Post Thoughts

I would like to say thanks to the people who gave valuable suggestions and thoughtful comments.

First of all, about the missions being too straight forward and easy.... It's just like minecraft, if you just followed the minecraft missions then it's boring, the key of this game is to explore and build! (however I didn't have enough time to implement a lot of sandbox features so the building part is not that significant, I should try getting into a team for ideas like this). I've asked my friends, co-workers and family to try this game, and in order to let most people(non-technical) enjoy the game, this is the difficulty I've decided on. It turned out that I've mis-calculated the difficulty since pyweek entrants are technical.

When I was trying to play the game I realized that it could be tough for a new player to get used to the controls (;, given that I'm a veteran minecraft player I'm more comfortable with it, and still had a little trouble with opening the pack. So I simply made the initial letter of each word the control! "pack" -> [P], "build" -> [B], "craft" -> [C] ...  However it resulted in a rather uncomfortable gesture, but you don't need to check the help page as often. And another reason is that I didn't have enough time to make the changing the key configuration stuffs.

And among the ratings, there were a couple of rather uncomfortable ones... which stood out in either the score and wording, or both:

there were a couple of ratings in "Alone in the Sea" gave DQ or very low scores for the following reasons:

so, to those people,

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I was one of the people who commented that the game felt too guided, and I think that the difference with Minecraft is exactly the sandbox aspects that you mentioned, but maybe not in the way you're thinking (i.e. I think you can tweak the game to be more open-ended without having to implement all the sandboxness of Minecraft). Minecraft may give you some instructions but it's open-ended for the most part. In your game, you just need to follow the instructions all the way, and if you do, you don't even get to see some of the cool things that you implemented like extending the raft!

Don't get me wrong, I think the individual components of the game are excellent, but the player needs to make their own decisions for the game to be fun, and these decisions need to be interesting and impactful. I don't think it's a matter of game difficulty. That said, it's very hard to make an open-ended crafting game in a week and I don't expect people to do so (although I have often been surprised by Pyweek games). What I would have done is try to figure out alternative, low-cost ways (cost in terms of implementation time) to give interesting decisions to players. Here are some examples.

  • Make the player explore for resources, and don't put all the same resources in the same island. Part of what makes Minecraft fun is exploration, and deciding where to search for resources. Don't tell the player where the resources they need are, but this doesn't need to (and shouldn't) be completely random either: it's fun to let the player have some preexisting knowledge of what an island might hold so that the player can make an interesting decision out of it. Maybe you could craft some piece of technology that would point you towards metal, for example, or just have a map that tells you a bit about what resources they might find on an island.

  • Give the player a more open goal that would require them to think about what they need to build and what resources they need. A natural goal would be to build a raft that is big and strong enough to leave the archipelago, although make it so you actually need a combination of a bunch of different resources instead of just wood. You can make it so that you need to build different parts of the raft, and this could even give a bonus such as raft speed, or even traveling through troubled waters to access more islands.

  • Make the raft shape more relevant (and also tell the player that they can extend the raft!). In your current version, you don't really need that much space. You could have items that do require more space, perhaps even items that need to be by the water to work (e.g. a seawater filtration system), or by other certain tiles.

These are just ideas to illustrate what I mean with giving the player interesting decisions, I don't mean that these specific ideas needed to be implemented. I know that time is always the biggest constraint, but I think if you had the same amount of time, you could sacrifice some of the things you did to instead implement ideas that will let the player drive the game a bit more. In any case, I did think that this game was really cool and it has great production value, the only big issue for me was that ultimately it felt like I was just following instructions.
Thank you very much for the suggestions!

I actually know that I'm not very good at writing storylines or taking care of player expeirences(based on the previous entries)
I will practice on that and improve in the next entry!