[Feedback] Flow

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Hi there!

I’ve been working on this game for about a month or so and what originally started out as a really fun idea has (i think)gotten kind of bland. I have some ideas to make it better but I’d like to see what people think of it in it’s current state.

My game is a 2d platformer where you are allowed to pick up pieces of the environment, and then set them down to help you move through the level. I wanted there to be constant movement through the levels and have the players enjoy moving through the environment.

Game Link

Right now that “feel” I’m looking for isn’t quite there yet, mainly because of this rather discouraging thing i realized was that in order to place blocks(pieces of the environment) you must first pick them up. The picking up part being hindrance to the overall forward movement of the game. So, I’ve come up with a few concepts, maybe you receive blocks to place based on a cool down system, or maybe you pick the blocks up in a form of a collectible?

That’s all I have I’d like to talk about design concepts with others to see what you think.

I’m excited to see what you have to say about it!

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Cool game! At first I thought it was going to be one of those basic block movers but it wasn’t.

I see what you mean about the not smooth feel, in any case. The only possible way I can see to make that fixed would be to make the controls mouse rather than WASD and use Space to go into select block mode. But that would make it rather difficult at the same time, especially with wall-jumping.

I think the best thing might be to keep it as it is, but keep thinking and perhaps you’ll get an idea. Hmmm… what you might be able to do is make it so removing the blocks occurs automatically (doesn’t need a click), but that could be messy as well… and accidental mistakes could be bad. So I don’t know.

In any case, it looks good. One thing I would do though is have a mode in which you can zoom out and look around (perhaps press Q to do that or something) so you can see where you are going before you make any guesses =P.

The game is looking really good theme wise so far, and it’s fun, so keep going at it =D.

Also make sure that picking up blocks is an important part of each level =). Even if it is picking them up while you are falling. ;-).

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Thanks for the feedback!

The past few weeks I’ve been going through tons of ideas, really small tweaks that have a huge difference as to how the game is played.

I know exactly where you ran into problems with figuring out where to go. Those last two levels were added in before I implemented those fancy arrows for directing the player where to go. So, although that would be cool to zoom out and see the map I think by adding arrows to hint the player along it would be more subtle experience and allow the player to keep their pace up. I really like that idea of falling and picking up blocks upon decent and then quickly placing them underneath you. That would really add to the fast movement of the game itself. I like it!

Originally, a player must have their cursor right on top of the block and click to pick it up. When you’re moving fast, this becomes quite the nuisance.
So, instead I’ll have the cursor lock onto blocks when you get (the cursor) close enough, making it easier to pick up blocks! Also, I’ll be working on a line algorithm for placing the blocks so when you click and drag it places the blocks relative to a vector your mouse makes when you click and drag to place the blocks.

Tutorial Design:
When designing the first few levels I wanted to make sure that the directions were conveyed in a very visual manner and clear manner. Personally, I feel people learn more quickly with diagrams and it prevents the player from reading long blocks of text, ultimately slowing the player down. The issue I run into is that I occasionally make diagrams that are too simple and aren’t descriptive enough.

For Example:
While playing did you figure out that you could click and drag to place the blocks or did you pick one up at a time and place it?

I wanted to make sure the player knew that the limit to their inventory was five blocks, but I feel I didn’t convey that too well. It’s a constant battle between making things look nice and having them convey exactly what I want. It’s even more relevant in this game with the minimalistic style I was going for.

Level Design:
Inspired by portal’s commentary I wanted to create levels that would offer a challenge isolated from any other distractions. This way the player learns certain queues as to what type of puzzle lies ahead. Through this process you can then add puzzles on top of each other to make more complex and challenging environments. But, these “puzzles” would be more of obstacles, not something to slow the player down to a halt to figure out specific places for blocks. I want it to be a test of dexterity, as you run through the levels.

Game Design:
Another idea I had was to have certain blocks that you can pick up. Running with the idea of gels from Portal 2, having blocks that have properties such as a higher jump and a faster run would be a good way to change up gameplay several levels in.

I pretty much just ended up writing a small design doc for my game while responding. I appreciate the time you took to look my game over and give me some feedback. I’ll definitely be working on this a lot, the current time frame is about 3-4 weeks to add all these changes that I described above, along with some other bugs with collisions and such.

Thanks for the feedback! I’ll keep the updates coming.

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Fun game. I like the complete absence of spikes, and the fact that the blocks are numerous enough that one is not constrained by the solution the designer came up with, but can make up their own solution. The controls need some adjusting, though, it’s hard to land on a particular block of one’s choosing. Finally, Flow is already taken as the name for a game (even though they spelled it ‘flOw’) and that game is the basis for a game design concept (of ‘flow’). You might want to pick a new name to avoid confusion.

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i forund 2 flaws
1 – spacebar is often the jump key, i was stuck for so long at the final level because i keep hitting space. and it restarted
2 – The wall jumping has a change time to match, which makes me fail jumps there should be easy jumps and hard jumps, not just hard.

