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 Post subject: Beta Playthrough Notes
PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 1:27 am 
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I've been playing this for a while today. It's really fun so far! I haven't passed the third chapter yet (I'll get to that issue soon), but here's all the stuff I've jotted down so far:

Good Stuff
(E.g. the part wherein I squeal over things you already know.)
* The controls are responsive, core gameplay elements/interactions are tight, etc.
* The diversity of enemies is splendid! Enemies have interesting abilities without being too unfairly intelligent at these low levels.
* Scarcity of core power-ups (fire, bombs, speed) with modifications to account for this (slower enemies, faster player, faster fuses) makes the game feel actually challenging. I feel you've struck a balance there that many Bomberman games did not. The fast-paced nature of the game could probably also allow for a wider audience.
* The graphics/sounds/music are all appealing and well-polished!
* The Nuke is a really neat new bomb type! It requires tactics since you have to chain more than one bomb at a time to trigger its effect, making it more dangerous and tricky to use than the original Dangerous Bomb from Bomberman (e.g. drop one and only one bomb, and it makes a huge kaboom).
* The Moonshine Bomb (I can't remember if it had a different name) is a really neat concept, like a Power Glove and a bomb rolled into one. The fact that it explodes on impact makes it challenging to use. I haven't played with it much but once I do, I'll probably have more to say about it.
* I like the first two bosses. The goat boss is particularly interesting because it's deceptively simple. It can't do anything but run randomly and perform a charge attack, but given the player's likelihood of being underpowered, it practically forces them to develop an actual strategy (force him to charge into a bomb near a wall) instead of just prancing around laying bombs everywhere. The second boss battle is good too, with a wide array of attacks and a small moment of weakness; it's more traditional but manages to be engaging!
* Being a Bomberman-style game that actually manages to be challenging throughout makes this game a rarity. Making it procedurally-generated so it's different each time is like the icing on the cake.

Aesthetic Stuff
* Standing right above a southward boss gate while the "gate opening" cinematic triggers will cause Bombslinger's lower half to clip through the gate. Also, if he's running, he will keep running in place while his sound effects play.
* In the cool "duel" scene when both Bombslinger's face and the face of the boss scroll in, the boss displayed is always the next boss (e.g. instead of the goat, it's the alcoholic fire guy; instead of the fire guy, it's skull face guy).
* In the game over screen, it says "The Bombslinger reached the end of his journey yet family still lies unavenged." It should probably be fixed to "The Bombslinger reached the end of his journey, yet his family still lies unavenged."
* Sound effects from gameplay still keep playing during the game over screen. For example, I've heard boots walking and one of those gunslingers from the third chapter grunting and shooting and stuff.
* Sometimes, when entering another room, Bombslinger will stop moving even if you keep the arrow key held down, but other times, he will continue moving when the screen scrolling completes.
* Sometimes, the old white guy's death animation doesn't play, and he just snaps right to the final frame (pile of ash). Actually, this happens with some frequency.
* Enemies can get misaligned from the grid every now and then. In particular this has happened with goats. A few times a goat has slowly slid back into place without animating. This doesn't seem to affect perforance, but it's a little jarring, visually. Here's a screenshot (the goat in question is at the bottom).
* In the shop, a part of the Detonator clips through Bombslinger's head when he stands before it. Here's a screenshot.

Gameplay Stuff
* During the "gate opening" cutscene, and during cutscenes in which bosses are introduced (like when the goats are charging in), Bombslinger can still set bombs. So, I actually tried it out and killed myself once while a gate was opening! Then I could run around while red for a little before the screen faded out and switched to the game over screen. This could probably also happen during the boss cutscenes (or any other scenes) but I haven't tried.
* If you have the detonator bombs and you buy/obtain a shotgun or other special item, it overrides the detonator special ability. However, as soon as you place a detonator bomb, the special item you have is overwritten by the detonator ability, and the special item (shotgun or whatever) is gone for good!
* During gameplay, if the game is paused and then the settings menu is entered, exiting the settings menu unpauses the game instead of returning to the pause menu. It's just a little unexpected.
* The old white guy sometimes slows down immensely when his aggro is activated. One time this happened after his aggro was triggered two or three times in rapid succession, but I don't know if that had anything to do with it. He sometimes also does that thing I mentioned before, where he slides slowly without animating.
* One time I got a treasure room like this one, but there were no bridges to the center so the chest was inaccessible. I forgot to take a screenshot, but it was this specific room setup.
* The first boss and the smaller black goat variations that appear in chapter 2 sometimes dash when the player is not in the line of sight. I've only seen this happen when the goat targets left or right, not up or down. Sometimes it has happened two or three times before the goat finally stops dash targeting at nothing.
* In chapter 3, in the first room I entered after the spawn room, there were no enemies. In retrospect I probably should have taken the screenshot before I cleared the room of soft blocks and chests, but I was trying to see if there was some puzzle or other trigger to open the doors. On another run, I entered this room when leaving the spawn room and there were enemies, but when I cleared them all out, the doors still didn't open. Maybe it's just a problem with chapter 3 in general? I haven't been able to reach the end of chapter 3 as the only other time I got there, a gunslinger shot me in cold blood. I think that was also in the first room after the spawn room, so I don't know if the doors would have opened had I cleared it. I'll try again later.

