Demo Feedback

General Clones Discussion

Re: Demo Feedback

Postby Simon » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:25 pm

Hey again!

About Ice Climb:

rt wrote: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?


The mechanics work and make sense, although they have the few quirks that geoo has already mentioned -- e.g. it feels weird if the clone sticks to the vertical wall of a cube. You can stick to both sides of the first big cube you encounter after the first jump.

The level is much more fun in today's demo version with unlimited lives. You aren't punished for expecting the clone to walk faster respective to the jump distance. Thus, you can experiment freely without having to save. The clone doesn't respawn after the auto-save point, as I see it. That's probably okay.

(Notes to Ice Climb in the old demo: When I got to the top with the first clone, I unfroze the white clone and let him grab the Qdot in the large gap on the right. I believe this is what any player will do when he unfreezes the white clone for his first time, do nothing and watch the white one walk. I then saved my own clone, but was confused about how to get a second one to the top.)

I've tried to let the white clone grab the Qdot in the abyss again (he didn't pick it up). I'm unsure what a new player's behavior would most likely be, or if they feel cheated by a tutorial level. If one tries to get the dot with the white clone, he must restart from the auto-save most likely.



About the game in general:

Today, the old version crashend twice when it started to display the planet and zoom towards it. This was once after clicking Pilgrimage and another time after exiting the first clonemaster's area. Sometimes it worked, however. The new version hasn't crashed during the game yet, just on exiting the application. (I use Win XP.)

After you supernova, you can still bring up the supernova security question. Supernovaing again doesn't do anything, then, of course. It is logical behavior by the game to bring up the menu, but it serves no purpose.

If one is inside a clonemaster's area, the exit button to go back to the planet is a bit small. I've searched for it quite a bit when I first wanted to exit an area.

The screen border scrolling is too slow for me, so I use the right mouse button to scroll. If I wish to scroll further than a single screen, which will happen frequently on large maps, I have to re-grab when the mouse reaches the screen edge. I thus move the mouse twice the distance (forth, then back again) than necessary if I didn't have to re-grab, and click/release buttons on the way. This feels rather unwieldy and slow to me. (I must add that I'm used to the right mouse button scrolling in L++. It's a very fast and accurate way to scroll where you'd like to. It scrolls into the direction you move the mouse to, not the opposite one; and keeps the cursor fixed on the screen while scrolling, thus there's no re-grab.)

I like the Freefall level. It is very satisfying to make progress on it, even while I haven't beaten it fully yet (1 green left to save). I will continue to play it after I'm done with the post.



Thoughts about a few morphs:

How does one manage do clob/gulp quickly into the proper direction if your clones are tightly packed? As far as I see, you can only click a clone, wait until he has walked up to the wall, and morph. Alternatively, re-click until you have someone that walks the correct way. But you must do this a certain distance before the spot you want to clob/bash, because you must check for the clone's direction every time. (The Lemmings way is to hold the directional selection key and click on the horde next to the wall; this guarantees an assignment to someone facing the correct way and there's no waiting time. Is there something similar to this in Clones?)

The clobber must be assigned rather close to a wall to clob through. I misclob sometimes, because I expect it to be a bit more lenient before stopping due to nothing to clob; or I fear to misclob too much and press [E] too late, causing the clone to turn around before clobbing.

The digger feels a bit fast, but this is probably because I'm used to Lemmings. If the diggers can be countered well with atomizers and spinners in multiplayer, that's fine... I just hope one doesn't have to sacrifice too many clones to counter a single digger, because the latter is a morph that doesn't use up the opponent's clone.

I like the nova skill, because you get a good blast radius and almost instant terrain destruction for your clone. I'm very fine with novas making blockers to walkers again. This makes hoarding your clones under the entrance a bad strategy, which is a desired effect. It rewards the player who can spread out his clones and still keep it under control. A knockback explosion would feel unnatural to the nova, because Clones has got a slow falling speed in general. Killing blockers might make the nova too strong. In L++, Knockback exploders (smaller crater, longer countdown) are already a frequently used skill, and even they don't kill others directly.

