Demo Feedback

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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby Simon » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:08 pm

Hey,

I tried the demo today and will continue to do so during the next days. The game appears well thought-out and polished already.

Jumping distance and speed in Ice Climb are very high compared to the slow walking speed. You're correct on the learning curve before mastering the jumps.

If one selects Find Tournament and then returns to the Tournament menu, the music will stop playing.

-- Simon
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby rt » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:29 pm

Simon wrote:If one selects Find Tournament and then returns to the Tournament menu, the music will stop playing.


Thanks! This will be fixed in the next version. If you'd like to test multiplayer sometime please let me know when i should be near my server :geek:

Once you somewhat master the light clone jumping how do you feel about the mechanics? It's not as smooth as we'd like yet, but it's difficult under the limitations of pixel precision. Was it playable enough? Was it fun?
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby geoo » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:22 pm

In the last few days I've had a try at the demo, and I quite like the game. Being a Lemmings player it took me a while getting used to the differences, so please forgive me using Lemmings terminology in some instances. ;)

The Quantum level confused my a bit at first as to how that system works, but the level in itself was very fun.
I also missed the notion at first that the clones lose value over the time in DrillDude's level, but the latter is my fault, as it's quite well stated in the bubble in the top part of the level. I really like this new type of level; optimizing time for every single clone is something I haven't encountered previously.
Another thing that took me a while to realize was that the upward and downward miners are shared.

Apart from the ice level, which was already stated to be quite a bit buggy, I didn't really find any major bugs (apart from the known occasional crashes during multiplayer and the incompatibility of the Quantum level replays causing crashes as well).
Only two rather obscure ones:

If there's a one pixel thin layer of terrain, the clones will walk on it, however if you try to start building, they immediately stop after the first brick.
There seems to be some delay after the start of the level, or after un-pausing, before you can pause again. Not sure whether that's intentional.

I'm not sure whether the issue of the wrong skill getting assigned during multiplayer still holds; I suspect it might have been the skill selection belt that I clicked a split second before pressing the key. I disabled it, and encountered a mis-selection only once today, and perhaps I just hit the wrong key there.

Some of the problems in the ice level have already been stated, but here are some more I encountered:

I suspect you're supposed to save one of yours as well as the white clone, which should make this level work without issues, but if you're trying to get more than one green clone up, it seems that trouble ensures (which prevented me from completing the level for a while). If a clone enters the exit or splats (as opposed to e.g. drowing, getting sucked by a black hole or getting electrocuted), your view doesn't autoselect a new clone, and also doesn't perform some essential updates, like creating the shortcut teleporters, resetting the vanishing blocks or making the moving objects move again. So if for example you saved your first clone, but not the white one, you're pretty much stuck as the teleporters to the top aren't created, and the objects stand still (and you don't have an ascender anymore either).

There was also one instance where a checkpoint returned me to a wrong state. I think it was after using a user-checkpoint, but then restarting from the auto-checkpoint and overwriting the user-checkpoint with a new one. Loading the user checkpoint just loaded the auto-checkpoint again. In fact, I just re-tried, and upon setting and loading a user-checkpoint after having passed the auto-checkpoint, the wall which dissolves when hitting the auto-checkpoint was still there, with both clones still in there (one being auto-selected). I took one and mined out of that wall to hit the checkpoint again, which caused the wall to dissolve and two new clones appear there, both of which were uncontrollable and just walking around aimlessly.

It's possible to get stuck in the corner of the rotating L-Blocks, so you're safe even though you should fall into the water. In fact, if you keep pressing a directional key, you can even sift upwards through the L block and end up on its top. I suspect this is caused by the physics allowing to stand on arbirarily high angles (e.g. you can stand on the left one of the vertical edges of the rotating square blocks further right in the level).
I also managed to get stuck between the steel blocks in the section with the black holes once, but usually I seem to get out between them.

Another issue I had was the just key reacting delayed (or not at all, I don't know), when trying to jump off the dissolving blocks. Might have been that I've been pressing (and holding) the key slightly before landing though, so I don't know whether this is really an issue.

Some observations on the multiplayer aspect:

The multiplayer mode is really fun to play, the clones move a bit slower than Lemmings, so your gladly reaction doesn't have to be as quick. It's still easy to get lost in the game. ;)

A tendency we noticed already in Lemmings, but which is also prevalent here is that blockers, and to some extend also drillers are very powerful in multiplayer. Blockers block the way instantly, and are very hard (or impossible if standing one steel) to remove for the opponent. If the ceiling above them is solid as well (e.g. in a basher tunnel), then it is very difficult to build over them as well. (In Lemmings++ this lead to the convention to make blocker-less/sparse levels, even though they are less powerful there as they get blown back if you launch a bomber nearby. They frequently caused blocker-battles near the exits, which weren't overly fun.) Drillers are very fast, and pretty much catch surrounding clones in their tunnel. The atomizers allow to counter that to some extend, but bashing and re-drilling again seems to keep the drillers at the long end still.

