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Taylor Robbins
42 posts / 1 project
I love programming and the joy that comes from creating useful things. I'm the author of Const Port. I like to make toy games as a hobby.
Princess Castle Quest
Edited by Taylor Robbins on Reason: Initial post
Hello Everyone!

It's been a long time since I've been active on this forum. I originally was creating and posting about Const Port a few years back. I have actually continued to work on Const Port on and off but I've been spending the last couple of years mostly on a game project called Princess Castle Quest. We are starting to gear up for launch on Steam in the near future and we have just started to work on getting the word out on this game. I would really appreciate if you all took a look at it using the links below. The game has been built "from scratch" by me in C with OpenGL+GLFW. I will also be posting to the blog on the site about the history and development process of the game which you guys might find interesting.

You can check out our site at https://www.PrincessCastleQuest.com/

I just made a post about the history of the game that you guys might find interesting: 2 Years and 13,596 Builds of Princess Castle Quest

We will be setting the steam store page public in the next couple of weeks, so if you are interested please stay tuned for updates on that. You can also pm me here or email me at [email protected]

You can also follow the game on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube

Simon Anciaux
1356 posts
Princess Castle Quest
Looks interesting.

After watching the video I have some notes, I don't know if you're interested in feedback, but here it is. It's my point of view and the game you're making might not be for me, so the feedback might not be relevant.

- The first tutorial box is not clear to me. You need to go on the hourglass and press Z to restart (displaying a key like that in the video was a bit confusing to me since my keyboard layout is AZERTY and Z is the key above S)? Why not just go on the hourglass to restart ? I don't get what R does ? I kills you ? It restarts ? If so why having two things to restart ?
- What is the purpose of collecting diamonds ? Is it only a score/completion goal ? If so, it doesn't feel compelling to me. I always feel that games that do that don't seem to respect my (the player's) time.
- Why do some chests contain diamonds when lots of diamonds are just laying on the ground. I feel that chests should be more meaningful. For example you could have no diamonds on the ground, and chests be the only way to collect diamonds (assuming diamond have a purpose).
- It feels weird to me that chests contain keys. Why not just have the key graphics instead of the chest and just grab the key ? In the tutorial box for that, the graphics color make it hard to see the key in the chest.
- Are the tutorial boxes necessary ? It looks like all interactions could just be achieved by moving the character onto the item, and I could figure that out without a tutorial.
- I don't like the way the shadow look. I feel it would look better pixelated at the same level as the other graphics. And I think you should try to accumulate the light instead of overlapping circles (they don't look good at the moment). In one of the last room in the video (the one at the bottom, with a lot of darkness), you can see the problems. There is also a wavefront effect on the shadows, where instead of seeing each "ring" as a single color, you see a darker color near the inner part of the ring. It's a perception things, but it would maybe not appear with pixelated lighting, or greater color differences between rings.
- There are no sound effects (I assume they are not done yet, but still mentioning it).
- Torch's fire should go up, not in diagonal (torches on the side walls).
- I didn't saw any quest in the video. I assume there isn't one, based on the level finish screen that makes it look like the quest is to collect diamond (which as mentioned before doesn't seem compelling to me).
- I don't like the title graphics (first image in your post). The three elements are apart, not connected with each other.

On the post itself I think the first thing you should do when communicating about a game is to have a small paragraph that describes what is interesting about your game in as few words as possible so that the reader can understand what your game is about. After reading your post, I didn't know at all what the game was. I know this community is about development but it's a good training.

Good luck going toward the release !
Taylor Robbins
42 posts / 1 project
I love programming and the joy that comes from creating useful things. I'm the author of Const Port. I like to make toy games as a hobby.
Princess Castle Quest
Hey Mr. Mixer,

Thanks so much for checking out the video and providing such in-depth feedback. There are answers that I have for most of your points and many of them come down to the fact that the game is not finished haha However, the points are totally valid for the current state of the game and are things that I will definitely keep in mind. Also I guess I didn't explain too much in my original post here about what the game is and what the purpose of the blog post was.

I agree that the blog post isn't exactly explanatory of the game, and also isn't really a good introduction to the site. It wasn't meant to act that way but since there's only one post and the Steam page isn't ready and the rest of the site doesn't have any text that's how it turned out. I wrote the blog post with the idea that you would have been introduced to the game somewhere else and maybe that you might have played the game (in the case that you read it after the game goes live on steam). However, maybe these are the wrong assumptions to make. I also mostly wanted to start work on cataloguing and reviewing the history of the game to have for my own purposes and to help people understand some of the stuff that has gone into making this game.