Opiniony Things
* Power Bombs seem a little overpowered. In most Bomberman-type games they have a maximum limit, usually 8 or 9 tiles, instead of stretching out all the way to the ends of the earth. But, maybe later levels get hard enough that this isn't so much of an advantage? I can't be sure as I haven't played far, but when I played with them they were pretty nuts. I'll give them another try next time I encounter them, and see if my opinion changes.
* Powerful bombs like the Detonator seem like they come a little too easy and a little too soon. I know it's random, but I've seen Detonators several times in the first or second chapter. I played with them the first time for a few rooms before exchanging them back for normal bombs because I didn't want to blow through the game and miss everything. This was always a problem in Bomberman games; the Remote Control would appear in world 2 or 3 and grabbing it would almost invariably break the rest of the game, including boss battles. Unless Bombslinger somehow gets hard enough to balance out the godlike Detonator power-up, I feel it should be much more rare, and/or pricey. With that being said, the next time I find one, I will use it to get as far as I can, and see if my opinion changes.
* The Timer Bomb... Is it supposed to be a booby prize, or am I just using it incorrectly? I assume it's just a bomb with a ludicrously long fuse.
* With that being said, I agree that more information on how to use different special items and bombs would be potentially helpful, so long as it's optional and not annoying (in the way). I saw that you stated this is in the works, but I figured I'd mention it anyway.

**********

That's all I have for now. I hope this is useful so far. I'm going to play some more either later tonight or Monday, depending on when I get the chance, and take some more notes. I'm super excited! This is really cool!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:14 am 
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Fantastic, thanks for the detailed feedback!

Long reply warning! (i'll skip the small bugs and focus on some game design thoughts):

Bomb chaining: this is an important topic as I love chaining in multiplayer Bomberman games. Yet, in single player games I do it less and that's the same in Bombslinger. I feel there's a missed opportunity here and we should encourage chaining more with a non-compulsory system (score, charging the item's energy bar, or something like that). But maybe we should leave it be and accept that chaining in single player is not so important :roll:

Bosses: We're also quite happy about the big goat, the second Boss though, not so much. I feel like the vulnerability time may not be clear enough and he is too hard right now.
I think bosses in general are quite different from Bomberman where they tend to be bigger, screen-filling, entities (especially in Saturn Bomberman which I love). Since we grounded the game into a more "human"setting, we're more limited in that sense, especially in terms of flying enemies.

The Moonshine bomb: On one side we love it and feel it strikes a good balance of power and trade off (enemies can get close really easily and bosses can be hard with it). We've been thinking about testing to move it to the "item slot" (the same as the shotgun's), but we're unsure...what do you think?

Item distribution: there's certainly work to be done there as right now all the items are distributed in a pure random fashion.
We're thinking of two approaches here. We can add a "rarity" factor that would make the detonator bombs and all powerful items less likely to appear or we can "gate" them and say that some items should not appear until level X. We can also combine these two approaches but if possible I'd like to keep the feel that sometimes you're just super lucky and get a great run :)

The timer bomb: The timer bomb is very unclear, you're right now. One reason is that (I just tested to make sure) it seems to be working only when playing with a gamepad. Press the left and right bumper before placing it to change the timer.
Also, we're unsure ourselves on how it should work. Right now it is designed so that you set your preferred timer and keep it that way, so the granularity your can tweak is really high (you tweak up to 1/8 of a sec, from 0 to 6 seconds I think). *But* maybe another option would be to reduce the granularity (1s, 2s, 3s for example) and assume players will chance the timer often.
What do you think?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 6:53 pm 
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I made a picture of the "inaccessible chest" room.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:01 am 
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Yeah so, the story about that room is kinda funny...or...maybe not really :D
It was actually meant to be used with a special items called (read with mexican accent) the "Jésùs Boots" which would...well, allow you to walk over water.
Turns out the items is not in there yet... :oops: (but when we're demoing the game around I lie unashamedly about it and say it's in there).

