Patch Quest

Discussion in 'Community Games' started by Lemon, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. Lemon

    Lemon Well-Known Member

    Latest Update Video:



    Hi Dinofarm,

    The alpha for my long-teased videogame is now available. You play as an Explorer tasked with traversing a dangerous island and helping the people who live there. Unlike most games, you can’t actually fight the wildlife you encounter. Instead, the gameplay focuses on tactically avoiding damage while you explore.

    The game is played on a 3x3 grid of “Patches”. As you move, new patches will slide in and old patches will slide out (this means there’s a constant information horizon). Every night the patches are all shuffled, so the map is a little bit different every time you play.

    [​IMG]

    Most games have some kind of Health Bar with “hit points” (HP). Instead of this, Patch Quest has a Health Jar. As you cross dangerous terrain and pass by hostile animals you will be dealt various types of Ailment damage. You can become sore, soaked, sticky and much more. Some of these ailments handicap you - for example, you can’t run when you’re sticky. But you can also cure these ailments by finding the matching plants. If the jar overflows you will die and be sent back to your last checkpoint, so watch your step!

    [​IMG]

    If you find something cool on your travels you can store it in one of your nifty Patch Pockets. By bringing the right patches to the right people you can unlock items, armor and more. These goodies will help you explore into the deepest corners of the island.

    [​IMG]

    I’m really excited to be sharing this here. My design philosophy has been heavily influenced by the writings on this forum and I think it will show. I’ve also made some game design innovations of my own which I’m looking forward to talking about more in the future. This alpha is the result of over 2 years of full-time work, but even so it’s still pretty early in development. I intend to release an updated version every month and I’ll be writing a post on my blog every week on a range of topics including game design and programming.

    If you play the game and like it (or even if you don’t like it) please share your thoughts in this thread. I’ve also set up my own forum so please feel free to sign up there (It’s almost completely empty right now but I intend to grow it as I release more updates).

     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  2. sammyminh

    sammyminh Active Member

    Graphics & Presentation: 11/10

    I like the gameplay, too. It's mostly tactical (short arcs), but you definetly know that. The "core-game" is about moving from landmark to landmark (or visiting a dungeon), while not dieing. The "meta-game" is about reaching new landmarks or revisiting old ones to fulfill quests with "patches" you find during (core-)games. (as far as I have played)
    It's really cool how there isn't a mode change between meta-game & (core-)game, it all happens just by visiting a landmark, refilling your health & items and the next round starts. Maybe resting should be automatic when visiting a landmark?

    What are your plans for the game? I mean, the graphics are very far ahead so I presume most of the mechanics are in a finished state and you are mostly bug fixing & stuff?

    Speaking of bugs: I couldn't use my extra inventory/patch slots. 5 are displayed on main screen, but when equipping items I only have 4 slots available. The 5th patch slot is also visible, but cannot be clicked on (also has no tooltip).
     
  3. BrickRoadDX

    BrickRoadDX Well-Known Member

    Looks awesome @Lemon I'll be trying this soon :)

    Edit: Wow played for 2 minutes and yeah the presentation is sweet. Gonna stream this on twitch I think, maybe tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
  4. richy

    richy Well-Known Member

    Great work! I think I'll like it and I've played the first quest, but my PC is too slow really :(

    8 FPS on normal graphics settings, 18FPS with minimum quality. 2.4Ghz Intel Core 2, no graphics card, 4GB RAM. Who knows what this old rustbucket is struggling with.

    Maybe a disable-animations setting would be worth having anyway?
     
  5. Lemon

    Lemon Well-Known Member

    @sammyminh This demo is a "vertical slice", meaning all the components have been polished to a high level but there's only a tiny fraction of the final game's content. My plan is to start ramping up the number of landmarks, quests, items and hazards in the game over the coming months and years.

    I'll look into that bug, too.

    @richy
    How well does your computer play Hearthstone? I'm aiming for a similar specs baseline.
     
  6. richy

    richy Well-Known Member

    I've always played on ipad, but just trying PC now it seems OK. I can see some of the animations are a bit slower than normal and the match load-up takes a bit longer, but because the mouse and buttons are totally responsive the little bits of background eye candy don't matter. I guess they must have coded it so handling mouse input is higher priority than advancing frames in the background animations? That's my only problem with Patch Quest atm - the mouse moves around like it's in treacle!
     
  7. Lemon

    Lemon Well-Known Member

    That may be because I hide the mouse and instead display some custom graphics at the mouse location. I'll look into making this more responsive.

    I'll also look into adding a toggle for some of the postprocessing effects. This might give a few extra frames on computers without a graphics card.
     
  8. richy

    richy Well-Known Member

    Great - thanks if you can do anything.
     
  9. vivafringe

    vivafringe Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wowow take a look at this handsome fella!
    upload_2017-10-3_22-23-55.png
     
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  10. vivafringe

    vivafringe Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Game is great so far. Too early for big design feedback but here are some early nitpicks:

    - When I die and the world reshuffles, can my session XP be counted towards my level? Feels silly to have to immediately rest again to get my XP.
    - I pressed "save and quit", but that took me to the main menu instead of quitting the game. Then at the title screen there was no way to quit. I expect that probably this was tested in windowed mode and you just X out but there should be a "Quit" button so that people in fullscreen can quit.
    - After the tutorial, the shopkeeper said I was free to go anywhere, so I ran right and talked to a crab. Then I died. My scissors seemed fairly useless there (no seaweed tiles, I think?). Then I respawned at the shopkeeper and got a pretty easy mission that took me south and let me use my scissiors on some seaweed. Maybe not the biggest deal but it felt like a fake "open world" thing. I wish the game had just given me the shopkeeper quest.
    - I had a choice between HP (ok great), item slots when I had 1 item, or patch slots when I had no clear use for more patches. Felt like a fake choice.
     
