E: Escape from the Planet of the Spheres

Hi all

here is a link to my comp game:

version 6
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/187819585/E Comp ver 6.1/E Comp ver 6.1.html

So the idea is that you are stuck in a Labyrinth on a strange planet. You have 5 minutes to reach the interstellar portal home before it closes and leaves you stranded on the strange planet forever.

WASD = movement.
Mouse = look.
Space = jump.
left Click = shoot.
Health = Top left of HUD
Timer = Top left of HUD
Left Shift = Special Power

Special Power:
Red walls - Become transparent
Orange Walls - Move up and down
Yellow Walls - become transparent and you can move through them
Green Walls - Explode


  • edited
    Okay, so I have added:

    1. Enemy AI (3 types - Drone, droid and zombie)
    2. Timer and lose condition
    3. Health Manager

    1st post updated with newer version - but here it is too:

    Also need to improve the win condition. At the moment the game simply restarts when you reach the "home portal".
  • I gave it a play, but there are a few things that I want to mention.

    1) I appreciate that it's supposed to be a maze, but I honestly have no idea how to navigate. I saw there was a huge pillar in the middle but I couldn't really use it as a reference as I had to constantly check for enemies. The walls and grass that all looked exactly the same left me extremely confused.

    2) Sound. I want to hear an enemy before I see them.

    3) I don't get motion sick very often, but the combination of everything looking the same and the fast movements of the mouse(which might be my own settings) and fast movements of the enemies along with everything looking the same made me motion sick in about 10 minutes.

    4) I don't see the need for health. I think it would be a funner mechanic to have the spheres slow you down instead of kill you. It is essentially the same in the end, but if I'm only slowed down I at least have the rest of the 5 minutes to practice to do better on my next run.

    5) I also didn't understand what to do at the gate...I was looking for a switch for half the time before I just start popping a cap in it's ass out of frustration.

    But it's looking like a cool idea so far. Would love to see some random traps. :)
  • @Rigormortis - Thank you so much for giving it a go.

    1) I will add props to the stage to deferentiate certain areas (and to give some sort of navigation tips?) and I will look at different textures for the walls. Just wanted to lay the maze out first and just threw a texture on a prefab wall because it was even worse in plain white. But, sorry did not want to give anyone motion sickness. Will also maybe slow the drone AI down a bit. Did you get to the droids and Zombies? Also don't want to make it too easy - it is a Labyrinth after all.

    2)This is going to be my biggest challenge this month. I have very little experience with sound in Unity, so this is going to be a great time to learn.

    3) Again - sorry for any discomfort caused.

    4) Nice Idea. I want to add a Highest score of sorts with the completion time, so a time penalty might not be a bad idea. Question: How would I get at the variables on the standard FPS controller/Character motor scripts in Unity?

    5) Will try to figure out a visual que for the gates or alternatively have them open when you approach them - so that you have a choice to shoot them from far or wait for them to open. Didn't want to clutter the screen with extra instructions.

    6) Any ideas for traps you would like to see?
  • I didn't get to the droids and zombies(that I know off), only the green flying orbs.

    Sound isn't too hard, essentially you have two components. The first is a [url = http://docs.unity3d.com/Documentation/ScriptReference/AudioListener.html]Audio Listener[/url] which is usually attached to the main camera, and in your case will be attached to the player GameObject. The other component you will need is the [url = http://docs.unity3d.com/Documentation/ScriptReference/AudioSource.html]Audio Source[/url]. You would attach one to each enemy and load in a clip. You can then use the Play() function to play the selected audio clip, at random intervals or when the player is close or whenever.

    I'm not sure I understand your question about the variables. All the public variables would be exposed in the inspector, like movespeed and such. ( I assume, I haven't worked with the built in controllers much) Anything else you'd probably have to open the script in an editor.

    I like the idea with the gates, make it so that the players who don't shoot the gate actually have to stand and wait at the gate before they can go through.

