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Brazen Berry Bonanza

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Hopenager, Apr 1, 2017.

  1. Hopenager

    Hopenager Member

    Edit: The tutorial in this game hasn't been updated since the game-jam version, and even then the tutorial was pretty bare, so make sure you read the whole post before playing or it will be pretty confusing. Also, ignore the par number underneath the score. It was intended to start off at 20 but I accidentally left it at the value I was playtesting it at.

    For the 7DRL game jam a few weeks ago I made a game called Brazen Berry Bonanza (you can find it here https://ethanhoeppner.github.io/gamedesign/brazen-berry-bonanza.html) , which turned out pretty well, and I decided to continue working on it. Since then I've improved the gameplay quite a bit, and done a complete graphical overhaul. I'm probably going to release it rather soon (hopefully on mobile as well) for 99 cents or something, but first I figure I should get some feedback. The new build is more intensive than the old one, and it doesn't run well on html anymore, so you can download it for windows here: https://ethanhoeppner.github.io/gameFiles/BrazenBerryBonanza/BBB_build_2.zip

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    One thing that I haven't changed yet is the tutorial, and even to begin with it, so sorry if its confusing. Here's the explanation of the rules I gave for the 7drl build:
    • When berries spawn, they do not give points. After they have been on the map for about 30 seconds, they'll ripen. They slowly get bigger while growing, and when they're ripe they stop growing and turn a brighter shade of red. Once they are ripe, walking over them gives one point.
    • You can only walk on plants, or on tiles adjacent to your own plants.
    • Pressing space grows a plant, but you have a limited number of seeds. This number is displayed in the top left corner, above your upcoming seeds. You can get more by picking up seeds on the map, they grow on yellow plants.
    • You can plant 3 types of plants: Green, Yellow, and Orange. Green grows in all directions and grows berries, Yellow grows in a straight line and grows seeds, and Orange grows over top of anything around it, destroying it. You can see the next 4 plants you'll plant on the left. The one at the top is the next one you'll plant.
    • It it possible to get stuck in a "no-mans land" of sorts where you can't move if you destroy a plant and there isn't another one around to walk near. If this happens, you can use a seed to plant a new plant. If you don't have any of those, it's basically a loss state unless you get lucky and something happens to grow towards you. (Maybe I should change it so that the game just ends if that happens...)
    • Every 60 seconds, several evil plants will spawn. There are two types of evil plants: Red and Purple. Red grows in all directions, and will take over other types of plants it touches. Purple grows in a straight line, growing over top of whatever is in its way.
    • Evil plants grow Evil Berries, which act similarly to normal berries, though they take longer to ripen. Evil berries are purple instead of red, and like normal berries become brighter when fully ripe. If there are 5 ripe evil berries on the map simultaneously, the game ends.
    • The rate at which berries appear is proportional to the amount of green on the map, so if you have 40 green tiles, berries will spawn 4 times as often as if you had 10. Seeds and evil berries work the same way for the tiles they grow on.
    • The number of plants that spawn in each "wave" of evil plants increases each time. On the first wave, 3 plants will spawn, and from there the number increases by 1 each wave. This prevents the game from going on too long, since the game gets arbitrarily difficult when there are like 8 evil plants spawning each wave.
    Since then, the rule changes have mostly been subtle, such as:
    • Purples take twice as long to walk through.
    • Reds now spawn in groups of 4 tiles instead of 1.
    • Evil plants do not expand for a period of time after they spawn.
    • You are now given an outline of where the evil plants will spawn to.
    • There is a visible timer displaying the time until the next wave.
    • Orange now spreads through all types of plants, not just the ones it originally touches.
    There are also countless little balance changes, and a significant new feature: special berries. Every once in a while, you will get a berry that is pink, or blue. Pink berries, when collected, cause all red plants to be pushed back, and stop expanding for 6 seconds. Blue berries, when collected, allow you to move through plants as quickly as you can walk through empty tiles.

    If anything is confusing, let me know.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
    Redless, richy and keithburgun like this.
  2. Hopenager

    Hopenager Member

    Here's a new version of the game: https://ethanhoeppner.github.io/gameFiles/BrazenBerryBonanza/bbb_prerelease.zip. I'll be releasing version 1.0 soon (for, at least, windows and android), and this version is basically feature complete, so I'd love to get some feedback on it before the release.