If my mind serves me right, I think the steel blocks in the 8P level are a bit misplaced so that it is still possible to create a deadly drop under some entrances by removing the terrain there.
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby rt » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:55 pm

geoo wrote:The Quantum level confused my a bit at first as to how that system works, but the level in itself was very fun.


How many restarts did it take you before you caught on to the concept? How do you think we might make it easier for first time players? The level in the demo is rather advanced by design to showcase the features of the game, but in the full game the first quantum loop level is dead simple and delayed to the 4th CloneMaster (approx 35 levels in). Perhaps when we send you that beta you can suggest ways to reduce the learning curve.

geoo wrote:I also missed the notion at first that the clones lose value over the time in DrillDude's level, but the latter is my fault, as it's quite well stated in the bubble in the top part of the level. I really like this new type of level; optimizing time for every single clone is something I haven't encountered previously.


I updated the voice bubble to state it plainly for this build because other testers had the same comment, but it seems even with the words there the tendency is to not read them. Did the energy bars above the clones heads provide any hint as well? How do you think this could be made more clear?

geoo wrote:If there's a one pixel thin layer of terrain, the clones will walk on it, however if you try to start building, they immediately stop after the first brick.


Interesting.. i'll check this out.

geoo wrote:There seems to be some delay after the start of the level, or after un-pausing, before you can pause again. Not sure whether that's intentional.


This is intention. We wanted to prevent pause-hacking of the puzzles and so we introduced a delay between pauses and disabled selecting clones or issuing morphs during pause. We found that some testers were using pause to "cheat" the puzzles by giving morphs at a superhuman rate. Our goal was to level the playing field.

geoo wrote:I suspect you're supposed to save one of yours as well as the white clone, which should make this level work without issues, but if you're trying to get more than one green clone up, it seems that trouble ensures


I've reworked the level so that it is again only a single green light clone that the player gets, but instead of teleports there will be a moving spawn point so the player will have infinite lives, one at a time. This should fix most of those problems. Of course to get the world record the player with the minimum deaths will be ranked better. The updated version will be included in the next beta demo this weekend.

It's possible to get stuck in the corner of the rotating L-Blocks, so you're safe even though you should fall into the water. In fact, if you keep pressing a directional key, you can even sift upwards through the L block and end up on its top. I suspect this is caused by the physics allowing to stand on arbirarily high angles


Yes the collision logic is not perfect yet. At this point it's up to the level designer to ensure the level cannot be exploited.

A tendency we noticed already in Lemmings, but which is also prevalent here is that blockers, and to some extend also drillers are very powerful in multiplayer.


Yes, as you said we created the atomize and spin morphs to combat the driller. Of course if you are being active with your drilling/clobbing then you can still take many clones with you but our goal was to prevent a player from killing a whole bunch of clones by only giving one drill command.
As for the doppel we've thought about different modifications we could make such as: doppels time out after a while, or nova near a doppel will make them walk (even if on metal). What do you think?
To combat the ceiling issue you mention in Clones you can use the lop morph to open some space above you and then mold and gulp up out of there. We try to minimize over-doppeling by only giving 5-10 for every multiplayer level.

If my mind serves me right, I think the steel blocks in the 8P level are a bit misplaced so that it is still possible to create a deadly drop under some entrances by removing the terrain there.


That metal was intentionally placed to the side to allow the opponent a chance to clear away the spawn ground, but the metal is close enough that one or two atomizes will replace the spawn ground. This is a design used in some of the levels when i felt spawn-sabotage was acceptable.

Thanks for your comments! To all other beta testers reading this please feel free to jump in and reply with your own thoughts.
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby geoo » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:14 pm

rt wrote:How many restarts did it take you before you caught on to the concept? How do you think we might make it easier for first time players? The level in the demo is rather advanced by design to showcase the features of the game, but in the full game the first quantum loop level is dead simple and delayed to the 4th CloneMaster (approx 35 levels in). Perhaps when we send you that beta you can suggest ways to reduce the learning curve.

Well, when I first read the description, it wasn't entirely clear what I was supposed to do. Perhaps explicitely adding the notion that morphs you assigned earlier will be automatically assigned when you re-try with a different group (and that 'Reset' clears all previous assignments) might clear that up. I think it took me 2 or 3 tries until I realized that.
I don't think that the concept per se is overly difficult to grasp.

rt wrote:I updated the voice bubble to state it plainly for this build because other testers had the same comment, but it seems even with the words there the tendency is to not read them. Did the energy bars above the clones heads provide any hint as well? How do you think this could be made more clear?

Actually yes, the energy bars was what eventually made me realize what that 'clone energy' is all about. The description however says "either beam up more clones, or the same amount but faster". So I was pretty surprised when I lost at my (horribly slow) first try despite saving 50 clones while DrillDude had only saved 49 (iirc). I think putting what is currently in the bubble into the description, i.e. that solely the clone energy matters, and that each clone loses energy the longer it is on the play field, would likely make it clear enough.
The bubble could still contain not 100% essential information like what the energy bar at the top is about, or how a tie in clone energy is resolved (the latter happening very rarely I guess).

rt wrote:This is intention. We wanted to prevent pause-hacking of the puzzles and so we introduced a delay between pauses and disabled selecting clones or issuing morphs during pause. We found that some testers were using pause to "cheat" the puzzles by giving morphs at a superhuman rate. Our goal was to level the playing field.

