Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Solar Wars Play Testing

Many thanks to those who took time to play and discuss Solar Wars with me on Saturday at Eurocon 2007. In particular notable contributions came from Sijmen, Pepijn, Jeroen, Mat, John L. and John M.

There were 8 copies available for purchase. The actual game will be released in about a month or so with all game play issues changes implemented and features such as 1 player mode, superior collision detection, SFX and music added.

Points raised during play testing included:
(Likely response in italics, please comment)
  • The controls take some getting used to. Perhaps a tutorial or at least a reminder to put them on the overlay.
  • Player error e.g. overzealous mirror creation. Creating a mirror will require a large quantity of energy, this will slow down the player's creation and reduce cluttering.
  • Player error e.g. spurious mirror creation. It was suggested all mirrors "die" over time. I'm not sure I like the idea of them deteriorating even when not struck my the laser, as this is a key strategy point, also it would be hard to guage appropriate lifespan. A useful mirror might die to soon and a bad mirror to slowly. I propose a delete mirror feature enabled by holding B1 (select) and pressing B3 (on/off)
  • Mirror quotas. Currently the number of objects is capped. This is a performance constraint and might be relaxed when I optimise the code. The current number is 12 which would well enough, however this number is shared between players. One play can "hog" all the mirrors. I propose to cap each player evenly to prevent one player being denied mirrors by a greedy opponent
  • Extreme defensive play. It was discovered that a losing player might take a 100% defensive stance, leading to a frustrating stand off. Solution currently unclear.
  • The game is great fun in the middle of a battle, especially when prisms are involved, but some levels can prove plain awkward. Apply more thought and quality control to level design.
  • Prisms really do add an excting danger element. The splitters don't seem so great. Consider better level design for splitters or swop it for a new object.
  • The final furlong can prove a little unpredictable when the laser leaves the cursor area. This is already quite tight to prevent easy wins, but the line gradient can bend slightly. Check the collision detection near the cities and remove the "bend"
  • The prism apparently "breaks the laws of optics". (Possibly since it is an icon and therefore to represent a prism and was not intended to rotate correctly.) However to clear this up I will consult a "laser/optic geek" (his words not mine!)
  • To be continued...

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