Also another thing to note is that the video isn't really a good replacement for a real trailer. We are still working on an actual trailer and will have something that is much better at pitching the game in the next few months probably. Also many of the problems you point out with the first level are spot on and are things that we have identified when having people play test the game. Much of that first level will be redisigned when we get into a more polishing phase where we try to clean up the "tutorial" ramp of the game.

One thing I initially thought I would explain away was the question about why there is multiple ways to reset the level. (There's also the ability to undo steps btw). I've been struggling with how to resolve the issue because each system has it's purpose in the design of the game flow and yet they are too similar for people to distinguish/understand what's happening. However, after thinking about it today at lunch I feel like maybe I need to get rid of the "press R to restart" mechanic and fully embrace the resetter hourglass (which is a recent development). However, if you get yourself stuck in a corner without a way to die then you still need a way to reset. We might be okay with just having that be an option in the in-game menu though (Along with the option to completely restart the entire stage, which currently can be accomplished with holding R).

The problems you have with the lack of purpose and not liking diamonds should hopefully be changed when we finish the story of the game. However, I agree that maybe the way the diamonds are placed kind of "wastes" your time. (Like Banjo Kazooie with note blocks. It's just a "collect-athon". Just a waste of time). That was not my intention with the diamonds obviously but they also are supposed to be the main reason you are solving the puzzles. They serve a story purpose as well as a puzzle purpose at times. Plus it is not actually required to get all of the diamonds in the level to progress towards the end of the game so if you dislike the time it takes to pick them all up you can mostly ignore them and focus on the actual puzzles. I'm having a hard time deciding how I could solve this problem without breaking the idea behind the game. Though I totally agree that taking the diamonds out of the chests is a good first step. Also I think that maybe I should have played the first level less thoroughly and not collected all the diamonds so that you don't have to spend a bunch of time waiting for me to run around and collect all of them. However, again, this also is mostly solved by having an actual trailer instead of just gameplay footage.

I agree with your perception of the lighting effects being out of place but I also think that they looked better than a "pixelated" version that I tried. There's various reasons for this that I can think of but I think at the end of the day it simply comes down to preference. We are going with a pixel art style but not in the traditional sense where everything has to be perfectly pixel aligned as if you were actually rendering to a low resolution screen. The entities move sub-pixel while traversing between cells, the camera moves sub-pixel, the particle effects move sub-pixel (these look especially bad if I align them to the pixel grid), and the crystal ball that contains the tutorial images in this level is circular. I originally was going for a true to form pixelated graphics engine but decided against it along the way for many different reasons. Maybe this is the wrong choice, but I actually really like the way it looks now with a bit of mix between true pixelated graphics and modern screen resolutions. We have a similar thing going on when it comes to turn-based vs. real-time movement and the flow of time in the game. We started designing for a puzzle game but ended up going for a mix of puzzle and real-time movement because many of the mechanics that come out of real time movement are fun (like monsters that move even when you're not moving)

Last thing, (sorry for the long wall of text as a response) I find it interesting that you don't like the title graphic. The name of the game has been a long standing debate between us. In the end we have settled on Princess Castle Quest. Not the most elegant name, nor is it very short. Though it is three easy words and they do describe the game pretty well. The fact that it's three, kind of unrelated, words is why I chose to make the title graphic that way. I suppose I could connect the words more (and in fact that's what I do for the smaller resolution versions of the title) but I guess I'm not sure why this would make it look better. I guess maybe a little more explanation of why you think it looks bad in it's current arrangement might help me understand what you mean.

Again, thanks for taking the time to give us your feedback. We really appreciate it!
Simon Anciaux
1356 posts
Princess Castle Quest
There's also the ability to undo steps btw

Than you can't be stuck in a corner and I would suggest to only have, in addition to undo, the press R to restart a room.

The problems you have with the lack of purpose and not liking diamonds should hopefully be changed when we finish the story of the game.
<The diamonds> ... are supposed to be the main reason you are solving the puzzles. They serve a story purpose as well as a puzzle purpose at times.

Obviously I haven't played the game and I'm only trying to explain my though. It sounds like the game would not be changed if you removed the diamonds. I don't have all the "pieces" but if they only serve as motivator to solve puzzle, story element or to unlock/buy something they are not part of the gameplay and a better alternative could be found (in my opinion). Progressing in the game is a reward in itself and a better motivation to solve puzzle for me.

For the title graphics: the name is ok with me, but the graphics are not tight together, and they are three different colors. It makes me think (interpret) that there are three games, or three different part in the game, clearly separated.
Visually the fact that they look like three different squares put next to each other doesn't look interesting or interestingly balanced to me.