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2 posts
Introducing my wip game, seeking testers / feedback
Edited by lattis on Reason: Initial post
Hello, I hope its okay that my first post here is a bit of self-promotion. I've been working on a game in my free time for about a year and a half, and I think I'm ready for some public feedback. I don't usually post on any forums, but I've been following handmade network for a while now, and I think this is probably a pretty good place to make a post about my game.

Anyways, there is a small development website, which has a demo video as well as pre-built downloads for windows and macOS. Hopefully they work, I don't get many chances to test the windows build, as I don't have a windows machine!

Some notes about the development: I've developed the entire game from scratch, using only 2 external dependencies glfw and libsoundio, both of which are optional. I primarily develop on linux, but I've tried hard to keep windows support up-to-date. The source for the game is currently open, licensed under GPLv3, which I hope isn't a mistake.

I'm hoping that by posting my game here, a few people will look at the video and give me some ideas, or even download and test it. I especially would be interested in testing the multiplayer, as that's something I can't really do on my own very well.

here is a screenshot:
Simon Anciaux
1109 posts
Introducing my wip game, seeking testers / feedback
Edited by Simon Anciaux on Reason: typos
Hi, and welcome.

I played the game a little bit, and here is some feedback:
- I played on Windows 7 and I didn't encounter any issue.
- The sound when the mouse moves over an item in the menu is really bad and annoying. Especially because for me the default volume was too loud. In my opinion that sound isn't necessary, but if you want to keep a sound it should be nice to hear and with a low volume.
- The settings aren't saved, which means each time I start the game I need to go in the option to set the volume.
- The sliders in the menu might need (not sure) a hover highlight because when you click them they set the cursor to the position you clicked.
- I would like to be able to play in full screen.
- In multiplayer (I didn't tested it), you should display which port to use (number + udp or tcp), to allow to open them on a router to be able to play over the internet.
- After pressing join in the multiplayer menu, with the default ip, I ended up in an empty map (only the cursor was visible, with blue background), then after a few seconds I was disconnected. Any attempt to play single player after that resulted in the same thing (empty map, back to the menu after a few seconds). The log say "...new connection..." followed by a "...lost connection..." message in the console each time I press single player, without a terrain generation message.
- I can't exit the game by pressing Windows close window button (top right cross on red background).
- When I start single player, the application seems to freeze while creating the terrain (I suppose). It's not an issue, it just doesn't look good/feel (I understand this is something to fix later, just signaling it).
- Several times (at least 3) after starting the game I couldn't play because another (or two, or three !) swarm ate me before I got a chance to move.
- After loosing it's not clear that the game is lost. Especially if you loose early and the color of the swarm that ate you is close to yours.
- It would be nice at the beginning of the game to have some time to get your marks.
- I think the default key bindings should be inverted, as "eating" seems to be the main thing to do, and I lost at the beginning because I tried to use left click instead of right click.
- The different swarms should have more different colors. In games, I often want to always have the same color for the player as it makes it easier to know who I am.
- Also the lighting and colors makes it hard sometime to know if the blob rushing you is part of your swarm or an enemy.
- When in game and pressing escape, the "quit" button to me means "quit the application", not "return to menu".
- I find it hard to keep the view on the swarm as the view moves really fast. I'm assuming the mouse sensitivity is the issue here (it's too sensitive for me). A mouse sensitivity setting would be nice. Also in games using raw mouse input often helps (most often it's a setting).
- This is an issue as the swarm stops moving if the cursor is too far (and that distance is not big).
- I wonder if controls where you move the camera with WASD and control the swarm with the mouse would be better ?
- The "score" bar at the bottom isn't clear, mostly because it doesn't use "clear" colors (e.g. green for you, red for enemies) or your swarm color. For example if my swarm is a color close to the purple color, it looks (to me) that the purple part of the bar represents my swarm.
- It's probably a design decision, but I was expecting the swarm to have pathfinding to be able to just regroup all of it easily. The way the swarm creates straight lines seemed off to me at first but the way it moves has grown on me after a while.
- I liked the shadow and reflection on the water. It's a nice detail but unfortunately you don't get to see it much while playing.
- Sometimes, after pausing (escape) and alt + tab to another application and coming back, the game resume button worked, but the swarm wasn't responding, it stopped moving completely.
- It's hard to see if your swarm is bigger than the enemies, so I often attack and loose when I thought it was an easy win. I think the "height" of the swarm make it harder, maybe ?
- The enemies often stop moving, or rush at me with only a few units.
- When zooming in or out with the mouse wheel there is a snap that doesn't look or feel good.
- Zooming in or out takes too much time (you need to use the scrollwheel a lot). I would like to be able to zoom in our out to the maximum with only 3 or 4 mouse wheel notch.
- When zoomed out, the cursor quickly becomes really hard to see.
- I could zoom out to a point where shadows, z fighting and other visual "glitch" started to appear.
- There doesn't seem to be a win condition. I cleared all the map and nothing happened.
- I don't play RTS but I have a hard time seeing what the game will be about. Just eating everything is OK for a few minutes, but what then ?
- A minimap or some on screen indication could be useful to see potential threat coming.

I hope those points don't sound negative as it was nice to play for a while, and I didn't encounter massive issue.

Hope it helps.
2 posts
Introducing my wip game, seeking testers / feedback
Wow, thanks for the great feedback. While I already knew about most of the issues (and have them on a TODO list) it is really useful to see exactly what you ran into as a new user.