I haven't tried multiplayer yet, because I've liked to explore the mechanics first. I'm going to play some more singleplayer tomorrow, and if I've got time, I'll check for games online later that day. In case I miss you or someone else, no problem, I'll probably try again the next days.

-- Simon
Last edited by Simon on Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby rt » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:42 pm

The clone doesn't respawn after the auto-save point, as I see it. That's probably okay.


The respawning should occur at all times, but it will depend on where the clone dies. I have placed triggers in the editor to watch for deaths and i might have missed a certain area. Where did your clone die that did not cause a respawn?

I've tried to let the white clone grab the Qdot in the abyss again (he didn't pick it up). I'm unsure what a new player's behavior would most likely be, or if they feel cheated by a


Yes perhaps forcing the player to save the frozen white clone is asking too much for a tutorial level. I could reduce the minimum clone count to 1 thus making the white clone a bonus (for high score) instead of a mandatory part of the puzzle. What do you think?

clonemaster's area. Sometimes it worked, however. The new version hasn't crashed during the game yet, just on exiting the application. (I use Win XP.)


After a crash please send us the contents of the Clones Demo\Cache\Log\Client.txt and Server.txt files, and let us know what happened just prior to the crash. Tracking down crashes can be maddening sometimes, as i'm sure you may know :lol:

After you supernova, you can still bring up the supernova security question. Supernovaing


Quite right. It'll be fixed in the next build. Thanks!

If one is inside a clonemaster's area, the exit button to go back to the planet is a bit small. I've searched for it quite a bit when I first wanted to exit an area.


Noted. This was brought up by other player also.

The screen border scrolling is too slow for me, so I use the right mouse button to scroll. If I wish to scroll further than a single screen, which will happen frequently on large maps, I have


You can also scroll via the mini-map (press TAB) or you can pin a clone into the "filmstrip" along the bottom left by pressing 8 after selecting a clone and then when you click on the clone in the filmstrip it will scroll to that clone (or press 9 or 0 to cycle through). These were all added to help quick scroll across large levels.

How does one manage do clob/gulp quickly into the proper direction if your clones are tightly packed? As far as I see, you can only click a clone, wait until he has walked up to the


We had the feature to force a left/right morph but removed it at some point.. perhaps we should bring it back for the next build. I don't find myself in that situation often during multiplayer because we alpha fade out clones around the selected clone so it's not too hard to make sure the clone is facing the right way because they clones take a few steps within a drillers hole. We also added a "turning" animation which gives you an extra update to give the morph after the clone has hit the wall.
I was going to add an auto-direction change so that when the clones are tightly bunched near metal and they can only clob out to one side then there is no need to let the player waste a clob in a direction they cannot go.. but i suppose if the "force direction" feature was enabled it would cover all the cases.

The clobber must be assigned rather close to a wall to clob through. I misclob sometimes, because I expect it to be a bit more lenient before stopping due to nothing to clob; or I fear


The consideration here is that we don't want the clobber to be able to take out huge chunks of bridges by clobbing through the air gaps between them. It would make it too powerful for multiplayer. Perhaps i can make the code smarter by allowing more "air" clobs at the beginning, but then once any land is clobbed it will stop once it hits all air again. I'll test this out. Currently if a clone is only clobbing through bridge it will stop after a few updates.. enough to make a hole, but not to destroy the whole bridge.

one doesn't have to sacrifice too many clones to counter a single digger, because the latter is a morph that doesn't use up the opponent's clone.


If an opponent driller has made a hole with many of your clones then one atomize will save the rest of your clones while the driller keeps going away and becomes harmless. However if the opponent is active and starts clobbing then drilling then clobbing etc. then a few atomizes will be needed to raise the group up above the attacker. I feel that the landscape-removing morphs are still slightly more powerful than the landscape-adding morphs and so a bit of a bias exists in multiplayer. It's something i'd like to work on.

I haven't tried multiplayer yet, because I've liked to explore the mechanics first. I'm going to play some more singleplayer tomorrow, and if I've got time, I'll check for games online later


Awesome! I'll try to be online tomorrow around 7pm CST. Thanks for all the great feedback!
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby Simon » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:53 pm

Thanks for the quick reply! I will answer it in length tomorrow.

