GameFest Post Mortum

So, GameFest came and went and I got a lot of valuable playtesting, exposure, and feedback about Tower of London that I’ve used to inform my future design goals and ideas.

A short snippet of the kind of feedback I received:

  • “pretty addictive, I wish there was a little more to the combat though”
  • “I love how simple it is, it’s like a true bite sized rpg”
  • “the interface needs work, it’s not very newb friendly and it takes a few plays to figure out”
  • “the events are hilarious and fun, I wish there were more of them”
  • “I wouldn’t like there to be a durability mechanic… it’s the opposite of casual fun”
  • “Maybe you could make the enemies have more options, but I don’t think giving the player skill trees and move lists would be a move in the right direction”
  • “cool, its like a combat rhythm game!”
  • “its satisfying to pick out the right armor and weapon, but then it feels like you’ve ‘solved’ that monster and you’re just waiting to kill this enemy before you can fight the next one”
  • “bosses aren’t very impressive when they’re just stat upgraded normal enemies”
  • “balance could use a lot of work”
  • “heres a glitch.. theres a glitch…”
  • “i keep forgetting to spend my stat points lol….”
  • “love the backstory, love the bite sized cutscenes.. not a fan of walls of text though”
  • “how do you buy stuff?”
  • “i leveled up? I had stat points to spend?”
  • etc.

Some of the feedback I was expecting, due to not having had enough time to deal with those issues before the exhibition, but a lot of it was new and eye opening. Some even came completely out of left field, until I thought about it.

One person said that they normally don’t like rpgs but because this one felt like a rhythm game he was enjoying it. I hadn’t ever thought of ToL as a rhythm game but after taking a step back I realized that there is some potential there and that when I added the planned attack/guard/guard break/mega attack/attack pattern interactions I had planned ToL would become even MORE like a rhythm game. I decided to go with it as one of the games unique selling points, and try to play it up in future releases.

People also found a few embarrassing bugs that have since been mostly fixed. I didn’t have wifi to cloud compile hotfix the live build though, so I had to start warning people ahead of time when they were about to break the game. Something to plan for in the future I suppose.

After reviewing the feedback and taking a look back at my original design principles again, I’ve made a few decisions about the design that are going to alter the future of the game. I’m dropping the item degradation / repair mechanic, as well as the planned class/monster skill sets I was going to add.

I originally was going to add the skills as just a side upgrade when I went to add the guard/break/etc. feature set, but it quickly got out of hand in scope and all the feedback about loving the simplicity of the game as it is was the final straw in deciding to drop it. The guard/break/etc. system (I really need to think of a better name for that) itself adds a great deal of nuance and strategy to the previously very basic combat, and the minor addition of the enemies occasionally switching up their weapon and armor mid fight should be more than enough variety to satisfy those looking for a little more depth in the combat.

On the whole, I’ve decided to refocus on the  core design principles of simplicity in play and controlled scope that I had let get out of whack in my over-zealousness to make ToL ‘feature rich’ and ‘different’. As it turns out, adding cookie cutter features like skill trees and ability lists and wear and tear systems actually won’t do those things well anyway. ToL will be ‘unique’ for the things it already has going for it, like the ‘dungeon in your pocket’, story, ‘simple yet addicting combat’, and ‘rhythm’ aspects, among others.

Anyways, a newly updated build featuring several new features but most notably the guard/break/mega/etc. combat system is now up at the usual place. For those who forgot or are new, that’s the link at the top or you can just click here.

About Maynard Price

My name is Maynard Price. I am an undergraduate student at RPI (representing class of 2013 :D) majoring in computer science and minoring in game studies. I’m aiming to break into the game industry after I graduate, and so I’m developing a portfolio (currently too embarrassingly small or lame to bother posting). I have some experience in developing games in c++ using SDL, but I’m learning to program in AS3 using Flash Develop (probably with Flixel). I’m down for anything really. Small projects, big projects, etc. I just need experience and practice. I’ll be doing my own thing too, but I definitely need to get some practice working with others on larger projects.
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