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  Travelling Light - a short adventure  (Read 4543 times)
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Offline dishmoth
« Posted 2006-07-30 21:31:13 »

http://javagamesfactory.org/views/view-game?name=Travelling%20Light

The game takes about an hour to play beginning to end.  Seems a long time, but there's a lot to keep you occupied.  I'd love to know what you think if you play it all the way through -- and I'd love to know at what point you gave up if not!

System requirements are pretty low (anything above a PIII 500MHz seems to be okay) and the download is small (less than 500k), so really you've got no excuse for not giving it a go.  Wink

Cheers,
Simon

Offline magemog

Senior Newbie




Jaded Samurai


« Reply #1 - Posted 2006-07-31 00:49:39 »

I got ADHD and only played it for about 8 minutes. It would make the controls feel a lot smoother though if you could change direction mid air, and if holding up only made the character jump once. While it's not as realistic to be able to move and change direction mid air, it makes it a heck of a lot easier to navigate and the player won't have to work against the game to do something simple... 

Edit: the lack of music and violence made me quit early, but those aren't exactly bad things so...

Hmm... sounds vaguely familiar... yeah
Offline dishmoth
« Reply #2 - Posted 2006-07-31 12:47:18 »

Hi, magemog!  Thanks for your comments.

Trust me, if I'd tried to compose music for the game, you'd've quit a lot sooner!

There is a little bit of violence in the game... but not until quite a way into it.

The way the character moves is intended to be nostalgic rather than realistic.  It mimics the classic old game Manic Miner (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manic_Miner) -- which unless you were a teenager in Britain in 1983, you've probably never seen.  So the awkward movement is more of a "feature" than a bug... although I guess that doesn't stop it being awkward.

Thanks again,
Simon

Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
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Offline purpleguitar

Junior Member





« Reply #3 - Posted 2006-08-08 22:49:30 »

I'd like some resolution options.  It comes up pretty small on my big monitor, which makes it hard to see what's going on.

I like the main character's animation and falling-death animation... but that's about as far as I've gotten.
Offline me

Senior Member


Projects: 4


Java games rock!


« Reply #4 - Posted 2006-08-09 07:01:57 »

Hi dishmoth,

Looking good so far!

Personal preference:
- easier controls. Mentioned before by magemog and I agree. Allthough you try to mimic another game it doesn't feel nice.
- too much conversation

Good points:
- Nice help for the movement of the character. Liked that one!
- smooth animation

I was evaluating at work and didn't have the sound on, so cannot say anything about it.

Good luck with your project.

Best regards from

M.E.
--------
Offline dishmoth
« Reply #5 - Posted 2006-08-09 10:23:34 »

I'd like some resolution options.  It comes up pretty small on my big monitor, which makes it hard to see what's going on.

Ah, good point!  That's not something I'd thought of.

There is a quick cure for it, if you're feeling adventurous.  If you download the JAR file directly (http://javagamesfactory.org/attachments/game/Travelling+Light/alpha%2F1%2FTravelling.jar) then you can run it using "java -jar Travelling.jar fullscreen", and that...  well, you can probably guess what that does!

As a more general solution, I don't know.  I can't help thinking that providing options for the user to select from will just confuse things.  I guess automatically detecting the resolution of the screen is one possibility -- but is that allowed under webstart?  And if I increase the size of the window then that will inevitably slow the game down a bit (although admittedly that won't be a problem for most people).  Hmm.  I'll have to think about it.

Cheers,
Simon

Offline dishmoth
« Reply #6 - Posted 2006-08-09 10:59:34 »

- easier controls. Mentioned before by magemog and I agree. Allthough you try to mimic another game it doesn't feel nice.

Yes, I'm inclined to agree with you both.  Sadly, I think we'll have to mark that down as a bad design decision, and leave it at that.  It's far too fundamental to the game to change at this stage.  Ah well, older and wiser.

Quote
- too much conversation

Absolutely!  It's practically a text adventure.  Wink

I have been thinking about ripping out a lot of the dialogue, so that the player can just get on with playing the game.  But it would be very painful to do, after having spent so long putting it in in the first place.  And I can't help feeling that it would diminish the 'character' of the game.  So I don't know.  We'll see.

(For what it's worth, the dialogue does get a lot less dense when you get beyond the first part of the game.)

Quote
I was evaluating at work and didn't have the sound on, so cannot say anything about it.

Don't get too excited about playing it with sound -- there isn't any!  I'd always imagined the game being something that you play during your coffee break at work, and so I made it discreetly silent.  (Possibly that's another one of those bad design decisions...)

Thanks for the comments.  It's really good to get feedback on where I've gone right and where I've gone wrong.