Well, I guess I'm guilty of this as well then. Disallowing quick pausing might already be some training for multiplayer matches. ;)
As long as the puzzles are designed that disallowing it doesn't really make them significantly more difficult to execute it's not really an issue I guess.

rt wrote:As for the doppel we've thought about different modifications we could make such as: doppels time out after a while, or nova near a doppel will make them walk (even if on metal). What do you think?
To combat the ceiling issue you mention in Clones you can use the lop morph to open some space above you and then mold and gulp up out of there. We try to minimize over-doppeling by only giving 5-10 for every multiplayer level.
I think timing them out after a while would cause trouble if you're merely containing your crowd with them somewhere, when they're doing no harm. Also you'd still be able to redirect a large group with ease, though at least not permanently.
Nova near a doppel making them walk sounds like a better solution, gameplay-wise. The fact that nova doesn't have the 5 second countdown like in lemmings should give this a pretty good balance. You'll just have to introduce the player to this behaviour, somewhere.
Didn't think about 'lopping' the ceiling, good point there. Though at least the beach level has only 6 ones of them iirc, making that work only once or twice there.

rt wrote:That metal was intentionally placed to the side to allow the opponent a chance to clear away the spawn ground, but the metal is close enough that one or two atomizes will replace the spawn ground. This is a design used in some of the levels when i felt spawn-sabotage was acceptable.

Ok, yeah, I didn't think of that, atomizers allow to recover from that.
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby rt » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:31 pm

Nova near a doppel making them walk sounds like a better solution, gameplay-wise.


Yes i think this is something we're going to include in the next beta to experiment with. Although since you would need to nova a clone to revert a doppeled clone to a walker the question arises "should going nova near a doppel clone kill the doppel clone"? On the one hand if i have to sacrifice a clone to move your doppel it might be more fair if you lose your doppel so that you cannot just redoppel right away. On the other hand that makes doppels much less powerful. Also, should doppels only shatter if opponent clones go nova, or can you shatter your own doppels? It seems that you'd want to be able to free your own doppels with a nova instead of shatter them.

What are your thoughts? Perhaps i can make this a game option in the next build so it can be tested as well.
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Re: Ice Climb *Spoiler alert*

Postby rt » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:33 pm

2)Also, I have seen several different qdots reappear after restarting at a checkpoint, both
user and auto. I can supply an image if you want with arrows to the qdots.


I think this has been fixed in the new version. Thanks for the report!
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby rt » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:34 pm

If there's a one pixel thin layer of terrain, the clones will walk on it, however if you try to start building, they immediately stop after the first brick.


This is fixed in the next beta.
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby geoo » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:58 pm

rt wrote:Yes i think this is something we're going to include in the next beta to experiment with. Although since you would need to nova a clone to revert a doppeled clone to a walker the question arises "should going nova near a doppel clone kill the doppel clone"? On the one hand if i have to sacrifice a clone to move your doppel it might be more fair if you lose your doppel so that you cannot just redoppel right away. On the other hand that makes doppels much less powerful. Also, should doppels only shatter if opponent clones go nova, or can you shatter your own doppels? It seems that you'd want to be able to free your own doppels with a nova instead of shatter them.

What are your thoughts? Perhaps i can make this a game option in the next build so it can be tested as well.
I could imagine killing the doppel working out pretty well. Unless standing on steel, there will still be the bomber hole remaining delaying the other player.
If you want to redirect a mixed group of clones of both players, it doesn't really make a difference either way (apart from the one clone lost), and if you got only one clone in a group of your opponent's clones, just making your clone a doppel isn't exactly the most cunning strategy anyway, but at most a delay tactic. In the latter case I'd predict that merely releasing the doppel would just have the same game start again until the player runs out of doppels.

I don't think that there'd be need to handle a nova nearby your own doppel in a different way. If you want to get rid of that doppel, you'd nova him just right away, instead of having another clone nova in order to free the doppel.
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby clones » Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:31 pm

Clones Demo - v 0.83 Beta - Feb 27, 2010
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

This is our SECOND release of the demo version of Clones and we've fixed many issues since last week. Thanks everyone who has provided us with feedback to date. Here is a summary of what has changed:

- Enabled "Instant Match" - will discover and connect to best available server
- Added geo location detection to server browser - will show you the location on the planet where the server is hosted
- Added a new single player level (bones)
- Enhanced multiplayer stats screen to show theoretical max scores
- Doppeled clones on metal are now stunned or shattered when near a nova blast
- Added code for auto update (downloads and installs patches)
- Many bug fixes and tweaks to levels** for better gameplay

** We cleared the single player stats as the levels have changed. You need to replay the levels to get the new best scores.

Although we try to have a server running as often as possible, it is recommended that you try hosting your own server as we would like your feedback on this. To host your own server you must configure port forwarding on your router. Please visit: http://clonesgame.com/port-forward for detailed instructions.

Thanks,
- The Clones Development Team
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