RC 1 feedback

RC 1 feedback

Postby c_xong » 05 Aug 2014, 02:33

Congratulations on the RC 1 release! The game looks very good and I tried it for the first time recently.

I was originally keeping a list of minor issues, but eventually I got sick of doing the fetch quests and gave up before leaving the town.

Please improve the starting quests! Many great JRPGs either start with simple battles, or left you in a sandbox environment where you could choose to either battle or complete some very simple quests. VT does neither: it bottlenecks you into completing a series of moderately-difficult fetch quests. I see that this complaint is not new so I won't elaborate further.

May I suggest having the fetch quests optional (similar to grandma's chickens), or adding a simple battling arena to the town so the player can try out battles right from the start? Maybe a rat-infested basement or sparring ring in the middle of town, to use two cliches in RPGs.

Good luck with the game!
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Bertram » 05 Aug 2014, 08:55

Hi c_xong, :)

I'm so glad one of my favorite game's coding neighbor put his guns aside for a while and tried Valyria Tear. ;)

I was originally keeping a list of minor issues, but eventually I got sick of doing the fetch quests and gave up before leaving the town.

Now that's actually sad. As you ended giving up before the real thing. ;) But I can understand.

Please improve the starting quests! Many great JRPGs either start with simple battles, or left you in a sandbox environment where you could choose to either battle or complete some very simple quests. VT does neither: it bottlenecks you into completing a series of moderately-difficult fetch quests. I see that this complaint is not new so I won't elaborate further.

Yeah, it's true the point is not new and some people have far less kind than you in telling me this. The fact is there are two factions of players: The ones enjoying the peaceful thing before starting battles and the ones in need of more action.
I have been reluctant in adding/changing content to the beginning since I wanted to focus more on what's next with the story than redoing the beginning at the time.
But enough people have been complaining and it's a proof something needs to be changed, indeed.

May I suggest having the fetch quests optional (similar to grandma's chickens), or adding a simple battling arena to the town so the player can try out battles right from the start? Maybe a rat-infested basement or sparring ring in the middle of town, to use two cliches in RPGs.

I like the idea of adding little monsters to beat in the village. It's much of a cliché, but it would be entertaining for a starter. You're right about that.

I'll thus add a mini-quest where you have to kick some near the village's well. The point is that I wouldn' like to break the translation effort by adding a few sentences, so I'll ask on whether the translators are ok with that first before the release, or whether we should do a post release afterwards...

I'll also make it so fetching Orlinn in the village is optional by stopping it when speaking to Kalya...

Also, please, if you still have the list of minor issues, give it here. :)

Best regards,
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby c_xong » 05 Aug 2014, 14:40

I've lost the list but I'll try my best going off memory; most are small observations and suggestions of what I think, not obvious bugs. I haven't checked if these issues have been reported already.

- The menu items have too much vertical space
- Enter should work in the menus; I wasn't expecting space instead.
- I couldn't remap the keys to whatever I wanted; the game only let me switch around the keys between D, S, C, space I think. I tried changing the map key to tab but it didn't work.
- The list of resolutions is limited, I couldn't find my native one (1080p). Does the engine not detect all supported resolutions?
- Would be nice to have some menu sounds
- The collision boxes around objects like trees and tables is a bit too big; your sprite is unable to touch a lot of the objects due to this. This makes the game feel cramped. I think the collision box around the ground floor table in your house is so big that you cannot have your body stand behind it.
- The buildings in the starting town look too similar, it makes it easier to get lost. Maybe give them different colours here and there, or add more landmarks?
- The areas where you can travel off the map aren't obvious, this makes it easier to get lost as well. I recommend drawing paths that lead to the edge of the map.

The following are bigger tasks so I understand if these will take a long time to address, if ever:
- Everyone's so mean in the town! They're either telling me not to talk to them, or ordering me around. Does Bronann have no friends? I wanted to throw people into a lake, especially Orlinn.
- The main plot takes too long to start, so motivation was lacking. Maybe more foreshadowing could help? This could also be addressed if the starting quests were shorter, or more interesting.
- The walk animation doesn't match with the ground, so it looks like the characters are floating
- Is there a town map function? It would help players find their way.
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Bertram » 05 Aug 2014, 16:05

Now that's a bit of it, thanks. :)

- The menu items have too much vertical space

I'll need a screenie. It might be true for skills but honestly I like how inventory items are, already.

- Enter should work in the menus; I wasn't expecting space instead.
- I couldn't remap the keys to whatever I wanted; the game only let me switch around the keys between D, S, C, space I think. I tried changing the map key to tab but it didn't work.

That's a bug, confirmed on my own. Surely a recent one since I was able to change all that not very far from today. I'll have a look.
As for 'enter', well, the actual goal is to let you remap the keys the way you want, and have fun with that. So I won't change it.

- The list of resolutions is limited, I couldn't find my native one (1080p). Does the engine not detect all supported resolutions?

True. This is something I'd like to add, but only once I've migrated to SDL 2.0. So that will be for Episode II.

- The collision boxes around objects like trees and tables is a bit too big; your sprite is unable to touch a lot of the objects due to this. This makes the game feel cramped. I think the collision box around the ground floor table in your house is so big that you cannot have your body stand behind it.

Funny because IMHO they were fine as they were. Is there anyone around that think the same?
Would you mind testing some values c_xong if I tell you where to change them (it's scripted.)?

- The buildings in the starting town look too similar, it makes it easier to get lost. Maybe give them different colours here and there, or add more landmarks?

Yeah, the mapping of the town is good looking but very similar indeed. There is never enough details anyway. the fact is, I was and I am still limited by the tileset and work on that takes a lot of time, especially at such quality. If you have more precise and small requests in that regards, I'll have a look.

