Free Runner [Game/Feedback]

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Hello, I’ve just started up game programming and I’m looking for feedback from the forums before I go posting a game I’ve been working on.

My game is called ‘Free Runner’ and it’s basically just a simple-side scroller running game; the controls are very basic, you can jump with space, double jump with space and then space again. The aim is to jump from building to building without getting hit by the obstacles that pass.

I’m a programmer; not an artist, the artwork is very, basic/amateur.

The link to the game is: http://www.sythnet.com/games/runner/runner.php

Just looking for users opinions on the game so far.

Thanks

- Sythnet

 
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You need a way to turn the music off. The collision detection is iffy (character went through a building with a tunnel in it instead of landing on the roof, and died when landing on a different building for no apparent reason.) The game does not run fluidly, it gave the impression of running at around 20FPS. Instructions are very verbose, the interface is cluttered and instructions don’t stand out over the background.

It was OK to play, although it doesn’t seem to have any more depth than Canabalt and it’s not nearly as pretty to look at. You need a twist to make it worth playing.

(Note: I’m just pointing out the areas which are the most in need of improvement, in my opinion. I’m trying to be simple and direct, and I do not waste time sugarcoating my comments, but I’m not trying to put you down, just trying to offer heartfelt constructive criticism. I apologize if I misunderstood your intent and you were looking for unconditional praise instead.)

 
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Hey Ace_Blue, thanks for the comment; yeah the game is still in development; was looking for other players/developers view on the game, I’d prefer that people point out the flaws/problem in a game since then I can work on the problems. Didn’t want praise or anything; just other players/developers views. :)

Thanks for the post

- Sythnet

 
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I wish I could say I got as far as Ace_Blue. Instructions do seem wordier than necessary. Some of the grammar seems off, such as the shop saying that (this is how it technically reads) if I press A I get 175 coins. :| I know that’s not what you mean, but players should never have to decipher basic instructions (unless that’s part of the experience.)

Started a new game. First jump fine. Second jump, I could tell it was far so I waited til the very last second… and still couldn’t make the jump. Maybe one sprite length away. :| I got 0 coins. Yay.

Started ANOTHER new game. Coincidentally, the exact same building setup. Recognizing the possibility that the fault may have laid with me, I tried even harder to jump at the VERY last second… and came up short the same distance again. 0 coins. Yay again.

ANOTHER new game. This time different building arrangement and I managed to nab a gem after the first jump. Different (shorter) second jump, so I made that one clean. Third jump: not only distance-wise just as impossible as the killer jumps on attempts 1 and 2, but the goal platform was significantly higher than the starting platform, which (geometrically) makes it even more impossible to land on.

At least without Super Jump. Hmm. Well, okay. Let’s see how many coins that gem netted me.

5 coins. :| And I have to get up to 175 to get super jump just so I can get farther than 3 jumps into the game? Doing the math… Win>Run>Calc… I would have to, per my current rate of 5 coins per three games, have to play (the first ten seconds of) your game 105 times before I could buy the power-up and actually start to enjoy the game…?

I say all this not with the intent of demoralizing you, but rather to point out some very crucial elements of game design that your game seems to lack.

First, the opening of a level is generally introductory in nature. It gets the ball rolling. You need to juice the wheels. Making it impossible for the player to get farther than ten seconds into your game is not a good thing. The challenge of a game is supposed to increase on a gradient over time. A perfect example (and in your genre too) is an iPhone app called Hill Climb Racing. I personally don’t like the game because it’s just senseless repetition with no over-arching REASON (something, unfortunately, that your game would suffer from as well if I could only go more than ten seconds without dying); however, it scales progress and unlockables and difficulties very well. I’m not going to tell you how you can implement this in your game, but I’m sure you’re a smart person who can problem solve this for yourself. Start out easier (with pithe coin rewards) and, as the game slowly gets harder, the rewards slowly get better. I’m not sure how exactly one incrementalizes things like that in programming, but I assure you that’s what’s necessary.

Variable jumping, even if only a little, is something that would immensely to the game. What I mean by this is that when I press space in your game, I jump the same height/distance every single time. There’s no middle ground. There are no little jumps. There are no massive jumps. It’s just timing. While there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this method, it takes control out of the hands of the player and can be construed as a bad thing. That’s why most games feature varying intensities of abilities. Short hops. Full jumps. Massive jumps. It’s something that’s utilized quite well in other runners and it would behoove you to take a page from that book.

Ace_Blue’s also right about a larger plot device to hold everything together and give the player purpose, but that can come later. Dino Run has a meteorite. Another game on here has you out-running an alien energy wave. Give it a story of some sort so it doesn’t seem so much like a clone.

Lastly, you might want to consider giving small amounts of coins as a consolation prize, related to either distance travelled or time survived in a level. If the coins given are a third the number of seconds run in a level, then running for 45 seconds before dying would reward 15 coins. It’s trivial in the larger scheme of things, but ensures slow gradual progress to help mediate runs where no coins are collected, runs which, at least from my perspective, would be wasted.

“You’re telling me I managed for run a level for 140 seconds and didn’t get a single coin?!”

That’s bullshit. :B Add some more rewards man. :)

 
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Hey, thanks for the comment, well the game has kind of fallen out of my development plan because it was purely a test method for another game, but the problem with not being able to jump, you can double jump if you tap the jump button while in the air, I doubt you’ll read this since it’s such a late post, but you just in-case you do, you can double jump.