I was editing my long post above as I saw your reply. I had added remarks to Freefall and nova. Those remarks don't require a separate answer, as they are more brainstorming in nature.

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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby rt » Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:29 am

Attached are my runs through Ice Climb, Tutorial Tower, and Bones (stats viewable here http://clonesgame.com/clonestats/singleplayer).
To view the replays extract the files to your Clones Demo\Profiles\<username>\Playbacks folder and then within Clones from the main menu click Extras->Clones Player. Select the files and click Playback.

I would be interested to view the playbacks from some of the testers so feel free to post your results unless you don't want to share your secret technique until someone beats your stats 8-)
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rt's run through some of the beta demo levels
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby nexus000111 » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:33 pm

Okay, a few things I have found:

1. On the first tutorial level, I tried to load a checkpoint, and the game crashed.

2. On the first stage of the Ice level, I went into the option screen and had a look at the key bindings, after that I went back to the game and pushed the right arrow key and the game crashed.

3. On the Ice level on the bit with the 'L' shaped turning platforms, if your on the underside as it's turning, if you keep jumping, then instead of falling to your doom you in fact jump up through the platform.

4. On the Ice level, up at the top of the level where there is that red block which shrinks, I found that it can just vanish instantly if jumped on from certain angles

Hope that helps =) Will write more soon.
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby Simon » Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:18 am

Attached is the screenshot with overhanging score bars at a resolution of 1280 x 960, in the multiverse match.

Will post other comments to the cool 3 hours of multiplayer later!

-- Simon
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby rt » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:08 pm

1. On the first tutorial level, I tried to load a checkpoint, and the game crashed.


Did it crash, or just hang? Sometimes checkpoints can take a long time to load and so the game appears to hang. We are going to add a progress bar for the checkpoint loading to help with that.

2. On the first stage of the Ice level, I went into the option screen and had a look at the key bindings, after that I went back to the game and pushed the right arrow key and the game crashed.


Fixed in the next build. Thanks!

3. On the Ice level on the bit with the 'L' shaped turning platforms, if your on the underside as it's turning, if you keep jumping, then instead of falling to your doom you in fact jump up through the platform.


This is a known issue for rotating objects.

4. On the Ice level, up at the top of the level where there is that red block which shrinks, I found that it can just vanish instantly if jumped on from certain angles


Which red block in particular are you talking about? Can you be specific, or provide a screenshot?
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby rt » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:13 pm

Simon wrote:Attached is the screenshot with overhanging score bars at a resolution of 1280 x 960, in the multiverse match.
Will post other comments to the cool 3 hours of multiplayer later!
-- Simon


I believe i found the problem and have fixed it in the next build. I've also re-added the "force left/right" feature you brought up in a previous posting. Next build due out Saturday.
It was a lot of fun to play vs. you and geoo, you are both skilled players. Which game mode did you enjoy the most? Have you tried to host your own server (with port forwarding) yet? There are a number of server-side options you can play with.
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby geoo » Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:09 pm

Yeah, the games from two days ago were really fun; cooperative gameplay is a really nice aspect, especially when communicating over voice.
The capture the clone level was especially intense, as it is an all-or-nothing level. We had great fun trying to work out strategies and keep track of everything, yet frequently falling for your tricks (or just screwing it up near the end).
The octogame map was pretty fun as well (especially with fast builders and excess use of atomizers), even though slightly unbalanced with 3 players.
The multiverse match is pretty difficult to keep track of, especially the more players are participating. Frequently switching the view seems to be the key to this level, not merely being focused on saving your own group.

It seemed that it rarely, if ever, makes a difference whether the blocker clones are shattered or released by a nearby bomber; but being able to remove blockers like that is really an improvement for the gameplay.
As you already noted the terrain adding skills are no real match for the terrain removal ones, however the builder being twice as fast really seems to help at times against that, and I also kinda learned how useful the atomizers actually are. Things get just a bit hectic if you set multiple of these fast builders and you want to stop them at some point after setting a few bricks (as otherwise they'll walk into the black holes, though I guess I'm the only to use that strategy :P).