- The areas where you can travel off the map aren't obvious, this makes it easier to get lost as well. I recommend drawing paths that lead to the edge of the map.

True. I'll have a look at adding a few ones.

- Everyone's so mean in the town! They're either telling me not to talk to them, or ordering me around. Does Bronann have no friends? I wanted to throw people into a lake, especially Orlinn.
- The main plot takes too long to start, so motivation was lacking. Maybe more foreshadowing could help? This could also be addressed if the starting quests were shorter, or more interesting.

Eh eh.
Well, first of all, Bronann hasn't got a lot of friends since he's young and people around are a bit tensed in his regard, indeed. (Something explained later...) Secondly, Orlinn is meant to be annoying to the point where throwing him to the lake is quite kind. ;)
All that said, I can understand the lack of activity in town giving you that feeling and I'll add to the mini-quest discussed before to help with that. Kalya and Olivia will then become more friendly, and Orlinn's hide'n'seek quest will be skippable.

- The walk animation doesn't match with the ground, so it looks like the characters are floating

This is also scripted. Would you mind trying a few values if I tell you where?

- Is there a town map function? It would help players find their way.

The mini-map menu is planned for Episode II. I'll add the lacking village minimaps as soon as I find the time, but I can't block the next release for that.

Best regards,
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby dimproject » 05 Aug 2014, 23:15

Skeletons on the second floor are appears in some time again.
This prevent from thinking about balls and annoying.
Skeletons.zip
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Bertram » 05 Aug 2014, 23:32

Skeletons on the second floor are appears in some time again.
This prevent from thinking about balls and annoying.

I must say that's done on purpose. :twisted:
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby NemesisDD » 23 Aug 2014, 13:54

Finally managed to play through the Episode 1 RC 1. It is really cool, how far the project went in the last years. I have some small comments, but unfortunately now no time to write them down. May this evening or tomorrow.

Attached is a very very minor correction of the ending credits.
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end_credits.lua
Small correction
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Bertram » 23 Aug 2014, 16:29

Hi Nemesis,

It's cool to hear a bit from you. I hope you're going well. :)

Fee free to add anything there, I'll have a look.

I've pushed your fix on master.

Best regards,
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Akien » 23 Aug 2014, 19:01

Shall we get a RC2 over the week-end? :cool:
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Bertram » 23 Aug 2014, 19:57

Why not. :)
Depends on whether you'd rather have the more visible scent thing in the dungeon I still have to script.
If not, there is the rare crash bug left to make me worry. ;)

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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Akien » 23 Aug 2014, 20:32

Bertram {l Wrote}:Why not. :)
Depends on whether you'd rather have the more visible scent thing in the dungeon I still have to script.
If not, there is the rare crash bug left to make me worry. ;)

Regards,

I guess the visible scent is worth waiting for :-D

As for the crashes, it's hard to reproduce. It only happened after a long playthrough. Maybe I should try to let the game idle a few hours with gdb, and then see if it happens.
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby NemesisDD » 23 Aug 2014, 21:24

(* spoiler warning *) I will go into some of the contents from the game. So if anybody has not played through the episode, don't read on. ;)

Hi,

as promised, in the following a few comments to the RC1.

First of all, after a long pause I was really surprised about the status. There were some really nice parts in the game. Really nice parts were:
* The slime mother: nice idea. However, it only spawned two slime during my fight. Should be more.
* The harlequin
* The ball puzzles
* Orlinns fight against the final boss
* The rat chest :) :) :) That was a massacre, but finally I won (after using 15 or more potions). It was the highlight of the game.

Don't get me wrong. Although in the following a longer text about what was not so cool is given, everthing are only minor thinks.

Balancing:
I was not happy with the fine balancing of the game. Over all, the balancing is already at a good stage. It was never too hard or too simple. However, especially the beginning was not really fun. One starts with level 1 and wins a fight without problems. However, I was very unlikely to win more then one fight without going to the statue. Money to buy potions was also not available. Thus, the first 15 minutes after leaving the village was (at least for me) fighting the enemy in the starting map again and again, until I've reached level 4. I didn't enjoy this part. Then, most of the battles very quite easy.

But this becomes a problem, since most of the encounters are really not challenging, but rewarded with still quite much XP. One goes up in the levels quite fast.

One option would be:
* Increase the required XP for leveling. One have to do lot of simple fights to level up.
* Reduce the XP reward at higher levels for low level monsters. This will require from the player to always go on and not farming XP with easy enemies.
* Introduce higher level versions of the enemies (as I have already suggested for Allacrost ;). The red slime might be a result of this. Thus, you can gradually increase the difficulty.

Also, there is a long time the player cannot buy new potions (after finding orlinn until reaching the shrine entrance). It was not a problem for me since I fortunately bought enough in the beginning and didn't need all at the cemetery but it can be a limiting and frustrating point in the game.

Game mechanisms:
To be honest, I really hate ( ;) ) save points. It forces you to sometimes spend more time for the game than you originally wanted. Also you always run into the danger of losing your progress when not reaching a save point after a long time. However, as you decided to use this system instead of "normal" saving, it is absolut acceptable for me. ;)

Did you think about a teleporting system? At some points, I thought it would be really fancy to have to ability to e.g. teleport between the save points. E.g. you are deep in the forrest and want to go back to the village. You are still at a high level and the enemies are not challenging. So you go all the way back to the village, fighting boring fights (or dodging them) to buy potions (or what ever). Teleporting would not make the game simpler but a bit more fast paced. Also, one can avoid repeating fights.

You should think about adding a few side quests from the guys in the village.

