  • chrisError

    11/27/2009 9:01:53 PM |

    oh yeah and the Palette doesn't auto refresh according to your current cash once you have it opened.

    ChrisError

  • Squize

    11/27/2009 11:09:54 PM |

    Cheers Matthew, excellent feedback mate, just what I wanted to hear.

    "- Distortion on the initial story screen is great, but I would mix it up a bit, make at least one of the distortions a bit longer"

    Added to my nice to have list.

    "- Tutorial text is quite hard to read due to font and/or size (use of colour helps though to highlight important bits)"

    A lot of people have commented on the font, time to look for an alternative.

    "- It would help to have the information on what each weapon you have available came up more quickly in the little pop-up boxes when you are buying something "

    Don't you think that could be annoying once you've learned the weapon types ?

    "- It's hard to tell the different weapons apart. Could you vary the colour more, or color-code based on type to help?"

    Again this has come up before. I'm limited in just increasing the spot colour on them.

    "- The first level is really big and I spent all of my money putting up defences on the left side."

    There is only the one level / dreadnought. I may have to pop up a message saying "Careful not to spunk all your money in one hit"

    "- I found I was using the arrow keys the most to move between the different sections of the ship, but it is too fast and not smooth enough."

    That's a good point, I'm an arrow keys boy myself.

    "- Definitely too hard so far. Even after a few plays my core was being destroyed, I just didn't have the money to put up enough defences to protect it and having to deal with two ends of the ship at the same time wasn't that enjoyable "

    K, I think I'll make the current level of difficulty "Hard" and drop an easy mode in there with double the cash.

    "- When I started playing I kept thinking the coloured bar underneath the ship layout map was the slider to move along the ship. It is a bit confusing and I'm not exactly clear what that coloured bar means, something to do with the waves of enemies? "

    Yeah it's a long range scanner, it shows the wave order using colour codes. I'll look into this too.

    "- It would be nice to have more information about how you did on the Game Over screen such as how many waves of enemies you made it through, your total spend, what you used etc. a mini stats table"

    I was being lazy and avoiding this :)
    Valid point though, also I'm going to try and find a way to display the current wave.

    "Sorry if that came across very negative"

    Nope not at all, the feedback is excellent. I'd rather posts like yours than people just blowing smoke up my arse, as I'll only be beaten over the head with these issues once it's live.

    Thanks again mate.

    "I find this really hard to read, it's a nice font and it's lovely and crisp I just think pixel fonts are made for headers / labels and anything that is 'body' needs to be a normal readable font."

    I know when I'm outnumbered :)

    "Mouse doesn't turn into Hand icon over this."

    Good find, cheers.

    "I still get a little confused between the scrollbar and the Attack Wave thingy."

    Outnumbered etc. etc.

    "The Resource manager is really hidden away, but this might actually be a good thing, I'd like to think that I'd play Ionic a few times and not really bother with this, but then as I start to build a real strategy this section would become useful then."

    Yeah, the resource management should be seen like the settings in a driving game. You can still get 'round the track without touching them, but if you want the depth it's there.
    It's like the weapons menu, you can play the game and never touch it, but it's there if you want the depth.

    "The Flame Thrower in Space seems of dubious science to me."

    Fuck off ;)
    ( Jet of oxygen fired out with the liquid napalm etc. etc. )

    "However on the visuals front I love all the fliter / render effects they genuinely really add to the game and don't feel slapped on at all."

    Cheers. Lux is just doing some fantastic work, it's just looking better all the time.

    "I cannot wait for it to be 100% finished."

    Me neither :)

    Thanks mate, worth waiting for.

  • Squize

    11/27/2009 11:10:46 PM |

    oh yeah, "the Palette doesn't auto refresh according to your current cash once you have it opened" think I thought of a quick way to get that running, so it's on my nice to have list.

  • iopred

    11/28/2009 6:28:03 AM |

    Looking killer, one thing that pissed me off to no end though, is that level 1 turrets didn't seem to attack anything, only after I upgraded them once did they seem to attack anything at all.

    This also meant that my barrage of level 1 turrets at the start was a bad strategy, as it was not until about Wave 5 that I had any that could wipe out anything!

  • Matthew

    11/28/2009 1:14:20 PM |

    "Don't you think that could be annoying once you've learned the weapon types ?"

    Good point, but it depends on ratio of beginners to advanced return players, doesn't it? I'd rather advanced players get annoyed enough to turn them off completely (could that be an option?) than beginners get frustrated with it.

  • Squize

    11/28/2009 5:29:29 PM |

    Hey iopred, I thought you were dead mate ( We were all laughing about it just the other day ) ;)
    Update my msn details, so the one time a year we're awake at the same time we can have a catch up.

    As to your point, bollocks. When you rollOver a slot that's the current weapons strike radius, it's range ( Which also shows up when a weapon shoots ). I can lay down a handful of level 1 turrets and they'll take out all the first attack wave from the left with no problems.
    I was always dreading the difficulty curve of this game, and now more people are playing it it's become more of an issue. I'll look to increase all the turrets strike radiuses ( radi ? ) which should make them feel more powerful early on.

    Thanks for both the feedback and not being dead mate :)

    @Matthew, ok, valid point :)

    @Rasmus, that has been the longest lasting bug in the whole game! I've "fixed" it untold times. Shit. Thanks alot for the grab and taking the time to give it a play mate, I feel a kludge fix coming on to sort that out.

