Reply to comments: The Strange Sine Orbs

Hello everyone, and thanks for all your comments. I'm going to write a bit about them here.

Although I don't really care much about the ratings themselves (I like reading the comments much more), I find it interesting that this was the first time I got a score above 4, and that was in innovation. That kind of makes me happy, though I wish I had gotten one with a more polished and complete game. However, unfortunately this innovation rating by itself doesn't tell me much, because according to my fun score, people didn't seem to have much fun. It sure needs tweaking, but does that mean the idea works or not? I mean, it means it's different, but unfortunately it doesn't tell me if it's a good idea. Thankfully, people comment and I can derive a few things from their comments. :) (In fact, if there were no comment system, I'd probably have some very misleading thoughts of how my game went.)

Another note was that it was very surprising to me that I got a 3 as a production score. I would have expected something more around 2. I'm also surprised no one even complained about the graphics in the comments.

Anyway, replies to comments. Not going to reply to all of them this time, just some of them. First of all, thanks to everyone who sent me positive comments (so I don't have to thank them one by one :P).


* This is hard, maybe because i'm more a singletask guy :) Your game is fun and it's wibbly-wobbly and the idea with the sinus curve movement is great. But as i said, i must concentrate hard to control the movement correctly. A real challenge and a great game!
* Wow, HARD. Neat idea though :)

Yes, the difficulty was the most commented thing (guess I didn't learn from my previous game :P). But I don't think I need to make it easier, I just need to make it easier to get a hang of. That's because once you get the hang of it, it's not hard (unlike my previous game, which is always hard even after you get the hang of it). The funny thing was that I was worried that the game was too easy, and after I finished I kept wondering whether I should've reduced the player's number of lives. That really shows how you can get it completely wrong when you get used to the game.

* I feel like the collisions could have been a little more forgiving. When the orbs got fast, I felt like I was playing one of those prize games where you have to stop the light at the right time and it never stops it right when you push the button and you miss the target light and you feel cheated.

I understand. You should've seen the game before I added the guidelines and static objects. :) But I think that if the player manages to get a hang of it and find a good strategy, it's not too hard and very controllable. The big problem is how to help the player get a hang of it. You should look at the guidelines to press the buttons at the right time.

* Very strange indeed. Controls need rethinking -- mapping a horizontal row of keys to a vertical arrangement of on-screen items is unintuitive and confusing.

That's true. In fact, the keys E D C also work, but I didn't document that. I put it in to test it out, but I thought the hand position felt too uncomfortable, so I decided to forget about it and go with the Z X C keys. I do wonder though if something like Q S C works out.

* One of the more innovative games. The learning curve was a bit steep - maybe it could start with only one orb to control. Also some explosions or effects or powerups would have made scoring seem a lot more fun.

Yes, maybe starting with only one orb is a good idea. Explosions or effects or powerups would have been definitely cool.

* It would be hard enough with one sine orb. With three you either need to play it as a three player coop or hope for the best while pressing them at random. I did the latter and won! The part I like is that it's a duel between two sides and they lose points until one runs out and loses the game. This is a nice framing that I haven't seen before and works very well.

Good point about pressing them at random. I only found out about this strategy after I submitted the game: it's worth it to just keep them in wobble mode always, because they go fast, respawn fast and even if it's not the best defense against enemies, that strategy grabs a whole bunch of charges and does a lot of damage. That needs fixing.

* Very innovative but hard to control. Music fits perfect.

I admit the music was a bit of a lucky thing. It was among the first musics I found, but the feeling that that music felt right combined with the fact that I was in a hurry made me choose that one. I'm glad that you liked it, but the credit is all for the musician behind Incompetech, who does some free great songs, for anyone who needs music next Pyweek. :)

* Very cool game idea! Really liked it, sure you could push this futher with square waves, saw-waves etc!

Great thought; that really didn't and wouldn't cross my mind. I'll keep that in mind.

* quite frustrating at first - but really good after you get a hang on the controls.
* quite difficult at first... easier once you get the hang of it. interesting indea :-)

Happy to hear that at least a few managed to overcome the apparent difficulty of the game. :) You just need to get a hang of it.

* Losing marks on production for no real game ending screen or sense of achievement in victory. Get amazingly high marks for everything else, cool concept and the music was fun .

At least you managed to finish it. :) If I had more time, I would've made something better for the ending.

So, if I were to improve the game, here's what I'd do:
  • Find a way to improve the learning curve of the game;
  • Do some balancing;
  • Find a way to eliminate the winning strategy of "just keep wobbling" - maybe make it even riskier;
  • Polish (intro, menu, ending, sounds, effects, etc.);
  • Maybe make it in levels and, if so, have different "units" (with different waves) for different levels.
I never really had time to improve a Pyweek game and I don't think I would now. But I'd be curious if anyone has any extra suggestion, so let me know if you do.

Thanks for all your comments! See you at Pyweek #11. :)