Did you think about a system of user-defined skill system? I.e., let the player decide where to add points rather then having a hard coded system. I though also about a level system for the skills, so the player can improve the favorite skill when leveling.

Game content:
Can you add some kind of warning before the first encounter of the fenrir wolf to use (or buy) some portions. Basically, this fight is not so hard and should not be a real problem for the player, but you miss the chance of a good introduction of the first boss. I was really disappointed about the simple dialog in advance of the fight.

I did have the feeling of improvements of my weapons. I switch to the metal blade after leaving the village and got one of the improved crossbow for Kalya. However, in both cases, I didn't see improved damaged on enemies. I basically think this is caused mainly by improved enemy statistics later in the game, but one is losing the (happy) feeling of having improved weapons. Maybe you can think about increasing the hit points of the later enemies but also increasing the damage. The game will not change but the player has a better feeling. :)

I didn't really get why I have to kill all the enemies in the final map of the forrest to remove the stone. Though, it was not so hard to solve this quest, it was not really logic for me, how this should correlate.

However, really thank you again for creating the first episode. I'm really looking forward for the next. :)

-----------------------
I can also confirm a possible game crash after playing a long time. This happens also once for me. Sorry, a BT also not available from my side.
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Bertram » 23 Aug 2014, 22:47

Hi Nemesis, :)

(Beware all, big big spoilers ahead!!)

Thanks for the honest and thorough feedback, especially from someone who has been involved in the mother project of Valyria Tear.

First of all, after a long pause I was really surprised about the status. There were some really nice parts in the game. Really nice parts were:
* The slime mother: nice idea. However, it only spawned two slime during my fight. Should be more.
* The harlequin
* The ball puzzles
* Orlinns fight against the final boss
* The rat chest :) :) :) That was a massacre, but finally I won (after using 15 or more potions). It was the highlight of the game.

I'm glad you enjoyed some of the most scripted surprises ;)
I'm also glad you enjoyed such a simple and deadly chest trap, btw. ;)
As for the slime mother, there is something I need to tweak indeed. I'll have a look.

Speaking of this, does anybody managed to reach those chests?
hidden_chests.png


Don't get me wrong. Although in the following a longer text about what was not so cool is given, everthing are only minor thinks.

Np, such a game will never be perfect and of everyone's taste, especially with the missing features it still has.

Balancing:
I was not happy with the fine balancing of the game. Over all, the balancing is already at a good stage. It was never too hard or too simple. However, especially the beginning was not really fun. One starts with level 1 and wins a fight without problems. However, I was very unlikely to win more then one fight without going to the statue. Money to buy potions was also not available. Thus, the first 15 minutes after leaving the village was (at least for me) fighting the enemy in the starting map again and again, until I've reached level 4. I didn't enjoy this part. Then, most of the battles very quite easy.

But this becomes a problem, since most of the encounters are really not challenging, but rewarded with still quite much XP. One goes up in the levels quite fast.

One option would be:
* Increase the required XP for leveling. One have to do lot of simple fights to level up.
* Reduce the XP reward at higher levels for low level monsters. This will require from the player to always go on and not farming XP with easy enemies.
* Introduce higher level versions of the enemies (as I have already suggested for Allacrost ;). The red slime might be a result of this. Thus, you can gradually increase the difficulty.

The beginning of the game is indeed a problem and a not so easy to solve, I think. What I'd like to do about this is provide a few potions for a starter: If you go and see Flora as Kalya tell you, you'd be rewarded with a few free potions. What do you think? (Would be after the release, anyway.)
I will also add difficulty settings soon after this release, hopefully. :)
As for the enemies becoming too easy, were the snakes or the bats too easy, for instance? Note that difficulty is also a matter of taste, and you are among people who enjoy fighting 10 rats at a time. ;)

Also, there is a long time the player cannot buy new potions (after finding orlinn until reaching the shrine entrance). It was not a problem for me since I fortunately bought enough in the beginning and didn't need all at the cemetery but it can be a limiting and frustrating point in the game.

Yeah, here, a merchant is missing. I'll have to think about this...

Game mechanisms:
To be honest, I really hate ( ;) ) save points. It forces you to sometimes spend more time for the game than you originally wanted. Also you always run into the danger of losing your progress when not reaching a save point after a long time. However, as you decided to use this system instead of "normal" saving, it is absolut acceptable for me. ;)

Save points is a long story for me. :) To be honest, I added such save points because it permitted to make sure a player was spawning at certain locations, permitting to lower the amount of tests when changing a map script, and giving me the possibility to add a reassuring visual, and test particles. ;)
At first, I naively thought they would suffice, but many people hate them and for good reasons. To answer that problem, I decided to add support for auto save when you go from a map to another, and ask the player if he prefers to load the auto-save or the regular one. It means save points will stay as they still permit to make sure a player doesn't get stuck with less burden, while people will be able to quit and restart more easily with a minor (but existing) chance of being stuck in a map for any kind of reasons. Unfortunately, finishing the Episode I was demanding, and I got around solving this problem only rather recently, so it will have to wait the version 1.1.

Did you think about a teleporting system? At some points, I thought it would be really fancy to have to ability to e.g. teleport between the save points. E.g. you are deep in the forrest and want to go back to the village. You are still at a high level and the enemies are not challenging. So you go all the way back to the village, fighting boring fights (or dodging them) to buy potions (or what ever). Teleporting would not make the game simpler but a bit more fast paced. Also, one can avoid repeating fights.

In a word, yes. ;) Not implemented, but I wanted to make this possible through the worldmap menu view. Not yet there though.

You should think about adding a few side quests from the guys in the village.