    I just want to thank all of you guys who have commented. Aside from giving me hours more work, it's been really excellent, thanks.

  • charlie

    11/28/2009 5:49:20 PM |

    This looks absolutely great...

    I just wanted to add in a minor issue, which I found a little frustrating: when I click in the radar the window doesn't 'centre' around the mouse click, and in some cases seems to be a little off.

    I also thought it might be nice if you clicked in the slider bar for that to jump to where the mouse click is.

    Both these 'ideas' are minor points, and completely ignorable if you use the arrow keys...

  • King Baggot

    12/1/2009 4:58:11 PM |

    Fking hell mate, that's some shiny shit. I really have no idea whatsoever how you do all that FX work.

    Besides looking swish, it's plays very nicely - But as I see everyone else has flagged out, it's bloody hard - getting it in both holes at the same time so to speak while only having the puny weps to start with. I'd either increase the kill range of these early guns , or just ease off on the viciousness of those early waves.

    Plus is it me, or is there no indication of how much more damage your power thing can take ? I bet there is and i've missed it.

    anyway, ver good. applesauce !

  • Squize

    12/1/2009 5:19:22 PM |

    @Charlie I think from memory it doesn't center as such as it works from a slightly different scale. There's dead space at either end of the dreadnought which isn't shown on the radar, also the radar indicator has a fixed width, so click right at one end means it can't be center aligned there, and that carries through the rest of the radar ( If that makes sense ? ).

    "I also thought it might be nice if you clicked in the slider bar for that to jump to where the mouse click is."

    That's a good point. There are 3 ways to scroll around the dreadnought atm, and including those, your idea is the 6th way to scroll it ( The other two being auto scrolling when the mouse is near an edge, and being able to click-drag the indicator on the radar ).
    Fucking programmers and their million ideas to do one simple thing ;)

    @The King, hi mate, hope you're keeping well. I don't know if you know but I've moved back to Wales, so when I get chance I'll take some photos of Pendine for you so you can relive the old days :)

    For the fx, Blendmode.ADD, that just makes any old tat look pretty.

    In terms of difficulty, I've added an easy mode where you start off with 3500G instead of 1500G which should ease things up a lot, and I'm going to increase the strike radius. I also need to tone down some of the later baddies shields as I've not been able to complete the game for a while.

    See that energy bar up the top right ? Big green glowy thing with energy written above it ? :P

    Thanks both of you for the feedback.

  • ImprisonedPride

    12/1/2009 9:02:38 PM |

    I had to laugh at the "flame thrower in space" comment. Nothing is more satisfying than busting Squize's chops, unless YOU'RE the one doing it... ;)

    Also, it's been said before but I think the game wouldn't be so imbalanced if I was given all the money I actually make.

    I think it would be a great idea to color code turrets based on their energy left, not just when they die. I would like to see a bunch of yellow dots on the map and think "Shit... I need to repair those!" but that's just my two cents.

    Other than that, fantastic gameplay. I think the graphics are probably the best yet. Although, was it my imagination, or were the brown droids recycled from another game? I could have sworn I saw them before.

    Last bit, the starting screen ran pretty sluggish, almost churning when the doors slide open and what-not. Also the RGB-splitting effect gave my pc a hard time (3GB RAM, 2.97GHz on Win 7 in Firefox 3.5) and again seemed to churn hard to get past it.

    As always, GYW's work is truly inspirational. Keep up the good work guys.

  • Squize

    12/1/2009 9:32:33 PM |

    Did you get the bug with the money being left behind too ? That without doubt is the longest lasting bug in the game ( I've not had it for weeks now, which is the worst kind of bug, the one other people get ). I'm going to cheat and give each spinning G a life span and if the drone doesn't get round to it I'll just kill them off and put the money in the bank.

    The turrets do go red on the map when they're low on energy, I think going say yellow / amber may be a bit much.

    On the subject of graphics, you should see it now. Lux has done a stunning job, much better than my coder art and done in a fraction of the time. All the baddies are just placeholders, borrowed from cronusX.

    The bump mapping effect is gone from the title screen, it just doesn't fit well with the new look. Murdering your darlings and all that.
    Your machine is min. dual core isn't it ? I've found the pixel bender based RGB split / interference doesn't 'cause any hit on my machines, that's odd.

    Thanks for the feedback mate, glad you enjoyed it. We're looking at about another 7 days of dev before it's put up for sale.

  • ImprisonedPride

    12/2/2009 3:14:10 AM |

    No, no dual core here. :'(

    I only suggested the yellow/amber colors because it seems that unless I'm just a really shitty td player (which I will admit I lack skill in that category) I only EVER see red on the map -after- the turret has died, not before as you mentioned.

    Oh chronusX! I thought those drones looked familiar ;).

    Since I have your attention, might I ask why you never seem to be on MSN anymore? I wasn't that much of a pest, was I?

  • Squize

    12/3/2009 3:58:48 PM |

    Ah, the lack of dual core is what will be causing the slow down with the RGB effect.

    As to msn, I updated my details way back and killed off the old address. I did add everyone to my new address, but a few didn't make it ( That's why I never see iopred or Urby anymore ).
    It's squize and that's at gamingyourway.com, same as my email address.

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