Cheers,
Simon 

Offline JAW

Senior Member


Medals: 2



« Reply #7 - Posted 2006-08-31 23:06:47 »

I just played it, and it feels so professional.

Ok, I dont do all the reading, but I did some. Really nice, a lot of different dialogues, every time you pass someone. And nice writing anyway, it doesnt fell cheap.

Leveldesign is really good, riddles / puzzles / minigames have 5/5 stars too. All those tricky obstacles and "enemies", really gets the spirit of that kind of game.

Storyflow is great, too. You get a lot of playing with only few screens.

All in all, I've seen quite some fancy state of the art 3d games with transparency, lighting and particle effects. But I think i rarely have seen such a good game with such a professional feeling. Its in the details mentioned above. Texts arent strange, the design of every screen never feels like an amateur clicked them together in 5 mins, there are really smart thoughts behind every scene. And the way you get around by the story, its not some cheap and easy bla bla get red keycard, open red door, kill boss or some no-brainer. Most 2D games you get really seem put together without love. Even if the graphics arent special, they match and they work. Oh, and the minigames fit and are intuitive and diversified.


I have only one point of critic: I sometimes got lost before I found some new way, and sometimes I skipped some information in the dialogues. I would add a "current quest" information, so the player knows what to do.


I really love this one Smiley You get much out of little. Jump n Run, Rocket flight, Asteroids, some shooting. If I were the boss of a game company, I'd hire you instantly Smiley

Hell I cant tell why I am so exited... But nearly all hobby games I saw so far where either unfinished or some patchwork of unmatching graphics, somehow chunky in gameplay and uninspired in story.

-JAW
Offline dishmoth
« Reply #8 - Posted 2006-09-04 14:14:18 »

Thanks, JAW!  I had to go for a lie down after reading your message...  I think you must be the game's ideal audience!   Cheesy

Quote
I have only one point of critic: I sometimes got lost before I found some new way, and sometimes I skipped some information in the dialogues. I would add a "current quest" information, so the player knows what to do.

That's a good point!  I'm not entirely sure how best to implement it, but I'll add it to my "To Do" list, and see what happens.

Quote
I really love this one Smiley

I vote that from now on everyone on these forums should refer to you as "JAW, whose taste in games is superb"!   Grin

Thanks again,
Simon

Offline JAW

Senior Member


Medals: 2



« Reply #9 - Posted 2006-09-05 21:21:44 »

Smiley

A friend played it, got stuck and quit. Not so enthusiastic players might need a hint function. Maybe there should always be something or someone to adress for a hint. In this game the rocket ship could do it. You could be able to initialize a chat with the rocket ship and it could give away hints, maybe with increasing detail. Or the rocket could tell hints by itself when you visist a screen 3 times without progressing or when you get too far from your current goal.

I'd call it a lazy and stupid players function Smiley
For me that point was when I had the first stamp and was in the area of that deadly wasp. I couldnt go on because of the energy barriers. Somehow I missed the right turn to the tech guy below for quite some time until I realized there were 2 screens where you can go down.

Second time when I was after the last stamp, I wondered what to do about that wasp. Maybe the guy around could give a little hint away, like "all wasps appear from the (whatever it is), if you want to do something about it you must go to the source". In the end, the "whatever" where the wasp came from looked like the recycle bin of the asteroids minigame. I though, well, maybe you can enter this glowing stuff too. I would have probably beeing running around quite some time if it wouldnt have been the last ticket terminal for me and I know I had to solve it here and now.

You dont need a quest and a hint function. A hint function alone is enough, while the first one or two hints should actually only be "current goal" information without giving a real hint of what to do. Maybe I would count the number of screen traversals after I got a hint and only give the next hint after a few screen traversals. The player needs to move around before he gets a new information.


Any new games coming up? Smiley
Seriously, can you tell me a little about making the game? How long did it take, how did you plan level architecture and story, did you make the graphics all by yourself? How the hell did you keep up motiviation?

-JAW
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline dishmoth
« Reply #10 - Posted 2006-09-14 19:42:35 »

JAW - thanks for the thoughts.  I'm making notes on the changes I want to make (not too many!) for the final version, and if I can stop players getting stuck and giving up, then that's a very good thing!  I'm still undecided about whether hints are needed for all parts of the game, but your comments about the bit with the wasp make it clear that that's one place they would help a lot.

Quote
Any new games coming up?
Seriously, can you tell me a little about making the game? How long did it take, how did you plan level architecture and story, did you make the graphics all by yourself? How the hell did you keep up motiviation?

Okay, well, I actually started on the game something like four(!) years ago, as an excuse to learn Java.  I had an idea that it would be cool to make an adventure game out of little bits of other games, but I didn't have a plot or design or anything.  So I just sort of wrote bits and pieces of things, hoping that I'd be able to find a way to fit them all together in the end. 

