First Windows .exe build

Posted on:September 12 2016

I uploaded the first build of the game for Windows here. The game now runs at about 150 FPS instead of the felt 10 FPS when it ran inside a browser.
I also re-created the gameplay video with that build, I think you can see now that it feels much, much smoother now:

Any feedback of the build would be welcome, it is just a 12 MB download.


Works like a charm. Wondering how that download is that small?
2016-09-12 13:29:00

Wow only 12mb!! Looking forward to playing it once I purchase a PC soon.
2016-09-12 19:37:00

It will get a bit bigger once the final release is reached, but it's that small because mostly everything is procedurally generated.
2016-09-13 03:01:00

Here are a few things I noticed in my first few minutes. Apologies if I'm blatantly blind to many things because I have not spent enough time on your game. I need to get to bed, so I'll play some more tomorrow :)

Also: please don't take anything I say personally. It's about your game, not about you.

-- Performance and ergonomics --

First up, installer and game runs beautifully under wine. Amazing framerate, amazing download size.

Input latency feels low. My first thoughts were 'can I change the FOV and mouse sensitivity'? Indeed I can! Full workable menu system and UI.

The very close fog wall is probably due to the needs of the browser version. This leads onto my next heading:

-- Gameplay that's there --

It's extremely easy to get lost, which leads me to play a lot of the game through the minimap instead. I'm the type of person that turns minimaps off in games where I can because otherwise I just spend my time playing the game on them. I'm basically doing that here: the 3D part of the game is actually quite useless, except where it forces itself to be needed (eg aiming at a tree or looting items).

Looting and other actions are tedious. Having to repeatedly click to do things like remove items or cut a tree is fine for a short period, but it is not fun nor ergonomic. If you want to see how to do this very badly then have a go at playing 'Stranded 2' (free, old windows game) and get to the point of trying to build a building. It's otherwise a great game (and it immediately has some similarities to what you are making) so it might be an interesting gameplay pilgramige to try.

I completely hate 'nagging depletion bar' gaming. The process of waiting for them to drop and then filling them item by item does not seem fun to me. The only argument I can see for it is that it allows you to use the adjective 'survival' when describing your game. Literally just that.

Many games have used or do use this idea, so there's no originality in it. I don't think I've ever enjoyed them in any game except for the ones that have the bars deplete *very* slowly. Even then, I think it detracts from gameplay opportunities rather than adding to them.

Some background on this: nagging depletion bars force you to play a game a certain way. They reduce your options, rather than introducing opportunities for interesting gameplay interactions. You can't just go "today I'm going to try and enjoy this game a different way by doing something else" such as exploring a bit or jumping around looking for secrets; or anything else you can come up with. You're immediately shoved into the shoes of "I'm starving, get food to delay my death". It's difficult even to discover something new by accident, because you will ignore anything new or interesting in the guise of desperately trying to handle your resources constantly, without relief.

An arbitrary things you could do to change this: only have the hunger + water bars deplete for a very short run of a few days during eg the middle of winter. At all other times only have the tiredness bar. As arbitrary and unrealistic as it sounds, it would give a lot more depth to the gameplay because it gives players options as to how they play, and still gives them the challenge of survival during a fixed and regular (but sparsely spaced) time period.

Full darkness is absolutely amazing. I can't wait to see where burning individual matches in the dark will take me.

-- Gameplay that's not there --

Any sort of interaction between different game mechanics. There are not many game mechanics yet, so this is hard.

I'd love to see a lot of gameplay/options/risks changing depending on your season, time of day and other world events with their own timespans. That could lead to interesting interactions, but at the end of the day it's always much more complicated and nuanced than that to make a fun game. Take my ideas with a grain of salt.

-- Bugs --

Minimap: you can't see your player's white dot/arrow when you are standing under a white town/home name.

UI: hitting ESC whilst looting something closes the window, but does not return mouse-aiming control back to you.

Tree popin at the edge of the fog.

Just a note: diagonal movement speed is 1.4x greater than straight movement speed.

-- Visuals --

What sort of world is this? Single phase with a nuetral going around for every house? How thick are those wires?

Electricity must have been hella expensive to offset those infrastructure costs. By my calculations each stretch of those cables (assuming ~5cmx5cm copper) weighs more than 200Kg. I guess this kind of explains why no-one had it connected to their house. They would have also had to make the main telegraph poles *extremely* strong to hold the wires up, which would explain why they have survived into the apocalypse.

Seriously however: I like the art style. You are not in the uncanny valley of trying to be realistic (but failing miserably and ageing within a year anyway) so you get all the points I can possibly allocate here.

I can suspend belief better with interesting graphics than I can with anything else. ie I can feel better immersed. On that note, I'd say fog + tree pop-in are the largest things affecting my immersion at the moment.

Thankyou for the release! There's working on a game, and then there's sharing a game.
2016-09-13 12:05:00

Oh, and about the power poles: don't reduce the cable diam. Thicker -> less ugly aliasing artefacts from thin cables against the sky in the distance :)

(Possibly even some cable-walking gamplay ideas too)
2016-09-13 12:09:00

Woha, thanks for that detailed review / feedback! Very useful!

Yes, I should probably introduce a setting for view depth, to make it a bit farer. It is a bit farer away then the browser version already, you are right, it is because of that. :)
2016-09-14 02:17:00

h3. Some further critique (if you are interested).

I played this demo until it's end about a week ago. As before: please get the opinions of others (and don't assume that my opinions are the dominant opinions of your playerbase).

The first gameplay that I encountered that way not the repetitive "loot and eat" was planting seeds. This started to feel like something fun and new. I thought I was discovering some new gameplay.

Unfortunately I was presented with a 'demo end, please pay' screen when I tried to go any further. Given that this game so far had presented me with nothing more than repetitive looting and eating, I had no idea what this new gameplay would be like and whether or not I should spend money on it.

It looks like you approached the problem of setting demo limits based on what you have. Let's say you have 100 units of gameplay. You have decided to trim off a chunk (eg 20 to 50 units) and label these as 'paid only'.

Another way of approaching things is to give the players all that you can, but only promise further content (eg later releases) if they pay.

Different routes work in different situations. But in this demo my plants died and I was powerless to stop them.

Without knowing what the new gameplay is like, I'm stuck in one of two situations:

(1) The new gameplay will be just like the old stuff anyway, why should I bother paying to get more?
(2) How can I tell what the new gameplay will be like? All I've done is something else this whole time.

Overall: unexpectantly hitting the demo limits made be feel the game was spiteful. Like it promised that there would be other things to do (like watering cans and plants) after you grind your time away for a while, but then snatches them out from your hands just as you get them.

Next time: please tell the player *exactly* what the demo limits are before they play. Don't list stuff they can't do as if they can and tell them only when they get to it.

I love demos, and a bad demo is better than no demo. But I'm not convinced that I should buy your game (assuming that was your intention).
2016-09-26 06:13:00

Thanks for the feedback! You are right, the demo is set a bit too strictly, probably. Going to change that with the next build next week.
2016-09-26 14:43:00

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