Greetings interwebs! We would like to kick off this week with our notes we received from the in-house testing we had on monday.
So what does "in-house" testing mean?'
In-house is a term which really should mean in-office. Or for the gamer savvy, super early Alpha. ( Pre-Alpha maybe? ) Anywho, this is a chance to get feedback from other developers here at Artix Entertainment. The feedback from other devs is absolutely critical, because devs see games in a different kind of way. They are able to analyze issues and present us viable low cost solutions. If a dev doesn't understand how the mechanics of the game are supposed to work, we've done something drastically wrong.
Thankfully, no major issues were found. More importantly, the game felt "fun"! One dev even played until the battery of the device died. So this week we have been hard at work implementing changes based on their most valuable feedback. Its come down to simple things like adjusting the timing of an enemy, asking for more health at a certain stage, more effects after game loads, and of course navigational improvements. While I say these are simple changes as we know what the issues are and how to solve them, they are still time consuming, but at least we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Interface and layout improvements
Throughout the development, we've constantly had to redo the aesthetics and placement of interface components. Just like W,A,S,D, and spacebar is common for movement on the PC, there are certain behaviors learned from the mobile generation. Understanding why someone would tap on the beast instead of the button controls on the bottom was a very early issue we needed to address. It all came down to what looked like a button to us didn't read well for someone who is used to mobile devices. We did contemplate removing the button controls on the bottom, but we felt it was important to keep old school handheld feel to the game. After all, this game is a call back to our youth.
Specifically, there was an issue with the special button located in the center of the interface. Which has gone through absolute scrutiny. The problem was no one was using their special when it was active. It's a core component of our game as each beast will have its own unique special.
Here are the earliest versions of the special button. Some felt too flat. Some had not enough color, some had a loading button indication, and some we worried would give a player epilepsy.
Eventually we started to experiment with iconage on top of the special button. In other games, typically the special button was indicated by some kind of sword or medieval shield, however that doesn't work well in a sci-fi type game. After a bit of digging and testing on friends and family, the nuclear icon seemed to read the best. We added a metal plating texture around the edge of it and then suddenly things started coming together.
Below are more or less, the final iteration of the BioBeasts special button. Still, of course, being worked on. There are some other UI changes to be made on these screens as we get closer to a polished build.
Questions for the reader.
- Have you ever started a new game and just felt lost on what to do?
- Have you ever been confused by a UI interface option in a game which was hidden?
- Have you ever quit a game where the UI was just too confusing?
Thanks for reading and joining us along this creative journey! We are always adding new and interesting things to read and see. Remember to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook! We are also featured on AQ3D, Artix Entertainments new mobile friendly website! http://aq3d.com/newgames