    I wasn't really thinking about specific traps, more like placed at random places to mess about with you. You could try things like inverted controls and see how that goes. Or maybe give them some kind of tunnel vision.
  • Ok I gave it a go, feedback, here we go:

    1. The mouse should be locked in the game, then released when you press escape or something. It's super irritating when the mouse cursor leaves the area.

    2. The mouse sensitivity seems to be insanely high? Makes it hard to aim.

    3. Frame rate? Seems quite laggy for such a low poly basic game?

    That's the technical stuff, now the game design stuff:

    1. There should be an indication that I'm being hit. Red haze or something. I dunno when I'm getting hit and mysteriously died.

    2. I have NO IDEA where I'm going. It's one thing to make a maze, it's another to make the player feel utterly hopeless. I think you need to indicate progress - give the maze distinct segments so that the player can figure out if they're getting closer. Make the first door from section 1 to section 2 relatively short/easy, then make it longer/harder. Right now I'm just wandering.

    3. Those pole bits that you could blow up helped that a bit, gave me a feeling of progress, but it wasn't quite enough. It made me feel like I'm supposed to be here - am on the right path. Was I? I have no idea. That has to be quite deliberately designed in.

    4. Enemies... Are they random? Maybe have them walk from the portal which is the spawn point? At least then there's some kind of indication that I'M SUPPOSED TO GO THAT WAY. Maybe. It could be imbalanced. And hard to implement.

    5. Right now there's not enough cue for the players to figure out the game except by playing it over and over and memorise the path. That's not good enough.

    6. I didn't even realise I had a weapon until much much later. An on-screen indication of the weapon (barrel etc) would help that a lot.

    7. The gunplay... Not sure where you want to take it. The enemies being 1-hit kills means they can only be dangerous if they managed to sneak up behind you, but I haven't noticed any level design where they would be behind you or overwhelm you by numbers. I think think about the game design around the gunplay a bit. You could up the tension immensely by either taking away the weapon and making the monsters move slower, and maybe giving the player an environmental weapon to kill (like a pit where they could fall into) or something else. Or adding the monsters strategically around the maze so the player will tend to step into a room and the monsters would ambush the player, which is much more interesting.

    Cool :) Have fun! :D
  • @Rigormortis - thanks so much for the audio advice. That makes a lot more sense and now I have an idea where to start. with the variables I meant how do i cache a reference to the variables in the FPS controller script in another script, since those variables aren't static. So how can I change those values from another script? Sorry if that is a silly question, but I am very new to scripting. Also, is there a way to build the web version as a full screen game to avoid the mouse lock issue that players are having (where the mouse moves of the playable area)?

    @Tuism - Thanks for playing. I think I will add a type of "hotter, hotter no colder" mechanic to the game to assist the player with navigating the maze. But to be honest isn't the point of a good maze to make the "mazee" (that's totally a word) feel hopeless. But I agree it does not make for a fun game. I will look at mouse sensitivity. I could not find a mouse lock script yet. Will look into it. Enemies start moving toward you (using a pathfinding alg) as soon as you enter their area. There are several "node areas" in the game. I will try to add a gun barrel to the screen. I will slow the drones down. Other Ai types are much slower, but larger and take more hits to kill. I'm working on traps. i think that being able to hear the Enemies will also help a lot, as Rigormotis suggested. But thanks again for playing.

    I am so happy that I posted a build earlier this time round. This feedback is really cool.
  • edited
    @FanieG, the easiest way would be to expose a reference in the inspector. The way you would do that is to create a public variable in the script in which you want to edit the values and then drag it in the inspector. It would look something like this:

    public FPSControllerScriptType myFPSController;
    myFPSController.valueIwantToChange = theNewValue;

    myFPSController will then show up in the inspector and you can drag and drop the FPSControllerScript from the gameObject into the reference and it should work. I hope that helps. :)

    With regards to what Tuism was saying about the hopelessness of the maze. I felt the same way, and no the point of a good maze is not to make the mazee feel completely hopeless. If you make the player feel hopeless...ie that their actions/decisions make no difference to the final outcome then they will lose interest and stop playing. You want your players to play your game(in case that wasn't clear :P). you can make the maze difficult and long, but try not to make it confusing(as in all the textures look the same kinda thing).