I added grandma and her chicken, and wanted to add another one where you would have to do your first tutorial fight. Unfortunately, this is breaking a few things in the storyline and cannot be added simply before the release.
Other quests could be added, yet I didn't think about it yet, to be honest.

Did you think about a system of user-defined skill system? I.e., let the player decide where to add points rather then having a hard coded system. I though also about a level system for the skills, so the player can improve the favorite skill when leveling.

I also hate hard-coded evolution, so yes. :) As a heir of HoA, Valyria Tear has followed that system since it was much more simple, but I'd like to add a system were you put spirits on your equipment to get skills, and then combine those skills between characters. That's the ultimate goal.
Later also, I'd like to ask the player to choose his skill path, instead of giving him the default one, even if first Aid and Shield shall remain first choices for obvious reasons.
This would completely break what we know as the current game, and will thus have to wait until I've done a good pile of awaiting refactorings. ;)

Game content:
Can you add some kind of warning before the first encounter of the fenrir wolf to use (or buy) some portions. Basically, this fight is not so hard and should not be a real problem for the player, but you miss the chance of a good introduction of the first boss. I was really disappointed about the simple dialog in advance of the fight.

Makes me think I'd like to add hints when losing a battle, and during the battle when a character reaches a special state, or something, but it's not completely related.
Here, I don't really know. What would you suggest?

I did have the feeling of improvements of my weapons. I switch to the metal blade after leaving the village and got one of the improved crossbow for Kalya. However, in both cases, I didn't see improved damaged on enemies. I basically think this is caused mainly by improved enemy statistics later in the game, but one is losing the (happy) feeling of having improved weapons. Maybe you can think about increasing the hit points of the later enemies but also increasing the damage. The game will not change but the player has a better feeling. :)

Yep, that part is still a bit rough. That is true. Let me review all this once you've reached... Err nevermind. ;)

I didn't really get why I have to kill all the enemies in the final map of the forrest to remove the stone. Though, it was not so hard to solve this quest, it was not really logic for me, how this should correlate.

Well, the base idea was a zelda-like one. Clean the room and you can proceed. But I suppose not the best one since a few have complained already. I'll add a note at changing that one with something funnier once I get the time to.

However, really thank you again for creating the first episode. I'm really looking forward for the next. :)

I am too, since it's the one where I'll work on adding the missing main party characters and on a skill system much closer to the final one I suppose :)
And of course a bit more of the story. ;)

-----------------------
I can also confirm a possible game crash after playing a long time. This happens also once for me. Sorry, a BT also not available from my side.

I need to do a playthrough with gdb, I guess. :S

Regards,
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Bertram » 23 Aug 2014, 22:48

As for the crashes, it's hard to reproduce. It only happened after a long playthrough. Maybe I should try to let the game idle a few hours with gdb, and then see if it happens.


Maybe? I'd be glad if you do so. :)

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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby NemesisDD » 27 Aug 2014, 08:33

Speaking of this, does anybody managed to reach those chests?


To be honest: me not. ;)

What I'd like to do about this is provide a few potions for a starter: If you go and see Flora as Kalya tell you, you'd be rewarded with a few free potions. What do you think? (Would be after the release, anyway.)


Would be an option for new. At least something to survive a few battles. But I fear, this will not be a long term option. I think, a more gradually increase of the enemy strength is a better option.

As for the enemies becoming too easy, were the snakes or the bats too easy, for instance?


When I remember correctly, all enemies (except for those at MT ELBRUS) become pretty easy soon. However, maybe I spent too much time fighting easy (but highly rewarded) enemies at the beginning.

Yeah, here, a merchant is missing. I'll have to think about this...


Maybe as a reward for a subquest. I have an idea for this quest. I'll share later. :)

To answer that problem, I decided to add support for auto save when you go from a map to another, and ask the player if he prefers to load the auto-save or the regular one.


That sounds perfect. Basically, the maps are all small enough that you will not lose to much progress in case of an unexpected event.

Game content:
Can you add some kind of warning before the first encounter of the fenrir wolf to use (or buy) some portions. Basically, this fight is not so hard and should not be a real problem for the player, but you miss the chance of a good introduction of the first boss. I was really disappointed about the simple dialog in advance of the fight.


Makes me think I'd like to add hints when losing a battle, and during the battle when a character reaches a special state, or something, but it's not completely related.
Here, I don't really know. What would you suggest?


Well, at the moment it is something like: "I hear something" ... and suddently the battle starts. Maybe just split both events, first the dialog, so the player knows something will happen. If he then goes another step or two, let the battle start. This gives the player some time to use potions or spells before the fight actually starts.
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Akien » 27 Aug 2014, 09:16

NemesisDD {l Wrote}:
Speaking of this, does anybody managed to reach those chests?


To be honest: me not. ;)

I couldn't either; I did not see any obvious way to reach them at first, so thought I would go on and probably find some clues. But when you go on... hey ;-)


I agree with most of NemesisDD's points regarding the game balance. I also found the first battles a bit too challenging, so I killed some slimes while staying close to the village... and before I knew it my party was already level 4 or 5, and all subsequent fights were quite easy until I reach Mt Elbrus.

With the exception of the Black Soldiers whom I could hardly damage (with blows dealing 2 or 3 when they would hit me for 30+ IIRC). For these I think it's normal since you are supposed to try to avoid them, but then something is troubling: you start by fighting one of them, and after 3 minutes two more soldiers join the fight. It gives the feeling that you [i]might[/b] be able to kill the first one before the 3 minutes if you are cunning enough, but one fighter is so overpowered that it doesn't make much sense.