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I concentrated on the lack of spikes mainly because I wanted the player to enjoy moving through the game, and not really fear running into anything. I’m glad you like that. That’s definitely a good idea to change the name, something to avoid confusion.

I’m really sorry about the spacebar resetting the level, I completely forgot about that. I originally added it in for testing some things, I’ll definitely take it out. Or maybe just remap it to another key.

As for the wall jumping, are talking in general wall jumping is hard? Or just those last 2 levels? I agree that those last few levels are extremely hard, and I’ll definitely be adding more levels to bridge that toughness gap.

Once again thanks for everyone’s feedback!

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First of all, I love your game mechanic. It has great potential, in my opinion.

Two things you might want to change in order to improve the “flow” of Flow:

Allow the player to see more ahead. On some levels I felt that I had to slow down and make sure I knew what was below me, so I didn’t fall. If the player already knows where he’s going or has proper time to react, they’ll be able to focus more on getting there instead of thinking about it.

Secondly, maybe change the pick up block button from mouse to keyboard? I say this because taking time to aim your mouse over the block and click it seems like it would slow the player down. But, if the player simply stands over the block and presses L or something, things will move much quicker.

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Expanding on the last comment
i just fee the key switching is frustrating, who do i have to press the up key again to jump? why can’t i just hold it and alternate the direction keys and keep it pressed? i see it as a needless difficulty, especially when you have to restart the level if you fall.
it’s feels a little unjust to be punishing us for a difficult control mechanism before you make us learn it. unless you want a harsh reality effect, adding levels will help fix this, but still keep it in mind.

a glitch i spotted is the ability to jump in mid air if you do not use that jump when leaving a floor. aka, if you walk off a plank, the press jump in mid air, it will jump.

and the level design is too neat for an experimental game. i know this is a test but I would suggest increasing the entropy of the level for a game of a more “creative” nature, maybe add blocks in places you don’t use, tunnels, holes instead of pits of death, maybe with a mole going HAHA! gotcha! in it, that you just have to climb out again, (not restart the whole level), pictures, tables, chairs, this gives us a more “hey! there could be more than 1 way” approach

when you’re easily punished, you experiment less.
Maybe you could have collectible blocks that you get from each level retained by the player and added to his “home” map. just as a trophy, make the point of the game getting as many blocks as possible and using the least you need to pass the game, so you can build a bigger house.

oh and indicate the “fall off” zone with something.

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Pretty good game for a start Here is my feedback:

-You said you wanted constant movement but when I played the game it was sort’ve the opposite. It was sort’ve the opposite it was more slow and non-constant. For an example hen you start off in the level your feeling (or at least my feeling) was to slow down and see what to do making the game non-constant. Though I’m sure you will fix that and this problem could only apply to me.

-I am sure this problem is just because this is a beta. But here it is. The backround, your own character and the blocks was sort’ve bland. I mean the backround was nice at first but then over time it sort’ve gets bland. It would be nice to change the backround over the course of the game. the main character was just a squar. The blocks were a little too simple not changing no special ones, but again this is probably because this game is a beta. I’m not going to over criticize you on this one, this one was probably because this game is still a beta.

-No instructions. When I met the wall jump levl at first I didn’t know what to do and you only put arrows showing where to go. it would be good to put instructions there.

-Pretty Good gameplay. The gameplay was very straight forward and simple but yet it was still fun. With the goal being get to the green pad (or whatever you call it)

-I don’t know about other people saying this is bad but I think the controls were good and easily adaptable. The block moving control however is would be better on the keyboard than on the mouse.

-Level design. The level design was pretty good. Nothing crazy and nothing too simple and it was still fun.

-Good graphics. The graphics were pretty good, it looked polished and there wasn’t any bad graphics in the game.

You might want to consider changing the name because for me the name Flow was misleading. Overall a pretty good game so far.

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Oh my god this game is so fun! Im not normally into these puzzle type platformers but this ones really addicting despite everything being blocks. Played all the way to the end, really enjoyed it.

Couple things, ya need a good main character sprite, and ya need different kinds of blocks that you can pick up, like trampoline blocks or water blocks.

Games great otherwise though. Need some variety.

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Thanks for the responses!

I’ve been quite busy lately with school work and stuff but luckily I have a web design class so I was able to make a little portfolio site for myself. This will be the new home for “flow”, feel free to critique the site or anything else on there.

new site

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You can beat this game with only two block placements: one on level 5, and the other on level 7. (Hint: slide down a wall, then detach and move away, then jump.)

I’d like to be able to click the background and pick up any grey blocks I drag the mouse over. This is what happens when the mouse starts on a block, but it would make things easier if that wasn’t a requirement.

It’s also possible to go an unlimited distance in any direction you want, as long as you have at least two blocks. Just place one, jump onto it, move the other in front, jump onto that, and repeat.

Other than that, there are a few collision errors, but they don’t come up that much (mostly when I’m trying to walljump in level 2).

Also, you should probably design your site so you can link directly to a specific page. The animations look nice, but it’s more important to be able to link directly to your work.