    Edit: forgot about this : [url = http://docs.unity3d.com/Documentation/ScriptReference/Screen-lockCursor.html]How to lock the cursor[/url]
  • edited
    The point of any game is fun engagement, and if it's not fun engaging I'm not going to bother.

    So you gotta reward the player, there are many ways to do this, but let's take maze for example. It's maze, so players want to feel like they're over coming the maze. That doesn't happen instantaneously with a switch from Despair -> Yay I Win! when the player gets to the end - it's built up over several smaller steps of rewards, like:

    1. The player realises they're making progress through the environment being different (@Rigormortis spoke about this with Prince of Persia) - imagine the walls of the maze had a distinct entrance hall section feel, then there's a outer security office feel, then a security vault feel, then a core reactor feel... Or even just red -> Orange -> Yellow -> White walls. The player will feel like they're getting somewhere gradually.

    2. Marking progress strictly with numbers or something. Specific doors from the outer rim to inner rim marked with signs [TO THE CORE] or something. Having these sparsely means the players aren't guided like dumb sheeps but they're reminded that they're on the right path.

    3. Give them a way to figure out the right way, like the hot/cold thing is valid, though I DO like the giant pillar in the sky thing, that also works - except your walls are probably too tall to make that effective. Think about the design of the rest of your stuff - do you need the walls SO high that it blots out the sky? All the time? You could design it so that the pillar is more often visible than not. That also has to do with the way the player moves. Planning in windows and things. I think that's cooler than "hot cold". Heck a compass would do that the same, but the pillar feels better, more thematic, if it's designed right (by it i mean the level and not just the pillar)

    And there's so many more ways! Just gotta try things :)
  • edited
    @Rigormortis - Wow! I did not know that you could declare another script as a variable. I thought it would be done by one of those lengthy GetComponent<FPSscript>().Fpscriptvariable things. Thanks I will give your method a try. As for the hopelessness of the player...as I admitted to Tuism:
    But I agree it does not make for a fun game.
    Thanks again for the advice and feedback, I shall act on it.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the lock cursor info!!!!!!
  • @Tuism - like the signage Idea as well as the coloured areas idea. Thanks. So much feedback!!!! Thanks!!!!
  • [quote = Tuism]The point of any game is engagement, and if it's not engaging I'm not going to bother.[/quote]
    Fixed :P
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • am I doing this wrong? I can't play the game on the web. I have to download it to play it :(
  • I had to download it too.
  • @FanieG I think you're supposed to share just the HTML file and not the folder.
  • @Fengol - Oh !?! My Bad. I will correct first post tonight when I get home.
  • edited
    Okay so here is an update on the game:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/187819585/eps/eps.html (link also in 1st post)

    1) I have changed the textures on the walls to a see-through one. This has 2 benefits. Player can see enemies coming from further away, which gives you more time to prepare for them. This also means that I did not slow my enemy AI down. Also the player now hopefully feels a little less hopeless as the "Goal area" is more visible from further away.
    2) I have also colour coded the different parts of the maze from Red to Green. So that the player knows that he/she is progressing in the right direction.
    3) I have added a gun (very bad art gun) to the camera, so that the player is aware that he has a weopon.
    4) @Tuism will be glad to hear that my game now has a locked cursor that does not move off the screen. Thanks again to @Rigormortis for the help and advice. You sir are a legend. (press ESC to unlock cursor)
    5) I have toned down the mouse sensitivity a bit.
    6) You can now either shoot your way through the gates at the end of each section or wait for them to open manually.

    There is still a lot of feedback from the posts above to act on (like player movement speed vs health and SOUND), and I am woking towards getting those sorted. Any more feedback would be awesome.