Then in Mt Elbrus the fights are not too difficult, but in my playthrough both sides were too weak: I could win most fights be auto-attacking and being patient, since I dealt blows from 1-5 damage and it was the same for the enemies. After I gained some levels it improved slightly.

Apart from tweaking some values, I see two changes that could make the balance more reliable :
- Define the XP yielded by monsters as a function of the party's average level (so a Slime would give e.g. 30 XP when you're level 1, 20 XP for level 2, 10 XP for level 3 and later, etc.).
- Increase the needed XP from one level to the next, and increase gradually the XP given by high level monsters (e.g. a level 1 monster gives you a 20th of the level 2 XP, and a level 10 monster gives you a 20th of the level 10 XP - but killing level 1 creatures when you're level 10 should not impact your XP amount significantly).

One of those mechanisms or the combination of both could probably help making sure that any player has e.g. level 7-9 when getting the crystal and level 12-14 when reaching Mt Elbrus (not sure if the values fit the current balance, but you get the point). Then you can easily (at least more easily) balance the corresponding monsters for a nice challenge with regard to the expected party level.


Another thing: it might be me but I couldn't find much ore to trade weapons with the hunter. After I almost completed the Mt Elbrus shrine I could trade for a better crossbow for Kalya, but then I had 0 ore to consider upgrading Bronann's sword (and I couldn't upgrade it either before I traded Kalya's crossbow, so it's not a "you get to upgrade one of two heroes, choose as fits your fighting style" mechanism).
Last edited by Akien on 27 Aug 2014, 09:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Akien » 27 Aug 2014, 09:20

NemesisDD {l Wrote}:
To answer that problem, I decided to add support for auto save when you go from a map to another, and ask the player if he prefers to load the auto-save or the regular one.


That sounds perfect. Basically, the maps are all small enough that you will not lose to much progress in case of an unexpected event.

For me the save points mechanism is not an issue, there are enough of them to be able to save every 15 minutes or so (except maybe at the very beginning in Layna forest since battles are hard, and the first save point away from the village is relatively far away). But I guess I'm used to save points from the Final Fantasy series, so I enjoy them. And the ones in VT are gorgeous :-D
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Bertram » 27 Aug 2014, 10:20

Hi guys,

NemesisDD {l Wrote}:Well, at the moment it is something like: "I hear something" ... and suddently the battle starts. Maybe just split both events, first the dialog, so the player knows something will happen. If he then goes another step or two, let the battle start. This gives the player some time to use potions or spells before the fight actually starts.

Did you play with the music? It is fading out 10 steps before the event as a warning.
I can still split the event, and cancel it if you go away, though.

NemesisDD {l Wrote}:To be honest: me not. ;)

Akien {l Wrote}:I couldn't either; I did not see any obvious way to reach them at first, so thought I would go on and probably find some clues. But when you go on... hey ;-)

Eh eh, np. I just wanted to know whether someone managed to do it. (it is feasible, yet not that obvious.)

Akien {l Wrote}:With the exception of the Black Soldiers whom I could hardly damage (with blows dealing 2 or 3 when they would hit me for 30+ IIRC). For these I think it's normal since you are supposed to try to avoid them, but then something is troubling: you start by fighting one of them, and after 3 minutes two more soldiers join the fight. It gives the feeling that you [i]might[/b] be able to kill the first one before the 3 minutes if you are cunning enough, but one fighter is so overpowered that it doesn't make much sense.

Yes, you can. It's really neither easy not obvious how to, but it's feasible.

Another thing: it might be me but I couldn't find much ore to trade weapons with the hunter. After I almost completed the Mt Elbrus shrine I could trade for a better crossbow for Kalya, but then I had 0 ore to consider upgrading Bronann's sword (and I couldn't upgrade it either before I traded Kalya's crossbow, so it's not a "you get to upgrade one of two heroes, choose as fits your fighting style" mechanism).

Well, normally, yes it is. ;) But not every pieces of ore are in the Shrine dungeon...

Apart from tweaking some values, I see two changes that could make the balance more reliable :
- Define the XP yielded by monsters as a function of the party's average level (so a Slime would give e.g. 30 XP when you're level 1, 20 XP for level 2, 10 XP for level 3 and later, etc.).
- Increase the needed XP from one level to the next, and increase gradually the XP given by high level monsters (e.g. a level 1 monster gives you a 20th of the level 2 XP, and a level 10 monster gives you a 20th of the level 10 XP - but killing level 1 creatures when you're level 10 should not impact your XP amount significantly).

As a said before, I won't change the character XP scale as I'd like to keep them as reference. That said, you're right the XP & stats values should be tweaked to make sure the game is easier at start.
What I'd propose, is to make sure the first enemies are less strong at the game beginning (the spiders being still slightly more powerful), while the next ones, the snake and the bats, for instance, striking more as a new step in strength & XP.
I do think tweaking the XP depending on the level isn't sane as the overall game isn't built in that model. I mean if I'd tweak the received XP depending on the characters levels, I shouldn't make the XP per level change that much. I'd rather have a fixed XP / level value, like 100, and make the enemy XP fade while the character's level gets higher, to be honest.
But this fits much more in strategy RPGs IMHO.

It seems to me there is a lot of small interesting bits gathering on tweaking the game in here. :) So I'd propose this:
I'll add the visible scent missing script & code part, try to catch the crash's root, and see whether I can split the first fenrir event, and if there is no more show-stoppers, I'll release.

Then, we'll gather all the discussion around and we'll try to fix them for a 1.1 release, including the new village quest, improved balancing, and all the little perks we've talked about.
Would it be ok for you, guys?