Also, the chest "could" be destroyed with a Moonshine bomb and the item could be attracted with an Magnet item WHICH IS ALSO NOT IN THERE, OHMYGOD INFINITE SPIRAL OF DOOM! :o


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:51 pm 
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So, first of all, I realize now that I misinterpreted the Nuke's effect! I rarely place bombs on spaces that aren't intersections (+ or T), so after doing some chains like that, I was under the impression that, by placing two Nukes, the first one would explode normally, and, when it set off the second one, the second one would have a bigger bomb blast (Dangerous Bomb). Apparently, instead, they just wrap about corners when you place them in hallways?

I forgot to mention this neat stuff the first time around:

* I really like that items are reserved for chests instead of being randomly placed in soft blocks. It really helps mitigate the desire to blast open every single block in every single room, which I know a lot of people have.
* I like that the bomb's fuse actually animates, to better show how close it is to exploding, rather than having to count the number of pumps.
* I just noticed that the first Detonator placed has a green light, while the rest have red lights, to indicate which one will explode if the player uses the trigger. This is a cool feature.

Here are some new issues I've encountered:

* If you die while targeting with a moonshine bomb, the death animation doesn't play, and you can then run around while the screen fades to red.
* If you blow up a soft block while standing in a doorway and then leave the room before the block's destruction animation finishes, when you come back, the block will still be present, but it will be invisible.
* Likewise, if you blow up an enemy while standing in a doorway, and then leave while its death animation is still playing, when you come back, the enemy will be alive (if you let its animation finish first, the enemy will be dead).
* When the screen is shaking, if you pause the game, the screen still continues to shake, even though all other animations cease.
* If you're holding a directional button and you begin to target/throw a Moonshine Bomb, the walking sound effect still continues to loop.
* Like the Detonator, part of the Timer's sprite clips through the Bombslinger if he's standing in front of it in the shop. Here's a screenshot.
* If you place a bomb on the field, then pick up a fire power-up, the bomb that you placed before grabbing the power-up will have the increased firepower. I'm not sure if this is intentional, but it feels odd.
* It feels a little "off" that the Moonshine Bomb's explosion disappears completely whenever it reaches its maximum range, even though most of the fire hasn't even finished animating.
* Is the Gold Bonus power-up supposed to cost $0? Hey, I'm not complaining, I'm just making sure. :P
* I encountered a room with a kind of unfair setup. Since there's just an enclosed hallway at the entrance, if I had a Power Bomb or higher firepower, there would be no way to place a bomb without taking damage.
* There's something weird about the Spirit bar. If you pick up more Spirit and exceed the bar's capacity, it wraps back to the bottom of the bar with no indication that there's any sort of "level" system (i.e. like bosses in some games that have multiple health bars). Additionally, if you go to another room after doing this, the bar resets to maximum, losing the extra Spirit gained.
* Here is another inescapable room. This one only had one enemy in it. I'm certain that this is a blanket problem with chapter 3, so I'm not going to report on it anymore.

Answers to your questions:

Bomb chaining:
Generally in single-player Bomberman, the only incentives for doing this were to get combo points for frying multiple enemies or to have a better chance of hitting a boss. Bomb chaining is probably more useful in a battle game because your opponents are smarter (well, usually!), they can also drop bombs, and the field is gradually being cleared of obstacles. I imagine it would be difficult to strongly encourage bomb chaining in a single-player adventure without also changing the dynamic of the game, especially since it's all procedurally-generated. If you did want to encourage chaining in some capacity, maybe you could work in various minor benefits for doing it throughout the game, such as:

* A bomb type that is more powerful when chained.
* A later enemy type that can stand still and shield against a blast from the front. One viable tactic would then be to chain bombs so that the bomb in front and bomb to the side both go off at the same time, giving it no chance to turn and shield from the second one.
* Bosses that employ tactics that would be susceptible to chaining, like the enemy described.