    Also, let me know if my links are better now (think you don't need to download anymore).
  • @FanieG link is working fine now
  • Okay so last update for evening:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/187819585/Comp E entry ver 4/Comp E entry ver 4.html

    1) Gun now has an Idle, Run and shoot animation
    2) There is now a visual indication if you are being hit
  • edited
    Only a few cosmetic changes done so far. Still have a lot of ideas i would like to implement.

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/187819585/Comp E entry ver 4.4/Comp E entry ver 4.4.html

    Added a skybox, some signage and then some minor tweaks that nobody will probably even notice
  • Wow dude looking awesome! The stars and HUGE planet looks epic! Did you tweak the mouse a bit too? It feels a bit easier than yesterday
  • The first thin I thought of when you said transparent walls was lag.

    So I tried it and sure enough. LAGGGGGGG. Maybe my computer isn't super up to spec, but yeah. Not enjoyable for me so I didn't go much further. Cool idea though... If a bit lazy in the design department :P
  • Um, im also lagging (and I can rock the new BF4 on full, so...)

    Seems like it could get quite fun
  • edited
    Tuism said:
    If a bit lazy in the design department
    @Tuism - Ouch!!! That is bit of a heavy pill to swallow. I really did make an effort to respond to all of the design and "experience" issue you and Rigormortis mentioned after the 1st build, and I thought I did quite good at improving the experience. Not like I only popped a new texture on the walls. I actually redisigned a lot of the stage to make it more accessable and easier to navigate. Oh, well back to the drawing board I suppose. You did compare my game to a "dead man walking" already (although that was before the current build), so I guess I shouldn't be too suprised that I couldn't turn it around for you. As for the LAGGGG - not sure. Runs fine on my PC (mid-spec) and even runs fine on my PC at work (which is like a pentium 1 with onboard graphics) so not too sure what is up with that. Anyway, I learned to do a whole bunch of new stuff while working on this. Wonder if it is worth continue working on this if it is just no fun to anyone but me?
  • Errrr, don't take it too hard, I'm just saying that making everything transparent doesn't mean you designed the game around the aspect of having transparent walls. If you had other mechanics that were written around that (I don't know what that is!) then it's designed around that aspect - as it is, it's something you added without considering other stuff around it. For one, performance.

    I did say it was a cool idea! I do think that "all the walls are transparent" would be a cool idea, but what're you doing with it?

    And my saying that bit is a bit lazy takes nothing away from the rest of the design. I didn't say "THE WHOLE GAME IS LAZY" I said "that part of the game is a bit lazy in design". The two does not equate! I just didn't get to the rest of the design because, well, I couldn't play the game cos of lag. whether my computer is just too ancient or what, hey I don't know. I'm just telling you my experience. Generally web builds are much slower than your local build. Did you play the game on web build?

    And the "dead man walking" thing is a thing people use to describe a game that has a time limit, where the player KNOWS they can't complete the goal in the time they have left, so they're left less interested. It's not an insult, it's a design challenge. Prince of Persia had the dead man walking syndrome. If I can say that of that super awesome game that sold millions that everyone loved, what's wrong with saying that of your game? I'm just pointing it out.

    So, I don't know, do YOU want to work on it? We're here to offer constructive criticism, not to tell you your game is shit and go do other stuff. I certainly didn't say "it's shit go work on other stuff", I pointed at aspects of the game and described what implication they have on gamer experience.