Best regards,
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Akien » 27 Aug 2014, 11:43

Bertram {l Wrote}:
NemesisDD {l Wrote}:To be honest: me not. ;)

Akien {l Wrote}:I couldn't either; I did not see any obvious way to reach them at first, so thought I would go on and probably find some clues. But when you go on... hey ;-)

Eh eh, np. I just wanted to know whether someone managed to do it. (it is feasible, yet not that obvious.)

I shall have a look at it then :-)

Bertram {l Wrote}:
Akien {l Wrote}:With the exception of the Black Soldiers whom I could hardly damage (with blows dealing 2 or 3 when they would hit me for 30+ IIRC). For these I think it's normal since you are supposed to try to avoid them, but then something is troubling: you start by fighting one of them, and after 3 minutes two more soldiers join the fight. It gives the feeling that you [i]might[/b] be able to kill the first one before the 3 minutes if you are cunning enough, but one fighter is so overpowered that it doesn't make much sense.

Yes, you can. It's really neither easy not obvious how to, but it's feasible.

I'll have another go at it then, I hope they drop iron ore :-P

Bertram {l Wrote}:
Another thing: it might be me but I couldn't find much ore to trade weapons with the hunter. After I almost completed the Mt Elbrus shrine I could trade for a better crossbow for Kalya, but then I had 0 ore to consider upgrading Bronann's sword (and I couldn't upgrade it either before I traded Kalya's crossbow, so it's not a "you get to upgrade one of two heroes, choose as fits your fighting style" mechanism).

Well, normally, yes it is. ;) But not every pieces of ore are in the Shrine dungeon...

Yes I had retrieved some ore during the ascension of Mt Elbrus. I'm usually quite thorough in my search of hidden things, but I still lacked three pieces of iron (IIRC) to be able to upgrade Bronann's sword.

Bertram {l Wrote}:It seems to me there is a lot of small interesting bits gathering on tweaking the game in here. :) So I'd propose this:
I'll add the visible scent missing script & code part, try to catch the crash's root, and see whether I can split the first fenrir event, and if there is no more show-stoppers, I'll release.

Then, we'll gather all the discussion around and we'll try to fix them for a 1.1 release, including the new village quest, improved balancing, and all the little perks we've talked about.
Would it be ok for you, guys?

That's what I was planning yes, Episode 1 is quite ripe and can be released IMO (and I want it before Septembre 9th to be able to include it in Mageia 5 ;) ). Then I'd be glad to help improving the balance for a 1.1 release.
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Bertram » 01 Sep 2014, 08:21

Ok, I'll be doing a playthrough tonight and see whether I can reproduce the crash.
If I can finish the episode without too much troubles, the crash root found or not, I'll release the final version afterwards. ;)

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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Roots » 21 Sep 2014, 22:31

I'm late to the party here. I wrote up my own list of things I felt could be improved upon after playing the 1.0.0 release for the Allacrost team so we could use this release of VT as a learning experience. I thought I should share them here as well, even though others have already mentioned many of the faults that I'm about to list. I want to preface this by saying that I was overall very impressed with VT and some of the features I came across in the game really impressed me. So don't be mistaken and think that I didn't enjoy the game. Also keep in mind that these are just my opinions, and people are free to disagree with them.

-----


1) Dialogue text
The most glaring errors to me were in the dialogues of the characters. It felt extremely rough and erroneous in numerous places. I think it was because there was no English proof-reader, or at least not a native one. Some of the phrases were difficult to comprehend.

2) Overall balancing
I felt like the game could have been better balanced. It was pretty hard to play through. Even some of the normal fights were damn near impossible. I remember opening a treasure chest where something crazy like 12 rats popped out, and with their paralyzing effect I didn't even try to win that fight and used a smoke bomb to run instead. It's okay for a game to be difficult, but the start of the game needs to be more gentle than that. My name was listed in the credits for balance work. I hadn't done any balancing or other work on VT since before the half-episode release over a year ago, and even then the balance of the game was rough.

3) Monsters interferring with puzzle solving
One of the puzzle rooms had an enemy spawn and chase you down as you were trying to solve the puzzle. Even though this enemy was weak and quick to dispatch, it was annoying as the puzzle was moderately difficult and it was an unwelcome interruption. I realize that this was an intentional design, but I found it more annoying than challenging.

4) Lack of equipment upgrades
VT 1.0 was about 4-5 hours of gameplay, but there were very few equipment upgrades found throughout the game. I expected that there would be at least one upgrade for each weapon and armor, but this was not the case. Characters felt more stunted in their growth, as a result.

5) Poor purchasing power
As a side effect to (4), the player would amass a large amount of currency toward the end of the game, but have little ability to do anything useful with it. The majority of the game you could do little more than purchase additional potions with your money. I kept saving up money and not being able to do anything useful with it, which was mildly irritating.

6) Skills with significantly high SP requirements
Kayla's second attack skill had such a high SP usage that it just wasn't worth ever executing. You could have executed it maybe three times before you either had to use a potion to replinsh SP or find the goddess statue that heals you.

7) Lack of SP regeneration options
The only way to regenerate SP was to either use a potion or visit a healing statue. I didn't like this, because it discouraged the use of skills that require SP if you either were not near a statue or didn't have a large expendable amount of potions to consume (which you never really did). I pretty much used only the basic attack skills (requiring zero SP) or the healing skill when I needed to, and saved all my SP-consuming options for boss fights.

8) Annoying/tedious battles
Some battles were downright frustrating. The best example that comes to mind was the Harllequin boss fight. This boss, when encountered, split into three shadow images that you had to chase down and fight. In addition, there were eyeball enemies roaming the graveyard where this fight took place, so if you ran into them you'd have to fight even more enemies. After defeating all three shadow images, then the real boss showed up and you had to fight him as well (and the battle was exactly the same as the three previous shadow battles). So you had to effectively beat this boss four times with no change between each fight. It was tedious and frustrating, and I was so releaved when I finally beat him for the final time.

