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development => games => Topic started by: Zillix on Thu, Oct 21, 2010

Title: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: Zillix on Thu, Oct 21, 2010
Hello all!

I have been working on a game this October, and I intend to finish it by the end of the month. It is built using the engine from Summit, a game I posted last month. The game is playable, but there is still some art, sound, and level design tweaks to be done.

EDIT: endeavor is out!
Check it out at newgrounds.com!
Controls: Move using the left/right arrow keys, jump with X. Use the up and down arrow keys to climb up and down

It would be extremely helpful if anyone would be willing to give me their impressions of it. Let me know what you did or didnít like, and what you think would make it better! If anything is frustrating, boring, or not fun, be sure to tell me!


Title: Re: Looking for feedback
Post by: OmegaStorm on Thu, Oct 21, 2010
I really like the use of endurance. I totally had a Shadow of the Colossus flashback when climbing the "endless" wall and the whole fruit of youth thing. I thought it would take my endurance away like the fruit in the secret garden.

I encountered some bugs. After collecting all the gems, the shaft of light is broken in two and the only way to hop up to the other part of it is to use the chute just before crossing up into the next screen, which itself is another bug: the parachute inherits the upward velocity of the light shaft for a few seconds after leaving it.

Also, when the game ends and you reload your save it immediately, the endurance bar isn't visible and the stun from falling doesn't go away. Only refreshing the game fixed it.
Title: Re: Looking for feedback
Post by: AlexanderOcias on Thu, Oct 21, 2010
This game held held my interest until the first gem (in the ice cave), then I got bored and quit.

Have you thought about replacing the "press c to skip" with a "press c to advance dialogue" at the beginning? People can still blitz through it, but won't miss it.
If you believe it would be worth altogether skipping something in your game, either make it compelling enough not to skip or don't include it at all.

The mushroom fetch quest at the beginning was frustrating while I was doing it, and didn't have the impact you wanted when I finished it.

The part where you fell down to the grassy ground was fantastic, it made me curious again.

From there on, the layout was just tedious and annoying, all the different corridors and tunnels felt like they were there without a purpose - just to pad things out, no new skills were tested.

I think the biggest problem I felt was that I wasn't encountering anything new, especially graphically. Just the same ladder - wall - ladder - wall - ledge. Some variation, unique tiles, or ambient critters would have gone a long way to keep me wanting to find out what's over the next cliff.

Character dialogue was a bit slow, and I usually walked away before they were done talking. I'm not suggesting speeding it up, but perhaps either displaying it in a different way, or shortening each speech.

Other than that, I was glad to see endurance used in Summit, glad to see it again here, also takes me back to Shadow of the Colossus, in a good way.
Title: Re: Looking for feedback
Post by: Zillix on Tue, Oct 26, 2010
Thanks a lot for the feedback.  It's especially helpful to hear what wasn't interesting about the game! 

It is still not in a release state yet, but I have made significant progress.  I've improved the visual quality of the game, including adding ambient critters around the world, and have changed the speech system to be more easily readable and can be advanced.

Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: lithander on Fri, Oct 29, 2010
I didn't play it very long (first gem in the ice cave) but maybe my comments are interesting for you anyway:

I like castelvania-style games! And at the beginning you capture that essence well. There's always a challenge you can't beat and the required powerup not too far away. The game has a good pacing there. Then you fall down and that was a real cool surprise.

Down there you lost me. Okay, there was something about 10 gems to collect but the space that opens up left and right is huge and it didn't feel motivating to continue but daunting. I think a player always needs a clear short and long term goals and at least an "idea" of how to reach those goals. There were long term goals (get 10 gems and get to the chest) but nothing small and doable that I could have focused on doing next. So I walked around looking for something like that and eventually stopped. Especially when I found gems but they turned out to be teleporters and while I expected them to be collectable. That's where even the long term goal lost it's appeal. (Not sure if I'm on the right track anymore)

Maybe you could keep adding interesting stuff to do? I think the game can work well without fighting. But you have to find a replacement to the standard "let's gonna kill those foes ahead" mini-goal.

I'm not saying that I did any better in my game (I didn't!) but maybe I can help you to avoid repeating my own errors.

Graphically the game can use some polish. Overall impression is good but some things stick out as sloppy. Backgrounds for example, start screen or the intro with the incredible ugly, blurry text on black background. Also I never really found out what kind of person I'm actually playing. To build some kind of emotional bond with your ingame self you should have an idea of what your ingame-identity is. Would help the immersion I think.
Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: Nimja on Fri, Oct 29, 2010
Some feedback:

Include subgoals, like the poster before me. For example, don't say there are 10 gems, tell them to find one, give some upgrade, then ask them to find more.