    It feels like you think I'm attacking you or your ability or something... I'm not! Nor is anyone else here who offer constructive crticism and feedback! :o
  • @Tuism - Damn, that came across way wrong. I totally got what you said. I'm just really questioning whether or not my own work is fun. Which is what the competition is about. Fun in short bursts. I started with an idea. It wasn't fun. I tried improving the idea. still not fun. That is why I am questioning continueing. Not because of what you said. Sorry if i can across as overly defensive. Just hard to accept that what I consider my best work yet, other see as not their thing/not fun or plagued by performance issues. I value your critisism a lot as you are known for being honest and straight forward. Which the rest of us can learn from.
  • I played the web build now and it ran fine. Weird!?! Is there bad weather in your areas. Could it be an internet issue?
  • @Tuism - When in doubt...Juice the crap out of it. I want to add sound next and then I want to try and save it by adding as much content as I can. @DeadPixel has offered to help me out with art, as that is really not 1 of my strong points. The 3 gun animations in this game took me a couple of hours (and they are really basic), so I hope he comes through on the promise. I know this is not an ideal solution, as no amount of content can make a not fun mechanic fun, but maybe I can pull a rabit or 2 out of my hat.
  • edited
    Well don't try and "save" things, I'd say intrinsically think about game changers. Think mechanics. I like the way you changed the wall to transparent - that's a mechanical thing - and it's interesting - but you didn't add more to it yet, so all it is now is the same game with transparent walls, and a big technical fault in the lag.

    If you made the walls transparent and it had mechanical significance (like, say... the enemies move super fast, so are hard to kill, but you can kill them easier through a wall. Or if you lined up two enemies you could tag them both with 1 shot and link them to immobilise them. Or something. Or you can go into transparent wall mode only for a short while at a time depending on some kind of resource.

    So I'd say you've learnt lots from whatever it is you've made, and that's awesome as it is. Whether you can turn this learning into an awesome game is another thing. Most game designers go through 100 prototypes before something is "fun" :)
  • Most game designers go through 100 prototypes before something is "fun"
    4 down ..... :)
  • Imagine... "you play a zombie from biohazard, and your primary attack is burting through walls". That sounds like fun, no? That's just an example :P
  • Well yes I hope I will be able to help out a lot :P thanks for ur critisisim @Tuism we are new and learning still so in a way its fun to make and we do really wanna make it fun for the people playing the game, which is most important. So back to the drawing board for us we gonna put a lot of work into it and hope we get something good :)
  • The transparency will cause lag because the engine has to render and colour everything behind it. My suggestion is to have some walls that are opaque that block the view to the rest of the level.

    I like the transparent walls because it does make the level "feel" easier although I still got stuck occasionally.

    I think what's missing is some variety and incentive. I got through the end of the first maze where I found some sort of potion thing which I think was for health only to encounter another maze just a different colour. By the 3rd maze there was "some" variety because the enemies looked different but I think you should spend some time thinking how you can change up the levels so they're more interesting. Maybe the walls move in the 2nd maze or the there are doors that open and close on a timer (probably not a great idea since the player is time conscience and will think it unfair if they have to wait); and in the 3rd maze it's combined with more interesting enemies.
  • I can strongly recommend filling out and following the Tiny Game Design Tool which should help direct your efforts to the game you want to make.
  • Thinking about transparency of walls as a mechanic: What if different walls were different colours and were only "transparent" for different things? So looking through purple walls would show you the (otherwise invisible) things hunting you, but you wouldn't see anything else through a purple wall (no floors, ceilings, walls, etc). Looking through a yellow wall would show you nearby walls (but only a limited distance of wall, maybe even like there had been a "scoop" taken out of the maze, so the walls would "grow" in the distance and block vision again) so you could plan a route. Looking through a green wall would show you the exit's location and maybe where you started? Maybe red walls let you shoot through them (and were the only way you could shoot) - you'd fire a wide beam thing that would disable the hunting things?

    That would be a reason to have wall transparency work as a positive gameplay manipulator.
  • edited
    @dislekcia & @Fengol - thanks for the valuable feedback. Both DeadPixel and myself also considered the following: What if the walls weren't transparent, but your player had a special ability where he was able to make them transparent for very short periods (be able to see and move through them). We were considering giving it a mental power meter that would get depleted as you use the power, and to replenish the power you need to kill more enemies or drink a mana potion. That would give the gun play more meaning, as well as make the transparent wall mechanic more interesting. Also I, get what @Fengol is saying about mixing it up more (just so you know there was a third enemy type in the last section too). We also want to add more "environmental traps". This week is a long one at work though so not too sure how much we will get done. Really want to get sound in too. Thanks again for the feedback and for playing, much appreciated.