Bosses:
I think the second boss's vulnerability time should be pretty obvious. The first time I encountered him, as soon as he turned into a fire tornado, I just assumed that I couldn't damage him with more fire. I'm not sure how random his attacks are right now, but if you want to nerf him a bit, though, here are my suggestions:

* Make his tornado time scale with his HP. At max HP, he would count each intersection he enters, and after maybe 4-6 intersections, the tornado effect would end. For each bit of HP he's lost, increase the range, e.g. -1 HP: 5-7, -2 HP: 6-8, etc.
* Likewise, make the number of firebursts (each set of fireballs) he generates scale with HP lost.
* Make him spend more time in his vulnerable state when he has more HP.
* Make his fire breath attack spread out instead of appearing at full length instantaneously, so there's a moment where the player can recognize what's going on and get out of the way.

Changes such as these would make him more predictable, potentially making it easier for players to strategize against him.

The Moonshine Bomb:
Having experimented more with it, personally, I feel like it's probably fine the way it is. Since it offers the ability to target the exact landing point, and the bomb detonates immediately upon impact, it's a lot more powerful than a traditional Power Glove, which would be a secondary item. Pushing it into the item slot and giving the player two ways to place bombs would mitigate a lot of the challenge required to use it.

Item Distribution:
I agree, just adding a rarity factor and maybe adjusting the prices would be ideal.

Timer:
Ohh, well, that makes sense, as I'm using a keyboard. Adjusting by eighths of seconds seems a little obtuse; maybe just allow players to adjust the fuse by whole seconds instead. It's simpler and allows for a more adaptive strategy in my opinion.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:23 am 
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Thank you for the very detailed feedback.
Bugs:
We are going to try and fix as many as we can before the next build this week. The most pressing task is making "safe zones" near each room entrance to avoid creating closed lanes that force you to damage yourself to exit.
You're right about the blanket problem in level 3. It actually brakes the desert environment altogether unfortunately. What happens is that there's an enemy that breaks when spawning and breaks all other enemies. It sucks...there's an upside though, there will be a new enemy in the next build :roll:

The choice of not hiding items inside soft blocks was a tough one but it helps in keeping the rhythm of the game fast. Personally, to me that felt like the first time we moved away from Bomberman for good :D


Bomb chaining:
the tricky part is making sure all chain-friendly enemies are still beatable with single bombs. I also like the idea of a bomb that gets more powerful with chaining, we didn't think about that :)

Boss
Yeah, I think we're going to make him a little more predictable and as you suggest, make his attacks/cooldown increase with hits.

Thanks for the suggestions about items as well. They're really useful!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:18 pm 
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Hi! As you can guess, i'm here for some Bombslinger beta review! Yay!

Ok, first of all, the good stuff:
•The controls are very responsive, which is a good point! As my controller is broken, I couldn't play it with a Xbox 360 controller, but I think it should be very responsive anyway...
•The graphics are nice looking, the explosions, well, look like explosions!
•There are a good amount of different ennemies, it really brings variety to the gameplay!
•I like the sound effects!

Now, the bad stuff:
•The absence of a tutorial (like playing vs scarecrows or stuff like that, instead of just a screen with the controls when you start a game), that would be needed for a good start.
•The impossibility to configure controls, but I know it'll be added soon, because the button in the settings is already here!
•The lack of transition between zones, having a little travelling, if you know what I mean could be nice (that's a detail, but that could really make the game a little nicer ^^).
•The Duel screen, when entering a boss fight not showing the actual boss (exemple: the fist boss is a pretty angry goat, but the Duel screen shows a man)...
•The control only show the button to press on a Xbox controller (you know, the little squares on left top of the screen, with abilities ).

That's it! I may have answered to the other topics just in this one, i'll anyway take a few minutes to answer the other ones! The game is really cool, even if it has few bad points!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:35 pm 
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Thanks @Pmif19 !

- We don't like the idea of a regular tutorial that much BUT your idea for scarecrows is fun! We are thinking of doing something like that in the first room, next to the house debris.
- Indeed we need to integrate visual assets for keyboard keys for the items in the UI (not super high priority but needs to be done indeed!)


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 Post subject: Beta 2 Notes
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:11 pm 
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Hi! It's been a hectic week, so I'm just now getting around to exploring the new beta. Here's what I've encountered so far...