Sub-challenges, a race against an NPC? Check the "Level Up!!" game for ideas on that.

Otherwise, it has major potential. Looks very decent.

Wondering how you've done the maptiles you can hang from? Several map layers?
Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: Loupax on Fri, Oct 29, 2010
(After playing till getting the three first gems)
The Old School Gamer in me sez:

Awesome! Something like pitfall but with much more depth!

What i'd like to see is  a way to help the player figure out what to do next... Maybe adding some "collect them just for the heck of it" coins that guide him.
Next: I can't seem to figure out how to get the climbing gloves... I guess there is a jump upgrade somewhere I couldn't find (that's the reason I stopped playing for now)... Maybe put it somewhere we can see it, but not know exactly how to get there?

A bug: There is a red centipede in the underground level. Once I saw it just floating in the air...

Othere than that, the game shows really great potential! Can't wait for the final version!

P.S. How do I climb the "wall to heaven"?
Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: Zillix on Fri, Oct 29, 2010
Glad to see some more feedback! 

A big issue with the game seems to be holding the player's attention, since it's slower paced than a lot of games of this style. I actually really like the idea of adding a common collectible (eg coins) to the game!  They'd give the player something to do while traveling, would let them know where they've already been (people have been bugging me for a map feature =D), and can guide them along relevant paths.  Great idea!

I'm working on adding a lot more helpful guidance from the npcs in the game.  The deity at the temple will now point you to 1 gem at a time, hinting at the location of one you haven't found yet. Other npcs will hint about nearby gems and upgrades, etc. 

A sticking point for people seems to be the climbing gloves, since you can't approach them directly. Basically, npcs in the game will now reference a "legendary climber" that disappeared under the sea, and the climber himself will tell you that he came from the sea.

The wall to heaven is the "secret" of the game- it requires pretty much every upgrade =D.  I'm putting some npcs along the way that tell you what you're missing.

Glad to hear some specifics about what graphics could be improved.  I haven't been able to find a good example of a parallax scrolling background to reference, so it would be awesome if someone could point me to one. Was it just the text/background, or do any specific sprites need improvement?

@nimja- I love Level Up!! I'm actually using Titch's mappy scripts to make design the tilemaps. Each map has like 4 or 5 layers; the handholds are done by assigning an xml value to a certain tile, and then loading an object at that location.  When the player hits the top of it, it starts a trigger that "grabs" the edge when they fall beneath it.

I hope to have another version done by the end of the day, hopefully it'll hold your attention for longer this time!
Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: Zillix on Fri, Oct 29, 2010
Backgrounds have been improved, coins have been added, and npcs should be more helpful for finding upgrades and gems.  Let me know if it's any better!
Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: AlexanderOcias on Fri, Oct 29, 2010
I loved all the random creatures added in the previous version, and in this one the tile graphics are really coming together.

However, the coins are just not on, they deal a complete blow to the atmosphere of the game.
I agree with their purpose: To lead the player around, and let them know where they've already been, but in execution they visually make the game look generic, the lack of animation upon collection makes them feel unfinished, and the collection audio is grating and out of place.

Have you thought about something like this?:
1. remove the coin counter and the character that mentions them.
2. replace the coins themselves with a more ambient, logical element, like say, flowers that retract when you touch them, or snow clumps that fall to the ground.
3. A more soothing and uncommon collection sound effect (if you don't want something diegetic, even something like a faint tinkle, or bell could work)
4. This would make it easier to add some nice variation between these collectibles too, like you've done with the environment.
Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: initials on Fri, Oct 29, 2010
I love the look of this game.
I'm going to follow this one closely.
Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: Zillix on Fri, Oct 29, 2010
The coins were a rather misguided effort, as indicated by a lot of the feedback I received.  I liked the idea of retracting flowers, so I've put several types in the game in the place of coins. I've also reduced their frequency and removed any actual impact they have on upgrades.  I hope that they don't break the atmosphere as much!

One thing I'm not sure of is if they have the same draw for the player to collect them.  Try it out and let me know if they're pretty easy to ignore, or if they serve their purpose and add to the feel of the game, while guiding the player and marking places they've been.

Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: AlexanderOcias on Sat, Oct 30, 2010
Worlds better! Really, really great stuff. :D

Personally I find it immensely compelling to "collect" all the flowers. Often the best rewards are the ones that don't affect the mechanics of the game at all; this is one of them.