    Stuff changed since the previous version:
    • There's a new type of special berry: the White Berry. When you gather one of these berries, 6 extra normal berries will appear, but so will a new evil plant (this is intended, somewhat, as an OCR). These work somewhat differently than other special berries in that there is always just one of these on the screen at a time. The first one spawns 10 seconds into the game, and after that, whenever the white berry is destroyed, a new one will spawn on a random green tile on the map.
    • Orange seeds now only affect red tiles. I did this because many beginners were confused by how to use this seed, and at first didn't realize they could avoid burning their own plants by just using it on a tile where it wasn't adjacent to anything. Once you've figured that out, you're able to find a way to use orange seeds against evil plants without burning any of your own the vast majority of the time, so this change doesn't make too huge of a difference in that respect if you're already experienced. I considered making it work on both types of evil plants, but that made it too easy to get rid of purple plants that had grown next to your other plants, so instead I think just working on reds is the right way to go. This does mean that its now more difficult to clear isolated streaks of purple.
    • The tutorial is now complete, and explains every important mechanic in the game.
    • The game now has some sound effects for various things, like planting plants, destroying plants, upcoming-wave alarm, etc. There is a slider to change the volume of these in the options menu, which you can find on the main menu. (There's also a slider there for music, but the music is not yet implemented)
    • The par is no longer permanently stuck at 73 :). It starts at 10, can't go below 10, but otherwise moves towards whatever you score each game.
    I don't think I'll be done with this game after I release 1.0, as there are still a bunch of things I want to try out (in particular, I'm thinking of ways for the player to have more control over where special berries spawn and what types they get, and of some other ways to have some more long-term effects on the map), but I think the game is fun enough in it's current state to call it a finished thing. I'll definitely continue to work on this, but I might be focusing more on other projects after 1.0 is released.

    Anyways, I'd love to hear some feedback on this. In particular, does the tutorial do its job well enough? Is it confusing, or is there anything that feels left out?
     
  3. richy

    richy Well-Known Member

    How would you say the player movement mechanism has turned out as a feature? I only ask because to me it seems a bit of an uncomfortable compromise between RTS and TBS. It feels like you have to really concentrate on precise rhythmic key presses to get fastest movement of the @, which distracts from strategy thinking.

    What are the pros and cons of the current method vs mouse control? (I.e. click the mouse where you want Atty to go, and it steps over there at its own pace like an RTS unit would.)
     
  4. Hopenager

    Hopenager Member

    I hadn't thought much about the movement recently, I'm able to move pretty effortlessly. Though it might just be that I'm so used to it, but unfortunately I can't think of anything I could do for it that would really help, other than just slowing down the movement entirely (which might actually be fine, now that I think about it, I had been considering slowing the game down somehow anyway).

    Though, just to clarify, you don't actually have to do "precise rhythmic key presses", you can just hold down the movement buttons. Perhaps I should clarify that in the tutorial?
    I don't think mouse controls would be feasible. Half the time you want to tunnel through an existing plant, and the other half you want to go around it, and that would be complicated to express that with a mouse-based control scheme. I guess left click could signal digging through, and right click could signal going around, but it would be awkward and hard to express exactly the path you wanted to take for more complex routes. Also, using mouse controls for the small, particular movements like collecting a patch of berries or seeds would be pretty tedious, and probably more error-prone than keyboard controls.
     
  5. richy

    richy Well-Known Member

    Yes the mouse scheme would definitely need waypoints, and I agree it could get fiddly. Also a "move around" order would sometimes hit the problem where plants had grown to obstruct the planned route in the mean time, so the @ would either need AI to adapt or have to stop and request new orders.

    Re. the tutorial and keeping keys pressed, no I think it's probably obvious enough. But I meant something like left,down,left,down,right,up where of course you can pre-key each one for zero delay, but it still has to be a precisely rhythmic sequence and you're kind of devoting at least some mental resources to handholding the relatively slow unit all the way. Some kind of waypoint system might let you key it all in rapidly, then have a second or two to think about other stuff while the unit works. I'm probably thinking too much in RTS terms though!
     
  6. Hopenager

    Hopenager Member

    I hadn't thought of using a mouse-based control scheme before and its an interesting idea, so I'm glad you brought it up, but overall I think it wouldn't be worth it. It would be much more complicated to learn for new players, and I think the key control scheme, while maybe somewhat difficult at first, becomes pretty easy to use after a while.

    As I said I've been thinking about slowing the game down a bit, and doing that might make the key control scheme a lot easier to deal with.
     
    richy likes this.
  7. RyanRothweiler

    RyanRothweiler Active Member

    I've played maybe 15 minutes of it. Played the tutorial a few times and two matches. I plan to play more and get deeper into it but here are my initial thoughts.

    The menu and tutorial taught me that the goal was to get to the square box. But that's not the goal in a match. That was confusing at first.
    Tutorial was ok / good. I wrote a bunch of questions here with stuff I was confused about, but then played the tutorial two more times and it answered all my questions. That probably means the tutorial is too dense and should be spread into more 'scenes'. But also the tutorial was good and had all the information I needed.

    For some reason I really want a bar which shows how long I have to wait before I can move again after digging. I don't think the bar would actually change any strategy but I just feel like I want one.

    Overall I'm really interested in this. I'll report back after I've played more.
     
    Hopenager likes this.
  8. Akkete

    Akkete New Member

    Digging through plants feels very counterintuitive to me too. I think it would be better if the movement delay happened before moving on the plant tile. It could even be communicated with some kind of animation. Also if the digging action could be cancelled, that would prevent misclicks. Otherwise the movement doesn't feel "laggy" at all anymore.

    I only played a couple of games, but purple plants feel way harder to deal with than reds, especially if no blue berries happen to spawn. Also, currently I take white berries whenever I happen to walk past them, instead of making a decision based on how well I think I can handle one more evil plant. White berries take so much time to ripen that I don't think I could overwhelm myself by taking too many.
     

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