9) Enemy spawn rate
I felt that enemies spawned a little too frequently after being defeated in some areas. Perhaps after you beat an enemy in a certain spawn zone, that zone should take longer to spawn a new enemy than the other spawn zones on the map where the fight did not take place.

10) Heavy leveling requirements
Some areas of the game, most notably in the beginning, essentially required the player to grind on nearby enemies and run back to the healing statue so that they could get strong enough to move forward. Maybe this was an intentional design, but I didn't particularly like it. The opening battles of the game felt too "grindy" because you could only run a little ways into the forest before you had to run back out and heal yourself because the character party was too weak.

11) Insignificant key items
The game had several key items (inventory objecst that could not be bought, sold, or used). However, most of them seemed to serve no purpose whatsoever. Maybe future releases will use them, but it seemed strange to have so many key items that had no use. Curiously, even some of the basic starting equipment such as a tunic was considered a key item and could not be sold.
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Bertram » 22 Sep 2014, 12:09

Thanks for the even late feedback. All what you said is very true some effort should be done to smooth those parts, of course. But as always easier said than fixed. ;)

1) Dialogue text
The most glaring errors to me were in the dialogues of the characters. It felt extremely rough and erroneous in numerous places. I think it was because there was no English proof-reader, or at least not a native one. Some of the phrases were difficult to comprehend.

Well, I'm French as a matter of fact, and even if it seems english speakers can fathom what I mean when writing or speaking in English, I remain French. ;)
And English (American or British) has a lot subleties just like in French, and every language, I guess. Thus, if you see sentences to fix, as you are native to the base language of the game, feel free to propose improvement. It's unfortunately an area where I cannot be perfect, it seems. :)
2) Overall balancing
4) Lack of equipment upgrades
5) Poor purchasing power
6) Skills with significantly high SP requirements
10) Heavy leveling requirements

IMHO, all this is linked actually. And note that simply solved. The lack of items, skills, and such is first coming from the fact that I have focused on the game story while dealing what I could do so far with the current skill system. Unfortunately, I can't do everything at once and I had to choose. And all the rest is somehow linked to this. As for equipment, you're right, there are a few spots where I should add a few things, but it will need to be defined from the start so that the player has a smoother experience and monsters level and fights will also have to be smoothed so that the first battle are made much easier, making the player able to run into the forest quicker and longer, at least on the first maps.

The very first things I'd like to change is to make characters earn skill points that you can spend on a skill tree, either but unlocking a new skill, or by strenghening an unlocked one. This will add more depths to it at first. But this will require to refactor the skill targeting system as it still has a drafty design, IMHO, to permit making skills more generically handled in term of targets, for instance. And this will require to make more skills, the visuals for them, and so on...
Once all this will be done, an 1.1 release should be a good idea. ;)

3) Monsters interferring with puzzle solving

Yeah, that one seems to put a few people on nerves. ;) An easy mode is planned, and I'll remove that monster on that difficulty level.

7) Lack of SP regeneration options

Actually, we already talked about it. Note that this is linked to the other balancing points, but this is a false problem for two reasons. First of all, if you had the possibility to get enough moon juice potions, you wouldn't have complained, secondly auto-regeneration equipment is usually the sort of equipment you earn later in such a game, so I'm not fond adding that kind of stuff now. But maybe I'm missing something? Feel free to point out. :)

8) Annoying/tedious battles

Ok for the Harlequin example, I'll keep in mind to make the different battles a bit varied, to make it more interesting. Have you got other examples?

11) Insignificant key items
Maybe future releases will use them, but it seemed strange to have so many key items that had no use. Curiously, even some of the basic starting equipment such as a tunic was considered a key item and could not be sold.

Well, "so many" here is 3 or 4? Could you tell me exactly what item feels wrong and why?
The starting equipment has been intentionnally made key equipment for story reason. I know I keep repeating this without reaching the story point where it is useful, but it will com in time. ;)

Best regards,
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Roots » 22 Sep 2014, 13:31

Bertram {l Wrote}:Thanks for the even late feedback. All what you said is very true some effort should be done to smooth those parts, of course. But as always easier said than fixed. ;)


Of course. Especially running with a limited team. I know you are stretching yourself really thin trying to do a ton of different things.

1) Dialogue text

Well, I'm French as a matter of fact, and even if it seems english speakers can fathom what I mean when writing or speaking in English, I remain French. ;)
And English (American or British) has a lot subleties just like in French, and every language, I guess. Thus, if you see sentences to fix, as you are native to the base language of the game, feel free to propose improvement. It's unfortunately an area where I cannot be perfect, it seems. :)


No problem. i figured that this had to do with the fact that English is not your first language (and it's a difficult language even for native speakers). I'd be more than happy to go through the text and make improvements. My only worry is that I don't speak French, so I'm concerned that my text may deviate from what you really wanted the characters to say in some places. Regardless, I'll have a go at it when I get the chance.

2) Overall balancing
4) Lack of equipment upgrades
5) Poor purchasing power
6) Skills with significantly high SP requirements
10) Heavy leveling requirements

IMHO, all this is linked actually. And note that simply solved. The lack of items, skills, and such is first coming from the fact that I have focused on the game story while dealing what I could do so far with the current skill system. Unfortunately, I can't do everything at once and I had to choose. And all the rest is somehow linked to this. As for equipment, you're right, there are a few spots where I should add a few things, but it will need to be defined from the start so that the player has a smoother experience and monsters level and fights will also have to be smoothed so that the first battle are made much easier, making the player able to run into the forest quicker and longer, at least on the first maps.