* On the menu: Pressing down at the bottom of the menu makes the cursor disappear. After this, if you press right, the cursor appears at the bottom, but if you press up, the cursor will appear at the top of the list. Pressing the other arrow keys does nothing. If you press the left key at any time, and you're not on an option slider, the cursor just disappears. It will return at the bottom if you press right, or at the top if you press up.
* The Tumbleweeder is named the "Tubleweeder" in the shop.
* Fire sometimes spawns on top of soft blocks. The fire overrides the block, so you can walk through it.
* I found a room with a special chest and an exit gate. The gate wouldn't open and I had to exit the game. Here's a screenshot.
* I was once harmed by a bear trap that I laid after it had already sprung and damaged an enemy. I'm not sure if it matters, but the goat boss is what sprung it. To be clear, the boss ran over the trap and got hurt, and then I later walked over it and also got hurt.
* The room entrances are fixed (yay!) but fires can still randomly spawn in such a way as to force the player to harm themselves in order to escape. Here's an example.
* One time, the goat boss charged south at me and hit a bomb, stopping... but then it immediately turned west and charged into the immediately adjacent hard block for no particular reason.
* There's an extra floor tile above a bridge in chapter 2.
* If you walk into a room with a big moonshine thrower guy and then walk out before the doors close, and then walk back in, sometimes he turns into a normal-sized moonshine thrower guy.
* I found the detonator, but it wouldn't let me detonate any of my bombs. I had the shotgun when I picked it up. I'm not sure if that matters.
* Once, when blowing up an enemy, its gold sailed up onto a soft block right below it and was not retrievable. Here is a screenshot.
* Occasionally, the Bombslinger's animation doesn't play when he throws a moonshine bomb.
* Here's another room that locked up. After clearing the enemies (2 gunslingers and 1 trench machine gunner), the doors wouldn't open. This does keep happening. I almost wonder if it's the trench machine gunner guy, as he's always been there when a room has locked up. Also, once he's dead, if you blast the hole he leaves behind, it makes a weird sound every time.
* The chest glitch happened again, but it was different this time. As soon as I entered the room, the controls locked up. The gate opening animation wouldn't play, and I couldn't even pause to reset the game. I had to just Alt + F4 it.
* The coyote's exclamation point remains above its head even after its charge attack is disrupted. It will continue to hover over it until it is completely dead.
* Coyotes and machine gunners don't seem to drop gold (not sure if this is intentional).
* This room still has a trapped entrance. It's a good thing I had a shotgun!
* A new note on enemies becoming misaligned from the grid: Here's an example of how I can get it to happen routinely:
An enemy is moving left, and is midway between two tile spaces. Let's say that the two spaces below it are blocked. If I place a bomb directly to the left of it, on the space it is entering, or if I stand above it and trigger its "turn on sight" ability, it will turn upward and start moving up, but instead of bumping back or just snapping to the grid, it stays walking between two columns of tiles, and then eventually snaps back into place.
* If you trigger an enemy's "pursuit on sight" action when you're standing right next to it, and you place a bomb as it's moving into your square, it will get stuck on the bomb and continue to walk in place until the bomb explodes.
* I reached the third boss, but there was no "duel" screen, no change in music, and the input just froze up here. I assume the boss just isn't done yet, but just in case this is unintentional, I'm leaving a screenshot.

Other Things:

* The second boss is a lot better now! He's still wild and chaotic without being too random.
* Maybe I just didn't notice before, but the impact/debris left by each bomb blast on the ground is a nice touch.
* The moonshine thrower enemy is a lot more tolerable for such a low-level enemy now that his firepower is minimized. Like he's still dangerous, but not insanely so.
* It's kind of weird that the machine gunner's pit is passable. Like, you can walk over it, and when he's dead, and you stand on it, it appears over your feet. Maybe he should block movement (but without blocking flames), and be restricted to very specific spawn points so as to not create impassable rooms? Like a special type of tile that blasts don't detect but everything else does. Just some thoughts.
* I know I'm talking about a game where a guy drops infinite bombs to fight goats and old men in their underpants, but isn't it kind of weird that the Bombslinger can take a shotgun to the chest and survive numerous powerful explosions, while a coyote will instantly kill him in one hit?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:37 am 
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Thank you so much for the feedback! We still have a lot of issues linked to rooms not-unlocking correctly, narrow paths etc. I'm sorry for that and thank you for not rage quitting :)
Good news is that since last week we have a new member on the team who is working exclusively room / levels.

Since your reports are so precise I was basically able to copy paste your bugs into our bug list :)

Quote:
If you trigger an enemy's "pursuit on sight" action when you're standing right next to it, and you place a bomb as it's moving into your square, it will get stuck on the bomb and continue to walk in place until the bomb explodes.


In your experience, what's the best way to deal with this situation? I guess it's either stopping the enemy (and putting the animation to idle again) or allow him to continue moving. What do you think?


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