First Session Thoughts - Alpha 0.0.5



  • First Session
    9/6/2019 - about an hour
    I tried to write down thoughts I had as I played the game, to help devs get in the mind of the player a little bit. In the future I might try to record video of me playing and “thinking aloud”. Not everything listed is feedback, just what I was thinking about.

    Boot Process

    • No intro splash screen or anything. Jumping right into the title was a little bit jarring
    • Arrow keys only for movement? 😔

    Level 1 (intro level)

    • Dialogue sounds are a bit harsh. Maybe different sounds per character would be nice. Gramps could have a deeper, old man sound.
    • I like the dust poofs when walking around
    • Bouncy trees, birds chirping and flying around, general life. 👍👍
    • The sliding controls feel a bit off. Sometimes it’s hard to get into the smaller gaps. (like the gate at the beginning)
    • It seems strange to have QWERT ability controls with arrow movement. I feel like QWERT controls are usually used for mouse-controlled moba style games.
    • I want to control the boomerang throw manually.
    • My arrow tower is stuck behind a gate! Help! (this was before I learned you could press space to recall ANY tower, not just the tower you’re next to)
      DWERVE-MyTurret!!.png
    • I really liked the “How do I get that?” and “Armor!’ thought bubbles. Fun touch
    • Maybe the main character (Dwerve) should have a different font color than other characters? (blue?)
    • I couldn’t pick up a gear that was in a corner. Perhaps they should pull in to the character a little bit when close. Also notice the minor graphical glitch with the water in the top left of the screenshot.
      DWERVE-CantReach.png
    • Maybe Dwerve is a little slow?
    • Rain! 😊 No rain sound effects 😔

    Level 2 - first dungeon level

    • OH! Space recalls ANY tower!
    • (random thought) -- it’d be cool to buy upgrades of some sort. Maybe that will come later.
    • With mouse control, you could use right click to recall a tower of choice, and maybe even place them further away. (AND control the boomerang!)
    • Game should probably pause when it loses focus (e.g. alt+tab)
    • Zap towers maybe should just stay and not have a timer?

    Level 3 - hard dungeon level

    • Maybe “waves” should be more obvious / called out, and have longer breaks in between?
    • I’m not sure I like the battlefield changing on me mid-fight. Feels unfair.
    • No mazing or anything (so far)... hmm….
    • Seems too hard? 3-1 took 4 or 5 tries, 3-2 took even more.
    • Punch turrets are fun.
    • DWERVE isn’t a typical TD formula. Which seems to make it much harder. And maybe less fun than the formula? Typically, the enemies aren’t trying to get to the player, they’re trying to get to an exit of some sort, and they only attack you if you aggro them or wall off somehow. Also, there’s something fun about building up more towers after each wave. I’m not against the power gem concept, but maybe there should be a sub-currency that allows you to build towers, and as any particular fight goes on, you can build more and more towers.
    • Perhaps you should teach what towers do by them already being built somewhere in a little mini-wave. Being told where to place towers feels counter-intuitive to a TD style game. It should be up to me how to approach and beat a level, and if there is an optimal way to win, that should be up to me to figure out.

    Level 4

    • Oof. I don’t think I have another level in me right now. (exit game) -- (I later found out that there wasn't actually "another level", since it was just the practice level.)


  • @Aviox thanks so much for the detailed feedback! 😄

    • We plan to add a splash screen.
    • We plan to add key bindings. We might even change the default controls to use WASD to move and 1234 to build, but only after we do A/B testing. We wanted to use arrow keys to move and QWER to build so that players would not have to constantly move their fingers around the keyboard. If we did WASD to move and 1234 to build, that would be the case. But if a majority of people prefer WASD and 1234, we'll make it the default control scheme.
    • We plan to update the dialogue sounds and add character sounds, like an old man grumble for Esben. In general, a lot of the sounds are either placeholder or missing entirely.
    • We plan to make the movement feel a lot better. Right now it is grid-based, but we'll probably change it to free movement.
    • We'll consider letting the player throw the boomerang. We felt that if you were constantly throwing the boomerang, clicking would get redundant real fast, but we'll think about it.
    • We definitely need to expand our tutorial to better teach certain things like recalling tower, and how the game decides which tower to recall, etc. We'll work on this!
    • We plan to revisit the UI in the coming months. I like the idea of making Dwerve's name blue for the dialogue panel. Maybe each character's name text could have a color that matches their color theme.
    • I fixed the bug where scrap and other items would get stuck near walls.
    • I increased Dwerve's movement speed, gave him a dash, and am considering giving him a run (with stamina bar).
    • We plan to add turret upgrades.
    • "With mouse control, you could use right click to recall a tower of choice, and maybe even place them further away. (AND control the boomerang!)" - good ideas, definitely going to consider these.
    • We'll make the game pause when it loses focus.
    • I'll think about having floor traps not have a timer and letting them stay until recalled - this will be easy to playtest.
    • We plan to add more indicators regarding when a garrison spawns, what creature it's spawning, when environmental tiles destroyed, etc.
    • We plan to add more time between waves, especially when changing monsters or destroying environmental tiles.
    • Level 3 is wayyyyy too hard. I'd guess it's about 4x as hard as it should be lol. My bad haha.
    • We originally used scrap as a currency to build turrets, but that makes it hard to balance the level. If a player uses too little scrap early on, the latter part of the level becomes too easy. If they spent too much scrap early on, the latter part of the level becomes too hard. Instead, we plan to add special Power Stones: Yellow Power Stones will be one-time use, and Blue Power Stones will last until the end of the level. We can use these to let the player place more turrets as they progress through the level in a more controlled way.
    • I like the idea of having the turret already exist in the level instead of telling the player where to place it, we'll consider doing this instead of having the player place it.
    • Level 4 is just the practice level, so no worries. Level 3 is too hard and takes like an hour to beat so I understand your exhaustion. I plan to make it 1/4 as hard and take about 20 minutes.


  • Thanks SnarlyNarwhal!
    That was a much more in depth response than I was expecting!



  • @snarlynarwhal
    Maybe it would make sense for the yellow power stones to be lost after an encounter if not used, that way the "saving scrap" issue will be alleviated.



  • @Aviox oh that's great so make it per battle instead of one time use.. good thinking!


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