I will respond to a few of your points that I have questions about though!

mrmixer
The settings aren't saved


I was wondering where settings for applications are usually stored on windows. On unix-like OSs, for example, you can put settings in a hidden file in the user's home directory, or you can put them in the $HOME/.config directory (which is a far better choice imo).

mrmixer
I would like to be able to play in full screen.


You can't just make the window fullscreen? On linux (and macOS I think), the window manager manages full-screening of all windows, so I wasn't aware I needed to add anything specific.

mrmixer
After pressing join in the multiplayer menu, with the default ip, I ended up in an empty map[...] then after a few seconds I was disconnected. [...] Any attempt to play single player after that resulted in the same thing


So, singleplayer not working after trying to connect to a server is definitely a problem, but I was wondering, is the empty map / disconnect really that bad of a user experience? I suppose I could just display a black screen with "connecting..." on it until I receive the first message, but I didn't really think it was necessary.

mrmixer
When in game and pressing escape, the "quit" button to me means "quit the application", not "return to menu".


What word would you suggest?

mrmixer
It's probably a design decision, but I was expecting the swarm to have pathfinding to be able to just regroup all of it easily. The way the swarm creates straight lines seemed off to me at first but the way it moves has grown on me after a while.


I originally used pathfinding, but I like the way the current system feels I think.

mrmixer
I liked the shadow and reflection on the water. It's a nice detail but unfortunately you don't get to see it much while playing.


Its not documented, but you should be able to press ctrl+space to toggle the viewing angle between top down, and around 45 degrees. You should be able to see the water effects a bit more.

About gameplay related issues, I plan on adding and/or changing a lot of the mechanics as I get new ideas. I think I will stick to the core swarm-control, but I agree that there needs to be more to make the game a compelling experience. One example is that I would like to make the left-click action equally important to the right-click one, which currently is not really the case at all.
498 posts
Introducing my wip game, seeking testers / feedback
lattis

mrmixer
The settings aren't saved


I was wondering where settings for applications are usually stored on windows. On unix-like OSs, for example, you can put settings in a hidden file in the user's home directory, or you can put them in the $HOME/.config directory (which is a far better choice imo).


%appdata%\<program name> is the per-user default it points to a subfolder in the user's home directory. you can get it programmatically with SHGetKnownFolderPath with ID FOLDERID_RoamingAppData

Simon Anciaux
1109 posts
Introducing my wip game, seeking testers / feedback
Edited by Simon Anciaux on Reason: typos
lattis
I was wondering where settings for applications are usually stored on windows. On unix-like OSs, for example, you can put settings in a hidden file in the user's home directory, or you can put them in the $HOME/.config directory (which is a far better choice imo).


Like ratchetfreak application setting "should" go in %appdata%\program_name. But games often use a different directories to make it easier for "non expert" to find their saves and configuration files as %appdata% path is C:\users\user_name\appdata\roaming\ and the appdata directory is hidden by default. The problem is that not every game chooses the same directory.

Some examples are
- C:\users\user_name\game_name
- C:\users\user_name\documents\game_name
- C:\users\user_name\documents\My Games\game_name
- C:\users\user_name\Saved Games\game_name

lattis
You can't just make the window fullscreen? On linux (and macOS I think), the window manager manages full-screening of all windows, so I wasn't aware I needed to add anything specific.


I can maximize the window, but going fullscreen (here I mean borderless fullscreen window) requires the window to have a specific style (WS_POPUPWINDOW instead of WS_OVERLAPPEDWINDOW) when in fullscreen and to set it's size to the screen size.

lattis
but I was wondering, is the empty map / disconnect really that bad of a user experience? I suppose I could just display a black screen with "connecting..." on it until I receive the first message, but I didn't really think it was necessary.


During early stages of development its fine as it is. But when you start proper testing, presentation becomes very important in my opinion. There a probably several reasons, but one is that having something that looks good, and is up to some standards makes the user know that they are in good hands, not with something that was made without care. Another reason is that at the moment, if you don't have the console (I expect it to disappear further down the road), or it's hidden behind the window, you just don't know what's happening. It just looks like the game is broken. The message "You were disconnected" isn't visible enough as it replace a previous "multiplayer" text, and is not in red or something. I didn't even noticed it until writing this reply. Also you were disconnected seems to indicate that I connected to something and then something didn't work.

lattis
What word would you suggest?

Return to menu. Surrender. End level. Something less generic.

lattis
Its not documented, but you should be able to press ctrl+space to toggle the viewing angle between top down, and around 45 degrees. You should be able to see the water effects a bit more.


Ctrl + Space doesn't work for me.


I noticed there is a mouse sensitivity setting, sorry I didn't check for that before.

Also while writing this reply, I wondered why isn't the "eating" part always on unless you press the key to create terrain ? At the moment I don't think there is a reason not to eat all the time.
134 posts / 1 project
Introducing my wip game, seeking testers / feedback
Edited by Dawoodoz on
I prefer having application settings in the same folder as the application, because Windows games running on Linux have the system folders hidden somewhere in the compatibility layers. Just not worth the trouble of using system folders when you played on a laptop and want to continue playing on the desktop. You might also be logged in as another person but want to use your profile. It is common to have a separate account for installing things as the admin, which might make your user folders separate from your main account used for browsing the web.