I noticed a graphical bug when viewing replays, the background textures only get displayed onces they're fully (or mostly) on the screen, and thus when scrolling away, they already disappear before they should, and when scrolling into, they appear too late.
A minor issue in the replay menu is also that the replay names tend to be pretty long, thus the short field cuts off the end of the name, making many replays indistinguishable merely from that. Same applies for special keys in the key setting menu.
The replays you sent me before the release of the new version work now, btw.

I like the idea of having to capture the big clone in Bones, as you can't just use the normal clones' path. However a little issue comes up with this, that if you got some small piece of remaining terrain hanging in the air, it's a pretty tough job to remove it for the clone to pass by. Though in hindsight it usually seems possible to avoid that by just digging deeper to make the clone walk at a lower level instead of removing that terrain piece.

The death count display is not reset when you restart a level, the actual death count seems to be reset however.
Not sure whether it's intended, but when you return from the pilgrimage to the main menu, the music keeps playing until you press e.g. the options button, or enter and exit the networking menu.
And a pretty irrelevant note, just in case you care about it, Gorafosaurus' text has a non-capitalized 'I' in it ("Impressive. The challenges i bring to you...").

I noticed the changes to the introductory texts to Freefall and Drillcave and I think they're more clear now. Though it needs someone not knowing the concept yet to actually tell.
Also like that you reduced the number of clones in Drillcave, as if you were fast the last ones were just there for you to wait for to exit.
I attached my solution btw, just in case you're interested. Sure can still be improved upon ;)

I also attached the log from the games we had until it crashed for both Simon and me. If I recall correctly it happened ingame, but I'm not entirely sure anymore.
In the log where it only hung/crashed for Simon shortly before we finished it read about a map having been removed or something, twice in succession. I accidentally overwrote this log though, when entering the networking menu.
(Can't seem to attach .txt and .clones file here, so I had to pack them.)
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Re: Demo Feedback

Postby Simon » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:36 pm

Hey,

this is feedback for the same multiplayer session some days ago.

The four included multiplayer maps are good fun. The 8 player map is probably a bit imbalanced when played with 3 players, but it hasn't hampered my enjoyment in any way yet. There is so much room for unique player interaction because of the different gravities. The multiverse match is something I must improve on. I believe I switch maps too little, rt suggested to use the belt in order to keep a finger on M at all times. The cage match allows for several routes for the caged clones to the bottom, so you can make threads to your opponent in many different ways. Having clones everywhere on the map is a benefit here. The beach-style map results in the well-known sabotage-everywhere-simultaneously strategies, also rewarding spread out clones.

I had most fun with the octagon map, as everybody has to pass through the center at the same time.

Atomizers are one of the most versatile skills. The powder will even stick to the walls, this allows to break long falls. When in danger, one can spam a couple of atomizers. The sacrificed clone is a very fair price. They can be assigned to a spinner or faller... I love the skill, and on the 8 player map, geoo and me ran out of atomizers several times.

Lop is an interesting skill that fills a niche not covered by other skills. You can sabotage other player's routes from afar and free own dopplers if your aim is good. The lopped balls fly with a rather low framerate compared to anything else.

Directional selection will be a great addition. I clicked randomly into a mob near a wall multiple times and hit E every time, but around 20 clobbers faced away from the wall. Also -- at least in multiplayer, don't know about singleplayer right now -- a clone told to clob in a driller's hole will always clob the wrong way. There appears to be exactly so much delay that he turns around once. This is another instance of directional selection being the perfect tool.

The initial gravity might be set so that clones coming out of the entrance walk on the floor. I was Yellow in many games on the 8 player map, and adjusted the view every time a new round started.

When right-clicking in order to scroll, the right-click was on a clone a few times. In that case, the decoration menu opens and prevents me from scrolling.

There was a single occurence during the multiverse match where all players crashed simultaneosly. I believe geoo has saved his crash files.

During the last game with 4 playes on the 8 player map, the game said the server didn't send me any more updates. All clones stopped moving. It then crashed; I'm not sure if it was by itself or if I've selected Exit from the menu. Crash files aren't attached -- I've played Clones again again, and it crashes usually after exiting the application. The crash files from one of these crashes are attached.

-- Simon
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Crash after exiting the application
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