If it really bogs you down, you can always put in an hidden item to get that tracks how many flowers remain in the area you're in, and put give a secret ending for "collecting" all of them.
But again, for me at least, they're fine as they are.

I still say you should think about removing that NPC that explains what the flowers are for. If nothing else he/she almost devalues the experience of interacting with them.

This time I played through to what I assume is the "bad" ending (everything fades to black?), I didn't have any idea how to approach getting the "good" ending, so I quit.

There are only four small things that really stood out as remaining to improve at this point:
1. Collecting the gems is a really big deal both for the narrative and for the player, so make a bigger fuss when the player collects one! Flash the screen repeatedly, shake the screen, play some thunder sound effects, animate the gem being sent away - maybe even teleport the player back to the centre shrine so they can immediately get their next direction... Something like that, you know?
2. Detect if they're any save data, and skip the title screen if there isn't - This will give your narrative a bit more impact, also breaks it out of that "gamey" feel. You can always display the title and your name a little bit into the game, if you're worried about that.
3. The volcano area was super choppy, comparitively, was stuck on about 40fps. The jungle area dropped to 40fps once per second then climbed back up.
4. Getting to the end of that super-tough chain of ropes in the starting area at the end of the game doesn't reward you with anything - I was heaps cross. >:(
EDIT: Played around a bit and found that that path comes from the other side with that fruit of youth... So this is just a bug, I guess, the areas don't link both ways.

All in all though, you could release this right now and it would probably do very well. :)
Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: Loupax on Sat, Oct 30, 2010
Yay! The interactive flowers work like a charm! At first it seemed strange that they were all over the place, but after some playing I realised that "flowers SHOULD be all over the place in a grassy area"!
Just love it! I wonder if I can beat it in the next hour!


Don't tell me I'll have to play the game all over again to see the good ending...
Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: Zillix on Tue, Nov 2, 2010
Thanks for the tips, guys! 

Glad you've been liking it.  To get the multiple endings, you will have to play the game from the beginning, but you have very different goals and the other endings are (usually) much easier and quicker to do once you know where everything is.

I'm getting the game ready for potential sponsorship, and I'm working on improving the first ~5 minutes of the game to make a more impressive first impression.  Any suggestions for this would be awesome!
Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: pixelbuster on Mon, Nov 8, 2010
I was really enjoying my stay but I figured it had to end... reminds me of level up though but its still an awesome game. The flowers work!

Yeah the first part was kinda slow. What hooked me on the second part was the thought of what was I going to get next as well as the npc's giving subplots and some bits of the narrative here and there.

Maybe you can have someone above ground at the start say something like: 'Your father was a great man, but you dont measure up to him. Go and prove yourself blah blah and ill point you to the right direction." just to keep the plot going.

Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: wtart on Sat, Nov 13, 2010
Are there more than two endings?  Anyone figure out how to avoid all the gems to be able to kill the god yet not kill any of the good guys so as to get the warp power?  I was thinking maybe if you concentrated your attacks on non-speaking "animal" characters, you wouldn't be judged as harshly?  Anyway, great game, just wanna find the best ending!
Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: Zillix on Mon, Nov 15, 2010
Try checking out the leftmost wall  ;)
Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: Zillix on Sat, Dec 4, 2010
Thank you so much to everyone who helped me with feedback on this!
The game has recently been released, and you can find the full version at
Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: XanderXevious on Sat, Dec 4, 2010
It's good fun. I found myself playing it for longer than I expected.
Good atmosphere.
Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: Yinan on Mon, Dec 6, 2010
What i like:

The exploring, not having a set aim is kinda interesting and there were completely differen layouts of land to explore.
The endurance system was really nice, i like stats and stuff you can lvl up :D

What i didn't like:
Most Areas were pretty empty exept for the flowers or whatever these things were. At the Third area on the ground (2 areas to the right from the shrine) i found nothing for a long time and nearly quit playing.

I also didn't like the differen endings. Not because there are several (thats quite good) but because we we're forced to have a specific point of view.


Why would i think that it was bad to help the god? He was the only nice one, the dwarfs were all a****les and i think that they deserved their lightning death! But after opening the Chest i got that "Oh no what have i done" ending. I would help him again. He was the only nice and friendly one ^^
Title: Re: Endeavor, an exploration game (feedback needed!)
Post by: Berzee on Fri, Dec 17, 2010
"Forever, endeavor" is just such a spine-tinglingly inspiring catchphrase. :)