    @Fengol that design tool is awesome.
  • Thanks for the comments guys :) @disleksia I like that idea u had with the different types of walls and we will keep that in mind, :)
  • edited
    Okay, so I tried turning the transparent walls into more of a game mechanic and I think the results are a much cooler game than before. Your player now has a special power which is activated by pressing Left shift. The power depends on the color of the wall you are looking at. Here is a summary:

    Special Power:
    Red walls - Become transparent
    Orange Walls - Move up and down
    Yellow Walls - become transparent and you can move through them
    Green Walls - Explode

    I still need to tweak a bit, but atleast it is working. Want to add a visual indication that player is using the power. Also if you did not read this or the instructions in the first post, you will most probably not understand well as there is no tutorial in-game. Still want to sort out sound. Improve Ai and add Juice in general. All critisism is welcome.

    newest version (also in first post):
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/187819585/Comp E entry ver 5/Comp E entry ver 5.html
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • Has anyone made it to the end? Or am I just slow? :P
  • @Pixel_Reaper - I've witnessed a few friends get through it (after a couple of tries however). The best time was with 56 seconds left, so I know it is definitely possible :) Thanks for giving it a go.
  • edited
    Here is the latest build of my Comp E entry:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/187819585/Comp E ver 5.3/Comp E ver 5.3.html

    Just added a hand to the scene to give a visual indication of the special power used.
  • @FanieG nice hand :) maybe some particle effect along with the hand for the special power? And how about a hand holding the gun too?
  • @Pixel_Reaper - like the particle effect idea. Thanks
  • edited
    Erm, just wanted to say that I tried it briefly, the new build, and it was still laggy to the point of being really painful to play, dunno if it's cos of my machine at the moment (at work), or just general performance. Will give it another shot later at home or something.
  • @Tuism - Thanks for the feedback. Think it could be a combination of Machine and game performance. If I play from work it is also quite laggy, although not painful :) , from home it runs fine. Please let me know if you were able to check on a better spec machine. Also, good to see you are dipping your toes in Unity waters. Hope you can pick up the 3D math faster than I could. My head hurts :)
  • Okay, so I tried to optemize my game a bit. MAN, what a mind F#$k that turned out to be. Anyway here is the optemised build, it should be running close to a constant 60FPS now. Please let me know if the Lag is any better now.

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/187819585/Comp E ver 5.5/Comp E ver 5.5.html
  • edited
    Ah, MUCH better. Well done!

    The only thing now is the mouse sensitivity is waay too high - the default unity FPS controller seems to always be set too high.
  • @Nitrogen - Thanks man. You must have a nice mouse. The reason I say this is that I've noticed with cheapo mice the sensitivity is fine, but nicer ones seem waay too high. I'll play around with the settings a bit. Thanks again for trying.
  • FanieG said:
    @Nitrogen - Thanks man. You must have a nice mouse. The reason I say this is that I've noticed with cheapo mice the sensitivity is fine, but nicer ones seem waay too high. I'll play around with the settings a bit. Thanks again for trying.
    Ah okay, I've got a Logitech which probably has a different sensitivity scale. I have a feeling that most Unity games will need a mouse sensitivity slider.

  • edited
    Okay, so I finally got around to adding some sound. Amateur attempt at best, but I guess we all have to start somewhere. The SFX are all from BFXR, the Music was done by a friend (hopefully he will post a sound cloud here soon). He usually does scores for student film and wildlife doccies, so this was quite outside of his comfort zone too. Anyway, here is the latest build:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/187819585/E comp ver 5.6/E comp ver 5.6.html

    All critique welcome
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