(To be clear, I'm not talking about four years of solid work here!  More like, write a mini-game one week, draw some new sprites over an evening or two, then do nothing for the next four months.)

One day I couldn't bear the thought that I'd spent so long coding with no actual game to show for it, so I made a list of all the game parts I'd got, sketched out a map that made them all just about fit together, and made up a sort of story to try to give some sort of progression between the game's beginning and end.

From then on it took about seven-to-eight months of hard slog to make the finished game (split pretty evenly I'd say between coding, drawing graphics, and writing dialogue).

So there you have it!  How not to design a game.  Wink

The graphics are, of course, deliberately crude and blocky to disguise the fact that they were drawn by someone with no artistic talent (me).  I wrote a quick-and-dirty application for editing the graphics consistent with that particular style, and another small application for editing the screen layouts.

I haven't started work on another game yet.  But whatever my next project is, it will definitely be shorter than this one!

Cheers,
Simon

Offline tortoise

Junior Member




<3 Shmups


« Reply #11 - Posted 2006-09-14 20:44:00 »

I think the game has a lot of personality and a lot of potential to be really cool.

I only played it briefly since I'm at work. I'd even say just improve the game physics and you'd have a real winner, as is. I like its unique style, the characters, everything.

But yeah, the physics, eh, not so good I'm afraid. Instead of copying a game like Manic Miner, I recommend copying something like Super Mario World or something like that. Mimic the excellent platformers, they're excellent for a reason Smiley
Offline dishmoth
« Reply #12 - Posted 2006-09-16 10:13:14 »

Instead of copying a game like Manic Miner, I recommend copying something like Super Mario World or something like that. Mimic the excellent platformers, they're excellent for a reason Smiley

It's good advice.  There should be a FAQ somewhere that includes bits of advice like that, just solid, sensible things to meditate on before you start designing a game. Smiley  Unfortunately in my case it really is too late to change things since so much is built around the way the player moves (the level designs, the character animation, the choreography of cut-scenes with other characters, and perhaps even the overall character of the game).  But from now on I'll copy only the highest quality games! Wink

(Actually, as an aside, I've got to say that copying Manic Miner has really made me appreciate what a fantastic piece of work it is!  Technically it was a massive jump ahead compared to other games on the system at the time, it invented a whole load of completely new platforming gameplay, and its surreal level designs were something completely original.  People everywhere should be told of its greatness!  Erm, that's enough ranting I think.)

Thanks for the comments, and if you do get to play further into the game I hope it keeps you suitably entertained!
Simon

Offline dishmoth
« Reply #13 - Posted 2006-11-09 22:26:12 »

I've uploaded a new (and hopefully final) version.

Thanks to all the feedback I've made the following changes:
  • The game automatically saves your progress, so you can quit and later continue from where you left off.  (This only works if the game is running under WebStart since it uses the persistent storage service.)
  • If the game window appears too small for your screen resolution, you should be able to resize it.  (The resize option is a little limited though, and in particular it won't work at all if your screen resolution is already quite low.  Also, if you enlarge the window, the game might run a bit slow.)
  • Various other little changes that you won't notice  Wink  (tweaks to the dialogue, extra hints, better positioning of speech bubbles, etc.)

I haven't however changed the two things that people most complain about, namely the way the main character jumps and the length of the dialogue.  Sorry about that!  Thing is, it seems to me that they're fundamental to the game, and I just haven't got the heart to change them.

Cheers,
Simon

Offline nva225

Junior Member





« Reply #14 - Posted 2006-11-10 03:42:41 »

Hmm funny I thought I replied here but I guess I didn't, lol. I played through the whole game a while ago and just want you to know that I liked the dialog. If there wasn't something of a story I probably wouldn't have played through it far enough to see some actual cool stuff happen.

Overall I thought it was a pretty nice showcase of a lot of little cool features. Dialog boxes nicely implemented, smooth integration with some minigames. Would have liked a few more games but overall very nice. =)
Offline dishmoth
« Reply #15 - Posted 2006-11-12 12:09:05 »

Hmm funny I thought I replied here but I guess I didn't, lol.

I've been asking for feedback from various places, so you may have replied on a different forum.  I don't mind hearing from you twice though!  Wink

Quote
Would have liked a few more games [...]
Me too!  I'd thought up a really nice way of working in a Pacman mini-game, but in the end the game was quite long enough already.

Thanks (again!) for your comments.
Simon

Offline nva225

Junior Member





« Reply #16 - Posted 2006-11-12 13:56:47 »

Ah, in my previous post, I just changed "if there was something of a story" to "if there wasn't something of a story", kinda changing the meaning of the sentence. Oops.
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