    Lemon likes this.
  11. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Whoaa!! Cool! Congrats!
     
    Lemon likes this.
  12. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    I'm really impressed overall! I also feel like the game should handhold a little more earlier on, and at the point where it starts giving you more freedom there should be some legitimate challenge. It feels a bit overwhelming receiving so many items and not really having much idea of how/why I need/want them. A really solid "alpha" though. I've played games into beta far sloppier than this.
     
  13. Lemon

    Lemon Well-Known Member

    @vivafringe
    1) Yes, makes sense.
    2) Noted
    3) Some quests have multiple stages that progress when you return to their landmark. I'll polish this up.
    4) Item and patch slots will both be much more useful later in the game. I'm okay with it seeming like a fake choice for mow because I want to guide new players towards the health option.

    Glad you liked it!
     
  14. Lemon

    Lemon Well-Known Member

    @SwiftSpear
    I'm working both on increasing the early hand-holding and on increasing the later challenge for next month's update. I've built a level editor that will give me much more control over the structure of the island.
     
  15. BrickRoadDX

    BrickRoadDX Well-Known Member

    I streamed a bit of the early play. Game looks incredible, and all the UI feels great and feedback is unique and awesome (love the wound system).

    Main design feedback is I feel the goal is a little loose? (Take into account my extreme bias towards clear goals)
    I get that you wanna collect patches and bring em back, but like, to what end I guess? Maybe you think of getting a patch as a loose quest I suppose, but it feels like something needs to bind them together more or something?

    Basically, why am I going to get the 2nd patch after the 1st, and so on. Could just be me, could be a difficulty thing, (early quests too easy or something) but I kinda petered out and quit after a couple patches. Interested in your thoughts @Lemon

    Perhaps a little more structure is already planned heh. You did say "alpha" after all.
     
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  16. vivafringe

    vivafringe Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I've finished everything in the alpha. Really cool! The positives have been fleshed out a lot, but to add stuff that hasn't yet been said:

    - The characters and dialogue have a lot of love put into them. Very goofy and charming. :)

    - The journey into the cave filled with ninja stars was great! Very thrilling. I loved the new outfit! Very badass.

    - I found it super fun to use my swiss army knife of items to plow through. Pretty neat.

    - I love how it feels like I'm permanently customizing my world when I plop a patch down for a quest. Very fun.

    Some negative feedback:
    - Once I had the patches I needed, it felt super anticlimactic to walk back and complete my quest. It was unlikely I would die, and even if I did die, I still had all the patches anyway. No risk or tension. I think the game needs a fast-travel option to unlock fairly quickly.

    - The bouncy plant would disappear and reappear too fast. I felt kind of trolled when it would disappear, and I would try to walk through and it would just pop up again, ready to bounce me back again. >_>

    - Doctor quest and Potion-master quests felt fetch-quest-y. I just walked across the map and grabbed some stuff. Not much tension. Maybe it's fine as an early quest but later on I think you'll want more "dungeon" type stuff. The doctor quest in particular felt like I was just grabbing two arbitrary items, one of which was across the map. Didn't help that because he's the farthest away, I did his quests last.

    - I wonder if you currently start with too many item slots. It's sort of a lot to deal with early on.

    - For that matter it's not super clear how useful extra patch slots really are, game design wise. A player can choose to not take any patch slots at all, and just complete annoying quests with lots of patches slower. Extra patch slots only provide convenience - they don't give you a power boost, which is kind of lame. I feel like level ups should just give a pre-determined bonus (e.g. alternating between HP/patch slots/item slots). There doesn't seem like a lot of value in picking between the three.

    That’s all for now. Looking forward to new content!
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
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  17. Lemon

    Lemon Well-Known Member

    Next month's version will have a top-level goal to reach the highest point on the island (the island will be much taller). The difficulty will increase as you head further north, forcing players to complete quests to get gear.

    The doctor quest is the weakest quest in the game so far. I just threw it in so there'd be a source of bandages. I'm looking to rework it.

    I'm adding a fast travel system where you can take a balloon ride between various stations spread over the island (Star Hill at the start is one of these).

    I agree that patch pockets are the least useful upgrade right now, but I'd like to fix that by adding more uses for them rather than by changing the upgrade system. I'm also thinking about making you drop all your pocket contents on death (with the option to do a corpse run and retrieve them).
     
    vivafringe likes this.
  18. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    Given the theme, it feels like death should be presented less as dying and more as giving up.
     
    Lemon likes this.
  19. Lemon

    Lemon Well-Known Member

    I released a big update during the time in which Dinofarm Forums were offline.

     
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  20. Lemon

    Lemon Well-Known Member

    This weeks article is about how I created and animated the many characters of patch quest. Each character has a modular "puppet" that plays the same set of master animations, retargeted to fit their skeleton.

    It gets a bit technical in places but I tried my best to keep it understandable by non-programmers.

    Article Link
     
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