The very first things I'd like to change is to make characters earn skill points that you can spend on a skill tree, either but unlocking a new skill, or by strenghening an unlocked one. This will add more depths to it at first. But this will require to refactor the skill targeting system as it still has a drafty design, IMHO, to permit making skills more generically handled in term of targets, for instance. And this will require to make more skills, the visuals for them, and so on...
Once all this will be done, an 1.1 release should be a good idea. ;)


I understand. And balancing is not at all an easy task either. I know from experience. ;) I like the idea you proposed about the skill tree, although it will be a lot of work and would likely make balancing even more difficult. Still, it's worth the effort.

7) Lack of SP regeneration options

Actually, we already talked about it. Note that this is linked to the other balancing points, but this is a false problem for two reasons. First of all, if you had the possibility to get enough moon juice potions, you wouldn't have complained, secondly auto-regeneration equipment is usually the sort of equipment you earn later in such a game, so I'm not fond adding that kind of stuff now. But maybe I'm missing something? Feel free to point out. :)


That's fine. I've just never been a potion hoarder in RPGs because usually there's something much better you can spend your money on (new equipment).

8) Annoying/tedious battles

Ok for the Harlequin example, I'll keep in mind to make the different battles a bit varied, to make it more interesting. Have you got other examples?


Not particularly, no. Most battles in the game were fine. Although that treasure trap battle with the 10+ rat enemies I was not a fan of at all (too difficult and takes too long to win that fight).

11) Insignificant key items

Well, "so many" here is 3 or 4? Could you tell me exactly what item feels wrong and why?
The starting equipment has been intentionnally made key equipment for story reason. I know I keep repeating this without reaching the story point where it is useful, but it will com in time. ;)


This was just a really minor quip. It's not a problem, just a curiosity I thought I'd mention. If you have future plans for those key items, then it makes sense for them to stick around. I was a little disappointed that the wolf necklace I picked up after what seemed like an optional mini-boss fight was a key item and, in the player's view, was useless because it didn't reward the player with anything.
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Bertram » 23 Sep 2014, 10:17

Hey, :)

No problem. i figured that this had to do with the fact that English is not your first language (and it's a difficult language even for native speakers). I'd be more than happy to go through the text and make improvements. My only worry is that I don't speak French, so I'm concerned that my text may deviate from what you really wanted the characters to say in some places. Regardless, I'll have a go at it when I get the chance.

The github workflow makes it possible for me to review the changes before they get in, so this should be no problem. :)

I understand. And balancing is not at all an easy task either. I know from experience. ;) I like the idea you proposed about the skill tree, although it will be a lot of work and would likely make balancing even more difficult. Still, it's worth the effort.

Yeah, it's some job already. But I do think it'll be more appealing that way, and I need such excuse to undertake retesting the game from the beginning. ;)
Once the skill system is good, I'll have a go at adding equipment at the starting village, add a planned quest still missing, and use all that base to review the XP and monster progression.
This way there should be a refined 1.1 release to show. :)

Not particularly, no. Most battles in the game were fine. Although that treasure trap battle with the 10+ rat enemies I was not a fan of at all (too difficult and takes too long to win that fight).

Well, I must say I added a frank arbitrar number of rats there, tried it, and flagged it as difficult but not unfeasible in my little mind. I was hoping to get feedback on this one, and funnily, it seems some people enjoyed the surprise. (Nemesis was one of them, btw: viewtopic.php?p=58987#p58987)
As this must remain a trap, I think rats should still feel overwhelming, but maybe their number can be lowered a bit?
There are twelve of them atm. What if I left "only" seven of them, for instance?
In any case, you can edit their number here if you want:
https://github.com/Bertram25/ValyriaTea ... t.lua#L128

This was just a really minor quip. It's not a problem, just a curiosity I thought I'd mention. If you have future plans for those key items, then it makes sense for them to stick around. I was a little disappointed that the wolf necklace I picked up after what seemed like an optional mini-boss fight was a key item and, in the player's view, was useless because it didn't reward the player with anything.

Eh eh. The necklace is something a few people want to wear on, right away. ;) Turning it into a status object (while letting it be a key object) is a good idea. I'll think about it.

Feel free to keep reporting problems and/or ideas. I will be using this topic as a reference for the changes needed for RC1 and the more the merrier. ;)

Regards,
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Re: RC 1 feedback

Postby Bertram » 23 Sep 2014, 10:39

Also, for coordination purpose:
Atm, I'm working more on OpenDungeons (as you may have seen) since we aren't too far away from a release in this project, and because it's refreshing to change the project focus for a while, especially after a release. ;)
There is also a number of RL events that are preventing me from putting too much time on code lately and I will have to deal with those first before coming back with full steam.

As for the good news, I'm still, even slowly, working on a serie of patches for VT, including:
- Creating a small static HTML manual, that I'll use as a offline manual and as a reference to create the in-game manual.
- I've almost finished refactoring the generic dialogue manager, making it possible to trigger dialogues in any modes, and I'll use this to add some mini-tutorial for shops.
- I've made tests on improving music handling, so that the map music doesn't start from the beginning when going out of a battle, and to let the music keep on playing when the map and the battle music are the same.
- Once the dialogue improvement are in place, I'd really like to make it so dialogues are auto-registered to the dialogue manager, as you did in Allacrost. And I'll add that.
- There is also a serie of minor refactorings that I've been postponing and I'd like to have a go at them sooner or later.

I'd like to finish all that before moving on with skills, balancing and such.
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